New Pilgrim Chronicles:
One man's story of the trials and rewards of moving to Free
Week Seven: Back to the Future
by Brian Wright
So many uncertainties when you walk out to hold hands with people on the
leading edge of the freedom train. This week I've finished my business in
Michigan, cleaning up some loose ends and prepping myself for an extended
residence in the southern Free State hills. "Come Home to New Hampshire."
(Someone at the festival thought this would make a good slogan, and I like it.)
Because of the uncertainties, pledgers and movers realize the nature of the
choice they're making. It's a life-altering commitment, especially if you're
accompanied by family. For almost anyone, though, the decision to be part of
this project rises above practical benefit into a morality plane, where the
focus is on the long-range conditions that make any practical benefit feasible.
Was talking to Steve Cobb and others regarding other leading libertarians'
varying perspectives on the FSP. With exceptions, my experience has been many
of the celebrities in the movement (including Harry Browne, Mary Ruwart, Carla
Howell, to name a few) have been at best cool to Jason's concept. The same is
true of the LP national leadership, I do believe, but I haven't read much in
the LP News lately, whether it's taken an official position.
I also had the experience in Michigan of one local LP activist dissing the
FS generally because apparently one FS representative in Michigan denied him a
literature table one dayI think I mentioned this in an earlier column.
He succumbed to a fit of pique, as it were. "Oooh, cocktails on the veranda,
dear?" But what of the esteemed people I've mentioned who have major skin in
the liberty game already? Is it a NIH (not invented here) thing?
Personally I've seen many instances of people wanting to stay comfortable
as big fish in a small pond, then being averse to ideas or people that would
make the pond bigger. In the case of FSP, the pond stands to become
substantially bigger, which may make them feel unacceptably less vital
to the future of freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Also, the Free State is going to happen naturally, without a lot of repeat
fundraising. My problem with several of the existing LP-peripheral movements
is they continually tap the seed corn for sustenance, keep coming back to the
well of stalwarts who always send money. Instead of self-financing through
constant influx of new blood.
I'm pretty sure Free State solves the new blood problem, because you have
so many willing bleeders, so to speak, on the ground. Relatively speaking that
is. A great thing already about the Free State is you can fall out your back
door any given morning, then turn around and join a meeting of libertarians or
near-libertarians on the lawn. It was only that way for me back in Michigan
during the Clark-Crane phenomenon (Ed Clark, LP presidential candidate 1980; Ed
Crane, current CEO of the Cato Institute) roughly, 1975-1985. And I do love it
Why don't more of the elevated ones see FSP as complementary to their work,
rather than detracting? Indeed, FS is a microcosm of what's going on
nationally in any given organization. It stands to reason the Free State is
the best soil for the growth of all these pro-liberty efforts. Because,
relative to the surrounding population, there are so many of us! As
Paul Gere mentioned to me at the festival, if we get 1,000 active people moving
here, the state is done like a dinner.
That's true. According to the site, we have 377 here now. The political
establishment in New Hampshire, such as it is, is already at the point of being
unable to ignore all the pro-liberty people who continually "act up" through
various groups. FSP is serving as the fireman stoking these groups with good,
solid people. So we freedom people, especially the FSP, are close to the
threshold of common public perception right now. Critical mass is just
around the corner.
That being said, readers should know that in response to the letters I
recently sent to my new senators and representatives at both national and state
levels, not one responded. I had high hopes that when I returned from Michigan
after three weeks, I'd be picking up several responses from these poobahs. My
letters regarded the depleted uranium issue, which is potentially a massive
public health problem. (Well actually, it already is a massive public health
problem, it will become a catastrophic public health problem.)
And no one wants to even talk about it!
Scary, isn't it?
My point isn't to revisit the horrifying topic of DU. Rather I'm just
sharing the observation that beyond the local town level, it you have an issue
pertinent to general liberty, let's just say public officials aren't going to
beat a path to your door to find out more.
New Hampshire has a land area of 8969 square miles with 1,235,786 people,
per the 2000 census. This works out to approx. 140 people per square mile, of
whom 377/8969 = 0.04 are FSP, let's say 1000 active liberty types are here =
1000/8969 = 0.11. So we have probably roughly one tenth of a libertarian per
What legislator or public official is going to give two hoots about a
measly 1/10 of a libertarian?
But if you get that ratio to 20 or 30 thousand per 8969 square miles, that
means you're going to have a full two or three liberty gadflies in every nook
and cranny of the state! Believe me, that's going to make some movers and
shakers out of these otherwise recalcitrant politicos. We'll have their full
attention. They're going to need to do some real thinking and some real work
to hold their crummy jobs.
Also, don't underestimate the effect on the media, on the information
systems that typically block the flow of pro-liberty data both from the street
to the reader and from the reader to the street. You think the Onion
Reader will squash stories on the negative effects of government aggression
on the people when 20,000 angry people threaten to use it for birdcage liner?
Not likely. In the meantime, we early movers have to keep up the good work.
Talked with Joel Rauch, who runs the Merrimack Valley Porcupines, he's a
young man, one of the earlier early movers. He shared some thoughts with me
that early people are tending to be overloaded with more groups than they can
properly support, either from the leadership or from the membership
perspective. I know what he's saying, check out this wonderful page from the site. This gives
you a lot of great information, especially about the pro-liberty groups who are
It's impossible to support all of them effectively. And depending on one's
goals, one may not be into any of them, or may want to start one's own. So a
lot of these groups are going to seem low attended. Just keep in mind, the day
is young. It's all relative. Back in Michigan, you have a tenth of the
libertarian activity you have here, if that. Stay the course and develop
individually as you wish, prioritizing your action so as not to burn out.
Oceans of people are coming behind you.
Well, at least a tsunami or two. My friends, we are the thin edge of the
wedge. The breaking open of the chains in New Hampshire is going to happen
quickly in political timescape. Stand by for some serious excitement.
I don't have a lot more for you this week. My trip across Highway 90 was
uneventful. I do want to comment on a peculiar New York state roadsign saying
it's a state law to turn on your headlamps when you turn on your windshield
wipers. Also, I believe in Pennsylvania it's a state law you have to turn on
your headlamps in construction zones. (!) Does anyone issuing these Cider
House rules really think people will take time to noodle them all out, much
less conform to them?
Remember ignorance of the law is no excuse (unless, of course, the law
you're ignorant of is the Bill of Rights).
By the way, here's a comical rule from our own Free State: I've joined the
YMCA in Goffstown. In the locker room it tells you that it's a state law you
have to take a shower before you swim in the pool. Good Gawd, what if I
showered at home? They going to check up on me there? Is it a felony? These
are important issues, folks, government at work for you.
Speaking of important issues, I find I do like the front license plate in
New Hampshire. It's very artistic, as you can see from the following photo.
See the vanity phrase: BWRIGHT, get it? As in "be right" with living free or
dying. Oh well, you have to appreciate the laid-back subtlety of my approach
to automotive signage. I don't want anyone here actually knowing who's writing
all those letters nobody's reading or publishing.
I just don't think such an attractive license plate should be mandatory in
front. When I finally receive my plates and am looking for attachment bolts, I
go to a local auto parts store.
By the way, I think I've stumbled on another quiet truth of New Hampshire, at
least southern New Hampshire: besides ice cream parlors and Dunkin Donut
franchises, every third store is an auto parts supplier. I'll bet the Free
State supports more than its fair share ofnote, I did not say
redneckNASCAR aficionados. Funny, I never imagined oval-track race fans
would go for the mountains around here; but it sure ain't Formula 1 they're
interested in. Maybe some hard core rally (dirt surface and other irregular
tracks) racing fans, I could see that.
Since the screws are for the back plate, I ask the young clerk at the
counter, "Why front license plates?"
He says, "It's a communist plot."
"Well, what constituency could possibly support such a wasteful use of
funds," I inquire.
He concludes, "Every law enforcement officer knows you have to have a front
license plate to quickly identify a perpetrator as he's driving away from you."
(to be continued)
by Joe Swyers 10/03
In October, 2003
Joe Swyers posted on the
forum a series of reports comparing NH counties in various aspects. Those
reports are reproduced here, with Joe's permission:
This page is here for reference purposes.|
New Pilgrim Chronicles:
One man's story of the trials and rewards of moving to Free
Week Four: Depleted Uranium and Provisioning Return
to the Former State
by Brian Wright
(copyright 2005) t color=blue Sir, I can tell you it is catastrophically toxic and has
afflicted untold numbers of US servicemen and women, caused birth defects in
their babies, not to mention an even greater amount of radiological damage to
the populations where the munitions have been used. Of approximately 600,000
soldiers who were part of Gulf War I, 11,000 are now dead and, as of 2000,
325,000 soldiers (>50%) are on permanent disabilitythe rate for soldiers
in other 20th century wars is 5%.
DU kills and maims over a longer period of time than
conventional weapons, four to five years are required sometimes to see the
symptoms. DU in shells gives rise to intense heat upon impact and disperses
untold numbers of microscopic ceramic radioactive balls, that spread in the
atmosphere with an aerosol effect. By breathing, contacting with the skin, or
merely being in the presence of unexploded DU shell casings, a victim picks up
hundreds or thousands of times what is considered lethal radiation in
conventional medical practice. (By the way the entire planet is damaged by
Imagine getting an X-ray at your dentist's every hour for
A Veterans Administration study found that in a group of
251 soldiers from Mississippi who had all had normal babies before the Gulf
War, 67% of their post-war babies were born with birth defects. They were
born missing legs, arms, organs or eyes, or had immune system and blood
diseases. Unfortunately, there is no treatment (at least not until
Mr. Sununu, please check into this problem. Soldiers
must be informed and tested, widescale decontamination procedures must be
initiated immediately! We must also immediately stop manufacture and use of
these weapons of mass destruction. Two bills are before the House, now, HR 202
and HR 2210. It's a start. If Congress does nothing, a cancer epidemic of
epic proportions will occur in Southern Iraqmaking the problems of
American industrial asbestos poisoning seem trivial in comparison. Thousands
more American soldiers will suffer and die young, producing many babies with
birth defects. I know you deeply care about these men and women. Please be a
I ask that you look at the website of Veterans for Peace,
well Dr. Moret's website below, and do some research of your own. Also, if you
have time, please obtain and watch the new DVD film, Poison DUst. Please
help us combat this serious disease issue; how we handle it will define our
virtue as a country.
 For a local contact in the anti-DU, anti-empire movement, please contact
Women Making a Difference and Democracy for New Hampshire:
I don't come to the Free State to sit on my hands while a massive injustice
is being perpetrated. I'm finding the peace movement motivates me, because
peace and freedom so naturally hang together. Also, I feel a little bit guilty
for being prowar after 9/11
before I looked into the depth of our
leadership's depravity. I want to redeem myself.
One of these days, I believe we'll see a permanent peace movement led by
libertarians. The antiwar groups will have names like Free State Citizens for
Peace and Small Government. The relationship between liberty and peace will
become crystal clear.
We'll see if my FS legislators respond. Recently, in the Old State, I sent
several missives to Washington and the state capitol, and only a couple of
legislators replied. In the old days, 20-30 years ago, virtually every
legislator would respond to a citizen's letter. Fat government is unresponsive
government I guess.
Okay, midweek I drive back to the Old State (Michigan). By the way, I it
would seem fitting to think of New Hampshire as Free State One, on the
premise that we're going to be rolling out freedom pretty quickly to the other
states after we achieve it here (Michigan will be something like Free State
Forty-Two). Though in transit and cleaning things up for my return, I
still have several observations pertinent to the general FS pilgrim.
One has to do with surrounding statist state conditions. My route out of
the Free State is to head directly south along US 13, then west on the Mass.
Pike. I leave early Wednesday a.m. and I'm looking for signs announcing my
arrival in Massachusetts, which is only 30 miles south or so. When I witness
an extraordinarily high number of dead businesses by the side of the road, I
realize this is the Taxachusetts my mother warned me against.
Then stopping for coffee in one of the smaller northern Mass. cities, I
notice something else: it occurs to me to name this condition "the droop
factor." People in more statist states are discernibly droopier, as if
carrying more weight on their shoulders. Remember my observation of people's
expressions from the Week 1 column? This observation
is similar. We're all under a big load of criminal, toxic government, but
people in the Free State stand a little straighter.
The trip to Michigan I do in one day, a long day, 850 miles. On the
journey, stream of consciousness naturally develops the significant concept we
broached in Week 2's column:
As we proceed to self-government by the people, it will be necessary to have a
widespread feeling of almost a quasi-religious consensus on the nonaggression
principle. This principle will need to be raised in consciousness to a
"sacred" essence of what makes America America, and ultimately what is seen to
make humanity humanity.
A good share of my thoughts during the long day turned to this concept and
how to move it forward. I came up with a tentative name and a schema for a
future-history novelette; it fits with what we're all about in the FSP.
I'm thinking prophecy as history or vice versa, meaning the novelette takes
a vantage point in the future from which it documents our emergence into a
post-aggression solar-system political-economy. In that setting (~30 years
hence?) disease, old-age, and scarcity are conquered; we control our own
biology to the extent we can more or less manipulate our physical beings into
the forms we desire; life becomes a constant flow of creative energy as we move
toward the stars.
it's all about choices.
My point is I'm trying to have some big thoughts of how to supercharge the
reason-liberty movement. I find it helps me to imagine these peaks of optimism
as an antidote to the depressing Orwellian "droopiness" that threatens to
smother us all today. One thing is certain: at the root of any future
benevolent universe has to be this widespread sanctification of the
nonaggression principle. The sine qua non as it were.
Funny how long-distance driving tends to shoot the 'ol noggin into
My last FS-related observation for this week has to do with the pace of
life in the Free State vs. other more populated areas. I don't think the lower
pace, where people move quickly enough but are seldom in a hurry, is exclusive
to New Hampshire. I recall being in Montana and feeling the same thing. You
really notice the relaxed pace when you go back to alleged civilization and you
don't have it anymore.
As I'm driving toward Michigan, and the next few days, too many people are
"on my ass." Hurrying. Like them being two inches off my rear bumper is going
to get them miles closer to where they're going. So maybe they can get out to
their crummy job or home to their dysfunctional family a nanosecond quicker.
Sorry to be negative. But it's extremely annoying. And this is one thing you
FS comers will be ecstatic to put in your rearview mirror.
Again, I think a lot of the reasonable FS pace centers around having fewer
people. Population density is something I want to discuss next week, along
with population composition. Some people in the opposition might claim, "Sure,
it's gonna be a good place to live when the largest town is 110,000 people and
you have maybe three minority families in the whole state. Buncha cherry
pickers is all you are. Doesn't matter squat how big the government is."
It certainly is a nice feeling to get into a nice rhythm here in the Free
State. And I don't know if I've mentioned all the trees you're going to see
out here in most towns have the effect of cleansing the air and rejuvenating
the soul. So I'm not going to jump on the above statement until next time. In
fact I'm not jumping on it at all. I will say what strikes me as underlying
most strongly the population composition here is a tradition of
(Sorry about having to bring up the depleted uranium issue.)
(to be continued)
New Pilgrim Chronicles:
One man's story of the trials and rewards of moving to Free
Week Five: Observations During Absence, Part 1
by Brian Wright
Back to the former home state now for a week, I want to take some time to
reflect on the main differences between here and there. Especially, regarding
pace of life, population density, and population composition. These are
subjects I brought up in the previous columns.
Recall I mentioned that the pace of Free State and the pace of say, Montana,
are similar. People don't hurry as much and in terms of driving, virtually no
one climbs up your rear end as a matter of their daily motoring behavior. Is
pace of life, a healthy rhythm or lack thereof, a function of population
density, population composition, both, or something else entirely?
If you go by
population density per state, New Hampshire ranks 20th at about 20 people
per square mile from the top while Montana ranks 48th at about 1 person per
square mile. Obviously, the much larger area of Montana, a lot of it
uninhabited, skews the comparison when you do it statewide. All I can say is
from experience, living in a small town like Bozeman or Belgrade, MT, feels
similar to living in a small town like New Boston, NH.
You don't sense being hemmed in by people everywhere. A lot more elbow
room. Driving through suburban Detroit areas this week, geez we got people
everywhere. Dense-packed. It feels crowded. I'm pretty sure the sociologists
have done studies that show bad karmawhether crime, stress, anxiety,
accidents, fights, etc.is exacerbated by population density. Imagine the
effect in Southern California or New York City, or in the extreme, say, Third
When it comes to human population density, what's healthy?
My mom has always told me I was an easygoing, well-adjusted kid. But I
would get uncommonly nervous and anxious, even start crying, in large crowds.
Surely most people are sensitive to being pressed in upon by others. Part of
the Free State's appeal has to be that masses of human beings aren't swarming
you. Here, and in other lower-density areas, every individual becomes
additionally special by virtue of the amount of space surrounding him/her.
So Free State has the quality of open space.
How long can that last? Good question. This is the classic conundrum we'll
be facing as time goes by. To the extent our freedom from congestion is
desirable. more people will want to immigrate for that reason alone, thus, at
some point, possibly increasing congestion.
Every system has a limit to the number of individuals it can support without
experiencing the overcrowding most of us would like to escape. Look at any
white-flight suburb (WFS) surrounding big citiesby the way, WFS is
largely a creation of eminent domain, federal highway money, tax policy, and
subsidized mortgagesand you see how not to solve the problem.
I remember taking a drive one Saturday while I worked on a contract in Houston.
Houston is a hub city, with wide circles of automotive pavement surrounding it;
effectively, three of these rings are in place now. I picked a section of the
second ring in the north where I knew the neighborhood would be affluently
homogeneous. It took me an hour to travel five miles to the next spoke, where
I hurried back south. I was suffocating!
This is another irony: reliance on automotive travel in big cities
increases crowding. A good book on how the cities have been basically
destroyed by the federal government (and its affiliate governments) over time,
neighborhoods covered by asphalt, quality of life disintegrated, is Jane
The Death and Life of Great American Cities. And the automobile, by
virtue of state preference, is our fiat transportation (no pun intended).
Reasonable, open-space market alternatives to one-man one-car are impeded by
Down here on Practical Street, I'm going to learn to do what I can to
preserve the open-space feeling of the Free State. I'm wondering if I'll
succumb to zoning or restrictive land-use policies implemented by the towns.
Could be a dilemma. Obviously, any ideas readers of this column may have along
these lines will be greatly appreciated.
In the long run, thinking of population pressure on the human race in
general, we have to encourage a practice of quality vs. quantity in the
Note: At this point I went into "heavy columnist" mode for about
three paragraphs. Backing off now, boss. We can deal with the whole "quality
of humanity" issue some other day.
Like it or not, we Free Staters are representatives of the productive class.
Producers are going to need to step up and make some important decisions
regarding what to do about nonproducers. Here is an area where private
initiative is sorely lacking, and the governments have created an illusion of
humanitarianism. The response to Hurricane Katrina is grim evidence of the
failure of the current system.
I look for Free State to make some imminent improvements to health,
education, and welfare systems, mainly via government divestiture. Many regard
the idea of taking HEW away from the state as mad ravings, but at one time many
regarded the idea of freeing the slaves as lunacy, too. Guess what! We're on
the leading edge of the reason-liberty movement, now, here. I believe these
improvements are going to happen remarkably soon and quite quickly.
I want to end this week's ruminations by talking a little about ethnic
Both Montana (91%) and New
Hampshire (96%) are predominately white, and both have less than one
percent black population and each approximately 2% Hispanic populations. Have
opponents of the Free State Project pointed out the preference of the project
for white-European regions? Don't some leftists want to tussle with us here?
The conventional wisdom has it that areas that are mainly white-European
have less real crime, fewer sociological problems in general. A quick surf of
the Web reveals little to confirm or deny the conventional wisdom.
Obviously, any scholar who produced a study that demonstrated conclusively a
"more-white less-crime" thesis would be skewered by mainstream media.
Posturing politicos would try to pass laws, kids would protest in the streets,
the scholar's career would be in jeopardy. Personally, I think it likely a
journalistic correlation exists between ethnicity and crime. That is a far cry
from a causal connection.
If there is such a journalistic correlation, we owe it to ourselves to
inquire as the reasons for it.
It is certain the drug laws have disproportionately destructive effect on
minority populations. All the government aggression that keeps down
minoritiesespecially the drug laws, minimum wage, forced government
schooling, licensing and regulation rulesskews the data and our
perceptions. My feeling is that race is a nonsignificant causal factor in real
crime; rather a strong correlation exists between government aggression and
race/crime. In other words, the amount of government aggression visited upon
an ethnic groupespecially "aggression for the group's own
good"makes members of the group more susceptible to social dysfunction.
What we find more in white-European communities in America is a traditional
resistance to government aggression. Especially in New Hampshire we see this
insistence on self-government, maintaining control of government by all the
citizens at the level where we all live. Government on top of this
self-government is largely viewed as aberrational. Less aggression, fewer
In other words, particularly in the Free State, we have highly functional,
self-governing society. It happens to be mostly white-European because that's
who founded it... and the day is still young! For the most part, that's where
the historical ideas lie. Nobody needs to be defensive about this. Indeed, we
have the privilege of extending the blessings of the freedom
methodologytotally race-neutralto all mankind. In the end,
minorities will benefit the most.[~/1] Indeed, I look forward to the Free
State becoming the multicultural haven/springboard for
21st-century freedom lovers.
[~/1] Remember what Rand said, "The smallest minority in the world is the
individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of
minorities." More positively, those who advocate and defend individual rights
are minorities' true champions.
(to be continued)
New Pilgrim Chronicles:
One man's story of the trials and rewards of moving to Free
Week Six: Observations During Absence, Part 2
by Brian Wright
Getting back on track. Sorry for letting my ideological sails flap too
vigorously in some of the former columns, my intention is not to proselytize
for any particular libertarian point of view, rather to convey what it's like
personally to transition to the Free State. It's only that, personally, I
really am a cause-oriented ideologue.
But I apologize if
what I was talking about came off as an ego trip: my desire is for the general
good of FSP and liberty only.
Paraphrasing my disclaimer from Week 4:
The Free State Project is nonsectarian, meaning the project doesn't endorse any
particular political organizations or specific ideasthere is a general
Project characteristic of attracting people who believe in individual rights
and limited government, and you could call the people attracted small-l
libertarians. So when I launch in these columns here on some
political/philosophical issue, I'm not speaking for anyone but me.
Certainly many if not most of the people migrating to the Free State are
cause people, too. But a fair number of you are coming simply to live better.
Some noncause-oriented quality-of-life reasons for coming to the Free State:
- Sit on the beach, soak up the rays, and pop bonbons (summer only)
- Ride the roads on your Harley
- Drive the roads in your sports car
- Drink quality microbrew on a daily basis at Milly's in Manchester
- Ski, hike, camp, enjoy the mountain life
- Take recreational fun in lake country of unsurpassed beauty
- Develop a livelihood, fall in love, raise children, teach, learn
- Find yourself in the fresh air and solitude
- Take part in New England history and community, ideas of "the Founding"
- Watch the minor-league baseball team, the fearsome Fisher Cats
- Play golf
Any pledger coming to the Free State just to have a good life is as welcome
as the firebrands spitting nails against abusive state power. It almost goes
without saying, but certainly bears repeating.
Still, just today I'm reminded of the "free" in the Free State.
I'm traveling to my dentist here in Michigan when I notice three Oakland
County (SE Michigan) police cars and maybe a couple of local Batmobiles at a
busy intersection. Plus a host of bulbous, uniformed popos trying to look busy
and important there in the parking lot. "Whatever the heck are all these
wonderful officers of the law spending their time on today?" I ponder.
On the way back, I figure it out: seatbelt checks.
The parking lot is perfect for a major fleecing operation. It's large and
sits on the southeast corner, abutting to a restaurant that's gone out of
business. Northbound drivers come around a bend and don't see the highwaymen
until it's too late. Our state-franchised bandits nab the beltless
pobrecitos who slow to enter the right-turn lane.
I see the cops pull over some uncomprehending young Oriental guy driving a
beater, an old woman, a student, a redneck hillbilly from way back when... well
you get the picture. By and large, the people they grab don't pay much
attention to broad concepts of public policy, much less Big-Brother
federal-government "Click it or Ticket" TV ad campaigns. They also tend to be
least able to afford the fines.
Note: This latest assault on driver freedom is heavily funded by tax money from
the federales. Since the national program began, hundreds of thousands of
motorists have been clubbed. I've read numbers for Michigan something in the
80,000-person range, and at $100 a ticket, this is high tribute for official
As Free Staters, you know how absolutely destructive of liberty these
public safety scams are. Virtually all the states have mandatory seatbelt
laws, and virtually all the states now have laws that the police can stop and
ticket you solely for not wearing one. New Hampshire is an exception.
This is a very big deal, my friends. For me it's the straw that broke the
camel's back, the icing on the cake, and several other pertinent clichÃ©Â³Å sending me to the Free State.
Note: Proving that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, we have radio ads
in Free State that admonish us to wear our seatbelts... paid for by the state.
We must continue to insist on motoring freedom. Otherwise, somebody will pass
a law and take it away.
Put youself in the heads of the cops performing this duty. Believe me, the
look on their faces today is anything but love for their fellow man, hoping to
save him from harm. These county mounties strut and smirk, their mission to
remind you they're in control. Well, they're out of control. And you
know the time will comeif we sit back and acquiescewhen they knock
on the door demanding you give up any Free State sympathizers you're hiding in
Let me make an appeal to the cops, here. Take a cue from libertarian
Sheriff Bill Masters, author of Drug War Addiction. Just say NO! You
will no longer enforce any unconstitutional laws. Become a full-fledged human
being, absolutely refuse to initiate force. If it means you get fired, great.
Join your local People's Front for the Liberation of <whatever state you're
in>. The days of arbitrary state power are rapidly ending. Don't be evil. Be
on the winning side.
I make the same appeal to any soldier.
I make the same appeal to any citizen:
At the risk of seeming too ideological again, let me just suggest all of us
seriously consider discontinuing to "voluntarily" fund through our taxes the
multifarious agents of our demise. If they won't uphold the Bill of Rights,
why pay 'em? Question: has there ever been a general tax strike in America?
Good question for the Randians.
Week 6 is a brief chronicle because I'm away from my newfound home for a
couple of weeks of transition. Most of you coming to the Free State will need
to leave some stuff behind, at least for a while. Recommendation: instead of
storing your stuff in a storage facility, sponge off a friend with a big
basement. Thanks to this friend of mine, my monthly fee goes from $170/month
to $50/ month... and I think she'll let me slide until I get a job.
It's a lot of work, and my nephew, Josh the Good, travels all the way from
Atlanta dodging the detritus of Katrina to be in SE Michigan on time. Another
piece of experienced advice: every time you move, throw out a lot of things and
give the Salvation Army the big things you really don't need anymore. A move
can be an opportunity to introduce more and more efficiency into your life, and
even to help your fellow man. At some point excessive "stuff" becomes a mental
Well, I'm going to end this chronicle and write letters to the editor of
the Oakland Press, the Detroit Free Press, and the Detroit News... with a copy
to the New Hampshire Union Leader. The topic: seatbelt laws and how they
contribute to the emigration of the libertarian-creative class.
Seriously, if the residents of Michigan can't rise up and pass an issue
petition ending mandatory seatbelts for adults, well, what's that Biblical
story? Get the heck out of there and don't look back lest you turn to stone.
Next week, some comments on how painful it is to leave people behind and
how the Welcome Wagon and the other
great groups of simpatico people can ease your pain.
(to be continued)
We Made the Move! Varrin & Edi Swearingen
Date of move: October 25, 2004
Reported by Tim Condon, FSP Participant Services
Two of the Free State's newest Porcupine residents have a secret: "We
originally opted out of most of the states, including New Hampshire, because we
could not commit to moving to them without taking a tour and giving it more
serious consideration," recounts Varrin Swearingen, who lived in Fresno,
California with his wife and two children up until recently. "After the vote,
we took a week and a half trip to New Hampshire," he said. "In late November
2003, we decided to move to Keene, NH. The move was to take place in October
2004, and was accomplished right on time."
Meet Varrin and Edi Swearingen, refugees from the Peoples Republic of
California, who "made the move" with their two children, Edison (age 4) and
Erin (age 3), in late October 2004 to the Free State of New Hampshire. Although
they had originally "opted out" of New Hampshire, that quickly changed. "Once
we toured the state, we began working on the move as soon as practical," says
Varrin. "It took roughly a year from the time we decided to move to the time we
arrived, partly because we decided to build a house in New Hampshire, as well
as because of work and other schedules."
It wasn't a hard decision for Varrin and Edi to move early, even though as
FSP members they're not obligated to move to the Free State until after the
organization reaches 20,000 participants. "We decided to move now because we
were ready to get out of California and begin working in a less futile
environment to promote liberty," explains Varrin.
Prior to the great state vote, he says, "We researched New Hampshire and
the other candidate states extensively. After the vote, we took a week and a
half trip to New Hampshire and that sealed the deal." During that time, in
November 2003, they "drove all around the southern one-third to one-half of
What was their first impression of New Hampshire? Says Varrin, "Favorable.
The attitude is noticeably more liberty friendly, though there is certainly a
need for the FSP. No state is libertarian, but New Hampshire is better than
most. The scenery was beautiful, the roads were well-maintained, shopping was
suitable, and there are a variety of sizes and styles to the towns. We were
able to find something that fit our personality well."
What was the weather like when they visited on their exploratory trip in
November? "The weather was variable but not very warm," says Varrin. "It was
only noticeably cold-near or below freezing and/or windy-only a couple of the
days. There were rainy days, clear days, calm days, windy days, and everything
in between. The variety was nice, and the cool clear days were stunning." As
for the winters, Varrin notes that central California where they moved from is
"hot and dry. It rarely freezes there, and even more rarely snows. However, we
lived in northen Kentucky near Cincinnati for several years, so we have at
least lived in the snow before."
"I believe the weather in Keene will be colder and snowier, but overall
nicer than the Cincinnati area," he continued. As for the supposedly fearsome
winters in the Free State, Varrin says, "My stock response to the concerns
about the cold is that they do have heaters in New Hampshire. We had our
builder install heaters in our house, and our car, which we bought in
California, already had one installed in it. Imagine that! So far the weather
inside has been a comfortable 71-74 degrees."
Varrin is an airline pilot who will continue working for the same company,
while Edi has a Mary Kay cosmetics business that she's already working on
expanding in New Hampshire. While visiting and exploring, they met lots of
other liberty-lovers, including Kelton Baker (then the President of the FSP),
Amanda Phillips (now President of the FSP), and Alan Weiss (former VP of the
FSP), not to mention other Porcupines from Derry, Keene, and Hudson.
Why did they settle on Keene as a place to build their home (a custom
two-story colonial; "of course we love it, since we designed it")? After all,
with his airline job, Varrin must fly in and out of Manchester. "While it's a
longer drive from the Manchester airport than I desired," Varrin explained,
"Keene has everything else we wanted in a place to live. Cost of house was a
major factor, as was shopping, suburbia, eating out, and other creature
comforts. In the end, we decided we would rather have lower cost, higher
quality house, and meet all of our other needs, than be closer to Manchester."
Any new friends in the Free State? As always, the answer is resounding.
"Yes! Many. They are scattered about, but several of them are in Keene,"
Varrin says. In addition, he met tons of Porcupines in the summer before their
move. "At the Porc Fest I met a lot of them. It's probably impossible for me to
name them all right now. We love 'em all!" He and Edi were also delighted to
find that the freedom-lovers they met in New Hampshire are "surprisingly
normal, for libertarians" (Varrin says with a wink). "The most noticeable
favorable trait is the desire to actually do something positive rather than sit
around and argue about what to do or how to do it."
The couple also found willing hands to help them move in once they got to
Keene. "Big, big, big thanks to Kat and Kira Dillon, Dawn Lincoln, and David
Murray, for the help moving in," says Varrin. In addition, "Double thanks to
David for taking about 800 pictures of our house as it was being built, so we
could watch it go up from afar." Varrin and Edi also hired their realtor's
nephew to do most of the work of unloading the truck. They did excellent work
for a reasonable price. Varrin recalls, "This is our third move into a new
house in eight years, and the first time the load in was completed without
dinging the walls or staining the carpet."
There were also some happy surprises for Varrin and Edi as they settled
into their new house in Keene. "It was refreshing to hear this question," says
Varrin. "'So who are you going to have pick up your garbage?' Having
dealt with city garbage in Florida, Kentucky and California, it was music to my
ears to hear that there's no monopoly trash pickup in New Hampshire."
"Also," he continued, "I've noticed many businesses here operate 'smaller',
so they're more family and customer oriented. For instance, on our first full
day here, Edi had to have a tooth extracted. The kids were sleeping in our
hotel room, so I couldn't pick her up. So one of the people in the dentist's
office gave her a ride back to the hotel. That would never have happened in
How will Varrin and Edi work to reduce the size of government in the Free
State, as all Porcupines intend? "We'll be working on delivering the liberty
message to the Christian community in New Hampshire," he says. "I'm also
looking forward to the town social and recreational events. Even though Keene
is roughly one-twentieth the size of the Fresno area, the atmosphere here is
cozy yet lively." He's also looking forward to trying to hook up with a band in
the Keene area (he plays mostly jazz drums), and figures he and Edi will be
hiking and mountain climbing in the summers, while skiing in the winters.
("I've skied twice and enjoyed it quite a lot the second time," he said.)
Overall, the portents are good, Varrin and Edi feel. "We embrace change for
the better," says Varrin with a laugh. "We radically embrace radical change for
the better! Freedom is like good health. You don't appreciate it until it's
gone. For the health of your family, it's worth it to live and promote freedom
in a place where you can make a difference. As a result of the Free State
Project choosing New Hampshire, this is now the finest place in the world to do
"Come and take a tour," he counsels. "Meet the people. Look for houses and
jobs. Explore the towns and enjoy a family vacation. Then when you go home,
Back to We Made the Move!
I Made the Move! Sandy Pierre
Date of move: May 18, 2005
I joined the FSP back in February 2002, as a "glass eater", one of those
zany people who committed to any of the ten states then under consideration.
Alaska was my first choice, but sadly, very few Porcupines were with me on
I made my first exploratory trip to New Hampshire over Thanksgiving weekend
2003. My introduction to the Free State was less than glorious. I
underestimated how hard it would be to find an open restaurant on Thanksgiving
Day, and wound up "feasting" on Dunkin' Donuts, salted nuts and Slim Jims. It
was too late in the season to see pretty foliage, and too early to see snow; I
just saw a lot of rain and leafless trees. Despite the fact that it wasn't
exactly love at first sight, I couldn't wait to make the move. However,
family, work and school obligations held me back. It wasn't until early 2005
that I announced that I'd be moving "after the thaw".
After analyzing my various relocation options, I finally decided to just
take what fit in my car (a Subaru Outback), and leave everything else behind in
storage in California. I settled on a plan to drive fairly directly and
quickly across the U.S., but to do a bit of sightseeing along the way.
My original plan had been to leave California on May 17, shrieking "Hasta
La Vista, Baby!!" in the general direction of Excremento (the state capitol).
Sadly, it didn't work out that way. My STUFF (see George Carlin,
Theory of:) seemed to multiply as I packed, so that while the stacks of
boxes increased, the quantity of unpacked STUFF remained static. Has a
physicist ever studied this phenomenon in depth? I see Nobel Prize potential
here. I delayed my departure by a day.
May 18, Judgment Day, dawned dark and very rainy. I took the last load of
STUFF to my storage shed in driving rain, getting the interior of my car quite
damp. I said teary and painful farewells to family and friends. The power went
out, and I had to finish loading my car and walking up and down the stairs in
darkness. I finally finished loading my car and waved goodbye to Oakland,
California. Death or Glory! Free State or Bust!! Live Free Or Die!!!
Emotional state for first 30 minutes: kept repeating "Oh God" over and
over like a mantra. Emotional state for rest of the day: erratic. There was
laughter, there were tears, there were moments of blinding panic. There were
moments of telling myself to get a grip and remember that I had been waiting
for this day for a long time. There was a moment of telling myself this might
well be the biggest thing I ever did, and it would make a great story, and damn
I'm cool. That was a good moment; I liked that moment.
I've been here two months now, and I can honestly say that I love it. It's
beautiful, people are friendly, traffic is like a pleasant dream, the
architecture is amazing, there's no sales tax. I can walk the streets at night
and not feel afraid for my life. I've met lots of other FSP participants,
who are an amazingly affable, upbeat and politically active bunch. FSP
meetings are well-attended, and everyone participates. Someone throws a BBQ
almost every week. There are protests, petitions, people running for office
(and winning!), Porcupines helping each other to move and care for sick
friends, networking, schmoozing... and a lot of beer. If you want to fight for
liberty, and be surrounded by others who do so as well, New Hampshire is
definitely the place to be! Hope to see you here soon.
Back to We Made the Move!
We Made the Move! Margot & Bradley Keyes
Date of move: January 31, 2005
By Tim Condon and the Keyes Family
It's not unusual to hear whining and grumbling about moving to the Free
State because of "the bad winters" in New Hampshire. At least one set of
migrating Porcupines respond, "Are you kidding? The winters in NH are mild
But wait! We get ahead of ourselves. Say hello to the latest Free State
Project dynamos to move to New Hampshire, Bradley and Margot Keyes, along with
their four children (ages 6, 5, and two-year-old twins). They completed their
Porcupine migration in the middle of winter by moving from Forest Lake,
Minnesota to their new home in Epsom, NH (which is just outside Concord, which
as the state capitol is an increasingly popular area for incoming FSP
participants) in January 2005. It was a move "from one brrrrr state to a lesser
brrrrr state," says Margot. "Moving from Minnesota to New Hampshire is a great
distance, but not a great deal of difference in climate...except NH is milder
than our part of the Midwest."
Bradley Keyes is the lead "computer architect and database designer" for
Minnetronix, Inc. a medical technology firm based in Minnesota. As such, his
job allows him to work from "anywhere" over the Internet, which he'll be doing
from New Hampshire. Says his wife, Margot, "He plans to focus on his recruiting
efforts. He says it will sure be easier after demonstrating that the move is
possible, by doing it himself!" Bradley also runs his own website at www.ActiveMind.com.
Margot Keyes, a full-time mom, is an energetic activist for the FSP, and
holds the position of FSP's "Greeter Coordinator," as well as being one of the
organizers of this summer's Second Annual Porcupine Freedom Festival. One of
the reasons they chose Epsom, explains Margot, is that "the girls will be in a
Montessori program at Pathfinder Academy in Epsom, directed by Free Staters
Wayne and Julie Anderson." (If anyone is in the area on Saturday, March 12th,
Pathfinder is having an Open House from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Did this dynamic family have any problems when New Hampshire was chosen in
the vote as the Free State? Not at all! "We were 'glass-eaters'," says Margot,
"and we would have moved anywhere the Free State was to be. It works out well
for us to move so early as a family with young children. It will be easy to get
them established in their Montessori school at a time when they were
transitioning into a new school anyway because of grade levels. Kids this age
are very versatile and adapt well when an event like this is presented
positively. It also helps that we'll all be closer to our extended family
members too!" (Bradley originally came from New City, NY, while Margot was born
and raised in Pittsburgh, PA; so moving to the east coast, and closer to their
families, was easy.)
Margot and Bradley were bitten by "the Free State bug" last summer, she
recounts: "After attending the 2004 Porcupine Festival last June, we came back
to Minnesota and started planning for an immediate move. Although it took
longer than anticipated for our home to sell, everything ended up being timed
perfectly for finding both the right home to move into, and the perfect buyers
for our MN home. Though the process was frustrating at times, we NEVER lost
hope in the big picture of WHY we were moving to NH. Freedom can't wait any
The process of planning and making the move was helped greatly by other
Free State Project participants, said Margot: "The forums on FSP's site were
great! I really liked being able to talk to FSP-ers who are natives to the
state, as well as those who had recently moved or visited parts of the state.
We gathered a lot of information during our Porc Fest trip, including town
magazines, real estate brochures, local newspapers, etc. The website 'nh.gov'
was also helpful, as was obtaining the NH Guidebook from the state Chamber of
Commerce. I began subscribing to New Hampshire Magazine and NH ToDo Magazine,
in order to observe the local color and find out what NH'ers wanted the world
to know about their state. It was fun to see those come in the mail each month,
knowing I was closer to actually getting there myself."
But the Porc Fest in 2004 wasn't the only scouting trip that the two made
to the Free State. "Bradley and I each made trips out to NH after our Porc Fest
trip in June. The trips were in the fall, to search for homes, and what a
beautiful time to see New Hampshire! The leaves are breathtaking!! I was truly
surprised to note how wooded the state is. Minnesota and the Heartland is very
flat and wide-open. NH is much more wooded than either areas of NY or PA where
Bradley and I grew up. I was also impressed by the mountains. While not the
Rockies by any means, the White Mountains are majestic and humbling to behold."
What about the house? Any trouble locating a suitable home for a family of
six? "On Bradley's second trip," recounts Margot, "he found our new home.
Videotaping was essential to give each other a feel for the area, the homes,
etc. There is no better tool than the Internet for searching from
long-distance; there are several realtor sites that will let you enter your
requested home information, and then send you updates daily on homes available
that meet your criteria. Even though we used the services of a 'realtor/tour
guide', most of the legwork was done by us.
"Most of our research was based around homes available within a decent
driving distance from our kids' new Montessori school. When we met with the
Andersons at their school, Pathfinder Academy, in Epsom way back in June 2004,
we knew that was where we wanted our children to be educated. Wayne and Julie
Anderson are Free Staters themselves as well as being Objectivists and overall
wonderful people that we immediately felt we could trust with our girls'
education. The Montessori school teaches students from pre-school through
junior high, which was also a strong factor for us. After this big move, we
didn't want to have to do the 'school shuffle' every few years as grade levels
What about Epsom? How did they decide on that town? "Back when we were
unsure of where to move in the state," Margot explained, "it was great to
follow discussions by fellow FSP'ers who were discussing their favorite
locations. But once we honed in on the Epsom/Concord area, we relied on our own
research. We were delighted to find that there wasn't just one, but two local
Free State Project groups that we could belong to when we arrived: the
'Seacoast Porcupines' and the 'Merrimack Valley Porcupines'. They are both
really active and have offered us an instant sense of belonging.
"We also realized how close Epsom was to Concord, the NH state capitol,"
says Margot. "We wanted to live near the capitol and be active in the political
scene in the coming years, if not immediately. Being centrally located was also
a plus, since it's only a short drive to just about everywhere! We're coming
from a state large enough to put about eight New Hampshires into it, so the
driving we'll be doing to go anywhere in the Free State will seem very
"Bradley and I moved from a semi-rural area of Minnesota that is about 30
minutes north of the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. We lived on five
acres there with lots of mature trees and lots of privacy. Now that we have our
new home in the Free State, it's eerie how similar it is to our old one. We
simply know what we like! After playing with the endless options, we happened
upon our new home, a New England Cape on 5+ acres, surrounded by woods and off
the main road via a private drive. Although the place is in solid structural
shape, we have plans for both updating it (five new appliances in the first two
weeks!) and doing inside construction to accommodate our large family, frequent
planned get-togethers, and eventually adding a guest house/detached garage."
And to give us an idea of just how "in sync" this Porcupine couple is,
Margot disclosed that she "hadn't even seen the home, except on video, until
the walk-through prior to closing! Although that may seem odd to many," she
says, "you have to just trust your spouse to know what you want."
What about the people in New Hampshire, I asked Margot. How do they seem,
and have they met very many fellow Free Staters? The answer was immediate: "I
can't begin to tell you how wonderful it was to see about a dozen FSP-ers show
up within an hour after our closing! They were all there to welcome us and help
us move in! We even had a note from someone who had dropped by WHILE we were in
the closing! People simply couldn't wait to help us!! What really did the
trick was to put our impending move from Minnesota onto the web site at www.nhlibertycalendar.com (a free
service that ALL pro-liberty groups, not just the FSP, are using in NH). We
offered refreshments to all who would come, and it turned into a great party!
By the time the grandparents showed up with our kids, all the work was done,
and our helpers were leaving so as to let us settle in."
"Within one week of our arrival," continued Margot, "a Meet and Greet was
hosted on our behalf, as well as for two other participants who had moved to NH
around the same time we had. There were 60 or more people there to welcome us!
People we didn't even know were giving us lasagna plates and gifts for our
children! We can't wait until WE can be the gracious hosts, and offer the same
kind of 'royal red carpet treatment' that we received!"
It's well-known that many people respond with a "you're crazy!" when FSP
participants announce intentions to move to the Free State and live in liberty
in their lifetimes. To many people, such a move for individual freedom is just
too radical...even for people who profess to believe in real liberty. But for
the Keyes family, there wasn't any hesitation at all. "We truly didn't think
of a move from MN to NH as any 'radical change'," explained Margot. "The
climate is similar, only milder in NH. The New Hampshire winters aren't as long
or as cold as they are in Minnesota. Snowfall is about the same. Since we're
both from the east coast (NY and PA), making the move to New England seemed
like coming back home, only more quaint than the places where we grew up.
"To tell the truth, every time we went to NH, we felt like we were on a
vacation in a mountainous, woodland paradise. Even touring into the 'big'
cities of Manchester and Nashua, they seemed more like small tourist towns than
anything like the huge Twin Cities or Pittsburgh, not to mention New York City.
Our main concern when we faced the move was our children, and then missing our
friends in MN. But the welcome the girls received at their new school,
Pathfinder Academy, was fantastic! Personal letters and pictures from every
child in class and a school group photo! We received a very kind welcome from
our new neighbors, complete with maps and a family directory -- well, that's
enough to make us feel immediately 'at home'. We solved our worry about staying
in touch with our friends back in MN by installing AT&T's 'Callvantage'
Internet phone service. Pay only an extra $5 per month to have ANY area code
number attached to YOUR phone number. Friends in MN can call us without long
"So any fears or hesitations we had were blown away by our very first day
in our new home." Margot continued. "We're surprised by how nice everyone is in
town, people in stores, etc. doing things like holding doors open for us,
greeting us on the street, etc.
What's the bottom line from Margot, I wanted to know. "The feeling that I
am HOME!!!" she responded. "I love blending right in with the local scene, and
the immediate opportunities to expand the freedoms that are already present in
New Hampshire! From my understanding, we're one of the largest FSP families
(with four kids) to move to the Free State. When I talk with friends about our
relocation, some think we were nuts to take on so much with such a large, young
family. But then I think of what our Founding Fathers and their families
endured to live in freedom. It seems ridiculous to even try to compare. Freedom
doesn't wait for the 'right time' or for a 'comfortable point' in our lives. We
felt we had to move NOW, and get going to help make things happen as part of
the Free State Project. We want to 'make it happen' TODAY."
Back to We Made the Move!
We Made the Move!
Dawn Lincoln and daughters Jaclyn & Kelsey
Date of Move: April 2004
Reported by Tim Condon, FSP Participant Services Director
It's not easy being a single Mom, especially when you're responsible for
homeschooling two nearly-teenaged daughters. But Dawn Lincoln makes it look
easy. Dawn, together with her two daughters (Jaclyn, 12, and Kelsey, 10),
moved from Newington, Connecticut in April 2004, only six months after New
Hampshire was chosen as "the Free State" in the FSP vote of August and
September 2003. This dynamo Porcupine was one of the earlier members of the
Free State Project to move into the Free State, and made the move in spite of
homeschooling laws in New Hampshire that are more backward than many other
"I am currently homeschooling my daughters," explains Dawn. "The major
hesitation I had with moving to New Hampshire was the homeschool laws in NH. I
decided that I'd just have to deal with the over-regulation of homeschoolers,
and work to help make it better. Since then I've found that one of the least
invasive methods of complying with the homeschool RSA's ("Revised Statutes
Annotated," the NH term for statutes), is to use a private school as your
What about research? What kind of study did Dawn make of New Hampshire
before making the move? "Not too much!" she responds. "I knew I wanted to
follow the FSP and wanted to do it sooner rather than later. Being from
Connecticut, I wanted to find a spot in New Hampshire where I could be
relatively close to visit my family and friends in Connecticut, and have them
come visit us too. I needed an area with decently priced housing and access to
a gymnastics studio for my 12 year old, so I used the FSP web site to do some
research, and met with Jim Maynard and Shelly Otterson, both of whom live in
Keene in the southwest part of the state."
There were plenty of scouting trips to New Hampshire before the move,
though, Dawn recounts. "I made quite a few trips to come house hunting. It took
us about four months to find the right house in the right location for the
right price. After a few disappointments, we finally found the perfect house. I
focused on Cheshire County, wanting to be close to Keene but live in a little
more of a rural area than the city of Keene."
Now that she's "gone and done it," what are Dawn's impressions of the Free
State overall? "I love NH!" she responds immediately. "The people here have
been very friendly and helpful. The only person I've had a problem with is the
lady at the Department of Motor Vehicle, but that's pretty standard everywhere,
isn't it? This is a beautiful state with many people who really do believe in
Live Free or Die. In my area, I've found that a lot of people are from out of
state, especially Connecticut, so I'm not so much of an outsider as might be
true in other communities. The chair of our local board of selectmen is even
from Connecticut, and has only been in New Hampshire for about three years, so
'outsiders' are definitely able to become respected members of the community
rather quickly in this area.
Any fears about the weather? The weather is typical New England weather,"
explains Dawn. "Not much different from central Connecticut where we came from.
I know because I looked at houses in the middle of winter when it was snowy and
cold. Some areas get more snow than others, of course. My realtor told me
about a 'snow belt' - an area that gets more snow than most of the areas
surrounding it. We steered clear of there!
"There are lots of lakes and plenty of nice summer days to use them," Dawn
continued. "But I was glad we ended up with an air conditioner from our
involvement with Freecycle, when the temperatures were up around 90 in the
summer! Now we're looking forward to snowmobiling with friends this winter,
ice skating on the nearby lake, and snow skiing. We are fairly active - we like
to ski, bike ride, camp, hike, horseback ride, do gymnastics, swim, and boat.
As a result of moving, we'll most likely get into a few new things like
snowmobiling and/or four wheeling. It's really cool in the winter when you see
the snowmobiles riding along the trials near the roads!
"However, in the late spring/early summer, you do have to watch out for the
New Hampshire "official bird" - the black fly (deer fly, gnat, whatever you
want to call it!). They are annoying as can be and love to fly into your eyes
and bite too. I haven't tried this remedy, but someone told me that putting
ammonia on the bite will take the itch out
- I'll be trying it next spring!"
When exploring the Free State for a house to buy, Dawn recounts, she also
visited and met with other Porcupines, including Jim Maynard's girlfriend Pat,
Shelly Otterson, Justin Somma, and Calvin Pratt. She ultimately ended up
outside Keene in the small town of Winchester. Says Dawn, "I bought a house
right off the bat because I didn't want to have to move again. I have a 3
bedroom cape on an acre lot, just perfect for the three of us. My realtor was
awesome - Robin Smith at Masiello Group in Keene. Her work number is
603-352-5433 x 235. She worked very hard for me and helped us finally land in
the right spot. I highly recommend her."
What about new friends in the Free State? Has Dawn linked up with any?
"Yes! " she responds. "Luckily, there are many nice people involved with the
FSP who have been very welcoming and nice too! The 'Meet-and-Greets' have been
a great opportunity to meet people, as well as functions like the annual
Porcupine Festival, the Liberty Dinner, the Coalition for New Hampshire
Taxpayers picnic, the state LP convention, New Hampshire Liberty Alliance
meetings and more. I've met so many, it's hard to list them all! Kat Dillon and
her daughter Kira are two of my favorite FSP members. Kat is really sweet and
hardworking and funny too!
"I have also met a lot of people in town," Dawn continued. "My daughters
are volunteering at a nonprofit daycare center in town, and I volunteered to
help out on the Winchester Pickle Festival committee. It was a great way for me
to get to meet more people. Plus I know most of my neighbors too. For instance,
there's a farm right around the corner from us that has a sign up for eggs for
sale. So, our first day here we stopped in for some eggs. We are really lucky -
our neighbors at the farm have three kids and they homeschool and are
incredibly nice. So, the girls have been having lots of fun with their kids,
and helping with the animals."
What about the people in the Free State overall, I asked. How do they
strike her now that the move is complete? "Well, you have to go out and get
involved to meet people," Dawn responded. "But I'm very pleased with the
caliber of people that I've come across. They're nice, they're helpful and
friendly, and they seem to like their jobs too. The waitresses and cashiers are
even nice to you here!"
How did the move itself go, I wanted to know. Did anyone help Dawn and her
kids get you moved in when they got to the Free State? Says Dawn, "I had plenty
of offers but we moved in slow, one load at a time, so we were all set."
In the meantime, Dawn cautions, New Hampshire isn't perfect; there's plenty
of work for FSP members to do once they get here. "I was most surprised that
the Live Free or Die state is micromanaging their homeschoolers!" she said.
"And was even more surprised that many of the NH homeschoolers I've
corresponded by email with don't seem to think it's that bad!" Nevertheless,
she's glad, excited, and delighted to have "made the move" to the Free State:
"It's really cool to be part of such an awesome historical event like the Free
State Project. It's nice to feel like I'm really going to be able to make a
positive impact in New Hampshire, to help them retain and hopefully gain more
of the freedom they want and deserve. It's inspiring to see so many hard
working, intelligent, well-spoken individuals in this state, all working
together on various projects and within different organizations."
If you're wondering if making a move to the Free State might be right for
you too, and what it would be like, Dawn Lincoln has a few things to say for
you: "Come on up! Find a way to make it work and move as soon as you can! We
need more people here to make things happen. There are lots of hard working
people here already and lots of excellent organizations to get involved in. I
love New Hampshire! Personally, I keep the FSP stuff to myself until I really
know someone. Some people know about the FSP and think it's great, others have
heard about things like the Free Town Project and aren't so sure. But I don't
want to be prejudged by people so I just go about my business and volunteer for
things and get known that way, so I can be judged by who I am and what I do,
not for what groups I do or don't belong to."
"If anyone wants to contact me, please
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