Free Staters Once Again the Target of Xenophobia

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Free Staters have once again found themselves targeted by scare-mongering political adversaries.

In a letter to the editor to the Concord Monitor, government employee and hardcore Democrat Gloria Andrews singled out Dr. Darren Tapp and Brian Seaworth, Chichester and Pembroke candidates for some of the 400 seats in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives, as threats to the state. Aside from a brief mention of Seaworth’s support for removing the governor’s ability to declare a state of emergency, Andrews focuses her entire letter on the “otherness” quality of the two candidates rather than their actual policy positions: they’re radicals meant to push an “extreme anti-government agenda.”

Not the first (or last) time Free Staters have been the target of fear-mongering

Movers for the Free State Project are frequent targets of politicians looking for a cheap guilt-by-association attack against political rivals. Faced with a tough primary election due to his support for Medicaid expansion to able-bodied working age childless adults without the requirement that they seek work, Republican House Speaker Shawn Jasper lashed out at Free Staters for being the supposed source of his opposition. Famously, Representative Cynthia Chase from Keene called out Free Staters as the biggest threat to the state, and encouraged government to limit their freedoms so that they move home. That declaration ended up as a rallying cry for more activists to move to New Hampshire who had taken Chase’s comments as an indication that the Free State Project was working.

These criticisms, most often perpetuated by members of the local Democratic Party, ring hollow when contrasted with their own operatives. The Democratic Party’s candidates for Governor and US Senate are both from out of state as well, and are seeking to be positioned to influence New Hampshire policy in a much greater way than any Free Stater.

The Free State Project’s rocky road to prominence

The path to relative success has not been an easy (or short) one for the Free State Project. Much of its success has relied on early movers who left their lives behind and joined the movement without any guarantee of being more than a lone activist spitting into the wind. Many of those early movers single-handedly carried whole areas of the movement, and several have passed on before seeing their work reach fruition.

Now, 15 years after its inception, the Free State Project has gained its goal of 20,000 signers, thereby “triggering the move” and prompting that number to pack their bags and arrive in New Hampshire over the course of the next five years. So far, over 2,000 of those have moved, with more coming in each month. Whether or not a critical mass will arrive in the next several years remains to be seen. However, the Free State Project’s impact on the state is nonetheless already marked.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.