Local takes up fight for liberty
Durangoan does more than dream about creating a free state
A Durango writer and activist who goes by his pen name of “Boston T. Party” surveys a piece of land in Wyoming. Boston, as he is known, plans on moving to the sparsely populated state as part of an effort to populate the state with like minded Libertarians and sway the vote./Courtesy photo

by Ken Wright

Go down to Magpies or Steaming Bean or the El Rancho after midnight, and you're likely to get into the same conversation at some point: What's wrong with the government and society, and what we should do about it.

Although these conversations are usually enthusiastic and passionate, few involved in these lively debates actively follow their visions through the full distance - to action.

Unless you happen to run into Boston T. Party.

For the Durango-area author and speaker, his research into what he says is misdirected and troublesome about our government has led him into the newfound role of self-appointed organizer of a movement to form a "free state" right here in America.

Boston T. Party isn't his real name, of course - "real" meaning what appears on his birth certificate. The name is his nomme de guerre in his fight for personal and tangible - rather than symbolic or Utopian - freedom. The title was the pen name under which he wrote his first book, Good-bye April 15th!, a guide to how income tax works and how to avoid paying it ("You're actually not obligated to pay," he claims).

He chose the pen name because "it was fun and patriotic," he says. Even though it was originally used tongue-in-cheek, the name stuck, eventually growing into the name on a one-man libertarian publishing business. He also is a speaker, most recently talking before the Rotary Club of New York last November.

Since that first guidebook, Boston, as he likes to be called, has penned six more books, including Bulletproof Privacy, You and the Police!, Boston's Gun Bible, and Hologram of Liberty, a look at "how the 1787 (Constitutional) Convention, its Constitution and Federal Government, was the most brilliant and subtle coup d'état in political history."

What was lost at the 1787 convention, argues Boston, was Thomas Jefferson's vision of a loose confederacy of states and individuals. What the Constitution instead became was the vehicle for Alexander Hamilton's vision of a large and controlling federal government.

The only saving grace of Jeffersonian-style freedoms was the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, says Boston. And those amendments are Boston's battleground. "My goal is to enhance the individual liberty of the reader," he explains. "I'm a staunch supporter of the Bill of Rights. I'm a Libertarian with a small 'L.' In a nutshell, Libertarians don't require the coercion of the state."

In his latest book, Molôn Labé, released in the fall, Boston takes his grievances to that rarely taken next step, from vision to radical action. Molôn Labé, which is ancient Greek for "come and take them," quotes the Spartan king Leonidas' at the Battle of Thermopylae. When asked to surrender his weapons in exchange for mercy, he faced down a much larger Persian Army by responding, "Come and take them!"

As a how-to book loosely cloaked as a fictional political adventure, Molôn Labé outlines Boston's blueprint for reclaiming liberty from the government by turning Wyoming into Free State Wyoming. "The novel dramatizes a 10-year migration of freedom-loving Americans into Wyoming in the years 2006 through 2016," he says. "They go there escaping increasing government regulation, increasing taxes, a revived draft, and a new economic depression, and make a coordinated effort to get elected to the local and state government, and create Free State Wyoming."

What keeps this from just being the literary equivalent of big talk at the El Rancho is that the publication of Molôn Labé is Boston's first step in making Free State Wyoming a reality.

The idea for his grand project came after he finished writing Hologram of Liberty, the writing of which began with the question, "What happened to the republic?"

"The role of the government should be to protect the rights, property and liberty of its citizens," he says. "There are two rules in life: First, do all you have agreed to do. Second, don't encroach on the property and person of others. Do that, and how much government do you need?"

"We're still fighting the Hamilton and Jefferson battle today," he continues. "Government today thinks it has a right to control us. But the Declaration of Independence talks about the consent of the governed. So after writing Hologram, I wondered, is there a way of getting back to a Jeffersonian republic?"

"We're still fighting the Hamilton and Jefferson battle today," he continues. "Government today thinks it has a right to control us. But the Declaration of Independence talks about the consent of the governed. So after writing Hologram, I wondered, is there a way of getting back to a Jeffersonian republic?"

His answer to that question is Free State Wyoming.

To join the Free State Wyoming project (visit www.freestatewyoming.org), all one has to do is pay $25 (send only cash or blank money order, Boston urges, and with no return address on the envelope) and sign a Statement of Intent. Signing the statement declares a signer's intention to move to one of three counties in Wyoming before 2010 and pledges that the signer is "a free agent" who is "able and willing to join the Free State Wyoming and its effort to populate Wyoming with individuals of demonstrably ethical character who - forsaking fraud, theft and aggression - desire to peaceably co-exist as reasonable neighbors for the goals of liberty, free trade and voluntary cooperation."

OK. But why Wyoming?

"It's a numbers game," he says. "The numbers are there. In the last election 400,000 people voted for the Libertarian candidate. That's not going to change the country. But, if 10 percent of them moved to Wyoming, they could change the politics of the state."

Fewer than 500,000 people live there now, he says. The objective is to reach a critical mass of members that can then successfully run for and get elected to public office. And, "They're already quasi-Libertarian as it is," he adds. By having like-minded people move to specific counties intentionally, "It's like filling an ice-cube tray one cube at a time," he explains.

"We lost our freedoms incrementally, so we the people wouldn't overreact," he theorizes. "The whole idea of the Free State Wyoming Project is to reclaim them incrementally, so the federal government won't overreact."

Despite this kind of talk, Boston argues that his plan isn't seditious. "It's not about secession," he adds, "It's about people having the amount of liberty they would've had in about 1790. We don't want anything more than what we would've had two hundred years ago. Today, that's a radical notion."


As part of his self-described "wacky marketing" for the Free State Wyoming project, Boston also has just released a commemorative coin. The coin is one ounce of .999 percent pure silver and is stamped with a relief map of the United States - with Wyoming raised - on one side, and an image of the tough, independent, native bison on the other.

The price to purchase a coin is presently about $13, although it varies with the price of silver, but it's worth it, says Boston. "It's real money," he says, "not a promise for money, like federal reserve notes are." Boston says he sold 15 percent of the first run of 1,000 coins even before they were minted.

More than a funding scheme, though, he says he came up with the idea for the coins as "a symbolic piece of an idea. Something fun. A reminder. A piece of a dream we all share."

The real goal of Free State Wyoming, though, he says, is not symbolic victories but tangible freedoms.

"I just want to have a business and a family and be left alone," he adds.

And some people are already making the move. Free State Wyoming has members - Boston won't say how many - and they are living in the three chosen counties in Wyoming. He himself is moving there this year, he says.

"We don't know how far Free State Wyoming will go," he says in conclusion, "but everything we do increases our freedom."

And his parting words suggest that this particular scheme is not just another day-dreaming conversation over coffee or beer: "See you in Wyoming!" Boston says.

Separate project targets New Hampshire as ‘free state’

If Durango's Boston T. Party thinks Wyoming is the place to create a Free State, he has those who share his vision but disagree with him on location.

The Free State Project, launched by Yale political science instructor Jason Sorens, is attempting to also lure 20,000 Libertarian-minded residents to New Hampshire, “where they may work within the political system to reduce the size and scope of government,” says the project's website ( www.freestateproject.org ).

New Hampshire was selected from a list of 10 potential states after 5,000 members of the Free State Project voted in 2003. New Hampshire was chosen, the website says, because of its low tax rates, low crime rates, healthy economy and “a culture of individual responsibility indicated by, for example, a lack of seatbelt and helmet requirements for adults.”

Sorens launched his plan in an essay in a libertarian webzine in 2001. By September 2003, 5,000 people had signed a pledge to move to New Hampshire when 20,000 members commit to do so.

“I hereby state my solemn intent to move to the state of New Hampshire,” the FSP oath states. “Once there, I will exert the fullest potential effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty and property.”

The Porcupines, as the FSP members call themselves – because porcupines are peaceful and calm until attacked – have received media coverage in The New York Times , Playboy and Reader's Digest . In New Hampshire, though, the response has been mixed. In June 2004, 200 residents of the Town of Grafton protested three Porcupines appearing at the town meeting. Also last summer, protesters in Plymouth, N.H., picketed against the FSP Porcupines at a dinner featuring Republican Governor Craig Benson.

– Ken Wright






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