April 2018

PorcFest and the Free State Project

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Several years ago a friend who supports the Libertarian Party invited me to come along to a weekend gathering of libertarians in New Hampshire. It was called the Porcupine Freedom Festival – PorcFest for short. It was, generally speaking, a happy gathering of people who shared the political view that less government would make life better. Its name derives from the mascot of the Libertarian Party, the porcupine.

It was only the second or third time this event had taken place but there was a good crowd of about 100 people staying in a local motel or camping out in trailers and tents using the bathroom facilities provided by Rogers Campgrounds in Lancaster, NH. People brought their own food and gathered in an outdoor dining area of many picnic tables. I shared a table with a young woman who, as it turned out, was employed by Springfield College and knew one of my friends from church.

This young woman, like many people there, had a gun strapped in a holster at her waist. It struck me as incongruous that such a pleasant proper young woman would be packing heat, but it was an accepted part of the gathering and was not even a topic for discussion.

The only things I remember being discussed were the Free State Project and the deregulation of drugs. There was an excellent speaker, a retired policeman who had worked in drug enforcement, speaking on the subject of decriminalizing use of drugs. He was from a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and was very persuasive in his presentation.

But the central focus of the event was the Free State Project which undertakes to have enough Libertarians move to the state of New Hampshire so that they can elect like-minded people to the state legislature and begin to put their political philosophy into practice. The outcome would be expected to provide for reductions in taxation and regulation and reforms of government to expand individual rights and free markets.

People of all political and religious backgrounds are accepted by the Free State Project, but those who promote violence, racial hatred, or bigotry are not welcome.

To join, candidates must sign an agreement that they intend to move to New Hampshire within five years after 20,000 participants have signed up. On February 3, 2016, the Free State Project announced that 20,000 people had signed the Statement of Intent and signers were expected to follow up on their pledges to move.

The reason all this has come to mind lately is that I keep seeing advertisements for the 2018 PorcFest on Facebook. In the 15 years of its history, the festival has grown to a much longer and larger event. Families are encouraged to attend and there are activities for children and teenagers, as well as grown up partying with a live band. This year PorcFest runs from June 19-24.

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