Parking Fines Undercut By Competition In Keene, New Hampshire
Sam Konkin III, author of “The New Libertarian Manifesto” and origin of the counter-economic philosophy Agorism recognized that in order for an unrestricted marketplace to emerge there would be inevitable competition to government services.
While not yet the Agorist marketplace written about, competition to so-called “government services” has begun to spring up in Keene, New Hampshire in a small yet significant way.
Downtown Keene, like many places in America, has government enforced parking meters in front of businesses. A parking enforcement person goes by and, if the meter says your vehicle has been parked there too long, issues a ticket. If you pay the ticket, you’re simply out of your hard earned money. If you choose not to aggressive men will soon find you and try to take your money with threats of being put in a cage. The tickets that trigger this process come packed in orange envelopes and are tucked under the windshield wiper.
Motorists in Keene may have recently been greeted with a white envelope.
“Good Motorist,” is the simple salutation. “You have crossed paths with Robin Hood. The parking meter ran out but my merry men put in more coins.” Also in the package is an envelope (complete with postage affixed) to donate to the Robin Hood Parking Meter Fund.
The people calling themselves “City Of Keene” essentially charge $5 for the service of parking downtown. While it is by no means required to provide a donation to the fund, a simple donation of $3 would be a dramatic savings, as well as a more convenient exchange done by anonymous mail.
“People shouldn’t be driven out of downtown by the parking fines. They just want to buy things and enjoy themselves, I say we let them!” says an agent of the Robin Hood Parking Meter Fund. “I’m hoping [to] make downtown as friendly to motorists as the big franchise stores on the edge of town by enforcing Ticketless Tuesdays.”
It is unclear how competition might change the landscape of the “pay us for parking on land we don’t own” industry. The Robin Hood Parking Meter Fund makes no claims to ownership of the land. In other areas, however, the fiercely anti-competitive parking enforcement agencies have responded with force.
In Denver, Colorado for instance, Stanley Yaffe has been threatened with arrest over placing coins into a parking meter. In Cincinnati, Ohio a woman was arrested for the same act, which sparked another man to protest by committing civil disobedience. Stories like this happen all too frequently yet largely escape the notice of most people. The simple fact of the matter is, most people fell that there is nothing they can do to avoid the high prices of a monopolistic industry, and simply acquiesce. Hopefully, given a choice, Keene motorists will reject the monopoly.
Should the Keene Parking Enforcement people try to react violently, however, they might face visual and vocal opposition. The “Meter Feeding Granny” in Ohio inspired one man to protest when she was met with force, yet New Hampshire is the destination of the Free State Project, a movement of thousands of liberty-loving activists who have made dramatic changes to their lives to be active for causes just like this. Specifically, Keene is a hot-spot for Agorist, Voluntaryist and anarcho-capitalist activists who find this new competition to be especially inspiring. Surely if the Robin Hood Parking Meter Fund’s agents are harassed or accosted the movers and revitalized liberty-loving natives will respond to expose the aggression to the world.
If you too would like to donate to the Robin Hood Parking Meter Fund, cash donations can be sent to:
Robin Hood Parking Meter Fund
161 Ashuelot St.
Winchester, NH 03470