Getting Your Freedom On Someplace Else

The author currently lives in Chile and admins the group Run Like Hell on Facebook.

My first trip to a really foreign country was in 1993 to the Bahamas. When I arrived my hosts drove to a store, bought a case of beer, opened it up, and started drinking while driving the van. They assured me it was ok, and we drove to a nearby town where we parked in front of a hardware store. When I asked them what I should do with my beer, they just said to bring it in, along with my lit cigarette. So I did. And when we walked in there was a line of people waiting at the counter, all drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. That was when I knew that the US had been like that, once upon a time, and that I liked it better that way.

Why should you consider traveling? The standard fool’s response to anyone who questions anything they don’t like about the US is “You should just move to Somalia!” or North Korea, or somewhere equally bad. You’ll never hear anyone one say “If you don’t like it here, move to Monaco!” or “If you don’t like it here, move to Malta!” Do they secretly suspect the truth, that maybe you ARE more free in other countries? [Read more…]

This Poem Is Not About Eating Meat

butcher

Another day, another dollar,
as my blade sinks into the clammy flesh
of the carcass of a creature murdered in an assembly line.
Just grabbing a hunk of pork through my gloved fingers
makes my skin crawl.
The only thing more disgusting than handling this corpse?
Knowing that people will eventually eat of it,
lick their lips, and ask for more.
Such is the plight of the town’s only vegan butcher.

I avoid animal consumption — opting instead for alternatives —
for the simple reason of: garbage in, garbage out.
The only cut I recommend is none

But I wasn’t always the town’s only vegan butcher.
For I once savored this job and was the happiest butcher in the world.
I once loved the taste of meat. The feeling of it between my teeth.
I greedily devoured one cadaver after another,
or as I used to call it, “pleasures of the flesh”.

I grew up eating meat and saw others doing the same
So it never occurred to me to reject what everyone else enjoyed
Until the day I visited a slaughterhouse
and for the first time I saw the murder in the meat.
[Read more…]

Boulevard of Broken Porcs

porcupine

We walk a lonely road.

We liberty soldiers, those of us pledged to the defense of human freedom, are few and far between. That’s precisely why many thousands of us decided to concentrate in New Hampshire for the Free State Project. It’s understandable, then, when some of us can get emotional when one of our fellows exits the movement.

Many feelings were stirred up by the recent departure of activism legend Ian Freeman from the Free State Project. He’s still around, still doing what he does best, still working with the same people as always. The only thing that’s changed is that he won’t be at a couple of FSP-sponsored events. To some people, this is the entirety of their interaction with Ian, so it’s understandable that they would be upset, but for the rest of us, everything is exactly the same.

[Read more…]

The Second Rule of Libertarianism

abandonment

There’s more to libertarianism than not killing people or taking their stuff.

I know, that seems like a total no-brainer. Surely, a peaceful and prosperous society can’t be just that simplistic. But apparently, some people already struggle to remember to refrain from doing just those two things. So, in light of recent events, I feel the need to outline a couple extra points on how to liberty right.

I’m here to tell you that there’s more to being a good libertarian than the non-aggression principle. The second rule of libertarianism is cooperation.

No, anarchists, these aren’t “rules” in the sense that there’s some governing body that enforces how you live your life. It’s a simple law of nature of how you can expect people to react. The non-aggression principle isn’t law because Rothbard Christ came down from the heavens to bestow his wisdom upon us. It’s law because if you hurt people or break their things, you can expect to be shot in the face, and no one will have sympathy for your sad little corpse. But remember, this doesn’t guarantee even your basic survival. It guarantees your right to try to survive. The rest is up to your ability for cooperation.

Alone in the wild, few humans have historically survived to old age, and an even smaller percentage of modern people could make it on their own. That’s how humanity discovered cooperation, or as it’s known in modern economic terms, the free market. From individually specializing and collectively sharing food to community defense to trading with inventors and manufacturers, homo sapiens flourished through cooperation into the death-cheating powerhouse of a species we’ve grown to know and love. I know it seems insulting to break down the basics of free trade into childlike terms for a bunch of libertarians, but it’s important context for what I’m about to say.

Attacking people physically or taking their belongings will get you killed in short order, but that’s not the only way to die in a libertarian paradise. If you make fraudulent or sketchy business deals, no one will want to work with you. If you return people’s hospitality and generosity with disrespect and greed, they won’t repeat their mistake of welcoming you. If you are generally mean, hurtful, or selfish enough, no one will come to your aid if you are attacked. If you’re so much of a jerk and a bad person that no one wants to cooperate with you on any level, you will die alone, either from starvation, illness, an accident, or willing violation of the non-aggression principle by some barbarian, and no one but your mother will cry for you. Maybe not even her if you screwed her over too.

Peaceful, voluntary cooperation is what can truly make a society free, safe, and prosperous. Just remember that the “voluntary” part means your wellbeing isn’t guaranteed. You have to convince people to help you. If you upset enough of your community members, don’t be surprised if you find yourself short of friends, funds, and even basic physical protection.

My Free State Story

Representing the Free State Project at a Students for Liberty conference outside of Boston

Representing the Free State Project at a Students for Liberty conference outside of Boston

It finally happened. After well over a decade of toiling tirelessly in the dark, the Free State Project has finally reached its goal of 20,000 signers pledging to move to New Hampshire for liberty in the next five years.

This barely-funded, largely decentralized, volunteer-driven last stand for liberty has taken thousands of individuals contributing their all for a rash dream: liberty in our lifetime. I can’t disrespect all the others who worked towards this goal by attempting to speak for them. Instead, I’ll only speak for myself.

This is my Free State story.

Discovery

In early 2012, wasting my time in Phoenix and working side jobs to get by, I decided to restart my old career in public policy in the liberty movement. I went to the Atlas Foundation’s global compendium of pro-free market think tanks, scrolled through the entire list, and applied for a job at each and every one that was hiring, from positions in Washington, D.C. to those in Lima and New Delhi. When I came to New Hampshire listings I noticed the Free State Project, investigated, very much liked what I saw, but noticed they weren’t hiring. I moved on to search for other opportunities, but always kept my eye on those strange rabble-rousers trying something new in almost-Canada. [Read more…]

Snowden’s Example: Get Away With It

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In less than one month, Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA whistleblower responsible for ratting out the U.S. government’s Orwellian spying programs, will be addressing Liberty Forum, an annual conference held by the Free State Project, an initiative to move 20,000 hardcore libertarians to New Hampshire to build the free society of tomorrow. What he’s conspicuously not doing: rotting in either a prison cell or six feet under.

No, Snowden isn’t dead or locked up. Not many of you reading this are, either. What sets Snowden apart from the rest of us is that he joined the very exclusive club of people who have royally infuriated the U.S. federal government. And almost all members of that club didn’t make it out to tell the tale. [Read more…]