Driving for UBER on New Years Eve in the Shire


Want to drive for UBER? It’s easy to get started.

I’m one of New Hampshire’s newest UBER drivers, or “partners” as UBER refers to us. I’ve been a fan of UBER’s innovation and open challenging of the status quo of transportation for a long time, and we’ve covered their various conflicts with state and city regulators on my talk radio program, Free Talk Live.

More recently, UBER has been featured multiple times here on Free Keene in the context of the Portsmouth, NH showdown between Free UBER activists committing ongoing civil disobedience versus the city enforcers who are protecting an oligopoly. With Portsmouth police openly threatening New Years Eve charity rides – the city is now scraping the bottom of the barrel, and it will be a real feat for them to look more embarrassing and ridiculous than they do now, but they might figure out a way. Give ’em time. Maybe Portsmouth will file a stupid lawsuit like Keene did against the Robin Hooders and shoot the free publicity for the new Arcade City ride-sharing app to the moon.

UBER NH Territory 2015

The actual coverage extends north of Concord and as far west as Peteborough and Hillsborough.

On New Year’s Eve I logged in to the UBER partner app in the Concord area and was able to help a bunch of somewhat intoxicated, very nice people get home safely! Plus, we had some very interesting conversations. I’ve only given six rides for UBER thus far, but my clients have all been under forty years old. I asked some tonight what made them use UBER in Concord, given that it’s not even officially operating there (click to see UBER’s currently inaccurate coverage map), and their responses were that they knew it worked in other big cities and wanted to try it rather than deal with the apparently awful cabs. There were plenty of unprompted complaints about terrible cab experiences my passengers have had in New Hampshire.

For one passenger tonight, it was his first time taking an UBER. He said it was the best possible UBER first time experience – wow, what a compliment! The guy tipped me, too (not required with UBER, but still appreciated!) During our conversation we were talking about the crackdown in Portsmouth on Free UBER (which he’d not heard about), and he was totally onboard with freedom, at least in the area of transportation. He even commented about how competition makes everything better. (more…)

The Long Road Home (to the ‘shire!)

I heard Jason Sorens speak in 2005. He advocated that liberty-oriented individuals around the globe vote with their feet and relocate to New Hampshire (NH) as part of the Free State Project – to pursue liberty in our lifetime. I was intrigued. A month later I drove from DC to Lancaster to attend PorcFest. I was present for less than 24 hours. That was plenty of time to recognize the potential of the idea.

I then got involved with the Mid-Atlantic Free State Project group whilst living in northern Virginia. I valued my experiences there – getting better acquainted with Austrian Economics and its implications, and cultivating other knowledge and skills – but the thought of moving to NH tugged at me. It was appealing to not just talk about liberty, but to actively pursue it.

In 2009 I relocated to NH, which I now call “the ‘shire” for its magical qualities. Keene was homebase for The Motorhome Diaries and Liberty on Tour, as well the place that Cop Block was incubated. It became clear when I was on the road with those projects that, while there are growing pockets of communities who internalize the ideas of self-ownership, the ‘shire was special.

In 2014 – at PorcFest, of course – I met the person who, in 2015, agreed to be my life partner. That fine lady, if you’re unaware, is Amanda B. Johnson. We plan to re-up each year, so long as we’re both still having fun. Based on our frequency of laughs and smiles and songs, I’d say we’re on a good trajectory.

tamworth the shire pete eyre amanda b. johnson freekeene.com 600x400

Amanda B. Johnson and Pete Eyre in Tamworth, the ‘shire

In late 2014 Amanda and I left the ‘shire for Oklahoma City where I got top-notch surgery to repair my ripped bicep. The friendly and entrepreneurial folks at the Oklahoma Surgery Center agreed to be paid entirely in Bitcoin and gold. And the anesthesiologist’s own son was super into Cop Block! (more…)

Hard Lesson from Portsmouth for the Libertarian Critics: Publicized Activism Offends

Portsmouth Herald, Spreading Hate of Activists

Portsmouth Herald, Spreading Hate of Activists

Here’s an ugly, state-worshiping editorial from the Portsmouth Herald that tries to position the area taxi companies as the little, local guys vs the big, evil national corporation. The reality is that UBER is merely a platform that individual drivers, who operate as independent contractors, can use to find people who need rides. These drivers live in the Portsmouth area, and as independent, individual businesses, are even smaller businesses than the local taxi companies. But that’s not all the derisive, snooty editorial imparts:

Incorrectly labeling “Free UBER” as “Free State Uber” – they take a dismissive tone of the demonstrations that have occurred at a local bar and last night at the city council meeting and then go on to insult the Seacoast activists in the same way the Keene Sentinel and other critics have insulted Keene activists, calling the activism a “Free State sideshow”. “You can’t make this stuff up”, the unsigned editorial whines regarding the activism surrounding the UBER controversy.

There have, within the libertarian movement, been many critics of various Keene activism over the years. We’ve been accused on more than several occasions, of having destroyed the liberty movement, not just in New Hampshire, but nationwide. The general idea is that because some people in Keene don’t like certain activism, that we have failed, and we should not be so offensive to people. Usually, the critics attack “Keene” generally, and use it as a pejorative and a scapegoat. Sometimes, you can get them to be specific about exactly *who* did something offensive to them, and what it was. If you ask a few critics for specifics, you’ll find that some critics liked the very activism that other critics found offensive. As is typically the case, you can’t please everyone (and shouldn’t try).

All the while, those of us who spend time actually doing activism (rather than attacking others’ activism), have been patiently trying to explain the truth, which is now being borne out again in Portsmouth: that activism that receives publicity is bound to upset people. It’s the nature of the thing.

Haters Gonna HateOf course, some of the critics of Keene activism would like to believe that *their* activism is done “right” and so it would not have the same negative effects as ours. So long as it doesn’t make the news, they are right. It won’t have much of an impact on public opinion at all. However, as we can now see in Portsmouth – where the Free UBER activism has been making headlines and garnering TV coverage, activists there have been confronted by hostile taxi supporters, UBER drivers’ cars have been boxed in by taxi drivers’ cars (a criminal act of “disorderly conduct” at the minimum), cabbies have snitched on the UBERS, the mayor publicly attacked them, Free UBER founder Christopher David is now facing a felony wiretapping charge as a result of his activism, and the libery activists supporting Free UBER with traditional protest and speaking to the city council, have now been insulted in a widely-read mainstream media outlet. At the city council meeting last night, one person speaking even suggested that UBER’s drivers could be child molesters and violent thugs.

This is what happens to those who challenge the status quo – and this is all only coming from one minor proposed change to the city’s transportation ordinances! The lesson should be clear now that the SAME reactions are happening outside of Keene:

The more success you have as an activist, the more publicity you will receive, and therefore the more hatred and derision will be directed your way. (more…)

Maybe we don’t need parking meters

A couple of days ago the Keene Sentinel published the following Letter to the Editor, and the letter has been submitted to the City Council as a formal communication to be heard at an upcoming Council meeting.

For the last couple of years the city council has been debating whether or not, and by how much to increase parking meter rates, and the Parking Czar recently announced his retirement. The City even sued 6 people who were feeding meters to make a political statement, in hopes of creating a debate on whether or not the City even needs parking meters. (more…)

Former FSP President Blogs About Secession

Varrin SwearingenWith groups like the Foundation for NH Independence, a pro-secession advocacy group, and the NH Liberty Party, a political party with secession as its main plank, the movement for New Hampshire declaring independence from the United States is just getting started. It’s an idea whose time has come again.

While Free State Project early mover-to-Keene Varrin Swearingen says he is not an advocate for secession, in his latest blog, he digs into the issue and does admit:

I’m not absolutely opposed to secession under any circumstances. I believe New Hampshire is better off now having seceded the first time, and that could become the case again. If the U.S. Government continues on its path, and Americans do nothing to stop its tyrannical decline, I may concede that another secession is, again, the least bad choice.

Varrin is a professional pilot who lives in Keene with his wife and children and is the former president of the Free State Project. You can read his full blog on secession here.

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