We Made the Move: The Harvey Brothers
"It's OK, I've been here before, you're expected to push," an American voice managed to cut through the thick of the human mass. We had never been to Kiev’s Boryspil Airport before, but I could feel the Communism was still in the air. Like humidity in a coastal city, it always manages to linger.
My brother Josh and I had left Ben-Gurion airport in Israel about four hours earlier and were rushing to make our connection to New York. Aah, I gasped as I started making my way to the gate. Finally on my way to the land of the free and the home of the… security lines, questioning booths, and body scanners.
The truth is, the first time I felt optimistic about my life change was about twenty hours later when we first drove our rental car past a large and clumsy sign that read: "Welcome New Hampshire. Live Free or Die."
Tel Aviv, July 2006: Josh and I had recently moved from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, as it was the wise choice for opening our niche electric guitar store. As I was on my way to reprimanding our contractor for his negligent work on renovating our store, I heard people on the street talking about the kidnapping of several soldiers on the border with Lebanon. Within days, Israel had retaliated. Immediately, the northern city of Haifa was, in return, heavily bombarded by Hezbollah rockets.
The reason I am bringing this up is because there was speculation that rockets would hit the south of Tel Aviv as well. And as upset as I was about an additional escalation of violence in the region, all I could think about was how I was going to pay rent with a war going on. I was no longer a college student eager to engage in a floating array of intellectual ideas, I was now an entrepreneur facing reality.
The Second Lebanese War ran in parallel to the renovation of our store, both traumatizing experiences, both ended several days prior to our Grand Opening. But, that was only the beginning of our libertarian training camp.
Over the next seven years, we were bombarded with virtually every kind of bureaucratic hurdle in the government’s arsenal. We were blacklisted by the national Standards Institute, audited by the tax authorities (because they owed us too much money), had our bank account frozen for a $200 debt to the municipality (several times), had our shipments held captive at the port for months (along with a $3,000 warehousing bill). And all we were trying to do was open the most exciting guitar store in Israel.
At first we researched the specific policies that pertained to our experience with the government, but it did not take us long to realize it was not just us. It was not an exclusive and secret government plan orchestrated to prevent guitar store diversity. It hit us. They were destroying all of the businesses and making everyone poor.
Eventually, six years later, our pragmatism led us to realize that Israel would not allow us to succeed as entrepreneurs and as libertarians. I say pragmatism because we loved our neighborhood and friends, and being close to our family. It was a calculated decision.
It’s been nine months since we arrived in New Hampshire. We’ve replanted the high-end guitar store we had in Israel, now named Stomp Romp Guitars. We’ve been to Liberty Forum and Porcfest, met amazing people who dedicate themselves to different sorts of important activism. We started the weekly Bitcoin Meetups, which is the most active Bitcoin Meetup in the world (thus making Manchester the de facto financial capital of the world).
And the longer I’m here, the more I realize that our move isn’t about being or becoming a Free Stater. It’s about applying independent thought to actions and knowing that your new friends are doing the same. Whether I talk to activists, civil disobedients, journalists, Bitcoin connoisseurs, State representatives or those who work tireless hours to get them elected, they all have that in common. They don’t wait for permission, they believe in their activism and share it with others.
That’s why I like the choice of the word “Project” in The Free State Project. It’s a fascinating idea to import masses of strong minded libertarian individuals who strive to create genuine impact, not a zealous herd of patriots in disguise. It is not solidarity we’re fighting for, but autonomy. And New Hampshire is where it is all coming together.
But enough talk of changing the world. I was asked to incorporate a culinary element into my experience of living in New Hampshire, and I can’t say I objected to the suggestion.
I have recently taken my awkward mustard obsession to the next stage, and will sell my very own La Moutarde des Treize Monstres at the weekly bitcoin meetups in Manchester. My three different mustards: Hot Curry, Medieval Hardal and Truffle Dijon.
I have also formulated a special recipe for you strong palated individuals:
4 TBSP Yellow Mustard Powder ¼ TSP Salt 2 TBSP Walnuts - Pulverized ⅛ Cup Water - Cold 1 TBSP Porc Ranch Pure Honey (available at Bitcoin meetups) 1.5 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
Instructions: Mix mustard powder, salt and walnuts in bowl and add cold water. Mix to a paste and wait 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and honey. Mix. Move to small jar and refrigerate for twelve hours.