by Gary Snyder (firstname.lastname@example.org
I've rarely been to Delaware (just driven thru, mostly) but I believe an OBJECTIVE analysis (see Jason Sorensâ€™ brilliant state comparison analysis at www.freestateproject.org/stateanalysis.htm
) makes it the best candidate state for the following reasons:
1) Population: BY FAR the most important consideration. Deciding where best to place 20,000 activists is a numbers game. New Hampshire (nearly 1.3 million, and growing rapidly) and Idaho (1.3 million) simply have too many people for 20,000 to tilt the scales, relative to Delaware (800K). On this alone, Delaware deserves the nod over those two states.
2) Coastline: ESSENTIAL for a state seeking independence and autonomy. Wilmington is one of the most important ports in the country. On this alone, Delaware deserves the nod over Montana and Wyoming.
3) Economics: The FSP is ALL ABOUT economics, and NO OTHER STATE can match Delaware's economic potential. Delaware has the best job market of the candidate states, and is very business-friendly (http://delaware.gov/yahoo/Business
). It is a corporate haven, and UNIQUELY positioned to attract new and existing companies. This CANNOT be overstated. It is within commuting distance of job-centers like Philly and Baltimore. Its long coastline provides intrinsic opportunity in the fishing, boating, tourist, and import-export industries. It is the FRIENDLIEST state to retirees (http://moneycentral.msn.com/articles/retire/basics/9838.asp
). And Delaware has the highest income per capita of ANY state in the WHOLE U.S., fostering economic opportunities for FSers and a populace adverse to wealth redistribution.
4) Climate: To attract another 15,000 (and more) libertarians to the FS, it would help SIGNIFICANTLY if the state chosen doesn't suffer thru brutal winters. Delawareâ€™s the only state on the list that fits that description. (It's also easier to campaign and do outreach when the temperature's not subzero.)
5) Small Size: Although a deterrent to many FS members, think about it. In a tiny state like Delaware, organizing, meeting, campaigning and ASSIMILATING is MUCH easier and cheaper.
6) Location: Proximity to DC and other media centers is a GOOD thing. In Montana or Idaho, we will be dismissed and ignored as "right-wing militia types" and isolationists. The media won't be able to do that in Delaware. We're too close to home. We will get attention, and our libertarian model will get a spotlight. Isn't that what we want? Isn't that what we CRAVE? Isn't that necessary to gain support, and spread freedom? We NEED this experiment to take place DIRECTLY beneath the noses of the eastern media elite establishment.
Also, these population centers ARE WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE. This is where more LIBERTARIANS are. If we hope to attract 15,000 more of them, this is where our best chance lies. The other states are too remote to draw the necessary numbers.
The major knock on Delaware is â€œlack of libertarian cultureâ€. This notion that ANY stateâ€™s â€œlibertarian cultureâ€ is significantly greater than any other is an exaggeration. Modern transportation, telecommunications (folks, everyone in 2003 gets CNN and MTV) and the fact that people move frequently have lessened the differences between states' cultures. Culture doesn't matter so much because the culture in EVERY state is VERY far from what we want it to be. Some states are clearly "more libertarian" than others, but even these states are not very libertarian at all compared to what we would consider to be ideal.
For every Delaware "statist sentiment", I could list one for any other candidate state. And for every "freedom sentiment" cited by another, I could list one for Delaware (www.usatoday.com/news/graphics/statefinances/flash.htm
). It gets us nowhere. And it says next to NOTHING about ANY state's "political culture", as most folks don't vote. It only speaks to what Republicrats in office have been able to ram thru to serve themselves and a few special interests, usually AGAINST the sentiment of most citizens.
Assimilation is the job ahead of us in whichever state we choose.
Delaware has SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE (www2.newszap.com/area/delaware.html): a high quality of life (www.state.de.us/dedo/new_web_site/Publications/databook_2002/Quality%20of%20Life.htm
), quaint colonial villages, good farmland, isolated rural areas, state wildlife areas and forests, hunting, beautiful beaches, state parks, small cities and culture. Check it out, and do the SMART thing for the FSP â€“ vote DELAWARE.