Free State Project

Anarchist Defeats Minarchist in New Hampshire Election

The fruits of the Free State Project


I assume there's a Bakunin quote on the other side.
Tim O'Flaherty

When Ward 5 of Manchester, New Hampshire, elected a delegate to the state legislature this month, its voters rejected a Republican from the Free State Project who favors a minimal government. Instead they picked Tim O'Flaherty, a Democrat from the Free State Project who favors the abolition of government altogether. In the words of the Manchester Union-Leader: "O'Flaherty ran against a fellow Free Stater, housemate Dan Garthwaite, whom O'Flaherty called a statist."

Dear non-libertarians of Ward 5: This is how we feel when the major parties cough up Romney and Obama.

Bonus link #1: Meanwhile, in Vermont, voters in the town of Randolph have just made my left-anarchist friend Jessamyn West a justice of the peace.

Bonus link #2: The old, anarchic New Hampshire.

NEXT: Obama Praises Suu Kyi, Myanmar Reforms

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  1. What the hell is "Encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses" supposed to mean? And I won't even start with the other thing.

    1. It could mean don't excessively tax or regulate them. I think that the last bit is not necessarily so bad. I wish people wouldn't automatically assume the worst possible interpretation of everything they read.

      1. That would seem to be redundant, given the first bullet-point. My problem here is: regardless what he means to say, he's couching it in the same ambiguous rhetoric that is so typical of your run-of-the-mill statist. That's not the way to convince me, for one, that you even have a clear idea in your head of what you mean to say, let alone what you mean to do. YMMV.

        1. Keep in mind the campaign literature is probably aimed at "average" voters.

          You know, morons.

          1. I would think that that is pretty much it. Just coming straight out with anarchist theory is not going to get you far.

            1. Yeah, I don't think any one here who is well versed in anti/small gov't theory should be critical that come campaign literature doesn't make sense to them, when they aren't the target audience.

              It's meant to be quickly and easily digested by the broadest possible swath of the average voting public.

            2. To me, using something like "Get the government off the back of the small businessman", rather than what he used, seems easy enough to digest.

            3. The guy - O'Flaherty -- even said in the linked to interview that he didn't -- couldn't -- *campaign* as an anarchist since that likely would not get him elected.

              Of course, the idea of an any anarchist running for office is absurd and, well, hypocritical, but at the same time, fuck it, right? As long as he doesn't try to deny the contradictions involved here and just comes clean with his intentions...which O'Flaherty seems to be trying to do, at least judging by the Union Leader interview.

              BTW, he strikes me as more of left-anarchist than a right-anarchist: supporting public education, social programs, etc.

              1. BTW, he strikes me as more of left-anarchist than a right-anarchist: supporting public education, social programs

                wait. so he is not actually an anarchist? crap. I was actually happy for about 45 seconds.

          2. The common clay of the new...Hampshire?

        2. 0x90, you are obviously a fucking dullard. Go post on Salon or the Weekly Standard, wherever your dumbass is from.

  2. Can someone explain why Johnson didn't do better in NH? Less than 9,000 votes and only 1.2% of the vote, the same as in neighboring Vermont which is the most socialist state in the Union

    1. Probably mostly because no one had heard of him. Which is really sad and disappointing. He made a good number of trips to NH, but the press ignored him, of course.

      As for the VT thing, I don't think that the number of socialists in a state and the number of libertarians are necessarily correlated in any way.

      1. How does nobody know about Johnson in the home of the Free State Project? Johnson got 1.9% of the vote in freaking Indiana, it seems he should have topped that in NH. I was expecting NH to be his highest percentage after New Mexico

        1. I don't know. It seems like most people don't know that much about the Free State Project. And those who do are either supporters or participants or think they are a bunch of right-wing nuts or weirdo anarchists in Keene.

          There really isn't much state wide media, which could be part of it. The Union Leader is the only real state-wide paper and it is pretty solidly main-line Republican (I think it still is).

          1. The FSP got a ton of negative press in NH when it first kicked off. The general sentiment was one of locals vs. outsiders, where the motivations of the FSP were irrelevant. It was just a mentality of "who are they to tell us what to do"?

            The FSP is consistently also tagged as the source of any and all bills that come out of the NH statehouse which the left labels kooky/extreme.

            BUT...the FreeStaters are rather resilient and refuse to cave under pressure. And they are, by nature, rather vocal. They just can't win much standing when they advocate anything outside of fiscal restraint, because the press, left and right (and yes the UL is most definitely to the right of Fox News), will disparage the FSP at any opportunity.

            This article was, in fact, one of the more balanced I've seen.

            1. So the slow pace of FSP immigration (1,000 so far?) has actually worked to their advantage? I wonder how well they would do if the other 19,000 would get moving.

            2. Yeah, how dare the Free Staters move in to NH and change the politics the native Massholes choose?

            3. Are you a Free Stater, MP? If so, this NH native welcomes you.

            4. It was just a mentality of "who are they to tell us what to do"?

              Who are they to not tell us what to do?

            5. The Union Leader is also decent on a lot of state and local issues. It's editorial board has come out against a state income tax, a state sales tax, adult seat belt laws, helmet laws... and in favor of medical marijuana, ads in schools to keep costs down and welfare reform. Oh, and free staters write articles for the Union Leader. Here is the kicker, the articles are actually published 🙂

        2. Gary Johnson did better in NH than the country as a whole, even though NH was a swing state where a lot of campaigning happened, Ron Paul's votes were counted in NH, some local crazies ran a NOTA campaign and the Constitution Party was actually on the ballot in New Hampshire.

          Yes, it was amazing. All of that, even though federal politics don't mean much.

      2. I think it's because Johnson comes across as an inarticulate jerk, to most people, unlike, say, Ron Paul.

        Did y'all see that third party debate between Johnson and Stein on RT? God, that was awful. They both actually tried to act like the regular politicians and act as if they were having a real presidential debate.

    2. NH was/is a swing state where the "wasted vote syndrome" was in full effect, there was never any question who was going to win Vermont .

      1. I dumped my camping trash at the side of the road in Vermont after I left New Hamp-shire. Which was mainly porno, alcohol containers, used condoms, and some blunt guts mixed in.

        1. sounds like an excellent camping trip.

    3. I would make this exhibit A (thru Z) of my contention that GJ was a shitty campaigner and organizer. The dude had a Free State Project--a small cadre of dedicated hardcore heads who MOVED there to stir up the awesomeness.

      Seriously, NH would've made a great pilot project of a state (despite the expensive Boston media market).

  3. "O'Flaherty ran against a fellow Free Stater, housemate Dan Garthwaite, whom O'Flaherty called a statist."

    That guy's my fuckin' hero, if only for making a newspaper type that sentence.

    1. Seriously, I'm totes in love.

      Also, SPLITTERS!

      1. I'm totes in love.

        Wow, what a stereotype. You're in love with a gay guy. Is he nonthreatening?

        1. I didn't know he was gay until further down the thread. But that part of the story didn't make him sound particularly nonthreatening.

          1. statist= top

    2. Wait... Housemate? Was the minarchist trying to control the thermostat or something?

      1. this shit is priceless...and only amusing to libertarians.

  4. If only the two-party system were a duel between minarchists and anarchists... One can only dream.

    1. A real duel, not just a contest.

  5. An alien lands in a corn field and approaches a farmer. He says, "Take me to your leader, we are taking over this planet."

    The farmer says, "Leader? We don't have a leader. We abolished the state decades ago."

    The alien pauses and says, "Oh, then you are a smarter people than we thought. In that case take me to your hedge fund manager, I want someone to look at my retirement plan."

    1. There's actually a short story (later made into a novel) about this by Eric Frank Russell, where a ship from a Galactic Empire lands on a place colonized by libertarians.

      1. Or maybe it was this planet .

        1. Ok, that is pretty funny.

    2. Dude, a hedge fund manager *is* a leader. In an actual anarchist society, there wouldn't be any managers, and there sure as hell wouldn't be any Hedge Fund Managers, for chrissakes.

      1. investment will be allowed in anarchotopia.

        1. the original anarchotopias (as imagined by Kropotkin), there wouldn't even be any money.

          The only anarchist society that has existed in practice - Spain in the 1930's - tried to do away with money and, largely, and effectively, succeeded.

  6. Jessamyn West

    So will a Commie turn his book into a Gary Cooper movie?

  7. I'm guessing he won because he was a Democrat? Just my knee-jerk cynicism kicking in.

    1. No, because he promised to "address social problems" -- he just didn't say how....

  8. Just another classic example of ignorant voters whose total political knowledge is D vs. R.

    1. O'Flaherty said he was surprised to win the Democratic primary over Richard Komi, a former state rep who was voted out of office in 2010. O'Flaherty won the contest by one vote. He said Komi may have suffered from name problems; his name is similar to Joseph Kony, the Ugandan guerilla leader whose capture was encouraged by the Kony 2012 effort, a viral Internet video.

      Heh heh heh heh ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!! whew hoo boy

  9. Everyone should really read that entire linked article. It has a lot of interesting mental contortions and double thinking going on.

    1. Yeah, that always seems a bit weird. I need to find one of those some day and see what exactly that is supposed to mean. I suppose voluntary communalism could be considered left-anarchism.

      1. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

    2. The most famous left-anarchists have probably been Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin. Pierre Proudhon is also often included although his ideas on the desirability of a modified form of private property would lead some to exclude him from the leftist camp altogether. (Some of Proudhon's other heterodoxies include his defense of the right of inheritance and his emphasis on the genuine antagonism between state power and property rights.) More recent left-anarchists include Emma Goldman, Murray Bookchin , and Noam Chomsky.

      1. Naom Chomsky is a statist fuck.

        1. This was from here

        2. If Chomsky in an anything-anarchist, the term "anarchist" cannot mean "stateless society." He's pretty much a socialist/communist who seems to believe in the state withering away all on its own under the benevolent gaze of New Chomskyite Man, is my best recollection.

          1. Chomsky won every game of linguistic Twister he ever played with himself.

          2. All of what you say about Chomsky is true, but I have to admit that he did play a significant role in turning me onto libertarian thought. Though I now see how ridiculous it is, his idea of libertarian socialism really got me started on the transition from silly youthful socialist idealism to where I am now.

            1. You're one of the few who have made that transition. Most of the people I've known who've gotten into Chomsky have turned into anti-capitalist zealots with a penchanct for conspiracy theorizing.

            2. I was never any kind of socialist.

      2. How can you omit Marx from that list? Marx was an anarchist in the sense that he believed that his Utopian, communist society wouldn't need a government. He also thought that the logical evolution of capitalism to socialism to communism would lead us to a post-scarcity society where the laws of economics wouldn't operate as they do today. This was all supposed to happen in the 19th century or possibly the early 20th century. So, if you're keeping score at home ....

        1. Marx forgot that humans don't want to die.

          1. "Marx forgot that humans don't want to die."

            It is kinda 'hardwired' into our DNA, and difficult to circumvent, isn't it?

    3. "Left-anarchism" is a misleading term to anyone who is outside the left-right paradigm. All it is the belief that the natural state of man in a anarchic situation is cooperation over competition.

      Of course, this assumes he isn't an Anarcho-syndicalist, summed up by Chomsky is this nearly content-free way:

      "Now a federated, decentralized system of free associations, incorporating economic as well as other social institutions, would be what I refer to as anarcho-syndicalism; and it seems to me that this is the appropriate form of social organization for an advanced technological society in which human beings do not have to be forced into the position of tools, of cogs in the machine. There is no longer any social necessity for human beings to be treated as mechanical elements in the productive process; that can be overcome and we must overcome it to be a society of freedom and free association, in which the creative urge that I consider intrinsic to human nature will in fact be able to realize itself in whatever way it will."

      1. the creative urge that I consider intrinsic to human nature will in fact be able to realize itself in whatever way it will.

        Such as in writing academic glibbety-glarb as above, presumably.

      2. The beginning and the end of the quote are quite good. I could do without the middle. Unless the place where I work is paying their servers better than they're paying me, then I'm on board with Chomsky.

        1. I don't find trade unions to be the pinnacle of human freedom. It's nice to say vague things about free association, but trade unions only have any use when coercion is involved. Either everyone in the union can be fired and all new people hired, or everyone that could possibly do the is in the union. The first situation makes the union useless; the second would require coercion to work effectively.

          1. I actually don't think the first situation makes the union useless.

            In jobs that demand something more intellectually challenging of the employees than, "Pull this lever", I think companies would rather avoid having literally months of downtime while they staff back up and train everybody. I mean you're talking about something like having almost no product for nearly a quarter of the year. That's a big hit to the bottom line.

            And the knowledge that they could all be fired, instead of forcing the company into "arbitration", would likely lead the unions to temper their demands somewhat.

            I think unions might actually be more prevelant in a totally free society than they are now, because they wouldn't be as radical, and employers wouldn't view them as pure poison.

            1. But without the ability to close a shop through coercion, useless the union is competitive with the price of unionless labor, then every shop that doesn't sign with a union to close the shop, has the ability to hire non-union labor, which will always be more lucrative to the individual employee since a portion of his his wage is not be surrendered to the union for its upkeep.

              I agree that the unions would be far more moderate in their actions, but I don't see how they even stay afloat without all the myriad coercions they are involved in to exist now.

              1. I don't think they stay afloat. They become ephemeral, popping into existence when conditions warrant, and dissipating again, once their purpose has been served. So their power is constant, and their cost of upkeep nil. To a good degree, it is the permanent union's inefficiency and unwieldy nature that enables strikers to be replaced quickly enough to make doing so worthwhile.

              2. If we're playing imaginary union, perhaps in our utopia, union membership provides benefits other than collective bargaining? Say, insurance or other things now handled by the employer? Lots of fraternal organizations used to offer such thing sback in the days before the feds drove them out with tax code changes. A union could be a fraternal org taht provides these things along with collective bargaining and training?

                Just spitballing here.

      3. Leftists do not consider coercion to be a bad thing when they coerce some rube into doing the enlightened thing.
        If someone has to be coerced into doing something a leftist would do voluntarily, then the leftist considers it voluntary all around.
        So when leftists use words like "free associations" and "social organization", it is entirely possible that they mean coercion under threat of violence.

        1. This.

          I think that's basically the gist of the difference. Libertarians are very commited to non-violent non-coercive interactions.

          Leftists have no such quibbles. If beating up scabs compells employers to deal exclusively with the unions, then you beat up scabs. C'est la vie.

          Leftists see violence as just one of an array of tools available to people to equalize the distribution of wealth. Neither more nor less legitimate than any other.

          1. I agree with leftists on violence, IF it would work, but it won't. They got the guns and the numbers.

    4. Here's a taste. You will find in such thought a confusion of terms including anarchist, libertarian, communist, socialist, etc, etc. These things have been debated for centuries now, to the point that unless discussion is taking place within the context of a group for whom meanings are mutually understood and agreed upon, it is difficult for much rational discussion to take place at all. People just end up talking past each other.


        1. Not black enough.

        2. And just to make sure there's no confusion, this is the order of blackness of the various Trek captains, from most to least:


          1. The word for Kirk is quadroon, you unlettered fool.

            1. I need a color wheel to see what someone who is a quarter black, a quarter white, a quarter green, and a quarter black/white down the middle would look like.

              1. There may be some Andorian in there, too, which would add blue.

              2. We actually call The Sisko "Captain Blackman," not because he's black, but because he reminds us of Principal Blackman.

                1. Only after he shaved his head and grew the goat.

                  1. "Only after he shaved his head and grew the goat."

                    The 'goat' was both fun and functional. Don't H8

    5. God, you people are so clueless. Anarchism was invented by the leftists in the socialist movement in the 19th century. Every heard of Proudhon? Bakunin? Ringing any bells?? How about Malatesta, Kropotkin, Emma Goldman???

      If you're going to call yourself an anarchist, at least have the decency to do a little historical research. With Google and Wikipedia, there's absolutely no excuse for your ignorance.

      1. Yes, because being under the thumb of a central committee is living "without masters."

        1. You know, this doesn't look good -- you, constantly revealing your ignorance. It's not good for your cause, whatever that may be.

          Every one of the names I mentioned above actively opposed and fought against central committees and any organizations/ideologies which promoted them.

          Are you completely unaware of the feud between Marx and Bakunin? Is that even possible? It would seem that you are...

      2. fuck off slaver.

        1. right back at you, ignorant fucking dolt.

      3. Drink is right, you know. And these guys distanced themselves from Marx for good reason. There is a reason that The Ukrainian Black Army (Anarchists) were later attacked by the Red Army once they had control of the Empire.

        Also, Anarchists feuded with Communists in the Spanish Civil War as well, some think it is part of the reason Franco's conservative alliance (Monarchists, Fascists, Catholics) won. That and the fact that the Republican side got far less foreign aid than the Fascist side.

  10. Jesse,

    Did you read Righteous Anger at the Wicked States? It got a rather scathing review here. I don't recall Reason reviewing it.

    1. I haven't read it. I had actually planned to link to the original passage in Forrest McDonald's E PLURIBUS UNION, but Google Books only offers a snippet-view version of that, so I did a search for someone quoting the passage & linked to that instead.

      I have read E PLURIBUS UNION and I recommend it, despite my differences with McDonald's politics.

      1. Thanks Jesse. I may try the audio edition, but I'd have to borrow the spouse's car with the tape deck.

        1. Christ, that's embarrassing. Yes, UNUM.

  11. In one of the more bizarre moments in the campaign, O'Flaherty wrote to Comedy Central's election Internet site to say he and Garthwaite are lovers, and the election would decide certain role-playing aspects of their relationship. (We're talking dominance and jackboots here.)

    But O'Flaherty, who is gay, said he doesn't know Garthwaite well, and he made the comments to undermine his opponent with his Republican base.


    1. Now THAT'S how you run a campaign!

    2. "to say he and Garthwaite are lovers, and the election would decide certain role-playing aspects of their relationship" thats funny.

  12. Awesome! Now we have an example next time the HitNRunpublicans claim there are no libertarian Democrats.

    1. "Oh ok, so you drug up a single example in an unimportant job in a backwater state. The libertarian republicans are actually in the FEDERAL legislature, you know, the one that actually matters, and they've been there for years. Besides, anarchists =/= libertarians."


      1. Honestly, libertarians have more in common with progressives than they do with Republicans. The hang up is that most progressives are statists because they can't imagine how communities could collectively solve their own problems without coercion, but that doesn't mean our solutions won't bring progressive ends like economic mobility, greater equality, meritocracy, etc better than theirs.

        I just feel like the more we neglect serious outreach to the Left by holding their own ideals against the outcomes of their policies, the worse we limit our appeal. Seriously, Detroit, Camden and Philadelphia have proven that unencumbered progressivism in practice is completely contradictory to real progress. Perhaps they need to do more soul-seeking and they will come to the conclusion that less government and more freedom is better for working poor people.

        1. Liberty is the antithesis of progressivism.

          Libertarians tend to be results oriented, while progressives value intentions.

          Libertarians see liberty as the means of relieving human suffering, while progressive feel that violence solves all problems.

          Progressivism is the embodiment of evil. Seriously. The end result is always suffering, starvation and death.
          It is nothing but well intentioned evil, paving the road to Hell.

          1. I disagree - progressivism can mean a whole lot of things. Wanting improved economic mobility for the poor and community-based solutions to social problems is not contradictory to libertarianism at all.

            My point is that BECAUSE progressives value intentions over results, they are hurting "progress" and the poor. For all the whining right-wingers do about tax rates for the wealthy, the fact of the matter is that the cost of this deficit spending will be borne disproportionately by the poor in the form of monetary devaluation and price inflation. If libertarians were talking about that and bludgeoning the sub-Keynesian "blank check" Left with it, maybe we could appeal to the large populace under the poverty line who are wondering why prices keep going up faster than their wages.

        2. I just feel like

          You are busted closet progressive communist!!

          Think! Do NOT EMOTE!

        3. No, the hang up with progressives is they are socialists. Republicans, at least in theory, believe in free markets, even if they rarely practice them.

          1. No they don't, because Republicans believe in state-limited liability and bankruptcy laws and none of the regulations necessary to offset the effects of these moral hazards. I'd love a world with no regulation too, but the Left are right: if owners aren't personally liable for the actions of their businesses and only care about profits, fraud and violations of individual rights and the environment (i.e. property rights) are bound to result. The right supports unregulated state capitalism (i.e. the preferential treatment of profit over responsibility), not free markets. The Left supports regulated state capitalism to try to offset the imbalance.

            1. And don't mistake that as a defense of the Left: the regulatory state itself only creates more moral hazards. But the concept of the regulatory state is to control and assign responsibility for socializations of risk onto the backs of taxpayers and victims of corporate malfeasance. So as long as we're going to have state-limited liability, the regulatory state is a necessary evil.

      2. Backwater state? Not only is New Hampshire in 1 of the largest media markets in the US, it is the most important state when it comes to Presidential politics. NH put the presidential primary on the map and hold the 1st primary in the US. It is a swing state and also has 2 communities which are the first communities to vote in the county on the day of the general election.

    2. liberty Democrats get elected and reelected in New Hampshire. It is nothing unusual. Remember Steve Vaillancourt? He was elected as a Democrat, a Libertarian and as a Republican. He is still serving as a state rep in NH, as a Republican. What about Joel Winters, he was just reelected for the 2nd time to the NH state house as a liberty Democratic. It isn't unusual in New Hampshire.

      1. New Hampshire Rep. Cohn pointed out to me that it might not be clear that a Democrat I used in the above post was reelected 2 times. He was elected and then reelected and then reelected. In other words, even though Rep. Winters is pro-liberty, more so than many people connected with, IMO, he was elected 3 times in New Hampshire as a Democrat. The Democrats refused to even put a person up to challenge him in the 2012 Democratic Primary.

  13. Anarchists and minarchists battling it on a statist playing field. Sigh.

    1. just a bunch of players struttin' and frettin'

      1. DIAF, pig.

        1. "DIAF, pig."

          This post lacks content.

          1. Roast pork.

  14. Looks like The Kurgan got soft.

    1. they have a pill for that...

      or so i hear

      1. The Kurgan.

        The resemblance is striking. In my mind anyway.

        I wasn't thinking about his penis. NTTAWWT. I mean, it's OK that you saw his face and the first thing that popped into your mind was his penis. That's OK. I thought he looked like a character from Highlander, but that's just me.

      2. Damn. I thought it was a suppository. Oh well, it still worked.

  15. "In 2001, San Francisco became the first city in the country to cover the cost of sex change surgeries for transgender city employees. In 2007, it became the first city in the country to provide health care for all uninsured residents through its Healthy San Francisco program.

    Now, San Francisco is combining those firsts into yet another pioneering move by becoming the first city in the country to cover the cost of gender reassignment surgeries for its uninsured transgender residents."

    so, what residency requirement will be required? instant residency, 1 yr etc. because if you can get free gender reassignment surgery merely by being a resident, that is going to incentivize a LOT of people to become "residents". those surgeries are expensive w/o insurance

    1. link?

      If this is actually going to be covered, then it likely wont have any additional requirements other than those in place for Healthy San Francisco.

      What's key there is that you have to make less than ~$55k, but enough so that you don't qualify for other public health programs.

  16. Any one else get the Jared Laughner vibe from that flyer pic?

    1. Arguably more of a bald Michael Chabon, especially round the mouth.

  17. "O'Flaherty ran against a fellow Free Stater, housemate Dan Garthwaite, whom O'Flaherty called a statist."

    Housemate? How small was this district?

    1. Small...It's a 'Quarter horse' town.

    2. Manchester has around 110,000 people and is broken down into 12 wards. The district is a ward.

  18. Speaking as a minarchist, awesome.

  19. The city of Lake Worth Florida elected Cara Jennings a self described anarchist to the city council a few years back. She liked big government as long as it did "good" things.

  20. "my left-anarchist friend Jessamyn West a justice of the peace"

    Whose novelist namesake's most famous work, The Friendly Persuasion, centred round a southern Indiana Quaker pacifist family during the Civil War, might fairly be restyled No Peace, No Justice.

  21. O'Flaherty is cute. Sweet smile.

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