Libertarians: New State of Mind
Can 20,000 transplants transform a small state into a libertarian Utopia?
Feb. 17 issue — A growing contingent of libertarians have decided that to get anywhere in politics they need to go ... somewhere. A plan by the Free State Project calls for 20,000 “freedom-loving people” to move to a small state and stage a bloodless coup in the next five years. In this utopia the state would slash taxes, reject most federal assistance, dump gun-control laws, legalize drugs, disband public schools and privatize almost all services.
FOUNDER JASON SORENS, 26, a Yale political-science doctoral candidate, says the group will vote on where to invade when 5,000 people sign on; so far about half that many have said they’d move. Their likely destination: New Hampshire or Wyoming, states with fewer than 1.5 million residents where 20,000 votes could sway an election. Wyoming’s got the greatest number of voters who picked conservative or libertarian candidates in recent presidential races. New Hampshire has the lowest percentage of government employees and teachers in unions, and coastal access “to make ourselves less dependent on the American market,” freestateproject.org notes. (The site addresses questions like “Can’t you make a warmer state an option?”) The party’s presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, Harry Browne, says he’s not bashing the idea but calls it “collectivism,” which is anti-libertarian. Sorens is undeterred. Libertarians “don’t want to live the rest of their lives among people who think, basically, that they’re nuts.”