What is Free State West?
The Free State Project began in 2001 and centered in New Hampshire. Its approach is basically libertarian, although, to join the movement, it isn’t necessary to identify as a libertarian or to agree with most of its principles.
The mission statement, adopted in 2005, says:
“The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. The success of the Project would likely entail reductions in taxation and regulation, reforms at all levels of government to expand individual rights and free markets, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world.”
The effort in New Hampshire has had growth and success, with more than 20,000 people pledging to make the move to New Hampshire, and with numerous candidates from the movement being elected to the state legislature.
However, for many people who might agree with the aims and be ready to relocate to a freer area, a move across country to New England just isn’t practical. Why not have the same idea in other parts of the country as well?
Free State West was started for the southwestern part of the country, to provide an alternative for people whose roots are in the west or who just don’t want the cold weather.
Arizona, and especially the southeast corner of Arizona in Cochise County, is the center of Free State West. Cochise County has a sparse population and plenty of land available, along with many small towns. There is an owner-builder opt-out option for building permits that is popular and allows for more freedom for “homesteaders” to build with the methods they want and the timing they need. It’s in reach of Tucson and the University of Arizona, yet far enough away not to be controlled by the typical city politics. Bisbee is the county seat. Tombstone, Sierra Vista, Douglas, Fort Huachuca, Benson, and Willcox are in Cochise County. Cochise County has its own college.
Arizona’s economy and cost of living are good in most areas. Cochise County is high savannah, with an average elevation of 4800 ft. There are breathtaking mountains and lots of open country. The climate is agreeable, and is not extreme either in summer or winter. The average rainfall is approximately 17 inches, which is more than most of Southern California, for example.
Graham County and Safford just to the north are prospering especially, with mining and related employment. Some people work there and live in freedom loving Cochise County – not that Graham County doesn’t have plenty of liberty minded people as well, as do most Arizona counties.
Free State West isn’t a Libertarian Party project, or an organization. There is no official way to join, no officers, no dues. It’s a location and an idea.
Do you want your individual freedoms, good neighbors, and to keep the government far from you? Whether you want to rent an apartment or house and enjoy town living, buy a big ranch or farm, buy some land and build an off-grid homestead to live the independent life, or anything in between, you can find what you want in Cochise County and in Arizona in general. The Free State Project is meant to build strength in numbers to grow liberty again and push back the tide of big government’s over-regulation and control. Scattered, we can only watch freedom and liberty erode. Together we can improve things, at least where we live.
Come join us.