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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 mblase ( 200735 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:52PM (#4496532)
    I think Don Marti was also the one who thought the geeks should do this by moving en masse to North Dakota.

    I thought that was intended as more of a refugee camp type of thing.
    • Why not (Score:3, Funny)

      by Subcarrier ( 262294 )
      ...ship'em all out to the Antarctica and rename it the "Land of the Frees".
    • 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.
      • 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.
        • They've been coming down in favor of states over the federal government whenever possible.
          ...except for the 2000 coup, of course.
          • 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: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.

        • 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 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 stefanlasiewski ( 63134 ) <slashdot@stefanc[ ]om ['o.c' 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 The_Rippa ( 181699 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:52PM (#4496535)
    Jebediah: People, our search is over! On this site we shall build a new
    town where we can worship freely, govern justly, and grow vast
    fields of hemp for making rope and blankets.
    Shelb.: Yes, _and_ marry our cousins.
    Jebediah: I was -- what are you talking about, Shelbyville? Why would
    we want to marry our cousins?
    Shelb.: Because they're so attractive. I, I thought that was the
    whole point of this journey.
    Jebediah: Absolutely not!
    Shelb.: I tell you, I won't live in a town that robs men of the right
    to marry their cousins.
    Jebediah: Well, then, we'll form our own town. Who will come and live a
    life devoted to chastity, abstinence, and a flavorless mush I
    call rootmarm?
  • by Prince_Ali ( 614163 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:53PM (#4496543) Journal
    I hope it works, but it would take a lot of dedication on their part. I would consider moving to the selected state after the plan is already underway. We can have a Quebec in the US!
  • Google Cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by fire-eyes ( 522894 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:53PM (#4496549) Homepage
    Not responding, however here is the google cache [].
  • 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 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 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.

      • > 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.

    • 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 susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:12PM (#4498091) Homepage
        This just in: it appears that Oobleck has reached the finals in Solo Mental Gymnastics--Freestyle Event. Starting with "Wouldn't it be nice if my neighbors shared my views on important political issues, and we all voted", this incredible athlete vaulted an amazing distance, to land squarely in "we're a compound-living, arms-stockpiling, demagogue-worshipping cult, based on the teachings of a madman, and eligible for government antiterroist action".

        This unbelievable leap, executed without any intermediate steps, has broken world records, and is virtually guaranteed to win Oobleck the gold this year. The sheer audacity of the maneuver is sure to win the hearts of many moderators here today. Let's wish this great athlete the best of luck.

        Good luck to you, Oobleck!
    • 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.

    • 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.
  • by drspock ( 87299 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:54PM (#4496559) Homepage
    down with edumacation!
  • 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?
  • 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 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.

    • 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 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 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 reaperbean ( 453437 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:15PM (#4496857) Homepage
      Vermont, that little liberal bastion of the North, may be a good choice.

      Here are a few reasons:

      1 Small Population (about half a million), so a group of dedicated citizens can have an effect.

      2 Open minded politics already exist. For example, Vermont recognizes Civil Unions between homosexual couples and the state uses an inovative and effecitve plan buy perscription drugs at reduced cost (also known as Canada).

      3 Enviromentally friendly state.

      4 Large producer of high quality pot.

      Of course, Vermont is currently doing quite well, some othere states could use this groups efforts quite a bit more.
  • by CreepyNinja ( 615245 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:57PM (#4496609)
    The South tried this once already gang. Didn't work. The Imperialists will come after you with guns and say "stop that" just like they did back then.
    • Re:How original... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tapin ( 157076 )
      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.

  • We'll see.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by cybermace5 ( 446439 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:58PM (#4496613) Homepage Journal
    So. Liberty geeks now want nation-state status?

    What a joke. Indians have had this for years, they negotiate directly (for the most part) with the federal government, and they technically run their own show inside the borders.

    Confine yourself to a reservation, and call it liberty? Don't think so.

    Even prison inmates have liberty, within the confines of their cells.
  • Freedom, OK (Score:5, Funny)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @12:58PM (#4496626) Homepage Journal
    Obviously, the town they should target is Freedom, OK []

    And it is right near Protection, KS [].

    Which just goes to show, you can have either Freedom or Protection, but not both.

  • 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.

  • 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 ) < minus language> 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.
    • Federal Jurisdiction (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bildstorm ( 129924 ) <peter.buchy@shh.GINSBERGfi minus poet> 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.

      • by Myopic ( 18616 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:36PM (#4497777)
        this may have been pointed out already, but here is the "answer" to your "question": the Supreme Court has interpreted the 'Commerce Clause" to mean that Congress can legislate anything that AFFECTS interstate commerce (in my opinion, not an entirely absurd interpretation). thus, since the state of California growing marijuana AFFECTS the interstate drug trade, the Feds can intervene.

        (For reference, the decision took place upon the situation of a farmer who grew his own feed, raised his own cattle, and sold it all only to people in his state. there was NO interstate commerce being conducted, so he wanted to be free from FDA regulations on clean meat. the US Supreme Court said no, he was participating in a fudamentally interstate trade, thus must follow Fed rules.)

  • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:05PM (#4496715) Homepage
    "I think Don Marti was also the one who thought the geeks should do this by moving en masse to North Dakota."

    When we get there we will rename it to GNU/North Dakota.

  • by carpe_noctem ( 457178 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:06PM (#4496730) Homepage Journal
    "The Free State Project ( calls for 20,000 libertarians and fellow-travelers to move to a single state of the U.S. to create a free society there through the electoral process."

    So, I guess the libertarians are fed up with not winning elections. I wonder where the hell they are going to find 20,000 voting libertarians?
  • by linuxbaby ( 124641 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:06PM (#4496732)

    First read the story of how the residents of the Florida Keys did this [] in 1982, and created the Conch Republic!

    That's a much nicer place to secede from the union.


  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:09PM (#4496783)
    Ok, so, the idea is to move a whole shitload of people to one area and create a state where libertarianism rules supreme. This sounds vaguely like what the Mormons do, and they've got a good head start on us. You might get a significant constituency, or a city, but a state is certainly outside the grasp of this.
  • 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 Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter&tedata,net,eg> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:10PM (#4496795) Journal
    Come to North Dakota!

    I think Don Marti was also the one who thought the geeks should do this by moving en masse to North Dakota.

    Hey, North Dakota's got such a low population right now, we'd be happy to have more people move here!

    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.

    Let's see here, in our last election, Bush got 60% of the vote, so with a population of about 600,000 people, that means that roughly 400,000 of them are conservative. So, even if we have 20,000 liberals move here, that still won't change our conservative state!

    Come to North Dakota! :) But I'm afraid that we won't let you make your own "free society." If you want to do that, move to Montana.
  • 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 Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:19PM (#4496909) Homepage
    If they legalize gambling, prostitution, pot, and xbox mods...

  • From the FAQ... (my deletes are [...]

    Q. What states are you considering, and on what criteria?

    A. [...]The following states are under consideration: [...] North Dakota, South Dakota, [...] Montana, [...] Idaho, [...]

    Other important criteria include: 1) coastal access [...] :-)
  • 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 Gruneun ( 261463 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:26PM (#4496974)
    They only need 5,000 to make a location choice.

    Let's use the power of Slashdotting to their advantage. Everyone sign up, so we can vote, and let's see how far we can send these boneheads packing.
  • by Chris Parrinello ( 1505 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:30PM (#4497012)
    From the FAQ:

    Q. I love the idea of the FSP, but I only want to live someplace warm -- I'd never make it in those cold states. Can't you make a warmer state an option?

    Which could be read as:

    I want liberty but my political beliefs end at having to buy a winter coat.

  • 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!".

  • 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 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 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 Anixamander ( 448308 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:05PM (#4497449) Journal
    Something tells me John Ashcroft is behind the whole plan.

    "So we can take 20,000 of the most free thinking individuals in this country and put them all in one place?"

    (tents hands and smiles wryly)

  • 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.


Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard