Frequently Asked Questions About the FSP
The short answer is "no." Each individual must decide for him/herself what "exert the fullest possible effort" means. For some, that means running for public office, or voting. For others, the act of moving is their act of "effort." The language in the Statement of Intent is meant to be a proud statement of courage, to inspire new signers and movers. Obviously, everyone who joins the FSP has a deep commitment to liberty, their chosen path, however, is up to each individual to determine.
The Statement of Intent is not a legal contract, it is a pledge. Moving takes place on the honor system. We do not require a commitment for a particular length of residency in the Free State. But we would hope and expect participants to make New Hampshire their home, and keep residency in the state for several years, or, hopefully, forever.
The largest and most important decision–which state to move to–was made by a vote of the membership. For day-to-day management decisions, the Free State Project, Inc., is a private, NH non-profit corporation. Corporate decisions are ultimately made by the Board of Directors. Volunteer organizers are empowered to make certain decisions in several areas such as outreach, research, technology, and publicity. They can also make proposals for major decisions (those involving spending, for example) to the Board. We do our best to make decisions with input from participants, and any change to the Participation Guidelines (see below) allows any signed participant to opt out, ensuring that no participant is committed to a project different from what the participant signed up for. There are no changes to the Guidelines unless there is a definite consensus for the change following a long period of public comment; also, changes to the corporate bylaws, which include the Participation Guidelines, must be ratified by a unanimous vote of the Board. We do not anticipate any future changes to the Guidelines.
FSP Participation Guidelines:
The Free State Project (FSP) shall not require dues or contributions of any kind for participation.
The FSP shall require all prospective participants to sign a Statement of Intent indicating:
that they will move to New Hampshire, the state designated according to the rules laid out in these Guidelines,
that they will be bound by the Guidelines, and
that they will work toward a society in which the sole role of civil government is the protection of individuals' rights to life, liberty, and property.
The Statement shall become void three years after the time of signing should the designation of the state not have occurred by that time. (No longer applicable)
Once 5,000 people have signed the Statement, voting shall commence on a state where all participants should move and register to vote (should they choose to register to vote). All sufficiently small states will be considered. The voting shall proceed according to Simple Condorcet's Method.1 All ballots shall be made public to avoid subterfuge; miscounted ballots shall be corrected before the outcome is officially declared. (No longer applicable)
Once 20,000 people have signed the Statement, participants in the FSP shall move to the state decided upon as expeditiously as possible and absolutely within five years of the crossing of the 20,000-signer threshold. Should the Project never attract 20,000 signers, the move shall be aborted.
If these Guidelines are amended, anyone who has signed to an earlier version shall be given an opportunity to withdraw his/her consent.
Condorcet's Method works by allowing voters to rank all the states from #1 to #10, and these rankings are used to compare each state to every other state in one-on-one contests. If a state does not lose any pairwise contest, it is the winner. If no state is unbeaten, then smallest-magnitude defeats are eliminated until a state is unbeaten. ↩
Perhaps. But not most. People who have signed up have already signaled their commitment to achieving liberty. Why would they back out just at the moment when our goal is in sight? If they value liberty enough to decide to move at one time, why would they not value liberty enough to move at a later time? That said, commitments change, life happens. Perhaps not all original signers will move, but we have determined that a small number of dedicated activists can make a big difference. As freedoms expand in New Hampshire, we will continue to attract more and more committed liberty lovers to the Live Free or Die state.
If our growth remains constant, we will reach our goal of 20,000 signers in 2018, giving participants 5 years from then to move. In an attempt to speed up this process, at Liberty Forum 2013, we introduced the Trigger the Move campaign to accelerate the sign up process, and Trigger the Move by 2015. This means thousands of new movers will be in the Granite State by 2020 at the latest. Many signers, well aware of the advantages New Hampshire and the FSP have to offer, are already moving. We encourage committed signers to move sooner rather than later so we can welcome you home!
The FSP membership selected New Hampshire because of its many political, economic, and cultural advantages.See here, and here and here for more detailed explanations. In addition, New Hampshire's low population ensures that each mover can have an exponentially more powerful effect.
Jobs and Housing
First, pro-limited-government activism at a national level does not work. Once that realization sinks in, people look for alternatives, and the FSP has more than a decade-long track record of success. Second, we are not asking for your money, just your signature--and eventually, of course, your commitment to move. (Of course you can donate your money to the FSP to help us spread the word.) Third, we offer formal organization and expect a pledge from you. These devices are intended to get people committed to idea of the FSP. No more halfhearted suggestions with no follow-through. Fourth, we chose New Hampshire on the basis of carefully and rationally considered criteria. We're not just saying: "Everyone come to where we live!" In fact, the original leading FSP strategists and researchers were from different states. Fortunately, many of us can now call New Hampshire home.
When we started thinking about a logo for the FSP, the first suggestions centered around the Gadsden flag and the "Don't Tread on Me" snake. We decided we wanted something a little more original and PR-friendly, to emphasize the freshness of our approach, while still indicating the same idea. Porcupines are certainly cute and non-aggressive, but you don't want to mess with them! Mary Lou Seymour first suggested using a porcupine in the FSP forum, and Joe Littlejohn was the designer of the original logo, which won over various other designs in a vote of visitors to the FSP website. Since then, the porcupine has gone through various iterations and designs. Check back for more history and pictures soon.
Anyone who agrees with and signs the following Statement of Intent: I hereby state my solemn intent to move to the state of New Hampshire. Once there, I will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. Join now.
Beyond this, it is very difficult--nary, impossible--to pigeonhole individual FSP participants' beliefs. Some FSP participants support policies such as abolition or reduction of income taxes, elimination of regulatory bureaucracies, repeal of most gun control laws, repeal of most drug prohibition laws, complete free trade, decentralization of government, and privatization of government service. Participants go by many monikers: "classical liberals" (not the same as modern liberals at all, but followers of Thomas Jefferson and similar thinkers), libertarians, paleo-conservatives, constitutionalists, voluntariysts, anarcho-capitalists, anarchists, and more.
Anyone who promotes violence, racial hatred, or bigotry is not welcome.
All are welcome in the FSP. We already have members in a wide range of ages, and encourage those with life experience to join our efforts. We have no health requirements--it's none of our business, and we appreciate any support we get from liberty-lovers in any stage of life. We do ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign up as a participant.
Anyone who promotes violence, racial hatred, or bigotry is not welcome. This is also grounds for the revocation of your Participant status.
Active-duty personnel can select a "home of record." This home of record may be in any state, and you are allowed to vote in that state's elections by absentee ballot. Or you may select New Hampshire as your "state of legal residence," which is the determining factor for income and personal property taxation, voting, and any other legal resident purposes. This new state of legal residence remains in effect until abandoned through the overt act of selecting a different one.
The criteria for selecting a new "legal residence" while in the military is having a "presence" there and actions demonstrating intent, the most definitive of which is registering to vote. However, it is not technically necessary to actually live there at the time of selection. Simply owning property upon which you pay taxes can establish a legal address and then registering to vote at that address is sufficient.
Supporters from New Hampshire do not count toward the 20,000 participants. People from New Hampshire who signed up before the vote was taken in early 2000 are counted as part of the 20,000, since they originally agreed to move to at least one other state. These participants only number in the low 200s.
Although New Hampshire residents are not included in the participant count, they are still encouraged to subscribe to our newsletter, participate in our communities and events, and network with their fellow liberty lovers. New Hampshire residents can also show their support by registering as In-State Friends of the FSP. Also, consider joining the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, a wonderful resource for all New Hampshirites who love liberty.
Yes! You can still support us by signing up as a Friend of the FSP. We encourage and appreciate your support, participation in social media, assistance in publicity, recruiting, research and all the other work to be done. Be sure to tell a friend about the FSP... You never know where that next signer is!
We welcome all who love liberty. The FSP is not a lockstep movement, requiring all who join to subscribe to a long list of agreements on every point. There is no "Grand Platform." All we ask is that you agree that government's maximum role should be to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud. We welcome you and support your desire to live peacefully according to your values. We ask only that you support others in their right to do the same.
No. The Free State Project is an NH-based nonprofit corporation. We do not endorse candidates or legislation. The Free State Project's purpose is simply to get 20,000 liberty supporting individuals to move to New Hampshire. The Free State Project has no other purpose.
No, the FSP is not affiliated with the Libertarian Party. Some FSP participants are LP members. For that reason, we sometimes do educational outreach, recruiting, and publicity at LP events. We also do outreach at other liberty-oriented events of other parties and political persuasions.
No, the Free State Project does not promote secession. Some individual FSP participants are interested in this topic. You can visit the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence for more information.