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)
New Pilgrim Chronicles:
One man's story of the trials and rewards of moving to Free
Week Eight: Job One is Job One
by Brian Wright
For those readers not familiar with automotive-world phrases, Job 1 refers
to the first car to be produced of the model being designed. Ford has a motto,
"Quality is Job 1," which is supposed to mean the first car off the line will
be a quality product. In the parlance, over time, the phrase "Job 1" has come
to mean top priority. So when I say, "Job 1 is Job 1," I mean my top
prioritybefore getting too hot and heavy for La Causais to
get that first job.
In a manner of speaking, I've been conventionally unemployed for nearly two
years and the freelance work isn't pulling in enough bread to keep me in deluxe
accommodations and green fees. This longer span of underemployment has been
largely my own choice, but external circumstances have played a role, too. The
job market is tight, and it's been tight, geez, for at least three years.
I have some theories:
My main theory is the political class is winning the battle over the
creative class in the corporo/government "marketplace." Decisions regarding
personnel and even project-level decisions have become the province of human
resources-related bureaucracies (these bureaucracies can usually trace their
ancestry directly to exercises of state power), which have no idea how to
produce anything. This causes two basic conditions:
Genuinely productive, creative people who exercise initiative and
reveal a broad substrate of conceptual intelligence are less likely to be hired
than more conforming minions, who typically display only mastery of the
minutiae of the moment (please excuse the alliteration).
As production declines, real wealth erodes, leading to fewer dollars
available to grow businesses and hire creative people; thus the system becomes
victim to a feedback loop leading to rapid failure: the fewer creative people
are hired, the fewer can be afforded.
In the medical profession, an excellent illustration of the politicization of
work lies in that thick layer of government aggression added by the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, also known as
the Kennedy-Kassenbaum Act. The alleged purpose of HIPAA (HIPPO) was to
simplify electronic recordkeeping and guarantee patient privacy. Of course, it
has been a complex, hyperexpensive mess.
The mandates of HIPPO have led to exorbitant expenses for consultants to
interpret requirements and assure compliance. (I couldn't find any solid
numbers during my Web search, but I did see gross cost of HIPPO initial
compliance at $40 billion, with roughly $10 billion per year following that.)
What boggles my mind is the innumerable workers who must become
private-industry bureaucrats, i.e. performing no productive function except
helping the government enforce its arbitrary edicts.
In the information technology (IT) profession, for financial information of
public corporations, we have a new boondoggle on the block that, like HIPPO
works to elevate the political class and diminish productive manhours: the
Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002. Senator Paul Sarbanes and Congressman
Michael Oxley spearheaded this act as an alleged method to assure public
corporation accountability after the Enron scandal. Just as HIPPO is
guaranteed wealth-depleting employment for lawyers, SOX (SUX) is guaranteed
wealth-depleting employment for accountants.
I'm bringing up HIPPO and SUX up only to illustrate the politicization of
medicine and corporate accounting, respectively. These are laws that encourage
unproductive behavior of otherwise capable minds. (I personally know several
top minds, who spend their days basically enabling government paperwork.) And
they further crowd out the creative class who seek honest work.
In the week 2 column I mentioned that during a Meet and Greet in Keene I
talked with a Free State early mover, also in IT, who had required nearly a
year to find a job. And then it turned out to be in Mass. I'm afraid there's
a skew in the marketplace, for reasons related to the above arguments, against
honest liberty-seeking people. Honest liberty-seeking people, for one thing,
tend to eschew conformity and tell it like it is. We're more open and do not
In the long run I believe we're going to have to go through some even more
troubled times until we get to the new economy. (In my humble opinion, the new
economy is going to be based on hemp, bioenergy, and cheap failsafe nuclear
technology.) In the new post-fossil-fuel economy we're all going to be in
great shape. Until then, most of us have to learn the game and thread the
needle to find work at the level appropriate to our skills. Fortunately, in my
case, I don't mind delivering pizzas if it comes to that.
Sorry, getting off track.
Let's just say the ideal situation for someone coming to the Free State in
these highly politicized job times is to already have a job, or to be
transferredthough I believe the Free State is more conducive to
employment than most other states.
For me it consists of a lot of electronic work through the job boards,
chiefly Dice.com. I've found it to be the best source for my techwriting
inquiries. Also, I've discovered Peterborough is known by some as the literary
center of the state, and has a fair number of book, magazine, and publishing
outfits. Next week is the full court press with the resume and the telephone.
I might mention for the benefit of job seekers, use the boards shown on
that great FSP web page with
every great link on it. Plus, use your telephone and networking skills.
People, at least 90% of them, in New Hampshire are as friendly as speckled
pups, and they naturally like you and want to help you. Remember my motto
(something I've learned from decades of doing it the wrong way):
"Don't try to do everything at once, and don't try to do everything all by
Another potential obstacle in finding work is if you have a "felony" in
your background. These days, we know felonies aren't what they used to be.
Heck, someone told me it's a felony in some states to fail to move to the left
lane if a policeman has someone pulled over on the right shoulder.(!) And, of
course, we have all those drug "felonies"heck, the number of marijuana
felons has to reach into the millions by now. And, candidly, I'm one of them.
long, bizarre story, consider this, what happened to a friend of mine.)
But as much as having a nonaggressive felony should be a badge of
honorand it is for most libertariansas far as your
conventional job search, most firms take a dim view of such heroics. Or I
should say most "statist human resources' bureaucracies that have swallowed
corporate life like a Tennessee Kudzu weed" take a dim view. And generally
they kick your papers for it. I've found some workarounds to the
background-check conundrum, so if a nonaggressive felony is an issue for you as
an early mover, send me a note and we'll talk it over.
Note: Another great idea: a "defelonization" amendment. For states that have
referendum processes, this would be a valuable public service. You remove
felony status from all consensual crimes and expunge the records of all those
Pertinent to forgoing discussion: this week I finally go to the department
of motor vehicles to get my driver's license. You have to appreciate my
I purposely choose Milford, NH, which only handles drivers' licenses on
Thursdays and Fridays. There's hardly any line. I fill out the paperwork,
including my SS#, bring my driver's license from Michigan, an official
imprinted birth certificate, and one other piece of evidence that I am who I
say I am. The state cops doing the processing aren't even armed. (The DMV in
Houston looks like an arsenal!)
But make no mistake, this is still a government operation. A pretty young
woman queued beside me has a Catch-22: she needs an official release from
Concord that her license suspension is finished, but she can't get that release
until they approve her temporary license, and they can't approve her license
until she gets the release. But the two officers are at least mildly
sympathetic, much closer to being human than the cops back in State State.
My Barney Fife is a little bit older, tries to come off gruff. "That'll be
$50." I wonder what the $94 I paid back in the Town Hall was for
supposed to be for the state, I thought. But it's done. Further, a slight
alteration from my full middle name on the Michigan license to a middle initial
on this temporary one might throw someone off the track if they're trying to do
background checks. Yippie! I'm officially a Free State guy now.
Note: Naturally, there are new federal laws regarding what's acceptable ID and
what isn't. The
following bill regarding state driver's licenses became law. Public Law
109-13 tightens up on the identification process states must use to establish
Allegedly to prevent terrorists, but we know the true reason, it's a national
ID system for all us loyal subjects of Big Brother. New Hampshire's going
along, but it doesn't seem to be fanatic about it. I'll bet across the line in
Mass. or over in New York, the officials are really licking their chops.
Listen, folks, you're going to be a lot better off here in the Free State if
the federales try something like martial law, or clamp the screws down on
freethinking people. The police here are much more inclined to identify with
the ordinary citizen. They mostly appear to be normal human beings, and you
can even talk to them.
So, that's a red-letter day for a red-letter week.
Locally, in New Boston, I find a walking trail down by the Piscataquog
River. It's not too remote, and on the other side of the river I can still
hear traffic and the ubiquitous Harleys. I also finish the procedure for
getting signed up at the Goffstown Y, so I can go work out. I go in there on
Sunday, and I kid you not, I'm the only one in the Wellness Center! You have
to wonder what it will be like in the winter.
I've decided to make the number of these chronicles an even dozen.
Unless a miracle happens, I expect I will be around and participating in
enough of the local events to give you mover sooners and mover laters some
additional data points. As I've said a million times, we have all these great
people here already, and they get together all the time; I haven't got a round
tuit yet, but in the next four chrons, I plan to put some tracks down on the
Free State social life and report back.
(to be continued)
New Pilgrim Chronicles:
One man's story of the trials and rewards of moving to Free
Week Nine: Fall Colors Approach
by Brian Wright
Getting a few nibbles on the joblines. Well, one, anyway, from the old
conventional technical writing environment. Seems an EDI implementation for
the Post OfficeEDI stands for electronic data interchange, meaning
basically paperless business documentsin the Bay Area of California needs
to migrate to North Carolina. The IT (information technology) services firm
rep calls me, and it seems they may be willing to incorporate a systems writer
for the migration.
Most IT software developers love the idea of
systems writing, of finding someone who can document what they've coded. It's
like seeing their code broken by friendly forces for the benefit of people who
use the product; revealing to the world what geniuses they, the coders, are.
Not many systems writers exist, and you don't find a category for it on Dice or
Monster. If you find someone to describe your system, 95% of the time the
individual you get is either too technical without the writing skills, or too
literary without the understanding of the technology. Thus, my standard niche
isn't a big niche, but it's a niche I fill well when I find it. Things are
I get some help from a city administrator in Peterborough, a town that
appeals to me for having multiple publishing firms where I can at least
presumably get part-time work in the industry I ultimately plan to be part of
as a creative writer. She's a sweetheart, actually welcoming me to the town!
Toward that end I send cover letters/resumes to all the publishing-related
firms around that town (approx 30). And I'm going to drive down there and walk
around for a day next Wednesday. The personal touch.
I mentioned to readers of these columns, my creative writing ambition; I've
shared the goal with others in the Free State Project. What I have in mind as
my first "major work" (if another author wants to scoop me on this, please be
my guest; the movement needs this healing idea put on the street really
soon): a short semifictional accountI call it a
noveletteof the successful struggle for liberty as told from 25
years into the future.
My political objective is indirect. By means of the book, I consciously
intend to insert a memea meme is a piece of important replicating
informationof the "sacred" nonaggression principle into culture. By
establishing nonaggression as an overriding moral imperative and making
it as powerful or more powerful than other common imperatives, e.g. "love thy
neighbor," "have faith in God," and so on, we can set up the world for a
much-needed long cycle of healing.
At that point, that is with the right fertile pre-mind soil thrown down,
advice of down to earth masterpieces such as Mary Ruwart's Healing Our World, can
grow fruit. For peace of mind, I spend a little demo time to satisfy myself I
can write fictional passages. It may not be Hemingway, but think about The Celestine Prophecy,
hardly celestial literature, but it sold tens of millions (and apparently it's
even becoming a motion picture).
So that's it. I'm not working to a firm deadline, but I hope to have the
discipline to make it happenat least have it writtenby the next
Porcfest. Publishing alternatives are many, including a webpub. At the Keene
Meet and Greet I attended, recall I mentioned Jim Maynard pointed me toward lulu.com. The FSP, in reality and in my
novelette, is an extremely important piece of the future history of the
successful struggle for liberty.
Early in the week I run into Crystal the new young neighbor lady from
across the street; she's having some estimates made on paving by a few
contractors. She and a contractor guy are walking over so he can take
measurements on Cap'n Jack's side of the street, too. We get to talking and I
don't think I scare her too badly by mentioning I'm here for the freedom
people. It's just not a response she hears too often. This is getting to feel
normal to me, going open kimono, just saying I'm here because of the Free
Also, early in the week on public television, I watch an interview with the
living governors of the Free State. It's quite a remarkable evening, I feel an
instant affinity for 90% of them. And John Sununu makes a fabulous point, to
the effect it isn't the amount of the state taxes that is at issue. It's the
fact that when taxes are not taken by the stateNew Hampshire uniquely has
neither a state sales tax nor a state income taxpeople are more in
control of their own lives and their own government. It's the epitome of
self-government and the envy of the Western world. < My words.
On Thursday Cap'n Jack and I head for the New Boston Tavern for a beer or
three. It turns out to be the night the Red Sox clinch a 2005 playoff spot by
beating the Yankees, while the Indians lose to the White Sox in the AL Central.
The bar is hoppin' for our small upscale town. We strike up a conversation
with John, who is a native New Hampshirite. He gives Jack a little grief for
not knowing off the top of his head the six states in New England.
The natives are a blunt lot, they'll tell you straight up if you're off the
map. But friendly.
Speaking of being off the mapand not to belabor a pointyou
can't give the natives snaps for directional sensitivity. I swear, even the
latest DeLorme Atlas of the state roads is no defense against the misnaming and
non-naming of streets in this area. My goodness, even on Mapquest I seldom
come up with a red dot if it's off a numbered highway. Today I look for S.
River Rd. in Bedford; it does not come up on Mapquest, and it is not identified
on DeLorme. Turns out it's an alternative name of a short section of Daniel
Webster Highway (I think).
So that really is an irritation you have to get used to.
At the tavern there's a local paper for Goffstown, New Boston, and Weare.
Glancing at the stories, I note one that reports a rash of thefts in Goffstown.
According to the story, "
most of the stolen items have been easily
accessible belongings, such as wallets, purses, credit cards, and change. Most
of the cars have been parked in driveways or on the street and none of them was
broken into. DuBois [the local officer] said the vehicles have been left
unlocked in nearly every case. 'Unfortunately, a lot of people leave their
cars unlocked at night.'"
With valuables in sight!
Chances of an unlocked car within 50 miles of Detroit are nil.
On my way to the Merrimack Valley Porcupines meeting on Saturday, I'm
thanking the gods for this particular Audi A4. For 70,000+ miles now it has
not let me down with a single major repair need. I'm also glad to be here in
the Free State for traffic reasons: you don't have obnoxious, ubiquitous signs
of law enforcement oppression, such as "You Drink, You Drive, You Lose," "Click
It or Ticket," "Don't Park Here, or We'll Shoot You Dead." The most oppressive
traffic sign in the Free State is "Fine for Littering up to $250."
Further, I don't have any sense of a massive police presence that you get
back in the Detroit world, and other instances of State State. I doubt there
are any or many marijuana stings, no helicopters looking for wild strands of
hemp, no dogs sniffing suitcases, no weapons checks at government buildings, no
state task forces, few or no drug free zones, little or no police-state
bullshit! This is such a relief, it's hard to overemphasize. I'm definitely
going to make keeping it that way a high priority.
There is a speed trap in Mont Vernon; the town imposes a 30 mph
limit down a long hill. You have to brake down the entire grade. "Hey buddy,
watch it!" I give the oncoming cars the flashing headlamps in warning.
Thinking such thoughts, I'm unprepared for the sticker, "Troopers are your
best protection," adorning some wreck in front of mine. Woman at the wheel.
"Boy, lady, that sounds a little psycho. You must be an out-of-towner.
Because that's just not the way we think here." I note I said we. This is the
first time, after about nine weeks, I become a New Hampshire "we" as opposed to
a New Hampshire "they." Wow! I'm one of us now, for sure.
On Saturday, I attend my first meeting with the Merrimack Valley
Porcupines. Evan Nappen is also present, in fact, the first individual I start
a yap session with. This is his "move day" and after the meeting, several of
the attendees will be unloading boxes and partaking in a magnificent feast at
his new digs in Bow. My impression of Evanand he was a major player at
the Porcfestis as
of Marshall Fritz, leader of Advocates
for Self-Government: a force of nature.
In my humble opinion, Evan's arrival in the Free State signifies the
beginning of the end of remaining vestiges of state power in New Hampshire.
He's an attorney who defends gun rights, an activist at all levels in 2nd
Amendment work, contagiously enthusiastic, and has the energy of 10 men. These
qualities will accelerate the arrival of others from the FSP and, heck, I think
Evan will make a great governor!
But personally I learn a lot talking with him about my situation with a
nonaggressive felony having my gun rights taken away as well as making
employment more difficult. Evan says that
Charles Rangel and a group of representatives in DC have introduced a bill
to expunge nonaggressive felonies from a citizen's record. (Rangel's a mixed
badhe's also introducing legislation to reinstitute the draftbut
this "defelonization" movement is a boon to recovering liberty (and most likely
a death blow to the drug war).)
Another idea he gives me is to join the
Outdoor Writers' Association. I tell him I've never been much of an
outdoorsmanunless you include golf in that categorybut being in New
Hampshire now, I feel I'm living in the country full time. I feel like taking
up fishing or even hunting. He says, that's a perfect angle to do some
freelance articles and get started. The Field-and-Stream-Guns-and-Ammo crowd
is amazingly large with innumerable publications.
Speaking of the outdoors, on the way home I notice a lot of homes, even the
ones approaching trophy-home status, have tents pitched in the yard. People
here really do like the outdoors, and it must start young. (I assume the tents
are mainly for the kids, and not the mother-in-law.)
The meeting is at Milly's brew pub in Manchester, hallowed ground I located
on my first night this summer in the Free State. Probably not the most ideal
setting for a meeting, the light's not good and it's a little hard to hear
speakers, but the location is certainly convenient. And the company is
outstanding, probably 30 beautiful souls arriving today. The weather's so
good, on this Saturday afternoon, we surely lost a few attendees to Mother
Joel Rausch is the head ramrod of this organization, at least until the end
of this gathering. (Sandy Pierre is unopposed as nominee for next year's
leader.) Some formalities, then two speakers:
Dan McGuirespeaks on behalf of the Granite State Ambassadors.
The ambassadors, among other activities, serve as a source of knowledge of New
Hampshire. Dan has several questions and token prizes for right answers. For
What are the four phrases used to describe the
What is the state insect? (State insect?!)
Who originated the state motto, "Live free or die"?
There is more to the phrase. What were the remaining
words of Stark's sentence?
What was the motto on NH license plates before "Live
free or die"?
Some other questions and answers, some upcoming events. Seems like a good
way to make friends for liberty. Check out the
Steve Villeetalks up the fully informed jury movement. Formally
the name has changed to the American Jury Institute (AJI). I didn't realize
it, but two states now have laws that compel judges to inform jurors of their
rights. Per AJI (and the US Constitution), as a juror you have the right to
judge both fact and law, and to acquit defendants based on your own conscience.
Most of you know the story of the jury movement, it's an uphill battle but
we're starting to win it. If you want more info go to the AJI site. Extremely important work. Thanks a
A lot of interesting conversations, and these get-togethers are important
for keeping up to date. I learn from Russell Kanning that a brave lady named
Lauren is in jail for defying an order to leave a room in which a meeting of
the New London, Connecticut, development association is being heldthese
are the guys who got the eminent domain ruling
from the Supremes to expropriate private property for a private development
Several candidates tell us of their campaigns, particularly
Norm Bernier running for school board in Concord, Karl Beisel running for Manchester
school board, and Dave Mincin
running for city council in Dover. I hope I got all that right. They can
obviously use volunteer help, so consider giving it a go if you have the time,
or maybe get your kids to contribute activity as a school project.
I had an idle thought to share: Remember
the old leftists had a slogan "Power to the People!"? Well, I think we should
claim that for our own, because that's what the liberty movement is all about,
giving people control over their own lives and fortunes. Freedom people are
the ultimate people persons.
Finally, a young man whose name I don't catch, announces a website with 247 gas savings tips. A young woman FS
pledger named Maria came to visit; she's from Hawaii. You know when you start
getting incoming from Hawaii, the Free State Project is a top notch idea. The
meeting culminates with a sharing of birthday cake. October 1, 2005, is the
second anniversary of the selection of New Hampshire as the Free State.
This is such a beautiful day, I walk around near down near the Merrimack
River, wow! This is riverfront property that seems to scream for development
of "a Walk"
but you darned well know it's not going to be accomplished by
What a great idea, a group of private developers come together, invest
their own funds or gather them voluntarily from downtown businesses. We can
create something really wonderful here. It reminds me what someone did in
Oklahoma City, especially how they integrated the minor league ballpark
(Oklahoma City 89ers) into the river walk architecture. The Fisher Cat stadium
is within walking distance of Milly's.
I get to the New Boston area, decide to walk down the trail again. Then
when I return home, Sky Cap'n Jack, who is also a Ritz Carlton trained chef,
invites some folks to an impromptu dinner party. We later hang out with the
neighbor couple, Crystal and Jessie, have a bunch of homebrew.
She's the teacher I met earlier in the week and a real sweetie, bright as a
light. She really picks up on the reality thing, especially regarding the
welfare system, and even the government school system. The double-edged sword
of the government schools for good teachers: namely, the parents expect you to
give their kids like you know "education," no matter what, while the taxpayers
yell at everyone in the schools for unbridled waste.
That's also called wanting to have your cake and eat it, too.
(to be continued)
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)
New Pilgrim Chronicles:
One man's story of the trials and rewards of moving to Free
Week Ten: Making Progress on All Fronts
by Brian Wright
Well, most fronts. The job search and the relationship angle seem to be
coming together quite nicely
at last! That's the important thing, isn't
it? You need to have a base of operations before you can operate much. On the
liberty-work angle, I wasn't as engaged; but I did finally go to the
"Atheist Dogooder" topic in the Religion and Liberty forum and put in my
two cents with Rocketman and the others.
So you can say I got down with the real people a little bit.
It's time to get the auto insurance taken care of.
Free State has a rule that if your car has a lien, you have to be covered
with appropriate liability insurance. But it isn't something they ticket you
for, and the auto registration and drivers' licensing process avoids the
bureaucracy of mandating it (which I believe is unique in the US). If you are
uninsured, your car has a lien, and you incur liability from an accident,
that's when the lienholder can take you to the cleaners. But the state leaves
My new insurance guy, Bob Hayden in Goffstown, tells me in some states, such
as Vermont, you have to have proof of insurance regardless of the state you're
licensed in. Which sounds a bit statist, doesn't it? You think the Supremes
will ever get a case that challenges the Vermont traffic-enforcement Gestapo;
if they do, do you think the Supremes will issue an injunction to stop this
aberrant, antisocial behavior from an adjacent dictatorship? Nah!
Anyway, my insurance, same coverage as back in Michigan, goes from ~$150 per
month to ~$75 per month. So hmmm, let's see, which system do you think the
average motorist prefers? I don't know how much of the savings is due to not
making insurance compulsory. Way cool, I finally get it out of the way. And
meet people, too. I mention to Bob that I'm a libertarian and that's why I'm
asking all these questions about how we do things here.
He says a libertarian is going to like the system here a lot better than
most states. We keep up the chitchat, and I mention I'm looking for work as a
writer and heading over to Peterborough, because I've heard that's where the
literary types hang out. I even tell him, "When I finally get established, I
plan to buy a plot and put an earth-sheltered dwelling on it." Well, guess
what? Bob has an earth-sheltered home! I think he'll let me borrow the plans.
Also, he shares with me that it's better to live on an unpaved roadI
believe he called it Class 6since it legally limits development more than
if you live on a paved road. "Okay thanks," I say, "I'll definitely keep that
Next day, I do run into a NH dipwad at the Kinko's in Bedford. Let's just
call him Chad. I'm calling to have business cards made for my trip to
Peterborough, and I want to send my file via email in PDF (portable document
format) and work with a project manager to get the job done. Wrong! Must use
the Kinko's website. Well, the website isn't working, and it isn't me. Chad
insists it's my problem, but he'll take the job via email this one time.
He has this New England accent, and this attitude like "let's see how I can
make it difficult for ol' Brian to do business with us." His negative persona
doesn't jibe with my impression of most New Hampshire people, so Chad must be a
Massachusetts import. And to top it all off, Kinko's does a ratty-ass job on the cards.
Odds and ends Monday and Tuesday:
Starting to get some calls for legitimate contract work, e.g.
techwriting for an insurance operation in Portsmouth.
Run into the neighbor lady, Crystal, at this new wellness center in
New Boston; this is a good-looking facilityand so is the wellness
center and it's close. I might consider at least a Pilates class.
Hours though don't include Sunday, and for the time being I'm keeping the Y
The NFL channel has a special about Brett Favre (Green Bay Packers
quarterback). Then on Monday Night Football, Brett makes an heroic effort
against the Carolina Panthers, with four touchdown passes, but comes up short
Tuesday I'm working the book, doing a freelance piece, sending out
resumes, organizing the paperwork. Lawnmower Manthis is my other
nickname for Cap'n Jack, who spends every available hour trying to mow the
jungle growth on the lawn with what looks like a toy lawnmoweris off to
fly the frenzied skies.
I finally receive a reply from one of the legislative officials to
whom I sent letters regarding the depleted-uranium poisoning issue. Senator
Judd Gregg is so kind to confirm H.R. 202 is going through the House, and if it
gets to the Senate for debate, "I will keep your thoughts in mind." I guess
this means he doesn't regard DU as a humanitarian emergency.
On Wednesday, I travel 25 minutes and 17.5 miles to Peterborough, an artistic Mecca
of New Hampshire. The purpose of my walkaround is to meet potential clients or
employers, and to distribute my resume and business cards. It's a lot of
walking, I have a DeLorme city map, my Daytimer, 20 business cards, 20 resumes,
my tape recorder, my digital camera, and my cell phone (mobile-phone reception
via Verizon isn't any better here than in New Boston).
Peterborough, set around the intersection of the Contoocook and Nubanusit
Rivers, has a long, vibrant history. During the Civil War era, it was
receptive to abolitionist activists such as Frederick Douglas, and served as a
depot on the Underground Railroad. In 1907, the MacDowell Writers' Colony was
founded; artistic/cultural connections exist between Peterborough and
Boston/New York. Thornton Wilder wrote Our Town during his stay at
MacDowell. In 1938, the Great New England Hurricane caused serious flood
damage to the region. Several preventive damns and waterways have been built
During the walkaround, I find myself close to the galleries, boutiques, and
bookstores that give the little downtown such charm. Here are a few photos:
The famous Toadstool Bookstore where well-known authors have
The relative price of biodiesel fuel from a pump
only half a
block from the Toadstool.
A colorful car eloquently extolling the virtues of Hemp Planet (which
can be a great source of biodiesel).
Through the decades, two newspapers have coexisted in the town: the
Peterborough Transcript and the Monadnock Ledger. Considering
the small population, it's rather amazing both could be supported all that
time. I leave a resume and business card with each; I wouldn't be surprised
when this whole Free State job search is said and done, some kind of journalism
is where I find myself. The day is warm, though beauteous. I'm done with
work. It's Miller Time; I've seen my landing zone in the form of a quaint
little pub named Harlow's.
The Smutty Nose India Pale Ale (IPA) is cool and refreshing. I strike up a
conversation with a young man who's arrived on my left. His name is Mike.
Interesting guy, drives a Zamboni,
you know one of those hockey-rink ice smoothers. Loves it. He says he's also
working on a historical novel about someplace along the Canadian border. His
brother, who goes with him on epic bicycle trips, is the chief of police in
Temple/Greenville, so I chalk that up in my noggin to namedrop in case I ever
get pulled over.
Mike claims that contrary to my experience of not feeling any oppressive
police presence in the Free Statenaturally I explain to him all about the
FSPNew Hampshire has more police per capita than any other state. I
check out his claim of
NH police per capita on the Web as I write this piece, and he has to be
thinking about some other statistic. New Hampshire has 1.6 police officers per
1,000 population vs. an average of 2.3 across the United States.
However I do see two signs today that suggest some unnecessary intrusion of
the police power:
One of them is a "Drug-Free School Zone" sign noted on my
walkaroundtwo things make such signs ludicrous: 1) the mindless hysteria
of the war on "drugs" doesn't suggest what drugs the zone is supposed to be
free of, e.g. caffeine, aspirin (!?), and 2) does anyone truly believe a sign
against something prevents it. How about we put up a sign "Stupidity-Free
Zone" to improve children's scholastic performance?
The second sign is in the bar. I regard it as rather obnoxious: "We
confiscate all false identification and report all illegal activities to the
authorities." This apparently means if you fill out a football betting card,
the bartender circulating the card will rat you out to the gendarmes. Again, I
don't see much chance of that. As for underage drinking, just don't serve
anyone drinks if they are obviously not mature enough to handle them. Self
responsibility works much better to keep people sane and civil than
criminalization of consensual acts.
All right, enough of the soapbox. Mike moves on and a very nice-looking
woman considerably south of my age bracket sits a couple of seats down on my
right. Emily is her name, and I'm on my third IPA so naturally she's becomes
enthralled with my smooth, debonair mannerI pretty much let people know
right out of the chute about the freedom thing in New Hampshire.
Well, it works! She actually moves without me asking her to sit directly
beside me, and we conduct scintillating repartee for another slowly sipped
beer. What I like about Emily is she's really into reading books. Well, that
and some other things. Peterborough in general seems full of eye candy. I'll
get a job, and in the immortal words of Governor Arnold, "I'll be back."
On Friday, there's a lot of encouragement on the job front. I interview
with the president and owner of a small software firm about seven miles down
the road in Amherst
the idea being to do technical and company-image
writing. Also, a repeat of a former contract opportunity in Waltham, Mass.,
pops up; this time the recruiter seems truly eager to get me under contract. I
get some help from my ex and from a writer colleague back in Michigan to handle
the prejob dance sequence at the software company with a modicum of
"Remember, Silly, 'Don't try to do everything at once, and don't try to do
anything all by yourself.'" People love to help you if you ask them. Major
lesson. Applies to the Free State Project as well.
Cap'n Jack, as I think I mentioned, is a former chef. He likes to have
people over, so it's very special getting all this wonderful food and terrific
company, mostly of the young professional variety. Fertile soil for "just
folks," "Freedom to the People" seeds of thought.
I communicated to a couple of my FS intellectual comrades that I'm
increasingly getting a vision these days. Specifically, within the next two
years, i.e. before 2008, I see Mary Ruwart and her Healing Our World
book (and possibly even me and my own little novelette in progress) being
household names. Certainly, Jason, Amanda and the Free State Project will be
The end of the national-security state and toxic war-criminal government is
just around the corner, not to mention the irrational superstitious and
terrorist movements that contribute to them.
Disclaimer: The forgoing is only my humble opinion and does not reflect
any official thinking or position of the FSP.
Well, I have two more chronicles to go. Let's hope the series leaves the
gentle reader with a conclusive and helpful understanding of the FSP "early
mover on the street," or late mover for that matter. You should be aware of
several of the practical issues you'll face, as well as the opportunities and
pleasures of being here, from a commoner's perspective.
(to be continued)
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! 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!
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!