I’ve recently returned from the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, held February 23-26 in Nashua, NH and sponsored by the Free State Project. The two evening keynote speakers were libertarian free-range farmer Joel Salatin and investor and recent U.S. Senate candidate Peter Schiff. In addition, session speakers included school-choice economist Angela Dills, former Libertarian Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Ken Krawchuk, jailed marijuana activist Marc Emery’s wife Jodie, economist John Lott, Institute for Justice litigator Clark Neily, libertarian-anarchist feminist Sharon Presley, and Laissez-Faire Books publisher and former Mises.org editor Jeffrey Tucker.
Unfortunately, I had to help take care of a sick child, and I missed most of the talks, including Joel Salatin’s Saturday-night address. However, I did get to hear Jodie Emery, Ken Krawchuk, and Peter Schiff, and, perhaps more importantly, to catch up with many New Hampshire friends. The event received a good bit of local press coverage. Some examples:
Events like this and their annual summer Porcupine Freedom Festival not only serve to promote the Libertarian mindset, but also create conversation that Free State Project president Carla Gericke says is of the utmost importance to the group’s goals.
“We are striving to live as free as possible,” Gericke said. “With freedom comes great responsibility. Sometimes, when I think about the movement, it’s almost like a form of localization on steroids.”
Gericke believes the Free State Project is attractive to people because the idea of collecting Libertarians to make a difference in government is a practical one. She added that, since her election as Free State Project president in 2011—three years after her own move to New Hampshire—she has been less focused on getting signatures on the statement of intent.
“Some of my focus has actually moved toward attracting people to move,” she said. “It’s great that they signed the pledge, but in terms of things on the ground, the more bodies we have here, the more we can actually accomplish.”
The forum, in its fifth year, is the annual meeting for the New Hampshire Free State Project. Free Staters already living in New Hampshire and those thinking about moving here make up most of the participants, but everyone is invited, said Chris Lawless, a Hopkinton resident and the Free State Project’s forum organizer.
“We want people to come meet us, see we don’t have horns growing out of our heads,” Lawless said.
Freedom to live as one chooses is a powerful ideal, and a conference exploring the concept was worth the drive from New Jersey for Marcus Connor, 37.
“Liberty is dying every day in the United States,” Connor said.
The government is killing it, he said.
That view was espoused in speeches throughout the morning. It was the drumbeat that would sound throughout the various programs of the forum.
One of the day’s first speakers, John Bush, talked of the need to abandon the U.S. Constitution, which he said was written to protect the interests of the nation’s founding fathers, who were “the privileged elite at the time.”
Bush represented Agora 21, described as “a counter-economic approach to building a free society in the 21st century.”
Bush acknowledged the Constitution marked civilization’s best achievement toward limiting government, but added, “I think we can do better. I think we can do much better.”
Keynote speaker Friday is economist Peter Schiff, CEO of Connecticut-based Euro Pacific Capital Inc., who will talk about the current economic business cycle (a sham), what mistakes have been made (too many to count), what to expect next (something worse than the last collapse), and what you can do to prepare (buy gold, vote for Ron Paul, invest in foreign currency).
As you may have guessed, if you’re looking for someone to paint a rosy picture of the country’s gradual economic recovery since 2008, Schiff is not your guy.
“The future is bleak,” said Schiff in a recent phone interview with Nashua Patch.