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NH Groups Says People, Not Taxes, Should Help Needy

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 27, 2012
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      N.H. Group Says People, Not Taxes, Should Help Needy
      by Emily Corwin
      November 25, 2012 from NHPR

      This is the time of year when people all over the country are coming
      together and getting food to needy families, but for one community in
      Manchester, N.H., private acts of charity aren't just a holiday
      tradition — they are a display of anarchist and libertarian principles.

      On a recent day, about 50 people gathered in a converted office space
      with $6,000 worth of food and a list of needy families. Mike Ruff, with
      help from a couple of kids, filled shopping bags with food for the hungry.

      Ruff, a 40-year-old mediator and blacksmith, helped organize the event.
      He carries an M1911 pistol strapped to his waist because he says he
      doesn't trust tax-funded policemen to protect him. For all the same
      reasons, he doesn't trust the government to help the needy either.

      Ruff is a member of New Hampshire's growing Free State movement, which
      means he moved from somewhere else to New Hampshire for the state's low
      tax burden, its "Live Free or Die" mentality and to agitate for smaller

      Ruff isn't the only person here who thinks this kind of private charity
      should replace all tax-funded social services.

      "We all agree that privately funded, voluntary charity is superior to
      the welfare system," says Amanda Bouldin, the event's coordinator.
      Bouldin is humbled by the $6,000 that was donated to buy food, and it's
      her job to make sure her volunteers get suitable meals to needy refugees
      and diabetics.

      Like Ruff, Bouldin moved to New Hampshire to join the Free State
      Project. She says she doesn't blame anyone who uses food stamps or
      public housing, and she knows her $6,000 is just a drop in the bucket
      when it comes to ending hunger. But, she says, forcing the public to pay
      taxes to solve social problems is immoral.

      "If you stick a gun to somebody's head and say, 'Give me $20 to feed
      this guy that's dying of starvation on the street right now, or I'll
      kill you,' have you done something charitable? No," she says. "You've
      committed a crime."

      Not everybody here sees taxation in such strict terms.

      Merav Yaakov, an Israeli who recently moved her family from Colorado to
      New Hampshire to join the Free State Project, says she's not comfortable
      in big organizations.

      "There's research out there that says people function best in groups of
      150 people, and I would like to organize my life in this kind of terms,"
      Yaakov says. She says big organizations – like the government – just
      don't work for her.

      "I don't know who runs them, I don't know their interests ... [and] it's
      hard for me to be part of big things like this that I don't have
      personal contact," she says.

      Yaakov says the people at this event are some of the most creative
      people she's ever met, and the strength of their relationships is striking.

      Caitlin Appell moved a year ago with her fiancée, Elizabeth, to join the
      Free State Project. The 24-year-old says they didn't expect to make so
      many friends so fast.

      "It was like this whole wider community that we didn't know and over
      this last year we've just been completely like embraced by them it's
      kind of amazing," she says.

      Appell is not the only one. Almost everyone at the event moved to New
      Hampshire in the last three years – many in the last six months. In that
      short time, they'll tell you emphatically, they have come to love each
      other and their community, perhaps even more than they dislike taxes.

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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