Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hope in New Hampshire

A couple of aspects of my trip to New Hampshire have given me some hope for the future. The first was spending time at the Free State Project's Liberty Forum over the weekend. The Free State Project has urged libertarian-minded individuals to move to New Hampshire to have a long-term impact on the state's already independence-minded political climate. The numbers to date -- a bit more than 500 officially registered, though there are probably a few hundred more who haven't registered-- aren't as impressive as one might like, but they're growing steadily and the level of enthusiasm and activism is almost breathtaking.

These people really think they have the key to freedom in their lifetime and they're willing to work hard for it. There were about 350 registered attendees and some 20 exhibitors, from gun rights advocates to constitutionalists to the Fully Informed Jury Association to drug law reformers. Attendance for Ron Paul's speech Sunday (go here for a longer summary) was around 700 vocally enthusiastic freedom lovers. I talked to some of Ron Paul's campaign staffers later, and they said he was just blown away by the response.

The second was my visit last night to Ron Paul's state headquarters in Concord. People manned (personned?) the 35 or so phones constantly and groups were sent out to canvass in person, even on the night before the election. There were hordes of mostly young people there, from Texas, California, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, all eager to help. The most common phrase I heard was "what can I do next?" I don't know where all that enthusiasm will go if Ron doesn't get the nomination, but it's bound to have an impact throughout the country.

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