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United States

The Free State Project 1732

Psychic Burrito writes "From their website: The Free State Project is a plan in which 20,000 or more liberty-oriented people will move to a single state of the U.S. to secure there a free society. We will accomplish this by first reforming state law, opting out of federal mandates, and finally negotiating directly with the federal government for appropriate political autonomy." Perhaps they should also read Everything: Kansas. I think Don Marti was also the one who thought the geeks should do this by moving en masse to North Dakota.
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The Free State Project

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  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dionysus ( 12737 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:53PM (#4496540) Homepage
    Isn't this what the White Supremacy people is trying with the North-West?
  • Won't work out (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Karamchand ( 607798 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:54PM (#4496555)
    Perhaps at first it will seem as it worked out. But when they reached some goals they'll probably fall out with each other over little issues.
    I am not trying to look into a crystal ball, I am just pondering about it, thinking about other coaltions of people.
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:54PM (#4496558) Homepage Journal
    Like, the people who already live in the chosen state? Or will they get the same treatment as the Native Americans, the last time such a grandiose scheme was attempted?
  • by matt4077 ( 581118 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:54PM (#4496560) Homepage
    Isn't this what quite a few British did a few hundred years ago?
  • Protection. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Trusty Penfold ( 615679 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:55PM (#4496578) Journal

    After opting out of everything, I bet they'll still want protecting by the US Army, Navy and Air Force.
  • by SpamapS ( 70953 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:56PM (#4496581) Homepage
    But most great ideas seem to be lacking in practical application. This one, however, does have some interesting strategies.

    My issues:

    1) Family. I can't convince my parents, and my wife's parents to pick up and move. I don't want to seperate my children from their grandparents. :P
    2) Professional Saturation. Lets just face it, Ted Knight was right when he said "The world needs ditch diggers too." There will be a ton of other smart guys out there. My profession (consulting) is all about being smart for other people.

    If you can solve these issues(don't see how you can with #1)... I'm there.

  • No taxes, sure. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jump ( 135604 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:59PM (#4496635)

    "We will repeal state taxes ..."

    Wow, but wait...

    "Make a donation"

    I see....
  • Privatization? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Irvu ( 248207 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:00PM (#4496636)
    "What can be done in a single state? A great deal. We will repeal state taxes and wasteful state government programs. We will end the collaboration between state and federal law enforcement officials in enforcing unconstitutional laws. We will repeal laws regulating drugs and guns. We will end asset forfeiture and abuses of eminent domain.
    We will privatize utilities and end inefficient regulations and monopolies. Then we will negotiate directly with the federal government for more autonomy."

    While in principle I agree with the objection to unconstitutional laws I have a real problem with privatizing everything. I see street-sweeping, electricity, etc. as one of the reasons for government. As Enron, and Colifornia have shown private companies cannot be trusted with basic infrastructure. And, as At&T, the RIAA, and AOLTW have shown eliminating all regulation is the best way to encourage monopolies.

    I hate bad government, I also hate bad corporations.

  • Re:Protection. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by runderwo ( 609077 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:01PM (#4496656)
    After opting out of everything, I bet they'll still want protecting by the US Army, Navy and Air Force.
    What is the federal government supposed to be, if not to defend the land from outside forces and to defend people from destroying each other's individual freedoms?

    I think that it would be perfectly consistent of their Libertarian viewpoint to accept military protection from the federal government. They just won't accept abridgement of individual freedom in trade for it.

  • Wyoming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:01PM (#4496658) Homepage Journal

    Wyoming is demographically ideal for this kind of thing.

    I don't know if the current inhabitants would mind too much, either. They seem to generally be hostile to the federal government. OTOH, without much of a manufacturing or service base, I think the econonmy probably is dominated by extractive industries such as mining and ranching. Thus, the choice between economic livlihood and a beautiful environment usually weighs in heavier on the former, since the local perspective is that there's "plenty enough" of the latter.

    I had heard of something akin to this on a county level occuring in Oregon a few years ago, where enough Hare Krishna (?) adherents moved in to affect the makeup of the county government.

    But from what little I remember of the Civil War / War Between the States, the federal government of the United States won't take kindly to secession.

  • This would work? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pclinger ( 114364 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:03PM (#4496678) Homepage Journal
    When the US has control over a territory, we never want to let it go. Why would we even let these guys do this?

    Take a look at this [] for some examples of territories we (the US) have made claim to. We've faught wars to protect these territories. You think that we would just give up some of it to a bunch of idealists who think they can make the perfect society?

    Yeah, right.
  • one problem... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:03PM (#4496685)
    The deciding factor in whether or not something like this will be successful, is how the courts (and supreme court) interpret the freedom of a state to create and practice law widely different than the 49 other states.

    Remember that in the constitution, it is stated that no citizen shall be denied equal protection of rights, and importantly, that federal law is supreme when Congress speaks to a question of law (trumping state law). So citizens have an expectation that states will have a bascially consistent set of laws under which they can live. (the supreme court has taken cases which test the ability of states to "pioneer" new kinds of law, and this is contentious I believe)

    Therefore, while it might be easy to get some measures passed (ones that no one would conceivably object to), other more controversial measures might be quite difficult.
    Just look at the medical marijuana thing in CA. The state says that it's ok, but the federal government says it isn't. And what happens? People get arrested for using and distributing it. Federal law has supremacy over local/state law, regardless of how charitable or well-intentioned.
  • Re:Protection. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:04PM (#4496705)
    But first, they'll want the gummint to

    - prevent their utility companies from gouging them
    - provide accurate time bases for their devices
    - keep the GPS birds flying
    - keep stronger out-of-state entities from swamping their wireless frequencies
    - back their currency so that they can do commerce with other states and countries
    - pave their interstate highways

    I'm not a big-gummint guy, really, but there are lots of things the USA does for us geeks, in the area of infrastructure, that we really don't want to just walk away from.

    If you want change, work for it. Get involved. It's easy enough to get elected to local boards and councils; after that, work your way up.
  • Only one problem. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cosmosis ( 221542 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:05PM (#4496711) Homepage
    This plan would work if the 10th Ammendment actually meant something. Anything the new 'liberated' state tries to do will be summarily shut down and/or harrassed by the feds - from witholding highway funds to them simply coming in on federal level and enforcing whatever draconian BS they feel like.

    The idea is great in theory, but I can't imagine how it could work in todays less ideal world.
  • by Ooblek ( 544753 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:06PM (#4496722)
    On that note, I have one thought for the people that are going to attempt this:

    Remember Waco, TX

    Now that the cult members weren't crazy and everything, but it just shows that people who want to not be under the control of the US government in the US may end up looking down the business end of a government issue sub machine gun.

  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:06PM (#4496726) Homepage
    A bigger issue: How 20,000 people are going to take over a whole state when the main political parties will outnumber them almost 100 to 1? In order to enact these changes you have to get elected, and 20,000 votes isn't enough to make you governer or win a majority in a state house or senate.
  • by CreepyNinja ( 615245 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:11PM (#4496806)
    They'll probably expect to write their own laws, yet still have police and military protection from the US. They'll also expect the US Government to not let utility companies gouge them in prices, and they'll likely expect constant infrastructure improvements, such as highway building/maintenance.

    Basically this is another dumb "We want our Utopia, and we want you to pay for it" ideas. I would propose heavy import/export taxes on them, as well as border patrols, and random searches of vehicles crossing the borders.

  • Oh goody (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:11PM (#4496815)
    I can't wait to live in North Dakota or some other barren state that even eskimos don't want to live. Sorry, but I'm heading off to Costa Rica instead. Fun and sun baby.

    Wish you guys the best. Can't wait to see how the an economy maintained by geeks goes. I can just see 'em building their own roads, handling their own refuse collection, etc... Oh well, crazy people have to do something with all their spare time.
  • by Kphrak ( 230261 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:16PM (#4496871) Homepage

    Not one, but a large group of states tried this already: in 1860. They had a lot more people interested than a mere 20,000 or so, an existing infrastructure, a cause supported at least in theory by the majority, a cultural identity, and the best Army officers.

    They still lost.

    This won't work simply because a vast majority of people who join a movement like this are much more comfortable posting on a website blog, K5, or Slashdot than they are at moving to another state simply because of a website; many are crackpots that can agree with no one. There are no "rebel states" where even a significant minority resent being part of the US; whatever state it may be, the residents will instead resent a huge influx of wild-eyed dissidents. The movement is in the name of "liberty", which sounds good, but is an intentionally vague concept that people have a hard time agreeing on, particularly armchair politicians.

    My prediction: It won't get off the ground. It's a project like the American Civil War, and the people who propose this kind of thing are far, far less suited to go through with it than their southern counterparts of 142 years ago.

  • by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:18PM (#4496901) Homepage
    Yes, but you're making the very mistaken assumption that 100% of the population votes.

    Since the realistic number is closer to 30% of registered voters, and roughly 50% of the people are registered, the number shrinks drastically - you're talking about 250k voters here. If you manage to get all 20k of your culti... er, devoted followers to vote (and vote the same way) then you have an 8% voting block which is pretty significant.
  • by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:19PM (#4496911)
    So let me get this straight:
    20,000 people who prize individual freedom above all else will move into a state and then trample over the wishes of the previous populace to get their preferred form of government enacted.

    Did I miss something?
  • by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot@sup[ ] ['paf' in gap]> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:22PM (#4496949)
    Well you need to look at the percentage of those 1.5M that actually vote. In most areas, only a small percentage of people vote. That combined with the fact that a lot of votes are relatively close with the winner winning by just a small percentage of the vote, it conceiveable that 20,000 is a big enough number to sway most if not all of the votes.

    Anyone living in a college town can see a similar concept in action. Where I attend school, the college population is roughly equal to the non college population, when important issues come up that affect the students, but have little to do with the town, the students are more likely to vote than the townies.
  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tms AT infamous DOT net> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:24PM (#4496954) Homepage
    They've been coming down in favor of states over the federal government whenever possible.
    ...except for the 2000 coup, of course.
  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:24PM (#4496961)
    The Dakotas and Minnesota aren't that cold.

    The Dakotas have some Reservations too, but no one is forcing them, well the Welfare System is, just because a check every month is easier than working.

    If squalid means they have some cars, and DSS dishes, then you have Indian Reservations in the Dakotas.

    North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming would never be allowed to be under anything but tight Federal supervision.


    Rapid City, Cheyenne, Grand Forks and Minot.

    The heart of the American ICBM and Nuclear Bomber forces.
  • by Perianwyr Stormcrow ( 157913 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:26PM (#4496976) Homepage
    Chances are, if these guys pick the sort of state they seem to be angling for (Montana/North Dakota,) the existing population is likely to agree with them already.
  • Re:How original... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tapin ( 157076 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:27PM (#4496989)
    The South? 20k people in this newfangled plot, and you compare it to the south?

    I'm thinking more along the lines of "Waco, Texas". The outcome was similar, in any case.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:28PM (#4496998)

    > I wonder if they will get it figured out before the tanks roll into their compound.

    By the time the tanks roll in they'll already be in an advanced stage of shooting each other over differences of detail in their ideology.

    Heh. I liked the blurb at their site about how the two previous leaders resigned due to time pressures. Must be nice to be stu^w naive enough to think you can found a Utopia in your spare time.

    And then there's the "Buy FSP Stuff" link on the sidebar. Methinks the con artists will outnumber the idealists long before the Great Migration begins.

  • Re:Won't work out (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:30PM (#4497021)
    This absolutely will not work. There is no chance it will work. Do you think that people who invented all the utopian social ideas in the past 300 years were somehow mentally inferior to the current geek generation? Hell no. In most cases they were the smartest people of their time. And every single one of their models had failed.

    I can see a few scenarios of a complete meltdown of such society, but the details are not important. The bottom line is - it will either just not work, or in the worst case, make lots of people suffer.

  • by dfn_deux ( 535506 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:31PM (#4497024) Homepage
    It is important to note that the freedom of speech as guranteed in the constitution has been interpretted by the supreme court to not protect seditious speech. Now, any call to subvert control of federal mandate is seditious by definition and as such the speech can be regulated by the fedral government. This seems to be a major stumbling block to any plan to form an independant government on what is currently US soil, I.E. Waco, Ruby Ridge, and other similar sepratist movements.

    it's unfortunate too, because the major problems with the US could be solved by simply dissolving the US into several smaller cooperating countries similar to the EU, and then have a small coalition government to help negotiate trade and "international" matter between the countries. D.C. politicians cannot fairly represent my SF East Bay lifestyle and opinions. Fair and accurate governmental representation is key to having a satisfied populous.

    *note* I'm not very good at spelling, please ignore spelling and gramatical errors and read the actual message.
  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:33PM (#4497060)
    Can anybody tell me why I shouldn't think of this as extremist or fanatical? Maybe I'm reading this in the wrong mood, but it seems to me like they're only trying to fix what they see wrong, as opposed to re-designing the system to be more useful. It doesn't seem like they understand why some things work the way they do.

    "We will repeal state taxes and wasteful state government programs." -- Define wasteful. There's some that think that healthcare coverage of birth control is 'wasteful'. Others think that unwanted pregnancies cause greater 'wasteful' heatlh expense.

    "We will end the collaboration between state and federal law enforcement officials in enforcing unconstitutional laws." -- Who's to judge 'unconstitutional'? Not that I actively pay attention to cases like this, but there's always opposing views. Some think that a law may be unconstitutional, but others have a different perspective that says it is constitutional. So... where's the middle ground? Who's to judge?

    They're asking me to donate money and sign a petition with promises of utopica, but other than pandering to my desires (no taxes! no gov't unfairness!) they're not providing me with any useful data about how they'd meet my needs.

    So, no, I don't see value here. I would understand if they were saying "Let's get together all the 'like-minded about certain issues' people into one state", instead they're saying "let's create a land where the gov't can't intrude!".

  • by rotwhylr ( 618309 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:33PM (#4497065)
    I think this experiment might run smoother if they apply a little critical thinking to the manifesto on their site, and maybe think through the consequences of their actions a little further.

    What can be done in a single state? A great deal. We will repeal state taxes and wasteful state government programs.

    I know that lots of political spending is horribly wasteful, but what are they going to do about the kind of programs that help poor old people afford heat during the winter? I'm sure they have a plan, but I didn't see it mentioned anywhere.

    We will end the collaboration between state and federal law enforcement officials in enforcing unconstitutional laws.

    It is the courts' job to decide what is constitutional, right?

    We will repeal laws regulating drugs and guns.

    Are these folks backed by a cartel? Want to see drugs and guns in one place? Visit Columbia or Jamaica.

    We will privatize utilities and end inefficient regulations and monopolies.

    Privitization can be great. Just ask California how they like privatized electric utilities.

    Then we will negotiate directly with the federal government for more autonomy

    Good luck. I am sure they will take it seriously.

  • It already exists (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SheldonYoung ( 25077 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:35PM (#4497076)
    ... it's called Canada. :)

  • Re:New Hampshire. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by terraformer ( 617565 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:35PM (#4497084) Journal
    Yeah, but they still write speeding tickets...
  • by tuxedo-steve ( 33545 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:36PM (#4497091)
    Lets just face it, Ted Knight was right when he said "The world needs ditch diggers too."
    Very true. Huxley made a similar observation in Brave New World. As I remember it, the story went that a bunch of the "Alphas" (the highly intelligent upper caste of the society) decided to set up their own exclusive, autonomous society without the lower castes, as a social experiment. Within a short few years, they were in a state of total civil war: the survivors begged to be readmitted to the dominant society. Imagine that flamewar.

    The lesson here, I suppose, is that the working class cannot be replaced by very small shell scripts. (It'd take some serious Perl magic.)
  • by Ektanoor ( 9949 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:38PM (#4497113) Journal
    Their usual name is Utopia.
    They may differ in ideologies and objectives but the large majority ends quite badly.

    The most ancient Utopia seems to have been the half-mytical Atlantis.
    The most well known Utopia of Ancient Times was Sparta.
    Roman Empire died to a religious Utopia of Armageddon and Salvation.
    In Middle Ages there were several Utopias like the Albigois of Provence, the Templars.
    Mongol Empire was an Utopia.
    American Revolutions nearly started several Utopia States, some of its remains echo till now in the US and, partially, in South America.
    Utah was pratically an Utopia in its first years.
    French Revolution was a pure Utopia State.
    October Revolution was the biggest, largest and most monumental Utopia ever.
    Nazi Germany and several other regimes were Utopias.
    Singapore still heirs a lot of its Utopia foundation.
    Apart of this. There is certain data that points to the fact that Maya could be an Utopia. Also some strange tales of a certain ancient kingdom in what is now Spain point also to an Utopia. Many eurasian tales point to vanished city-states and countries that remind a lot Utopias, ex. the Huns, the Assassins, Turan, Shambala, etc.

    What was the problem of these Utopias? They could have started well and with clear ideals. However, dogmatism and fanatism overcome. They tried to remain up to their ideals no matter the conditions and realities. Some Utopias vanished quite fast and they couldn't even manage to leave anything for history. Others could live for some time, basing its force on the economical power and resources of a nation. However the large majority ended tragically. Almost all Utopias tend to isolate themselves from everything that doesn't fit their dogmas. On one point of their History, the balance between their ideals and environment was so unequal that they were simply crunched to dust. Among them, there are only a few structures that manage to survive as they started to interact with the world, ex. the Jewish-Christian-Islamic canonical religions, the modern communist parties, The United States of America, The French Republic, Russian Federation, People's Republic of China and several others. For some this may look as if a big part of our world is Utopia based. It is. However, they are just a tiny fraction of the hundreds of Utopias that Mankind rised.
  • Nope. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:38PM (#4497114) Homepage

    The current Supreme Court likes the 10th Amendment when a state wants to do something traditionally considered "conservative" (even if they have to ignore the 14th amendment in the process of giving the state its way), but when a state wants to do something traditionally considered "liberal", the Supreme Court backs the feds. The best example of the latter is medical marijuana.

  • by martyn s ( 444964 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:40PM (#4497129)
    It also forced EVERY state in the US to adopt 21 as the minimum drinking age. Talk about overstepping their boundaries.
  • Key West anyone? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Warshadow ( 132109 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:41PM (#4497154)
    Conch Republic ring a bell? Although the story of the Conch Republic is a bit more on the amusing side.
  • by CreepyNinja ( 615245 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:44PM (#4497188)
    And you will fund yourselves without local taxes how?

    The title of this thread is seeming more and more accurate.

  • by flinxmeister ( 601654 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:45PM (#4497200) Homepage
    They better go in with some cash and buy up media outlets.
    Newspapers, Radio, and Television could eliminate the voting power of 20k on a monday morning whim. Think about it...just paint them as some sort of extremist, then claim anyone and anything they endorse is out to take away prescription drugs or *gasp* harm the education of our children.
  • by dave-fu ( 86011 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:50PM (#4497262) Homepage Journal
    > They've been coming down in favor of states over the federal government whenever possible.

    I think that the ultimate test of this will be when the California medical marijuana clubs get their cases escalated to the supreme court. Ashcroft et al are consistently trumping federal law over state law when it comes to the "War" on Drugs. Handcuff parapalegics and victims of wasting diseases and confiscate their doctor-prescribed medicine? Yes, let's!
    I call this the ultimate test because of what it is: a purportedly unpopular cause running orthogonal to a giant hype machine and billions of dollars in the pockets of people with friends in high places, where the states have different laws than the federal government does.
  • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:51PM (#4497280) Homepage
    How are you going to find 20k people who always agree 100% on all of the issues listed on the website, will unanimously agree on all unforseen issues that will come up in the future, and will diligently vote on every single issue, achieving an unheard of 100% voter turnout rate?

    That, and they will be free of all local taxes.

    So won't they also be "free of all local services," too? Who's going to pay to plow/pave/patrol the streets?

  • by cascadefx ( 174894 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:53PM (#4497310) Journal
    No local taxes... hmmm?

    Now I am wondering about general upkeep of infrastructure. How does that happen? Who pays for it?

    I am not trolling. I would like to seriously know.

  • by antis0c ( 133550 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:54PM (#4497323)
    Why not? We did it with the Indians, and look at them now.
  • by Yunzil ( 181064 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:56PM (#4497346) Homepage
    If we are successful, the populous will agree with us.

    Non sequitur.
  • by Cryptnotic ( 154382 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:58PM (#4497359)
    Did I miss something?

    It's called democracy. It happens all the time.
  • by Art Popp ( 29075 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:01PM (#4497401)
    They address this issue quite nicely in the text of the site. One of the important criteria for selecting a state is the minimal dependence on Federal Funding. A state like California would be seriously hurt if the Feds. stopped funding all their many freeways. A state like Montana wouldn't be in bad shape at all.

    As for the feds spoiling things with their draconian BS, I agree they would try; but if the state stops taking their highway money, and educational funding there's not much the feds can dictate in those arenas. The battle with the feds. would be fought long and hard, but imagine what would be accomplished by just cutting out 80% of the state government and having a few premptive laws in place to keep local cities from being jerks. You could paint your house whatever color you want, you could drive 15 mph over the "suggested speed limit" when the conditions were good without paying constant attention to your rear view mirror. You would not be forced to buy all your highdollar items mail-order to avoid outrageous taxes, and (most importantly for me), you could set up some laws that clearly and sharply limit the powers of the local and state governments, so you WOULD NEVER HAVE TO FIGHT FOR YOUR BASIC LIBERTIES AGAIN.

    I was born into a country where the right to keep and bear arms was never to be infringed. This system has it's pros and cons, and depending on which set of benefits you value more, it's either a liability or an asset. Which way you view it is really irrelevant. Both sides talk of reasonable compromise but it is clear from their actions that each compromise is a stepping stone toward unreasonable ends. At each election the anti-gun crowd comes up with a reasonable-sounding thing they want to do, and at each election the pro-gun crowd points out (often but not always correctly) the ground the anti-gun folk are trying to take. This is a stupid waste of time and money. The funds the anti- and pro- crowds spend on advertising and campaigning over the last decade in my home state would have paid for a light rail system through the capital city. To move to a place where a reasonable compromise could be found, made law and left alone would be well worth the effort of the move.
  • Jobs???? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mehip2001 ( 600856 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:02PM (#4497419)
    I didn't see this in the google cahche of the sight so forgive me if i missed it. Is the FSP going to consider the vocation of its members when choosing a location? Or, are the Sowftware and Semicon guys going to have work on the docks new positions open. And, how about deadbeats and those down on their luck? Is the FSP going to allow wards of the state?
  • by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:13PM (#4497547)
    LOL. I hope this is a joke or sarcasm. Surely you don't really believe Bush's moronic feel-good analysis of Bin Laden's motives. Obviously, these guys are not some kind of rabid marxists out to destroy any hint of non-marxist countries. I don't know exactly what their motives are, but it is certainly not "to attack whatever country is the most free". We might not even qualify for that title anymore anyway. Hence the motivation for the FSP.
  • by snatchitup ( 466222 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:14PM (#4497552) Homepage Journal
    It's only if your net take is larger than your net input that witholding of federal highway funds is persuasive.

    Wrong logic. This only would be true if a state could choose to fund its own highways and not pay any federal taxes that go into the federal highway fund. Your state's taxpayers pay the Fed. And your state tries to get it back for you in the name of funds. And you can't tell me it isn't political. boatloads of the cash earmarked for highways don't even go to anything having to do with transportation.
  • by invenustus ( 56481 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:17PM (#4497581)
    The threat to withold highway funds is only persuasive to some states: those states which have more roads, per capita, then their tax base would ordinarily support.

    But if the federal government withholds your highway funds, they still make you pay your taxes to support them. In other words, even if you're paying more into the highway system than you're getting out, it's still a better deal than getting NOTHING out. So it's persuasive to every state whose citizens pay federal taxes - i.e. every state in the country.
  • by stefanlasiewski ( 63134 ) <slashdot@s[ ] ['tef' in gap]> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:18PM (#4497587) Homepage Journal
    Anything the new 'liberated' state tries to do will be summarily shut down and/or harrassed by the feds - from witholding highway funds

    But then again, if you are truely 'liberated', you wouldn't accept highway funds from the Feds in the first place.

    Highway funds are another form of welfare, used to keep states, and the public and private road-building entities in agreement with federal policies, and by some estimates these funds amount to over $100 billion.

    A good bicycle, on the other hand, costs $200.
  • by ryanvm ( 247662 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:19PM (#4497610)
    Oh yeah, this sounds like a great idea. If you thought the Slashdot trolls were annoying, just wait until you LIVE in Slashdot.
  • NOT ridiculous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by V_drive ( 522339 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:22PM (#4497632)
    they will not agree on every issue. they agree that the federal goverment should stay out--that's one issue. that's the issue that brings them together.

    take roe vs. wade as a basic example. you can be as pro-choice as they come and still believe (correctly) that the federal government has no constitutional right to forbid states from outlawing abortion within their borders. the problem is that it takes integrity to see the distinction. few people will fight to stop the federal government from doing something they agree with, regardless of the constitution.
  • by ahodgson ( 74077 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:28PM (#4497698)
    No, because dealing with crimes where there are actual victims takes a lot fewer resources than trying to track down adults who have chosen to deal with each other in a way they both perceive to be beneficial.

    Ie, it's hard to enforce drug laws, because there is no victim to complain about the breaking of the law and perform as a witness. The authorities have to entrap, spy upon, and engage in criminal activities themselves to catch anyone.

    As for gun laws, they're a joke, unless you think it is actually difficult for a criminal to get a gun as a result of the laws. Hell, they aren't even enforced, because to do so would require an effort as large as the drug war and still wouldn't accomplish anything except to make more people who haven't hurt anyone into convicted criminals.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:28PM (#4497701)
    For a balanced perspective, make sure you also read the non-libertarian FAQ [].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:30PM (#4497720)
    which coup was that ?
    the one that the supreme court , in keeping with the idea of equal protection under the law, declared that the previously agreed to (by both parties) election rules . When an attempt to change the rules only in some areas was looked at the court declared no. Stating that all local areas be reperesented equally is very much in line with the previous post that states rights have been guarded closely lately , local rights are also guarded .

    Now if we would like to talk about local areas rights to pass laws like assisted-suicide or medical marijuana , we can then see the rights of the states being squashed , but not in your so called "coup"
  • Re:Nope. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jdcook ( 96434 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:36PM (#4497772)
    "[W]hen a state wants to do something traditionally considered 'liberal', the Supreme Court backs the feds. The best example of the latter is medical marijuana."

    IMO, the *best* example is turning the US over to GWB by overruling the Florida Supreme Court's interpretation of Florida law. Maybe we can get Chile to send some election monitors next time.

  • by Big_Breaker ( 190457 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:41PM (#4497821)
    The German Autobahns have a lower incidence of fatality per vehicle mile than US interstates.

    What is more impressive is that at 120mph there surely can't be many non-fatal accidents on the Autobahn... especially compared to US highways @ 65-75 mph. Remember MV^2?

    Iteresting the the above poster chose $2000 for the unlimited license. That is the approximate cost of a license in Germany.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:46PM (#4497868)
    The US is the founding country for Libertarians-- and so Libertarians are justly proud of its successes. But they certainly are unwilling to settle for a nation with declining value on liberty. The price of liberty really is eternal vigilence-- not just taking for granted the good things we currently have. Or we will end up just like the rest of the world you describe.

  • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:51PM (#4497908) Journal
    Actually California is one of the states that loses more money to income tax than it gets in subsidies.
  • Ummm...right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaytonCIM ( 100144 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:54PM (#4497930) Homepage Journal
    "What can be done in a single state? A great deal. We will repeal state taxes and wasteful state government programs.

    Repeal state taxes? Sounds really nice. But remember we live in the United States of Litigiousness. In addition, you'll probably have to change the state constitution and that in itself will take no less than a decade.

    Bottom line: repeal of state taxes won't happen for the generation that "starts" the independent state, but for the second generation.

    We will end the collaboration between state and federal law enforcement officials in enforcing unconstitutional laws.

    In this day and age of the "Patriot Act," CARNIVORE, and the overwhelming need for security (according to our current administration) there is no way that 20,000 or even 100,000 people could break the federal hold on states. Those who have tried on a much smaller basis (Ruby Ridge and Pine Ridge) are either dead or in prison.

    We will repeal laws regulating drugs and guns.

    And the federal authorities that you no longer collaborate will seize any and all public or private property that has anything to do with any type of (federally) illegal narcotic; and when you resist, the President will federalize your own National Guard to defeat you.

    10th Amendment power has been whittled away for the past 250 years. It does not have enough power to over turn federal drug and weapons laws.

    We will end asset forfeiture and abuses of eminent domain.

    See above.

    We will privatize utilities and end inefficient regulations and monopolies. Then we will negotiate directly with the federal government for more autonomy.

    Yeah, Jefferson Davis thought he could do the above too. Lincoln thought different. We all know what happened next.

    There exists a delicate balance of power between the federal government and the 50 states. Before you go running off to create your own independent state, you may want to create some alliances with other states. If you go it alone (be it with 20,000 people) you will fail.

    Don't forget history. It was not Washington and the Colonial army alone that defeated the British, it was the French Navy and Army with the Colonial army that defeated the British.

    And a small request: after you have your own "free" state, work hard to call a federal constitutional convention, so that the Constitution can be changed.

  • Drinking age (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuggz ( 69912 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:57PM (#4497961) Homepage
    Yes, because you need to be 21 to be old enough to drink.
    It is much more important that you are that old to drink. Stuff like the following really doesn't require that much responsiblity.
    Join the army
    Drive a car
    Have sex (and children)
    Pay taxes
    Own a gun

    Yeah good thing we don't let those kids drink.
  • by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:14PM (#4498116) Journal
    Good luck finding a state in Canada.

    Seriously though, given that we are a little more socialist than the US, Canada would be a poor choice to promote a libertarian agenda.
  • Should Morphines only be allowed for the more serious of surgery then? You pop a shoulder and the doc'll tell ya to have a hit of whiskey and bite the bullet while he puts in back. Marijuana is no different from any other medical drug, use what is suitable when it's suitable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:18PM (#4498146)
    Hey, *I'd* be in, except for that pesky transcontinental commute I'd have to make. Or is there a larger market for OpenStep developers in the badlands than I thought?

    Here's a more practical idea: create a nonprofit political action committee. Get 20,000 geeks to join and each write a couple of checks -- $10, $25, $50, $1,000, whatever -- to selected federal candidates. Bundle the checks and deliver to said candidates. Write political briefings for the politicians explaining why specific legislation needs to be introduced, supported, or defeated, and issue yearly scorecards rating each legislator on his or her performance, tying the amount of funding they get to their performance.

    It's worked for every other special-interest group out there, from feminists to anti-abortionists. Why not for us?
  • by Skjellifetti ( 561341 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:18PM (#4498149) Journal
    That logic works only because most people don't vote until some minority group uses their numbers to push through some idiotic piece of legislation. The idiotic law disgusts the majority so much that they will vote at the first opportunity they have to put the minority in its place. This has been demonstrated in local elections where, say, the Christian right has made a concerted effort to win control of the local school board. Their control typically lasts about one term before they have made such asses of themselves that the average eligible voter goes to the polls just to rid their town of the embarassment.
  • Re:Privatization? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Silmaril ( 19015 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:40PM (#4498345)
    As Enron, and Colifornia have shown private companies cannot be trusted with basic infrastructure.

    And the government can? Let me let you in on a little secret: the federal government's accounting problems dwarf all the Enrons, Worldcoms, and Imclones put together. See Which is Worse: WorldCom or Congress [] by Walter Williams.

    And, as At&T, the RIAA, and AOLTW have shown eliminating all regulation is the best way to encourage monopolies. I hate bad government, I also hate bad corporations.

    One of those two types of entities has a territorial monopoly on the use of violence and the (perceived) right to tax. Spot the greater danger to your freedom.

  • by fenix down ( 206580 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:42PM (#4498363)
    Oh, Jesus help me. I think I'm just going to flame libertarians from now on. Not to trample on the concept so much, just all the fanboys that want to suck Ayn Rand's cock (yes, I know what I said, call it poetic license).

    That wasn't personal. My point is that the

    In a libertarian society you're free to erect whatever institution you like.

    point sucks. If you seriously believe that, then you have no right to complain about "our authoritarian state." After all, it's just some people exercising their right to impliment an authotitarian society in the libertarian "society" of the world. If you don't like it, start your own country. And no, it's not fair to take their land just because you can't find any empty space for yourself. What happened to the sanctity of personal property?

    I wouldn't mind this Free State thing if they were making it from scratch somewhere uninhabited, or at least with the consent of the residents. The impression I get is of a bunch of idealists drunk on "change the world" juice about to bitch-slap a few hundred thousand people, most of which probably don't have the means to get out of their way. The states you're looking at are the places you find towns that have been completely abandoned by people moving away. Makes for cheap land, but it also means you're coming down on a lot of people who are only there because they aren't able to move out. It'd be nice if this project could help with that, but I seriously doubt it. I'd expect something more along the lines of suspension of all welfare and aid money, ensuring a have-not population that can't afford higer education (or for that matter, adequately funded lower education), and supports a growing population of reasonably well-off libertarians (they can afford to move cross country? I think they're ok) who's money they can't get to and who control their fates.

    I'm sure anybody wants to hear your fucking rants about Reaganomics, home schooling, the unfairness of afirmative action and your goddamn "give a man a fish" stories when they're getting crushed under your fat asses like feudal peasants.

    Think I can pass that off as not being personal too? Maybe that was a little "masses against the classes", but think about it, huh?
  • by scotch ( 102596 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:45PM (#4498391) Homepage
    I pay the same taxes you do, and I don't have any kids. Obviously, your view that "property taxes" == "tuition for your kids" is a not quite accurate. HTH
  • by CalCudahy ( 541967 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:04PM (#4498541) Homepage
    just having a rule for the sake of having a rule

    The speed limit isn't just for traffic control, there are also good environmental reasons for keeping speed under control. This report by the EPA found a 153% increase in carbon monoxide emissions at 65 mph versus 55 mph.

  • However... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:12PM (#4498614)
    I agree that the heartland should shut up holding themselves up as some kind of self-reliant model society. It is also troublesome that such a small number of people should wield such disproportionate political influence in Washington.

    However, we do have free movement in the US. If living in those regions was so great, even with subsidies, people could move there. The fact is that, for all their natural beauty, many of those places are the armpit of the US and you effectively have to pay people to live there.

  • state vs. feds (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dsfox ( 2694 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:27PM (#4498780) Homepage
    Why is it so wonderful to have the states interfere with my life and so terrible to have the feds do it?
  • 20k people ? Ha-ha (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jomagam ( 512625 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:35PM (#4498825)
    Americans are not 55-45 on most of the issues that are mentioned in the article. More like 95-5; just think about how much vote Ralph Nader got last time. (I'm not suggesting any correlation between voting for him and supporting the free state, but I hope you get what I mean). Additionally people who are for princliples like that tend to flock to metropolitan areas; not exactly Montana. Nice idea to think about, but I'd much rather petition my local representatives.
  • by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:39PM (#4498854)

    The farm bill should be axed. These libertarians would work toward that goal, even though many of their candidate States are the small rural ones. The point they're trying to make is that we should be self-reliant rather than forcing someone else to pay for our desires. It's called living on principle, rather than getting your senators to "bring home the bacon".

    Many people think the electoral college is a "broken" system. Most of these people are liberals who live in the large, urban States supposedly harmed by it.

    However, saying that having two senators from Wyoming is unfair when New York only gets two overlooks one important fact: the Senate represents the individual States as collective bodies. The House is the legislative body that represents the popular (people's) will. Wyoming is not overrepresented in the Senate (or EC), it is equally represented. An equivalent argument would be, "Why does that one State of California get 50 seats in the House but our State of Wyoming only gets 1? That's not fair!" That doesn't make much sense either, does it?

    The USA is not a democracy, it is a republic. It is a voluntary coalition of States - the people formed the States, then the States formed a Union. (At least, that's the idea.) For the first 80 years, a State's right to secession was never questioned, and secession threats were frequently used as leverage in Congress, particularly by New England States.

    You need to realize that our bicameral legislature is a compromise between these two views. You need to represent the people, yet provide a check against the tyranny of the majority. (That's why we're not a democracy, though we pick leaders democratically.) You need a government big enough to defend us all and appear unified to the world, yet small enough to be responsive to local issues and sensitivities. (That's why we have a federal, not a centralized monolithic, system.)

    The electoral college is an attempt at uniting both interests in the case of a singular office. The President needs to represent the American people (as individuals), and he needs to represent the united States (individually as well, case is intentional). For this, it works well. Without it, the 5 or 6 largest States, ruled as they are by their urban centers, would dominate the presidential races. One, there's already little incentive to campaign in Wyoming - without the EC there would be effectively none. Two, this would amount to urbanites, who have no clue about the realities of rural life, picking the man who has the final say on legislation that affects the ruralites. The culture of large cities is much the same no matter where they are, but the culture of rural America varies greatly with geography. This is why the EC is essential - it protects the interests of the States as well as the People during the selection of the President. Just as having Congress divided into two branches serves both interests, and checks the power of "large" over "small" and vice versa.

    The FSP, by working against government control of farmers and rural America, would remove the need for government subsidy of the same. This country got along fine for over 100 years without farm subsidies. It used to be that government essentially gave away land to anyone who could prove they'd develop it effectively. One of the Laura Ingalls books states that the American farmer is one of the freest men around, earning his own way by his own sweat, beholden to no one. How things have changed in 110 years! Now, by taking gov't money, the farmer is obligated to submit to gov't micromanagement telling him where and what he can plant, how much he can plant, and what price he'll get. (Which is never quite enough to get him free of gov't dependency.) As if that wasn't enough, gov't is now trying to reclaim the land, taking it out out of useful production, because of "eco-friendly" legislation.

    Speaking as a conservationist (as opposed to an environmentalist, though they should have an appreciation for this argument), the land/resources are underrepresented in a strictly population-based apportionment. Rural, by definition, means lots of land with few people. Who better to make decisions for these resources than the State that includes them and the people who live on them? They have a vested interest in wise use of said resources. This is another good reason for having States represented equally in the Senate, and counting toward EC electors. Without this, urban States would tend to act cavalierly toward resources not in their domain. This sort of trampling of property rights is happening anyway, as mentioned above.

    FWIW, the "break" between large/small States as far as EC representation is about 11 electors. From 10-12, as of the 2000 census, the % representation closely reflects the nation.

  • by CyberGarp ( 242942 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:40PM (#4498861) Homepage

    There was a fellow I worked with. He went on and on and on about how he would manage the company. Wouldn't have made this or that mistakes, would have done this way or that.

    One day he got his wish, he was made manager of a new division of the company. He got a team together and did everything his way. He did everything all the trade journals said you should to get quick, good results.

    In one year, he had recreated every mistake that had been made. The only thing to his credit was that he done it in record time.

    I think the Libertarian town would be a great experiment. I don't think it would be wildly successful, but it sure would be better filler for the news than getting hourly sniper reports between pondering how badly to crucify Martha Stewart.

  • Re:state vs. feds (Score:2, Insightful)

    by V_drive ( 522339 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @05:06PM (#4499053)
    your reply indicates you do not understand the issue. the federal government has no constitutional right to forbid the states from passing such a law.

    the founders believed i the great american experiment...lots of freedom for states to disagree and to try different things. if my state does something i don't agree with, i can always move to another state. if the fed does something i disagree with, i have no choice. THAT is the difference.

    here's another example--gun rights. i support the second ammendment. it's part of the constitution and an integral part of a free nation. HOWEVER, i would not want the supreme court to rule that states can't pass certain gun control laws (even laws i really disagree with). if some state wanted to outlaw all firearms by civilians, i would support their right to do so--the federal government should not interfere.

    the constitution of the united states (with bill of rights) is exactly that...the constitution of the united states. it says that the united states can not take away the right to bear arms. it doesn't say that a particular state can't--the state has its own constitution.

    people are inherently powerhungry. this is true at all levels of government, and it has caused congressmen and supreme court judges to take control of things which they have no right to. the founders understood all of this. unfortunately, most americans don't.
  • by DaytonCIM ( 100144 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @05:13PM (#4499118) Homepage Journal
    The individual pays, either with insurance or cash on hand

    You're not a libertarian, you're a capitalist. And a bad one at that.

    Most fire departments are volunteer and do fund-raising.

    Uh-huh. Yeah and that fund-raising covers what? The cost of water? Do some research before you make a statement like the above. Fire Departments are expensive. And they are staffed by some of the most highly-qualified and best trained people in society today. Volunteers and bake sales won't save your house or your family.

    Police forces should be privatized.

    Do I need to go here again? Yes. Again you're preaching "if you have the cash, you have the service."

    Don't have cash or insurance. Sorry but your house must burn.

    Don't have the cash. Sorry can't arrest your nighbor for molesting your daughter.

    Don't have the cash. Sorry can't use this road to get your wife to the hospital.

    Don't have the cash. Sorry, you can't live here.
  • by junkgrep ( 266550 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @05:27PM (#4499259)
    What? The fact is, these subsidies encourage inefficient farmers to enter or stay in the market. It doesn't cost EVERY farmer that much: there's a spread, and the subsidies essentially cause farmers, including the more efficient ones, to have to cut back on their production. This is no different than taking money and throwing it in the ocean.

    ---Were it not for those subsidies, you'd be paying a hell of a lot more for breakfast, bucko, and the farmers would be living in nice houses, with free time, instead of working 80+ hours a week just to break even for investment, to say nothing of take-home or profit. ---

    Nonsense. First all, there would be many FEWER farmers. Second of all, if your aim is to save consumers money, then why don't we subsidize everything? Oh that's right: the money for subsidies doesn't come out of thin air: it's taken from the pockets of the very people who consume farm products. Sure, the prices might be a little higher (but nowhere near as high as the subsidy, due to how grossly inefficient it is)... but we've have more income to buy them!
  • by junkgrep ( 266550 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @05:35PM (#4499298)
    The unmentioned problem I see in all of this is... what are these people going to DO in states like Wyoming? I mean, it's not like I can just up and move around the country at a whim. I have to go where I can find work for goodness sakes: you can't tell me that the economy of Wyoming is just up and ready to accept 85,000 people all at once, even if many of them are entrepenuers. It would take years to even build enough housing, and there are all sorts of huge capital investments to worry about how to fund.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @05:51PM (#4499421)
    Taxation = slavery = socialist state.

    There's a place that might intrest you. There's no taxation, no social welfare programs, and government to speak of. It's called Somalia. Pack your bags, this is your version of paradise!
  • Re:Drinking age (Score:2, Insightful)

    by multimed ( 189254 ) <(mrmultimedia) (at) (> on Monday October 21, 2002 @06:02PM (#4499500)
    I'm considerably over 21 (and gaining speed so it seems) and I disagree. I believe those who are over 21 and drink responsibly due so in large part because it is legal. The thrill of rebellion is gone. Drop the drinking age to 18 or 19 and I think more 18 or 19 year olds would behave approximately as responsible as 21 year olds do now.

    Though I have a much larger issue with forcing the BAC level to .08. In my area, the larger problem and danger to society is the great number drunk drivers who have been pulled over 5 or more times, and often even 10-15 offenses. These people are 25+ and will not stop until they kill themselves or more likely some one else. A real prison term might help as well, and at the very least, it would keep them off the roads. But by lowering the BAC, the politicians get to pretend they're fixing the problem (which clearly they are not), without costing any more money like atually giving prison time for multiple offenders.

  • by rodgerd ( 402 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @06:37PM (#4499766) Homepage
    It's called the Mafia. You can study a little Sicillian history to see this libertarian paradise in action.

    (Actually, the fueding families of any number of the Italian city-states would be just as valid).
  • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @06:47PM (#4499845) Homepage
    Every time any sort of goods are transported to or from your state to other states your state is getting a benefit from the federal funding for highways.

    Unless your state never trades any goods and is totally insular, you DO benefit from the highways in other states.
  • Re:Privatization? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rodgerd ( 402 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @07:01PM (#4499949) Homepage
    Go. Read up on Las Vegas. Note how the corporations involved were never involved with private armies and never used violence. Or Shell's involvement in Nigeria. Or copper mining companies in the South Pacific.

    Companies don't use violence because they can't get away with it in most of the world you appear to be familiar with.
  • Re:Privatization? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 2short ( 466733 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @07:06PM (#4499992)
    Thought provoked by slashdot post!?! Unheard of! :) In that case, I'll ramble on a bit more...

    I'll certainly concede there may be valid models for providing protection services other than government. In the case of police/fire though, I must admit I'm a bit of a socialist. I think people should get police protection regardless of their pesonal ability to pay, which is difficult in a libertarian mode.

    Basically, I think society should ensure that even the have-nots get a basically reasonable quality of life, whether they deserve it or not. This is not because I think it's the right thing to do so much as simple self-interest as one of the "haves". Example of why it's to the "haves" advantage to help out the "have-nots" range from higher crime rates during economic downturns up through the French Revolution.

    I think I'm smarter and harder working than most, and I think I deserve a higher quality of life as a result. But I also recognize that much of my quality of life comes from living in a stable, reasonably equitable society.

    I do share your preference for small decentralized governments, but I still think you need some more centralized authority since otherwise the haves just seperate themselves geographically from the have-nots (which they largely do anyway).

    I guess my point is that we should recognize that one of the functions of government is to take some money from those that have it, and give it to those that don't. Besides national defense this is most of what our government does, but almost no one talks about it, at least not as a positive thing. The question is how much of it should be done, and as frequently happens, I don't like either of the extremes, i.e. communism or libertarianism.

  • by joto ( 134244 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @07:11PM (#4500030)
    Now, if all geeks moved to North Dakota, I'd be pretty sure of finding a good job in Silicon Valley. I wouldn't be surprised if more geeks thought like that.

    And if all geeks moved to North Dakota, then certainly I wouldn't be moving there. I would like some normal people around as well, not to mention people of the opposite sex.

    And if you really believe you can get a significant portion of freedom-loving people to move to some state, you are severly misguided about what freedom means. Because freedom-lovers love their freedom, they will not be moved around like cattle.

    And while getting all free thinkers to have the same fun idea at the same time (if even for 5 minutes) is close to impossible, making all of them have the same fun idea for long enough to actually sell their house and move to North Dakota (or wherever) is far worse than impossible.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @07:37PM (#4500238) Journal
    If the Supreme Court wanted to act in a non-partisan fashion, they would've found the standards to be unconstitutional, laid out a new set of standards and then ordered a new recount under those standards.

    First, it's not the Supreme Court's job to design such systems. Doing so would be usurping the legislative power, both from the US Congress and the Florida Legislature. The Supremes can design some remidies, but they're both very limited and very reluctant to attempt to go there.

    Second, there was a limited time to act. If the election was not certified in time to hand the list of electors off to the Fed by a particular date, there were two choices left:

    1) Florida would have no voice in the selection of the president.

    2) The Florida legislature could chose a slate of electors and send them.

    1) would have resulted in a Gore win and 2) in a Bush win (given that the Florida Legislature was Republican dominated). EITHER would have disenfranchised the direct voters (the first just dumping them, the second replacing them with the voters for the legislature in previous elections). This despite the presence of an arguably adequate vote count, certified by the appropriate official by the then-in-force procedures.

    So the Supremes took the minimum-waves course, spiked the intervention by the Florida Judicial branch, and with the decision of the duly-chosen Florida Executive branch official, who had operated by the laws in force during the election.
  • Re:Privatization? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BitGeek ( 19506 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @07:47PM (#4500296) Homepage

    Its not crazy.

    The freemarket is really efficient- it took out Enron within 3 years of it starting to act fraudulently.

    Meanwhile the US government has been perpetrating a fraud on everyone at gunpoint in the form of social security for 50 years and there is no end in sight.

    Clearly the free market is efficient at punishing the guilty-- enron got the death penalty.

    And there's an important distinction-- nobody lost money in Enron who didn't freely choose the risk of associating with them.

    But everyone who is loosing money with Social Security is being forced to, at gunpoint. They have no freedom to support an alternative retirement plan.

    Yet you think corporations are the problem??? Perplexing.

  • by Helter ( 593482 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @07:49PM (#4500315)
    It's called the freedom of association. Basically, you're free to associate with whomever you like, and likewise you're free to NOT associate with whomever you like.
    You can't say that you value personal freedoms and then go out and make certain viewpoints or opinions illegal. So racists are free to be racist (as long as they don't try to use force against those they choose to hate) and the rest of us are free to consider them morons.
  • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @08:16PM (#4500504) Homepage
    That's easy. They don't want to go through the work of actually building an infrastructure on their own. They want to comandeer that which the feds have built because a lot of libertarians are hypocrites that way.
  • Plenty of time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aexia ( 517457 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @08:38PM (#4500623)
    Second, there was a limited time to act. If the election was not certified in time to hand the list of electors off to the Fed by a particular date, there were two choices left:

    The "deadline" was a red herring. Florida could've simply submitted two sets of electoral votes just like Hawaii did in 1960. [] That would've given Florida a few more weeks to resolve the situation.

    But as the Supreme Court noted, counting all the votes might discredit Bush's "victory."

    The Supremes can design some remidies, but they're both very limited and very reluctant to attempt to go there.

    So you have to ask, why did they intervene at all if all? They thought the standard was unconstitutional, but apparently not so much that they couldn't accept results made under a standard they just ruled unconstitutional.

    The USSC didn't need to come up with the standards themselves; they could've invalidated the election results, given guidance as to what would be constitutional and sent the case back to Florida with instructions to come up with a valid standard to count the votes up under.

    The decision is so contrived that the USSC justices have since stated that the Gore decision shouldn't be used as precedent in other cases.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @08:50PM (#4500687)
    I read /. more than I ought to (my employer probably agrees with that.) But I post rarely, because usually someone has already said it, and I don't go for the "me too" stuff.

    But damn, is there anyone here who can say anything positive? Does no one share this dream?

    Why is it that when a "bad" YRO story comes out (RIAA doing something obnoxious, or the courts making some anti-liberty decision, or just another "The US sucks" story) commenters come out of the woodwork to say how bad it is. People scream "VOTE!" Or "Write your congresscritter!" Yet here we have a story about a group of people who are willing to not only vote, but CHANGE THEIR LIVES for the purpose of freedom. Not just to benefit themselves, but to be an example, so perhaps those of use stuck back here not-so-free states might see and be motivated and encouraged.

    Isn't this what you want? More individual freedom? Or are all you only interested in being able to copy your OggVorbis files, but you don't give a rat's ass about true freedom in the wider world? I assure you, you'll still be able to have your OggVorbis files while under martial law.

    I came across the Free State Project a bit over a week ago on my own. I was impressed, but more than that, I was in awe. It was a completely new thought to me. It was empowering. You mean here we are in the "post September 11th" US (God I hate that phrase), and yet there are people who still have the same dreams as Jefferson and company? And the BALLS to do something real to achieve it? To me, this looks like one of the few rays of hope left.

    I want to sign up. I want to go. I talked to my wife about it, but she doesn't get as fired up as I do about freedoms. I am ready to go now, but it will take the screws being turned more before she would consent to going. I LONG to go.

    You might say I'm talking out of my ass since I haven't signed up. I'm torn between family and freedom. But I'll tell you, I vote in elections, I write to my congress-people, and I strike up conversations with people about current events, and tie it back to freedom. I donate to the Libertarian party. I try to make other people see how one infringement on freedom--even if it doesn't directly affect them--will eventually come back to bite them in the ass.

    But in this case, so far all I can do is lend my enthusiastic support, and long for the day I can join these people.

    You might think these people are nuts, but consider: Perhaps 5% liberty-nuts can create a new Constitution-abiding state (or country). 5% (or less) can destroy it, as is happening now. The other 90% of the population is just along for the ride. Given the choice, I'll side with the freedom-nut any day.

    Shouldn't you all be building them up, rather than tearing them down? Aren't we all in this together?

    Think about it.

    Thanks for reading, and considering.
  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @10:49PM (#4501321)
    >> The USA is not a democracy, it is a republic. It is a voluntary coalition of States - the people formed the States, then the States formed a Union.

    The only accurate statement there is that the U.S. is a republic. The "people" did not form
    states" that, in turn, formed the union. A better case can be made that the nascent union created the original 13 states from the 13 colonies. In any case, every state admitted since then has been the express creation of Congress.

    The U.S. is not a "voluntary coalition" of states. That issue was decided by the Civil War. The Civil War occurred because a group of states, lacking the moral and economic courage to abandon their despicable and evil culture, spent decades articulating the false and delusory notion of "states rights".

    The Constitution is a compact among individual U.S. citizens, not the states. You may have noticed that it begins with "We, the people...", not "We, the states....". Throughout U.S. history, we have relied on the federal Constitution tp protect us from the deprivations of bigotry, racism, and oppressive ideologies seeking refuge under the "states rights" umbrella.
  • Re:Clarifications (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jsorens ( 619350 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @10:18AM (#4503985)
    As I said, I have no problem with socialists like you taking over Vermont. By the way, you did the same thing to old-stock Vermonters, who were and are very conservative, as we are doing. So how can you condemn us? Your screed against our imaginary "corporatism" displays an extreme ignorance of libertarian principles. But by all means don't let rational thought get in the way of your hatred. If you would like to pry open your mind for one second, however, you might consider the fact that big business has never endorsed libertarianism; big business is very much *opposed* to libertarianism. The most libertarian business lobby on Capitol Hill is the NFIB, a small-business group.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith