Decades ago, in Chile, some of the founding fathers of libertarianism Friedrich Hayek One Milton Friedman (Creator of the “Miracle of Chile” as an economic program of the dictatorship). Augusto Pinochet) had an opportunity to impose their views in favor of Free market Against a good portion of the democratic will of “consumers,” the principle of pure liberty calls citizens. But a few years ago, an American town was lost in the woods of Grafton, New Hampshire. Libertarian ideals tested against realityFor the first time, freely and voluntarily.
This experience of independent reality was born in 2004 under the name Free city plan Painfully sustained until its collapse in 2016, that changed A predictable disaster Political, economic, social, cultural and even ecological. But according to the journalist Matthew Hangolds-HedlingAuthor of the research A libertarian meets a bear, it was a disaster, at least according to the historical and demographic conditions of the place. Located in the heart of the first state to declare independence in 1774, Grafton is a town with a population of over 97% white, no African Americans, and with 560 homes, the majority are male.
Let’s add that last detail The “Freedom Utopia” A precise scent. By 2009, when the Free City Project began gathering its ideological imaginations from various independent Internet forums, Grafton was home to 608 men and 488 women. In other words, the dream of a social existence without government and subject to market rules attracted some families. Most enthusiastic independent colonists were men Single and without children.
Grafton became one of the few places in the United States where men outnumbered women, a demographic imbalance that became even more pronounced among young adults. To give you an idea, in 2009 only 39 women living in their twenties, compared to 105 men, called themselves nicknames like “Redman”, “Chan”, “Chan” for their self-determination. ”. Mad Russian” or “Dick Angel”.
But the strangeness in the place is not so new. Already in 1777, after the United States had declared independence, the town of Grafton petitioned the New Hampshire authorities for exemption from continuous taxes. In that document, 18th-century Graftonians wrote phrases such as “New Hampshire” to refer to their home state, or “Honorables” to honor the officials who staked their claim. “A glorious treatise in its quasi-illiteracyEven by the grammatical parameters of the time,” says Hangolds-Hedling.
The first actual (but non-fatal) attack by a black bear occurred in 2012. Before that, in 1999, several local domestic cats that were preyed upon by bears suddenly disappeared. As an aperitif. However, as of 2012, the presence of black bears on the streets of Grafton was attracted by the scent. Garbage that is not properly treated by the municipality or citizensGood independent utopia began to take on a different tone.
For a specific problem How to manage finances and discipline and the infrastructure of a community of members They opposed the existence of the government and the collection of taxesQuick Proliferation of firearms everywhere. But in the case of a territory governed by the principles of absolute individual liberty and unfettered respect for private property, what happened to those who invited the bears into their gardens to feed them?
Independent realism faced a profound philosophical dilemma. Black bears were a threat to some libertarians, and entertainment to other libertarians. How can you ask Grafton residents to kill bears in the name of collective conservation? Isn’t this a regular stuffing?Socialism” and this “Statistics” Does it stifle freedom? If those who wanted to defend themselves against bears, on the other hand, did not know what to do and what not to do, was the unpopular collection of a new municipal tax necessary for professional hunters to take care of it?
Far from the hands of sophisticated libertarian intellectuals like Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard One Ayn Rand, the problem fell on the actual producers of libertarianism, who at Grafton proved to be something very different from the deliberate theoretical interpreters of the market. Flesh-and-blood Graftonian libertarians were, for the most part, with the people Some systematic studies But with Multiple criminal recordsOr hustlers of a very different kind, Conspirators, Flat soils Or active digital debates around issues like whether consensual cannibals should be legal.
In this way, libertarians discovered that it was not easy to protect individual or property rights in even a small slice of free civilization in trees like Grafton. Is that why the independent city project was born, where in the name of entrepreneurial promises, hairdressers, cinemas, concerts, cell phone services, jobs, beyond self-managing tasks?
When the black bears roamed around, surprisingly, libertarian plans to abolish compulsory public education or legalize organ trafficking, fighting and drugs were still underway.
Faced with inaction, the bears continued their progress through the city all the while. And with good reason. Following the abolition of municipal taxes and major cuts, public lighting service began to disappear and the neglect of roads and public buildings was increasingly noticed. However, far from encouraging a private enterprise worthy of these requirements, the collapse only spreads disease, filth, and total destruction of streets and bridges.
soon, Decay gripped Grafton And, although the free market of local agricultural producers functioned for a time, the contradictions between what was and what was not possible did not last long in a market created by semi-literate men armed with automatic pistols and machine guns.
Ultimately, the persistent libertarian fantasy of individual responsibility in the management of minimal social affairs led to a very different kind of apathy. From improvised camps in unsanitary conditions in forests to the spontaneous proliferation of all kinds of cesspits, the reality showed, Without a planned and well-funded bureaucratic system, individual existence is complicated and repression, while violent conflicts between neighboring countries only increased.
In this context, between 2006 and 2010 the Complaints about sex crimes State authorities arrested three men accused of producing triples in Grafton Methamphetamines In a laboratory. First in 2011 Double murder In the history of the town. Then, in 2013, a wave Armed robberies. In each case, the Grafton police, like the fire and ambulance service, were ill-equipped to respond. Of course, it was A logical consequence of tax cuts.
With humans trapped in their own ideological bubbles, black bears confidently venture into homes and farms, garbage cans, and any kind of public or private space. In the process, the bears changed some of their natural habits, sometimes even They stopped hibernating, access to processed carbohydrates allowed us to bypass this natural energy storage state. At the same time, says Hangolds-Hedling, libertarian debates focused on whether Grafton could be named. “United Nations Free Zone”.
Many believe that Grafton and the vast virgin forests that surround it are inhabited by Lovecraftian monsters, mythical creatures, aliens, or Bigfoot (entities that, in their own way, have escaped the terrifying clutches of government repression). Killing bears is no ordinary thing. Nevertheless, the first-line weapons against invasion are: large weapons, always within reach and, if possible, within sight. But by what criteria should they be used? And to what extent?
Not surprisingly, protection against black bears has hit its first hurdle in the free management of community life. Without a public budget, there is no way to collect and analyze data on bear populations. For the same reason, the city has no sanitation plan to manage waste that attracts bears. with Increasing rates of robbery and drug trafficking, on the other hand, it’s not even clear that having bears is a priority. Many libertarians, meanwhile, continued to feed on them.
When this disturbing situation became public, New Hampshire state officials offered their help. But Grafton refused to accept the issue of a governmental authority. The only option for libertarians is for every man and woman to protect themselves from bears as best they can. This caused A new freedom conflict between bear killers and their protectorsIt represents a new collective conflict between people who are armed to the teeth and care about no need other than their own.
Between 2013 and 2015, New Hampshire state officials killed a total of six bears that exhibited strange behavior, including entering a home. But after the Grafton crisis and the Freedom of the Way policies They disrupted their ecosystem And their habits, the same officers killed twenty-seven bears between 2016 and 2018, fourteen of which entered homes.
From that moment on, the restoration of both government law and order became inevitable for libertarians. At least, that has anything to do with barriers to feeding bears anywhere or adequately treating waste capable of attracting them to urban areas. It is marked The end of the Free City projectIt lost momentum even to the few libertarians who didn’t leave They agreed to recover several taxes It made social existence possible.
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