At this moment, the political forecasting website fivethirtyeight. But that would translate into one-half of one percent of the electoral vote. The Libertarians, as sensible as some of their positions may seem, have not exactly won over the American people. Their absolute numbers are relatively small: roughly , registered voters nationally. So what if they picked one state and persuaded thousands of like-minded people to move there?
That is exactly what one group of libertarian-minded activists is trying to do. New Hampshire. State motto: live free or die. We sent our senior producer, Christopher Werth , to visit. This is the anarcho-capitalist wing of the libertarian-ish movement, the folks who dream of a world with no government whatsoever. He was learning to shoot a semi-automatic rifle at a firing range in a forest in northern New Hampshire. PorcFest is organized by the Free State Project , which is trying to persuade libertarians — or libertarian-minded people — to move to New Hampshire. For example, in L.
And I believe that… I think if an individual wants to reuse plastic bags they should. PRADO: My plan is to graduate and get my degree within two years and move over here and do some sort of teaching. And if not, open like a restaurant or something. At the time, he was conducting research on secessionist movements, and he was feeling very disillusioned with the prospects of libertarianism in national politics.
This was during the George W. Bush administration. And in the depth of his despair, Sorens proposed a solution. JASON SORENS: Maybe libertarians could try to have a libertarian state, and we could use that position to try to press for more autonomy for the state and economic policies, criminal-justice policies, things like that. And create a freer society. And he figured that if the Free State Project could get 20, people to sign a pledge to move to this hypothetical, libertarian state, then everyone could move there en masse.
They collected signatures and began casting about for a state suitable for this libertarian experiment. Even Gary Johnson got involved. For example, while New Hampshirites do pay property taxes, the state has no income or sales tax. SORENS: New Hampshire is distinct in that it combines fairly low taxes and a fairly modest level of economic regulation with a good bit of social toleration and personal freedom.
So it just has a lot of different characteristics that make it a more libertarian state than a lot of other states, maybe more than any other state. These are all characteristics that libertarians like. And earlier this year — a decade-and-a-half after the Free State Project was conceived — the organization finally announced its twenty-thousandth signer. We are firing the starting gun on a mass migration of freedom lovers to New Hampshire.
And I think we can do it. And not all Free Staters have waited for the twenty-thousandth signer to make the move. Sorens says, nearly 2, people have already moved to New Hampshire over the past decade or so. And he says the group has managed to establish a tight-knit community here. When a member moves to the state, for example, a handful of Free Staters usually show up to help unload their belongings. Warden himself moved from Nevada in Or raise my own food. I want to have chicken and have a big garden so I can be self-reliant.
Or maybe even live off the grid. They took the Free State pledge 15 years ago and are finally ready to move to New Hampshire. Do you have ownership of your own body or not? Are you slave to the government? They own your production, or not?
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So, yeah, I think people here already believe that and we want to move here and help them keep New Hampshire awesome. Nor do they advocate secession, at least not openly. Sorens has grown more pragmatic, or maybe just more realistic. But I do think we can make progress on lots of different margins where we have good answers that would help people achieve their ends. This means the barriers to entry in New Hampshire state politics are pretty low.
And right now, my understanding is that there are about 18 Free State Project movers who are in the State House. And in addition to that, there is a wider kind of libertarian caucus, sort of natives who are friendly to libertarian ideas, of about 80 legislators. If elected, Gericke would try to limit police powers.
They just met that goal. In fact, the contact information for a lot of the people who signed up years ago is no longer valid. True, Gary Johnson may get a much larger share of the vote for President this time around. Jerry Taylor is with the Niskanen Center. Our audience is the policy elite here in Washington, D. Since at least , American politics has pitted conservatives who believe in a small government and a free market against liberals who believe in a bigger government. The nations that have the freest markets also generally have the most generous welfare states. The two are not in opposition.
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In the real world they go together. The key distinction you have to make, Will Wilkinson writes, is between the redistributive state and the regulatory state.
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Nations like Denmark, Sweden and Canada built elaborate redistributive states to give their citizens a foundation of economic security. Then they realized they were going to have to liberalize their economies if they were going to be able to afford their welfare states. Today, those nations have many fewer regulations governing zoning and economic activity. They score very high on the rankings of economic freedom that are put together by conservative outfits like the Heritage Foundation and the Fraser Institute.
At the same time, they want an open, dynamic society. They want to reduce restrictive zoning and land use regulations that favor the rich and entrenched. I also have been a strong opponent of using zoning to prevent people from building what they want. There are atheists in foxholes, just not many. There are citizens who value principle over tribe, and there are small groups of principle-first people in most tribes including the R and D parties in America.
There are a decent proportion of principle-first people who hold libertarian beliefs, including some in the L party. About as many as athiests in foxholes. But we exist. Interesting quote, Dan. Note, however, that Friedman commanded tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of votes, perhaps more. He could hope that his support would make the difference between a win and a loss for the Republican Party, but not for the tiny Libertarian Party.
So this statement of his was very rational electoral behavior. For the average voter who, on the contrary, has only one vote, the argument does not apply: the only benefit of his vote for him is either to do the right thing or to entertain himself or to follow his tribe. And poor Friedman: he must turn in his grave seeing what the Republican Party has become! In every libertarian right-wing forum that I protest regarding property zoning, I find I am labeled an idiot, jerk or told I am obsessed with property zoning.
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My comments are often deleted or banned. But as a rule, those people leading the American Libertarian movement do not like the topic of property zoning. Its talking about zoning in comment of articles about other issues and getting mad at the author for not talking about zoning. I am the anti-zoning zealot in the comments of strongtowns.
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And it often applies, so I bring it up a lot. In most cases, they are pushing for less restrictive zoning, which is a move in the right direction, so good enough for me, even if I prefer more. Cafe Hayek does not ban or remove posts. I think Joe or Benjamin or whatever he calls himself now just stopped commenting. He did do a self-imposed ban on my blog when I removed a comment of his which was, as you point out here, completely unrelated to what I was discussing. Public Choice has taught us that ideals are just that—ideals that never have been, and almost certainly never will be, realized in pure form.
Every high-minded policy goal is distorted, sometimes beyond recognition, by the time politicians, legislators, and lobbyists are done with it, and bureaucrats administer it. But does that make it pointless to describe, and argue the strengths and weaknesses, of some models over others?
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Experience of centuries has taught us that states become more tyrannical as they become more powerful. In recent centuries there have been a relatively small number of states who managed to limit the size of their central government and expand the scope of individual freedom—first England, then the U. In short, the evidence is pretty strong that the closer you get to a minimalist, libertarian model of government, the more humans flourish. This is in stark contrast to the communist or socialist ideal—the closer you get to it in practice, the worse the humanitarian disaster it generates.
Jeez, I did not even mention how the topic of the universal criminalization of pushcart, truck-, and motorcycle-sidecar vending is also completely ignored. If you travel outside of the United States, you will often see that streets are turned into carnivals of commerce by such intrepid entrepreneurs— who are all but totally criminalized in the United States.
So, in general, to mention property zoning, or the criminalization of street vending, is always off-topic in libertarian blogs. As property zoning is one of the largest structural impediments facing the US economy, and much larger than the Trump tariff tiffs, what does this tell you about the American Libertarian movement? Please Google or search engine the topic of decriminalizing push-cart, truck- or motorcycle-sidecar vending, and point me to the libertarian blogs that have addressed this issue, and forthrightly stated we should err on the side of legalizing such vending.
I hope Pierre makes this a personal cause in the future, along with the abolition of property zoning, I hope Jon Murphy does too. Push cart vending and zoning laws are issues addressed by local not even merely state, but usually municipal governments. Tariffs and minimum wage laws are national the latter of course not only national issues. National politics enjoys broader interest among all groups for obvious reasons. Since there is hardly an unzoned piece of property in the US, this is a national issue.
It certainly has national economic ramifications. The problem is ubiquitous. Same on street-side vending. Would that be a local issue? Commercial and property rights are violated daily, but it is accepted as part our culture. The Institute for Justice gets good coverage in the libertarian press when it goes after hair-braiding laws in South Carolina, or civil-asset forfeiture laws. Property zoning, an issue perhaps times as large, gets even less coverage than civil asset forfeitures.
This is just silly. I would love to see street-vending open up in the US, and streets turned into carnivals of commerce. Those trade tiffs affect hundreds of billions of dollars in international trade, trade which involves American businesses small and large. Those trade tiffs moreover raise the risk of unwinding the global consensus on free trade, which would mean far larger and broader impacts on the global economy not to mention the liberty of individuals in countries around the world who wish to trade with each other.
There are tons of articles about food trucks and push cart vending on Reason. Are Libertarians Crazy?
Johnson that he seems to dislike campaigning, to which the candidate replied: The bad part is you find yourself with people that have really bad breath. Johnson, The Economist adds, in relation to electoral politics: Yet he may be the most prominent advocate of libertarian principles left standing. Categories: Liberty Politics and Economics. Lucidides Sep 20 at am. Mark Bahner Sep 20 at pm. It is really amazing how often I see this demonstrably false argument being made.
Robert EV Sep 21 at am. Ron Warrick Sep 22 at pm. Mark Z Sep 25 at am. Hazel Meade Sep 20 at am. David Henderson Sep 21 at am. Hazel Meade Sep 21 at am. Sam Grove Sep 21 at am. Hazel Meade Sep 21 at pm. Mark Z Sep 21 at pm. Hazel Meade Sep 24 at am. Hazel Meade Sep 25 at am. Mark Z Sep 25 at pm.
Hazel Meade Oct 1 at pm. Jon Murphy Sep 20 at pm.