L. Neil Smith's
Number 276, June 20, 2004

"Hi Dad!"

March of the Retrogressives
by Jason Sorens
Founder, Free State Project

Exclusive to TLE

In the 21st century, knowing as we do that socialism has caused everything from total war and democide to mass human misery and economic failure in large swathes of Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, it truly is strange, almost incredible, that socialists still exist today and are plying their fraudulent wares. So-called "progressives" would in Europe be called by their proper name, "socialists," but in the U.S. that label doesn't play well politically. The term "progressive" gives a hint of the political strategy favored by their ilk: to build up ever new crises that government must solve with urgent action, a new regulation or a new spending program. That's "progress" in the upside-down world of socialism: keep dynamic individuals in their place by innovating with the legal system. From the perspective of the individual, true progress is a simple, clear, stable legal system that allows individuals to pursue new ways of doing business, forming associations, and pursuing values.

The forces of human misery and retrogression are on the march in New Hampshire. The state Democratic Party and its lapdog "progressive" network, Democracy for New Hampshire, are planning to protest the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance's Liberty Dinner with Governor Craig Benson and myself on Friday June 25 (http://www.nhliberty.org/libertydinner.htm). The NHLA is a nonpartisan, libertarian-oriented political action group, founded by native libertarians in New Hampshire and Free State Project participants (http://www.freestateproject.org). Socialists represent a tiny portion of the New Hampshire population, but that does not matter—whenever socialists see the flame of freedom burning brightly somewhere, they must stamp it out. The socialists already have Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, but they're not content until all of New England (or the U.S. or the world) is bathed in darkness.

This protest represents both good and bad news for the libertarian movement. The bad news—I've heard nary a whisper about what's going on in New Hampshire from the "mainstream" libertarian movement. Just about every week, some libertarian organization is making headlines in the New Hampshire papers—the FSP, the NHLA, Gun Owners of NH, Coalition of NH Taxpayers, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Libertarian Party, you name it. Libertarian ideas are now front and center in one state, yet libertarian websites and magazines seem to be going on with business as usual—lost in the airy realms of theory or fruitlessly commenting on national politics. The libertarian movement now has the opportunity to make a breakthrough like never before—that's the good news about this protest. When was the last time the Democratic Party protested a libertarian event? I've heard of libertarians protesting statist events, but never the reverse. They are under threat, and they know it.

Most Granite Staters will have no truck with the failed "progressive" agenda of higher taxes and regulatory persecution of property and business owners. But right now, they are observing on the sidelines. They want to see whether the rejuvenated libertarians are going to make responsible and effective strides toward greater freedom and less government. Libertarians need to act now to galvanize the silent majority of New Hampshire against the forces of misery and retrogression. At the NHLA dinner, with the governor and other politicians in attendance, I'm going to present the basics of a plan that would separate school and state, town by town, and would gain the support of public school teachers! Yes, proposals like this one are now possible somewhere in this country—and that somewhere is New Hampshire.

We need more libertarians to get involved, right now. We need people to move to New Hampshire with the FSP (at least visit the state and see what's going on for yourself!) and contribute to the FSP if you can't move, we need people to contribute to the NHLA and other pro-freedom groups, we need people to support the Liberty Scholarship Fund (http://www.lsfund.org/) and other charitable activities that decrease the demand for government programs, and we need people to identify needs and take the initiative to make things happen. What about a self-defense fund for business and property owners harassed by regulations? "Self-Defense for New Hampshire Property Owners and Independent Businesses." I like the sound of that. It could even make a profit. The Institute for Justice (http://www.ij.org) already does this on an essentially charitable basis, but that charitable basis also limits their reach—Self-Defense could be a good supplement to IJ's work. Ideas like this one are just waiting to be translated into action.

Exciting things are happening in New Hampshire, and by participating you can make a wise investment in a freer and more prosperous future. What's your decision?


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