Live Free or Die Trying
Jonathan David Morris, Mens News Daily, October 7, 2003
A few months ago, I wrote about the Free State Project -- a plan whereby thousands of libertarians and constitutional purists would move en masse to a single state in hopes of winning public office and dismantling cumbersome Big Gov't rule. Now, an update: The ballots are in, the votes have been counted, and New Hampshire's been chosen as the official destination of freedom-loving people all over the world.
Info posted at FreeStateNH.com shows the Granite State to be ideal. It was "the first state to declare its independence from England in 1774," for example, and maintains "the only constitution in the world that protects its citizens' right to revolution." What's more, it has "no general income tax and no sales tax," and it's "second only to Alaska for lowest poverty rates" -- a fork in the eye of entitlement programs everywhere.
Oh, and just in case those checks and balances aren't enough to put career politicians in their place, New Hampshire legislators earn a paltry hundred bucks a year for their troubles.
Best of all, though, is the "long-held tradition of local control through town meetings." Let me tell you something: Where I live, such long-held traditions have long since gone the way of commonsense in this country. You know the Freedom of Speech painting by Norman Rockwell? Yeah, well, where I live, it isn't like that. We don't have town meetings in New Jersey. We have local access television. You can speak your mind, all right, but no one's listening. The TV's on mute, the auditorium's empty, and even the janitor's gone home.
Now, I don't know about you, but I yearn for a simpler time in America -- what Team Reagan might've called "morning again" -- when girls were girls, men were men, and "power to the people" was more than a cutesy catchphrase for the young and pointlessly restless. I'm talking about a time when your family raised you instead of your school, a time when dad worked for one company for 30 or 40 years and got a gold pocket watch when he retired. Indeed, I'm talking about a time when every American respected Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and a time when every American was self-made because of it.
From where I stand, the Free State Project represents our best shot at a genuine American revolution. Not the violent kind, mind you, but the kind that grabs hard-working, clear-thinking people by the heart -- the kind that shakes, not stirs, them to their senses. I'm tired of stupid laws and pointless fines, high taxes, and state-run morality. But if there's something Free Staters must understand, it's that, in the battle against Big Gov't, their enemy's in it to win it -- and so they must be in it to win it, too.
While NH Gov. Craig Benson welcomes the FSP and claims to have "more in common with Libertarians than with my own Republican colleagues," state Democrats are already crying wolf. Yes, the supposed party of civil liberties is aghast at the libertarian concept of decriminalizing victimless crimes. Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan, for example, as quoted by Kate McCann of the Associated Press, called the Free State Project "a group that wants to legalize prostitution, legalize drugs, and eliminate public schools." She went on to say that they have "a radical, antifamily agenda."
And meantime, the Guardian suggests New Hampshire's new look will amount to "a green light for casinos, brothels, cocaine farms, and gun supermarkets." And sure it sounds filthy when you run off a list like that, but therein lies the key to making this thing work: Free Staters must prove that people don't need Big Gov't to make them behave.
I'm sure it seems like a frivolous choice for citation, but I can't help but think last summer's Spider-Man movie said it best when Uncle Ben said, "With great power comes great responsibility." It's crucial that Free Staters keep this in mind. From driving a car and owning a gun to something as seemingly simple as having kids -- wherever there's power, responsibility must be shown. Whenever the latter is lacking, the former is there for the taking by politicians and their ill-conceived concept of the public good.
If the principle of self-government is paramount amongst the FSP's objectives, then so, too, should they demonstrate a noticeable level of self-control. Perhaps that sounds a bit too collectivist for some libertarians, but I'm talking about something pretty simple here. Proactive etiquette. Good manners the likes of which most men, women, and children haven't seen since they stopped showing Donna Reed on Nick at Nite. Why? Because, in this era of high-speed Web connections, auto car starters, and microwave ovens, people aren't used to self-reliance. They need to see why it's better. They need to have the illusion of nanny-state superiority shattered once and for all.
Now, obviously, the Free State Project isn't all about sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, but not everyone knows that. Opposing politicians are going to play on misconceptions, and the media's going to let them. Leading by example, however, Free Staters can take their reputation into their own hands.
And if, and when, the day comes that an old woman in New Hampshire is heard to say of a crack addict, "Yes, he's a junkie, but he helped me across the street last week -- he's really a very nice boy," victory will be near. That's when we'll know that Americans are living in perfect harmony, content to do their own thing without butting into someone else's business and/or businesses. This is the kind of future that freedom deserves in our country, and with the FSP it isn't out of reach.
You know, it was only two years ago that people said New York looked like a war zone. Yet today it's a battleground, a theater in which the forces of big and small government are entrenched in endless war. New York's mayor, King Bloomberg, has made tax slaves out of everyday smokers, happily segregating them from the city's restaurants while stopping just shy of calling them a subspecies. But will anyone hijack the cigarette shipments and toss 'em into New York Harbor? Of course not, no. We'd "get in trouble." But such is the case in America these days, where we'd sooner make war on our libraries than close our wide-open borders.
Members of the Free State Project want big, bumbling bureaucracies to leave them alone -- to let them pass or fail life's little tests on merits completely their own. A state like New Hampshire, with its lack of seatbelt and bike helmet laws, is a perfect place to start. As long as the self-governing power bestowed upon these liberty-loving carpetbaggers is met with a level of responsibility befitting its magnitude, this might well be the fairest shake for freedom in 227 years.
And it couldn't've come at a better time.
Legend has it that Jonathan David Morris was raised in the Jersey wild by a pack of rabid liberals who treated him like one of their own. Regardless, he's since been civilized and now spends his days holed away in the log cabin of his conservative mind. JDM is an aspiring novelist and self-described sociosatirical commentator, a man who believes the wolf-like lefties created an unrelenting hunter when they taught him how to write. From politics and current events to issues of culture and idiocy, when JDM laces 'em up it's no-holds-barred and no topic out-of-bounds.