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Author Topic: A few questions  (Read 49915 times)

fschmidt

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A few questions
« on: June 10, 2008, 05:18:07 am »

I live in California where I can no longer afford to stay, partly because of the state income tax.  So I looked into states with no income tax, one of which is New Hampshire, and so I found out about the Free State Project.  I am not a strict libertarian and haven't been very politically active.  I know some libertarian groups are pretty extreme, but from this forum, this group seems quite tolerant.  So my first question is, does someone who is about 80% libertarian fit into the Free State Project?

I am looking for a town that is quiet (meaning no noise) and walkable.  I don't want to hear my neighbor's dogs or stereo.  But I would like to be able to walk to a grocery store.  I realize that one of the main reasons that America isn't walkable is because of land-use zoning, so a town that doesn't have this would be best.

Having an impact at a state level seems like quite a challenge, but having an impact at a town level seems easier.  So I would be particularly interested in towns where FSP members are active town politics, especially in fighting zoning.

And one last thing, I noticed that the speed limit in NH is 65.  I would prefer living where ridiculous speed laws aren't enforced.

So based on this, what towns would you recommend?
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Ron Helwig

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2008, 07:05:27 am »

I am not a strict libertarian and haven't been very politically active.  I know some libertarian groups are pretty extreme, but from this forum, this group seems quite tolerant.  So my first question is, does someone who is about 80% libertarian fit into the Free State Project?
You'll find a vocal minority that will shout "UnPure!", but they're mostly harmless. Most will welcome you.

Welcome!

I am looking for a town that is quiet (meaning no noise) and walkable.  I don't want to hear my neighbor's dogs or stereo.  But I would like to be able to walk to a grocery store.  I realize that one of the main reasons that America isn't walkable is because of land-use zoning, so a town that doesn't have this would be best.
From what I can tell, most towns that are walkable are also zoned. The towns that don't have zoning are typically spread out so that a vehicle of some sort is necessary. However, if you are willing to join or start the fight to remove zoning, there are probably some decent choices.

Having an impact at a state level seems like quite a challenge, but having an impact at a town level seems easier.  So I would be particularly interested in towns where FSP members are active town politics, especially in fighting zoning.
The Grafton crew would probably be to your liking, but Grafton is spread out and a car is needed. It is a beautiful area though.

Keene sounds like it fits your walking about desires, but most of the activists there seem to be anti-political types.

Portsmouth has a walkable downtown, but I'm not sure how many people we have there yet.

Seabrook is nice, and if you don't mind longer walks then it could be considered walkable. The state LP chair lives there, and we have a "porcupine manor" there: Max Abramson's place.

Manchester and Concord both seem to be walkable, and have a good number of us there. However, they are cities, and the amount of work needed is proportionately larger.

And one last thing, I noticed that the speed limit in NH is 65.  I would prefer living where ridiculous speed laws aren't enforced.

You'll find that, except for the freeways (and tollways), for most roads a safe speed is 65 or less anyway. Twisty, windy, hilly roads don't make for high speeds; although they are fun to drive.

Also, the cops here mostly seem to be more concerned with bad driving than speeding. 5 or so miles above the limit is routinely ignored on most roads. 10 - 15 over is routinely ignored on the freeways. YMMV of course, and reasonable prudence is suggested.

Again, if you are willing to work on the issue I believe you'll find many allies here.
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ny2nh

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 07:22:23 am »

I am looking for a town that is quiet (meaning no noise) and walkable.  I don't want to hear my neighbor's dogs or stereo.  But I would like to be able to walk to a grocery store.  I realize that one of the main reasons that America isn't walkable is because of land-use zoning, so a town that doesn't have this would be best.

Sorry for sounding really negative in my response.....but logic would tell me that in order to be far enough away from your neighbor to not be able to hear his stereo or moreso his dog would mean that the houses are quite a distance apart. If houses are that far apart, walking will be lengthy simply because of the distance between one property and the next. I would think that the grocery stores that would be located in more rural towns will be more of corner stores or convenience stores rather than the larger grocery stores. Anyplace is walkable - it just depends on how much of your time you want to spend walking. : )

Sometimes I just think people who are considering moving here want things that just don't exist because the things they want contradict each other.
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NHArticleTen

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2008, 07:37:55 am »


just barter with the family down the street to use their rickshaw(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickshaw) hooked up to your jackasses to go to the store...simple...

MaineShark

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2008, 08:35:44 am »

...hooked up to your jackasses to go to the store...

They prefer to be called "politicians," Rob! :o

Joe
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Jitgos

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2008, 09:19:47 am »

UNPURE!!!  ;D
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Fishercat

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2008, 09:38:06 am »

I am not a strict libertarian and haven't been very politically active.

I found there is nothing that motivates one quite so much to political activity than seeing your fellow Free Staters engaging in successful political activity all around you.  I've heard many, many people here say, "Before I moved to NH, I was not active at all.  But now,..."


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Having an impact at a state level seems like quite a challenge, but having an impact at a town level seems easier.  So I would be particularly interested in towns where FSP members are active town politics, especially in fighting zoning.

If your experience is only with California politics, you have no idea how easy it can be to have an impact at the State level.  If at all possible, try to visit here during one of the Free State Project events, and go on a tour of the State House.  I was amazed how accessible the state government is.

Finally, my comment about speeding.   One thing I noticed during my move here.   When I crossed the border from Massachusettes into New Hampshire, all of the NH plates dropped their speed down to pretty close to the posted limit.   The MA plates tended to race by.   I took this to mean that the locals knew something about speeding that we out-of-staters didn't.  I can't back it up with numbers, but I think they are pretty harsh on speeders up here.
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margomaps

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2008, 11:56:38 am »

I live in California where I can no longer afford to stay, partly because of the state income tax.  So I looked into states with no income tax, one of which is New Hampshire, and so I found out about the Free State Project.  I am not a strict libertarian and haven't been very politically active.  I know some libertarian groups are pretty extreme, but from this forum, this group seems quite tolerant.  So my first question is, does someone who is about 80% libertarian fit into the Free State Project?

If you agree with the FSP's statement of intent (http://freestateproject.org/soi), then you fit in the FSP.  If you want the role of the government to be greater than that indicated in the SOI, then the FSP isn't for you.  BUT, if you're somewhere in the gray zone...not quite on board with the stated role of the government, but "basically there", I'm sure you'd get along fine with the majority of those in the FSP (see Ron Helwig's post).

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I am looking for a town that is quiet (meaning no noise) and walkable.  I don't want to hear my neighbor's dogs or stereo.  But I would like to be able to walk to a grocery store.  I realize that one of the main reasons that America isn't walkable is because of land-use zoning, so a town that doesn't have this would be best.

Yeah, I don't really see how this is possible.  Recently I was in a rural area where you could hear a neighbor's outdoor stereo almost 1/2 mile away (the lot sizes were 10+ acres).  I can't really think of any small towns where you could be within a short walking distance to the grocery store, yet be so far from your neighbor that you'd be guaranteed not to hear them.  Also, there are a handful of towns in NH that don't have zoning, and I don't think that really has any bearing on whether these towns are "walkable" or not.

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Having an impact at a state level seems like quite a challenge, but having an impact at a town level seems easier.  So I would be particularly interested in towns where FSP members are active town politics, especially in fighting zoning.

As mentioned, Grafton is one of those towns that doesn't have zoning.  But what are you going to do when your neighbor in your no-zoning town fills his yard with chickens and goats which you can hear at all hours?   >:D

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And one last thing, I noticed that the speed limit in NH is 65.  I would prefer living where ridiculous speed laws aren't enforced.

Are you in a hurry?  :)  Seriously though, I've seen a lot of people pulled over on highways in NH.  Depends on the highway though.  I've seen many pulled over on 93 and 89, but almost none on 101 east of Manchester.  I've never once seen anyone pulled over on the lesser/smaller highways and roads in the Seacoast, but that could just be coincidence.
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fschmidt

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2008, 12:35:48 pm »

If you agree with the FSP's statement of intent (http://freestateproject.org/soi), then you fit in the FSP.

This statement says "the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property".  If someone punches me in the nose, they aren't really threatening my life, liberty, or property.  They are just giving me a bloody nose.  I would like civil government to protect my nose and prevent other people from punching it.  So I guess I disagree with FSP's statement of intent.  Is this statement really the true intent of people here?

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I am looking for a town that is quiet

Yeah, I don't really see how this is possible.  Recently I was in a rural area where you could hear a neighbor's outdoor stereo almost 1/2 mile away (the lot sizes were 10+ acres).  I can't really think of any small towns where you could be within a short walking distance to the grocery store, yet be so far from your neighbor that you'd be guaranteed not to hear them.

I think blasting one's stereo onto someone else's property is effectively trespassing and violates property rights.  People should be free to do what they want on their property as long as they don't harm their neighbors, and blasting noise onto one's neighbor's property does harm them.  I live in San Francisco where people live close together but noise regulations are fairly well enforced, so it is reasonably quiet.  I would want the same in NH.

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Also, there are a handful of towns in NH that don't have zoning, and I don't think that really has any bearing on whether these towns are "walkable" or not.

San Francisco is a nice walkable city because it was built before zoning.  This allowed shops and houses to mix naturally in mixed-use neighborhoods where people could walk to shops.  All American cities and towns built since zoning started are based on single-use zoning which prevents this.
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MaineShark

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2008, 12:47:09 pm »

This statement says "the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property".  If someone punches me in the nose, they aren't really threatening my life, liberty, or property.  They are just giving me a bloody nose.  I would like civil government to protect my nose and prevent other people from punching it.  So I guess I disagree with FSP's statement of intent.  Is this statement really the true intent of people here?

Your nose is part of your life.

To translate the "technical" SOI to more colloquial speech, the idea is that the maximum role of government is to stop others from doing your bodily harm, stealing your stuff, or preventing you from freely doing whatever you want, so long as all participants are consenting adults.

I think blasting one's stereo onto someone else's property is effectively trespassing and violates property rights.  People should be free to do what they want on their property as long as they don't harm their neighbors, and blasting noise onto one's neighbor's property does harm them.  I live in San Francisco where people live close together but noise regulations are fairly well enforced, so it is reasonably quiet.  I would want the same in NH.

Noise does not violate your property rights, and is not trespassing.  You don't have a "right" to quiet, unless you contract with your neighbors to promise such to each other.

In any case, people here are generally respectful of each other, and I've never had a noise problem.  In a free society, people tend to take responsibility for their own actions simply because it is beneficial to be on good terms with one's neighbors, rather than because men with guns are running around forcing you to be polite.

I do recall a recent discussion of a town that had an ordinance against firing artillery during the night...

San Francisco is a nice walkable city because it was built before zoning.  This allowed shops and houses to mix naturally in mixed-use neighborhoods where people could walk to shops.  All American cities and towns built since zoning started are based on single-use zoning which prevents this.

If you want an "old school" city, Portsmouth is probably what you're looking for.  However, even with zoning in NH, most places do not prohibit mixing.  For example, while my town has zoning, the town is expressly required to allow home businesses and other mixing of residential and commercial uses, as that sort of thing is inherent in the character of New England towns.

If you are specifically looking for a city-type atmosphere, Portsmouth is definitely a walking city.  Personally, I prefer living in a rural area, but I can still walk to the local market from here, or to the local egg farm for that matter.  Getting to the actual supermarket would require transportation give the distance and hills, but folks ride horses right down the street here, so if I were so-inclined, I could travel without a motor vehicle...

Joe
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fschmidt

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2008, 01:15:48 pm »

To translate the "technical" SOI to more colloquial speech, the idea is that the maximum role of government is to stop others from doing your bodily harm, stealing your stuff, or preventing you from freely doing whatever you want, so long as all participants are consenting adults.

Thanks for explaining this, but I want to make sure I understand.  Suppose someone walks up to me and just squeezes my nose.  This isn't bodily harm, but is annoying.  Does the government have a role in preventing this, or do you think people have a right to squeeze each other's noses?

I am not asking these question to be annoying, but just to clarify what the FSP is all about.  If the SOI was something more general like "I will exert the fullest practical effort toward increasing freedom in New Hampshire", then I would have no need to get specific.  But since the SOI specifies the kind of society it wants to create, I need to understand exactly what kind of society that is.

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Noise does not violate your property rights, and is not trespassing.  You don't have a "right" to quiet, unless you contract with your neighbors to promise such to each other.

To give the physical equivalent, my neighbors are vibrating my eardrums.  Do they have a right to vibrate my eardrums.  I personally find noise even more harmful than being punched in the nose.

Is it the general consensus of FSP people that people have the right to blast noise onto their neighbor's property?  If this is a debated issue, then I would prefer to live near FSP people who agree with me on this.  But if the consensus is against me, then I probably don't belong.

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even with zoning in NH, most places do not prohibit mixing

That is great news. 
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MaineShark

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2008, 01:33:02 pm »

Thanks for explaining this, but I want to make sure I understand.  Suppose someone walks up to me and just squeezes my nose.  This isn't bodily harm, but is annoying.  Does the government have a role in preventing this, or do you think people have a right to squeeze each other's noses?

You don't have a right to violate the personal sovereignty of another individual.  If you want to ask permission to squeeze a stranger's nose, or if you want to squeeze the noses of your friends whom you know consent to such things, that's all well and good.  But you can't be going around assaulting folks, regardless of the assault being minor.

I am not asking these question to be annoying, but just to clarify what the FSP is all about.  If the SOI was something more general like "I will exert the fullest practical effort toward increasing freedom in New Hampshire", then I would have no need to get specific.  But since the SOI specifies the kind of society it wants to create, I need to understand exactly what kind of society that is.

The SOI needs to be specific, to some extent, because someone could claim to have a very different idea of "freedom."  So questions are perfectly acceptable. :)

To give the physical equivalent, my neighbors are vibrating my eardrums.  Do they have a right to vibrate my eardrums.  I personally find noise even more harmful than being punched in the nose.

They are making noise on their own property.  Unless they are doing you harm (eg, if the noise is loud enough to cause physical damage), you have no claim against them.

Build a noise fence, or move to a neighborhood that has covenants preventing loud noise.

Joe
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margomaps

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2008, 01:54:13 pm »

To give the physical equivalent, my neighbors are vibrating my eardrums.  Do they have a right to vibrate my eardrums.  I personally find noise even more harmful than being punched in the nose.

If you put it that way, anyone who speaks to you from the street in front of your yard, whistles, or drives past your house is vibrating your eardrums.  Would you claim this is a violation of your right to not have your eardrums vibrated?

If someone erects an ugly antennae on their house, which you can see from your house, they are imposing reflected light on your retina.  Does this violate your right to not have your retina stimulated by unsightly structures?

I'm not trying to be annoying either -- I'm just trying to get to the bottom of what it is you're after.  Perhaps you don't want zoning, but you do want a noise ordinance which prohibits volumes beyond a certain dB level at certain times of the day?

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Is it the general consensus of FSP people that people have the right to blast noise onto their neighbor's property?  If this is a debated issue, then I would prefer to live near FSP people who agree with me on this.  But if the consensus is against me, then I probably don't belong.

A neighbor "blasting" noise is probably a very different thing than making sounds that you might be able to hear on your property.  You indicated that you didn't want to hear your neighbor's music, nor their dog.  I can tell you from experience that you're going to be able to hear a barking dog from quite a distance away, and if your hearing is good you'll be able to hear music (even music played at moderate volumes) pretty far as well.  You cannot control everything.  Joe gives good advice about what to do if you want to live quietly.

FYI, I bet it would be very easy to find likeminded people who enjoy quiet.  Now, finding such in a "walkable" town...that could be a serious challenge.  A "walkable" town is generally going to have a sizeable population density, which means a lot more people who might do things to irritate you will be living within earshot.
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Fishercat

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2008, 01:54:40 pm »


I think blasting one's stereo onto someone else's property is effectively trespassing and violates property rights.  People should be free to do what they want on their property as long as they don't harm their neighbors, and blasting noise onto one's neighbor's property does harm them.  I live in San Francisco where people live close together but noise regulations are fairly well enforced, so it is reasonably quiet.  I would want the same in NH.

Noise does not violate your property rights, and is not trespassing.  You don't have a "right" to quiet, unless you contract with your neighbors to promise such to each other.

Reasonable people may disagree.   I have a recollection that there was a discussion about the right to "quiet enjoyment."  There were Free Staters/libertarians on both sides of that argument.  So I think you could, in good conscience, sign the SOI while maintaining that the "Right to Quiet Enjoyment" is a property right.

As was said earlier, many here may disagree.   But other may not.


In any case, people here are generally respectful of each other, and I've never had a noise problem.  In a free society, people tend to take responsibility for their own actions simply because it is beneficial to be on good terms with one's neighbors, rather than because men with guns are running around forcing you to be polite.

I do recall a recent discussion of a town that had an ordinance against firing artillery during the night...

My town.

The background is that this year a "Noise Ordinance" was passed.  Basically it prohibits noise overnight, as well as some of the "usual suspects" (e.g. stereo "blasting") during other times.  And, yes, it specifically mentions the firing of cannon during the prohibited hours.

What this suggests is that living in New Hampshire (as opposed to the yet-to-be-obtained free society), you will find some towns that have supported your desire for "quiet enjoyment" through regulation.  And since my town's regulation was, according to the Selectmen, based on "similar ordinances from around NH," it probably isn't that hard to find a town with this on the books.

And, according to the chief of police, the ordinance was necessary because of a handful of property/noise disputes that the police are asked to respond to, but didn't feel they had the force of law to back them in.

Many of the people who signed the SOI will see this all as a massive new infringement of the government on our individuals rights.   Others maybe not so much.  My view is that the SOI is deliberately vague enough that you can decide for yourself what this means to you.

San Francisco is a nice walkable city because it was built before zoning.  This allowed shops and houses to mix naturally in mixed-use neighborhoods where people could walk to shops.  All American cities and towns built since zoning started are based on single-use zoning which prevents this.

Many towns in NH were built during the industrialization in the late 1800s, early 1900s.   As such, some are built to be walkable because it was a time when not everyone had a car.   The key is that if the town has a small population, they're not really going to support an "urban center," which probably means you'll need to drive to get to the store, etc.   But as the populations get larger, more regulation, including zoning, has come in with it.  In fact, some of the zoning is specifically to preserve the "historic" nature of the town (look and walkability specifically).   So a walkable town without zoning does strike me as being generally cross-purposes.

That said, there are so many places in NH from Manchester (small city) to hermit-like isolation, with nearly everything in between.  You can probably find a happy balance amonst it all (including cost-of-living, a driving factor for where I chose to move).   Not sure if its an easy answer, though.
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Fishercat

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Re: A few questions
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2008, 02:38:54 pm »

Is it the general consensus of FSP people that people have the right to blast noise onto their neighbor's property?  If this is a debated issue, then I would prefer to live near FSP people who agree with me on this.  But if the consensus is against me, then I probably don't belong.

From http://freestateproject.org/about/faq.php

Q: I'm mostly a libertarian, but I don't agree with [issue X]. What do you have to say about that?

A: We welcome all who love liberty. We are not a lockstep movement, requiring all who join to subscribe to a long list of agreements on every point. All we ask is that you agree that government's maximum role should be to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud. We welcome you and support your desire to live according to your values. We ask only that you support others in their right to do the same.
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