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Another View, with Carla Gericke: Jasper wrong to dismiss Free State Project

September 28. 2017 6:45PM

Free State Project leader Carla Gericke speaks at a Concord City Hall rally in August 2013. (File photo)

HOUSE SPEAKER Shawn Jasper received compliments from an ultra-extreme progressive group funded by out-of-state socialists, also drawing praise from the House Democratic Leader, when he called for the New Hampshire GOP to “distance ourselves from the Free State Project.”

The Free State Project (FSP) is a federally recognized 501c3 educational nonprofit with a mission to attract productive, limited government people to the Granite State. Its participants sign the following statement: “I hereby state my solemn intent to move to the State of New Hampshire. Once there, I will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property.” The FSP also states: “Anyone who promotes violence, racial hatred, or bigotry is not welcome.”

The FSP is not a political action organization. It is not tied to any political party or organization. It does not run candidates for election. It does not financially support or endorse candidates. It does not oppose or endorse legislation. All these things may be done by people in the state in whatever ways they choose, either individually or through the many local activist organizations in which Free Staters are involved.

The FSP’s only goal is to gather enough people in one place to make a real difference. What participants do after moving is up to them as individuals.

Jasper conflates some of us with all of us when he says, “... no person who ascribes to the principles of the FSP can also be considered to be a Republican.” All of any group is not the same as some of a group.

Recent liberty-expanding legislative successes have been due to the efforts of Free Staters working with the rest of the legislative body, e.g. the boom in nanobreweries, harm reducing drug legislation, and constitutional carry.

Free Staters contribute substiantially to the local economy. We have invested $40-50 million in real estate since 2003. We are small business owners, nurses, engineers, lawyers, homemakers, techies, Christians, atheists, Muslims, Jews, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles. We are decent human beings who care passionately about a more peaceful world and are dedicating our lives to safeguarding and expanding the liberties found in New Hampshire.

Free Staters, as individuals, work on different projects. Some run for and win local and state elections. Some run as Republicans, championing GOP platform items such as school choice, educational tax credits, right-to-work, and reducing regulations on businesses.

Some run as Democrats and work on civil liberty issues. Some run as Libertarians. Some start private charities like Shire Sharing and the Lakes Region Porcupines. Some take issues to court to hold government accountable, as in the Croydon case.

Some, like me, are interested in states’ rights, nullification, and independence, even, possibly, eventually “divorcing” from the increasingly intrusive and bullying federal government.

Let’s talk about Free Staters who support New Hampshire independence. How “radical” an idea is it really? A national poll conducted last week of 800 likely voters found 40 percent of respondents agreed with this: ”If a majority of residents within a given state prefer to have the final say over their destiny without the control of Washington, D.C., then let them have it — it is their right.” Almost 50 percent of millennials were in support. In an online Union Leader poll last year, 42 percent of Granite Staters said they supported “a free New Hampshire.”

Unlike our political brethren who believe their ideas are so good they have to force you to comply, I believe in the power of persuasion. The only way New Hampshire will ever become independent is if a majority of residents support this idea.

Jasper swore an oath to uphold the New Hampshire Constitution. Article 10 explicitly states: “Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.”

Free Staters stand for limited, constitutional government. We stand for freedom and liberty. We stand for peace and prosperity. If you are against Free Staters, one must ask: What do you stand for?

Carla Gericke is president emeritus of the Free State Project, and president of the Foundation for NH Independence.

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