Anarchy in Our Heads

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Last weekend I made the drive from central New York to New Hampshire. Over three days, I quickly visited the Dartmouth area, Manchester and its nearby suburbs and towns, and Keene. A whirlwind trip, yes, but not one without successes.

I went to the somewhat freer state for two reasons. First, there is a chance — better every day — that my family will be relocating there next summer. Thus, I made the pilgrimage to "The Shire" to do a very cursory investigation of where we’d like to live. This meant driving through various neighborhoods and getting a feel for things. Because of our specialized employment requirements, it would seem that the greater Manchester area should prove quite satisfactory. A few more trips in the near future are will be required before actually moving but the first step is done.

The second reason for the trek was to meet some of the folks who have been active in the freedom movement. You see, I have a soft spot for activism. While many people, including libertarians, tend to distance themselves from those who would directly defy the state, this libertarian embraces such acts. Indeed, though there is a place for armchair theorizing, there is also a place for the triumph of the common (or should that be uncommon?) person to proclaim sovereignty and act like a sovereign, consequences be damned. After a Friday night visit to the Free Talk Live studios, we headed to a local pub where I met a number of the local heroes in Keene and had a pleasant, though short, evening. The previous night I had already had the pleasure of meeting Gardner Goldsmith, an author and talk show host of anarcho-capitalist and Austrian economics tendencies. We chatted about local politics and our plans for the future.

As much as I like the liberty movement in New Hampshire, there are other reasons to live there. Here’s a list of some the factors that I personally consider important. YMMV.

  1. Quality of life. New Hampshire has been named the safest state, second healthiest, most livable, third for health care quality and best state for well-being of children, among others (see more here). I’ll be the first to admit that these are just statistics but nonetheless they are encouraging. Of course, the fact that New Hampshire is already freer than most other places adds to the quality of life consideration.
  2. Nature. I love being close to a variety of terrains, changing seasons and sights. I have lived in Lima (Peru), New Orleans, Iowa and currently live in central New York. New Hampshire is a pretty small state but has a great deal of variety. In a couple hours I was able to go from the beach to the mountains and back down to the valleys. And in minutes I can go from a city of a hundred thousand (which itself is close to the Boston metro area) to rural town of a thousand.
  3. Photography. Because of (2) above, this opens up year-round photographic opportunities without having to travel all day to discover them. Furthermore, as my family grows, I can have easy access to several kinds of activities for kids.
  4. Political boundaries. The United States is now in a financial free fall and the bailout parachutes have holes. New Hampshire, with its Atlantic port, international border and its dwindling but still present sentiment of liberty, is positioned to take advantage for a possible secession from the Union. Granted, this might never happen but the chance still exists, especially if there is a cataclysmic collapse of the banking system. Perhaps a change in ideology is in store; the freedom movement must be ready to guide it. Secession at the state level is a good option — perhaps the only one remaining at this point. As time goes by it becomes more relevant. (I should point out that I also favor secession all the way to the individual level but recognize that political secession can be used as a means to move us further towards freedom and away from central government.)

As our gig in Ithaca seems to be coming to a close, we must soon start looking elsewhere to continue our careers and raise our family, a safe and prosperous place to hopefully permanently settle down in.

Today, New Hampshire rules. One day, however, it might not rule or at least not as much. Either way the ride will be fun.

Manuel Lora [send him mail] works at Cornell University as a TV and multimedia producer. Visit his blog.

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