Bitcoins, Guns and Gold: Life Among the Libertarians
LANCASTER, N.H. (TheStreet) -- I didn't expect a real estate pitch when I arrived on a cool afternoon last summer at a libertarian festival in New Hampshire.
A beaming woman greeted me with an outstretched hand and a green wristband labeled "PorcFest" as I stepped onto the Roger's Campground in Lancaster, N.H., nestled at the foot of the White Mountains.
"Are you looking to move to New Hampshire?" the woman asked me as I forked over my $75 entrance fee and application.
"Uhh, no, I hadn't considered it," I said.
As she tied on the wristband that permitted me to roam the property, the woman delivered a brief sales pitch about the beauty of the area and the lack of state income taxes. She motioned to a table that displayed a bunch of flyers, one of which said "Porcupine Real Estate" at the top.
Around me, men and women swept by in T-shirts that read "Like-Minded Individual," "Live Free or Die," "Stop Statism" and, unfittingly, "D.A.R.E. To Keep Kids Off Drugs." The tees complemented a popular style at the event of khaki shorts paired with sneakers and tall white tube socks.
While former Rep. Ron Paul's (R., Texas) political career has ended, libertarian-minded voters are focusing on the 2014 midterm election season to gain more influence in New Hampshire, where all 400 seats in the state's lower house are up for grabs. The group, which calls itself Free Staters, controls a few seats already; however, their views remain on the fringe.
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"You know, a bunch of these guys are moving to Nevada to allegedly protect this rancher," veteran New Hampshire Republican political consultant Fergus Cullen told me, referring to the standoff between Cliven Bundy and the federal government.
I shuffled over to the flyer table and picked up an eight-and-a-half-by-eleven paper that showed photos of the "most popular locations for Free Staters," including Manchester, Concord and Grafton -- a remote town with a population slightly more than 1,000.
"You weren't kidding about moving here," I said to the woman who greeted me.
Smiling, the woman nodded and said: "Welcome to PorcFest."