With apologies to Albert Jay Nock, it appears as if the title of this piece could be the title of a recent blog post comment by New Hampshire Rep. Cynthia Chase titled “Free Staters Unwelcome Here.” On the libgressive blog site Blue Hampshire, she excoriates those involved with the Free State Project (Jason’s first baby) and argues that one way to deal with Free Staters is to deter them from coming in the first place by passing “measures that will restrict the ‘freedoms’ that they think they will find here.” The whole comment is here. And as a strategy for dealing with first movers and native lovers of liberty, Boston Mayor James Michael Curley would be impressed.
But let’s “fisk” the piece for fun.
In the opinion of this Democrat, Free Staters are the single biggest threat the state is facing today.
If only. I’d like to believe this is true at least in terms of her leftist vision for the state, but in reality Free Staters are still a relatively small part of even the small number of politically active persons in New Hampshire. There are 233 state-level elected Democrats in New Hamphire (221 in the House + 11 in the Senate + 1 Governor) alone. First Mover Free Staters – some of whom are not really all that active in political life less broadly defined – number only 1120. Given this – and even if 20,000 Free Staters ultimately move to NH, their reach would be quite limited if not for the many, many New Hampshire “natives” who already subscribe to a limited government vision for New Hampshire. Free Staters are/will be a huge “force multiplier,” but Chase’s real enemies are these “natives” who simply don’t want New Hampshire to (continue to) turn into its social democratic neighbors.
There is, legally, nothing we can do to prevent them from moving here to take over the state, which is their openly stated goal. In this country you can move anywhere you choose and they have that same right. What we can do is to make the environment here so unwelcoming that some will choose not to come, and some may actually leave.
Thankfully Chase recognizes that she can’t man the borders and insist on an ideological purity test before allowing people entry. And I don’t really have a big problem with people using moral suasion or disapprobation to make others feel unwelcome if they are behaving improperly in the eyes of the beholder. In fact, I think some of the Free Keene folks might benefit from a bit of disapprobation. However …
One way is to pass measures that will restrict the “freedoms” that they think they will find here.
What I do find problematic is that Chase wants to use the coercive power of the state to make New Hampshire unwelcoming to Free Staters. What else could she mean? And I really wish she had specified what “freedoms” she wants to restrict or take away? I hope her voters will insist she give an answer since their “freedoms” will also be taken away or restricted in such a move.
That being said, I hope that the lovers of liberty in New Hampshire will take notes here from Chase. If this movement gains political power, it should structurally lock-in (as much as possible) “freedoms” that will make the state unwelcoming to those hostile to a free society. But the state here isn’t restricting people’s “freedoms” (btw, I love the scare quotes), it is only doing that which the state is legitimately tasked to do (protecting the natural rights of individuals who have moved from anarchy into political life) and only putting more institutional teeth into protecting those freedoms from the tyranny of future majorities in democratic life.
Another is to shine the bright light of publicity on who they are and why they are coming.
I think Free Staters – and btw, I’m not a Free Stater – will welcome the publicity and a serious discussion of their individual goals and stories. I still have hope that Americans and Granite Staters will find these stories compelling. So in order to further Chase’s vision, I invite people to watch this documentary on a few Free Staters, all of whom I met at a PorcFest
I attended in order to see and hear more. Note that our fellow Pilei Jason Sorens is one of those featured in the film:
They can not put their ideology into our statutes unless we elect them in great enough numbers to take over our General Court. We have already seen them try during the last session of the General Court. Our last election was a repudiation of their extremism.
The last election was largely a mix of the effects of the national election on New Hampshire politics and some backlash against the O’Brien regime. It shows that the fight for liberty in New Hampshire has a long way to go, but it hardly was a repudiation of the Free State Project anymore than the 2010 election of nearly a supermajority of Republicans was an embrace of the Free State Project or even a long-term victory by limited government conservatives.
Here in Keene we had a couple show up on Central Square to take part in our weekly Saturday morning peace demonstration. In the course of the conversation they allowed that they were Free Staters considering moving to Keene. The folks on the Square told them in no uncertain terms not to do that because Free Staters are not welcome here. Cheshire County is a welcoming community but not to those whose stated goal is to move in enough ideologues to steal our state, and our way of life.
Toleration in the political sense is a must in a free society. However, I can certainly appreciate that people should be allowed to socially shun those they disagree with. Yet there is a bit of contradiction in the notion that Chesire County is a welcoming community that doesn’t welcome some people.
Ultimately the Free Staters want NH to be a platform state for them to export their views to the rest of the country.
Yes, yes, yes! Or more accurately, to be a model of freedom that other states can emulate. Or at worst, be a safe-haven for freedom so that people in other states can vote with their feet and realize liberty in their lifetime.
Some of these folks dress up pretty well, but if you check their website you will find that they are really wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I don’t think Free Staters are hiding anything. They are pretty transparent and some don’t even dress up that well ;-)
And I think it is wise for Free Staters to look and act like the responsible people 99.9% of them are.
The best strategy from my perspective is to keep shining a light on their views and activities and make it very plain that NH is not up for sale to any ideology.
The second part of this makes no sense at all. Free Staters are not trying to buy anything and actually have very little money. Moreover, many conservative and libertarian donors are (unwisely in my view) hesitant to invest in the fight in New Hampshire despite the strength this movement and is friend have shown in being a force multiplier in the battle for freedom there.
To ignore these people and hope they go away is a recipe for disaster.
Ok, fine. I hope so!
Overall, what this piece shows in general is that members of the left like Chase have embraced the friend-enemy distinction that exemplifies the political thought of controversial theorist Carl Schmitt. Can you see that Alan Wolfe or do you only see one direction?