Porcfest 2010 at Lancaster, New Hampshire – an annual event put on by the Free State Project – and which I recently had both the pleasure and honor to attend, was quite an enlightening picture of where the Freedom Movement is at, how it has grown, and where it’s going.
To be sure, Porcfest was not a strictly anarchist event. There were Libertarian Party activists, Alex Jones “Infowarrior” –style constitutionalists, gun rights supporters, neo-hippies, and all manner of folks seeking greater freedom from government. I saw a license plate that said, MINIGOV. There were even two New Hampshire “state representatives” present. My overarching sense, however, was that anarchists and zero-government ideas predominated. I began to develop a distinct feeling that minarchism (that is, the philosophy of small government, for the uninitiated) as a prospective solution among freedom-seekers was a dying creed. This should make no one sorry. Within this movement, I don’t think there’s any longer a question that free-market anarchy is winning.
The crowd’s activities were entirely peaceful, and varied: Vendors sold food, tee-shirts, books, jewelry, and even ammunition. Liquor was sold without any government license.
People openly carried firearms. A lesbian couple got married in a non-state sanctioned ceremony. I didn’t personally witness any pot-smoking, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there wasn’t any. Old friends reunited, and new friendships were forged. And a record number of freedom-lovers turned out.
Another observation was the crowd demographic: At least half of those in attendance were on the younger side – mostly under 30. In many cases, there was little distinction in appearance between Porcfest attendees, and the flower-children who were at Woodstock over 40 years ago. The big difference now, however, are the ideas. And as events like Porcfest grow and grow, that will become increasingly important. Witness that the hippie movement of the 1960s withered because of two cardinal flaws: One, that Marxism is good and moral, and capitalism bad and evil. Two, that it was perfectly okay to use those college degrees they earned in order to get elected into the system of government so as to change it from within. Comforting is the thought that such gross misperceptions will not apply this time around. And the energy and enthusiastic, inquisitive nature of these twenty-somethings is encouraging. My experience showed that they were interested in asking real and relevant questions and getting practical answers in return. Just maybe, this generation is learning, and has something meaningful and rational to say.
I was also humbled by having the amazing opportunity to participate in a couple of anarchist roundtable discussions with friends both old and new. Chaired by Marc Stevens of the No-State Project and author of Adventures in Legal-Land, the videotaped sessions included my long-time friend Jim Davies, Pete Eyre of the Motorhome Diaries, Author and hardcore anti-income tax activist Larken Rose, and later – Stephan Molyneaux, author and host of freedomainradio.com. Libertarian luminaries all, being able to discuss and answer questions with these fellows shoulder to shoulder was very exciting and a great honor. Everywhere we went, people competed to videotape us or get to meet with us. If there is such a thing as being a libertarian celebrity, then that was us. I got a further sense that lots of people – an ever increasing number – are reading anarchist material online and getting their heads turned around by it. “Tune in, turn on, drop out (of government)?” It works better now, I think, than it ever did in the sixties.
And the technology, of course, is different. A lot of computer, Internet, and media savvy was in evidence at Porcfest. Far from having to rely only on live speeches, underrground newspapers, and pirate radio stations, we now have through the Computer Revolution a means of communicating with each other and the world such as has never yet been realized in human history. The ramifications of this for the dissolution and collapse of government are staggering. By making ever increasing use of alternative media and its accompanying technology, it is now within the grasp of anarchists to form a significant enough population minority to seriously threaten the continued power of the State. Once the landslide starts, I don’t see much of any lasting effect that can stop it. As Henry David Thoreau said, “When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned his office, then the revolution is accomplished.” I am of the opinion that we are, at long last, on that very road.
Finally, I think what an event like Porcfest shows is that, even though there still remain some differences between various wings of the Freedom Movement, they are not nearly as significant as the similarities: A spirit of deep tolerance and mutual respect for individualism. A willingness to learn different viewpoints, yet all concepts predicated upon and within the context of a peaceful, voluntary society. Respect for the life and property of others without interference. And, of course, an utter rejection of the violence and coercive force which is the underpinning of all political governments. As previously stated, I think that the minarchists and patriot groups are more and more themselves beginning to see this.
I think I’ll almost definitely be attending Porcfest 2011, and I hope that if you’re reading this, whoever and wherever you are, that you’ll join me. We at the Center for a Stateless Society wish to be uncompromising in our pursuit of logic, truth, and liberty – things only possible in a tangible and workable sense in a world set free from the barbaric destructiveness and irrational violence of government. We are here to provide as many people as possible with the intellectual and moral tools by which to make the case for free-market anarchism, and thereby radically change the future to one of peace and nearly unlimited bounty. Government, throughout history, has been tried in every conceivable form, and look around you at the results. We can and will achieve liberty. And the sooner you help, the faster we’re going to get there.