New Hampshire is the Cure for the Liberty Lovers’ Blues (or Reds) by Karl Beisel

New Hampshire is the Cure for the Liberty Lovers’ Blues (or Reds)
Karl Beisel
I’ve witnessed a lot of pessimism within the freedom movement lately. Scarcely a day goes by when I do not hear of some outrage perpetrated by government, and the laments from those who feel helpless to do anything but voice outrage as they watch a growing tyranny in America. Until last spring, I lived in Washington, DC, a voice in the wilderness so alone, I saw no point in raising it. I imagine many people today are in that same predicament – outnumbered, unsupported, and terribly discouraged. I’d recently come to a crossroads in my life, in which I’d imagined how I might, as an old man, reflect on what I had done to halt the tide of tyranny. In fact, I had done nothing but scream at the television, read articles, and vote every 4 years. Occasionally I talked to some person or another about what I “believed.” Yet, liberty is not merely a belief; it is not a religion; it is necessity, and an inalienable, God-given right that demands action to protect. When I asked myself if I could ever be considered more than a lone “radical” voice inside the Washington Beltway, what I needed to do became clear. So, last June, I moved to New Hampshire, to join forces with others who were participating in the Free State Project.

Since then, and as I’ve begun to put down roots in my new community, I’ve had an opportunity to witness and participate in one of the most energetic and hopeful grassroots freedom movements I’ve ever seen. It has filled me with enthusiasm and hope.

Before I describe my impressions, let me give some background. The Free State Project ( is an effort to convince thousands of liberty-minded Americans, including libertarians and constitutionalists, and like-minded members of all political parties to move to the small state of New Hampshire, the “Live Free or Die” state, already famous for its small government, relatively low taxation, and its protection of individual liberties. From there, they will actively promote individual liberty within the state, through political or civic action, thus leveraging America’s constitutional federalism to reduce the size and scope of government even further. My own preconceptions about what activism in New Hampshire would look like were changed shortly after I moved. There are presently fewer than 100 people who have made the move so far, although indications are that this number will double by this summer. They have already brought significant new energy and leadership to the freedom movement throughout the state. One of the most surprising developments is how many people in New Hampshire have embraced the activism promoted by various local groups of free staters. While the state has long had several “grassroots” leftist organizations, it has until recently lacked any well-organized general interest pro-liberty groups outside of the Libertarian Party, and the traditional gun owners’ and taxpayers’ groups. That has begun to change in a dramatic way. New local activist groups, initially composed of a handful of free staters, have begun to see their numbers grow – not just with other free staters, but with more and more long-time, previously non-activist residents. These individuals are excited to find groups of freedom lovers in their community who are full of energy and optimism, who are also getting things done. And unlike leftist groups, which are often just organs of the Democratic Party and run by politicians, these new pro-liberty groups are truly grassroots – their leadership and members are ordinary citizens.

The sorts of activism I’ve witnessed have been varied. It has included various forms of political action and civic involvement. Some efforts can even be described as heroic. One group is working to help save the home of a family who has gone awry of a building inspector’s overly-broad interpretation of the law – all because of the pettiness of a particular zoning board which refused to grant a reasonable variance. Another group has helped established the Liberty Scholarship Fund, an effort to give some low-income parents greater choice in how they school their children. Some free staters may soon run for office, or encourage and support long-time residents runs for office. It has been said that libertarians own the internet; New Hampshire is no exception. The relatively new liberty activism web site,, is already one of New Hampshire’s most popular. Most importantly, free staters have helped to found a growing and dynamic social and political network that may one day help re-establish a culture like that of New Hampshire’s fading populist Republicanism.

I’ve found that activism in New Hampshire is a sure cure for the liberty lovers’ blues. If you have not already chosen to fight, I say choose. And if you’re going to fight, there is no better place to do it than in New Hampshire, location of the fastest-growing, most optimistic freedom movement in the union.


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