Inspiring Story From New Hampshire in the Wall Street Journal
How angry would you be if the following scenario played out where you lived?
First, you build a successful society based on the ideas of individualism, liberty, and personal responsibility. Nearby, a group of people builds a different society based on high taxes, communal values, general leftism, etc. Your individualistic society succeeds so well that many people from the communitarian society move there to escape the taxes, welfare, groupthink, etc. All of this is fine until the next thing happens, which is that the number of these people who have moved in grows large enough to take over and enact their own laws. And they proceed to make your society much more like the one they moved from. They moved to your society because it worked better than theirs, then reshape your successful society to be more like their failed society, which they left precisely because it was failing.
This, essentially, is what has happened in New Hampshire during the past 20 years — allowing some room for hyperbole in the above scenario. (It is hard to argue that Boston is really “failing.”) The Wall Street Journal has a great article about this today, using the issue of seat belt laws as an entry point to the wider debate of personal freedom in New Hampshire. (Thanks to my brother, Mike, for sending me the link.)
The story inspired me because it is great to see people fighting to preserve their liberties. It is also depressing, because I can only imagine how angry I would be at the people who moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, only to make their new home more like Massachusetts.
But I don’t have to totally imagine this, because I am more familiar with New Hampshire than most Missourians are. The girl I dated during much of college was from New Hampshire, and her family members were long time New Hampshirites and rock-ribbed Republicans. I can remember visiting her family on holiday weekends and watching her dad getting mad at whoever was hosting Crossfire, probably Michael Kinsley at that time (early ’90s). So, this post is for him. I can imagine you appearing at one of the hearings mentioned in the WSJ, and being this person:
“Will you require helmets in cars next?” a protester shouted to Rep. Kelly, the bill’s sponsor.
Then again, for all I know, her entire family could be committed leftists by now, given that I haven’t talked to her in at least 10 years. Actually, I just hope her dad is still alive, because I am gonna feel really bad about sending him a shout-out if he isn’t. …