I moved to New Hampshire a year ago today. I hated Louisiana and I wanted to be around anarchists. I can’t and I won’t tell you to move to New Hampshire, because ‘I don’t know you; I don’t know your life.’ But I will tell you that moving to New Hampshire is the best decision I ever made, and that it has done the following things for me:
There are anarchists everywhere.
By no means is a majority of the population anarchist, and people who come here (or anywhere for that matter) expecting an anarchist utopia are very silly. Before I visited New Hampshire I had met two anarchists, and both of them were only there for school. The overwhelming majority of people I had ever met were either socialist or completely fascist. After awhile, hanging out with people who want to kill, rob, and cage you gets intolerable, and only having human contact online just isn’t the same. As far as I’ve been able to tell, New Hampshire has the highest number of anarchists anywhere on earth. Anytime I want to I can be around anarchists because there are people here who do not want to kill, rob, or cage me.
Expecting perfection is silly, not everyone gets along, and not everyone is a good guy. Which just means that there are so many anarchists here that you can pick the ones you like. Not everyone that I hang out with agrees with me on every detail of philosophy. But they don’t actively advocate for policies that would aggress against me, so we’re cool.
There are philosophical discussions in real life. Most people do not agree with me on every obscure detail of the NAP. I was well prepared for that before I came up here. It seems to me that that catches many people by surprise, but I was aware that many of my philosophical positions are marginal. But there are enough people willing to discuss them to keep me entertained.
You can get some level of this online, but people tend to be more open in real life. I find it highly unlikely that I am right about everything; I just don’t know what I am wrong about. So if I am around people who agree with me on the NAP and are willing to have intelligent discussions, I might find some places where I am wrong. When I was stuck with nothing but people who thought that taxation is voluntary I had no chance of advancing my own understanding.
When I am surrounded by people who believe that it is perfectly moral to steal 40% of everyone’s stuff, it is really easy for me to feel morally superior and not improve on myself. Statists are not going to challenge you. Some of them are going to ask sincere questions. Some of them are going to insult you. But only other anarchists are going to challenge you because only other anarchists are starting from the same premise. I spoke and thought in statist terms, and that was not going to be corrected by statists. I can refer to things by their proper terms: Federal Reserve Notes, gang members, income before theft, etc. Though sometimes I have to interact with the general population and use statist terms, I am healthier for being able to state things as they are on a regular basis. Ian has helped me realize that I was referring to the United States Federal Government as “we.” Fully mentally separating that entity from myself is not only accurate, it is healthier. There is social pressure to do something to advance the cause of liberty. My reasoning and beliefs are constantly challenged.
I was always rather annoyed at the concept of a community. I knew it as some group of people who told you what to do, demanded that you pay for their children, and offered nothing in return. There is a good community in New Hampshire. People will help each other instead of just consistently demanding things. Its more two sided, or several thousand sided, than one sided.
I’m in a Relationship.
That would NOT have happened in Louisiana. A good friend of mine told me that he doesn’t think I would be happy with anyone who isn’t an anarchist. He’s right. There are no anarchists in Louisiana, and there aren’t many anywhere other than New Hampshire. In 11 years (29 minus 18) I was unable to find anyone. It took me about 8 months in New Hampshire to find someone who is an anarchist, agrees with me on all of my marginal positions, meets all of my unrelated criteria, and actually cares about me. I would have settled for someone who isn’t “philosophically pure,” but he is as close to perfect as humans come. My life is awesome.
I don’t encrypt everything. But as much as I thought I just didn’t care, and as much as I enjoy making posts directed to the NSA, I do act differently when I know I’m not being watched. There are people who are willing to use encryption like Signal. I find that even if I’m not talking about something illegal, embarrassing, or sensitive that I’m more open when I know that I’m not being watched by a third party.
I don’t worry about how something might sound, or potentially be twisted, to a gang member with a badge when I’m using encryption like I do when I’m on an open line. My conversations are more real when the Feds aren’t involved.
The Gang of New Hampshire and Its Subsidiaries
Cops are evil, and the government is evil. But the cops and laws generally in New Hampshire are substantially less oppressive that what I am used to dealing with. For the most part, the gangs seem to follow their own rules at least, and that helps with planning and decision making. People have done things that I am convinced would get them arrested (at best) in most other places. People film police regularly without incident. There are courts who have stopped bothering to say “all rise” because on some days nobody does. For most people theft will be less. There is no state income theft for individuals. There is no sales theft for groceries and general merchandise. I opened a business without having to get any pieces of paper. Car insurance isn’t theft, but the rates are much lower because the insurance companies know that it is not legally required here.
The General Population
Even the non-anarchists are for the most part pleasant to be around. People have been nothing but nice. My car stalled in the middle of the road once. I have anarchist stickers on the back of my car, but still several people came to help me. People who I have interacted with present as rational and intelligent. There are people who hate our beliefs, and therefore us, but as a group the people are decent, rational, and nice. There is very little crime in New Hampshire.
I Calmed Down.
It is stressful living under a highly oppressive gang and being around nothing but people who support it. I don’t care about freedom any less and I don’t hate the oppressors any less. But since moving here, I hate the government; I’m not angry at it. I don’t spend every day stressed about what the State is going to do. I don’t have to see as much aggression on a daily basis, and I’m surrounded by people that I can vent to. It’s still a fight, but I am no longer fighting alone.