L. Neil Smith's
Number 281, July 25, 2004

"Was ... this ... really ... necessary?"

[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Amanda Phillips

Letter from Alan R. Weiss

Letter from Kenneth Royce/Boston T. Party

Letter from Joel Gehman

Letter from Dennis Kabaczy

Letter from Bill St. Clair

Letter from EJ Totty

Here's what's happening with the Free State Project this month. Special thanks to Kate Rick for drafting the content.
Cheers, Amanda

The Free State Project
July 2004—News & Announcements

Please visit our website, www.freestateproject.org, for updates throughout the month, or to join, donate, or chat with FSP participants.

Top FSP News...

Please join your FSP and Libertarian friends for this end of Summer and end of NYLP ballot petitioning get-together, on land that has been called "the world's most beautiful property." Come early in the day and enjoy. For RSVP and details, email bsullivan at freestateproject dot org.

New Hampshire residents who support the Free State Project can now sign up as Free State Pioneers.

—Free State Project Gathers in NH
[very long URL]
—Free State Porcupine Festival draws mixed crowd to Lancaster
[long URL]

—This July 4th, we already have a 'free state'—sort of
[long URL]
—Free Staters like what they see and hear in NH
[long URL]
—For some Free Staters, there's no place like home
[long URL]
—Free State group has 'Porcupine Festival'
[long URL]

In The Quill...

There's something extraordinary happening in New Hampshire these days. It's a quiet revolution, a calm celebration, an incredible yet simple undertaking; it's history being made by ordinary people. It's the Free State Project, and we have found our home.
[long URL]

A NOTE FROM THE CHAIR—Jason and Mary Sorens
This report is a comprehensive account of our recent trip to New Hampshire and festivities at the first annual gathering of Porcupines in our future home of New Hampshire, along with some reflections on what this weekend meant for us.
[long URL]

Wow!!! What a month for the Free State Project, and Freedom in New Hampshire! I can't help but think that from henceforth June will be remembered as the Month-of-the-Porcupines!
[long URL]


Participants: 5,930
[long ssl URL]

"It takes a school to bankrupt a village."—Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers

The Free State Project—Liberty in Our Lifetime

Announce mailing list
[long URL]

Amanda Phillips

An Open Letter to Boston T. Party

Dammit, Ken Royce. Don't "gracis, amigo" me on one hand and stick a knife in my back with the other.

Was it really necessary to slam the Free State Project in your interview with Lady Liberty, published today in The Libertarian Enterprise?


I've worked very hard to get the Free State Project (FSP) and the Free Wyoming Project (FWP) to bury the hatchet, to get over the past, and to see about possibly working together in the future. I've talked about how liberty-minded people are their own worst enemies, constantly dividing and fighting amongst each other while The Bad Guys have their way with all of us. It sure sounded like you agreed. You have grievances with some individuals (individuals) in the FSP, Ken. I said that I thought some (but only some) of your grievances were fair. I apologized to you, personally, for claiming that you only endorsed the FSP to sell books. You accepted my apology. We were building the "trust bridge" necessary to move forward. And you—you were going to stop slagging the FSP. Why? Because you said you understood that a battle between ourselves only serves the Bad Guy's interests.

I've put some of own personal reputation on the line to do this, Ken—working with Jason Sorens, for example. And yet you couldn't wait, could you? Now this. And you didn't even give me a "head's up" that this was coming. It just blindsided me. Others had warned me that engaging with you was risky. I see now they were quite correct.

I ask: was ... this .... really .... necessary? This incidiary Molotov cocktail is bound to be taken poorly by everyone in the Free State Project. You claimed that the FSP has no leadership—which is a direct slag against myself (being the now former Vice President) and Amanda Phillips, who most assuredly is a terrific leader in so many respects, Ken. You pissed on Jason (and used the hackneyed shibboleth of his relative youth), and that was unnecessary, too. You overstate your own "brand name", too—do Google searches on Jason and myself, and you'll see this is the case.

You stated, "And even if NH was viable, many free staters are losing faith in the FSP's leadership and direction. For example, the recent Grafton, NH town meeting was an unmitigated public relations disaster for the FSP, and one which could have been largely avoided with better marketing to the locals."

As I explained to you, the Free Town Project (for Grafton) and the Free State Project are not related, except that a couple of individuals happened to be members of both. At least the FSP leadership met with the Grafton townsfolk, stood there, and listened to their wrath and concerns. The Free Town Project people, like Chuck Geschilder and Larry Pendarvis ("Zack Bass") were too chicken to do the same. Now you and your FWP are plagued by the same people questioning your leadership. Could it be possible that maybe—just maybe—the Grafton Incident wasn't the fault of the FSP, but rather some bad eggs? These same bad eggs you are facing now?

And by the way—you are factually incorrect to state that the FSP is "somewhat targeting Grafton." I dare you to find that anywhere in the mission statement of the FSP—or in the thoughts of MOST of the members of the FSP.

So the FSP is "leaderless?" I daresay the FSP has accomplished more in NH so far than you have in Wyoming. Don't confuse "holding an office" with leadership. There are so many talented leaders in the FSP. And in the FWP? Who? You? Do leaders really screw their friends, Ken?

In point of fact, your entire "interview" (which I doubt was done face-to-face with Lady Liberty) was a direct attack on the Free State Project, and a personal attack on many hard-working, dedicated defenders of liberty.

You said, "The FSP does not have, to my knowledge, a single prominent libertarian personality signed on to actually move to New Hampshire. Not Claire Wolfe, not L. Neil Smith, not Aaron Russo, not Gary Nolan, not Vin Suprynowicz, not J.J. Johnson." Well, first off: there's a difference between "libertarian personality" and "libertarian leader", but I guess you ignored Michael Badnarik and Richard Boddie. Michael is just the Libertarian Party Candidate for President. Oops. Guess you just missed that one. And Richard Boddie has a libertarian pedigree far longer than yours. My dear friend, L. Neil Smith, never claimed that he would move anyplace East—and for personal reasons that are none of your concern. Aaron Russo is a Hollywood Producer. Until Manchester becomes at least as popular as, say, Vancouver or Toronto for making motion pictures, we can understand why Aaron needs to stay in Los Angeles. "Claire Wolfe", the nom de guerre of a very good libertarian writer, is already in Wyoming and is not likely to move from her ... lair. Yet they have all endorsed the FSP as a sound concept with good people involved. Where are your endorsements, Ken?

Let me be clear: you pissed on my friends, Ken. These are people I have worked with over the past year and a half or more—unlike you—and I know them far better than you do. And by doing so, you pissed on me. And for what?

You have every right to disagree with the choice of New Hampshire. But continually pointing out New Hampshire's weaknesses (in your eyes) only regurgitates the past, and because you were completely unbalanced (never mentioning any of New Hampshire's positives, for example), you are simply a propagandist. I can only conclude that your posturing that you only want to skim those who would never move East for the Free Wyoming Project is a lie, because what purpose did you serve by again slagging New Hampshire? And what purpose did it serve to denegrate others fighting for liberty? Huh?

I'll say this about "Lady Liberty", too: she certainly has no appreciation for the notion that pitting one group of libertarians against another only serves the interest of the Statists. I've lost all respect for her, too. Trying desperately to be a "journalist", she's more like a Sandanista. Where's the comments of "the other side?" Where's the fairness? Aren't real writers supposed to set aside their personal rancor and get to the truth? If not, aren't they just ... stooges?

Divisionists? We've got plenty of those types, apparently. The Bad Guys—the Statists—have little to fear from those of us in the liberty movements, because apparently many of them actively try to hurt each other. They must be laughing their asses off down at Headquarters.

I once wrote you, "no good deed goes unpunished." I had hoped this was not the case. But I can see, now, that you're not a man of your word, Ken Royce. In fact, you were just using me. My good deed—trying to get the FSP and the FSW to bury the hatchet, to set up conditions where coordination in the defense of liberty—has been severely punished.

Your words, your promises, mean nothing to me now, Ken Royce. By the way, I tape recorded our conversation. I wanted to make sure I was not misquoted. If you try to misquote me, I'll sue you for libel and post the tapes to the Net as MP3 files. I have the facts. You have only your viscious, manipulative paranoia to keep you company.

You wanted my help in promoting Molon Labe? You have a damn funny way of showing you wanted my help. You have no idea how many bridges you just burned, because I ask this: who the hell is going to trust Ken Royce to keep his word, to deal fairly, and to not be a manipulative punk given this stunt you've just pulled? You make a mockery of your moniker "Boston T. Party", because at least the patriots who organized the real Boston Tea Party knew enough who was at least a fellow-traveler in the cause of liberty. Apparently you can't tell the difference between.

You said in your interview that you're on friendly terms with the VP of the FSP. You can no longer claim that.

Alan R. Weiss

Re: "Wyoming or Bust: Boston T. Party's Q&A on Free State Wyoming", by Lady Liberty

Howdy all,

I am the cause of this, one of the most regretable and unintentional episodes within the free state story.

I meant to stop the presses on the June interview, and failed to call Lady Liberty in time.

I feel as blindsided by all this as Alan, as I didn't mean for the interview to post in its 3-week old form of such animus.

Alan was gracious enough weeks ago to offer a conduit of dialogue, which I sincerely accepted in the spirit of trust and potential friendship.

He had helped me very recently to get over much resentment with the FSP and many of its members, and this would have been thoroughly reflected in the interview revision I had every intention of making.

I hope that he can understand that what actually happened was a terrible, terrible accident.

My explanation of and apology for what happened has already been emailed to Alan, Jason, and Tim, as well as having been posted below:


For your convenience, text of which is pasted below.

Please forgive me for this wholly unintended flap. I'll do whatever I can to help repair matters.




From your standpoint, I can well understand why you feel that the interview was a calculated affront and betrayal, but that is not so.

I meant to grab it before it went out, but failed. And, in that, I failed you.

You can confirm with Lady Liberty, the interviewer, that my interview was given 3 weeks ago, i.e., prior our very recent favorable developments.

There are several clues to this, mainly that I had not formally scheduled the FSW Jamboree:

"Also, I am putting together a Free State Wyoming Jamboree this year, most likely over Labor Day weekend. We'll formalize this in the next couple of weeks."

I formalized the event on 9 July on the FSW-Discuss list. My interview to Lady Liberty was given at the end of June, and her test page was up on 1 July. Since then, I had thought little about the interview, until our July conversations.

I did not know when the interview was scheduled to post, though it seemed imminent. I meant to stop it before then.

Because of our recent (i.e., post-interview) conversations, I was going to ask Lady Liberty to hold off on posting my responses which pre-dated these recent chats we've had. I had decided that over this past weekend after our superb talk last week.

I was going to do that today, but to my horror I learned that I was too late. I just got online for the first time this week, and learned that the interview already went to press.

Alan, I cannot convey how sorry I am about it.

I deeply regret the timing of it, as much of what I said weeks ago in the interview you had helped me get off my chest. Though I hadn't heard from Jason at all, I had planned to cut out the portion about his unfounded accusations and lack of apology, as well as many unfavorable references to the FSP.

Alan, I want you to know that everything I said in our conversations was absolutely sincere, and that the timing of all this was exactly as I described above.

Regarding some implied slight to Michael Badnarik, he had not even been chosen as the LP candidate when I gave the interview, so I certainly meant no offense to him. I think very much of Michael, and am delighted that he so deservedly won the LP nom.

Richard Boddie is a respected libertarian scholar and professor, but not sufficiently well-known IMO to be thought of as a public leader for the FSP.

Regarding the matter of trust in extended to me, even from this interview you can see that I did not divulge a whit of privileged information, as someone of dishonorable character would have.

I hope that my past and continued word of silence on agreed matters of trust may begin to convince you that the publication of the interview was an example of extremely ugly timing. If I had given the interview after our July conversations, and IF I wanted to screw you therein, you can imagine what I would have added.

You can scour the Internet and Google me until your mouse wears out, and you won't find a single example of the betrayal you believe my interview was. I've never done anything like that, and wouldn't have begun with you. My word and my friendship as true as you believed it.

I never meant for the interview to go out in its published form after our recent talks, and I am mortified that it got away from me.

Publication timing was not Lady Liberty's fault, as she knew nothing of our recent conversations.

She can tell you however, that because of a chat you and I had in June, that I emailed her on 30 June:

"Please use the below to replace the previous block. I'm talking to Alan about this, and he is trying to run down who told him this (likely it was Jason). He promised to retract/apologize if I'm right, so I think it's fair to keep his name out of it."

That was emailed to her before you apologized, so you can see that I was already trying to modify the interview to relect the progress of our conversations. After you apologized (within the past two weeks) for repeating what you agreed was an unfounded rumor, it was my intention to remove the matter from the interview.

How I wish that I had, because now you feel betrayed and used, and that is not what happened.

I had visitors from out of town, my email got behind, and I dropped the ball on this. This was nobody's fault but my own, and I am deeply grieved that you personally were hurt by this.

It was an important deletion to have made, and I clearly failed you on it, however unintentionally and regretably. I can barely compose this email because of how upset I am about all this.

Alan, I hope that you can please forgive me!

I have chosen to structure my life with significant phone and email "dead zones," and this is the most poignant and regretable example of how something important fell through a crack of just a couple of days.

Have you ever mistakenly mailed a letter written in anger, which you had meant to rewrite or discard?

That's precisely what happened here, and I feel like shit about it.

I mean, really, would I have intentionally thrown away your recent offer to promote my novel, as well as easily looking like collosal prick for using you, just for the sake of slagging the FSP? It doesn't make any sense, does it?

I hope that you will understand that what happened, was absolutely unintended.

Unfortunately, the matter of poor timing repeated itself by your Open Letter today, which you sent without even calling me first. You may have sent me an email to my JP site, but I haven't even opened that up yet, as I am still dealing with this.

Had we talked I would have explained what happened, and I you would have been the first to read my Open Letter describing the unintentional disaster with exactly the same profound regret.

You dropped the hammer on me just as I almost did on somebody else (avoided by your gracious intervention). While I really can't blame you because the interview seemed like such a rat-fuck after our talks this month, my God how we should have talked first!

The fact that we didn't talk today demonstrates how hurt and upset you were by this, which makes me feel all the worse for my not getting to the interview in time.

Since I would have, after our talks last week, ceased slagging the FSP, I will abide by that decision even now. All of us involved were sadly too tardy on many levels, and it's finally combined to a real mess.

I know that I am tired of it. The interview is a June echo of a very angry and stung man, and is not at all representative of my heart today. I formally apologize to all who were unnecessarily and unintentionally hurt by it.

I will post this letter on my FSW-Discuss list today (including Alan's Open Letter), to try to neutralize potential ill will, and to try to repair the past pain I've unwittingly caused by the interview's publication in its outdated and inaccurate form.

Alan, I really can't express how sorry I am about all this. I did not mean for the world to let you down, or have you feel betrayed.

Your trust in me was not misplaced in the man, but I am human and hideously overworked, and I failed you.

Pure and simple, I screwed up. But I had no intention of screwing you.

Please forgive me for letting the interview getting away from me, and causing you pain and embarrassment.

Kenneth Royce/Boston T. Party

In her interview, Lady Liberty neglected to ask Mr. Royce what I consider to be the elephant under the carpet: Where are the 5,000 or 20,000 people he's hoping will follow him to Wyoming going to find jobs? Not all of us are writers or telecommuting computer professionals or people running an internet mail-order business. Yes, in the long run an influx of, usually, highly-educated, hardworking people would do Wyoming's economy great good. But Galt's Gulch wasn't real, remember. The sticky problem of how people are going to eat in the first year of their move is a real one, one that you must solve or your project is destined for failure. One of your main reasons for choosing Wyoming is how few people are currently there. But the smaller the existing population, the fewer jobs will be available. I really hate to say it, but unless someone comes up with a good answer to this, I'm afraid that this paradox is likely to doom such efforts, both FSP and FSW.

Joel Gehman

Re: "Letter from EJ Totty"

Mr. Ed:

The erection spoke of by Mr. Totty (TLE 280 letters) already exists. It is called the Washington Monument, erected to the person who put down the Whiskey Rebellion, thereby enshrining the government's policy of taxation, among other things.

Dennis Kabaczy

Re: "Freedom to Read", by Jim Duensing

Mr. Ed,

Jim Duensing's article, Freedom to Read, in TLE 280, rekindled my anger about the excrement called the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. Remember folks, it's an acronym that has nothing whatsoever to do with patriotism. U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T stands for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism". As you probably already know, these tools are not required to fight terrorism (nationwide Vermont carry would work a lot better), but they sure are convenient for squelching dissent. I propose that we never again print this act's given name. Instead call it the "U.S.A. T.R.A.I.T.O.R. Act" or just "The Traitor Act", and let it be known across the land that everyone who was part of creating this filth, everyone who voted for it, and anyone who supports or uses it is a traitor to their country, a traitor who should be tried for treason and, if convicted, hanged.

Bill St. Clair

Dear Mr. Ed/Editor/Ken,

Re.: [long URL to Seattle Times]

"We are not safe."

Well, no shit, Sherlock!

Actually, the whole idea of "safe" was meant to be just that: An idea.

This is where the "idealist" and the "realists" depart.

See? It's like this: "Safety" is a frame of mind, and not a condition of living, because you can never be safe— period.

I once e-mailed a reply to a lady (?) who named herself Susan. Here's that e-mail:


When the server is "up," that letter ought be available to view in its entirety. [Real Soon Now—Editor]

I don't care to repeat myself, and I'm sure that those who care to read these words would not like to read them twice!

In any case, and in every case, none of us is "safe."

If being "unsafe" were bankable, all of us would be trillionaires!

Conversely, if all of us were safe? Try banking on that!

Think about it.

So, in closing, let me say just this: Anyone who proclaims what that arsehole New Jersey governor did, and is looking to acclaim a degree of credibility?

I have a bucket of puke I'd like to sell you!

In Liberty,
EJ Totty

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