An Open Letter to Foster’s Daily Democrat

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.

Sincerely,
Dan Davis
Kensington NH

Conclusion is clear: Lower taxes aid economy

Seacoast Online ran this opinion article by Jack Thorsen today.

Steve Marchand’s opinion piece (Seacoast Sunday, May 30) on the adverse affect that the electric generator tax would have on New Hampshire economics is an excellent example of the kind of analysis we need for every tax increase that Concord contemplates.

More options

Another letter to the editor ran today, this time in Foster’s Daily Democrat (under the title “More options”).

I agree with the writer that the BCRA stifles free speech — but Republicans and Democrats are equally interested in stifling viewpoints that challenge the existing power structures. Anyone who thinks that the Republican Party is going to work for real change, other than putting themselves at the helm of the great ship of state, is deluding himself.

Third party options in New Hampshire

The Portsmouth Herald ran a letter from me today.

While New Hampshire’s political system is hostile to third parties, with onerous petitioning requirements and very tight deadlines, the options do exist.

While many SeaLs are working for liberty within the major parties, and I wish them luck, it is my opinion that the national organizations are so hostile to liberty as to render those efforts even more futile than third-party options. Stop by the LP of NH table at Liberty Forum this weekend and think about it.

Legalizing pot could be boon for New Hampshire

Fellow member of New Hampshire Seacoast Liberty, Jack Thorsen wrote a great opinion piece entitled “Legalizing pot could be boon for New Hampshire” over here. Here’s a brief excerpt
It is ridiculous that we have people in jail for what is essentially a victimless crime, and the whole process from stake-out to bust to arrest to prosecution to incarceration wastes an enormous amount of time and taxpayer money.

Let’s All Take a Deep Breath

Let’s All Take a Deep Breath

By Scott McPherson

At a recent Seacoast Liberty event I was approached by a member of our organization who told me that he planned to start dedicating a great deal of his time to persuading people to homeschool their children. I applauded his intentions, only to quickly re-evaluate my initial reaction.

Because, you see, he then told me that one of his methods for accomplishing this goal would be to “convince parents that sending their kids to a public school is child abuse.”

Moral hysteria plays, sadly, too large a role in the Freedom Movement today. Few of us, myself included, are completely innocent of having employed it at one time or another to make a point. But in using moral hysteria as a ready tool to beat our opponents into intellectual submission we run a very serious risk of losing all credibility.

Admittedly, this kind of behavior is not unique to libertarians. “Godwin’s Law,” which states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches,” came to be a popular observation on the World Wide Web precisely because the average American’s ability to dispassionately and fairly argue a point is in rapid and steady decline. Politics is a nasty business.

But even if one feels perfectly up to the task of “proving” to another beyond a reasonable doubt that he is no better than a murderous dictator for failing to support some cause or embrace some point of view or take some action, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to get our overall point across. We will not make any friends this way.

Worse, we will drive away the friends we already have.

And while swimming around as the big fish in a little pond may gratify the egos of some, it won’t move us any closer to the free society we all wish to see in our lifetime.

This came jumping off the page at me today as I read my friend Jacob Hornberger’s blog on the Future of Freedom Foundation website. In a mock contrast of modern “liberalism” and “conservatism,” he shows how alike they are by highlighting the major issues on which they generally find common cause. These are:

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, SBA loans, foreign aid, government-business partnerships, economic regulations, income taxation, trade restrictions, immigration controls, public schools, the Federal Reserve and its fiat currency, home loan assistance, corporate bailouts, the war on drugs, militarism and empire, torture, military tribunals, and the military industrial complex.

I would add “gun control” to this list. Support for these pretty much sums up the liberal/conservative worldview. Now, you might shave a few off here and there, but essentially these are the things that the average American, regardless of the dominant political philosophy with which he identifies, agrees government ought to be doing to us.

Then there is this small but, thankfully, growing number of people who identify with the libertarian view. We by and large oppose all of that. You can shave a few off here and there, but essentially these are things that the average libertarian thinks government shouldn’t be doing at all.

What struck me right away was how large this list really is. It is by no means exhaustive, but it gives us a great perspective. There is a lot of agreement in our movement. It is this general agreement and, more importantly, agreement on the principles from which we derive our stance on these issues, that draws us to one another, and to Seacoast Liberty.

At the same time, it is important to realize that there is not universal consensus even among “hard core” libertarians about every one of those things, let alone some others I could mention. What about “intellectual property rights”? Anarcho-capitalism versus limited, constitutional government? Abortion? Privatization of roads and bridges? Gay marriage? The complete abolition of taxation? Replacing a standing army with a general militia? Age of consent laws?

Do all of these debates have to be settled with complete uniformity of thought before we can get on with the business of promoting individual freedom?

And if changing public opinion about government is truly our goal, then an honest person would have to admit that we are still a long, long way from even modest success. That distance will only grow larger when we abandon civil discourse and start calling people “child abusers” because they send their kids to school.

Scott McPherson is a member of Seacoast Liberty. His children have never set foot in a school.

Americans are quite capable of self-governing

Fellow member of New Hampshire Seacoast Liberty, Jack Thorsen wrote a great opinion piece entitled “Americans are quite capable of self-governing” over here. Here’s a brief excerpt:

The American people are fed up with paternalistic over-reaching government, and we are starting to shout, “Enough is enough!” Freedom is the unifying factor missing from today’s divisive political dialogue.