Monday, January 23, 2012

Free Staters are taking over New Hampshire. Or not.

Diane Lacy, President of the NH State Employee Association (via Skip Murphy):

let’s be clear; the speaker [of the NH House, Bill O'Brien] is not exactly our typical Republican. He is a Free Stater. These people, these sponsors that are going out there with the legislation are Free Staters. They are not the typical Republicans.


We’ll have a conversation with our neighbors, all of our communities, about the values that are important to NH because one thing is clears: NH is being taken over by the Free Staters and we are not going to stand for it.

I don't know what Diane Lacy is smoking.

A Free Stater is a person who has moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. The Free State Project is "an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving people to move to New Hampshire. We are looking for neighborly, productive, tolerant folks from all walks of life, of all ages, creeds, and colors who agree to the political philosophy expressed in our Statement of Intent, that government exists at most to protect people's rights, and should neither provide for people nor punish them for activities that interfere with no one else." (According to the website.)

Bill O'Brien is not a Free Stater. And it's pretty easy to figure this out, since he's been living in New Hampshire since before the Free State Project was founded in 2001.

(There is a small group of people who lived in New Hampshire at that time, who are technically Free Staters. They did this by signing the statement of intent before New Hampshire was chosen in 2003. Bill O'Brien did not do this. And most people who did this are Libertarian Party activists and hardcore libertarians, which Bill O'Brien is not.)

If Lacy had stated that Bill O'Brien was a Tea Partier, on the other hand, that would be plausible.

And what about sponsoring legislation and taking over New Hampshire? I've seen persuasive arguments that Free Stater state representatives are having some influence on NH politics. They certainly seem to sponsor plenty of legislation. But with only 12 or 15 representatives, out of 400, that influence is very limited.

Not only that, but many Free Staters actually oppose the right-to-work legislation Lacy is concerned about. Here's the 2004 platform of the Libertarian Party on this issue:

The Principle: We support the right of free persons to voluntarily establish, associate in, or not associate in, labor unions. An employer should have the right to recognize, or refuse to recognize, a union as the collective bargaining agent of some, or all, of its employees.

Solutions: We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or the imposition of an obligation to bargain. Therefore, we urge repeal of the National Labor Relations Act, and all state right-to-work laws which prohibit employers from making voluntary contracts with unions. We oppose all government back-to-work orders as the imposition of a form of forced labor. [Bold added.]

If Diane Lacy wants to return to reality, I recommend this article about changing Republican politics by Betsy Russell in the Idahoan Spokesman-Review. It draws on the views of four political science professors.

Can you guess what they say?
Hint: it starts with "T", and ends with "Party".

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