Ian Bernard has a snowball’s chance of winning support from any legit wing of the NH Democratic Party in 2014’s gubernatorial race. But his VoteSmart survey for his office grab offers a telling insight into FK’s politics and the goals of the Free State Project. FSP supporters and board members often become irate at the association but it’s documented and fact that Carla Gericke is no small fan of Ian’s ability to draw attention in even the most problematic and morally dubious ways.
Yes, Carla Gericke is a Free Keene supporter despite the boards efforts to distance themselves from Ian’s three ring circus. During the last couple of weeks of arrests and assaults that FK has idiotically deemed ‘the Chalk Wars” Carla has been offering advice on how to “reframe” the conversation as angry villagers vs artists. It’s unclear whether or not Carla actually considers crude depictions of semen-spewing phalli “art” but its clear the connections between the groups go far beyond Ian’s status as an early signer/mover.
Ian’s stance on women’s reproductive rights is common among libertarians so it’s not even worth discussing. His stance on budget issues is what should alarm the average person. Across the board, Bernard would eliminate all public spending (education, law enforcement, infrastructure, healthcare/Medicaid, etc). “All products and services should be provided on a consensual basis – taxes are theft.”, he responds. He also betrays his pro-business slant by hypocritically promising to eliminate collective bargaining (unions) rights for state workers despite professing a support for unions in the past.
Pro-business is also describes Ian’s economic policies. Deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. It’s the same naive Rothbardian/Koch playbook of diverting regulatory and legislative power to the institutions that can only gain from a lack of oversight. “Certification and boycott” is the given solution to gross abuses of power but this is just an article of faith for libertarians: if we dissolve the state it will be inevitable that power will be shared between the employee/person and the monolithic institutions he/she must navigate on a daily basis. And I have a stable of unicorns in my backyard that lay golden eggs and sing “Raspberry Beret” when you pinch their butt. Isn’t it fun to pretend?!
The rest of Ian’s answers are run-of-the-mill libertarian talking points. Public education is bad, markets are good, and minority groups don’t deserve “special protections” like not having their sexual orientation or gender identity used as a legitimate basis for second class citizenship. There is one thing that stands out above all in Ian’s Political Courage award winning survey: he’s a secessionist.
Secessionist groups in New England have a colorful history of shacking up with racists and wingnuts of all stripes. Making this a campaign platform is political suicide but we’ve already established he’s not a serious or even viable candidate. However, it does provide further insight into what the Free State Project stands for and the company it keeps.