I've been following the Free Keene and the FSP for about a year now. I originally happened on to some of Dave Ridley's videos, which led me here (FK advertisements at work). I think I was literally Googling for videos of New Hampshire in preparation of visit to see the foliage last year.
(My apologies in advance for the length of this post.)
For most of my life I've considered myself as someone who was on the quest for the truth. My quest has led me to the ideas of libertarianism where I found my first exposure to it was in a political philosophy class I had taken one semester back in college. Up to that point I had always subscribed to the conservative or Republican ideas, and while the chapter on Libertarianism caught my eye I didn't know any Libertarians and wasn't interested enough in politics to delve further. Sadly, I had latched onto Neo-Conservatism and thought that this philosophy would be the one I would stake my claim to if ever asked.
I don't know when exactly, but my trust and belief in Conservatism and the Republican party had begun to slip over the last few years. I had begun to notice that I was quietly questioning and reevaluating many of my long held beliefs, positions on major issues, and even some of the most basic ideas as to how country really worked. Issues concerning gay marriage, the drug war, public education, and many more were all on the table and I can honestly say I'm opposed to state based solutions to all of them. During this time I had come to find out that all three of these issues are actually state created problems and wouldn't exist if not for a state. It wasn't until this year that I was able to see every issue through the lens of liberty and I'm only thankful that I had managed to remain open-minded this long to find it.
My initial impression of the FSP was mixed. While I liked the ideas presented and I was already interested in NH for the last few years, I thought the FSP looked like some sort of"Tea Party/Quasi Hippie" movement which didn't appeal to me. It wasn't until I started listening to FTL near the beginning of the year that I warmed up to the idea of the FSP and gave the site and more importantly Free Keene another look. I think I speak for many when I say the content on this site is tremendous and all of the media is what really made a difference for me. Seeing activism first hand and what motivated liberty-loving people can do is not only what hooked me but what gave me hope. My exposure to Ian's message of peace and love is what helped me move past the anger and fear that I used to have and that seemed to be pervasive in another forum I used to frequent.
If it wasn't for that message of peace, love, and liberty; FTL; and this site, I wouldn't here posting this. To Ian, Mark, Sam, Curtis, Dave Ridley and the many others who've helped spread the message of liberty, whether through activism, the political process, outreach, or taking a parking ticket to court: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I'm planning on coming up to Keene this month for four or five days from the great statist stronghold of New Jersey. I had originally hoped to catch Pumpkinfest on the 16th and I found out today that FreeKeenefest is the day after (unless I'm mistaken). Well, the hotel rates are pretty ridiculous during that week and I can't justify spending that much on a hotel for four or five days, so it looks like I'll be aiming for the Oct.21-25. Are there any other events going on during October? Anyone feel like organizing a good old pub crawl that weekend?