Live Freer Or Die

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       Today is July 13, 2004 Lewiston, Maine
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                  Live freer or die

                  By Kathryn Skelton, Staff Writer
                  Saturday, July 10,2004
                        AP Photo/Jim Cole
                        Engaged to be married, Missy Cornell, left, and Dan Dargon, both from Lewiston, Maine, smile, Saturday, June 26, 2004, during the Free State Porcupine Festival dinner in Lancaster, N.H. The couple moved to Concord, N.H. to join the Free State movement.
                  CONCORD, N.H. - Dan Dargon got here early. Maybe a decade early, but no matter.

                  He's ready to talk taxes. Social freedom. Sex for hire.

                  He and fiancee Missy Cornell moved from Lewiston to Concord last month for the Free State Project.

                  Its aim: Gather like-minded folks to New Hampshire to relax laws, reduce the size of government and prod the boundaries of "Live free or die."

                  People who get on board - over the Internet - agree that once 20,000 people sign up, they will move here within five years.

                  More than 5,800 have made the promise so far.

                  Dargon and Cornell packed their bags after his graduation from Bates College on June 1.

                  "I could be 10 years early for all I know. What I wanted to do is take a stand for my beliefs," he said. "I wanted to give confidence to people who wanted to move too."

                  Dargon describes himself as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. He joined the Free State Project last year, before the group voted on a state to practice its philosophies. New Hampshire won.

                  Maine came in sixth.

                  In New Hampshire's favor, according to the group's Web site: low local taxes, high individual responsibly- no seat-belt or helmet laws - and meagerly paid members of the House of Representatives.

                  The Free State Project advocates cutting government by two-thirds, repealing gun laws, free trade, no income tax and a "truly free society" that doesn't criminalize prostitution, gambling suicide or drugs.

                  It isn't a political party and won't run candidates for office. The hope is, once activists arrive, they'll take individual action.

                  The project's mascot is a porcupine, docile and cute but not to be messed with.

                  Dargon said he came to most of views his freshman year of college where he had a junior adviser - an older student - with strong libertarian views. They talked a lot.

                  "He explained things very reasonably to me," Dargon said. For instance, the Florida native hadn't favored gay marriage. But after talking it out, "it didn't make sense to be against gay marriage anymore. Human beings with rights, there's no reason to be against it."

                  The political science major also doesn't think it's right to have laws that tread on individual freedom. A director can hire people to have sex for a movie, but people can't hire themselves out for sex.

                  "I'm not allowed to sell my sex," Dargon, 22, said. If he wanted to, he should be able to. "Libertarians are not keen on passing moral judgments on people."

                  Every person has to do his and her part for the moment, he said, even if it's a matter of convincing other people the less-government-more-freedom philosophy deserves a chance.

                  "I've been here three weeks and I think I've already talked to eight people," Dargon said. It starts with, "what brought you here?"

                  Dargon plans to attend law school in 2006. Cornell, 21, will start New England College in the fall. For now, he's found a job in direct sales and she in telemarketing.

                  "I miss my friends (in Lewiston,) really," he said. "I used to go down to Simones' Hot Dog Stand every other day." He'd talk politics and, sometimes, meet people more conservative than himself.

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      Contents of this site © 2004 Sun Journal

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