Foster’s Daily Democrat, a newspaper based in Dover NH, has been printing official editorials criticizing the Free State Project. Native New Hampshirite Dan Davis submitted the following as an op/ed in response. Foster’s refused to run it. – Mike Vine
As a lifelong NH resident, I am disappointed with recent Foster’s editorials which incorrectly demonize the Free State Project. The paper continually mischaracterizes the FSP as a monolithic force, whose members are conspiring to “take over NH.”
A few weeks ago, an editorial accused some office-seekers with FSP connections of dishonesty because they ran as Republicans rather than as Libertarians. The reality is that the political establishment in NH has created enormous barriers to third-party participation, so it no surprise that these candidates chose the path of least resistance.
Is Foster’s suggesting that there should be some sort of litmus test of party purity in lieu of building coalitions, or do they merely oppose the right of free association? If Foster’s editors truly care about accuracy in party labels, maybe they should consider endorsing a reform like approval voting, which gets rid of “wasted votes” and allows more parties to compete.
Another editorial, on March 3rd, conjured additional “proof” of FSP duplicity. Carla Gericke, president of the FSP, recently declared that she would like to trigger the move of 20,000 Free State Project participants in 2 years rather than 5. Foster’s called this “suspicious” since such a timetable could impact the 2016 elections. To which I say: So what? If these people move to our state, then they have the right to vote like anyone else.
Gericke also mentioned seeking 501(c)3 charitable status to facilitate the FSP goal. Foster’s characterizes this as deception by a group that they perceive merely as advocates for specific political actions, or particular candidates. But as an organization, FSP’s only goal is to encourage 20,000 liberty activists to move to NH. They don’t even define what makes a person a “liberty activist.”
The editorial itself explains that the IRS will not grant 501(c)3 status to groups primarily engaged in political action. That the FSP would apply for tax exempt non-profit status is hardly “political skullduggery.”
In short, Foster’s efforts to portray the FSP as a secretive cabal have backfired with this native; such attacks fortify my support for these idealistic underdogs. After all, the libertarian principles of non- aggression, self-ownership, and personal responsibility are completely consistent with the values we hold dear in NH.