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Archive for May, 2003

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Give Me Liberty

Volume 1/Issue No. 4 May 2003

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In This Issue:

Welcome

“The Free State Project”

by Jason Sorens

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Welcome to Give Me Liberty! We are thrilled to have you reading our

liberty-oriented news ezine that hopefully will become one of your

favorite monthly reads. For this issue, we are pleased to welcome one

the founder of the Free State Project that we have been hearing so much

about. Jason Sorens shares with us his dream for the beginning of

successfully making at least one state in the United States a model of

libertarian principles.

We are especially interested in having your input and feedback since

this is YOUR ezine. We want to know what you want to see in future

issues. We are going to be working on a web site in the future at

www.givemelibertynow.com and at that time we will be moving the ezine

from Topica.

Finally we ask you to spread the word about Give Me Liberty! If each of

you would invite just five others to subscribe then we could begin to

grow this ezine into the thousands very rapidly. Just ask them to send

an email to givemelibert-@topica.com !

PS. As this was going to press I had one of my wake up in the middle of

the night AHAs that I would like to share with you.

As any effort been made to start a Libertarian directed cable TV

CHANNEL? Not a program but a full-fledged channel? Just like the Sci-Fi

or History Channel.

If not, why not? Money?

Isn’t it my understanding that VERY wealthy Libertarians like Drew Carey

and Kurt Russell tout their libertarianism? So why not get them to put

their money where their mouth is? I’m sure there are more WEALTHY

Libertarians that could throw in a few bucks. Why not approach Clint

Eastwood, Tom Selleck and others that lean toward Libertarianism?

Libertarians also are not going to have LIMITING advertising guidelines!

There just might be some companies that would love to have an

opportunity to spread their message to the Libertarian leaning audience.

Every one keeps whining and pining over how few people are Libertarians!

Where do most people look for their news? The Net and TV! What if we

could hire away John Stossels to head the News operation? I’m sure that

he knows other reporters that would lean that way.

As always I’m ready to lead the Revolution! Your thoughts?

The Free State Project: An Opportunity for Action

By Jason Sorens

Thesis:

The success of the Free State Project (www.freestateproject.org) will

advance the cause of liberty by decades.

Premises:

Premise 1: Activists make for successful politics.

Premise 2: Winning candidates for high-level office usually have

substantial low-level political experience, especially if they are not

independently wealthy.

Premise 3: Electing libertarian candidates will lead to more libertarian

public policy.

Key Point 1

The Libertarian Party has been growing, but its growth is currently too

slow to achieve “liberty in our lifetime.”

Libertarian Party vote in U.S. House of Representatives races stood at

0.2% nationally in 1986 but has grown since then, to 1.7% in 2002. The

last decline in LP House vote was in 1994, when LP vote stood at 0.6%.

So over the last eight years LP vote has increased 1.1% nationwide.

Most of this growth has come through running more candidates, but some

of it has come from running better candidates. If we assume that the

Libertarian Party is able to continue this growth at the same rate, by

running still more candidates and then improving per-candidate vote

share, then LP vote should increase 1.1% every eight years. At that

rate, we would reach 35% nationally, the level at which we would have a

good shot at winning many three-way races, in the year 2242. We don’t

even know if the United States will still exist in 2242, but we do know

that we won’t. Therefore, our growth, while slightly encouraging, is

still grossly unsatisfactory.

Key Point 2

Concentrating our activists would increase the impact of libertarian

ideas exponentially.

How many libertarian activists are there in the country? If we count

all pro-liberty talk show hosts, writers, professors, policy analysts,

the 27,000 dues-paying members of the Libertarian Party, members of the

Republican Liberty Caucus, contributors to the Club for Growth, and all

(small-l) libertarian activists within and without all political parties

in America, there might be 100,000 libertarian activists in this

country. That’s an optimistic figure, but let’s work with it. In a

population of roughly 300 million, that means that 1 in 3,000 Americans

is a libertarian activist.

Now imagine that we take 20,000 libertarian activists and set them down

in a state of about 1 million population. In this state, about 1 in

every 50 residents would be a libertarian activist. That’s an increase

in impact of 60 times. And in almost any state you care to name, that

would be greater than the number of activists for all other political

parties and ideological groups put together.

This is exactly what the Free State Project is trying to accomplish. We

are researching ten states, all with less than 1.5 million people, as

places for libertarians to settle and live. Some of the states are

barely half a million in population. These are the 10 states: Alaska,

Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, New

Hampshire, Maine, and Delaware. We are circulating a Statement of

Intent among libertarians across the country, both on our website

(freestateproject.org) and at meetings. By signing the Statement of

Intent, you agree to move to a single state chosen by a membership vote,

and work toward a society in which government’s maximum role is the

protection of life, liberty, and property. You can opt out of any or

several of the states under consideration if you choose. Once we reach

5,000 commitments, we will hold a vote among all signers to determine

one state out of the 10 to which we will all move. Currently, we have

over 3,300 signers.

Don’t think we can reach the goal of 20,000? No problem. If you sign

up and we don’t reach 20,000, you won’t be obligated to move, so there’s

no risk there. We actually picked the number 20,000 in the first place,

though, because we think we can get it. So far the Free State Project

has been attracting people who already are libertarian activists, and

are also making activists out of people who previously were not. The

fact that the Free State Project presents us an opportunity to actually

win something has made people who were previously pessimistic and

discouraged ready to start working for freedom again.

Key Point 3

Libertarian activists can accomplish a great deal at the state level,

and these accomplishments are a necessary prerequisite to winning at the

federal level.

State and local governments still have substantial powers. After moving

to our state, we could repeal state taxes and wasteful state government

programs. We could end collaboration between state and federal law

enforcement in enforcing unconstitutional laws. We could roll back

state gun and drug laws. We could end asset forfeiture and abuses of

eminent domain. We could privatize utilities and end inefficient

regulations and monopolies. Perhaps most importantly, we could effect a

full separation of school and state.

All these reforms will take time and hard work, no doubt. This is a

long-term project. We have to be willing to move to our chosen state,

settle and lay down roots there, then begin the gradual task of electing

local pro-freedom candidates, and eventually securing majority control

of the state legislature and the governorship. At that point, we will

be in a position to reject federal highway funds and the strings

attached to them and to stand up to the federal government: through the

courts, through referendums, through resolutions of the state

legislature, and through the leverage held by our federal

representatives. Our ultimate goal would be to restore robust

federalism, to make the 10th Amendment mean something again.

Thus, influencing state and local politics will be the first step toward

influencing the rest of the nation and the world in a pro-liberty

direction. Once we have established a favorable climate for business

and individual rights, people and businesses will move to our state,

forcing other state and even national governments to slash their own

taxes and respect their citizens’ rights to avoid losing their economies

to the Free State.

It may be 50 years before this vision comes to pass, if it ever does,

but there is no better time to start realizing it than now.

Call to Action

To summarize, to make national progress we need to achieve major

electoral and policy successes at the state and local level. To achieve

these electoral and policy successes, the Free State Project is the best

strategy. Our opponents are better funded, better known, more powerful,

and enjoy the benefits of defending the status quo against a “risky”

alternative. To defeat them we need to concentrate our activists and

resources on their weakest point. This is what the Free State Project

does. We will focus libertarian activists on a single state that is not

only low in population but already relatively friendly to libertarian

ideas and independent thinking. We will be assets to our community, by

developing private alternatives to government programs, by improving the

local economy through hard work and bright ideas, and, of course, by

providing the political prerequisites for cultural renewal and economic

growth.

I encourage everyone to consider joining the Free State Project, and if

you can’t join, to stay informed of our progress and to help spread the

word.

Jason Sorens is founder and president of the Free State Project,

www.freestateproject.org. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Yale

University and lives in Asheville, North

Carolina.

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Referring This Ezine – YES, by all means we encourage you to pass on

this newsletter to as many people as possible! We would only ask that

you make no changes to its content without written permission.

Cort McCadden, Managing Editor

Written by Donnell

May 1st, 2003 at 9:26 pm

Posted in General