Image: John Hersey

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Fed up with big government? The Free State Project may be for you. The nonprofit group wants 20,000 libertarians and other anti-government activists to pack up and relocate to a single state, which would give them enough clout to take control of the state’s government. Since a Yale student named Jason Sorens first broached the idea two years ago, some 3,600 “liberty-oriented people” have pledged to join the movement. Once the number reaches 5,000, the group will vote to settle in one of 10 “target” states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North or South Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Delaware. By voting as a bloc in a sparsely populated state, the Free Staters hope to elect officials who will slash taxes, eliminate state services, relax gun controls, legalize drugs and prostitution, and privatize utilities.

Elizabeth McKinstry, the group’s vice president, acknowledges that libertarians are just plain tired of trying to persuade others to support them. “Which makes more sense,” she asks, “trying to change 90 percent of the people’s minds, or finding your brothers in arms and working with them?” Officials in the targeted states, however, aren’t exactly lobbying to win the Free State vote. “We have a neighbor to the east they could consider,” suggests Jason Gibbs, press secretary to Governor Jim Douglas of Vermont. Lucky for him, New Hampshire seems to be emerging as a favorite among Free Staters. In June, boosters organized an “Escape to New Hampshire Getaway Week” to entice libertarians to move to the Granite State. The opponents of state government spent a day relaxing at Franconia Notch State Park — where the unspoiled landscape has been carefully preserved by the state of New Hampshire.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate