The global war against Uber, the popular, revolutionary, game-changing ride service, has heated up quite a bit, from cities banning the service to cab companies outright attacking drivers and potential customers. Recently, Portsmouth, the hip center of New Hampshire’s seacoast, has banned Uber. Surprisingly for a small, peaceful, posh town of 20,000, the conflict has heated up rather quickly. As soon as the ban was in place, taxi companies vowed to personally enforce it by using the app to find Uber drivers and report them to police.
Except this time, Uber drivers are fighting back. Enter the Free Uber campaign.
Headed up by Christopher David and supported by mainly activists who are participants of the Free State Project, the Free Uber campaign has made waves around Portsmouth, calling city councilors, spreading the word to local businesses, and covering the town with flyers (many of which have been torn down, with taxi companies a prime suspect). In addition to capturing public attention and dominating the local news cycle, the campaign has also joined the fray on the legal front, with David’s lawyer planning to sue the city of Portsmouth over the ordinance banning Uber.
New technologies can be expected to face some sort of resistance from the powers that be, and Uber’s troubles are hardly surprising (in fact, considering the size and scope of economic disruption caused by ride-sharing services, resistance has arguably been relatively light). What is encouraging, and rare, is seeing a fierce activism effort in its defense. Entrepreneurs, while hardly risk-averse, can’t be expected to grow their businesses on economic uncertainty, and the potential for government regulators to stop new innovations practically on a whim is about is uncertain as it comes. Add the threat of a concentrated activism campaign to push back against regulators, and that innovation-stifling uncertainty gets a significant reduction.
A free world full of innovation and technology has to be earned through hard work and activism. Lucky for Uber in New Hampshire, there are plenty of tireless activists ready to put in whatever work is needed for the cause of liberty. The rest of the world should take note.
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