Free State Project excommunicates participant who took philosophy to logical conclusion

Christopher Cantwell describes himself as an anarchist, atheist and asshole. He can now add “porcupine non grata" to his list of personal attributes.

Cantwell, who moved to New Hampshire earlier this year as part of the Free State Project, has been excommunicated. This week, the FSP board of trustees removed Cantwell from the list of FSP participants and declared he is unwelcome to attend FSP-sponsored events.

"Participants may be removed for promoting violence, racial hatred, or bigotry," they explained. "Participants who are deemed detrimental to the accomplishment of the Free State Project’s goals may also be removed."

Cantwell was found guilty of promoting violence that “exceeds the right of self-defense” in his blog post discussing the plan by the Concord Police to purchase an armored vehicle:

The government doesn’t much care if you are peaceful or not, all they care about is if you are obedient. Free Staters are not being labeled as terrorists because they are violent; they are being labeled as terrorists because they are disobedient. Being violent is not a prerequisite for government violence being used against a person, and in the entire history of statism, it never has been. The only prerequisite of government violence is disobedience, and in entirely too many cases, even obedient slaves are harassed, assaulted, kidnapped, or murdered by government agents.

Deep down, Free Staters know this, and that’s why they’re Free Staters. They see this injustice, they want it to stop, and so they are coming together to make a stand against it. The only problem is, now that they have come together, they have absolutely no idea what to do, because their vision of a peaceful evolution to a voluntary society is being shattered on an almost daily basis by government violence. That violence is all too sure to escalate, as the government agents of New Hampshire and elsewhere acquire more advanced and sophisticated technology to oppress these peaceful activists, and the population in general.

So what to do? It’s a terribly unpopular thing to say, but the answer, at some point, is to kill government agents. The government agents know that, and that’s why they want a tank.

The piece led to a long email exchange with Jody Underwood, a member of the FSP board. Excerpts follow:

Underwood: It’s one thing to vent things like this privately to a friend, but it’s a different thing to put it in writing, published on the web. Please remove that statement advocating violence and assure us in writing that you won’t promote violence. Otherwise, we will have to remove you from the FSP list of participants based on a violation of our participation guidelines. Thanks for understanding and for working with us.

Cantwell: That statement was not the first, and will not be the last time I advocate defensive force against government agents, or any other class of criminal, that opts to use violence against peaceful people. I will not remove it, and I think it troubling that the FSP would send a blogger such a demand.

It would be a poor decision on the part of the FSP to disassociate from me as a result of a statement that is 100% in line with the [Non-Aggression Principal]. As you seem to acknowledge in your original message, a lot of people feel the same way, and to pretend that line of thinking doesn’t exist is dishonest. I will not be the libertarian Rachel Maddow and tow the party line for PR purposes.

Underwood: I’ve read your blog post again, and I’m not actually clear about what you’re advocating. Are you suggesting that people defend themselves in the moment, for example, when they are threatened with being kidnapped? Or to preemptively kill a government agent who has not personally interacted with them? I’m not sure the FSP board would agree with either, but there’s a huge difference in my mind.

Cantwell: For me personally, all government agents are paid through coercive means, so from a purely philosophical angle, any level of force necessary for anyone to stop any government agent from furthering said coercion is morally justifiable.

The mascot of the FSP is the porcupine for a reason, the porcupine bothers nobody, but God forbid you fuck with a porcupine, you get the quills. The NH motto is “Live Free or Die”, and the NH constitution includes a right to revolution. If you want to pretend force is off the table for PR purposes, fine, but it’s dishonest to so pretend.

A week later, the FSP board officially removed Cantwell from the list of Free State Project participants.

I plan on living my life in New Hampshire whether the FSP wants to acknowledge my presence or not,” he responded. “Being kicked out of the FSP for being an advocate of forceful resistance, is like being kicked out the Libertarian Party for being an anarchist….”