Looking forward to a day off

I have the day off from work today, though I normally work every weekend. Once a month I take a Saturday for my board game meet up which I host in Rochester, New Hampshire, at Jetpack Comics’ big game room. I’ll be there from 2 pm until they close at 10:30, or whenever I decide to leave if the other people have left.

I look forward to spending some time with my games, which I don’t normally feel like playing by myself. I have a few games that can be played solo, but it just isn’t the same experience.

In other news, I just learned that a new employee at my store, a transfer from another location, is related to one of my liberty friends. Next Thursday I’ll be at another Seacoast liberty meet up and ought to see him.

I’m also intending to see if anyone wants to run for state office there. I’ll be preparing, over the next week, a document listing off all the state reps in Strafford County, and their liberty scores. Anyone with an NHLA score below B could be facing a challenger from the pro-liberty crowd! I’ll also print out the details about filing requirements, and the ward maps for the 3 cities in the county (Rochester, Dover, and Somersworth).

Well, gotta get started on it. I’ll do that for a bit and then go back to bed for awhile. I didn’t sleep very well, I’m afraid.

 

Hodge-podge

Just a little more about my life and things I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days.

First of all, I don’t really like my job, although it gets me out of sitting alone in my apartment, which is good. Mostly I don’t like having to be on my feet for 8 hours a day. The work itself isn’t bad, except when the bathrooms are messy. And Wal-Mart associates are mostly very nice people. Some of them will even discuss history and politics with me, but I need to do more about economic ideas.

I haven’t had time to do much of anything, the last couple of days. But I did start a couple of things.

I’ve borrowed the book The Silmarillion, by JRR Tolkien (published posthumously with editing by his son Christopher), which contains several stories that are the back history of the elves, mostly, from his more famous works, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Its quite fascinating, especially his ideas about multiple Gods creating things. And also, as a genealogy lover, I like learning about the ancestors of the elf Elrond.

Second thing I’ve just started: a friend recently fixed up my laptop for me, which now works normally except for not having internet. Being a tech guy, he gave me a text editor program for computer programmers, also an interpreter and help guide for the computer language Python, a more advanced language related to C and C++. By more advanced, I mean that things you would have to write as programs in C++ are built into the Python language, some advanced data structures, for instance. I studied C++ in college so this should be quite interesting. I don’t know if I’ll get a career doing Python programming but I’ve started trying to learn the language.

I’ve also volunteered to help a pro-liberty PAC here in New Hampshire, called the Get Involved PAC. They basically recruit candidates to run for state office here, especially to fill seats where the incumbent had a score from the NH Liberty Alliance that was less than a B. I actually did that about a week ago but I don’t think I wrote anything about it at the time. The leaders are Free Staters and also part of NHLA, and one of them is also my landlord, the owner of the building where I live.

I’m about to embark on another chapter of my map creation, tackling the more complex state house maps.

Speaking of chapters, I may post some short stories on this site in the near future. I’ve been working on my own fictional world for quite some time but don’t have anything quite ready to publish yet.

I tried stargazing again yesterday morning and could only see the brightest stars. About all I could make out were the two Dippers and Leo.

Today, the sky is much clearer though there are some clouds.

There was a solar eclipse a few days ago, visible only in a small area in Asia or the Pacific Ocean. A solar eclipse is always followed, so I’ve heard, two weeks later by a lunar eclipse. They are seen over a much larger area of the earth. So, in about ten days, at our next full moon, be watching the skies. This one is a partial eclipse, though.

I’m going back out to look at stars, after I consult my sky map again. More later!


 

 

 

March 12 Election Update

I meant to post about this yesterday, but I had wireless data turned off for half the day and couldn’t figure out why I had no internet. Later on, after work, I was too tired to feel like writing anything.

Anyway, here are the results from Saturday’s voting. There weren’t a lot of delegates at stake, but it could be symvolically bad for trump anyway, the first times multiple places have voted in one day that he didn’t win anything. He only got one delegate, in Wyoming, as did Rubio there. Cruz got the rest of the Wyoming delegates assigned on Saturday, which was about 12, I believe. Rubio got more than half in DC, with Kasich right behind him in the nation’s capital. No surprise there, except the part about Trump and Cruz actually getting some votes, not enough to get delegates. Cruz also got the only one assigned in Guam, the rest being unbound. In all, less than 25 delegates awarded.

On the Democrat side, Clinton got most of the delegates in the Northern Mariana Islands, but Sanders also got some.

That’s it!

In other election news, there’s been some violence in clashes between Trump supporters and protesters at several Trump rallies. According to most of the media, Trump is 100% responsible for this. Never mind that conflict between people of different groups had been going on for, well, forever. Never mind that the Democrats have been catering to certain minorities and telling them all their problems were because of white racism for years. Never mind that certain progressive billionaires have been funding the anti-white protests for over a year. As long as the president says he’s not been divisive, it must be true. Don’t I know what a nice guy Obama is?

Literally, Trump has about twice said something that seemed to encourage violence against protestors who tried to interrupt his speeches. This is about him wanting free speech and those on the left, again, not caring about the rights of others. Don’t I know that if leftists simply assert someone is bigoted, hateful, homophobic, racist, misogynist, that’s all the argument they would say I need. No free speech for haters. And of course, they get to decide who is a hater. This is all about power for the Democrat Party, no conflict of interest there.

Anyway, I’ve found a few news websites that give more fair treatment of Trump, such as InfowarsBreitbart, the conservative Daily Caller, and some of the stories from those have been reposted on the libertarian website Lew Rockwell. There are probably more I haven’t checked yet. I’m particularly interested in what Ron Paul and Ben Swann have to say about this.

I’ve seen two great articles on Lew Rockwell making fun of those who compare Trump to Hitler. One was a repost from Daily Caller, by Ann Coulter. She said it very matter-of-factly as if she agreed, but quickly I could see that many of the things that would make them similar actually don’t apply to trump, in some cases the people accusing him have more in common with Hitler. It was great.

Well, more in a bit.

 

Four more states vote today

Today, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi are voting in the Presidential race. I have been following this election quite closely, even at times sneaking into the bathroom to see if the partial results from a state have updated. I feel like quite a nerd saying that. Isn’t that something guys usually do to check on a football game?

This will bring us up to 23 states, plus at least one territory. So far, Marco Rubio, the Republican “establishment”‘s best hope, only has 2 wins, in Minnesota on March 1st (also called Super Tuesday since 11 states voted for Republican that day) and 2 days ago in Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has 12 states: New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and from Super Tuesday 7 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia), and from last Saturday Kentucky and Louisiana. Ted Cruz is in second place, with 6 states: He won the first contest in Iowa, on Super Tuesday Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska, and on Saturday Maine and Kansas. On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by a comparable margin as Trump over Cruz. Not comparable in actual delegate counts, since she has a lot of Democrat superdelegates, but the delegate math is too complicated for me to get into in one blog post.

I find it fascinating to see the long-established Republican Party tearing itself apart over this one man, and trying to act as though they still have control over half the electorate in this country. Obviously, a large percentage of voters don’t care what the neo-cons who took over the Republican Party over the last 50 years  (and ousted the defensive-war-only wing of the party, by the way) have to say about how they ought to vote. Two-time losers like Mitt Romney are lecturing others about how they have to vote in order for the party to win. A lot of crazy stuff is going on. I have a hard time believing all the people I talk to who don’t even care about politics. But maybe they’re trying to avoid all this craziness.

It is so obvious to me that the Republican leadership is not afraid of Trump losing to Hillary. They are afraid of him winning and being a President that they can’t predict or control. I am under no illusions that he would follow the non-aggression principle, but I do think that he is less dangerous (to us, the common people) than they want to claim. He is dangerous to their power. I am no fan of democracy, but isn’t it the role of a democratic government to protect its own people first and foremost (at least supposedly, according to their own theory)? I fail to see how a guy who wants to put American interests first is more dangerous or worse than all the people who want to expand our military presence around the world, as if the people who have been occupied and destroyed by the US military don’t already hate us enough. Nor, in my opinion, is he worse than those who want to force us to use new pronouns for people to honor multiple gender identities, force us to overlook violence when it is an ethnic minority doing it, force us to bake cakes that violate our religious beliefs, and force us to bring in (and foot the bill for) hundreds of thousands of refugees who could include some people that hate America and have no problem with trying to be politically correct and nice about how they express it. The right is focused on wars that have nothing to do with defending the country, and the left is focused on a war on white people such as myself, and using police violence as an excuse to federalize the police, and I’m supposed to be upset about a guy who wants to close the borders, just because some people call him racist or bully?

I  feel the level of political discourse (even before Donald Trump took the lead in polls last year) has never been lower in this country, when using a smear word against someone takes the place of having an actual discussion about their ideas. It’s an anti-intellectual movement that has been going on for years, and Republicans have been enabling this nonsense by apologizing to Democrats when they hadn’t done anything wrong. I’m glad to see someone standing up for himself and refusing to apologize in order to cater to political correctness. Trump is just the natural outcome and backlash by the conservatives who have been betrayed and denied their “say” in the government because of their own party failing to represent their interests.

Some even say that there will be a world war if Trump is elected. That’s ridiculous. Which is more likely to cause war, a guy who doesn’t mind dishing out insults if someone else attacks him first, or a guy who talks nice but sends our soldiers into places where they have no business being? We’re supposed to vote for the guy who supports the current US practice of claiming to fight ISIS but REALLY, we’re fighting Syria’s President Assad in order to weaken ISIS somehow, which makes no sense, versus the guy (Trump) who wants to let the Russians (who are actually fighting against the evil terrorists there) handle the mess in their own region, and wants to let China handle North Korea, too, by the way. He’s questioning why we have troops in Germany, and South Korea, and Japan, and all sorts of places. Good question. Why do prominent libertarians in New Hampshire want to take away his delegates that he won for getting more than a third of the vote in New Hampshire, out of about 9 different people who were running and had significant campaigns? How is it libertarian to make a focus of opposing just this one guy, and ignore all the other statists in the room?

Anyway, that’s a bit of my feeling on the whole Donald Trump phenomenon. I think all the people who are afraid of him (at least relative to other politicians) are crazy. He’s no Ron Paul, who is one of my heroes, but I can’t help wondering if Ron Paul was a little too nice to have the political success that Trump is having. Don’t get me wrong, Ron Paul was and still is very effective at spreading the message of liberty, but if his goal had been to get elected, or even to pass pro-liberty bills in Congress, he would have been a complete failure.

More election updates later. I’ll probably post again tonight or tomorrow when we have the results from Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi.

Talking to people about libertarian ideas

I just had a lengthy conversation this morning with a co-worker who definitely falls in the liberal camp. He just had to criticize Ayn Rand and talk about how we have to have taxes in order to have roads.

I think I came out of this conversation a little better than he did, but it still disturbed me, especially when he was trying to convince me that we “white” people all have some mystical advantage over other groups called “white privilege”. This is a young college student, and I am hoping I opened his eyes to some other historical things that he didn’t know. Still, this only firms up my resolve to continue studying US history and economics so I can be more persuasive (not a natural talent for me). At one point he said there was some research backing him up but he needed to bone up on it, which I appreciated. I kind of felt the same way. He wanted to talk about institutional racism as the reason poor black people have so many problems, and I just can’t see how this isn’t a gross over-simplification.

It seems to me to be just a plain fact that many black people engage in behavior that limits their own options, for example women going on welfare and having children without getting married. Another example is listening to music that encourages criminal activity, or getting involved in drug trafficking that naturally leads them into conflicts with the police.

Lastly, I heard recently about a study that cleared the New Jersey State Police of a charge that their arrests of disproportionately more black drivers for speeding was caused by racism. No, a study done using traffic cameras showed that, on average, black drivers actually speed more than whites. Not a politically correct thing to say nowadays, but I believe in pursuing truth whether or not it is popular.

Prior to getting into politics and economics, we were having a fun conversation about musicals and movies, including him telling me about some fan-made movies based on Star Wars and Harry Potter. I have just watched a bit of both and found them interesting, but don’t have time to watch more unfortunately.

My great weekend

Last weekend was really enjoyable. On Friday, I went with a neighbor to a friend’s house in my town. He hangs out with us and we watch movies, play boardgames, or video games, and I use his computer. I am able to supplement my 3-4 times a week visit to the library to get in a little more time on the internet. Each day I go to the library, I am limited to one hour on the internet, unfortunately. I am going again today to get in some stuff I have been meaning to do.

On Saturday, I got to see some friends I hadn’t seen in over a year. They used to live in Rochester, but moved to Concord in 2014. Anyway, they had a pool party at their house, and I drove up with my “borrowed” neighbor kid. I hadn’t been swimming in at least 5 years, but it was fun. Besides the host family, and the two of us, I think there were eight other people there, with all of the adults being participants in or friends of the Free State Project. Some of the people just hung around and ate for 2-3 hours and then left, but some of us went swimming in my friend’s nice in-ground pool, and we also played some of my boardgames. We started with two of my party games, which I wanted to get in because they are made for larger groups and are a lot of fun to play. In fact, several of the participants who don’t normally like games liked the two we played, especially the second game. We played Big Picture Apples to Apples, followed by Wits and Wagers Party. After three more people left, it was just my neighbor, myself, and the three members of the host family who were there. As it was getting dark, we moved inside and proceeded to play two more of my games, Boss Monster and Forbidden Desert (that one is called a “cooperative game” because you are working with the other players, not trying to win individually).

I would have taken a bunch of pictures, but I didn’t know where my camera was at the time. Anyway, if I am able to go to a repeat event, look for some pictures to come to this blog.

By the way, the boardgame links above are all to a wonderful website called boardgamegeek.com, which is both an encyclopedia and social networking site for boardgamers. The same company also has video game and role-playing game versions of the website. My name on BGG is the same as the name of this webpage, brycenh. You can see all the games I own at this link.

What is the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance?

I am a supporter (and I believe I have the free membership) in an organization called the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, a nonpartisan political advocacy group that works to monitor and advise the state legislature here in New Hampshire.

They do some amazing things. They have dozens to hundreds of volunteers. Together, they read EVERY SINGLE piece of legislation that is proposed in the State House and State Senate. They make recommendations on which bills are anti-liberty or pro-liberty, and on how much of an impact on liberty each bill has. Then, during the active part of each legislative season (roughly January through June), they put out a one-page flyer called the Gold Standard which is given to each member of the legislature, at least those who will take one. This is quite an accomplishment in itself, since the lower house of the legislature, formally known as the General Court, has 400 members (it is one of the largest legislatures in the English-speaking world, I believe 4th behind the US Congress, British Parliament, and Indian Congress).

As if this is not enough, at the end of the legislative season, the NHLA rates every member of the 2 houses and gives them a grade, how pro-liberty were they, with the grades going from A+ all way down to F and beyond to a grade called CT, Constitutional Threat.

The NHLA also has someone who coordinates service projects. The organization also produces bumper stickers, puts on an annual dinner in which they release the grades and honor the top legislator and activist for the year. There is also a website, nhliberty.org. I suggest you check it out, especially if you’re in New Hampshire or if you want to see how effective state level political action can be.

This organization is one of the main mechanisms for Free Staters (a colloquial term for participants in the Free State Project) to get involved in political activism after they move, and there is a lot of overlap in the membership rolls, but it would be a mistake to call this a Free Stater organization. Officially, the Free State Project doesn’t tell its members how to get involved in bringing about a more free society after moving, but is just the vehicle to get people of a liberty mindset here to the US.

In a future post I will write about this year’s Liberty Rating from the NHLA.

What is the Free State Project

Hello, this is Bryce again.

 

I am a participant in the Free State Project. What, exactly, does that mean?

I’m just going to basically define the project here. I’ll deal with objections in future posts.

I have been a libertarian for many years, but about 4 years ago, I moved from the western US to the state of New Hampshire.

The Free State Project is an effort to convince 20,000 people who share a common view of what society should be like (based on voluntary interaction, not the force of government) to pool their efforts in one relatively small place. The project started with an essay written in 2001 by a graduate student in political science, Jason Sorens (now a political science professor at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH), in which he proposed the 20,000 number and said that the target state should be one with a population of less than 2 million people. I believe there are 12 states in the US that meet this criterion, but ultimately only ten were put in the vote in 2003. Two of the states, Hawaii and Rhode Island, were considered to have state governments that were too corrupt to even contemplate trying to reform them. The other ten states were put up for a vote. New Hampshire won the vote as being the best state to make this effort, with Wyoming taking second place. The other states that were considered were Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Vermont, and Maine. I think I have those right.

 

If you want to know something about why New Hampshire was such a popular choice, see the video 101 Reasons to Move to New Hampshire.

If you want to know why I personally felt this was a worthwhile effort, here is a brief explanation of it. I will write a post at another time saying why I feel so strongly about libertarianism.

I could see that voting for libertarians rarely accomplished anything. Outside of New Hampshire, libertarians rarely get elected to anything, unless they run in the Republican or Democrat Parties (even that is a rarety, excepting the wonderful libertarianish figure of Ron Paul, the former Congressman and 3-times candidate for President who, frankly, deserves his own post on this blog). Even when libertarians are elected, it tends to be only to a few very local offices, town or city level for the most part. This effort, of concentrating libertarians from all over the US in one state has changed that, and I am glad to be part of this effort to achieve “Liberty in Our Lifetime”.

I was living in Utah, frequently visiting family who lived just across the border in Colorado, and wishing I could do something to advance the cause of liberty. Then I learned of the Free State Project, and bam! There was something I could do. I saved up my money for a few years before making the move, but in September 2011 I packed up my belongings and made the long trek from Colorado to New Hampshire.

What is Libertarianism?

My political views are best described as Libertarian. Although many people are familiar with this concept, I think it best to explain it a little. Basically, libertarianism is a purely political philosophy (i.e. a belief that only deals with what is okay or moral for the GOVERNMENT to do) and can best be summarized as follows:

A libertarian is a person who believes in the NAP, the Non-Aggression Principle, which states that it is immoral to initiate aggression against another person or group of people. Aggression is understood to mean committing or threatening force or fraud.

Many people live their private lives in accordance with this principle, but think there is an exception for when the government does something that they would consider to be illegitimate for private persons to do. For instance, I would be wrong to kidnap my neighbor even if I thought he had stolen my property. However, if someone from the government, wearing a uniform and carrying a badge, and using a different word, “Arrest”, does it, non-libertarians would consider this okay. That is ridiculous.

I just want to say, I am not trying to pick on the police, but they are the ones who enforce many ridiculous laws that violate people’s fundamental and common law rights.

If you want to learn more about what libertarians believe, see some questions answered, or take a test to see if you are a libertarian (called the World’s Smallest Political Quiz), then I recommend you visit a website of The Advocates for Self-Government.

Thanks for reading. Next I will write about the effort that brought me to New Hampshire, called the Free State Project.