Daily Archives: October 27, 2003

Live Free Or Die in Libertarian NH

Well, this is a new one on me. I live a bit more than half-an-hour from Keene, and I hadn’t even heard a rumble of this before I saw the article in today’s NYT:

[T]he Free State Project, aims to make all of New Hampshire a laboratory for libertarian politics by recruiting libertarian-leaning people from across the country to move to New Hampshire and throw their collective weight around. Leaders of the project figure 20,000 people would do the trick, and so far 4,960 have pledged to make the move.The idea is to concentrate enough fellow travelers in a single state to jump-start political change. Members, most of whom have met only over the Internet, chose New Hampshire over nine other states in a heated contest that lasted months.

“Heated” is right; a main sticking point seems to have been climate:

(The other contenders were Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. One frequently asked question on the project’s Web site was “Can’t you make a warmer state an option?”)

Personally, I’m all in favor of this. I think it’s about time the Libs learned what actually happens when their Ivory-Tower theories, radio-talk-show sloganeering, and simple-minded, so-called “common sense” solutions run smack dab up against real problems in the real world. To my mind, Libs don’t seem to have thought very hard or very deeply about any of the stuff they propose. Like Ross Perot, they’re under some serious illusions that if you just “lift up the hood and look”, you’ll be able to fix what’s “wrong”.

But as Michael Feldman once said in response to Perot, “Have you ever looked under the hood of a modern car, friends? There’s a city under there.” There’s a simple reason why simple-minded, 2-syllable solutions don’t work: This ain’t a simple country no more, if it ever was. The only way you can simplify the burgeoning chaos that is modern life is to ignore, negate, or deny everything that makes it complex, from race relations to science to competing rights to globalization to you-name-it. None of it is simple, and the Libs have been skating by, pretending that it is, for a lot of uncontested years now. Seems like maybe the time has come for a Major Reality Check.

The main fantasy behind Libertarian hatred of govt has always been right under the surface, and 33-year-old Jackie Casey, who just moved to Merrimack, NH from Portland, OR, has the nerve, god bless her, to put it on the table:

“I want to be a billionaire in my lifetime,” she added, “and I don’t want to live among people who think that’s bad.”

And there you have it: Libs hate Govt because they’re just positive that it’s govt interference that’s keeping them from being rich. Not exactly as noble a goal as the Libs try to portray it, is it? News Flash for Libs: Government is supposed to tone down greed when it hurts other people. You got a problem with that? You think your desire to be rich trumps fairness, equity, and the right to be protected from shoddy or toxic products? You do, don’t you? Well–and this is simple enough that even Libs should be able to understand it–You’re wrong. It don’t.

And btw Jackie, a word of warning: I grew up in NH, and they ain’t either as conservative or as fond of wanna-be billionaires as you seem to think, especially in the southern tier where you are (Merrimack is near Nashua, which is 45-mins or less from Boston). They tend to have some idea that being overly rich is, well, kind of ostentatious, if you know what I mean, and a little silly. Make your goal too obvious and you might well find yourself being quietly snubbed as a “crackpot”–which in NH is a term applied to anybody who gets in a little too far over their head. They’ll wait to see if you actually make it, and if you do, they’ll let you buy them. Cheap. But they won’t respect you, and they won’t think such over-arching greed is a good thing.

See, they’ve had experience with people like you before (Massachusetts is next door, remember), and they’re perfectly aware that anybody who’s serious about getting really rich will eventually reach a point–usually sooner rather than later–when the only way they can reach that goal is to royally screw somebody who trusted them. So they’re wary of people who want too much, and not terribly helpful. You won’t be a persona-non-grata, but you won’t exactly be grata, either. The only people who will welcome you are the politicians. They know they have nothing to worry about from you, not at a mere 20,000 of you state-wide they don’t.

Take my advice, all of you–and I mean this sincerely: Go to some town meetings and listen (yeah, they still have them there). Give yourself a chance to see how this governing business actually works and what you’re up against. And then join a committee or two and learn what needs to happen in order to accomplish something–how many other people’s opinions have to be taken into account no matter how bad you think they are, how many competing interests have to be reconciled no matter how simple you try to keep it. There’s a reality here that needs to be acknowledged: you could be wrong. Somebody else could be right. Some of this you don’t find out about until you’re actually in control, but you’ll be able to see the outlines. Talk to Jesse Ventura about why he didn’t run again.

And then go home and leave NH alone. They’ve got enough problems, and your approach will only make them worse.