“Paradise Lost: Time to Regain It!” by Casey Khan
Paradise Lost: Time to Regain It!
By Casey Khan – signed participant of the Free State Project
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries religion was the main issue in European political controversies. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe as well as in America the paramount question was representative government versus royal absolutism. Today it is the market economy versus socialism.-Ludwig von Mises
In 1620, aboard a ship anchored in Cape Cod, a group of 41 men made an agreement, “to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws.” The Mayflower Compact forged a promise born of man’s most native instinct, an affinity for freedom. Freedom, particularly of a religious faculty, was so dear to these men that they risked the lives of themselves and their families, by crossing an ocean to an unknown continent. The establishment of the Plymouth colony was so perilous, that half the 102 passengers of the Mayflower failed to survive the first winter. Thus setting precedent for history’s greatest experiment in liberty.
Through the years, the colonies flourished with men whose destinies were self- determined by their hard work, independence of mind, and courage. As their king began to encroach on their lives, these individuals sought to dissolve their relationship with tyranny. A “Declaration of Independence“was proclaimed against the king, challenging the old orders of monarchy and absolutism. After a violent civil war, a new nation was officially constituted based on self-determination and the principles of ‘life, liberty, property.’ The absolute power of the royal monarchy would give way to representative government. The U.S. Constitution continued the precedent of freedom as a document crafted to protect individuals from the abuses of government power. Through this contract, liberty was able to enrich the people of the United States to a wealth and comfort unknown to men of any previous era.
Eventually, American liberty came under assault. With each assault came the promise of more freedom. The first shots were fired in the Civil War with the first successful exertions of Federal Executive power. This war promised to emancipate the slaves, however it brought destruction, tyranny, and the deaths of more Americans than at any other time of war. The second shots came from the Progressive Era policies of income taxation and the Federal Reserve Bank. These policies were enabled to free the US economy from the “cross of gold.” However, with Fed omniscience, it became easier to nail the American consumer to a cross of paper. The Great Depression ensued.
Next came the New Deal. It promised the freedom from fear and want. With it came the foundations for National Socialism, bringing about “a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” With Social Security, SEC, CIA, FBI, FCC, FDA, and WPA, people were promised a new kind of freedom. It was freedom from responsibility. Individuals no longer had to worry about their financial security, personal security, or their job security. No longer would the majority be comprised of rugged individuals willing to live free and take risks. The majority would now comprise of men without substance or conviction, men who resemble the walking dead. From a false promise of freedom, the majority of Americans are now enslaved. Seduced from the vitality of life and led astray by the vicissitudes of the state. Just like in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Americans have been banished from the Eden they once knew.
What can we do to get it back? In fact, what can be done to make it better than it ever was? What can the few of us, with a liberty-invoked conviction, do? The Free State Project (www.freestateproject.org) offers a possible, and I believe a probable solution. In its mission, it states:
The Free State Project is a plan in which 20,000 or more liberty-oriented people will move to a single state of the U.S., and work within its political system to reduce the size and scope of government. We will reduce burdensome taxation and regulation, reform state and local law, opt out of federal mandates, and press for the restoration of constitutional federalism. We will show the nation and the world what liberty can accomplish.
The first milestone of the project is to sign up 5,000 members to vote on a which state the group should move to. Currently the candidate states include: Maine, North Dakota, Idaho, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Vermont, and Montana. In the statement of intent, participants in the project have the opportunity to opt out of moving to any of the states targeted. Once the vote is complete, the second milestone is to sign up 20,000 participants to kick off a migration to the state within a five-year period. Once there, participants “…will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property.”
Jan Helfeld, an attorney from Virginia and FSP participant, argues that the Free State Project is the best political strategy for freedom. From a libertarian political perspective, he argues that a free state could potentially have two US Senators, a Congressman, and a Governor. The project would give much more leverage to a freedom oriented agenda, than with the current national libertarian strategy.
I see the Free State Project as more than a strategy for enabling political freedom. I think it is currently the best strategy, for Americans to combat the evils of socialism and assert the market economy. With Ron Paul types as governor and in the legislature, the burying of government power will enable the free market to flourish more than any other state in the union. The free state will act as a laboratory of free market ideas. Imagine a state of real economic and social prosperity with the consumer reigning supreme. Without the proliferation of zoning laws, neighbors can live in civility. Without interference in medicine, doctors can practice their art with patients as their masters. Without regulation of electricity and natural gas, consumers will reap the benefits of choice and innovation. Without weapons restrictions, individuals and communities can truly protect themselves. Without mandatory education via taxation and truancy, students will begin learning again. There is much that can be done to eliminate socialism in our backyards. In the local and state arena, socialism is ever present, eating away at the foundations of American society. The Free State Project looks to attack socialism at the socialist grass roots.
These are the goals all freedom lovers seek, but they will not be easy to accomplish. There will be temptations. The intoxicating affect that power will have over those who enter public office can be detrimental, no matter how enlightened in liberty the office holder is. The federal government will continue to tempt with subsidies and pork programs.
There will also be fear. Many are afraid that the project is not planned out enough. They wonder what the plan of action will be when we arrive. In response I urge the planners to look to the Mayflower Pilgrims. Their only plans were an agreement made after they arrived.
In order to find success in the Free State Project, its participants will have to use the representative process with a moral foundation to instill the courage to assert the market economy against the greatest enemy of our time, socialism.
So to all you constitutional conservatives yearning for founding principles, and to all you libertarians seeking freedom, if your goal is to reassert the lost American Paradise, check out the Free State Project (www.freestateproject.org). Look to your place in history as described by Von Mises. Fight Socialism, and join the Free State Project
Casey Khan works as a risk analyst in Phoenix, AZ where he lives with his wife. He is a signed participant of the Free State Project. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Free State Project, its directors, or its members.