Snowden is all of us. Photo courtesy Union Leader.
The Free State Project got a lot of things right about this year’s Liberty Forum. It was well-attended, fun, and the organizers did a good job overall. The Edward Snowden keynote interview made a huge splash in various media around the globe.
However, for reasons yet unknown, it’s being claimed by new FSP president Matt Philips that keynote speaker Edward Snowden requested there be no recording by audience members. Free Keene blogger and NH native Garret Ean recorded anyway and released it here yesterday.
Why would Snowden try to restrict recording when hundreds of people would be attending with recording devices, including, likely some undercover federal agents? I tweeted at Snowden today in an attempt to get a comment and received no reply thus far. According to the organizer of the Liberty Forum in an unofficial facebook post, there was some agreement to allow the FSP to record the event and have Reason.com (whose editor Nick Gillespie conducted the interview with Snowden) release it via their YouTube.
Many in the liberty community are on an all-out attack against Garret for making the recording, and me for refusing to pull it down. One even called for “Free Keene” to be banned from all FSP events. Hilariously, that ban would include FK blogger JJ Schlessinger, who is the video professional the FSP hired to record the event. He called Free Talk Live Tuesday night to inform our audience that he is currently editing a high-quality five-camera HD shoot of the Snowden talk.
NH mainstream newspapers are now picking up the story of this latest FSP schism. Here’s the first two headlines, posted online and appearing in print today:
These schisms have occurred forever in the FSP (more…)
Inspired by the Free State Project’s 101 Reasons to Move to New Hampshire, in 2008 the original 101+ Reasons to Move to Keene was released, then later updated to 130+, and finally 150+. The list is a collaborative effort by local early movers for the Free State Project and describes many of the things that make Keene a unique activism opportunity and great community in which to live.
With the FSP reaching its goal of 20,000 pledges to move to New Hampshire, it’s time for future-movers to start seriously looking at their destination options.
Keene is big enough to have the conveniences of a city, but small enough to be walkable. For activists of all stripes, it’s easier to have a larger impact here because the population is smaller than Manchester. Check out the 150+ Reasons to Move for details on the area’s conveniences and demographics. Plus, liberty activists already have a major footprint here. Free Keene is not only an international source of news of activism across NH for Google News, but locally we serve as a much-needed third news-and-opinion destination for Keene area inhabitants.
Liberty activists here have built bridges with the community through volunteering, sponsoring local charity, and even working to assist Keene police when they are doing the right thing.
Though many more people move to the big city, Manchester, for obvious reasons like more jobs, Keene is high on the list of destination choices for many people planning their move. That’s likely because of the historic, publicity-generating activism that has transpired here over the years. There’s even a feature-length documentary about a year of activism here, “Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree“.
Recently, Keene activism has become more political with multiple candidates for office, petitioned warrant articles for school board, and election media generated by FSP early movers, like Darryl W. Perry’s excellent mayoral debate, which received accolades for its fairness.
As a result of the loads of media, both internal and mainstream that we’ve generated over the years, more people in Keene know about us – for better or for worse. That means there are a segment of people who fear change that have and will continue to lash out at liberty activists here. However, as the Free UBER activists found in Portsmouth, that’s what happens ANYWHERE the state is threatened and that activism is publicized. People form strong opinions for/against said activism.
Keene’s not without it’s challenges, but it’s the challenge that attracts so many here. Keene is the Western outpost of the Shire and we are shining the light of liberty to keep the encroaching statists from NY, VT, and MA at bay. Consider Keene as your destination for the Free State Project. Here are 150+ reasons why you should.
The last time I posted to FreeKeene.com I shared my excitement of traveling back to the ‘shire with my partner Amanda B. Johnson. In that post I concluded, “There is no perfect, yet we can strive for it.” That aim is what motivates me to discuss a situation that occurred shortly after we returned. It’s my hope that transparency and discourse bring accountability and growth.
At the center of this conversation are the concepts of property rights, aggressive versus defensive force, and personal responsibility. This is admittedly a lengthy post — it allows for those involved to share their full recount of events in their own voice. If anything is unclear, please comment. Better yet, reach out to those involved to inquire of them directly.
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.
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…)
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.
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…)
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:
Portsmouth Herald, Spreading Hate of Activists
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.
Of 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…)