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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Free Keene Foolishness

This story was amusing. To protest an "open container" alcohol ban, some people played a drinking game at a Keene city council meeting. Unsurprisingly, they were kicked out of the meeting.

This raises 2 points:

  1. Is it rude to go to a city council meeting and ridicule it?
  2. It that an effective use of your time?
The people at the city council claim the power to use violence to force people to obey. Therefore, it isn't immoral to ridicule them.

However, going to a city council meeting, even if just to protest and ridicule, implicitly acknowledges the legitimacy of the proceedings. A real agorist would completely ignore the city council. By going to the meeting, you implicitly say "It matters what these schmucks do."

There was another amusing bit. One councilperson said "I was going to try to change the 'open container' law. This stupid protest changed my mind." That is invalid reasoning. Even if a few people were rude, that doesn't invalidate criticism of the 'open container' law. The bureaucrat is probably just making up an excuse for what he wanted to do anyway.

One person said "This protest was a bad idea! You're making libertarians/anarchists look stupid. Now, State thugs are resisting change." The protest was bad, because it gave the statists an excuse to be statists? That's like saying "Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are responsible for the Iraqi and Afghan children killed by US troops." This is an example of "Blame the victim, not the aggressor."

Is a "city council" protest an efficient use of time? They did get some publicity from their stunt. However, other things are probably more effective.

At a city council meeting, you're fighting State thugs on their turf. That's usually a mistake. Plus, it seems hypocritical for an anti-statist to go to a State bureaucratic meeting.

The "Free Keene" crowd seem to be doing lots of stupid civil disobedience:
  • violating 'open container' laws
  • publicly smoking marijuana
  • public nudity
  • driving without a State permit
  • refusing to stand up for a judge
  • paying your property tax in $1 bills
Those things annoy statists, but don't really threaten the State's core economic/violence monopoly. Technically, those are things that shouldn't be illegal. However, it isn't worth getting kidnapped, just to do any of those things. The State is a bully with superior resources. Therefore, you should choose your tactics carefully. Only an idiot picks a fight with a bully, even when they're technically right.

I don't like marijuana and alcohol, so that civil disobedience seems silly. Driving without State papers seems like a bad risk/reward decision; in NH, you might get away with it, but you wouldn't in NYC. "Pay property taxes in $1 bills." is annoying some low-ranking clerk rather than anything else. He was considering paying in pennies. That's really stupid, because pennies are worth more than $0.01 each!

"Refusing to stand up for a judge" is amusing. Again, you'd never get away with that in NYC. Allegedly, some NH judges no longer throw a tantrum when people refuse to stand up for them. "You must stand up for a judge!" is stupid, but not worth getting kidnapped over.

The "Free Keene" crowd seems to be focusing on civil disobedience that has a poor risk/reward ratio. Have undercover State spies infiltrated and subverted the "Free Keene" movement? They may be encouraging people to do stupid things, rather than effective resistance.

Allegedly, there also are advanced agorist groups in New Hampshire. I don't see them mentioned as much. They might be reluctant to publicly disclose their methods and successes.

If you just evaluate the "Free Keene" stupid civil disobedience, they seem like a bunch of fools. There may be working agorists elsewhere in New Hampshire.

One guy was really upset about paying property taxes. If "property tax" is the only tax you pay, that's pretty impressive! Don't forget the hidden taxes in other things you buy!

I don't see the merit of moving to New Hampshire. If there's a group able to avoid property taxes and defend their homes, I'd seriously consider it. By the time that's viable, the State has already lost. If necessary, the Federal government would dispatch troops to put down a property tax revolt.

I don't see the merit of moving to New Hampshire. As a wage slave financial software engineer, NYC is the best location. If I attempt "promote agorism via standup comedy", NYC is an excellent location. The "agorist grilled cheese seller" is doing fine in NYC. State money is still required to pay State taxes. Even if agorists are successful, they need a "trade surplus" with the State economy, so they can pay property taxes and other taxes. It'll be awhile before agorists will be able to refuse to pay property taxes and successfully defend their homes.

"Stupid civil disobedience in New Hampshire" is a symptom of people who haven't fully cracked their pro-State brainwashing. By "stupid civil disobedience", I mean "poor risk/reward ratio". Is it the effect of State spies, or just plain foolishness? There may be other people in New Hampshire taking a more intelligent approach to fighting State evil, but I don't see it in the "Free Keene" group.


Julia Riber Pitt said...

I have to agree that the tactics activists use are only as good as what they end up accomplishing. If the tactics used do little to make any real change, and are just stunts to "get back" at the state, and just end up making more enemies for the activists than winning people to their side, then those tactics should probably not be used.

As someone from NH - and an "anarchist-socialist" (as they describe me) - I can say I get the image that a lot of the FK people aren't really doing anything to achieve their goals. I strongly disagree with what they are trying to do, as much of a paradox as that sounds, since I don't think their intentions are to build a society based on solidarity and mutual aid but rather one of highly de-regulated capitalism and such. But that's not really the point. I've seen my fair share of political activists from all ideologies and know what creates change and progress and what doesn't.

Anonymous said...

You may be confused as to the actual purpose of Free Keene ( All of the publicity stunts instigated by Ian Bernard and the website are used as "hooks" for attention via social media/networking/search engines which is used to make money via websites and advertising. Free Keene was never meant to be effective, only to attract attention, and create a small marketing cult. Unfortunately, the heavily censored website and forum are used to influence ignorant, usually young, people on the Internet to move to Keene so they can participate in the attention whoring activities.

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