New Hampshire Libertarian Utopia Foiled By Bears
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December 10, 2020: How a New Hampshire Libertarian Utopia Was Foiled By Bears - Original article/interview discusses Grafton, New Hampshire, where the "Free Town Project" saw a thousand or more Libertarians move to the town at roughly the same time (2004), in a coordinated effort to prove how Libertarian principles would be the best way to organize society. To be blunt, the experiment instead gave evidence of the opposite.

Grafton was chosen because the tax rate was low, and there were no zoning laws. As a bonus, the state of New Hampshire has the moto of "Live Free Or Die", suggesting the locals may be friendly to the Libertarian ideals.

The influx of Libertarians applied pressure to the town council, and pushed for deregulation on as many fronts a possible. All sorts of ramshackle houses were built, including a shanty town of mostly tents. Streets stopped getting plowed. Sanitation and recycling programs were ended, as people voted they shouldn't have to foot the bill for other people's clean-up, nor be required to use a particular service if they didn't want to. Prior to this experiment, the town had never known a murder, but that quickly changed (starting with a double homicide between roommates). In general, it had shades of the Wild West. But the sins and vices of man didn't have anything on the cleverness of bears.

With trash being disposed of by each individual household however they saw fit, there were a fair number of properties that just accumulated rubbish and even food waste. This drew the attention of numerous bears. Some of the locals started intentionally leaving out food for the animals, and others were just being messy, but the bears didn't care about the difference in intent. How to get the tastiest morsels became a puzzle the bears were eager to solve… even if it meant sometimes breaking into houses to get the good stuff.


2. Non-Fiction book: A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling. The article format is an interview with the Author of this book.

Game and Story Use

  • This could be a great model for an Adventure Town in a Fantasy setting. Libertarian ideals roughly maps to Chaotic Good.
    • So this is basically what happens when you model your civilization on personal freedoms but don't have enough Druids, Rangers, or Elves to keep the wildlife in check.
    • Think how much worse it would be if black bears are replaced with Owilbears, Displacer Beasts, Otyughs, etc. Crack open your Monster Manual and start making a list of trouble-makers.
  • Could also be a model for After The End, if the Wasteland Elder or local Warlord doesn't care to dictate how people dispose of their trash.
  • A rag-and-bone-man might have been able to make bank on the rubbish, and as a side-effect consolidate all the junk in one place where the bears wouldn't be tempted to start probing individual homes.
    • Add in a gong-farmer or dung-carter to haul away the more odious waste, and a pinder to round up troublesome animals, and maybe you'll have a functional society again.
    • Unless all three of those roles are somehow lucrative enough to encourage some entrepreneur or three to branch into them, the dedication to Libertarian small-government probably means some vital service is going to be neglected. I mean, really, the job of animal control service only becomes truly profitable after the bears have started sticking their noses into homes.
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