Shire Sharing Feeds the Needy: Private Charity FTW!

Among those focused on the principles of liberty, those passionate about changing the world, there is always debate. One topic that gets less attention is welfare. Most of us, if not all, tend to agree that charity is best given voluntarily, and we usually agree that the funding method the state uses--taxation--is immoral, if not outright violent. Usually the discussion ends there, and we sit back, self-satisfied. Taxation is theft, end of story. Now the world will get better, right? What commonly happens next is we are called cruel, Darwinist, unloving, uncharitable. We are accused of not caring about the needy, of wanting the poor/disabled/drug-addicted to die so we will finally have time to roll around in our giant piles of money, laughing maniacally.

In early 2011, my dad passed away very unexpectedly, and this loss made me seek a way to honor his memory and feel connected to him. Thanksgiving rolled around, and I had an idea: to duplicate the charity work he had been doing in my hometown in Texas. For the last decade of his life, every year my dad organized his friends and coworkers to bring Thanksgiving dinners to families in need. I posted the idea on Facebook, and it took off. My supporters were Free State Project participants like me, and Shire Sharing was born.

In a fortnight, more than $1,000 poured in. With that money, and about 20 volunteers, we bought the necessary groceries, assembled appropriate bags according to details like family size and dietary needs, and delivered Thanksgiving meals to 52 Concord families. We found these families with the help of Lutheran Social Services and Friends of Forgotten Children. The recipients included single moms, elderly folks, many political refugees, and a few veterans. When I was interviewed after the deliveries, high on all the excitement, I foolishly declared that I wanted to feed 200 families in 2012.

We celebrated, a year went by, and Thanksgiving was again upon us. Encouraged, I initiated fundraising, again solely using social media, and about $6,000 was raised. I was stunned. We ended up delivering Thanksgiving dinners to a whopping 192 families, expanding our reach to include Nashua. This was accomplished through the efforts of some 50 volunteers, around 15 drivers, and the addition of a U-Haul truck.

This year, I was hoping to grow, but I had no idea what would be possible. Almost $9,000 was donated. When we gathered to organize the groceries and label the bags for their intended destinations, about 150 volunteers showed up. More than 20 cars, an overstuffed U-Haul, and a bus full of volunteers delivered food to a total of 373 families--that’s 1,317 individuals, which is almost as many people as there are early FSP movers! We added Granite State Independent Living and Harbor Homes to the list of organizations to help us find families in need.

Our geographic reach expanded again, and we made deliveries in Manchester, Salem, and Grafton, in addition to the established cities of Concord and Nashua. The local organizer for the Nashua deliveries is a New Hampshire native and friend of the FSP; the organizer for Manchester is the organizer of Occupy NH; the organizers in Grafton run a wonderful Tolstoy-inspired church called Peaceful Assembly Church. I also invited a local charter school to bring their students on a special, separate day to help prepare the bags for delivery. For what it is worth, when my dad did his first Thanksgiving delivery, he did it for only one household. I wish he could be here now to see how much his idea has grown and inspired others.

What may be the very best thing about Shire Sharing is the way in which it is organized. Those who want to donate do so; those who want to heave 50-lb bags of potatoes around step up; those who want to knock on strangers' doors and hand them bags of food harass me incessantly to make sure they are on the sign-up sheet to help. Top to bottom, Shire Sharing is a voluntary pursuit. It goes without saying that it is somewhat chaotic--something goes awry and we run around in circles until it gets figured out. But there is beauty in the chaos; so many people care, so many people want to live meaningful lives engaged in fulfilling activities, that in the end, it always works out. I will never, ever believe the people who claim we need top-down control to ensure peace, prosperity, and love.

In case I haven't made this perfectly clear: when I started Shire Sharing, all I did was say: "Hey, I have this idea." I didn't demand any minimum number of volunteers; I didn't force anyone to participate. In the beginning, I was ready to do it all myself if no one else wanted to help. Every single person who helped with Shire Sharing made an internal, totally independent decision to show up and DO something, which is the very spirit of the Free State Project. The idea itself has been the organizing factor, every step of the way. And ideas like Shire Sharing can, and do, change the world.

Carla Gericke
Carla Gericke's picture

Amanda, this is amazing! As you say, Shire Sharing embodies the best of what we hope to achieve in New Hampshire. Thank you for being a bright example of what is possible. I am humbled by your passion and drive. Thanks for letting me and others be a small part of this--Kudos!

ohgobwhatisthis (not verified)

Wow, that's great!

What's your plan for feeding the poor the other 364 days of the year?

SnowDog's picture

Ohgobwhatisthis, what is your plan for feeding the poor the other 364 days of the year? At least Amanda is doing something positive, rather than sitting on a computer complaining.

dixie (not verified)


Carla Gericke
Carla Gericke's picture

Actually, Ohgobwhatisthis, I'd like to extend a challenge: pick a day and feed the poor. If we can encourage other individuals and organizations to do so, perhaps we can put charity back in private hands, in the community, where it belongs.

Mike Ruff (not verified)

A man was walking along the beach after a storm. The storm had washed up thousands upon thousands of starfish onto the beach, and they couldn't get back into the water on their own. The man thought about how sad it was that all these starfish were going to die, and that something as simple and uncontrollable as a storm could have such a consequence.

He came upon a little boy who was picking up one starfish at a time, and throwing them as far into the ocean as he could. The man watched him a bit, then said: "You can't make a difference, because there's too many of them. You'll never be able to save them all before they die. Even the ones you do save will probably just die when the next storm throws them up on the beach again. So why are you wasting your time?"

The boy glared at the man, then reached down to pick up another starfish, and threw it out into the water as far as he could. He looked back at the man, and pointed out to sea, and said: "I made a difference in that one's life today."

Chandler Gabel (not verified)

Ohgobwhatisthis: Don't you mean "363 days"? I mean, since you're obviously so passionate about helping others and all, I'm sure you've already set up your own "Shire Sharing"-style program to feed 1,300 poor New Hampshirites on at LEAST one of those other days.

I certainly can't believe you would just post a snarky, anonymous message denigrating Amanda's efforts when you, personally, have not bestirred yourself to make even a fraction of the positive impact she's made on her neighbors this year. That would just be cowardly and uncivilized, right? ... Right?

collie shangles (not verified)

Chandler, what a discerning and psychic reader you are. You could tell in 19 words that Ohbogwhatishtis hasn't done anything for anyone in the course of a year. I'm in awe of your skill.

onemoredayalive (not verified)

If NH's economic policies work so well, why is there even this much poverty in NH to begin with? Even if you claim NH has the lowest poverty in the country, the poverty it does have doesn't reflect all that well. At least in Vermont you can survive off the welfare programs all 365 days a year. In NH you're at the mercy of private charity, and according to stats NH is the least charitable state in terms of how much its population gives to the needy.

How would charity work in a free market, especially if that free market is extremely competitive and all firms are small? Wouldn't there be less of an incentive to give? Wouldn't businesses be less reluctant to give away money for free if they have to pay for everything out-of-pocket and keep their businesses afloat in a sea of cut-throat competition? Tell me.

povertyiscapitalism (not verified)

So who are the "poor"? What if its you and yours one day when the big company lays you off? Isn't that what you all advocate, completely no regulation at all? What if its you when your daddy dies from a workplace hazard or a preventable disease that went uncured?

What an absolute joke. Your economic beliefs promulgate poverty and the hoarding of resources among the privileged and as if that's not good enough, you want to be able to hoard when you'll help those who didn't have the advantages you did; want to decide, based on your own prejudice and bias, who will get what of the resources you claim ownership to and who will starve and die.

Thankfully most people have the sense to see through your shallow rhetoric and hapless, empty acts of hypocritical self promotion. You people are selfish, lazy grifters of the highest order. You want a peaceful society, you want love and light and everyone to be happy but you only want to pay for that in whatever way you determine and whenever you damn well please.

The world doesn't work that way, everyone has to pitch in, often when they don't want to and everyone has to share, its how things go round. You are tools of the corporatocracy that is destroying our planet and our people. Dry up and go away.

AmandaB (not verified)

I don't understand why a few commenters are getting so upset. I did something to honor my dead father. This is what he did when he was alive. Just 2 months after diagnosis, he was gone. I'm 28 years old, too young to lose my father. My own adult life has only barely begun and already the majority of my family is dead. So, I guess what I'm saying is... while I'm a politically-minded person, and clearly my own ideas about liberty are at the forefront of my mind, this is not about politics. This is about my dad, and how much I miss him. My heart breaks without him, and I never stop wishing he was here. Sometimes I hope it was just a bad dream. I watched him die, do you understand that? Please don't go calling names when I'm the one spending every Thanksgiving in mourning, every day in mourning. I have not healed. This is not up for debate, and I think you're really not understanding the gravity of the situation. MY dad is dead, his presence was ripped from my life, the future that I anticipated is irreversibly changed. I do this because I miss him, not to convince whoever you are that my political beliefs are valid.

OldManOnTheMountain (not verified)

You have a good point. NH does have the lowest poverty in the nation. And in NH, there is more than enough welfare to survive off of every day of the year, if that is your thing. It's true that since NH has much less poverty than most states and is the least religious state, after VT, that it, along with states like VT, have less private charity need than most states. As for how would private charity work in your utopia, since it's your make believe land, that's 100% up to you. Why do you tell us your fantasy, instead of asking us to do everything for you?

KeithThompson (not verified)

Oh, Amanda. Well, people might have mistaken your post as the start of a political debate because your first paragraph is completely politcal, with no mention of your father. And you set up what you did in your father's memory as a response to political criticism of the FSP. I believe your pain at your father's loss is real, and I'm sorry for it. That is what kind, empathetic people do. We see other's pain and we ask ourselves what we can do. We recognize that another's pain could be ours, that "there but for the Grace of God..." So you will forgive those of us who believe in the social contract, those of us who believe in public charity and the pursuit of the public good, when we find your response to the criticism of your blog a bit ironic. The pain of your father's loss is made worse by people's callousness and their failure to understand your motivation, their willingness to assign ulterior motivations to your actions make them cruel and unfeeling. Welcome to the world of a person in need of charity. Charity is not always a donation of food or clothing or cash, sometimes it is simply empathy, walking a mile in another's shoes. Asking for charity, whether from the government or a private charity is humiliating. Will they understand that you aren't like this? That you tried everything else before asking for help? That you would work any job if it kept your family fed, warm and safe? So it shouldn't be hard to imagine that hearing people talk about you being "on the dole," never hearing the word "welfare" without the word "cheat" or "queen," hearing people call you moochers and the 47%, feels very much like people ignoring your good intentions to honor your father and proceeding to spout political rhetoric that minimizes, or discounts entirely, your feelings. You might understand how little it matters if people who call the taxes that you paid before you hit a rough patch, and the taxes that are keeping your kids fed "theft," insinuating that you are a beneficiary of theft, are actually nice people who really care, they're just demonized in the liberal press. Their bad press seems inconsequential compared to the demonization of the poor in this country, especially if you are one of them. Kudos to you for doing something positive in memory of your father. But it is a mistake to extrapolate your success into proof that private charity could completely replace public works, and that it excuse or cover your movement's animosity toward public solutions for society's problems.

CapitalismIsFreedom (not verified)

So you feel bad for poor people, and instead of trying to help them, you want to threaten people with violence and force them to give you money, so that you can keep half of it and then give the other half to the poor.

That's a great plan. I'd go for it if I was as sadistic as you.

Amanda B (not verified)

Are you kidding me? You can't claim to know my train of thought when I decided to undertake this effort. You have no evidence to support your claim that this is for any purpose other than to honor my father. I think it's quite obvious that, if I have certain values, I'm going to organize myself and my friends and my projects according to those values. When such organization proves successful, of course I'm going to mention it. Liberty is my life; I moved here because I value it that much. It can't go without a mention if I write something close to my heart. The funny thing, though, is that I don't organize this in any particularly new way. The way SS is organized is identical to the way my dad organized his decade-long project (and he was not a political man), and is identical to thousands upon thousands of projects worldwide. Are you aware that SS is not the single org delivering Thanksgiving dinners? Jiminy christmas. There are many orgs not using taxed money and/or forced labor to accomplish their goals. That's the irony. Each org has its own initial motivation, each org runs the voluntary gamut, and when I write a blog highlighting this aspect, I'm accused of... whatever it is y'all are trying to express. You claim that SS is a "response to the backlash" or something, despite the fact that countless orgs operate in exactly the same way. This is how charity works [see: churches, fraternal orders, Boy Scouts, and more], and how it worked before taxation was an aspect of Amerixan society.

Amanda B (not verified)

On Friday, shortly before the bulk of the work on this project was to begin, I sat in my apartment holding pictures of my dad, listening to his favorite songs, and crying. So go ahead and tell yourself, in your anonymous computer chair, wherever you are, that I did this for some other reason. When your loved ones die, I hope you can find such a powerful way to remember them. It changes my frame of mind to be able to do this. The Thanksgiving project he was doing in Dallas ended in his absence. No one is doing it anymore. The business he owned is failing and will likely close in a few years. The house he lived in is empty. There is no grave; he was cremated. This is all that is left. This is all that I have. Go ahead, say the things you want to say. When you want to honor your loved ones after they pass, let me know and I'll help you find a way.

GraniteMindedVoter (not verified)

People should keep in mind that Keith Thompson attends political events and randomly curses about the politicians at the events. And when confronted with his trashy ways, lies about it. So he is absolutely, without question a liar. Please don't trust anything he says.

buttercup (not verified)

Rockhead: Keith Thompson used his real name, which allowed you to attack him - while you hide behind an alias. You hide behind an alias and call him a liar. Hypocritical and pathetic.

Larry Gaudette (not verified)

The comments are interesting to me. By submitting your thoughts, no matter where they roam, you show how much needs to be done to untangle the mass of chaos and confusion that keeps us in bondage. Not everyone will agree, that is for sure. By opening up and sharing, we expose the needs and many of the needs have nothing to do with poverty. We need to seek the truth for in seeking the truth, we can align our goals and become a more active nation rather than a passive nation of slaves.

Tom Sawyer (not verified)

Sharing food and happiness on Thanksgiving benefits the giver as much as the receiver. Well done and quite inspiring.

buttercup (not verified)

How is it hypocritical if he is a known liar and I didn't lie? And since when is it standard to use a government name while commenting on a blog? Do you think that should be against the law too? Oh wait, you aren't using your name either. Now that is hypocritical!

anonymous douche (not verified)

Gonna steal that identity too, Rockhead? It is more appropriate than buttercup for you.

NHPaul (not verified)

"How would charity work in a free market, especially if that free market is extremely competitive and all firms are small? Wouldn't there be less of an incentive to give? Wouldn't businesses be less reluctant to give away money for free if they have to pay for everything out-of-pocket and keep their businesses afloat in a sea of cut-throat competition?"

If it weren't for the government taking 50%+ of the product of everyone's labor, and using it to run around the world invading/occupying/sanctioning various countries, bailing out banks, subsidizing corn, oil, etc, people would be far, far more wealthy. There would be far fewer in need of charity, and far more resources to help those who do need it.

People are generous. Even in this bad economy, americans donated over 300 billion dollars to charity just last year.

Keep in mind that charity, research/innovation, and capitol investment come from funds left over after basic needs are met. Most of most of people's income is spent just keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads. So, if you doubled people's income, it would far more than double innovation, and charity -- people would go from perhaps 0-10% disposable income, to 50-60%.

Also, please don't assume that because people like and support shire sharing, that we don't help out the other 365 days per year. I donate hundreds to charity every month. Shire sharing itself has made donations to the NH food bank and is a monthy regular supporter of the Hundred Nights shelter in Keene.

We've replaced interaction and reliance upon neighbors and community, in our society, with interaction and reliance upon big corporations, or the federal government -- top down relationships, rather than side to side, and I think it's a shame. I think we need to cooperate and support each other more locally -- families, and neighbors. This means developing the personal relationships that are in many ways as important, or more important, than just money, so that we can individualize the help to match the person's needs. In some cases, this means tough love, in some cases it means making work for someone, so they can be involved and contribute, and in other cases (e.g. severely disabled), it no doubt includes regular financial support. The way the amish help those in need, in their society, used to be much closer to the way non-amish communities handled these issues.

To base society on coersion, centralization, and bureacratization -- top down mandates, rather than relationships, makes life impersional, and destroys community -- I'm not just talking about welfare. We've done this in so many ways.

Paul whitehall (not verified)

Amanda, Your story is great and inspiring and is a very positive way to respond to a terrible loss. Well done. However, charity is a ridiculously inefficient way to comfort the afflicted.

Helping people by using tax dollars to pay a combination of public and private entities to mass distribute aid makes infinitely more sense. Want proof? Generations of democratically elected public officials put the current system into place. There's your proof.

There may be 20,000 of you willing to move here someday, but there are at least 200,000 of us already here who will never let you implement any of your juvenile, selfish, counter-productive ideas.

John and Dagny Galt (not verified)

Dear Paul and All,

You stated that 200K NH residents will prevent others from living as an example of Agoristic Voluntaryism.

Seems like those 200K folks might spend their time pursuing more laudable goals than dictating-to, manipulating, and restricting others?

How is it less efficient for neighbors to help each other and work together directly as opposed to all the tax-feeding bureaucrats/enforcers/middle-men you speak so highly of?

Amanda and the Free State Project are Talking-The-Talk AND Walking-The-Walk. We sincerely hope they are able to continue their wonderful efforts and advocacy. Who knows, next year they may distribute 5000 care packages!

Paul Whitehall (not verified)

John galt (thanks for confirming my accusation that you folks have a juvenile belief system), how is it more efficient for bureaucrats to administer aid? Economies of scale, that's how. Apparently you don't know literally the first thing about economics.

As I stated, paying public servants and using public dollars to pay private entities to help people is infinitely more efficient than trying to rely on charity.

Your organization made a fatal flaw when you chose nh. You didn't take into account the fact that at least two hard-core liberals will move here from Massachusetts for every logic-free-stater who moves here. Idaho or Alaska would have made more sense. Have fun pounding sand.

David M. (not verified)

Wow, I can sense the violence in the words of all the FSP haters here. While the FSP continues to grow and set great examples like this we can only expect more Cynthia Chases to pop up everywhere we turn. Amanda, I wouldn't let all the agitators here get you down. I think they have a deep loathing for others who just don't want to let big daddy government take care of all of us. It's funny how the "liberals" clamor for the "social contract" and tell the rest of us that it's our obligation to fork over our hard earned fiat dollars to help the needy. It falls in line with the absence of personal responsibility in our society, you know - Only the government can save us. Granted, there are people who through no fault of their own find themselves hungry, homeless, and without any means but this is the point of local charity and activism. I believe that neighbors who care and love each other can be a million times more helpful than some fat cat sitting behind a large desk. The FSP will win in the end though. It's about getting off your butt and getting active. Those hard-core liberals Paul speaks of will just come to NH and expect someone else (The Government) to do something about the FSP. Sucks for them when it will be all FSP participants that ran for office are the ones deciding what to do ;)

Paul Whitehall (not verified)

Here's why the free state movement will fail: your ideas are illogical. Here's an example. You don't think people should be forced to wear a helmet on a motorcycle. Most of us realize that it only takes a few helmetless people getting in accidents and suffering brain damage to drive up the health insurance rates of the rest of us. Therefore these people must be forced to wear a helmet. I love having a government that can force people to do things they are too dumb to do on their own.

See how much sense that makes? Your ideas are junk and will thankfully never attract the support of more than a tiny minority of people.

LibertyNorth (not verified)

For crying out loud. Someone does something great, something wonderful-feeding the needy and haters come on here attacking her.

I can't figure it out.

Paul Whitehall (not verified)

Libertynorth, read her first paragraph. As I stated, her deed was noble. That doesn't change the fact that the philosophy behind the free state movement is foolish. See my above posts for clarification.

Paul whitehall (not verified)

Just curious, how do you free staters plan on taking care of all the needs currently being met by local and federal govt. agencies?? Here are some examples of those needs and who is currently meeting them.

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. Then, I brushed my teeth with that water, filtered to standards set by the EPA and my state. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration. At the appropriate time as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank and printed by the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school. I park my car on the street, paved and maintained by the Department of Transportation, and put quarters issued by the United States Mint into the parking meter. Then, after spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, I drive back to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and the fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department. I then log onto the Internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and post on freerepublic and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right. Keep government out of my Medicare!

jaywalkaway (not verified)

Thank you for doing something wonderful, and with your own free will no less. If we all agree feeding the hungry is a good thing and the majority is happy to help the needy, wont they feel the same if given the choice?

jaywalkaway (not verified)

It's just as important to force individuals to undergo colonoscopies and urethral cultures, both for their own good and the greater good, of course.

jaywalkaway (not verified)

Sorry thought I was replying to Paul Whitehall, that last comment looks out of place now.

Paul Whitehall (not verified)

Jaywalkaway, help me understand the free state movement. You think everyone SHOULD give to help the needy, you just don't think anyone should be forced to do so? How very naïve.

In order for society to function, the majority must sometimes force people to do things. Public education is an obvious example. If we (the majority) didn't force people to send their kids to school and force EVERYONE to pay for it we would have tens of millions of uneducated people among us. That would be a catastrophically bad scenario for everyone. This is self-evident, no? Honestly, do you folks not realize this?

jaywalkaway (not verified)

Paul Whitehall, can you give some examples of societies that do not force the citizens into what some individuals deem correct behavior and the catastrophic outcome? It's also worth noting that there are ways to be educated outside of a school setting. Take someone growing up on a farm; through work and life in general, they will learn skills that are ultimately more valuable in sustaining ones life. It's also worth pointing out that you are not alone in your opinions and might consider seeking out more like-minded groups or states (it wont be difficult.) While I appreciate your disagreement, it doesn't feel totally appropriate to bicker in the comments section of such a lovely article. Merry Christmas to you.

Paul Whitehall (not verified)

Jay, in every society the majority forces people to do things that some aren't intellectually capable of understanding. I gave the example of the helmet laws and the catastrophic consequences to everyone caused by those who refuse to wear a helmet. Let me give you another example.

In nh people are not required to have auto insurance, yet most purchase it own their own. The problem is the 10% that refuse to buy it. What happens when someone without insurance rear ends a family? Who pays for that? We all do. That is a catastrophic consequence.

Maybe you are familiar with the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith? This quote of his explains a big chunk of the conservative/libertarian mindset:

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

That's all this free state thing is really all about. This particular one-day food drive accomplishes little more than soothing the conscience of a handful of selfish, delusional individuals.

I ask you again, help me understand this free state movement.

jaywalkaway (not verified)

Paul, since you asked so kindly for understanding, I can't help but attempt it. Keep in mind, I also fail to understand your less freedom is a good thing ideals; societies greatest advancements have corresponded with times of the most freedoms. Also, if you are really looking for understanding, not just an argument, try to keep an open-mind. You may be a proponent of force, but beliefs don't give in so easily.

It's interesting that NH is ranked among the best drivers, perhaps they have a bit extra incentive to avoid collisions. While I don't really know how insurance rates in NH compare to other states or understand your desire to protect people that you consider stupid; I do know that when it comes down to it we all have a choice. Pass all the laws you want, the choice remains. I may be mandated to buy insurance, but that is not a guarantee I will. In this scenario if an accident occurs, chances are the uninsured will not hang around if possible. If you are willing to be taxed for the benefit of others, why not pay more for insurance as well? Does New Hampshire not allow private charities? If they do, that will not suddenly change because people seek more freedom. Can you explain what it is you fear from this project? How do you feel it will impact you personally? Or possibly share the ways you devote your life to making a difference and why it is you've come to love your superior government officials so?

I should also point out, I am in no way speaking for those in the free state movement, each has their own voice and reasons. I can sympathize with and for you, change can be difficult and confusing. Many people have felt as you do or as many conservatives do (it's not the same as libertarian). We reason differently so it's not really a matter of right and wrong, just different. Take care

Paul Whitehall (not verified)

Jay, it's clear from your response that you do not understand what I'm saying. I'll try again.

I don't think the government should force people to wear helmets because I'm trying to "protect the stupid" (your words, not mine), I want people to be forced to wear helmets because the medical costs and other related costs that happen when these people crack their skull open are borne by everyone. Get it? As the holder of various insurance policies, these costs impact me personally.

Also, I never advocated violenence. "Forcing" people can be done through non-violent techniques like fines, license suspension, and jail time. If you are mandated to buy insurance and don't you will be fined, have your license taken away, and eventually be jailed. So the government, which represents the majority of people, can indeed force people to comply.

Our society is the product of decisions made by many generations of democratically elected officials. Of course I trust the government. Why wouldn't I? Having laws that force people to do the right thing makes most people more free.

libertyisrespon... (not verified)

My guess is that at best you are a liberal and at worst a progressive. Do you know that democrat states are the least generous states and that registered democrats give the least to charity? Why would that be? Because they want everyone else to fork up the dough to solve problems. They don't want to spend their money. While they cry love and compassion, they really have a great disdain for their fellowman. Because they do not have what they want, it is someone else's fault. Everyone is a jerk, but themselves of course, and someone higher up needs to force everyone to do the "right" thing. Their definition of "right" of course. They never consider the fact that the guy higher up forcing you to do the "right" thing is a person too. What makes someone elected to a government position immune to the temptations of other men? It is government economic policy that has helped create much of the poverty.

The problem with government welfare is that it ennobles no one. The person "giving" does so involuntarily and basically at the point of a gun. Probably not a lot of love in the payment of the extortion (taxes). The person receiving feels entitled to someone else's hard work and effort because the government has told him he deserves it because the only way someone has more than he does is because they have had "more advantages" or "stolen it from the poor working class". No love on the part of the receiver because after all, it should have been his in the first place in the twisted progressive thinking.

When one gives of his surplus or sacrifices something voluntarily he feels a deep love for the people he serves. Liking that feeling towards others, he continues to love and serve and inspires others to serve. The person receiving knows of the sacrifice, feels appreciation and often has a desire to help others as well. In doing so, he often lifts himself.

It is possible to build a society where there is no poor among them. Not because they have been banished, but because they have been lifted out of their poverty. But it will never happen because of a heavy handed government that redistributes the wealth. That experiment has been tried and it has failed over and over.

The US has been fighting the war on poverty since LBJ in the 60's. If the government was so wonderful at solving these problems and helping others, we would be in better shape, but we are in worse shape as far as the poor goes. People not government per say will be the solution.

LibertyDad (not verified)

Paul Whitehall, please open your eyes. Government force = violence. Fines and jail = threats of violence. Insurers can charge higher rates to those who engage in risky behavior; government force (violence) isn't needed. Kind people will help others; government force (violence) isn't needed. It is wrong to use force/violence against peaceful people. Watch "George ought to help" on YouTube.

Paul Whitehall (not verified)

Interesting how you free staters like to equate coercion with violence. Did the theif dressed as a cop steal your dictionary, too? Making ridiculous statements will not help you grow your movement.

Liberty dad says that insurance companies can charge higher rates to people who engage in risky behaviors. Hahahahabahah!!! I guess nobody told you that there are 50,000,000 Americans who don't have health insurance, yet are guaranteed by law (and rightfully so) medical emergency care that must be paid for for by those of us who do have insurance. I guess having to pay the medical bills of people who can't be bothered to buy a motorcycle helmet (or health insurance) makes me more free.

Exposing the utterly illogical foundations of your movement is child's play. Enjoy your little stunts while you can. As soon as more people find out what you believe you'll be the laughing stocks of the state.

Shawn Fahrer (not verified)

Paul: You don't realize the chains you put yourself in by "allowing" government to do nearly everything for you: be it health, education, welfare, employment,etc. Your last post about the 50 million Americans who were uninsured, yet guaranteed by law to have medical emergency care -- you conveniently forget that it is the remaining 265 million Americans (including YOU) that are paying for their care because YOU are paying a higher medical premium (no matter what insurance you may have) to subsidize the OVERCHARGES that hospitals engage in to recoup the costs of "charity cases". This de facto extortion by the 50 million makes the other 265 million far less free (since we have less fruits of our labor). The fact is that the law itself is the problem -- you shouldn't feel that it is "right" for someone else to (deliberately or not) take (some of) my money without my authorization -- sorry, Paul -- but this mandatory coverage for them is nothing more than THEFT from me. It makes you LESS free (and makes you a victim of a crime) to permit such things to happen over and over again (be it subsidies for RICH or poor).

You are the one who clearly lacks the logic here; your above post shows that you are quite adept of talking out of both sides of your mouth at the same time -- not unexpected from someone who wants government to do what PRIVATE CHARITIES should be doing WITHOUT government sticking its Pinocchio sized nose in the way. Government is best at killing people and thing (see police, military, and taxation, which kills your wallet -- these should be the major functions of government). It is not very good in the "saving business" -- that's where churches, etc. should be allowed to fill in the gaps. Obviously you don't trust "WE THE PEOPLE" very much to run their own lives WITHOUT governmental "supervision" (as if we were all "children", no matter what our age)-- maybe WE THE PEOPLE, in response, shouldn't trust what YOU have to say. And if you can't see that coercion and violence are related, I'd suggest that you get a much stronger pair of glasses (ones that aren't rose-colored, either).....

Paul Whitehall (not verified)

Good grief, Shawn, learn to read. We said the same thing with one huge difference - you think we should let the uninsured die in the streets. Oh, I'm sorry, you think that voluntary charity will provide for the 50,000,000 uninsured. Honestly, do any of you actually believe any of the garbage you spout?

I see that the idea of relying on charity is a cornerstone of the free state movement. As I stated in my first post, this is a ridiculous position. Charity and volunteerism, as practiced by the person who organized the food drive, is a massive waste of time and effort. Using tax dollars to pay for the mass distribution of aid is an infinitely more efficient way to comfort the afflicted. That's why generations of democratically elected officials put our current system into place.

Not one person responding to my posts has mounted anything even remotely resembling a logical defense of the libertarian nonsense you folks somehow consider to be legitimate philosophical ideas. As I stated, your movement consists of juvenile, impossible ideas put forth by a small group of selfish, deeply ignorant conspiracy theorists.

Madmanmike (not verified)

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Mahatma Gandhi

Peace to all the haters, don't feel threatened we come in peace.

seiche (not verified)

Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty, or give me death" not "Give me democracy or give me death!"

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