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Libertarian vs. Bear

A group of libertarians took over a rural town to live out their dreams of small government and freedom from regulation. The local bears had other ideas.

Illustration by Pete Ryan

In the early 2000s, a group of libertarians moved to a small town in New Hampshire, where they set about slashing the municipal budget. The newcomers wanted to be free from taxes and government regulation, and they envisioned an experiment that would show the world the virtues of their political philosophy while allowing them to live as they liked. But before long, they found themselves fighting off packs of black bears. On Episode 19 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling, the author of A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (and Some Bears), about the ensuing chaos, and the political lessons to be drawn from it.

Later in the episode, TNR contributor Colette Shade explores the unhelpfulness of self-help tips in a collapsing society.