Free State Project

Viva PorcFest and the Free State Project! Now With More Ice Cream!

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Updated July 4, 2014, 11:00am (see below)

Last weekend, I traveled to speak and hang out at the Free State Project's annual hootenany, which is called PorcFest (short for Porcupine Freedom Festival). It was a great and excellent time and I hope to write up something about in the next few days.

Here's a nice writeup of the event and the FSP by The Economist's Emily Bobrow:

In the jovial atmosphere of PorcFest, where idealists bond over their shared mistrust of rules and big institutions, the prospect of a future New Hampshire that can do without such things seems far-fetched. Tech geeks (who still dominate the Free State movement) enjoy home-made "bananarchy" ice cream while prattling on about the power of crypto-currencies. "Bitcoin can topple governments and end war," gushes one fan.

Others are more realistic. "I'm an incrementalist," explains Jason Sorens, the subdued intellectual who dreamed up the Free State Project while he was getting his PhD from Yale. Now a lecturer at Dartmouth College in Hanover, he is eager to use New Hampshire to test libertarian theories about enlightened self-interest and reciprocal altruism, small government and large networks of voluntary institutions. "We don't have all the answers," he says, "but it's worth the experiment."

The "Bananarchy" ice cream was pretty damn fine, btw, but even better was the "Who Will Build My Rocky Road."

Read the whole thing.

Here's an account by C.J. Ciaramella of the Washington Free Beacon. A snippet:

For a first-timer at Porcfest, walking through crowds of armed anarchists and clouds of marijuana smoke is like sneaking into an R-rated movie when you're a kid—a world only hinted at is suddenly right before your eyes.

As keynote speaker and libertarian activist Nick Gillespie would tell the crowd later in the week, "You're a demonstration project for what it's like to live in a way that's less uptight."…

At Porcfest, 1,500 heavily armed libertarians, tea partiers, anarchists, secessionists, and doomsday preppers got together in the woods for a week with a large amount of alcohol, illicit substances, and children, and no major incidents were reported. I did not see a fight, or even a hullaballoo. A couple of kids were separated and reunited with their parents. A topless woman was asked to put a shirt on after several complaints and complied, despite the statist encroachment on her individualism. One guy couldn't handle his hallucinogens and got stuck in the bathroom repeating over and over, "I am a god. I am logic. I am a perfect machine. I am forever." The volunteer security eventually got him back to his tent. The peace was kept.

I plan on going back to Porcfest next year—if they'll have me back after the publication of this article—not because I'm an anarcho-capitalist, but because I made a bunch of friends and had a blast. 

Read the whole thing.

In my experience, PorcFest wasn't so trippy, though it was a delight on every possible level, especially intellectually, where the speakers across the board were smart and engaged with the audiece. Buzz's Big Gay Dance Party was great, too, featuring wonderful music, dancing, and come-as-you-are attitude that the world always needs more of.