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A spectrum of beliefs

Members hold to a wide variety of beliefs, from Mr. Boncer and Miss Brooks’ atheism to Floyd Shackelford’s devout Christianity.

“The Bible is very clear that the only purpose of the state is to be a terror to those who do evil,” said Mr. Shackelford, 45, a self-employed computer programmer from Troy, Ala., who will move to New Hampshire with his wife and three children.

“It’s not supposed to be a nanny to those who will not work for themselves.” he said, reciting the Bible passage Romans 13 to support his position. “I guess I am a missionary at heart. If I have freedom, I have liberty to share my faith with my homosexual neighbor, with my prostitute neighbor. Under tyranny, I don’t have that opportunity, because it’s hate speech. … As long as I have liberty, I can go and wrestle with other people about spiritual matters.”

Miss Phillips wants Free State to remain unattached to one cause or point of view. The group’s goal is simply to facilitate a mass migration to one place with the primary goal of advancing freedom and reducing government, she said.

Image problems

But the broad range of views among libertarians, especially on social and moral issues, has created some image problems for the group.

Larry Pendarvis, of Brandon, Fla., was kicked out of the group after causing an uproar in Grafton, a small town of 1,200 in the center of New Hampshire.

Mr. Pendarvis proposed that 200 members move there and “take over” the town government.

Once that was done, Mr. Pendarvis said, they would pull Grafton from the school district, suspend the planning board and stop enforcing drug and prostitution laws, which he called “victimless crimes.”

Most members insist they do not want to take over the government and have no plans to settle in a specific area. They say their first priority is to be good neighbors, but the incident in Grafton has made them appear otherwise.

“If anything is going to beat us, it is going to be us beating ourselves,” said Mr. Pratt, who insists he will remain the same, whether the group succeeds or fails.

“Nothing changes for me, because I’m not leaving New Hampshire, and I’m going to abide by [Free State’s] principles,” he said.

D.C. residents Adam Rick, 23, and his 24-year-old wife, Kate, also are moving, no matter what.

After the festival, they spent a week in New Hampshire looking at houses before returning home. They hope to be settled by next summer.

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