Power & Market

The Emerging Free State

Power & Market Dennis Pratt

A recent New Hampshire bill to secede from the united states has engendered interest in the liberty-verse about what is really happening in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire.  Our answer: We’re creating the Free State you’ve always wanted. Come join us.

A Hard Century for Liberty

“The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. … The history of the West … is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders.” –Ludwig von Mises (The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, chap. 5, pt. 10)

For decades it has been easy for libertarians to lose hope. We have always been surrounded by an overwhelming number of authoritarians, threatening us with legal violence to submit—our bodies, our bodies’ associations, our bodies’ labors, and the products of those labors and associations—to their preferences. 

Our empathy for the oppressed innocents—for the extorted, the chained, the kidnapped, the caged, the beaten, the maimed, and the murdered—is ridiculed, used as strawmen smears against us. Our empirical and logical arguments of better consequences should our political masters grant us a bit more liberty are dismissed out of hand. Our ethical argument based on the logical prerequisite of self-ownership scorned as “selfish.”

Our optimistic dreams of awakening the masses to the beauty of human freedom are crushed year after year. Our few “successes” lie only in reducing the speed with which the world tumbles towards totalitarianism or in advancing some nominal liberty, but always with negotiated compromises, additional chains demanded by our masters—one step forward, five steps back.

This has only worsened over the last two years as we have witnessed hundreds of millions not just accepting, but demanding, greater authoritarianism. The few of us who have dared to cry freedom in the face of the fabricated fear of the Fauci flu have been deplatformed, unfriended, ostracized, fired, and shunned, with worse consequences threatened.

The Hope for Freedom

"No people and no part of a people shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want." –Ludwig von Mises (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 34)

But there is one (and only one) small region of this world that is moving—nay, accelerating—in the opposite direction: towards greater liberty! Its successes are not due to discovering the one perfect argument to spring at Thanksgiving dinner, nor to recruiting a charismatic leader for the next election.

Our successes are due to a very simple strategy—concentrating those who already love liberty in one small region, and there—together—creating our free society—a homeland for liberty. 

Imagine how Mormons would have to live were they randomly dispersed throughout the states. Instead, they congregated in one state where they achieved sufficient numbers that they need not fear further abuse as an isolated and despised minority. Libertarians are more distinct, more dispersed, and more despised, yet, we are also more numerous. Why can we not also concentrate to claim one state as our homeland?

A Migration to Create One Free State

"Liberalism … forces no one against his will into the structure of the state…. When a part of the people of the state wants to drop out of the union, liberalism does not hinder it from doing so." –Ludwig von Mises (Nation, State, and Economy, pp. 39–40)

To the small state that we aspirationally call “the Free State” of New Hampshire, thousands of libertarians are migrating to bolster a population already the most libertarian. We have given up uselessly arguing with the unconvincible. We instead migrate to build a free society with others who are similarly already convinced.

Yes, we must leave behind our authoritarian “friends” and neighbors. We wish we could free them, but like alcoholics, they scorn the freedom we offer, ignore their adverse impacts on us, and cling unapologetically to their unsustainable, destructive addiction. So, instead of wasting our lives fruitlessly bickering—only to suffer their inevitable collapse with them—we rededicate our lives to enjoy actual liberty in our lifetime.

Gathering together, we have been supporting one another, industriously building liberty. We are now advancing so rapidly that you on the outside are noticing results and wondering how that happened, while we on the inside face organizations no longer ignoring us, but dedicated to stopping us. But we, who have migrated (in some cases halfway around the world) and who have been witnessing the emergence before our eyes of a miracle that frankly we had lost faith was possible, will not be easily daunted.

Winning Politically

"The right of self-determination … means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory … no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish … to form an independent state … , their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil … wars." –Ludwig von Mises (Liberalism, p. 109)

Early on, we Free State “porcupines” had to work hard to stop the mad rush towards greater authoritarianism that befell your states. But now, our liberty base has accumulated enough political power that we have turned the tables, removing old, codified violations of our rights. We have reached leadership positions. Porcupines form the largest caucus within the Republican-led House—the "majority of the majority.” A porcupine even serves as House Majority Leader. And while most porcupines choose to support the much more powerful Liberty Caucus Republicans, you won’t find a more based Libertarian Party chapter than the Mises Caucus–led LPNH, cajoling the political class towards liberty.

We have eliminated entire tax categories and reduced others significantly, with the end goal of eliminating them as well. While you fight tooth and nail to retard just a bit the rapid growth of your states’ budgets, ours is the only state to have actually reduced total state spending. We have rolled back regulations, unleashing entrepreneurs and businesses. We have passed Constitutional Amendments to strengthen personal privacy and to weaken eminent domain. For the first time in modern history, libertarians are on the offensive.

Instead of submitting to more and more “common sense” infringements on one’s right to protect one’s body, we enjoy constitutional carry (i.e., permitless concealed carry and open carry), stand your ground, and the private sale of guns. We have no state magazine limits nor restrictions on machine guns, short-barreled rifles, shotguns, silencers, and disguised, improvised, and 3D firearms. We removed knife laws. With the #1 most protected gun rights, and the second-most-armed population, we enjoy (not coincidentally) the lowest murder rate in the United States.

We have overturned antihomeschooling statutes and moved to expand parents’ choices to use their taxed money for home schooling, for private schooling, and yes, even for parochial schooling.

We were the first state to legislatively decriminalize cannabis, and we are now working to ensure that NH residents will face the least taxation, regulation, and government monopolization of cannabis. New Hampshire is famous for not requiring seat belts nor motorcycle helmets. Heck, you can even drive without insurance.

We have fought successfully to allow videotaping of police, to inform juries that they may nullify unconscionable laws, and to publicize which police have violated citizens’ rights. While BLM and AntiFa burn down your towns ironically demanding greater authoritarianism, we are implementing libertarianism—peacefully eliminating the causal (i.e., authoritarian) violations against which they rail, like qualified immunity, asset forfeiture, victimless crimes, licensing, surveillance, etc.

Beyond Politics

"The situation of having to belong to a state to which one does not wish to belong is no less onerous if it is the result of an election than if one must endure it as the consequence of a military conquest." –Ludwig von Mises (Liberalism, p. 119)

But if you were to think that the benefits of living amongst a concentrated libertarian population were only the reduction of legal coercion, you would be missing what most Free Staters believe are its greatest benefits.

The recognition and support that our large community gives to each porcupine—irrespective of her preferred form of activism—is extraordinary. Rather than being ridiculed, berated, and shamed, we are surrounded by individuals who cheer our love of peace, who cooperate voluntarily, and who insist on consent. Instead of wasting energy vainly explaining the adverse consequences of government coercion, our growing community works to remove the source of the problem. We invest in friendships with people who want to free us, rather than with those who (perhaps unconsciously) vote to expand our enslavement.

Liberty clubhouses across the state host debates, dinners, dances, games, comedy nights, movies, discussions, demonstrations, collaborations, and much more. Scores of liberty organizations regularly meet and work together to return power and rights to individuals. Our liberty entrepreneurs outinnovate the authorities’ cronies, and our writers, videographers, and podcasters detail liberty to the world. Every day, we struggle with the Free State “problem” of choosing amongst multiple fun, engrossing, and life-enhancing liberty events. 

We’re the number one user of cryptocurrency in the country. Agorists make and trade products and services outside of government-hobbled markets. We have wide choices for homeschooling co-ops, dispute mediators, food sourcing, teachers and trainers, home-birthing, reading groups, personal, spiritual, and religious groups, etc.

And the one thing that binds us together—throughout our far-ranging, diverse, energetic, mutually supportive liberty community—is that we will not initiate violence against one another—not we ourselves, nor we via the proxy of government.

The End State

“Liberty is more likely to have room to flourish in a world of many competing jurisdictions rather than under a single, irresistible jurisdiction.” –Thomas E. Woods Jr. (Nullification: What You'll Never Learn in School )

As we build the foundation for our beacon of liberty, we call out for more liberty lovers to speed our construction. We cannot know which of the infinite number of possible freed societies will arise from the distributed efforts of tens of thousands of libertarians building bottom up a freed society together. What we build will necessarily be a function of who amongst you heeds our call.

Perhaps the brilliance of the light we build together will eventually inspire the larger population of humanity to end their slavery to rulers. Or perhaps we will simply live out our lives in peaceful freedom while the outside authoritarian states continue to psychopathically threaten one another and cannibalize their subjugants. Whether the Free State ignores, nullifies, inspires, or secedes is still to be determined, but our focus today is on what is in our direct control: where we choose to live; with whom we choose to associate; and what type of society we choose to build.

One thing we Free Staters know for sure: we can’t beg the supermajority authoritarians to create a free society for us; they are authoritarians; they don’t want to live in a free society.  A freed society requires a high concentration of freedom lovers congregating together, committed to building that society. If you love freedom, please visit us. We are confident that you will fall in love with the emerging free state and will be inspired to roll up your sleeves to realize it even faster.  Together we will create our one Free State in an otherwise unfreeable world.

image/svg+xml
Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
Support Liberty

The Mises Institute exists solely on voluntary contributions from readers like you. Support our students and faculty in their work for Austrian economics, freedom, and peace.

Donate today
Group photo of Mises staff and fellows