Delaware not libertarians' promise
- Del. not libertarians' promised land - Free State Project opts for N.H.
By SEAN O'SULLIVAN, Staff reporter
The First State was no match for the Live Free or Die state among a group of
revolution-minded libertarians. Delaware was one of 10 states being
considered for takeover and was an early leader among project organizers.
But in a poll of the nearly 5,000 group members, Delaware finished a distant
8th in the selection process.
On Wednesday, The Free State Project, whose goal is to move 20,000 "freedom
loving" people to a single state and use their political clout to create a
libertarian utopia, selected New Hampshire over Delaware as the target for
its coup. The group announced its selection Wednesday in New York City and
its Web site, FreeStateProject.org.
Keith Murphy, a Free State Project organizer from Maryland, said what really
hurt Delaware was the state's "absurd" smoking ban and gun control efforts
in Wilmington. "We see that as an invasion of personal liberty, and that
turned off a lot of people," he said.
Murphy said there also did not seem to be strong support for The Free State
Project among residents in Delaware, but a variety of groups in New
Hampshire welcomed them with open arms.
Project organizers hope that over the next few years their membership of
5,400 will grow to 20,000, triggering the mass move to New Hampshire perhaps
as soon as 2005. The runner-up to New Hampshire was Wyoming, followed by
Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Delaware, South Dakota and North
Project Vice President Elizabeth McKinstry of Ann Arbor, Mich., said New
Hampshire won because it "boasts the lowest state and local tax burden in
the continental U.S., the leanest state government in the country ... a
citizen legislature, a healthy job market and, perhaps most important, local
support for our movement," she said.
Project members also have noted the state's constitution, which protects
citizens' rights to revolution and secession.
The project has been resisted by those who oppose easing gambling
restrictions, legalizing medicinal marijuana and strengthening gun rights,
issues for which some project members plan to lobby.
But McKinstry says New Hampshire should not view them as trigger-happy
pot-smoking gamblers. She says the project will promote charitable work and
scholarship programs, and help citizens take back their government.
Lisa Busch, New Castle County chairwoman of the Delaware Libertarian Party,
said she was disappointed but not surprised Delaware was not selected. She
said New Hampshire lobbied organizers hard. "Delaware didn't cater to any of
that at all," she said, adding perhaps if the state had marketed itself more
to the group, it would have fared better.
Associated Press contributed to this article. Reach Sean O'Sullivan at
324-2777 or sosullivan@....