Libertarian History/Philosophy

Keeping New Hampshire Awesome: Q&A with the Free State Project President Carla Gericke


Occasionally criticized for "invading" or "colonizing" New Hampshire, the Free State Project is simply "trying to keep New Hampshire awesome!," according to the organization's president Carla Gericke. As the movement's self-described "bus driver," Gericke is trying to bring 20,000 people to the Live Free or Die state to build a model community for libertarians.

Reason Magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch sat down with Gericke to talk about the project, why they chose New Hampshire, and the local response to "anarchist toenails."

Approximately 6 minutes. Shot by Zach Weissmueller and Jim Epstein, and edited by Joshua Swain.

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For more Reason coverage on the Free State Project, check out Operation Free State and's interview with director of Libertopia Christina Heller.

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  1. New Hamster the live free or whatever state.

    1. 1. Free State.
      2. Benevolent Rape.
      3. Military Intelligence.
      5. Almost Pregnant.
      6. Living corpse.

      Free State just cracks me up.

      1. Statist is one thing.

        Free Statist is another.

        Libertard told me so.

        1. Those who oppose my holy dictations
          Shall know the wrath of heaven.
          Field and forest shall burn,
          The seas shall rise and devour them,
          The wind shall tear their nations
          From the face of the earth,
          Lightning shall rain down from the sky,
          They shall cry out to their false gods,
          And find silence.


          That’s a verse about an evil corporate conglomerate threatening Gambol Incorporated

          1. All Aboard!

        2. You see how the field and the forest and the sky and the false gods (Gaia, et al) get fucked in the ass? You’re pretty much screwed!

    2. 1. Free State.
      2. Benevolent Rape.
      3. Military Intelligence.
      5. Almost Pregnant.
      6. Living corpse.

      Free State just cracks me up.

      1. Pick a fucking handle, asshole.

        1. A fucking handle.

          1. In anarchy, nobody needs a handle.

        2. +1 Zeb

          Good work, Zeb!

          1. no, he picked “a fucking handle” not zeb. jeesch

  2. What’s wrong with building a model community for librarians? It would be a nice, quiet place to live.

    1. Life, Liberty, and Papyrus.

      1. I think they already have that, on the Isle of San Serriffe.

  3. “Up north near Dartmouth”? Is that like a New Yorker saying “upstate near New Rochelle”?

  4. I wish I could clap my hands and thereby transform the entire population of Texas into militant libertarians — let’s see the federales fuck with THAT!

    1. Considering that the official Libertarian Party of Collin County seems to consist of the founder, his wife, me, and a couple of others who sometimes show up at two things a year, I’d say you have a better chance of winning the lottery.

      Trying to explain why endless war is bad and drugs aren’t the devil to rich white people is like talking about the moons of Jupiter with a caveman; there simply isn’t any point of reference to even begin to have a real conversation with.

      1. “Considering that the official Libertarian Party of Collin County seems to consist of the founder, his wife, me, and a couple of others who sometimes show up at two things a year, I’d say you have a better chance of winning the lottery.”

        By ‘libertarian’, I meant people that generally abide by the ideals of liberty, from Jeffersonian republicans to minarchists, in principle — they wouldn’t all have to agree with each other absolutely for it to work.

        “Trying to explain why endless war is bad and drugs aren’t the devil to rich white people is like talking about the moons of Jupiter with a caveman; there simply isn’t any point of reference to even begin to have a real conversation with.”

        You must be referring to a DC crowd, because I’ve never had as much shit flung my way as in a DC bar.

        1. Libertarianism is mainly about get off my property.

          The liberty stuff is just a false storefront.

          In fact, libertarianism was originally used by leftwing communists, as another bait-and-switch, before the term was stolen by Rothbard to bait-and-switch his bullshit.

          1. GTFO my property!

            1. I had an awesome reply but this site can’t handle foreign script, so… I’ll just write in plain English- “Fuck you twice”.

  5. Anyone else think New Hampshire was a lame choice?

    Wyoming offered better skiing, 1/3rd the population, 10X the land. No tax reform legwork required. Probably better meth. I’d like a revote.

    1. Sure, the skiing would be great in the Cheyenne/Laramie area where you could hop on down to Colorado. And Jackson Hole, of course, but the towns there are small, seasonal and expensive. Anywhere else in Wyoming and the skiing is for shit.

      1. What about Rock Springs? I hear it’s nice.


      2. Snowy Range is right outside Laramie. The resort is small. But the snowmobiling around there is epic. I love it.

    2. You can’t beat NH’s House. At 400 members, it’s made it much easier for Free Stater’s to get political traction. Political influence? That’s been a bit harder. The local GOP recently led a revolt that ousted their libertarian leaning chairperson when he stopped toeing the lion.

      1. I’m not sure toeing lions is a good idea.

    3. Yes New Hampshire was a fucking stupid choice. Its a small island of relative liberty surrounded by a sea of liberal statism. Wyoming in contrast, is surrounded by the likes of Montana, Idaho, and Colorado. All considered to be among the more libertarian of states. And theres all that mining boom shit going on in Wyoming itself and in nearby Dakota. What fucking incentive is there to move to crowded, provincial New Hampshire? Land is expensive there and there are no opportunities for newcomers who wander in. And Wyoming is prettier. Lots of noobs foolishly think its one big brown windswept plain but that would only be an advantage in building and maintaining a libertarian stronghold.

      1. The incentive to move is more freedom.

        But if that’s something you don’t care about…

    4. There is also a Wyoming movement. I talked to someone that moved as part of Free State Wyoming. He said they are 3 political movers in the state, including him. In NH, we have 100s of political activists that moved and 15 NH State Reps. So I guess WY didn’t turn out to be a better choice.

  6. Couldn’t they pick someplace that gets a bit less snow…

  7. In the latest edition of Between Two Information Booths with Matt Welch, we see that Free Staters should abandon U.S. soil and concentrate on space. Maybe the ISS or, ideally, the lunar surface. Unlike New Hempshire, the moon is still awesome.

    1. New Hampshire’s supposed to be a really good place to live, although I’ve never been

      1. I like it, except that there are more Bay Staters coming here than Free Staters. MA can fuck right off.

        1. The Bay Staters are gonna move there for the low taxes then, once their population reaches critical political mass, proceed to institute all kinds of pork that will require higher taxes.

          1. As if. They move here for lower taxes. Then they say, Hey?!? Where’s all of those government services and regulation we need to make life like it was in Mass? And BOOM go your taxes.

            There was a recent revolt where just about all of the Dems were kicked out of the legislature and the GOP whacked the budget. The Dems are trying to spin this as killing the old and babies. We’ll see in 2012 what the voters think. If they reverse course again, the NH advantage is over.

            1. NH really doesn’t have much going for it. Cold, hardbitten, lacking good East-West road transportation (like the rest of Northern New England). Yeah, it has no income or sales taxes, but slams you on other extractions like property taxes and state-line tolls, and the public services really are for crap. It’s a small thinly-populated state with a few engines of economic activity — Darmouth and a couple other well-regarded colleges, PNS, skiing, tourism, and cross-border shopping. Except for Portsmouth, the cities are small and look run-down and ugly. Maine and Vermont have had markedly different political philosophies, but markedly similar economic fates. I don’t think it’s much of a candidate for a Libertopia. Although they probably won’t contemplate it, the proponents of a “Free State” agenda would probably have a better shot in a denser, more urbanized venue like Rhode Island.

              1. Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, or even Washington would all be good places for libertarians to concentrate their message and political effort. Any of these states would have made a much better choice than NH and all have more vibrant economies. Denver and Seattle are welfarist liberal cesspools however and take pride in their stupidity, so the choice should probably have been between ID and WY.

                1. You could be right (though I doubt it).

                  Regardless, NH is where it’s at.
                  As far as I’ve seen, NH is miles ahead of any other state when it comes to liberty activism, thanks to the nearly 1000 liberty activists who have already moved.

                  If you’re seriously interested in libertarian activism, NH is the place to be.

              2. “Except for Portsmouth, the cities are small and look run-down and ugly.”

                Have you done some kind of survey of NH cities? Somehow I don’t think so, so I’m curious about what would lead you to say this.

                I live in Keene, which is very nice.

                “Maine and Vermont have had markedly different political philosophies, but markedly similar economic fates.”

                In what sense? I’m not aware of much similarity. I know NH has significantly lower unemployment, for example.

              3. NH has a lot going for it. Check out the 101 Reasons to Move to NH,

                NH is the least corrupt state, has the lowest crime, the lowest poverty, the highest averaged median household income, the lowest paid politicians, the least lobbied politicians and so on.

                There is no general sales or income tax in NH and it has the lowest unemployment east of the MS River.

            2. I wouldn’t hate to move to NH, mostly for lower taxes and looser gun laws. However, nothing in southern NH is nearly as interesting as living in Boston itself is. (I’m originally from very rural, very northern Vermont).

              1. I’d vote for Idaho. Which did do pretty decent on the recent free states tally. I think #4

      2. If New Hampshire is so awesome, how come so many more songs are written about the moon?

    2. We could all just stow away on a rocket, go there and liberate it, though supply lines would be a little sketchy.

  8. Question:
    Is it worth moving to NH from Southern Maine?

    1. Only if you work in NH. Otherwise, you’ll still be paying Maine taxes.

    2. If you’d like to get involved in the most active libertarian movement in the U.S., then yes.

  9. It would have seemed to make more sense to pick Hawaii. How much arm twisting do you really have to do to get someone to move to a tropical paradise?

    1. Except that Hawaii is (a) expensive, (b) covered up in government jobs and (c) extremely hostile to libertarianism.

      1. Big Island brah. a)cheap, b)no jobs (bring your own), c)a lot of the people there now are weirdos who live in houses they make themselves on a couple acres in these MASSIVE subdivisions (Ocean View, Mountain View) that have virtually zero city services. Sound like candidates for conversion, if they arent already libertarian.

  10. I understand the summers are beautiful there, and conveniently occur between 11am and 2pm on the third Tuesday in July.

  11. I’ve lived in NH since the late 90’s. I didn’t vote for NH when I voted for which state the FSP would move to. I voted for all western states.

    When I moved to NH, I thought it would be some sort of libertarian paradise. In some ways it is. No seat belt law, no sales tax, relatively lax gun laws. Contrary to popular belief there is an income tax – 5% on interest and dividend income above an exemption amount. Wages, tips, and salary aren’t taxed. I found problems with the state since I’ve lived here.

    Property taxes are high. Gambling is heavily restricted. You can’t smoke in bars anymore. While you can buy beer and wine in the grocery store, the state maintains a list of what booze retailers can sell. For a long time the list for beer was tiny and I’d buy beer mainly outside of NH. The state has added to the list, but the list still exists. Far more folks from MA move to NH than Free Staters. There is a definite Puritan streak in southern NH.

    For various reasons I’ve stayed despite the problems. However, I’ve decided I will leave one day, the question is when.

  12. Oh, no! In ten years Hew Hampshire will be another Somalia!

  13. It’s not so much that Granite Staters lean libertarian as it is that they realize things need to be paid for. Walk into any town meeting and I’m willing to bet that’s what the argument will revolve around. Of course, the massholes can’t seem to wrap their heads around that at times.

  14. I moved to NH from the mid-West almost three years ago. As somebody who has lived all over the US, I can tell you that NH is a great place to be.

    The weather is beautiful and has actual variety throughout the four seasons. There is a general sense of personal responsibility among most of the residents. I’ve started two businesses here and have found the economic climate favorable as well. The legislature is accessible and easy to work with on matters of concern.

    “Those who say a thing can’t be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it” – John Pierce

  15. I moved to New Hampshire from Michigan. The winters here are snowy and it gets hot in the summer, the climate is exactly the same. People from Minnesota think it’s balmy. We have the Atlantic Ocean on one end and Canada on the other, and mountains and stuff in between. The community of libertarians makes the place, and if you want to meet most of them you should go to Porcfest. The state isn’t perfect, but it is fun not being the most radical one on the block any more!

  16. I moved to NH from the South over 3 years ago. The liberty community is larger in NH than all of TN. The laws are much less restrictive.

    There are card rooms with black jack, poker, craps and so on all over NH and the gambling age is 18. NH has the highest drinking rate in the US and liquor is less expensive here than anywhere I’ve ever been.You don’t have to have auto insurance, wear a seat belt or helmet. You can talk on your phone while driving and we don’t even have learner’s permits. Yet NH is the safest state (crime wise) and one of the safest when it comes to driving.

  17. I am not a ‘free stater’ but I moved to NH in 1992 from NY. Best decision I ever made. Certainly is colder than many southern states at times. Not really different than NY weather. People complain that the property taxes are high. They are still lower than property taxes in NY (and NY has income and sales tax too). Now, perhaps it is a little unfair to compare anything from the free state to things in the least free state, but the point is that one really needs to avoid general comparisons and look at climate maps, total tax burden, etc to make a decision.

  18. Gotta say, Reason readers are less Libertarian than Oppositional Defiant Disorder stricken, tho thats common enough among libertarians, they dont argue very well for their position.
    I grew up here in NH but have lived all over the US and I know that NH is the freest state and getting freer day by day. We have our own free staters in the legislature already and we are an active presence at every committee meeting to argue for or against bills. We grade every legislator based on their floor votes being pro or anti liberty to expand our influence, and our activists protest against laws that shouldnt be on the books.

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