Archive for January, 2008

An Open Letter to the Amish Community

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Dear members of the Amish community,

I’ve learned recently from an episode of a radio show called Free Talk Live that some of the members of your community have been persecuted. They have been singled out, simply because they were going about living their lives as they saw fit.

Daniel S. Borntreger of Wisconsin wanted to build a house for himself. He had the audacity to think that he could build his house with his own two hands, on his own property, without asking anyone’s permission. Apparently, he was mistaken. According to LaCrosseTribune.com, officials of the town of Franklin, Wisconsin have taken him to court for building his house without getting permits from them. He is facing “fines of between $25 and $1,000 for every day of violation and could be barred from inhabiting the home he built without a permit”. I’m imagining that he must now be thinking that he doesn’t really own his property as he once thought he did. I’m sure he’s frustrated that a group of individuals who claim to have authority over him are demanding that he pay them money, or else possibly lose his house.

I would like to offer a potential solution to Borntreger and anyone else in the Amish community. If you desire to do whatever you want with your property without asking for anyone’s permission — please, come to New Hampshire. The article on LaCrossTribune.com mentions that there has been “a steady increase in the number of Amish families moving to rural areas, lured by…privacy”. From that statement, it’s obvious to me that you’re willing to move your lives and your families to a place where you think you will have more freedom.

I’m not currently in New Hampshire, but I will soon be moving there. Starting in April, I will be walking across the country with my family, from the west coast to New Hampshire, on a journey we call the Walk For Liberty. The primary reason I want to move to New Hampshire specifically is to participate in a movement called the Free State Project. The Free State Project is an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving individuals to move to New Hampshire, individuals who think that they should be able to decide for themselves how to live their lives. They don’t think other people (i.e. the government) should be able to tell them how to manage every little detail of their lives, such as building a house.

Why should you move to New Hampshire though? Why make all the effort to move all the way across the country? Well for one, New Hampshire is arguably the most free state in the country already. The existing population there primarily has a live-and-let-live mentality. In fact, the New Hampshire motto is “Live Free or Die”. It has extremely low taxes, and the laws in general there aren’t quite as oppressive as in other states. As a prime example, the town of Grafton in New Hampshire has no zoning or building codes at all — that’s right, there’s a place in this country where you can build whatever you want on your own property, and no one will make threats to you because of it.

But there’s an even better reason to come to New Hampshire. Let’s say for whatever reason, Grafton is not the location for you. Although Grafton doesn’t have building codes, there might be somewhere else in New Hampshire which you like better, which unfortunately might have building codes. There is an existing network of activists already in New Hampshire willing to back you up if you decide to live your life as you want to. There are already over 500 Free State Project signers in New Hampshire, as well as many more natives also friendly to the idea that you should be able to live your life as you want.

If you decide to build a house there and don’t want to get the “required” permits, people will rally to your defense. They’ll protest, show up in court, or even help protect you in your house if need be. Take the recent example of Ed and Elaine Brown, who are individuals who think that they should be able to keep all the money they earn without paying a portion of it to the federal government. Dozens of Free Staters showed up at their house in support of them. The Browns were holed up in their house for a while, and Free Staters and others came to defend them. They even went out to get them groceries and anything else they needed, as well simply keeping them company.

There are also the ongoing stories of Lauren Canario. She rejects the concept that anyone has any authority over her at all. She simply goes about her life, not harming others, but living as she wants to. She has been in jail a number of times. Each time though, Free Staters and friends have come to her aid, making phone calls requesting her freedom, protesting outside her jail cell, showing up in court, and generally being a thorn in the side of the state. To a large part through their efforts, she has always been let go, often without a trial.

If you decide to make your home in New Hampshire, there will be many people there who will welcome you with open arms. I’m sure all you want is to live your lives as you want, without bothering others, and you’ll find many kindred spirits there. I look forward to your arrival.

Live in freedom,

Will Buchanan

My First (Online) Step in the Walk For Liberty

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Some days, nothing goes right, but in others it’s all good. In this blog, I will be documenting my preparations for the Walk For Liberty, as well as other subjects concerning freedom and liberty in general. The Walk For Liberty is a walk from coast to coast to promote the Free State Project and Ron Paul. Joining me will be my wife, my brother, and his girlfriend. I anticipate there will be many trials to come, both in preparation for, and during, our walk across the country. For now though, I’d like to share with you a story about the obstacles I faced in getting this blog online.

Creating a WordPress blog (the software I use) is not really that hard in and of itself. I had previously set one up for my brother. The web hosting company we use has an automated tool to set up the blog, but it doesn’t do it in the format I wanted. So I had to download the software and install it manually.

Like I said, that part is not really that hard. It was even easier this second time around setting up my own blog. I might be somewhat biased since I’m a programmer by trade, but if you’re somewhat technically inclined, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty setting up a WordPress blog on your own hosted web server (though if you want to start your own blog and want a completely effortless way to do it, go to wordpress.com and use their online software; I just wanted the flexibility of a blog on my own website).

The difficult part about creating it, for me at least, was getting it to look exactly like the theme I had already created for the rest of my Walk For Liberty website. This is my first website, and I’ve been working on it for a while, trying to get it perfect. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time creating my own look for it — tweaking it and improving it, until it was finally something I enjoyed. Although there are lots of existing free WordPress themes to choose from, I wanted to use the theme I had created instead of one of the canned themes.

So I went about the task of configuring WordPress to use my already-created look. Getting it 95% the same turned out to be pretty straightforward. I recently read someone say in a forum comment though, that when you think you’re 95% done with a website, you’re really only halfway there. That pretty much turned out to be true in my case. My new WordPress theme looked almost the same as the rest of my website, but not exactly the same. I suppose I could have just started blogging with the few visual problems and fixed them later. My curse though is that I’m a perfectionist, so I just couldn’t bring myself to do that, even though I was getting frustrated and going in circles trying to fix it.

I slept on it, and had an insight about how to fix it. The next morning I was able to get it looking just like the rest of my website in a relatively short period of time. Note to self — when you’re not making much progress with something, it’s best to step away from it for a while, preferably overnight. :)

But it’s up now — and I did learn a lot about website creation. I’m sure there will be many other challenges in our preparation for the Walk For Liberty, but I look forward to them!