“I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire
This principle of individual liberty is the foundation of Western Liberal philosophy. If we expect others to leave us alone to do as we please with our property, then we must leave others alone to do as they please. Even if we wouldn’t choose the same. We can talk with them, reason with them, bribe them, try to persuade and convince them, but in the end, it’s the owner of a thing who gets the final say in what happens with a thing.
Nicholas Sarwark, LP Chair Moving to New Hampshire ASAP.
When the national Libertarian Party‘s Chairman Nicholas Sarwark found the idea of migrating with other libertarians to New Hampshire, it was just an idea. Now, with thousands who have migrated here to the Shire since 2003, it’s no longer an idea but a successful proof of concept. We’ve had incredible, unprecedented activist successes, and it’s still early in the migration of the Free State Project.
In case you’re unfamiliar, thousands of the Free State Project‘s pro-liberty members decided in 2003 to migrate to New Hampshire over all the other states. Here are 101 reasons why they chose New Hampshire. Sarwark had heard about this back then and signed up. Then in 2016, the Free State Project reached its goal of 20,000 signers of their pledge to move libertarians and voluntarists to New Hampshire where our activism can be concentrated and have an actual impact. It has. As a result of our high concentration, a real liberty community has developed, unlike anywhere else in the world.
Despite being a signer from way back, it was my first time attending. The experience was incredible, a sense of community, caring, cooperation, and peace. It’s not easy to describe, but it’s amazing to experience.
For a long time we early movers to New Hampshire envisioned a day when it would become so obvious that liberty is on the rise here that liberty-loving people would no longer be able to ignore our success and feel they needed to join in the fun. It appears we have reached that threshold. Sarwark’s public announcement is some of the biggest news that the FSP could really hope for in this area. In his post, he also says this:
The Libertarian Party Logo
Having stepped away from day-to-day operations of the car dealership here in Phoenix, I realized that there’s nothing stopping me from moving now. Valerie and I discussed it, talked to our kids about it, weighed out the pros and cons and decided together that we are moving to New Hampshire.
Assuming all goes according to plan, next month we will start our next chapter in the Granite State, surrounded by an intentional community of liberty lovers from all walks of life and I will trade my 17 year-old signer number for a brand new mover number.
Live free or die.
It’s a decisive move for Sarwark, who clearly had the experience at the Porcupine Freedom Festival that it was intended for – to let you experience what life is like when you’re literally surrounded by more liberty-loving people than you could possibly get to know.
Hopefully his decision will prod other libertarians to realize how futile it is to continue doing what they’ve always done, that we’re stronger when we concentrate our efforts in one place, and that the idea of concentration of activism is now a proven concept. Sarwark’s move is smart and should be seriously considered by anyone who cares about liberty. Kudos.
Gericke is the former president of the Free State Project and is currently heading up the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence. Don’t miss Carla’s new blog at CarlaGericke.com. Finally, someone else is actively blogging in the New Hampshire freedom movement.
This year, after a four-year absence, I returned as an attendee to the Porcupine Freedom Festival, aka Porcfest. I’m happy to say that Porcfest 2019 was a success and even featured some history-making civil disobedience. More on that in a moment. First, kudos to Rodger and Jessica Paxton and their crew for throwing an excellent festival – in spite of the now-expected political bungling by the Free State Project‘s board of directors. Longtime Porcfest attendee, and Free Keene blogger Rich Paul had this to say:
The tension that has subdued Porcfest for the last few years is finally healed. It feels like 2012 again.
Before I continue my review of the event, a little background:
After its rise to being one of the most well-attended libertarian gatherings on the planet and also becoming the most cryptocurrency-welcoming event as far as its vendors are concerned, the Porcupine Freedom Festival, which is organized each year by volunteers, but ultimately controlled by the Free State Project corporation, ended up making a few key errors. Yes, it was a mistake for them to kick me and my radio show out after a few volunteers made a stink back in 2016, but I don’t hold a grudge, and at the time even published a blog encouraging people to continue attending Porcfest.
That’s one of the more obvious mistakes they made, as despite my urging of people to continue to attend, attendance did drop sharply the following year, from what I have been told. However, the other things they botched were even more damaging to the event.
For years, and from before they decided to ban me, people who’ve attended the Porcupine Freedom Festival each Summer in Northern New Hampshire have complained that its recent years have been lacking in fun, partially due to an ever-increasing burden of rules at the event and centralized decision making on the part of the Free State Project’s board of directors. For instance, longtime vendors felt pushed out of the “Agora Valley” prime trading zone by the artificial extra costs imposed by the FSP onto the RV campsites in that area.
Nearly Empty Agora Valley @ Porcfest 2019
Where did these artificial costs come from? The story of Agora Valley is one that libertarians should know well and should have seen coming, but the libertarians running the FSP failed to see it and fell into the same centralized control trap they typically argue against. In the earlier years of the Porcupine Freedom Festival at Roger’s Campground, the first few rows of the RV camping area became, through natural market functions, the most desirable real estate in the park. The reason is that all the major speakers and events are held at the Pavilion at the bottom of the hill, so most campers will pass through that part of the RV area on their way to attend Porcfest’s various events. Eventually the zone was dubbed “Agora Valley” and vendors would compete to reserve the prime spots first for the upcoming year’s event, however the cost to the vendors at the time was the normal lot fee charged by the campground.
Eventually, someone at the FSP got the bright idea that Agora Valley should be managed by the FSP’s festival organizers, and a vendor’s fee and agreement was created. When asked, the FSP’s representatives generally will defend the fees as reasonable, since they include a ticket to the event, promotion to the event’s VIPs, as well as a listing in the event’s “Whova” event program app, for a very small premium on top. They are right – the Agora Valley vendor prices are reasonable. However, the market is clearly speaking, more this year than ever before, that the fees and rules are not welcome.
However the other way the market responded during this year’s Porcupine Freedom Festival, was the creation of the “Where it’s at” zone deeper in the RV area. Longtime Porcfest vendors and attendees, fed up with paying more than they had to or simply frustrated by the restrictions for Agora Valley, decided to opt-out and setup a hot zone of economic activity in the RV rows past the Valley’s “jurisdiction”. This mass exodus left Agora Valley nearly a ghost town at this year’s Porcfest.
To be fair, according to Shawn Grissom, this year’s Porcfest vendor coordinator, there were vendors in the lonely Agora Valley that did very well this year. That said, even Grissom agreed the FSP should let go of trying to organize the campground and focus on their event production alone. Let the market self-organize again in the camp/RV area.
Heroic Open-Air Drug Market at Porcfest 2019
Aside from the centrally-planned failure of Agora Valley, the rest of the 2019 Porcupine Freedom Festival went off well and received rave reviews. The Paxtons did a great job of bringing balance back to where Porcfest wasn’t just a family vacation spot – with approximately 200 kids and teenagers in attendance – but also a great party. This year there was a naked guy down at the campfire at night on at least a couple of occasions that I saw, along with a topless young lady, plus an amazing open-air drug market.
During the final night’s Free Ross auction to benefit imprisoned liberty hero and founder of the Silk Road underground market, Ross Ulbricht, there were two vendors set up just outside on a couple of picnic tables right next to each other. One vendor offered items for sale on a whiteboard such as “not mushrooms” and “not pot” while the other seller’s blackboard offered shrooms, flower, and edibles. It even included a shout-out to #freeross.
The little things like that made this year’s Porcfest feel like Porcfests of the past, but what made this year’s Porcupine Freedom Festival historic was what happened at the end of the Free Ross auction. After two hours and well over $10,000 had been raised from bidders on dozens of donated items, two activists donated a couple of eighth-of-an-ounce containers of cannabis to the remaining auction items. The auction was run by Mancamp founder Jay Noone and since he doesn’t have a auctioneer’s license, the entire event was civil disobedience. Noone then made Porcfest and likely New Hampshire history by auctioning off the cannabis to two lucky winners including me and the his assistant, Angie. What fun! (more…)
Come out to join us – it’s not too late for this year yet!
The sun has risen on day number three of Forkfest 2019 at Roger’s Campground as we appear to be on track to top last year’s event. One key indicator – besides new faces showing up this year in the early two days – is the number of food vendors here this year. Day one was pretty slow as always, but by the evening of day two, there were at least four campsites offering food for sale including Matt Roach & Vincent at RV 82 who set up and were operational before anyone else, offering biscuits and gravy in the morning then other delicious hot food later in the day including a chicken chili and cornbread combo. By day’s end, “Taco Munch” had opened up in the tenting area, I heard Silver Dave was serving up food near the dome, and Bardo Farm sausages were being offered by Shawn the soda guy in the RV zone.
If you don’t already know, Forkfest is the yearly camping party in the woods that began in 2017 at Rogers Campground in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. This year, Forkfest happens the five days prior to the Porcupine Freedom Festival and you’re invited to come and create whatever experience you’d like others to have. No one is in charge and the event is decentralized. (In fact, some people have different names for the event, including Somaliafest, Shirefest, and Banned Camp) It’s up-to-you what happens at Forkfest.