Sunday, November 20, 2016

Free Staters help create NH real estate boom

The homebuyers aiming to make New Hampshire a Libertarian utopia - Nathan Brooker, Financial Times:

November 1, 2016 - "Get him on the upcoming presidential election and Trevor Parscal, a 32-year-old technology worker originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, .... says[:] 'Trump and Hillary sound pretty much the same to me. They are both squabbling over how to spend more and more of the taxpayers’ money.... I wouldn’t vote for either of them,' he says. 'I’m going to be voting for Johnson.'

"Gary Johnson is the presidential candidate for the Libertarian party, the self-proclaimed third party of US politics. Broadly, the party campaigns for a reduction in the size of government and taxes, though at its fringes it is renowned for getting a little oddball....

"Parscal is not only planning to vote for him but has moved his family 3,000 miles across the country to support the Libertarian cause, from California to Concord, New Hampshire. He is a participant in the Free State Project, an effort to get 20,000 like-minded Libertarians to pledge to move to New Hampshire, a fairly rural, sparsely populated state, where 20,000 activists might wield some political heft.

"'We hit that number in February of this year,' says Matt Philips, the president of the project. 'Every-body has five years to move to New Hampshire.'

"Those that do might want to call Mark Warden of Porcupine Real Estate. A Free Stater himself, Warden moved to New Hampshire from Las Vegas in 2009 and now acts as the project’s unofficial real estate broker. 'It’s been snowballing,' he says. 'I do between 40 and 50 transactions a year'.....

"Philips sees a natural affinity between Free Staters and New Hampshire. 'There’s an inherent Libertarian streak in the culture here,' he says, 'embodied by the state motto, which is "Live Free or Die".' There is no broad-based income tax in the state, no sales tax, liberal gun laws, no knife laws, no motorcycle helmet law and no law requiring you to wear a seatbelt. These things play well with Libertarians.

"Not everyone has welcomed them. A group of Free Staters who set up in the town of Keene have been causing a stir with their acts of civil disobedience. Some have refused to remove their hats inside the local courtroom and some have been smoking marijuana in the central square, openly. They’ve been given a nickname: 'Keeniacs'.

"Still, Parscal is upbeat. 'There’s nowhere in the US that’s a good example of Libertarian philosophies right now,' he says. 'If New Hampshire can become that, then hopefully we can attract people [here] who already feel that way and even convert some people as well.' Warden, for one, expects the phone to ring off the hook."

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