I have a modest proposal for the Free State Project’s (FSP) upcoming PorcFest: ban guns. It’s not uncommon to see people openly carrying pistols there. You might even see the occasional AK-47 strapped to someone’s back. To understand why this should be banned, we need to look back to 2016 and also reflect on the 2018 Parkland school shooting.

PorcFest 2016

Man at PorcFest with a Free Talk Live shirt and an AK-47.

Free Talk Live shirt and AK-47: PorcFest’s idea of kid-friendly.

2016 is the year when the FSP banned Ian Freeman. Ian via his Free Talk Live radio show had been the most important person for promoting the FSP and, other than the “rock stars” with national media attention like Ron Paul, was probably one of the most influential people in spreading the message of liberty in general.

In Ian’s case, he expressed the highly controversial opinion that every person mentally matures at a different age, and some young people have the maturity to make their own sexual decisions. And conversely, some adults lack the mental maturity to make their own decisions. He noted that when he was a very young child he had prostituted himself for video games and had no regrets, then used that example to oppose age of consent laws.

This understandably horrified people and was met with outrage by the FSP. They did not want their movement associated with that opinion and did the logical step of ending the partnership where Ian’s show promoted the FSP. But they went further: they took the additional step of banning him from setting foot in PorcFest and any other event of theirs.

Half naked dance at PorcFest

PorcFest party where children were present.

I get why they did that. We don’t want the FSP to look like crazy extremists and weirdos. It’s not enough to simply disassociate one’s brand from a public radio show. We must also purge any trace of extremism from our organizations. One shocking comment from Ian clearly outweighed the entire lifetime of good he had done, so all of that should be discounted.

This may also be why the FSP has been accused of trying to discourage the occasional partial nudity and agorist sales of alcohol known to have happened at past PorcFests. The goal is to make it family friendly, safe for children. Although the end of Buzz’s Big Gay Dance Party was not officially forced by the FSP, it also seems in line with a goal of making PorcFest safe for children.

Buzz's Big Gay Dance Party

Kid safe?

Even though attendance has declined, we still stand by the idea that moderating your message to be more acceptable to mainstream society is the way to grow the liberty movement. The Libertarian Party has had enormous success with this strategy as they moved away from anarchists like Harry Browne and now embrace moderate Republicans like anti-gun Bill Weld and also Bob Barr, whose main accomplishments in Congress were supporting the PATRIOT Act, the war on drugs, the Iraq War, and authoring the federal gay marriage ban. This is the future of the Libertarian Party, and it should be the future of the FSP.

2018 Gun Control

Man at PorcFest with an AK-47 on his back and a flower in its barrel.

Seen at PorcFest. Hide your kids!

That brings us back to guns in 2018. The Parkland school shooting is changing things. Firearms are becoming controversial and less socially accepted. It caused once gun-friendly Florida to pass gun control laws. Companies are doing everything they can to not be associated with the NRA. Dick’s sporting goods stopped legally selling long guns to adults under 21 and called for a federal long gun ban for that age group. Most recently Citigroup credit cards announced they will drop companies that legally sell firearms to adults under 21, legally sell bumpstocks, or legally sell standard capacity magazines that hold over 10 rounds.

This should not be a surprise: after all, we have high school kids all over the TV screen begging Congress to protect them from guns. The prohibition on alcohol was an abysmal failure. So is the modern war on drugs, as evidenced by how many people are dying from opioids: if these bans actually made opioids difficult to acquire then there’d be no opioid overdose problem right now. But the gun ban demanded by a few high school teens will be different because it tugs at our emotions!

David Hogg, student survivor of school shooting in Parkland, Florida

More powerful than Michael Bloomberg’s wealth.

A rise in violent crime in Britain followed their gun ban, and Australia’s gun ban has had no effect good or bad on their violent crime. But that’s irrelevant. What matters most is that teens are grimacing on TV and demanding action! This outweighs all logic and rationality.

The image of angry high school kids on TV has proven more valuable to the victim disarmament (gun control) movement than Michael Bloomberg’s millions of astroturf dollars.

Yes, there are some pro-gun Parkland teens speaking out against gun control, but they don’t count because the media buries any coverage of them.

Openly carrying not just handguns but even AK-47s like one sees at PorcFest while children play kickball nearby just alienates the public. It makes the FSP look like a bunch of crazy extremists who are OK with endangering children. Popular opinion agrees an event with guns is not safe for children and the opposite of family friendly. Therefore, the logically consistent thing to achieve the FSP’s goal of disassociating from the extreme wing of their movement is obvious: we must ban guns at PorcFest.

Postscript

Hopefully you recognized that this article is mostly satirical sarcasm, but the one very literal non-sarcastic point here is this: the image of frowning concerned teenagers demanding the government protect them really does outweigh all logic and rationality in the mind of a typical human.

This is a fact liberty lovers must contend with. We know that guns are used to stop crime far more often that to commit crime and that the media ignores these heroic stories. In the exceptional cases when guns were used for horrible crimes the media played it up, but until now nothing happened to breathe life the victim disarmament side. The reason nothing happened is because they didn’t have children in front of the TV cameras begging for protection. Now they do, and that changes everything.