It’s the only place in the country where you can join anarchists for breakfast bought with Bitcoin, sit in on counseling sessions on polyamorous marriages, hear a lecture about Ludwig von Mises’ economic theory, drop the little ones off at a “Kids Rave,” learn the Cha-cha-cha and wind down by the campfire after sunset with a balloon full of nitrous oxide.
Welcome to PorcFest—short for Porcupine Freedom Festival—the annual gathering of libertarians, anarchists and other freedom lovers who are part of a ongoing plan to convince thousands of Americans to move to New Hampshire to make the “Live Free or Die” state even, well, freer.
For the past 12 years, supporters of the Free State Project, a movement that aims to bring 20,000 people to commit to settle here, have gathered in the northern woods of New Hampshire for a week to network, study Austrian economics, strategize and show the world that they can create a stateless society. So far, the group says more than 16,000 people have joined the cause. Once they reach the 20,000-person goal, the pledgers have five years to fulfill their promise.
“I hope and believe we can build a beacon of liberty here in New Hampshire,” Carla Gericke, the Free State Project’s president, told CNN.
While progress has been slow, more than 1,000 people have already moved here to prepare the way for the rest, and a handful of Free Staters have even been elected to the New Hampshire state legislature.
At Porcfest, precious metals and crypto-currencies like Bitcoin—not Federal Reserve dollars—are the preferred mode of currency. Attendees buy, barter and sell their wares, food and services in an open market in the middle of camp. A vending machine is available at all hours that provides everything from ammunition and silver bars to tampons and Milk Duds. At one end of camp, children can take classes and play games while at far other end, a cavernous tent held up by PVC pipe hosts late-night live stripper shows.
“One of the big things about the libertarian movement is self-responsibility,” said PorcFest attendee Denise Hoitt. “It’s about doing your own thing but respecting the rights of the other individual and how you make that work.”
To see how Free Staters try to make it work, watch the video above.