The Free State Project Triggers the Move

by Carla Gericke
President of the Free State Project, 2011-2016
February 3, 2016: Five years ago, when I became president of the Free State Project after having organized two Porcupine Freedom Festivals now one of the largest liberty gatherings in the world, the signer counter stood at nearly 11,000.

I calculated that, all things being equal, we would Trigger the Move in 2018. With five years for signers to move, it would be 2023–and I would be in my fifties!–before I would see the full effects of our historic mass migration movement.

I knew I wanted to do it sooner, as a firm believer in “exerting MY fullest practical effort,” a line from our Statement of Intent. I knew, based on my own actions and those of other early movers, that concentrating liberty activists together in one geographic area worked, that the tide could be turned, that principled human action could, and did, make a difference in expanding liberties in New Hampshire.

Three years ago at Liberty Forum, I announced that with enough financial support to implement my strategic plan, we could Trigger the Move sooner. New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, The Union Leader ran a front page article with the headline: “Free Staters told to set clock for 2015.” Well…I was off by about a month–that one time I took vacation–but WE DID IT!
Today, we announce that the Free State Project has officially Triggered the Move, and that participants now have five years from February 3, 2016, to move to New Hampshire to help build the world’s first intentional liberty community. I don’t mean “intentional community” like a kibbutz or commune, but a statewide community bound by the principles of liberty, which can be neatly summarized as a “live and let live” mentality.
As philosophical and physical pioneers hoping to create a more peaceful and prosperous society where human interactions are based on voluntary exchange, it is fitting that our movement was born on the Internet. As the years progressed, online social media tools became more sophisticated, and our reach expanded. It is therefore also fitting that the End of the Beginning should take place online, through our targeted social media marketing campaigns. Since the fall of 2015, we have been using social media targeting tools to expand our audience. From October 1, 2015, we have gained a record breaking 2,539 participants.

NopeIt is important to note WHY. I have always held the opinion that if we could get the concept of the Free State Project in front of a larger audience, more people would bite. And I was right. Look, the Free State Project is not everyone’s cup of tea, not everyone wants to LIVE their principles, but a large number of people are dissatisfied with the direction this country is heading–71% according to a recent poll cited on Politico–and 49% of those people expressed dissatisfaction with the federal government, 29% going so far as to say they were “angry.”

Some people just want to sit around and complain–or, apparently, vote for Trump. Others seek solutions. They want to DO SOMETHING. And that’s ultimately what the Free State Project is about: ACTION. Upping and moving to one area to concentrate principled liberty activists together to affect change. As our slogan says: Liberty in OUR Lifetime.

You may be wondering what the future of the Free State looks like? We will continue to solicit signers, and we will be encouraging all past participants to move. Now, I know the question you all want to ask is, how many will actually come? First, 10% have ALREADY come, without the move even being triggered. Second, it’s difficult to speculate at this time, but the goal remains 20,000 movers. Finally, I believe, if we build it, they will come.

As we continue to build on our early, impressive successes in the Granite State, the federal government will continue its brazen overreach, whether it is police state tactics like national surveillance and police militarization, or the unconstitutional wars taking a toll on millions of innocent lives across the world, or them trying to get their grubby little paws on OUR internet. As more people awaken to this reality, more people will seek solutions, which life in New Hampshire as part of the Free State offers.

In the future, we will see the expansion of personal and economic freedoms here. People somehow seem wary of the notion that freedom works, but what if New Hampshire can lead the way? If autobahns work in Germany, why can’t they work here? If pot legalization works in Amsterdam and Colorado, why can’t it work here? If gambling works in Monaco–or, apparently, as long as the government runs it, like the Lotto–why can’t it work here? If deregulated markets keep Hong Kong competitive, why can’t we see more of the same here? If unfavorable tax burdens are forcing people and companies to leave certain states, why not welcome them to New Hampshire and build the Silicon Millyard right here?

In ten to twenty years, I know New Hampshire will stand as a wealthy, prosperous, autonomous example–a beacon of liberty–for the rest of the world to emulate. The future for the Free State Project in New Hampshire looks bright… First New Hampshire, then the world!

This article was taken from a speech was delivered on February 3, 2016, when the Free State Project triggered the move.

Stossel (2011)

John Stossel interviews Chris Lawless of the FSP and filmmaker Christina Heller about Libertopia and the Free State Project.

Reason TV (2011)

Reason Magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch sat down with Carla Gericke to talk about the Free State Project, why they chose New Hampshire, and the local response to “anarchist toenails.”

The Free State Solution (2013)

This short documentary gives a brief overview of the Free State Project and takes a look at the two main approaches utilized by liberty activists in the state.

Also from NHPR: One Decade of the Free State Project.

The Atlas Society (2013)

Carla Gericke gives a compelling presentation on why liberty-loving individuals should move to New Hampshire. She shares interesting anecdotes from her own life (including an arrest for “wiretapping,” e.g. filming police action) in this engaging talk. This presentation was delivered in Washington, D.C. at the 2013 Atlas Summit.

Stossel (2013)

Stossel reports on the Free State Project, saying, “Three cheers for state competition!”

Tom Woods (2013)

Tom Woods discusses the Cynthia Chase’s remarks about the FSP, saying “We should support the project; I think it’s a great idea.”

WBIN (2013)

Democrat Cynthia Chase suggests that freedoms should be restricted to make Free Staters feel unwelcome.

Tom Woods (2014)

Tom Woods interviews Carla about her arrest and precedent setting case that affirmed the right to film police encounters–even if the camera isn’t functioning, which means every person should always point a smartphone towards a police encounter.

CNN (2015)

Chris Moody reports on PorcFest and the movement to “take over New Hampshire–and by take over, they mean, set it free.”

Also in the news from the Union LeaderIf Free Staters can help it, everything in NH will be awesome and It’s a Match: Free Staters and Bitcoin.

Wall Street Journal (2016)

A group called the Free State Project is trying to get 20,000 libertarians to move to New Hampshire to push for political and legal changes. Members say the state’s “Live Free or Die” ethos makes it a prime location for the political experiment.

CNN (2016)

Chris Moody talks to Free Staters about Rand Paul dropping out of the presidential primary.

Also in the news from The Economist: Live Free or TryMother JonesWhy Libertarians Are (Still) Plotting to Take Over New Hampshire, and an NHPR story on Triggering the Move.

Liberty Forum (2016)

Nick Gillespie interviews Edward Snowden in front of a crowd of over 500 at the Free State Project’s Liberty Forum.

Also in the news from ReasonFree State Project Participants: It’s Time to Move to New Hampshire For Real!