portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

political theory

Libertarians should go (farther) west

Free Staters say they'll work to have their chosen state get rid of all regulation of drugs, gambling, prostitution, guns, drinking and other individual activities.
Libertarians should go (farther) west
Great Falls Tribune, April 29, 2003

Montana's been on some pretty exclusive lists in the past few years -- states with the lowest paid workers, the least restrictions on drinking and driving, the lowest taxes on gambling, tobacco and booze, and among the fewest people. Now we've made another exclusive club: the list of "candidate states" that might make good targets for takeover by libertarians.

The so-called "Free State Project" propounded by a Yale student has come up with 10 such states, places with populations below 1.5 million and residents that might be friendly to the idea of a "libertarian utopia." Libertarians come in many flavors, but the general idea is the more individual freedom and less government, the better. God for many libertarians is the free market.

The Free State movement claims 3,100 adherents so far, and they say that when they reach 5,000, they'll choose their state and start moving there -- all of them within five years. The idea of 26-year-old political science doctoral student Jason Sorens is that 20,000 activists would constitute critical mass to sway the politics of a state with fewer than 1.5 million residents. "We're not going to be a large enough group to take over," Sorens said.

Other candidate states are Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware and Vermont. Free Staters say they'll work to have their chosen state get rid of all regulation of drugs, gambling, prostitution, guns, drinking and other individual activities. One of them, an Idaho anthropologist named Ben Irvin, said the group likes the libertarian streak already evident in Montana, where "they have casinos and no one ... can remember the last time a prostitute was arrested."

But even libertarians have their limits. Irvin said the state's small economy wouldn't offer much in the way of employment for 20,000 outsiders. We agree with Chuck Butler, Gov. Judy Martz's spokesman, who noted that while Montana welcomes newcomers, "Idaho is more inviting."

homepage: homepage: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/news/stories/20030429/opinion/204364.html

freedom 29.Apr.2003 19:14


Is the underlying premise of the article is that
freedom does not pay so its bad?

I agree... 29.Apr.2003 21:46

Trilox Woodsman

"Idaho is more inviting."

Yeah, Rev. Butler and the Aryan Nations thought so too...

yeaH go further west than Idaho or Washington 29.Apr.2003 22:00

idaho walking

trilox woodsman has a point...and it is sharp
so will Washington and every other western state.
I suggest mr never west of lake erie take a leap even further west...past washington

They're on to something 30.Apr.2003 09:24


I probably wouldn't agree with typical libertarian ideas of what a "free state" would look like, however, I really like this concept. How about getting together mass numbers of progressives, leftists, anarchists, pagans, old hippies, yippies, utopians, permaculture activists, radicals and freethinkers, and doing the same thing?

I think this is a fantastic idea, one of the best ideas I've heard in a very long time. We could pick whatever state the libertarian free-staters don't pick. Then, I say we work towards seceding from what Amerika has now become, and start our own sustainable society.

:-O 30.Apr.2003 16:14


You're just whistling Dixie.