Free state

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Porcfest 2015, one of two annual gatherings of FSP members
Free state has two common meanings. One is the older less common meaning in the Antebellum period where a free state was a state where slavery was outlawed.

The second is a newer and more common meaning in use since the late 1970s in America among libertarians, conservatives, conservative Christians, Patriots, and social activists. In 2001, libertarians founded The Free State Project (FSP) [1] to recruit at least 20,000 libertarians to move to a single low-population state. In 2003, they selected New Hampshire as the target state. Once 20,000 libertarians sign a pledge to move to New Hampshire, then a political migration will result in libertarians having greater political power to elect office holders than would be the case if libertarians remain spread across all 50 states.[2] On February 3, 2016, the Free State Project announced via social media that 20,000 people had signed the Statement of Intent.[3] In a press conference later that day, the movement's leader said the relocation had been triggered and that signers were expected to follow up on their pledge.[4] The organizers are now shifting their efforts from recruiting the 20,000 participants to encouraging those who have signed up to actually move to New Hampshire. The success of the project will not be known until 2021 and will depend upon people honoring their pledge to move and the conditions created in the new New Hampshire communities. In the meantime, the Free State Project holds an annual "Porcfest" among its members.

When the Free State Project reached 5,000 pledges, it conducted a mail ballot to determine its target state, with New Hampshire gaining the most votes, but Wyoming coming in second place. About 20% of the members did not want to migrate to New Hampshire and withdrew from the project. A number of the departing FSP members formed a new movement to promote libertarian migration to Wyoming called Free State Wyoming, which has more emphasis on gun rights than does the FSP. Since then some commentators have tried to spin the term "free state" away from its meaning as a libertarian state to a state with liberal gun laws.

Qualities of free states

A free state suggests:

Walking to Freedom Project

Walking to Freedom is an initiative created by libertarian survivalist podcaster Jack Spirko (The Survival Podcast) where citizens are encouraged to pull up stakes and to move to a more open and free state—to vote with their feet. States are broken down into two categories, the "naughty list and all the rest. People moving out of oppressive states are asked to post a "goodbye letter" addressed to the state and state government officials regarding their decision to move out of their state. On the website's ( Forum groups for the "non-naughty" states are used to welcome people considering or actually moving to that state.

For a few years Jack Spirko worked with and supported the Free State Project of New Hampshire. Spirko says, "While it is not in the cards for me to move to New Hampshire the concept to me is the hallmark of a republic. Individual member states band together to form a Federal Republic of States. In our case we call this 'The United States of America'. Citizens have freedom of movement from state to state and the citizen is seen as the most sovereign entity with the most rights, next in the chain is the sovereignty of the member states and at the bottom of the sovereignty chain is the Federal government."

He continues:

"Much of this system is broken today, the Federal government is filling many roles it isn't supposed to fill (see Tenth Amendment). State governments then fail to stand up for their citizens or worse they often pile on more big government Nanny state restrictions and encumbrances upon liberty. There is one component of the system though that is still functioning, movement between the states. The final act of a citizen voting in a republic is to vote with their feet. While I love the work being done in New Hampshire, I realized like me there were many people who just can't for one reason or another move there. What dawned on me then though was if we simply create an exodus from the 5-10 worst states it does many things.
  1. "It sends a message to ALL state governments, your citizens understand a republic and their power and are damn well willing to use it. Oppress your citizens and your most valuable producers (citizens and companies) will leave for a better environment." (See Atlas Shrugged's Galt's Gulch)
  2. "States with more liberty like Idaho, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Montana, Texas, Arizona, etc. will attract more liberty oriented individuals. Not for the purpose of transforming their new home states states but to at minimum hold the line and prevent said states from becoming less libertarian."
  3. "It makes the entire movement far larger then just The Free State Project or other groups like Free State Wyoming or the American Redoubt movement. By gaining maximum exposure and reach, Walking To Freedom, is a rising tide that will float all boats. It will actually bring more people to states like Wyoming and New Hampshire by fostering competition among the member states."
  4. "Most current oppression in the US is actually at the Federal level. There are a handful of states that go above and beyond that, it is easier to target those 5-10 on the 'naughty list' and let the other 40-45 states make their case as to why you should move there, then it is to try to get anyone upset with their state to choose a single option as a way out."
  5. "Freedom is highly personal. To some tax freedom is the main concern, others are more concerned with freedom over types of housing, some with freedom to keep and bear arms yet others simply want what I call 'operational freedom'. Operational freedom is simply the freedom to conduct business. Many entrepreneurs are less concerned with the overall tax rates and more concerned with the permits, licenses, fees, hoops one must jump though just to open the doors."
  6. "By fostering competition among all the states not on the 'naughty list' we have a much larger influence. It brings public awareness to the issue and starts making many states that are at the far end or middle of the spectrum to start thinking about the consequences of being on the naughty list or having the list grow just because they have encouraged us to do so. Yes the list can get bigger in time if necessary. We use 'disapproval voting' to establish the list."
"In summary I always say a fight for liberty anywhere is a fight for liberty everywhere. While that is true it is also a fact that when oppression is sufficient, everywhere but where you are is better. For those on the 'naughty list' that is the choice you have given to your citizenry, we simply aim to help them make the best choice for them and assist them with their walk to liberty. Simply put for those states on the list, this isn't something we did to you, it is something you have done to yourselves, we are just shining a light on it."[5]

External links


  2. Belluck, Pam. "Libertarians Pursue New Political Goal: State of Their Own", The New York Times, October 27, 2003. Retrieved on January 10, 2015. 
  3. Twitter: We Did It. Retrieved on March 30, 2016.
  4. official press conference announcing success in reaching 20,000 members. Retrieved on March 30, 2016.
  5. Accessed January 17, 2014