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.

“Moving to NH was the best thing our family ever could have done.”

James Davis

Newer Mover, James Davis

Newer mover James Davis wrote an excellent piece for Freecoast.org recently that describes the amazing experience he and his family have had since moving here to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project.  It’s a rare glimpse into the world of liberty families who move here quietly and whose activism doesn’t garner media attention:


The past week on the Free Coast reminded me exactly why moving to New Hampshire was the best thing our family ever could have done.


Being a member of the liberty movement can be discouraging at times. It’s easy to wonder if the whole thing is pointless. The looming specter of an ever-growing state combined with the ongoing “drama” perpetuated by the movement’s most vocal members on social media can be downright dreary.


But on the ground here in New Hampshire? It’s a different case all together.


Last Sunday, six liberty loving families got together on one of the many stunning beaches of New Hampshire for an impromptu birthday celebration. Parents universally treated their children with dignity, and were able to trust that everyone involved understood that people are best when left to be free. Five of these families were free state project movers – people so dedicated to finding a like-minded community that they picked up and moved from all over the US to live near one another and raise their children with others who share their values.


While effecting long term change here in New Hampshire is a goal of everyone involved in the Free State Project, it’s not the only goal by which we measure success. First, and perhaps most important, we measure success by how much freedom and fulfillment we’re finding during our one shot here on Earth. If you ever find yourself wondering why you can’t find other liberty-minded families in your area, or feeling concerned that the people in your child’s neighborhood or school are trying to convince them that their parents are crazy, why wouldn’t you just move to New Hampshire and help us create the liberty community we all dream of being a part of? (more…)

Rich Paul’s Analysis of the Cantwell Incident

The Church of the Invisible Hand

This is my analysis of Cantwell’s self defense incident. In my capacity as Mad Monk of the Church of the Invisible Hand, I will present it based on the principles of the Church, which are Peace, Love, Balance and Harmony.

First, let us examine principle of Peace. The Church believes that the best rule of behavior to achieve Peace is the Non-Aggression Principle. We believe that the only legitimate use of violence is in defense of yourself, another human or the property of a person. It is the only principle we will impose on others … we will forcibly prevent others from doing us harm. Cantwell’s behavior was completely in line with the principle of Peace. He does have a natural right to videotape a public street — public being defined as unowned or owned by an illegitimate entity like Government. Not only did he not initiate force, but when a credible threat of force was brought to bear against him, and he legally and morally could have fired in self-defense, he still forbore from firing, and brought the incident to a conclusion where nobody was harmed. That is the best possible outcome of a self-defense situation.

Secondly, let us examine the principle of Love. The Church believes as our Estimated Prophet Robert A Heinlein wrote.that “Love is that state where the well-being of another becomes essential of our own”, An (more…)

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