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8 Reasons Why I Admire Sam Dodson and the Not-So-Disorderly Keene Seven Activists

I am proud of the Not-So-Disorderly Seven. I am proud of Sam Dodson and the whole Keene crew. I am so proud to be able to say that soon I will join them in defending the nonviolent society and exposing the fraud that goes by the name of “The Government”. And here’s why:

Sam followed up on Dave Ridley’s defense of free speech rights.
This is so great because now there is a sequence. When Sam appears in court, I bet someone else will attempt to violate the ban on videotaping. Eventually this will get so big that we will win. It is simply inevitable.
Sam was clear and straightforward about his protest.
As you can hear in the audio of the incident, Sam spoke respectfully with the bailiff and explained to him why the order against videotaping was not even valid. He handled himself professionally.
Keeniacs stood by Sam even to the point of being arrested.
Those who stayed behind to protect Sam when ordered to leave the public courthouse impressed with their courage and loyalty. It tells me that this is one dedicated, determined and tight-knit group.
Multiple people recorded the incident.
More than one person was recording. Those of us who couldn’t be there benefited from multiple angles and perspectives. Being able to reach the world with media of tyranny is a critical part of defeating it.
They stood up under the pressure.
As far as I can tell, all participants stood up admirably under the pressure of cops from three different departments (Keene, Cheshire Sheriff and state cops), unlawful arrest, torturous treatment and police overreaction. These guys are good!
Patrick Shields’ message to the city of Keene.
“I’m trying to send a message to the city of Keene that violence against peaceful people is unacceptable.” Patrick was quoted as saying in the Keene Sentinel.
That someone told the cops what they are: thugs.
The cops initiated force against these folks. Even their own posited supreme law admits that freedom of the press may not be broached. The judge’s order to ban videotaping is inconsistent with their own law.
More liberty-lovers will move sooner to Keene.
Judge Burke’s outburst led to a boom in liberty activists moving to Keene – and so will this.

Support Sam! Write Him a Letter.

Sam is still in being held by the Keene police. Write him a letter of support. It costs nothing and will be delivered free of charge. Here’s my letter to Sam.

Suggestions for the Next Time

I’ve never done civil disobedience so take my comments with a grain of salt.

  • Instead of calling it “going limp” let’s call it “nonviolent resistance”.
  • The jeering at the cops may have been slightly over the top. I’m all for challenging them but making personal enemies out of them may not be productive.
  • I wonder if there isn’t a need for greater planning. It seems like it would be more fun if multiple people were in jail at the same time.

Join the Free State Project

Even if civil disobedience seems a little scary to you right now, please move up to New Hampshire with the Free State Project. A critical mass is forming and all kinds of activism are happening, from lobbying to media to running for office. If you know that a life without liberty just doesn’t cut it then join us in New Hampshire now!

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

18 replies on “8 Reasons Why I Admire Sam Dodson and the Not-So-Disorderly Keene Seven Activists”

Interesting post George.

I’m curious. Are you planning to get the Free State Project to forget electoral politics and adopt direct action or agorist actions?

That sounds like a very good plan to me.

Mike, I’m planning to practice agorism and hopefully some civil disobedience. :) The FSP doesn’t actually do much of anything inside NH but there are people doing all kinds of liberty activism from the folk stuff to the stuff you mentioned. Have you considered moving to NH?

Thanks for commenting and I’m enjoying your blog.

Edited because I misread your question the first time.

George,

Well, as a Canadian Citizen, that might be difficult for me…unless I sneak across in the dead of night, trying to avoid La Migra.

;)

Actually, I hate moving and having just bought a new house in Ottawa a few years ago, I don’t intend to move anytime soon. I’d have a hard time convincing my wife to move at all, let alone to hide in the back of a truck and sneak across the border…

Of course, if any openings for Software Developers and Identity Management specialist come up, let me know.

George, glad to see your recent conversion to agorism. Your posts and videos have proven your staunch commitment in overthrowing the state. Keep up the good work!

As you have noted, we all disagree that “violence” can effectively overthrow the state. “Violence” against the state, in the sense of killing Police Officers or attacking Soldiers, will never work, and will expand the state.

However, I think I go further with that. I oppose stealing from the state. For example, I will never mug any bureaucrat to recover my stolen assets, that they had stolen in the name of “taxation.” I also dislike to steal materials from the so-called “public schools.” If I do that, then the statists will condemn the market anarchists for seizing property, because they believe that it increases their taxes. Stealing from the state equals mugging a Police Officer or a Tax Collector. Hence, I label theft as a form of “violence,” even theft done to the state.

Like you said, I agree that even that the state has no legitimate claim to property, we should oppose violence. However, I still label “trespassing” on state property as a form of “violence.” I will explain my thoughts on this below.

In my High School, the Teachers ban cell phones. If I bring my cell phone to School, they will give me a detention for the first offense, and suspension from the High School for the second and third offenses. If I get too many suspensions, I think the School would eventually expel me. In addition, the Police Officers might seize my property and file a Misdemeanor for Disorderly Conduct, a sentence up to one year.

Allowing video cameras in Courtrooms quite resembles the High School cell phone policy. However, in this scenario, the state bans video cameras instead of cell phones. Leaving this aside, I see no differences with this case to the High School cell phone policy. If I record the Teachers in my High School, and then post the video on the web, then the School, if an Administrator finds out of it, might charge me for Defamation. (I “am” nineteen years old, but I still go to High School. I do not plan to move to NH)

These scenarios closely resemble “trespassing” on state property. I do not condemn all “trespassing,” per se, because I support the “illegal” immigrants “trespassing” on certain forms of state property. Unlike the paleolibertarian Hans-Hermann Hoppe or Thomas Woods, I disagree with their notion that the U.S. citizens, who allegedly owns the state, can prohibit immigrants from using some publicly-funded services, such as roads.

But where do we draw the boundaries between “violent trespassing” and “non-violent trespassing”?

I will list some specific examples which I label as “violent trespassing”:

*Promoting free speech on Schools and Campuses.
*Legalizing drunk driving on roads.

I will list some examples of “non-violent trespassing”:

*Smuggling contraband across the borders.
*Smuggling Mexicans to the United States.
*Practicing agorism even that the state owns our land in the form of Property Taxation.

Because the state owns the Courtrooms, does the state have the right to ban video cameras, just like any other property owner have the right to do? However, the statists will label this a “violent disobedience” or “violent trespassing,” not as a form of non-violent disobedience. Hence, bringing video cameras into courtrooms might expand the state, like how violence does.

However, I disagree with the above. I believe in immediate abolition of all state assets, and not to perpetuate gradualism and reformism. Therefore, I tend to favor the abolition of all statist Courtrooms instead of reforming them.

The cops initiated force against these folks. Even their own posited supreme law admits that freedom of the press may not be broached. The judge’s order to ban videotaping is inconsistent with their own law.

I see the term “freedom of the press” differently. Other than the vague denotation of “freedom” in this phrase, which I view it as a glittering generality, the term “freedom of speech” itself has vague interpretations. For instance, many libertarians might interpret this phrase to as far as legalizing blackmail and voyeurism! However, most statists label blackmail and voyeurism as “violent.” Perhaps the judge reacted to the video recording in the same manner of how he reacts to blackmail and voyeurism.

I finished describing my perspective on this. Anyway, Kudos for you effort on helping to speed up the revolution!

Best wishes,
Anarcho-Mercantilist

@Anarcho-Mercantilist thank you and thanks for commenting.

I oppose stealing from the state. For example, I will never mug any bureaucrat to recover my stolen assets, … Stealing from the state equals mugging a Police Officer or a Tax Collector. Hence, I label theft as a form of “violence,” even theft done to the state.

Without a doubt, theft is violence. The moral rightness of taking something without permission is a question of whether it’s an initiation of force or not. I consider it morally correct, just not strategically smart at this time.

I still label “trespassing” on state property as a form of “violence.” ….. Hence, bringing video cameras into courtrooms might expand the state, like how violence does.

(1) State property is either owned by all of us or none of us. In either case, entering with a video camera against the judge’s rules is not entering without the owner’s permission, since the judge is not the owner.

(2) In this case, the judge is establishing his own rules in violation of what the NH and US constitutions say. So the judge’s rules are invalid even by their own standards.

(3) Will civil disobedience like this expand the state? I hadn’t thought of that and I’m not sure what the answer is. But the first question I ask is: Is it morally correct? That’s what matters most. And I think what they did was morally spotless.

I think the state will continue expanding no matter what is done though and it might actually work to our benefit. The faster it expands, the faster it implodes. :)

State property is either owned by all of us or none of us. In either case, entering with a video camera against the judge’s rules is not entering without the owner’s permission, since the judge is not the owner.

We all own public restrooms. Do you think both men should enter women-only bathrooms? Do you think you should blackmail someone in a public restroom? Although both of these do not violate libertarian law, I see both acts as counterproductive.

How about legalizing hate speech in schools and campuses? I think this violates libertarian law because public property owners should have the right to forbid hate speech, because it offends many racial minorities.

In this case, the judge is establishing his own rules in violation of what the NH and US constitutions say.

Same thing with the enforcement of the law. If the federal government prescribed an anti-immigration law, should you violate it by allowing immigrants to enter?

You just articulated two fallacious arguments.

Sweet George. I found your page using ixquick. ;)
Google can kiss my fanny.
Nice article… and oh, that was me telling them that they are thugs… and they are.
FREE SamIam!

I am humbled by the commitment Sam and others in Keene are demonstrating in their fight for our freedom, and I sent him a letter of support tonight via: http://www.mail-to-jail.com/node/add/letter

Following is a copy of my letter:

Dear Sam,
I am humbled by the commitment you have shown in fighting for our freedom.

There have been a number of people sharing their opinions online today about what they think you should do. My best advice is for you to do what you believe is right for yourself. By doing what is right for you, I believe you will be doing what is right for our cause.

I support you, and in peace, love and liberty, I thank you.

Liberty Snippet

It’s been almost 2 weeks since you wrote this, and Sam is still in jail. During that time, I’ve been thinking a lot about Sam and the activism of our fellow libertarians in Keene. It’s troubling that this case hasn’t received more media attention.

George, your conversation with @jay4liberty on Twitter today helped crystallize my thinking. To summarize my understanding, Jay said he believes some forms of civil disobedience are more effective than others, and some may be less effective than other things we could do with our time. I agree. He observed that in many cases CD turns people off, and this is consistent with my own observations. You asked what we could do better, and Jay advised that we better explain the reason for the civil disobedience and that we can be more organized in enlisting the support of community leaders and media.

I agree with Jay’s advice. The best opportunities for civil disobedience are those that most people would immediately agree are righteous. In other words, the story behind our actions is best if it’s self-explanatory or close to it. Stories that resonate with broad audiences are those that are easy to explain via sound bytes and compelling stories of injustice. If the story immediately resonates, support will grow quickly. If not, some people may speculate about what’s in it for the person doing the disobeying, and many will miss the point.

Jay’s advice about enlisting support of community leaders is also important. Is there a leader in the community who is sympathetic to the cause? Build relationships with those leaders ahead of time, ask their advice on plans and enlist their help. This would likely include letting them be the hero who tells the story to the media.

Finally, I would add that in order to be effective in civil disobedience, it’s important for those executing the plans to demonstrate respect for the intent of the rule even as they break it. From what I’ve seen about this case, I agree with you that Sam and the others involved did a great job communicating respectfully and keeping their composure, thereby demonstrating respect for the courthouse and the intent of its rules. It’s important that we do the same.

Every rule has an intent, whether it’s the constitution, or a law, or my reminder to my kids as they run out into the street to play, or an unsigned piece of paper hanging on a wall. In my experience, the intent of most rules is good.

Anytime I run into a rule I don’t understand, I assume good intent, and I ask the person telling me about the rule why it’s there. If they say something authoritarian like, “because I said so” well, that would be compelling to capture on video or audiotape. But if after discussion I agree the intent is good, I show responsibility and respect for rule’s intent even while I’m breaking the rule. If all of us do the same, I believe we will be effective in getting our message out there.

Just my 2 cents…

@Anarcho-Mercantilist apologies for the delay.

A “public restroom” does not necessarily mean a publicly-owned restroom. It just means it is open for use by the general public. You’re tinkering with words there in a clever but conflated way.

Who owns these schools and campuses? That’s a key piece of context you left out.

You’ll have to explain how my arguments are fallacious if you want to have a genuine discussion. I think you’re reading a lot into what I am saying and basing your conclusions off your suppositions.

First time on your website George D., love it! Nice article and I enjoyed your two videos as well! It is so true about when Sam goes to court that there will be yet another camera! It’s actually quite funny!!!

Anyway, Keep up the great work!

Ideally, Sam won’t be going to court, as that simply validates his illegal detention and the non-laws that he has defied.
good job with the list, especially your suggestions, which I found quite insightful
I’ve written several letters to Sam(not to mention many to the Browns)
People, remember that even if you think it’s pointless, words of encouragement and support will always brighten one’s day and lend them at least a little fortitude.
As Lord John Dalbergh-Acton once said
~”Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.”

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