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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:53PM (#4496541)
    It's so rebellious, they don't even do daylight saving... ANYWHERE in the state!

    And, it has referendum, recall, and initiative elections, and was one of the first states to have them.
  • by PingXao ( 153057 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:54PM (#4496566)
    But the question is, "Which State?" Basically they all suck. The Northeast is too crowded and cold. The Dakotas? Minnesota? No thanks, waaaaayyyyyy too cold for me. Perhaps the answer is in AZ or NM. Aren't there significant numbers of native Americans there, forced into squalid living conditions on Federal "reservations", that would be only too willing to negotiate a new deal for themselves? Instant constituency.
  • by schlach ( 228441 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:56PM (#4496599) Journal
    Some states in that bunch have a history of liberty-mindedness, making it able to make use of existing population, and some of em are small enough that 20,000 voters could have a profound effect on any state-wide votes.

    Of course, 20,000 votes goes a long way in any state with close elections. Maybe they should all move to Florida, instead... more electoral votes, anyway.
  • by alandrums ( 593019 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:58PM (#4496622) Homepage
    how convenient. get all the liberty-oriented people in one place where they can easily be destroyed.
  • Re:Protection. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elmegil ( 12001 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:03PM (#4496682) Homepage Journal
    Exactly. Which part of the statement that the government exists to protect individuals from force and from fraud did the original poster not understand? In defense, the military is all about protecting from force.
  • by verch ( 12834 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:04PM (#4496698)
    According to the FAQ they believe with 20k supporters they could control a state with a population of 1.5M or less. How 20k votes outweigh 1.5M is one of the small details they don't explain. I wonder if they will get it figured out before the tanks roll into their compound.
  • by EverlastingPhelps ( 568113 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:06PM (#4496735) Homepage
    I believe this idea has long been entertained in fiction, particularly by some science fiction authors.

    Sure, let's have a different state for each point of view!
    Well, if you actually had any knowledge of the intent of the founders, you would know that this is exactly what the founders had in mind when they formed the Federal system. If you didn't like the laws in one state, you could move to one with better laws -- the free market in government. Competition between the states to attract better consituents was the idea.

    In fact, Jefferson went so far as to say this if the US was every united under one set of Federal laws, it would quickly become the most corrupt government in the world. But then, that could never happen, right?

    If we can create a state where the original ideals of the USA can hold strong, all the people to whom they are important can migrate there. At least, that is, until the population is 100% sympathizers, at this point the larger, more armed remainder of the USA can label them all traitors and take over.
    Liberty is dangerous -- but it is worth it. Of course, you need to keep in mind that libertarians are pretty heavily armed as a group. We oppose the initiation of force -- but once you initiate it, your ass is grass.

    (I'm blowing my chance to mod this discussion, but this troll was too much to pass up.)
  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:08PM (#4496772) Journal
    You already do - huge chunks of Florida (except Miami, which is not-so-little Havana).

    It's like that joke about why California has earthquakes, and Quebec has separatists - California got first pick!

    Anyway, 20,000 people - that's not even a decent-sized town nowadays. There's no leverage to "negotiate" with the federal or state governments.

    Isn't sedition unprotected speech in the US of A?

  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:09PM (#4496789) Homepage
    Yes, but the state is not going to vote 55/45 on the issues they want, like:

    "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."

  • by apc ( 193970 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:10PM (#4496791)

    This idea was originally suggested by a group of American socialists back in about 1890, in the days when 20,000 people would actually let you form a territorial government, at a time when state governments had a hell of a lot more power than they do now. Didn't work out back then, either. Read any history of the Socialist Party or of Eugene Debs.

    You know the world is going to hell when Libertarians start stealing ideas from 19th century socialists and passing them off as original.

  • by verch ( 12834 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:11PM (#4496810)
    11% of the population in a state with 1.5M would be 165k. 20k = 1.3%. So if the state regularly votes 51.3/48.7 on a given issue, perhaps they could sway it. More likely they would sway it by campaigning and lobbying, but still 20k people is pretty inconsequental in the larger scheme of general population votes. They could win local seats if all 20k move into the same county for instance, but this still would leave very limited power. Its a start I supposes.
  • Re:Only one problem. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ian Lance Taylor ( 18693 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:13PM (#4496843) Homepage
    Have you been following the Supreme Court lately? They've been coming down in favor of states over the federal government whenever possible.

    Besides, if the 'liberated' state can't along without highway funds, then there is something wrong with the whole scheme.
  • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:15PM (#4496859) Homepage Journal
    I can't speak for the leaders of this movement but as a Libertarian I am more than happy to pay for the military but would be just as happy if everything else you mentioned went away and I'm sure these people would be also. I know as a liberal you think the government should take care of you but I and I suspect these people just want to be given the freedom to take care of ourselves.
  • Federal Jurisdiction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bildstorm ( 129924 ) <peter.buchy @ s> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:19PM (#4496908) Homepage Journal

    I've been wondering about the Feds and the marijuana in California. Where does the Federal Government get the mandate to do anything in Californiat regarding that?

    For most drugs, the source of the drug trade comes from outside the country, or perhaps between states. Thus it falls under Federal jurisdiction as defined by the Constitution. However, if the marijuana is grown in California, sold in California, and never leaves California, then it should not be under Federal jurisdiction. If it is, then they're violating States' rights.

    Remember when they passed the Federal law forbidding guns within a certain distance of schools? That was unconstitutional and the Supreme Court struck it down. Wish the Feds would learn to play by the rules as far as drugs are concerned. I think they should start having the medical marijuan tagged for origin and purpose in California. That would make it impossible for the Feds to claim jurisdiction or legal applicability.

  • 3 Steps Needed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:19PM (#4496921) Homepage Journal
    1. Push out big business. They put up the money for politicians. If you want a chance, they have to be out of the picture
    2. Outnumber the old people. The elderly put in the most votes, so you need to outnumber then by a lot.
    3. Seperate from the Union. To avoid federal mandates. History shows that this isn't gonna be easy. Good luck on building that military, too...
    Perhaps you're just better off building a militia and taking over France, and changing the French government. May I suggest bastille day? That's the day they are most in the mood to surrender...
  • by cryofan2 ( 243723 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:20PM (#4496931) Homepage
    Cryonicists/transhumanists, who generally want to be able to cryopreserve themselves as soon as possible upon death/terminal illness, have long considered doing this. Problem is that there is only a couple thousand of them.

    However, the basic idea is quite viable for those who generally feel constrained by the rules of society. This idea would not work with people such as scumbags/crooks who live outside society's rules, but for libertarian geeks and cryonicists, this might work.

    I myself have recommended on the cryonet mailing list that cryonicists do this at the county level, and all move to Loving County, Texas, which has a population of about 100 or so. THey could effectively control the county. How much good that would do, I don't know.

    Now, for more power, e.g., a state to "take over", there is Oregon, of course, which appears to be the most libertarian, progressive state available. For example, they have legal structure in place already to allow euthanasia for teh terminally ill, which could be a tremendous boon for cryonicists (or for anyone who does not want to die a lingering painful death when terminally ill). Also, there are the marijuana initiatives which recur periodically in Oregon.

    In fact, Oregon is set up for "Power to the People", as opposed to states like Texas, which are set up for Power to the Rich/Corps., etc.


  • by thoolie ( 442789 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:29PM (#4497011)
    "Aren't there significant numbers of native Americans there, forced into squalid living conditions on Federal "reservations", "

    I am not a native american, i don't know what it is like to be a native american, but as far as i am concerned, native americans are just as much human as the rest of us. No better, and definantly not worse. I idead that a group of people can be "forced" to live somewhere in this day and age is rediculus {sp}. I know all the arguments, i used to live next to a res, and I know what it is like to live in squalid conditions (benn there). I just don't like the idea that people are forced to do anything they don't want to (some exceptions apply).

    My point is, is that in the USA, ANYBODY can achive ANYTHING and live ANYWHERE they want to, so long as they are willing to work hard to achieve that goal! WE ARE ALL HUMANS, some of us just have to work a little harder to get to where we want to go.

    Sorry for the trolling, but this is just my .02$.

  • by f97tosc ( 578893 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:31PM (#4497023)
    If the state normally votes 55/45 on a given issue...

    The reason that this is often the case is that the two parties often have very similar agendas. Sure, your 11% might get the final say between two alternatives. But it seems unlikely that one of those two alternatives is an utter removal of the state government. It is only possible to use the position tip the scales over from one popular position to another - it is not possible to push through an independent and controverisal agenda.

  • Moon Colony (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nomad7674 ( 453223 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:35PM (#4497079) Homepage Journal
    Many folks have already likened this "clarion call" to the colonization of the New World lead by people seeking freedom from Britain. What this idea seems to ignore is one major thing that allowed freedom to work in the new work: DISTANCE. The American colonists could enact a number of laws that flew in the face of British standards because they were far enough away for British politicians to ignore.

    Right now, I doubt there is anywhere on earth that is quite this way - transportation has made the world smaller and smaller, and most lands with any value already have indiginous peoples who are not likely to let some Americans in "to coexist peacefully and start our own government." Too much well-known history with the Indians.

    So where is there a place out of reach of government by distance, where you might possibly find funding to get to and to develp, and where there are no indigiginous tribes to worry about? The moon! Simply find a corporation or society or extremely rich philanthropist willing to support the founding... until a hundred or so years later when they try to impose a tax on your tea and you have to mount a Revolution.

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:35PM (#4497081)
    There are other issues.

    Say a bunch of like-minded whatevers try to move to BF South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming. If they keep thier business to themselves it's cool, but if they start to rouse rable, it'll get ugly.

    In the Dakotas you have a strange Democrat/Republican/Populist fusion coupled with pickups, barbed wire and alot of 30-06 and 308s. In Montana you have Democrats outting Republicans that might have been gay in 1982 and Libertarians that are blue, really Smurf blue.

    A largish group tried to move into South Dakota in the summer of '99 to start a Christian Community to survive the End Times that were coming on 1-1-00, the County said no to thier building permits.

    In the 70s and 80s the Gov of South Dakota declared war water and electricity war on North Dakota and Nebraska. Many many moons ago, people from Fort Yates ND and those from Mobridge SD ran around stealing the bones of Crazy Horse and planting them.

    Just because there are few people there, doesn't mean any of them will be easy to take over.
  • by UpLateDrinkingCoffee ( 605179 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:35PM (#4497085)
    Why not do this in the state's where we already live? Are things so far gone that we just give up on everything our fathers and their fathers fought to create?

    The homogenization of america is not a foregone conclusion... yet.

  • by Paladin128 ( 203968 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:35PM (#4497086) Homepage
    We won't be trampling... we will be campaigning for political freedom. If we are successful, the populous will agree with us. If we aren't, we will leave.

    And how will giving people more freedom be trampling. If we enact our goal, how will it affect everyone? They will still be free to pursue happiness in any form they deem necessary, so long as it does not pose physical harm or fraud unto others, and violate far more strict federal statues.

    That, and they will be free of all local taxes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:36PM (#4497089)
    Seems this idea was tried mid-19th century.
  • Re:Only one problem. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shren ( 134692 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:36PM (#4497097) Homepage Journal

    Highway funds can be persuasive. I believe it was the threatened withdrawl of highway funds that forced Montana to adopt a daytime speed limit, which they didn't have.

    Honestly, having the same speed limit for the overpopulated, hilly, crowded East and the great plains of the West, where you can see other cars a mile off, is just having a rule for the sake of having a rule. It's a fine proof by example that there's a maximum number of people one government can represent effectively.

  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:39PM (#4497121) Homepage
    Their theory of controlling by 20,000 voters is good, but if this project went through, and major law changes began, the rest of the population would see this on TV.

    For the MAJOR changes they want, the rest of the population would actually vote to put down their little rebellion. NIMBA (not in my backyard as*hole)is a powerful motivational theory.

    On another note, my choice for them is any state governed by a pro wrestler. That state has a proven history of voting a bit strangly.

  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:39PM (#4497126) Homepage Journal
    Actually, very little police force would be needed in a state where there is no gun or drug prohibition.

  • by jimmc ( 543668 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:52PM (#4497300)
    There was a proposal to do something like this by setting up a brand new country, on the assumption that no existing country would ever allow this to happen within their borders. The new country was to be called Oceania [], and was to be built in the Carribeans. There is also a FAQ [] for it.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:53PM (#4497316) Homepage
    Canadian provinces can secede; Quebec keeps threatening to, and there have been close votes. Taking over a big province would be hard. But consider, say, Prince Edward Island, with a population of 138,000 spread over 5,600 square kilometers. That's a plausible province for this scheme. 20,000 determined people really could take it over.

    Especially if they had real incomes. Only 7000 people on the island make over $50K. Prince Edward Island is a money-loser, subsidized by the Canadian government. About 25% of the island's income is is social security or farm subsidies. Economic growth in 2001 was 0.1%. Main sources of income are fishing and potatoes. Yet it's a beautiful place. It could become a high-tech center like Ireland. And there's a bridge to the mainland now; it's not as isolated as it used to be. You can drive there from Boston in a day. It's even a nice summer vacation spot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:54PM (#4497330)
    I cannot help but shake my head in disbelief when I hear some of the rhetoric that gets spewed by the loony Libertarians and their smug ilk. They bandy about terms like "slavery" and "bondage" and "repression", and by and large, they make these complaints in what is arguably the most free nation on the planet: the United States of America.

    I've got some advice for Libertarians: why not try pulling your heads out of your asses, taking a good look around, and growing up? If you were at all interested in the world outside of the United States (and I can assure you there is one) you would know that there are people who are murdered by their governments simply for expressing unpopular opinions. There are countries where slavery is legal, and people are submitted to some of the worst working and living conditions imaginable. There are countries where people are imprisoned or executed for having the wrong religion (or no religion.) There are entire continents full of people who are starving or dying of treatable diseases.

    Now, Libertarians, don't get your panties in a bunch; I'm not asking you to help these people, because I know you don't care about them. What I am asking you to do is get some damned perspective. You throw around words like "slavery" because too many of your tax dollars are being used to fund projects that you disapprove of. Here's a helpful tip: Get a life. There are people in this world who are suffering from real slavery and repression, and your self-aggrandizing cries of martyrdom come off as petty and childish.

    I wish that I could find a Libertarian honest enough to admit the truth, which is that despite all of their whining and complaining, things here in the old U.S. of A are pretty damn good.
  • Friendly Suggestions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crashnbur ( 127738 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:55PM (#4497333)
    This would be easier for everyone if:

    (1) we chose a state with no income taxes and a means for the people to get things done (i.e., laws supporting initiatives, referenda, and recalls);

    (2) we arrange some sort of communal living structure, similar to college dorms, except we have multiple individuals or groups living together to split the living expenses -- safety and power in numbers;

    (3) we all read Atlas Shrugged at least once to develop the mindset that being selfish is good, and staying behind for others (like family) to feed off us is bad.

    But, really, how likely is that? Do you really want to live with me?

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:00PM (#4497385)
    I have a great plan for how they can pay for everything - allow people to purchase a 1-year "any speed you want" licence (with training) for $2000. Or a gradiated licence that would allow a range of speeds with a transponder (like they use at toll boths) to allow you to pass the (many) speed traps at whatever speed you'd payed for. You could even rename it to "The State of NASCAR". You laugh, but people would pay!

    Then you can live without highway funds, and probably have a lot of extra money to boot. I've always thought states should have various speed-rated licenses anyway, with training to help people know what they were doing.
  • by Drakin ( 415182 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:20PM (#4497614)
    Funny thing is, if they're in a central location (Like North Dakota as per the example) then they effectively are protected by the US miliraty, against all outside threats save for the US Military and well, us Canadians (like we're a big threat).

    As for the trade issues. Simply maintain good relations with Canada. Canada doesn't always follow the trade policy set forth by the USA.
  • by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:24PM (#4497656) Homepage Journal
    Wasn't this tried already? Like, uhm, the Civil War?

    If you had, oh say a million dollars worth of personal property you used in your business, and the Federal goverment tried to create a law to outlaw your ability to use that equipment, and just "take it away", you'd probably be up in arms too.

    Think about it from the point of view of a typical southern plantation owner. It's clearly braindead thinking, but at the time, slaves were unquestioningly personal property, and that view was both written into law and affirmed by the Supreme Court. To the southern plantation owner, talk about "freeing the slaves" probably sounded as much like fighting words as "Napster" sounds to the RIAA today. You might think that the "wrongness" of "ownership of Intellectual property" is a no-brainer, but there are powerful people with much to lose who might take a dim view of a Supreme Court ruling which outlaws Copyright, or affirms the right of WaRez D00dz to distribute digital copies of anything they can get their hands on.

    Or, do you get upset at the thought that some Senator from South Carolina wants to include DRM in every computer, and take away your right to run Linux? If so, then you have a hint of why the people in the Sucessionist states thought they had something meaningful to give their lives for. They were not only defending their personal property from an "illegal taking" but defending their State(s) from an invasion by the military forces of foreign States.

    (Before the Americal Civil War, the phrase "United States of America" was considered to be plural, as in "The United States are..." It was not until after the Civil War that it took on a common meaning as a singular, as in "The United Stated is...". )

    Or, for those readers who don't consider themselves to be "Westerners", how would you react if some World Government declared that an integral part of your culture (your language, your religion, your disrespect for Steamboat Willie, etc) were against their interests and sent troops to invade and set you right? Get the picture?

    Some would go so far as to argue that Lincoln was actually losing the war for as long as he maintained it to be about Federal rights over States Rights, and that the only way he won was to change the context of the war into one against slavery. There's at least room to debate that if the Union Army has lost at Gettysburg, things in North America would be very different today.

    So, personally, I wouldn't discount the chances of a movement with the moral high ground suceeding in reclaiming a state's rights over federal rights. Such a movement would likely provide benefits to all of the other states, (including ones with nothing to do with this movement) and so would likely garner support from other states as well. The key, of course, would be to maintain the moral high ground, and to have a willingness to fight for what they believe in. This would demand that all actions be taken within the constraints of law, but there's actually plenty of wiggle room there.

    Are you concerned about things like Microsoft licensing, DRM in your computer, and free music? Really? Do you care enough about it to sleep out in a field this winter at Bull Run without a blanket, and eat worms (or go hungry, if you can't find any)? How about a smaller sacrifice: give up DSL for dial-up? No? Neither did the Union army, and look what happened to them.

  • by Transient0 ( 175617 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:30PM (#4497726) Homepage
    In addition to finding a state which can survive a complete withdrawal of federal funding is the necessity of finding a state where a relatively small number of people can actually affect the political momentum.

    Based on figures on state population [] and voter turnout [], Wyoming may be the best choice. Wyoming has a population of roughly 500,000 and a voter turnout of roughly 58%. Given that voting in state and municipal elections is on average about 18% lower than voting in federal elections, this gives us about 200,000 people voting in the state elections. Twenty thousand people makes up ten percent of that number(actually, i guess nine percent technically). This may not be enough to get whoever you want elected as governor or senator, but it's certainly enough to make a very strong impact on the state level and probably to completely sway the results on the municipal level, especially if they all move to the same city(although a sudden influx of 20,000 people into Laramie, WY would certainly cause one hell of a housing and public services nightmare).

    On the other hand, according to these stats [], if they could drum up 85,000 people, they could get their own representatives elected to every Wyoming state office(presuming that all of their members voted and that this influx did not cause a corresponding dramatic increase in Wyoming voter turnout.
  • Clarifications (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jsorens ( 619350 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:33PM (#4497748)
    I am the founder and president of the Free State Project, so I thought I'd stop by to clear some things up.

    First, if you are anti-libertarian and in favor of intrusive government, it is natural that you will oppose us, especially if we decide to come into your state. However, even if we are coming into your state, you can in no wise consider this a "takeover." As others have pointed out, 20,000 activists aren't sufficient to simply outvote everyone else in any state. They ARE enough, however, to make libertarian ideas relevant and to apply significant pressure to politicians. (Remember, these are not just voters, but activists.) We believe that once we have succeeded in doing these things, most of the populace will vote for our ideas. After all, we have a welfare-warfare state not because people clamored for it, but essentially through inertia: rising incomes have allowed politicians to increase taxation and regulation gradually without causing an outcry. 20,000 activists in a small state will be enough to put libertarian ideas and candidates on everyone's mind. So if you're a statist, you shouldn't fear the Free State Project, unless you fear a straight confrontation between rival ideologies in the public square.

    Second, nothing about what we are doing is remotely illegal. We are working peacefully through the political process to achieve liberty at the state and local levels and to push for true federalism as demanded by the U.S. Constitution. This has nothing to do with "compounds," Jim Jones, or militias. Those of you making such ill-informed comments display a mindset that is extremely dangerous for democracy: apparently you would rather have your political opponents killed than to engage them in dialogue. Shame on you!

    Finally, if you are a libertarian, I would point out that the Free State Project seems to be the most - nay, the only - viable strategy for liberty in our lifetimes. If we continue to squander our resources trying to bring Washington, D.C. to the light, nothing will change. We must concentrate our resources to achieve political reforms, and the Free State Project is the first credible strategy for doing so. Check out the website (the server should be doing a little better now) and examine our plans in depth. We feel that the precise process, including obtaining signatures before the move, researching the location, and holding a membership vote, make this project likely to succeed where others have failed.
  • by demo9orgon ( 156675 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:44PM (#4497853) Homepage
    I'll admit, right up front, that I didn't waste my time reading the article.
    But, having said that, I think I'm on pretty stable ground when I say that a dominant system of laws, taxes, and accountability like the Federal Government, hates competition. It has the ways and means to obstruct, and flat-out put-down any social movement, regardless of the constitution. The Federal Government is the single most powerful organization within the CONUS, with the ways and means to influence legislation, and commerce with any domestic or international business. It controls aspects of the transportation infrastructure that are nightmarishly indentured by laws and regs that span the CONUS, and given even the slightest whiff of sucession from any of the laws and policies that empower it, we can expect a swift and immediate response (California is probably the most independent state in the CONUS, and they're walking on a knife's edge).

    Anything short of a technology or an event which completely renders such an organziation impotent and the result will always be the same...the dissolution of the new order, and the replacement and reinforcement of the pre-existing order. In this way, the FedGov is like water being balanced between all the sinks, completely submerging the states. Any state that tries to rise above it will face a tsunami...people are weak, and softer than ever these days, and the technologies and methods of coercion are more sophisticated now than they have ever been.

    We are a society of shoppers. We are no longer the farmers and the soldiers we once were...our hands are soft and our backs are weak. Maybe being brutalized by the iron-glove of the fedgov may turn all of that around. Society is starting to demand common-sense laws about some controlled substances that have existed in the underground--by proxy in the homes of the citizens, seeing constant use without all of the horror promised by the we-know-better-than-you government--but are seeing more and more demand in may be a representational democracy, but even public figures have to occasionally listen to their voters. It's probably the most satisfying aspect of the democratic experiment, but everyone should enjoy seeing politicians squirm as they earn their money.

    In the end, we all want our sitcoms, our nice roads, EMT service, and hospitals...and compliance pays more than grass-roots optimism and bartering ever have, or possibly will. In physics, there is a conservation of energy. In society, the same thing applies, but instead of energy it's comfort. As long as people are comfortable nothing is going to change.

  • by runchbox ( 578541 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:52PM (#4497911) Homepage Journal
    I was always pretty partial to the Oceania idea, but now it has been abandoned ( for the same reason the Free State Project isn't going to work -- Libertarians just don't have the resources. It takes money and lots of support to make it work.

    Most people aren't willing to vote with their feet and move elsewhere, even when the outcome is certain. I know if I move to Las Vegas, people have a more libertarian outlook, but that's not enough reason to move.
  • For one thing, Germany actually punishes drunk drivers. In the U.S. drunk driving is fround upon, and will get you arrested, but the laws are rarely enforced and the culprits rarely lose their license for any great length of time. I imagine it will be worse in the State of the Free.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:03PM (#4498009)
    No. States pay the highway funds. They are not collected directly from individual tax payers. They are not part of the federal tax bill you pay.

    Utah had a lively discussion over this when the motorocycle helmet law mandate was introduced ("pass this law or lose your highway funding").

    The state pays into, and the state gets paid out of, a federal fund.

    The state can choose not to forward the monies.

    The escalation curve is not pretty.

    -- Terry
  • Re:Nope. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by invenustus ( 56481 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:11PM (#4498081)
    The case before the court in that article concerned whether federal laws against marijuana applied to medical use of the drug. Since no the law made no mention of an exception, the court had to rule that way. Their job is to interpret the law, not decide what the law should be. (Although the latter has been done many times.)

    The post to which I was responding was talking about the issue from a "states' rights" perspective. To my knowledge, federal drug prohibition has never been tested on 10th Amendment grounds. Hopefully it will be someday.
  • by rebmaster ( 72494 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:12PM (#4498094) Homepage
    Mod this sucker down. Here's why...

    I've been signed up for the FSP for months. I don't need a bunch of clueless kiddies signing up for the project with no intention of following through, THIS IS MY LIFE you're messing with, kids.

    So you don't agree with the project.... Cool. Don't want your type anyway, shut up and go play xbox. Let us alone to succeed or fail on our own merits.
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:19PM (#4498157)
    Having driven the autobahn regularly.. An accident on the autobahn is not fatal usually because rarely are the collisions head on. And most cars that you buy that go that fast can actually handle the accident well.

    An example, I was driving my BMW 5'er on the Swiss Autobahn. I was doing about 100 MPH and suddenly a huge brick fell off a truck. It struck my left front wheel. Result? My rim and tire were scrapped. But the BMW was still steerable and at that speed I could come to a controlled stop and look at my accident. Then I went to BMW dealer to check if there were any hidden damages. They did some tests and said all was ok. Moral? BMW's cost more, but they are safe.

    The only time accidents on the Autobahn are fatal is when you strick a tree. Trees have this nasty habit of not budging one cm when something at hit speed strikes it.

    And yes I once witnessed a mercedes roll at 120 MPH. The guy got out of the car with no scratches to himself. The Mercedes was scrap.
  • Re:Privatization? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gigs ( 127327 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:19PM (#4498164) Homepage Journal
    Because we all know that volunteer fire departments don't work? Oh wait I was being sarcastic again...
  • by poopsie ( 320177 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:41PM (#4498350)
    I lived in Arizona for a while, moved there right before the elections in 1998. The previous election, the state had approved a medical marijuana law (if I remember correctly, it wasn't just weed - any drug at all could be prescribed by a doctor if the doctor wanted to) by a definitive margin.

    The state legislators didn't like this at all, and decided that the voters had been tricked into approving the law, so they revoked a ballot-approved initiative.

    The next election, the state had a vote on the same medical drug law and passed it - as well as a law forbidding legislators to overrule a voter-approved initiative.
  • Another Nazi...uh oh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eberry ( 84517 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:50PM (#4498427)
    This would not happen since it wouldn't be a welfare state. The places with the biggest drug problems are coincidentially also the biggest nanny states. They won't be setting these people up at the Hilton at the taxpayers expense.

    Drug laws do not stop drugs as it is. So why isn't 70% of the population using illegal drugs now.

    Ending drug prohibition would only decrease the flow of drugs. Answer yourself, why do so many people risk their lives to bring drugs into this country? Because the money is worth the risk. If drugs would, say as cheap as cigarettes, you wouldn't see 'mules' carrying drugs in their stomach and people literally dying to cross the border. Not to mention putting money in the hands of murders, aka so-called Drug Cartels.

    Drug laws have been in affect for years and drug use is on the rise.

    Besides it's none of your business what someone else is doing.
  • Re:This Just In (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gigs ( 127327 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:05PM (#4498553) Homepage Journal
    And in a stunning upset susano_otter won the "Yes I'm one of the media's sheep" Award for is regurgitation of "we're a compound-living, arms-stockpiling, demagogue-worshipping cult, based on the teachings of a madman, and eligible for government antiterrorist action."

    First off I agree that the Davidians were not the most mentally stable group of people, but that doesn't mean they were breaking any laws.

    They owned fewer guns per person than the average Texan family. The warrant was not for stockpiling or illegal arms but instead was believed that the owned arms that COULD be converted to full-auto and that IT WAS BELIEVED that such a conversion had taken place. The conversion was not illegal! The conversion if it had taken place required a $200 stamp tax be paid, which the BATF believed had not been paid, believing the conversion had taken place. No Evidence has ever been produced to prove that there were any automatic weapons at the Waco compound.

    Also the BATF refused an invitation from Koresh to discuss his firearm purchases, instead obtaining a search warrant and descending on the compound with 75 heavily armed BATF agents. The group deployed on the compound in a No-Knock Warrant fashion, the front door which many witnesses have stated showed bullet holes from the outside going in mysteriously disappeared from a federal crime scene.

    So once again the media has drilled home The Truth!
  • by Ashurbanipal ( 578639 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:22PM (#4498735)
    Henry George [] and the single-taxers did the analysis more than 100 years ago, and concluded that only in Delaware would it be possible. Sadly, it proved impossible here as well, with George's supporters taking only 3% of the vote on election day.

    Although George did not successfully take over Delaware, and many of his soldiers were arrested, three communities devoted to his principles survive today, and retain a unique flavor as well as an unusual legal climate created primarily by elaborate deed restrictions on properties.

    Arden, Ardentown, and Ardencroft are all thriving communities today. And the Georgists have a web site [].
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:44PM (#4498882)
    One might also examine the possibility that since the Federal government has declared any exchange of marijuana for money to be patently illegal, then such exchange cannot fall under the auspices of intrastate trade protection, since the very concept of marijuana trade is not possible to do legally.

    Besides, allowing sick people access to a federally banned/controlled substance is analogous to allowing poor people to counterfeit money, or at the least, be given counterfeit money by third-party printers, to alleviate their poorness. There are other alternatives for pain relief that are more rigorously controlled for better prevention of leakage into the community at large.

  • Hey, man! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Poligraf ( 146965 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @06:16PM (#4499603)
    It was not BMW who saved you; it was YOU who saved yourself by having adequate driving skills.

    Majority of Americans are shitty drivers because of two reasons:
    1) They did not have a rigorous driving training;
    2) They do not drive, but sit in a car and do other things. How can you drive well if you have a big dog on your lap (happens in Portland, OR all the time) or chatting on the cell phone?

    I had some ideas of how to reform the system, and I wanted to approach my Rep, but then I understood what a juggernaut was against it and scrapped the idea altogether.
  • by rodgerd ( 402 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @06:24PM (#4499670) Homepage
    A little fact of reality that people often neglect is that these subsidizations that the midwest states recieve are simply helping pay farmers back for the gross amount of loss that is incurred while producing food.

    Fine. Then let people who can farm at a profit do so. New Zealand has had no farm subsidies since the early eighties, exports most of its produce, and does so successfully in spite of the horrif tarrif barries and dumping scams perptrated by countries such as the United States.

    The only reason food subsidies are needed is because tarrif barriers lock efficient food producers out of the US markets in favour of inefficient local producers.

    Your farmers are a landed aristocracy living off the fat of urban taxpayers, who are stupid enough to defend their right to do so with bullshit arguments.
  • A problem or two (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jokerghost ( 467848 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @07:03PM (#4499963)
    First off, if you're going to reject federal mandate/law you run into a huge problem. Namely, Article 1, section 8 of the constitution grants cogress the power "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrectioons and repeal Invasions" (emphasis added.)

    Do you think congress/the federal government would simply stand by and watch laws be rejected? Or do you think they would construe laws that are contrary to federal mandate as an act of insurrection?

    Yeah, a bunch of states basically tried this idea a long time ago. They were referred to as the "confederacy"... Yeah, that worked real well.

    Why take 20,000 people when you could take 60,000 people and make your own state?? Don't like federal hiway taxes? Screw them! You have your own state! There's no size requirement for a state either. If there was, Rhode Island would've never made it into statehood.

    So, get 60,000 of your closest, most personal, friends and move to a US territory! Write a state constitution, get 50% of the population (only 30,000!) to sign it, and viola! You're (with congressional approval) a state! Yay. Disobey federal mandate at own risk.

  • Re:Nope. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aexia ( 517457 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @07:18PM (#4500092)
    Actually, from what I heard, even after all those recounts, Bush STILL won. So go smoke a pipe.

    You heard wrong. []
  • what about Alaska? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nothing401 ( 619416 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @11:30PM (#4501502)
    Alaska is already removed from the US. There is a low population with poor voter turn out. There are already people here (I'm in Alaska)with leanings toward seccesion (Myself not included). If you can stomach the inclement weather, it is actually a nice place. The state is relatively regionalized/factionalized, making it easier to conquer..... I mean free. So, how about it? Why not Alaska?
  • by 2short ( 466733 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @01:37AM (#4501973)
    "Florida would have no voice in the selection of the president."

    Gee, it really would have been terrible if a state devided almost perfectly evenly hadn't dramaticaly swung the election. The supremes (well, the republican ones) said "stop counting while we think about it", then four days later said "well, since there isn't enough time left to count..."

    Your phrasing makes it sound so reasonable, but two can play at that game: The supremes trashed the the decision of the duly-apointed judicial branch in favor of the no doubt impartial decision of the Bush campaigns florida chairwoman.

    How many military ballots were counted despite having post marks after the date approved by the "rules in force"? Answer: enough to make the difference.

    I'm pretty tired of arguing about who should have won, since theirs not much point. But we as a country should really come up with a better way to arbitrate such disputes, since the courts (Florida and Supreme) clearly acted entirely partisanly.

    For that matter, why the hell do we still have the electoral college!?! I recognize it was legal way to count in this election. But the only reason not to repeal it I ever heard in the past was that it didn't really make a difference. Now that that is exposed as bull, why is there no talk whatsoever of eliminating it?

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin