Author Topic: Why I'm part of the FSW  (Read 1903 times)

Offline archy

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Why I'm part of the FSW
« on: February 28, 2006, 03:49:12 PM »
Back in 1994 an internet writer- one of the first of what's now called *bloggers*- wrote a pretty fair little essay about those with a particular affection for personal freedom and their rights, and how, if they were smart, they'd congregate in a particular place. Whether that was to be a planned political action or just birds of the same feather flocking together was beyond the scope of his piece, but a decade-plus later, along came a libertarian-inspired idea called the Free State Project that would develop and expand many of the ideas he presented.

That writer's name was Mark Penman, who wrote as Laissez-firearm a play on words on the term Laissez-faire, shorthand for the phrase used by the Eighteenth-Century French Physiocrats as an injunction against government interference with trade: laissez faire, laissez aller, laissez passer.
Whatever sort of historian of French economics or government he was, Mark was no Fairy, but he was a pretty fair hand with shootin' irons, so his pen name fit pretty well. And he called himself a libertarian.

Unfortunately, Mark didn't stick around long enough to see the thoughts he shared bear fruit. Born on 22 February 1963, his time with us continued until the second day of July 2001, on which he took his own life. He was, therefore, spared a lot of hype about America's dwindling freedom on the following Fourth of July, and never observed the events of September Eleventh of that year. I suspect his observations of that event would have made some interesting reading material.

And so neither did he see the beginnings of the Free State Project and its subsequent activities in New Hampshire, nor the associated sister movement of those heading westward toward Wyoming and the Big Sky country. I think the idea would have pleased him, and he might even have become a part of it.

And maybe, someday, if that westward faction grows and it becomes useful for enough of them to settle in a community where they get along pretty well with their neighbors, but have a reputation for being the wrong folks to try to mess with, maybe they'll name that new little village Penman.

Anyway, he was never much of one for making deadlines with his essays, so this didn't quite get written or posted in time for the anniversary of his birthday this year. But it did get done, a reminder of someone who was thinking about Wyoming and other places as a home for a Free State a little before the rest of us.

Thanks for the idea, Mark, and thanks for the words you left behind for us:

Mark Penman, as Laissez Firearm, expounding on a Free State Movement, and a few other things he saw coming:

Editorial: Phony Yogis and the Samson Option

by LF (5/7/94)

Well, it's almost official. The United States of America will soon no longer be a Constitutional Republic, with definite limits on the actions that can be taken by the government. We are devolving into a true democracy, where a mere majority will be sufficient to send any despised group into the ovens.

The other day I was talking to one of the most consistent men who ever made it into the NRA's top ranks. While I expressed the hope that at least one state would consider seceding from the Union, he seriously doubted that most people could imagine living without Uncle Sugar. I came back with, "Don't you remember the Bhagwan?"

The obscure reference was to the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a shady Eastern mystic who decided to take over a small Western town several years ago. He was able to do so quite legally by moving in his numerous followers and registering them as voters, overwhelming the locals by creating an unbeatable block obedient to his every whim.

What I'm suggesting here would not be an outright hijacking, of course, because there are already states harboring plenty of hatred for Washington. Montana, New Hampshire, Wyoming, South Dakota, and several others are inhabited by independent, gun-totin' folk who are currently being taken for a ride due to their low populations. The average cowboy wannabe (except for those involved in big-money ranching, mining, etc., who do quite well at the public trough) is starting to notice that the heavily-populated states have way too much pull on their strings. What is the point, after all, of living out in the middle of nowhere if the Feds still insist on treating you like a potential downtown street predator?

Think about it. If just a few tens of thousands of consistently pro-gun and minimal government activists (that second requirement is critical, otherwise there would be no point to the exercise) suddenly decided to move into a low-density state already sympathetic to their goals, the results could be explosive. The drastic-sounding option of secession would probably not be necessary, because following its next election the newly-declared Free State could simply end any and all destructive Federal programs, and close down the branch offices of the BATF and the rest of our alphabet-soup oppressors. Washington would immediately threaten to cut off all highway funds and the like (which I have already pointed out are jokes compared to what most citizens are paying in taxes in exchange for the services rendered), and the state could respond by declaring that the Federal income tax is illegal under the Constitution, and threaten to turn off the tap.

And my friend pointed out that Washington would never, ever, allow that to happen.

I agreed. But then I asked whether menopausal sasquatch Janet Reno would still have her job (not to mention her head) if there had been a video camera beaming out images of all those innocent women and children choking to death and then burning in that pitiful final redoubt at Waco. The government was able to keep the news media away because they completely controlled a one-mile perimeter around the compound, which made it relatively easy to ensure that none of the Branch Davidians walked away (a hard lesson gained from the Randy Weaver PR debacle). That would not be feasible in a state-wide conflict. The government might lay the groundwork for a violent response by having the FCC threaten to yank the licenses of TV stations that broadcast gory footage, and let it be known that all those newspapers with comfortable monopolies could be slapped with anti-trust suits if they run inflammatory articles or pictures (so much for "freedom of the press"), but that still leaves hundreds of smaller, more independent news organizations to get the word out.

And then the government would be faced with exactly two choices. It could back down without firing a shot, thus making it quite clear that the Free State had won. This would convince the fence-sitters in at least some of the other states to follow in its path, with disastrous career consequences for statists all over the country.

Or it could act. The outrage in the rest of the population would then force Washington to impose martial law and bump up the time schedule of what has long been the goal of many of our politicians and bureaucrats: imposition of an overtly socialist regime with totalitarian police powers.

Yes that is scary. Very scary. But we are chugging towards that end anyway, so why palm off the conflict -- if there must be a final stand taken by the remaining believers in individual liberty -- on our children or grandchildren? If the sort of conflict outlined above were to occur within just a few years, I have little doubt that the government would feel forced to back down. Some of hopeless cynics in our ranks talk as if the members of our armed forces are simply pawns who would unquestioningly attack their fellow citizens on command. That is just not so. The vast majority of the military personnel that I have talked to in the past few years believe strongly in the oath that they took to protect this country and its Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. The fact that the majority of them are gun owners bodes ill for politicians who would order them to start firing upon their neighbors and friends for merely believing that the Second Amendment means what it says.

Perhaps that explains why the concept of involuntary "Community Service" has been gaining all sorts of powerful backers in our nation's capitol. Many lawmakers go weak at the knees at the thought of millions of youngsters being forced to construct homeless shelters, delivering meals to invalids, or (in some proposals) serving a stint in a new national "auxiliary police force," or joining the military at age 17 or 18 . No, I am NOT making this up!

Now, if you were an angry young man who has been taught that life has been rendered meaningless because the greedy have stolen away your chances, what sort of service would you choose? Emptying out bedpans at the local community hospital, or getting a badge and a truncheon -- maybe even a swell-looking camouflage uniform and an M-16? I can guess how the average conscienceless, homicidal gang member would respond. The chance to legally slaughter middle-class gun-owners (or any other group that fails to fall into line) would be most welcome, and if there are any homes left standing to loot afterwards, so much the better.

But that is still years off. If we let things continue on their present course and do nothing.

I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. After I realized he had no use for his shoes, I took them, and then I felt much better about myself.

Offline Fran

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Re: Why I'm part of the FSW
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2006, 04:57:56 PM »
Thanks for introducing me to LF. I loved the website. Great writing.
I wonder if Jason Sorens read LF's piece before producing his paper?

Good stuff.
With earthbags, we can build dirt cheap homes that last forever
one bag at a time. Although Wyoming isn't just for dirtbags...

Offline Boston

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Re: Why I'm part of the FSW
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2006, 05:23:11 PM »
Yes, thanks archy for posting that very prescient essay.
Penman was clearly a thinking man way ahead of his time.

May 1994?  Wow, that was a long time ago.

Jason Sorens was just getting his drivers license, and I was only beginning to
research what would become my second book, You & The Police!

Penman's suicide was a great loss, for he would have undoubtedly been
a key player within the free state movement.  His chosen date of death
was exactly 3 weeks before the announcement of the FSP.

Hold out and hang in there, folks. 
You never know what you may yet live to see.  Or do.