From the July 2003 Idaho Observer:

IO withdraws from Free State Project

by Don Harkins

A series of events have taken place which has caused The Idaho Observer to adopt a fall-back position regarding its endorsement of and pledge to participate in the Free State Project (FSP).

The FSP is the brainchild of Jason Sorens, who recently earned a Ph.D in political science at Yale and is will be a lecturer for Yale's Political Science Department this coming school year.

The IO has been in support of the FSP since learning of it last fall. Staff writer Hari Heath dedicated his monthly column to an analysis of why the FSP ought to pick Idaho from among the 10 states in the running for being chosen as the first “free state” (The IO, Nov., 2002). The IO also attended the Libertarian Party of Montana's Grand Western Conference last Memorial Day weekend because the conference was centered around discussion about the FSP.

Sorens attended the Missoula conference, as did Sierra Times Editor J.J. Johnson and his wife Nancy Lord Johnson, Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial Page Editor Vin Suprynowicz and author Clair Wolfe.

The conference was excellent (as reported last month by Richard Rieben). Sorens was also a very nice person whose interest in the FSP was supported by the thesis he wrote to earn his Ph.D -- secession movements in the 20th century.

Issues began to arise when Lanny Messinger, a close friend of us here at The IO, began to question some things regarding the inner workings of FSP. He determined that it is a foregone conclusion New Hampshire will be the free state chosen. He also discovered that the FSP will make the decision internally.

Messinger was appalled. The FSP email discussion group got quite heated and resulted in Messinger proposing that there be an FSP east and an FSP west. Additional chat room discussion illuminated an interesting dilemma: Free staters east and free staters out west have significantly different concepts of freedom.

Messinger seceded from the FSP and is proposing a free county project with a motto, “Liberty after the next election,” as opposed to “Liberty in our lifetime.”

Questions have arisen regarding the significance of Sorens' employment with Yale's Pol Sci department, particularly because of its self-stated objectives for the direction of world government.

Sorens' explanations for some of these concerns have been lucid and in keeping with his decent character. In an email exchange we agreed that some valid issues were brought to light.

At this time, The IO is withdrawing from FSP as a pledged participant. We plan to report FSP developments as they come our way and report the progress of the Free County Project as well.

This last month has illuminated some key issues that may foreshadow the project's potential for failure; it also showed us what it will take to help it succeed. Stay tuned.

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