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Author Topic: Dear Claire,  (Read 22288 times)

sorens

  • Guest
Dear Claire,
« on: November 02, 2005, 02:08:21 pm »

I enjoy and respect your writing, but I have to call you on your blog entry, "Dear Free State Project." It's unfair.

We abolished our 2006 recruiting goal because we saw no other option. In a sense, your conclusion, "the FSP seems merely interested in continuing its own existence," is obviously correct. We think continuing our existence is very important. Not for financial reasons (FSP leaders don't make any money), peace of mind (this is hard work), or egos (if we were concerned about that, we wouldn't have made this tough decision) - but for the future of freedom.

What is the alternative? To close up shop? To tell those 130+ families that have already moved and the hundreds more who have explicitly said they plan to move anyway that it's all over - that we're leaving them in the lurch?

The new, moving-based Free State Project is optional. No one will condemn you for withdrawing your participation. If a 2006 deadline was critical for you, that's understandable. Feel free to go your own way. But - and correct me if I'm wrong here - you seem to be condemning the thousands of Free Staters who want to keep going for making that choice. Why?

You say that our "own research and publicity always said that fewer than 20,000 couldn't create a free state." Actually, our research and publicity said that 20,000 definitely could create a free state - not that fewer than 20,000 definitely could not. In fact, after New Hampshire was chosen, I redid most of my own research with that state in mind. It turns out that 12,000 activists would almost certainly be enough in New Hampshire. That's a much more doable number. Another point to make is that quality matters more than quantity - if we can draw the highest-quality activists to New Hampshire, they will more than make up for even a large shortfall in brute numbers.

You say that a small freedom network could be created anywhere, not just in New Hampshire. But even if (let's assume the worst) only 2,000 or so people end up moving to New Hampshire, that would be a far larger local network of principled, active individualists than exists anywhere else in the world. Sure, there are things we could do with 20,000 that we probably couldn't with 2,000, but there are lots of things we can do with even just 2,000 that we can't do now.

Heck, even the 130 who've already moved have done some pretty amazing things. This year's Porcupine Festival was the largest libertarian gathering in the world in 2005.

You say that the FSP is now demanding more of our participants and offering them less. That's correct. I wish there were 20,000 libertarian activists out there ready to move now, but apparently there are not - or maybe we just haven't reached them. The question any prospective future NH resident needs to answer is: am I better off: a) staying where I am and doing nothing, b) staying where I am and participating in a small social network of five or ten, or c) moving to New Hampshire and joining what will shortly be, beyond doubt, the largest, most effective libertarian network on earth - a network that has already significantly influenced legislative politics? If the U.S. government continues to slip further into debt, to defend detaining U.S. citizens without charge, to kill the sick by denying them life-saving medicine, and so on, the option "c" will look better and better.

If you don't want to participate in the new FSP, that's okay. But I don't understand the outrage. We've broken no promises, and we are accomplishing real change in the right direction. Our decision to abolish the 2006 goal was simply a tough choice that we had to make. We're not going to keep this going indefinitely if for some reason it doesn't look like working out. But 2006 is too soon to shut down.

Best,
Jason Sorens, Founder
Free State Project
« Last Edit: November 02, 2005, 02:38:02 pm by sorens »
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debra

  • Sr. Member
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  • Posts: 1714
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2005, 02:14:10 pm »

TCFers: Since this is essentially between Jason and Claire, I'd like to ask that we be on our best behavior and keep this thread polite, respectful, and on-topic. I will move any replies that do not meet these standards to another FSP thread.

Debra
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velojym

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2005, 02:26:34 pm »

As for myself, I like the idea.
I just don't have any desire to live in the Northeast.
More power to ya, anyway.
 :hello:
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Pagan

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2005, 03:23:16 pm »

Polite. Respectful. On-topic.

Mr. Sorens,
This is the first time I have ever commented on this subject.

I didn’t sign up for FSP, and I didn’t commit to ANY state, because:

I don’t believe any group of people, including freedom-seeking libertarians, have the right to vote on my future.

I didn’t care to be told that I should work for any particular person or issue once 20,000 libertarians arrived and were established -- which WAS a part of the original agreement, as I read it.

I didn’t care to tell others who had been living in N. H. (or any other state including my home state of Delaware, which was also on the list) how they should run their business, nor did I care to push their desires aside -- which would have been the end result if 20,000 libertarians had moved to the same state en masse.

Your idea may have been “good” but it wasn’t perfect; it had weaknesses, and more importantly, you were asking the wrong people: libertarians don’t act in groups, and they choose to think for themselves.

Why can’t you accept the reality of potential defeat?

I, for one, am tired of hearing about FSP.
Just do your own thing; if it works, I’m glad for you, if it doesn’t, try something else. But don’t rely on other people who may have doubts -- people who have the right to question you, people who have the right to determine for themselves what will bring them happiness or freedom, or the closest thing they can find to either.

Speaking from outside of the issue, all FSP’ers are becoming very defensive and, as a result, argumentative and occasionally obnoxious.
This is not a competition. We are ALL for freedom, however it might be achieved. You are preaching to the choir here; we are on your side. But your powers of persuasion should be directed at those New Hampshirites who WILL be your neighbors -- whoever they are, however many they are.

This is the LAST time I will ever comment on this subject. I hope, Debra, it was adequately polite, respectful and on-topic.
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Kirsten

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2005, 03:31:08 pm »

*
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 12:50:09 pm by Kirsten »
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sorens

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2005, 03:38:27 pm »

I didn’t care to be told that I should work for any particular person or issue once 20,000 libertarians arrived and were established -- which WAS a part of the original agreement, as I read it.

Actually, no - we were very careful not to make that a part of the agreement. We do not take any positions on any political issues or strategies. We leave that for people to decide for themselves.

Quote
Your idea may have been “good” but it wasn’t perfect; it had weaknesses, and more importantly, you were asking the wrong people: libertarians don’t act in groups, and they choose to think for themselves.

I disagree that libertarians don't act in groups. This forum is moderated by a group. Businesses are groups. Political parties are groups. Thinktanks are groups. Militias, families, networks, neighborhoods...all groups. You can't get anything done without cooperating with others. I support libertarianism not because I am a loner or egoist but because I think "good fences make good neighbors." Respecting others' rights facilitates cooperation. Cooperation is a very positive thing.

Quote
people who have the right to question you, people who have the right to determine for themselves what will bring them happiness or freedom, or the closest thing they can find to either.

Did I deny that to anyone?

Quote
Speaking from outside of the issue, all FSP’ers are becoming very defensive and, as a result, argumentative and occasionally obnoxious.

"All FSP'ers?" I'm sorry that you have apparently had some bad experiences with individual FSP members. I trust that you did not find my message above obnoxious.

Quote
But your powers of persuasion should be directed at those New Hampshirites who WILL be your neighbors

Absolutely. And that seems to be going rather well as we speak.
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sorens

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2005, 03:40:40 pm »

A question for you, Jason- As it stands now, is there any exit criteria for the Free State Project?

Do you mean an ability for individual participants to exit the FSP? If so, yes - that announcement contained a link to contact us to opt out of the FSP. Ordinarily, FSP participants have a right to opt out if anything in the Participation Guidelines changes. Although the 2006 goal was not in the Participation Guidelines, we thought it was important to let people opt out anyway, since the 2006 goal was an important part of the original idea.
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Kirsten

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2005, 03:43:11 pm »

*
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 12:22:32 pm by Kirsten »
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velojym

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2005, 03:48:43 pm »

No point in giving up just because the numbers are a little short.
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sorens

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2005, 03:52:40 pm »

I mean is there now a criteria for the FSP to close up shop at some point if the goal is not achieved, or is the plan for the FSP to exist indefinitely even if the goal is never achieved?  One more quick question, Jason.  Where is the original agreement documented?

I don't think the FSP will ever close up shop, in the sense that we will always be recruiting people to move to NH. However, I think we might actually "reboot" the Project if we can't increase recruiting over the next year. A "reboot" would involve a new Statement of Intent with a lower signup threshold. It might also mean resetting the signer count to zero. Right now our focus has to be increasing recruitment, though. Remember that we're not even at 2006 yet. So I don't want to speculate too much about what might happen if things go wrong. :)
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Kirsten

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2005, 04:08:42 pm »

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« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 12:49:35 pm by Kirsten »
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sorens

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2005, 04:11:06 pm »

I don't think the FSP will ever close up shop, in the sense that we will always be recruiting people to move to NH.

Do you mean always recruiting people to move to NH until you reach 20K, or always be recruiting people to move to NH even after the 20K?

Also, where is the original agreement documented?

Thank you.

Even after the 20K. The original agreement is documented here:
http://freestateproject.org/about/bylaws/history.php

But for the paranoid you can also look here. ;)
http://web.archive.org/web/20020810194628/http://freestateproject.org/join.htm
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temp

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2005, 12:04:47 am »

Quote
Even after the 20K. The original agreement is documented here:
http://freestateproject.org/about/bylaws/history.php

But for the paranoid you can also look here. ;)
http://web.archive.org/web/20020810194628/http://freestateproject.org/join.htm

No, not the bylaws; how about the original statement of intent and the original participation guidelines which gave 2006 as a deadline?
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DigitalWarrior

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2005, 03:29:11 pm »

Jason I love and respect you.  I think your idea has to be one of the best things to happen in recent history for freedom

I differ with the decision to continue as though nothing happened but am still on board with the project.  We cannot maintain our integrity by ignoring this question.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030812172804/http://www.freestateproject.org/faqs.htm#when

The Participation Guidelines do not specify a requisite time period between reaching 5,000 members and reaching 20,000 members. However, the assumption has always been that if 20,000 is not close at hand within five years of the launch of the Free State Project (officially September 1st, 2001), the Project will fold.

I saw this and it was one of the best reasons I joined, the explicit pass/fail criteria. 
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sorens

  • Guest
Re: Dear Claire,
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2005, 04:38:57 pm »

Quote
Even after the 20K. The original agreement is documented here:
http://freestateproject.org/about/bylaws/history.php

But for the paranoid you can also look here. ;)
http://web.archive.org/web/20020810194628/http://freestateproject.org/join.htm

No, not the bylaws; how about the original statement of intent and the original participation guidelines which gave 2006 as a deadline?

Try the second link.
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