By Etienne de la Boetie2, Founder of the Art of Liberty Foundation and author of “Government” – The Biggest Scam in History… Exposed!
People around the world are organizing various efforts to secure an area with political sovereignty to implement societies free from the control system of “government.” The largest and most exciting is the Free State Project in New Hampshire.
The Free State Project has organized over 24,000+ activists who have pledged to move to New Hampshire and campaign actively for its political independence. The group has already moved and organized over 6,200+ in the state, with more arriving every week and has spent over a decade successfully rolling back laws, getting libertarians elected to office, and building the political and social networks needed for societal change. I believe that if we free New Hampshire, then we, ultimately, can win freedom everywhere, as we demonstrate, through a single “laboratory-of-liberty,” that you can have harmony and prosperity without “government.”
The Free State Project started in 2001 when a political science student, Jason Sorens, then a Ph.D. student at Yale, published an article highlighting the failure of libertarians to elect any candidate to federal office and outlining his ideas for a secessionist movement, calling people to respond to him with interest. That response led to the organization on the Internet, and the Free State Project was born without a specific state in mind.
101 Reasons Liberty Lives in New Hampshire
The initial participants began a systematic review of the US states with a sub-1.5 million population to determine which state would be the easiest to take over. Participants analyzed such variables as population, spending by political parties, the make-up of the legislature, and the percentage of libertarians in the state. Hawaii and Rhode Island were eliminated for their political propensity to centralized government, and a “bake-off” was held in September of 2003 between Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. New Hampshire edged out Wyoming (57% vs. 43%) in the final vote.
Members of the Free State Project signed a “Statement of Intent” promising to move within five years to whichever state was chosen when the total population of the group hit 20,000, a number that had been calculated as what was needed for a committed group of activists to significantly influence a small state with a sub-1.5 million population.
Once New Hampshire was chosen in 2003, FSP members began moving to the State immediately. These were called “Early Movers,” and they began having an impact almost immediately. The group hit 20,000 “signers” in February of 2016, triggering “The Move,” however, there were all kinds of “outs” in the agreement. Some signers wouldn’t move because they didn’t like New Hampshire, some signers got married, some signers divorced, and many had passed away. Many moved… Some haven’t.. yet… more continue to arrive almost every day, and more find out about it every single day… around the world.
Flash forward to today. The FSP now has 6230+ members “on the ground” in New Hampshire, with new members arriving every single week. The actual number is likely higher because not every member has notified the organization’s office that they have moved. Many simply don’t want to be on a list when we have an organized crime “government” targeting pro-freedom individuals and organizations. The organization runs an extremely active jobs board to help folks considering making the move find employment in the state, a housing board to help them find accommodations, AND the FSP “Welcome Wagon” of fellow porcupines helps new movers unload when they arrive. You supply the pizza and beer!
The Free Staters, known as “porcupines,” have been incredibly successful in keeping the torch of Liberty alive in New Hampshire. The state has retained its low-tax status as the only North-Eastern state with no income and no sales tax. Forty-five free staters have been elected to the house of representatives or senate, but the actual number may be higher as some porcupines run as Republicans and Democrats in a kind of reverse-Fabian socialism (Sheepdogs in Wolves-Clothing). Furthermore, the free-staters in the legislature have formed strong political alliances with both sides of the house, and there is a solid voting block of over 100+ representatives that consistently vote pro-freedom on almost every issue.
The Free Stater’s successes in New Hampshire transcend party politics. The members have built political and social networks needed for widespread societal change. On the political side, the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance rates every piece of legislation coming before the house and senate on whether it is pro-freedom or anti-freedom and assigns a report card score of A-F to every legislator on their voting record. Rebuild New Hampshire organizes activists and amplifies communications. The Children’s Scholarship Fund successfully lobbied the legislature to allow NH businesses to redirect a portion of their business proceeds tax to an Educational Tax Credit that has awarded scholarships totaling over $9,000,000, allowing students to attend schools that best meet their needs.
On the social side, FSP members have created multiple community centers across the state that serve as homeschooling cooperatives, agorist marketplaces, co-working spaces, and community clubhouses. These include The Quill in Manchester, the Praxeum in Portsmouth, the Shell in Rollinsford, and the Wearehouse in Weare. Freestaters hold more than 550+ meetups, conferences, happy hours, game nights, singles events, hiking clubs, and full-fledged festivals in every corner of the state. You can see the complete calendar at https://www.fsp.org/calendar/
What is PorceFest and the FSP
The Porcupine Freedom Festival is the FSP’s annual camping festival that takes over the largest campground in the state for a full week each June. The event draws 2500+ attendees from around the world and features world-class speakers, parties, workshops, vendors, and activism in a family-friendly setting.
A Libertarian and Voluntaryist Redoubt
The symbolism of the porcupine is simple. The porcupine only wants to be left alone. He has quills, but they are only for self-defense. While the majority of FSP members support a limited government that only protects life, liberty and property, a significant number are voluntaryists who don’t believe in the legitimacy, necessity or desirability of “government” at all. There is a running joke within the FSP: what is the difference between a libertarian and a voluntaryist in New Hampshire? Answer: About Six Months!
In the book, I break down the unethically manipulative techniques that the U.S. “government” has used to indoctrinate the pseudo-religion of statism into the shave-headed cult members that wear the uni-form (single form, conformity) and enforce the “commandments” (laws) with a judge that wears a “vestment”. I firmly believe that no libertarians or voluntaryists are safe until we have a redoubt where the shave-headed enforcers have no power because they are either:
1. Mocked relentlessly from all sides by a population that understands the scam of “government” and the unethically manipulative techniques used to create non-thinking, immoral gunmen.
2. They are outnumbered and outgunned by a peaceful but well-armed population who simply aren’t going to be robbed using “government” anymore.
New Hampshire is one of the only places on the planet where these dynamics are slowly and surely taking hold. And it has a history of Liberty and defiance to the artificial “authority” of “government”
The Pine Tree Riot
New Hampshire has a proud heritage of defiance vs. bogus “government” authority. On April 13, 1772, Benjamin Whiting, Sheriff of Hillsborough County, and his Deputy John Quigley were sent to South Weare with a warrant to arrest the leader of the Weare mill owners who were ignoring a “government” edict that they not cut down trees of “greater than 12” diameter which were reserved for the King of England to make masts for Royal Navy ships.
At dawn the next day Mudgett led between 20 and 30-40 men to the tavern. Whiting was still in bed, and Mudgett burst in on him. With their faces blackened with soot for disguise, more than 20 townsmen rushed into Whiting’s room. They began to beat him with tree branch switches, giving one lash for every tree being contested. The sheriff tried to grab his pistols, but he was thoroughly outnumbered. Rioters grabbed him by his arms and legs, hoisted him up, face to the floor, while others continued to mercilessly assault him with tree switches. Whiting later reported that he thought the men would surely kill him. Quigley was also pulled from his room and received the same treatment from another group of townsmen. The sheriff and deputy’s horses were brought around to the inn door. The rioters then cut off the ears and shaved the manes and tails of the horses, after which Whiting and Quigley were forced to ride out of town through a gauntlet of jeering townspeople, shouted at and slapped down the road towards Goffstown.
What Happens when “Government” Thugs Threaten Porcfest
“Government” Tax Collectors try to collect the “meals tax” from food vendors at Porcfest and are surrounded, mocked, and driven off, never to return!
Because New Hampshire now has one of the largest concentrations of voluntaryists in the world, the indoctrinated pseudo-religion of “statism” and belief in “government” not only doesn’t fly in New Hampshire but the concentration of pro-freedom activists is approaching the point where they outnumber the bureaucrats and gunmen. Some examples:
In 2015 agents from the NH Dept. of Revenue showed up at Porcfest and attempted to collect the “meals tax” from food vendors. They were surrounded, mocked, driven-off and the “Dept of Revenue” has never attempted to rob merchants at Porcfest again.
I have heard stories of porcupines who were pulled over by the cops and used the now defunct group-calling-app Porc911 that sends a call blast to everyone subscribed. The police officer (and other responding officers and state police) were surrounded and outnumbered by porcupines who made fun of them, laughed at their “uni-forms” and mocked them relentlessly. The porcupines in New Hampshire are trying to reboot the semi-defunct Cell411, an app that crowdsources emergencies to friends, family, neighbors, mutual aid societies, and militias to modernize and improve that capability.
Finally, in Keene, pro-legalization cannabis activists stormed the Keene police department after one of their members was arrested at a pro-legalization “smoke-in” at the town square. The activists forced the release of their arrested member and then lit up and smoked out the police station! It even made the local paper with a fairly positive light.
An Armed Society is a Polite Society
New Hampshire has the lowest murder rate in the nation, despite “lax” gun laws. The lowest murder rate in the nation doesn’t equate to lightly armed. It equates to being massively armed. My favorite Free State Project gun club is called “Gun Church” (Cause it is on Sunday and for people who like to shoot religiously). Run by a former Green Beret with assistance from Ex-Navy SEALS, Rangers and other ex-military, the group teaches modern gun fighting techniques for community protection. It is getting to the point when the shave-headed cult members of the “government” come out to try to enforce on their neighbors that they are going to find themselves outnumbered and out-gunned!
The Pre-State Project
The Free State Project is capable of and, I believe, destined for exponential growth! New Hampshire is rapidly approaching the point where the Hundredth Monkey Effect takes place, and a majority of the population comes to the understanding that “government” is illegitimate, illogical, openly criminal and has been robbing/tax-farming the population for half their income. My organization, The Art of Liberty Foundation, believes that dynamic can be accelerated and has come up with a plan that we call “The Pre-State Project” to super-charge the growth by widely exposing the illegitimacy and criminality of “government” in a way that can’t be censored by the monopoly media.
A “Free-Stater” is someone who has moved to New Hampshire to seek limited “government.” and greater personal and economic freedom. A “Pre-Stater” is someone who already lives in New Hampshire BUT agrees with and is supportive of the FSP’s liberty goals. Currently, the majority of FSP members are “Pre-Staters” and growing this number could be a powerful strategy for taking over and freeing the State.
Our “shovel-ready” plan entails dropping 100,000 copies of “Government” – The Biggest Scam in History, Liberator flash drives, and a TBD documentary to the intelligentsia, influential and libertarian-leaning in the state and driving the interested to town hall events where we introduce the FSP and the social and political organizations that stand ready to absorb and utilize new members while moving them to uncensorable, encrypted communications. We believe this can be accomplished for a couple of million dollars and, once freed from the scam and control system of “Government,” New Hampshire can serve as both an example and “laboratory-of-liberty” for other secession movements. If you want to free California, China, Israel or the UK, then free New Hampshire first! You can evaluate our plan for the Pre-State Project at ArtOfLiberty.org/About in our Executive Summary.
Free State Project New Hampshire Liberty Events: PorcFest – Porcupine Freedom Festival every June, The Freecoast Festival (Sept, Portsmouth) or the Liberty Forum (March, Manchester), FSP Calendar (550+ Liberty Meet Ups and activities year-round)
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate. Etienne de la Boetie2 is the founder of the Art of Liberty Foundation and the author of “Government” – The Biggest Scam in History, that is exposing the illegitimacy and criminality of “Government” while promoting solutions like the Free State Project, among others featured in the book. He was signer #50 in the Free State Project and has been one of the effort’s most prolific representatives promoting the project on blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and radio shows worldwide. This article was originally published on Substack and was re-published on The Liberty Block at the request of the author.