What are the Shire and the Shire Society, and how did they come about?
“The Shire” was a term coined by Free State Project early movers and civil disobedience superactivists Russell and Kat Kanning on the NHFree.com Forum. The Shire is as much of an idea as it is a physical place. Generally, it physically means the area commonly known as New Hampshire and mentally it means a place for free minds anywhere.
Eventually, after having many state believers explain that it’s okay to subject a human being to violence, because we’re all members of “society”, some people got fed up and decided to create an alternative society. The Shire Society is a society based in peace and consensual interaction between human beings.
Isn’t a society supposed to be a voluntary association of individuals? If so, then what the government people insist is a society, is in fact, not. It’s only a society if one gives consent. Did you consent to be part of the coercive government’s society? Even if you did consent, whether you were fully informed or not as to the implications of your decision, shouldn’t you be able to peacefully withdraw your consent? Just for the record, here’s the definition of “society” from Ballentine’s Law Dictionary, 3rd edition:
The community… The associates which one has. A voluntary association… organized and existing for the mutual benefit of its members
Eventually, it was time to grow the idea of The Shire into a new idea – the Shire Society. It is a voluntary association of people expressing their intention to leave any coercive “societies” and to explicitly join a society based on values that most sane humans live by – allowing their neighbors to be free and at peace.
To that end, the Shire Society Declaration was created in 2010 by a group of activists on the then-“Free Keene Forum”, now the Shire Society Forum. The Declaration was originally inspired by grumpy sci-fi author L. Neil Smith’s essay, “A New Covenant”. (You can buy L. Neil Smith books here.)
The idea was to create a document that one could sign, declaring one’s independence from the coercive society into which we all are born and brainwashed into by that society’s masters. It’s intention is to allow one to speak out and abolish the mental chains so we can join together and break the real-life chains that the people calling themselves government force upon us.
The Shire Society Declaration, when finalized online, was drawn up on beautiful hemp paper by Davi Barker and delivered in time for the 2010 Porcupine Freedom Festival, where it was signed publicly by a room full of excited people.
Thereafter, Sam Dodson and Meg McLain painstakingly repaired the tears made in the fragile paper during the signing ceremony and photographer James Schmill took some fine, high resolution photos of the documents. Here they are in high-resolution .PDF form: Shire Doc One.pdf :: Shire Doc Two.pdf
The Shire Society is always growing and starting new projects. Check “The Shire” tab at the top of this site to see just some of what’s currently going on.