Issue #7 – Thursday, July 3, 2014
LANCASTER – Continuing on from last week’s report, on Day 5 of PorcFest I attended “Self-Sufficient, Prepper, Survivalist: Which One Am I?” at which five panelists and a moderator discussed their views and goals regarding prepping and self-sufficiency. The variety of lifestyles represented demonstrated that there is no one way to be a prepper, and media characterizations are often woefully two-dimensional.
For those who don’t enjoy lectures and panels, PorcFest has a great deal more to offer. There were several live music performances, including an excellent Boston-based Irish folk band called the Auld Locals that spoke and sang about liberty. There were also several parties during the week, including a Goth Dance Party, the return of Buzz’ Big Gay Dance Party featuring a stripper pole and outrageous costumes, and a DJ dance party on the final night with lasers, glowsticks and pounding music. Many attendees hosted informal parties at their campsites as well, morning, noon and night. In fact, some PorcFest attendees never attend panels at all, preferring to focus on the social opportunities presented by the libertarian version of Burning Man.
Throughout the week, I purchased the majority of my meals in Agora Valley, PorcFest’s “downtown” shopping area. In addition to the usual suspects of hot dogs (or Doges, as they were called, a reference to the popular cryptocurrency Dogecoin “favored by Shiba Inus worldwide”) and hamburgers, I also enjoyed bacon pancakes, bacon peanut butter cookies (libertarians love bacon!), BBQ pulled pork from two different vendors, homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt, hand-rolled onigiri from someone who lived in Japan, chili, an amazing salad with freshly made dressing, and a veal dog. I paid for several of the meals with Bitcoin, using my smartphone to scan the vendor’s QR code and anonymously transmit stateless currency through the ether.
Thursday evening featured several hours of live comedy: two hours of stand-up by several East Coast comics, followed by the Bob Murphy Variety Hour. Only at PorcFest would an Austrian economist sing, dance, and dress up in costume, in addition to political ranting!
On Friday morning, Ben Stone aka the Bad Quaker discussed why liberty is more dangerous than you think, citing known cases of activists being killed. Liberty.Me’s Jeffrey Tucker, sporting his trademark bowtie and drinking his signature Bourbon for Breakfast (to be fair, there was some coffee mixed in with the bourbon) spoke about the “Inevitable Collapse of the State” and seemed sincerely overjoyed by his first PorcFest.
PorcFest Keynote Speakers
The final two days of PorcFest featured several more high profile members of the liberty community. Reason.com Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie gave a humorous talk on the joys of the free market, using an assortment of Pop Tarts as props and tossing them into the crowd as souvenirs (or snacks). Alternative farmer and author Joel Salatin gave a passionate, inspirational talk on farming, self-sufficiency, and freedom, drawing interesting connections between them.
On the final night, FSP President Carla Gericke gave a rousing speech about how New Hampshire is becoming the Yankee Hong Kong. And finally, keynote speaker Patrick Byrne, called “Bitcoin Messiah, CEO of Overstock, and Scourge of Wall Street” by Wired magazine, gave a fascinating and wide-ranging talk covering the history of libertarian thought, corruption and crime on Wall Street, and why he thinks cryptocurrency looms large in our future. Like several other speakers, he seemed truly overjoyed by the audience response, smiling, laughing and stating repeatedly that he had “found his tribe”.
The social aspect of PorcFest is what many attendees value the most. Hanging around a campfire at night, talking and laughing with old friends, and brand new ones, who share your political philosophy, is not an experience that’s easy to find anywhere else. As one attendee quipped “PorcFest: The Family Reunion where you meet everyone for the first time”.