Has the Ideological Purge Begun for the Free State Project

The idea behind the Free State Project is a noble one. Get enough people to move to New Hampshire so that the entire governmental body can be overtaken by advocates of liberty. I give the project credit for creativity and optimism but the execution of the idea has been lackluster. One of the ironies of the Free State Project, in my opinion, is its reliance on a board to make major decisions. Small groups of people having unilateral decision making power seems to be the exact opposite of what the Free State Project is trying to achieve. Yesterday the outcome of granting a small group of people power was demonstrated. Chris Cantwell, a rather fiery participant who I believes suffers a from an asshole complex, was booted out of the Free State Project by its board:

Dear Chris,

The FSP Board met last night to discuss your situation and what to do. Our decision is stated below, which includes our reasoning.

Whereas Chris Cantwell has made the following public statements, been offered the opportunity to retract, and has refused to do so: “It’s a terribly unpopular thing to say, but the answer, at some point, is to kill government agents,” and “any level of force necessary for anyone to stop any government agent from furthering said coercion [tax collection in the context of funding the salaries of all government employees] is morally justifiable…”

Whereas the FSP Board believes this view exceeds the right of self-defense

Whereas the Policy and Procedure for Removing Participants (passed 7/11/04) states:

Participants may be removed for promoting violence, racial hatred, or bigotry. Participants who are deemed detrimental to the accomplishment of the Free State Project’s goals may also be removed.

Therefore, according to the Policy and Procedure for Removing Participants, the FSP Board removes Chris Cantwell as a participant and declares him unwelcome to attend FSP-organized events.

In peace and liberty,


for the FSP Board

I understand why the board kicked him out. Anybody who advocates for violence is a potential liability:

Deep down, Free Staters know this, and that’s why they’re Free Staters. They see this injustice, they want it to stop, and so they are coming together to make a stand against it. The only problem is, now that they have come together, they have absolutely no idea what to do, because their vision of a peaceful evolution to a voluntary society is being shattered on an almost daily basis by government violence. That violence is all too sure to escalate, as the government agents of New Hampshire and elsewhere acquire more advanced and sophisticated technology to oppress these peaceful activists, and the population in general.

So what to do? It’s a terribly unpopular thing to say, but the answer, at some point, is to kill government agents. The government agents know that, and that’s why they want a tank.

Honestly, that kind of advocacy screams agent provocateur. But my main point isn’t the fact that Mr. Cantwell was given the boot, it’s the fact that a board exists to give him the boot. I’ve always been worried about the scale of the Free State Project. Bringing together the people necessary to take over the political body of an entire state is no small task. Trying to bring so many people into a single organization seldom works as intended.

I’m not a fan of large groups. Large groups tend to start off strong and end up paralyzed. Most groups start off with the best of intentions but, at some point, the group becomes more concerned about keeping itself alive than perusing its original mission. Small groups suffer from this complex less and allow member mobility. For example, were the Free Start Project a federation of smaller groups individuals not wanting to association with Mr. Cantwell could easily split off from his group to either form their own or to join another. Leaving a small group is cheaper (in terms of personal connections, group resources, etc.) than leaving a large group.

I’ve often thought that the Free State Project should be a idea, not an organization. In my vision people could declare themselves Free Staters just as they can declare themselves libertarians, anarchists, or discordians. That way individuals would have more autonomy.

My primary concern is that the Free State Project is starting to transition into the self-preservation stage of large organization. Giving Mr. Cantwell the boot does seem like the beginning of an ideological purge. Ideological purges always start small and appear to be focused exclusively on radicals within the group. As time goes on the purges become less and less focused. Eventually all but those deemed ideologically pure by the controlling interests of the organization are sent on their way and the organization effectively ceases pursuit of its declared mission. I hope the Free State Project hasn’t reached this point because I like much of the work that comes out of its members but I believe my concern is valid.

Using Violence by Proxy

Days of our Trailers posted about a comment made by a gun control advocate on the Moms Demand Action Facebook page. The commenter, named Kat Brandow, said “Don’t skip Starbucks! Go, and if you see people sporting guns, call the police. Easy. A few arrests will make everyone rethink what they are doing!”

This is a rather ironic statement for a gun control advocate to make. Consider what Mrs. Brandow is saying. She is advocating for people who don’t like guns to call people with guns to harass other people with guns. I think the biggest fact lost on many gun control advocates is the fact that police officers, who they often want everybody to rely on, carry a notable amount of firepower on their person and usually have more in their squad car. If you’re freaked out by a person carrying an AR-15 why would you want to compound the matter by calling in another person with an AR-15?

I theorize that many advocates of gun control, such as Mrs. Brandow, aren’t opposed to guns per se. What they oppose is anybody acting in a manner that they don’t personally approve of. If the target of their hatred wasn’t carrying a gun Mrs. Brandow would find something else to hate about her target. Were private gun ownership abolished she would probably be standing on a pedestal demanding everybody call the police on anybody who is overtly Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, white, black, brown, blue eyed, brown eyeed, libertarian, anarchist, into metal, or some other category that offends her personal idea of righteousness. The gun isn’t what she hate, it’s merely an excuse to hate. It’s little different than a racist who makes excuses other than race to hate people of a different race. If she truly opposed guns she wouldn’t be advocating for people to call other people with guns.

Before I close this post, I feel it necessary to point out that I’m not making this accusation towards all gun control advocates. But those who are advocating for people to call the police on gun owners for the expressed purpose of harassing them most likely are.

Use a Damn Holster

If you’ve read any gun blogs or forums for more than a day you’ve likely come across a post or thread urging you to use a fucking holster. There’s a reason for that. Not using a holster can lead to a personal injury (or worse) that makes you look like a fool:

A Connecticut man, who accidentally shot himself while riding a bicycle, was arrested this week after lying to police and saying that a “gang” of men wearing black hoodies had attacked him.


But Docteur finally admitted that the gun in his waistband had gone off and he had shot himself after he was not able to explain why there was only a hole where the bullet exited from his pants. He was also not able to tell police what happened to his handgun after the incident.

I’ve mentioned the fact that I bike armed. When I ride my bike I lock my Glock 30SF into a Safariland ALS holster. My ALS serves two purposes: it prevents me from looking like a jackass like Mr. Docteur mentioned above and it prevents my firearm from coming out of the holster (it’s a potential problem when I’m mountain biking).

If you’re going to carry a gun buy a holster. Even a cheap, flimsy nylon holster made by Uncle Mike’s is better than nothing. An it’s far cheaper than the medical bills that you be accrue from sliding an unholstered gun down your waistband.

Being a Bad Person

Poe’s law, which states “Without a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.” That’s the first thing that popped into my head when I read this:

You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.

Considering the source of the article I’m left to belief the author is being sincere. The article can only be an attempt for the gold metal in mental gymnastics. What the author proposes, that any parent who doesn’t send their child to a public school is a bad person, is asinine. The author actually encourages parents to disadvantage their children in the hopes of improving public schools for their potential great grandchildren:

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

It seems that the author hasn’t thought her clever plan all the way through. Let’s assume that you, a highly educated parent who wants to improve the public education system, decides to inflict a mediocre education on your children. Because your plan requires generations to work you must plan for your children to pick up the fight after you’re gone. How is a child with a mediocre education going to properly articulate the need for improving public schools? Where is that child’s motivation going to come from? If a mediocre education is all he or she knows then they are unlikely to fight for something greater. The author has the advantage of private schools to compare public schools to. This advantage would disappear if people actually followed her plan because private schools would disappear. After a generation or two without any alternative to public education the number of people fighting to improve the system would dwindle. Instead of creating a society of brilliant people the author’s plan would create an idiocracy.

Authoritarians often fail to see the inevitable outcome of their plans. While us anti-authoritarians often suffer the same failure we aren’t trying to force everybody to follow our plans, we simply state what we’re going to do and let any interested parties join us if they want. If our plans fail there are other plans that may succeed. If the author’s plan fails America becomes the society envisioned by Mike Judge in Idiocracy.

Instead of demanding every parent send their child to a public school, the author should be demanding every parent try something different. Perhaps public education isn’t the best option. Charter schools, private schools, Montessories, home schooling, and unschooling are all alternatives to public education currently being perused by parents. If one of these alternatives ends up failing then the others are still free to continue. Survivors can learn from the mistakes of the failures and improve.

You’re not a bad person for sending your children to a private school but you are a bad person if you attempt to inflict what you think is best on everybody else.

The Market Fights Against Discrimination

Whenever a story involving discrimination appears in the news statists are quick to demand more anti-discrimination laws. I believe that anti-discrimination laws are both ineffective and unnecessary. While I do believe one is free to believe whatever they want and associate with whoever they want I also know that markets have a history of treating those who discriminate very poorly. Case in point, some believers in religions that view homosexuality as a sin have chosen to discriminate against homosexuals. A recent clash between one of these individuals and a gay couple demonstrates the inevitable outcome:

A husband-and-wife bakery shop team in Oregon were forced to close their shop doors and move to cheaper digs — their home — after gay-rights activists hounded them and drove away contract business because they refused for Christian reasons to bake for a same-sex wedding.


The Kleins say they’re now closing up their doors and moving their operations to their home. Their business, they say, has suffered a serious revenue hit from the unexpected activism and backlash.

If you choose to discriminate then people who oppose discrimination are apt to cut off ties with you and encourage others to cut off ties with you. For a business such activism can be fatal. This story demonstrates why I prefer market-based solutions to statist solutions. Although the bakery owners did something many found disagreeable nobody brought force into the equation. The act, which many found disagreeable, lead to the end of the bakery, which should discourage other business owners from perusing the same path (although they are still free to do so if they choose).

EDIT: 2013-09-05: 09:44: Corrected a small typo that was pointed out to me via a Bitmessage (cool, huh).

The Vietnamese Government Doesn’t Understand How the Internet Works

I’m a fan of saying that statism is synonymous with halting progress. Statists always attempt to curtail advancements by forcing them into preconceived notions. A classic example of this mentality can be found in stories involving Japanese Samurai. Many works note that the Samurai believed firearms to be dishonorable weapons. Such a mentality made sense to an individual who spent decades learning the art of swordsmanship. All of the time spent mastering the sword became irrelevant when some peasant with little training could strike from many yards away. Instead of realizing that technology had advanced to a point where the importance of the sword was diminished, a master swordsman would be apt to argue that firearms aren’t honorable. Why change yourself when you can force everybody else to change to suit your desires?

Today we’re seeing this with the emergence of the Internet. Statists are trying to confine the Internet to their preconceived notions. They don’t believe anybody with a blog can be a journalist because journalists have traditionally been individuals who work for centralized state-recognized news organization. They don’t want to acknowledge that crypto-currencies are real currencies because it goes against their belief that money must be centrally issued paper notes. This is what leads governments around the world to implement stupid laws like this:

A controversial law banning Vietnamese online users from discussing current affairs has come into effect.

The decree, known as Decree 72, says blogs and social websites should not be used to share news articles, but only personal information.

The law also requires foreign internet companies to keep their local servers inside Vietnam.

A government could only issue such a decree if it lacked an understanding of how the Internet works. Enforcing laws requires that you can identify offenders. The beauty of the Internet is that one can maintain anonymity if they desire. How can the Vietnamese government enforce laws regulating blogs if those blogs are created on a computer that is connected to a random wireless network under a pseudonym and hosted on a location hidden service? Statists can pass whatever laws they want but reality isn’t going to reform itself to make enforcement of those laws possible.

The State’s “Black Budget”

When looking at the federal budget most self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives focus on money spent on the military, Medicare and Medicare, and Social Security. Those three items can give you an idea about the scale of government spending but it’s the specific items that can give you the juicy details. For example, thanks for Edward Snowden we know what the federal government’s “black budget” of $52.6 billion is being spent on:

The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. Although the government has annually released its overall level of intelligence spending since 2007, it has not divulged how it uses those funds or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress.

The 178-page budget summary for the National Intelligence Program details the successes, failures and objectives of the 16 spy agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, which has 107,035 employees.

The Washington Post has censored the information they made available after consulting the government. That, in of itself, tells you a lot about the relationship media outlets have with the state. But the items made available are interesting. For example, a notable amount of money is being spent by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) to break into the computer systems of foreign nations. I’m sure those dollars are generating all kinds of hatred towards this country.

I would advise reading the entire article if you’re interested in either government spending or government spying. Detailed budget items tell a far better story if you’re interested in fiscal matters and knowing how much the government spends on various spying operations gives you some kind of idea of how pervasive the overall operation is.