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N.H. Free Staters Cheer Thomas Woods' Speech on Nullification Doctrine

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N.H. Free Staters Cheer Thomas Woods' Speech on Nullification Doctrine
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 19:00
Written by Jack Kenny

It seems like Tom Woods speaks in New Hampshire every year. He came to NH in 2011 and attended the Nullify Now Conference in Manchester, NH. There he spoke and met with leaders of the NHGOP and freedom community. In 2012 he spoke in NH at a big event in Manchester, NH just before the NH Primary. This year he spoke in NH at the Liberty Forum in Nashua, NH and met with the leaders of the NHGOP again. In fact, his time slot at the Forum was the time slot right after the NHGOP leadership spoke. Hopefully his ideas are rubbing off on the NHGOP

In the heady days of antiwar fervor in the 1960s, a few protesters demonstrated their opposition to the Vietnam War and the military draft that supported it by publicly burning their draft cards, a federal offense punishable by imprisonment. Last weekend's Liberty Forum in Nashua, New Hampshire featured a call for a different kind of card-burning when Saturday's keynote speaker, historian and bestselling author Thomas Woods, told the libertarian crowd that the card destined for the ash heap is a figurative "three-by-five card of acceptable opinion," containing what Woods described as the gamut of political opinion, running all the way "from Hillary Clinton to Mitt Romney."

Neither Clinton nor Romney would likely have drawn cheers from the participants at the forum, an annual event staged by the Free State Project, an organization aiming to draw some 20,000 liberty-loving people to New Hampshire, there to exercise their freedoms according to the will of each individual. It may be to start a business or to work on behalf of a political cause or causes they believe in, said forum organizer Chris Lawless. For someone devoted to Second Amendment rights, "You can work on just gun laws," he said. Indeed, the Free State Project website boasts that the least restrictive gun laws of any state can be found in New Hampshire, where open carry is allowed in all but a few public places. But Free Staters encourage people to become engaged on other issues as well, though some prefer to avoid direct political action.

"Because we have no mandate as to what people should do, we let people follow their passions, which is a huge strength for us," Lawless said.

The project began in 2001 when a network of libertarians organized for the purpose of finding a small state (with fewer than 1.5 million residents) that offered fertile ground for opportunities to pursue and promote liberty and oppose needless restrictions on personal freedom. They held a certified election via both email and snail mail, and New Hampshire won out over several other states, including Maine, Vermont, Delaware, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and both Dakotas. Lawless, a computer consultant who moved to New Hampshire from San Francisco in 2005, said the state's "Live Free or Die" motto is but a small part of its appeal to libertarians.

"I think that played into it, but I think it was more the New Hampshire spirit. It's the only state without a seat belt law," said Lawless, citing one example of the "live free" spirit. Free Staters are apt to give even more emphasis to lack of a seatbelt law or helmet requirement for motorcyclists than to the state's free and open gun laws or the absence of both a state income and general sales tax.

"It's not the biggest inconvenience in the world," Lawless said about a seatbelt law, but its absence "shows a level of grownup-ness. We allow people to make their own choices along those lines." He also sees the neighborliness of mostly small-town New Hampshire as natural defense against big, bureaucratic state government.

"I think we rely more on our neighbors; [it's] more of a community," he explained. "I think that helps with how our laws are made."

While conservative Republicans also talk of the need for limited government and maximizing individual liberty, Lawless said the breach between conservative and libertarian political thought appears much wider now than it did in the days when Arizona Senator and 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was known as "Mr. Conservative." Conservatism in the Republican Party today is dominated by neoconservatives who are "usually anti-gay, pro-drug war and pro-overseas U.S. wars," he said, citing attitudes and policies strongly opposed by libertarians.

The main philosophical divide among many of the Free Staters, he acknowledged, is between those who believe in Jeffersonian principles of limited government and those who believe free people can better and more peacefully organize both their personal lives and their communities with no state control at all. Ironically for a man named Lawless (his real name), he finds himself on both sides of that debate.

"It depends on the day of the week," he said, adding, "I don't think most people would be upset if the government were constrained by the Constitution."

About 1,130 have moved to New Hampshire through the efforts of the Free State Project thus far, well short of the goal of 20,000. But a total of 13,700 have signed pledges of their intention to make the move when they are able. Once the pledge total reaches 20,000, the Free State organizers hope to get all or nearly all moved into the state within five years. The target date for getting the requisite number of pledges has changed from 2018 to a more optimistic 2015, the organization's president, Carla Gericke, told the roughly 500 people attending the Liberty Forum.

"We don't want to wait until 2018 to trigger this," she said.

About a dozen of the Free Staters now in New Hampshire are members of the state's 424-member Legislature, a trend that pleases Republican Bill O'Brien, a state representative from Mont Vernon and former Speaker of the House. While attending the Liberty Forum Saturday night, O'Brien recalled that when he heard years ago that a group of people from around the country would be moving to New Hampshire to promote low taxes, limited government, and personal freedom, "I said, 'They sound like Republicans to me.'"
Read the other half of the article.

BTW, Tom Woods just shared this article on his Facebook page.
Thomas E. Woods Jr. shared a link.
5 minutes ago
Here's what I did over the weekend, thanks to the good folks at the Free State Project!
N.H. Free Staters Cheer Thomas Woods' Speech on Nullification Doctrine
Keynote speaker Thomas Woods drew ovations from the New Hampshire Free

Updated 02-27-2013 at 08:35 PM by Keith and stuff



  1. Keith and stuff's Avatar
    Here is a video of Tom Woods making a Shire Silver card at Liberty Forum.