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.
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.
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:
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.
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…)
I got a sad letter from my attorney this week. He informed me that the Supreme Court of NH upheld the lower court’s decision to deny my application for a license to carry a handgun discreetly. You can read the decision here:
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…)