PorcFest (and SomaliaFest) 2017

Burning. Thats the smell of PorcFest (and SomaliaFest). Burning wood, burning cannabis, burning tobacco. The scents are constant, but mixed and layered in varying proportions across Rogers Campground in Lancaster, New Hampshire. They linger in your mind a few days afterward, unmistakably reminding you of the great fun you had last week. I decided somewhat at the last minute to go, after joining the boycott last year in response to the banning of Ian Freeman, the controversial activist host of Free Talk Live. Attendance declined sharply that year, and continues to remain down this year. Where there used to be nearly a dozen pancake vendors strewn about the camp, there are now only a few. Most of the campground used to be filled with EZUPs, tents, and RVs; now its more sparse.

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Jewish Libertarians at PorcFest XII

Jewish Libertarians booth

Jewish Libertarians booth

The Porcupine Freedom Festival is now over, and it took a day to recover from the sleepless nights, the cold, the dirt, and the general depletion of energy. Along with attending events, hanging out, and selling snacks, I tabled for and represented Jewish Libertarians. Despite an almost complete lack of preparation, throwing things together at the last minute, I managed to make a mark.

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Tax Collectors vs PorcFest

Bostonians tarring and feathering a tax collector.

Bostonians tarring and feathering a tax collector.

Earlier today, the director of the New Hampshire Department of Revenue and an associate came to PorcFest to check whether food vendors were collecting the meals tax. New Hampshire has no sales tax, but does have a tax on meals and lodging. Ian Freeman of Free Keene, who is well known for filming police and government agents, quickly arrived on the scene to film and interrogate the two suits. He was joined by an effective militia of attendees armed with regular cameras and cell phone cameras.

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Nazis at PorcFest?!

Nazi-Question-MarkAs I begin to promote PorcFest, I have received some concerns about antisemitic incidents in the past. Claims of slashed tires, epithets thrown, and a climate of fear have dissuaded a few Jews from considering attending the great festival. Naturally, since I am planning open events and a visible tent, it was important to investigate these claims. When I went last year, I experienced nothing but friendliness. Contrary to even claims by the media, I never smelled “odors of marijuana”, let alone (ooga booga) ANTISEMITISM. In fairness, I wasnt visibly Jewish, but there are a number of known Jews there.

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PorcFest XII Plans!

Robert Murphy at PorcFest XI (2014)

Robert Murphy at PorcFest XI (2014)

Shavua Tov and good evening. I have begun to plan out some talks I am going to give at PorcFest this June 21-28. If you havent heard of PorcFest, check out my blog post about it. There has been an on and off Jewish presence at the festival, but with me moving to New Hampshire in (literally) a month or two, there will be a more permanent presence. Last year there was supposedly an Oneg planned, but I left before it occurred.
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Beards, Guns, and Bacon: My First PorcFest

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After much painstaking arrangement of logistics, I managed to make it to PorcFest this year. Since becoming a libertarian in 2010 and learning about the Free State Project later on, I had wanted to attend for two or three years, but could not get it together. Finally this year, I bought the ticket early in the hopes that I would be more impelled to go. I was not able to attend the whole week because my original rides did not work out, but I did get there for three days. And those three days were wonderful, in spite of the mid-week rain. Continue reading