Free State Project Forum

Archive => Which State? => Topic started by: Robert H. on July 06, 2003, 03:56:16 am

Title: Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Robert H. on July 06, 2003, 03:56:16 am
Discerning members might very well ask what significance the population element holds for us, particularly in light of various contentions being offered by those in favor of our higher population states.  In answer to those contentions, I maintain that there are numerous reasons why population should be a consideration for us, even a primary consideration.

Some of you have seen these statistics and thoughts before, and, if so, then you probably already have established an opinion on the matter.  However, many have joined since our intitial discussions of population, and this essay is primarily directed to their attention.

Population was the measurement by which the call for 20,000 activists was made, and the primary measurement by which the FSP first selected its candidate states.

In his essay What Can 20,000 Liberty Activists Accomplish? (http://freestateproject.org/strategies.htm) FSP president Jason Sorens revealed that the FSP's target participation level of 20,000 activists (as well as the slate of candidate states) was chosen based on the example of Quebec's Parti Quebecois, which achieved a parliamentary majority in Quebec in 1976:

Jason wrote:

"At the time, the PQ had a paid membership of roughly 100,000, while the population of Quebec at that time was 6.2 million. In other words, having a paid member for every 62 citizens of the province gave the PQ a parliamentary majority. Applying the same ratio to the FSP's membership goal, we get 1.2 million population for a state in which 20,000 party members could win majorities at the state level. The following states have less than 1.2 million population: Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island (Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Maine are close)."


Thus, we see here that the first consideration in framing the FSP was to target smaller population states so that FSP activists could achieve at least a 1 to 62 saturation level in regard to the overall population of that state.  This only makes sense.  If you are attempting to influence the political process with a group of like-minded individuals, it is advantageous for that group to be as large as possible in relation to the target state's population.  This gives you a larger percentage of the vote to count on, enables you to reach more of the population because there are fewer of them to reach in relation to your activists, and reduces the degree to which activist attrition could harm your efforts.  

Using 2000 Census Bureau numbers, 20,000 FSP activists in each of our candidate states would work out as follows in terms of a ratio of 1 activist per a certain number of state residents:

Wyoming - 1 to 24.5
Vermont - 1 to 30.4
Alaska -  to 31.3
North Dakota - 1 to 32.1
South Dakota - 1 to 37.7
Delaware - 1 to 39.2
Montana - 1 to 45.1
New Hampshire - 1 to 61.8
Maine - 1 to 63.8
Idaho - 1 to 64.7

But say that we don't get 20,000 participants.  With, say, only 15,000 participants, we get the following:

Wyoming: 1 to 33
Vermont - 1 to 40.6
Alaska -  1 to 41.8
North Dakota - 1 to 42.8
South Dakota - 1 to 50.3
Delaware - 1 to 52.2
Montana - 1 to 60.1
New Hampshire: 1 to 82.4
Maine: 1 to 85
Idaho:  1 to 86.3

Just for reference, the 2000 Census total populations for these states were as follows:

Wyoming - 493,782
Vermont - 608,827
North Dakota - 642,200
Alaska - 626, 932
South Dakota - 754,844
Delaware - 783,600
Montana - 902,195
New Hampshire - 1,235,786
Maine - 1,274,923
Idaho - 1,293,953

Their voting-age populations were:

Wyoming - 364,909
Alaska - 436,215
Vermont - 461,304
North Dakota - 481,351
South Dakota - 552,195
Delaware - 589,013
Montana -672,133  
Idaho - 924,923
New Hampshire - 926,224
Maine - 973,685


There are, I believe, legitimate concerns that the FSP will either not attract 20,000, all 20,000 might not move, and that the dreaded "80/20" rule could apply to those that do move, meaning that 80% would do very little while 20% do most of the work - a reliable standard in just about any group endeavor one can imagine.  Wyoming protects us more than any other state when it comes to the potential affect such issues could have on our success in creating a free state.  Consider a scenario in which we do reach 20,000 activists, all of which move, and then apply the 80/20 scenario.  Twenty percent of 20,000 is just 4,000 persons doing the majority of the work, and looks this way when compared against the 2000 Census numbers for each state, and, just to be generous, I'll compare 4,000 effective activists to only voting-age population for each state:

Wyoming - 1 to 91
Alaska - 1 to 109
Vermont - 1 to 115
North Dakota - 1 to 120
South Dakota - 1 to 138
Delaware - 1 to 147
Montana - 1 to 168  
Idaho - 1 to 231
New Hampshire - 1 to 231
Maine - 1 to 243


Three points of contention now arise: 1) If the FSP narrowed these ten states down using Jason's 1 to 62 ratio, then it stands to reason that we could be successful in any of these states.  So why continue to quibble on population?  2) Why be so gloomy?  Have a little faith and hope for the best.  After all, we're all extremely motivated to work for liberty, aren't we? 3) What really counts is that the native population of the state be liberty-minded.  If they are, then population is an advantage, or at least less of a problem because we'd have more allies.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Robert H. on July 06, 2003, 04:03:14 am
In answer to question 1 - why quibble when these states have already been narrowed down on population?

Jason's research does indicate that we could potentially be successful in a state of 1.2 million with 20,000 activists saturating the population at a rate of 1 to 62; however, it stands to reason that if 1 to 62 could be successful in a state of 1.2 million, how much more could they do in states where they would saturate the population to an even greater degree?  Remember that a state with 1.2 million people is the upper limit that we're dealing with here.  It's the narrowest margin of safety that the FSP will allow.

Now, translate this into a real life example.  You're  headed down the highway with your family in the car, and a 4,000 foot drop off to your right.  You are safe from falling into the abyss as long as you stay at least 1 inch from the edge.  Would that margin of safety make you comfortable considering what is at risk?  Or would you prefer to give yourself as much distance from the edge as possible, thereby further reducing the possibility of a nasty encounter with Isaac Newton's old friend gravity?  Well then ask yourself how much is at stake with the FSP.  Some believe that the future of liberty in this country may be at stake via what we are engaged in here.  Are we prepared to risk its success on the slimest of margins?

Some say that they are absolutely certain that their favorite large state's population is liberty-friendly enough, and our activists bold enough, to make the difference.  But here I would ask if you are really so confident in your knowledge of the hearts and minds of others (upwards of a million or more that you've never met) that you are willing to wager everything on the increased possibility that you might be wrong.  To borrow from Clint Eastwood, just how lucky do you feel?

Remember that we're holding this vote at 5,000 members.  We have no means of predicting what may happen after the vote that could affect future recruitment or effectiveness.  Who could have predicted the changes that have come about in this country after 9/11?

In answer to question 2 - why be so gloomy?  Have a little faith and trust in people, not statistics.

To those who ask this question, I would ask: "Just how confident are you in your assumption that everything will proceed according to the very best possible scenarios, and is that confidence really strong enough to justify the risks involved?"  Consider how events might change public perceptions, even under what would ordinarily be favorable circumstances.  Consider how an ill-chosen word or an ill-conceived deed on the part of a public figure in the post-FSP organization could empower the opposition and galvanize the public. The political world loves scandal, and more than one movement in history has come to ruin because of the impropriety of a few.  That's not being "gloomy" or "negative" either.  That's the cold, hard, ignore-it-at-your-own-risk truth of the arena we propose to enter with this project.

I maintain that allowing oneself the greatest amount of manuevering room possible, especially when so much is at risk, is far and away more prudent than ignoring potential risks simply to avoid being thought of as "gloomy" or "negative."  This question also overlaps with the last question, so I'll move on to that one now...

In answer to question 3 - population doesn't matter so much as long as the population is liberty-friendly.

I believe that most FSP'ers would agree with me when I say that there is no libertarian state in this country.  There are states that are more free than others, but libertarian freedom is an entire level above and beyond what most Americans think of as "free."  Put this to the test sometime.  Ask your neighbors how they'd feel about lower taxes, and then ask them how they'd feel about reducing taxes so much that there would be no government services aside from maintaining the peace and holding court.  Ask them how they'd feel about greater school choice, and then ask them how they'd feel about having to pay for their own child's education like they'd pay their own electric bill.  Ask them how they'd feel about decreased regulation, and then ask them how they'd feel about their neighbors having the right to do just about anything they want to with their adjacent lots.  

Such scenarios are the effective difference between what we term "libertarian freedom" and what is really just "conservatism."  Personally, I don't believe most Americans are prepared for real libertarian freedom.  Much of American groans under excessive regulation, but at what point would freedom cease to be a relief for them, and become an unacceptable "burden" or "risk" instead?  Remember that the libertarian version of freedom is not just freedom for you to live as you please, but freedom for those around you to live as they please.  In other words, freedom for those around you to potentially annoy or offend you, and perhaps even potential for them to harm you if they are less responsible or sensible than they should be.  After all, a libertarian society would take very little in the way of pre-emptive measures against individuals.  How palatable would that be to most of the people you know?  How many incidents would it take before the public would start saying: "There ought to be a law!"?  

This is another reason why it is so very important that we be as large a group as possible in terms of the size of the general population.  Many will likely follow us joyfully down the road to greater tax relief and less regulation, but how many will cross the libertarian Rubicon with us and place their lives, their convenience, and their sensibilities at the mercy of granting maximum liberty to those around them?  

I can hear some of the response now: "Robert, you're being negative again.  You have no faith in people;  be positive."  And, perhaps:  "You're just a scheming Wyoming supporter who is trying to bash the larger states with fear-mongering."

If you're thinking any of these things, please grant me the courtesy of answering the questions and scenarios that I've presented in the above paragraphs and explaining to me why these things should not be considered seriously.  I happen to think that they are quite reasonable given what I know of society, history, and politics.  If you're aware of evidence to the contrary though, I'm happy to entertain it.  And in relation to fear-mongering, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that the warning I've tried to give here is unjustified, the risk unsubstantiated.  There's a reason that rat poison comes with a warning label, after all.  Or could it be that the manufacturer is just being being negative?

In summary, and setting aside the negative aspects first, smaller states present us with populations that are less likely to harm our efforts should something go awry.  Then, on a more positive note, smaller states present us with greater opportunity to spread our influence that much more quickly, and to use our combined strength that much more effectively (as long as there are not serious potential problems - a low population state full of statists, for example).
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: jgmaynard on July 06, 2003, 11:49:43 am
 I don't think it is nearly as important to look at total population as it is to look at "What will it take to become as popular as the largest party in the state?" and "How receptive will the voters be to voting for someone with an (L) next to their name?
In NH, for instance :), most state rep candidates only have ~2-3 volunteers and spend ~$500 to get elected. Even challenging all 400 seats, we could have parity with the largest party (R) with only 1200 acitivists and $200k. That's only about 1/16 the project's expect growth, and $10 a person. Put another way, if we get the full 20k, donating $100 each, we would have 16x the volunteers and 10x the money of the R's.

Comparing population to population without taking the costs, political systems  and physical size of the districts into account is comparing apples and oranges.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: ZionCurtain on July 06, 2003, 02:41:28 pm
I don't think it is nearly as important to look at total population as it is to look at "What will it take to become as popular as the largest party in the state?" and "How receptive will the voters be to voting for someone with an (L) next to their name?
In NH, for instance :), most state rep candidates only have ~2-3 volunteers and spend ~$500 to get elected. Even challenging all 400 seats, we could have parity with the largest party (R) with only 1200 acitivists and $200k. That's only about 1/16 the project's expect growth, and $10 a person. Put another way, if we get the full 20k, donating $100 each, we would have 16x the volunteers and 10x the money of the R's.

Comparing population to population without taking the costs, political systems  and physical size of the districts into account is comparing apples and oranges.

Buying seats does not make you popular. Besides once the statists get wind of you trying to eliminate there cash cow they will turn on you.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Penfist on July 06, 2003, 02:58:41 pm
What are you talking about? Every politician who ever ran a campaign "bought" the seats! How else do you think they get elected? They have to spend SOME money to convince people that they are the best choice for the office.

I don't think it is nearly as important to look at total population as it is to look at "What will it take to become as popular as the largest party in the state?" and "How receptive will the voters be to voting for someone with an (L) next to their name?
In NH, for instance :), most state rep candidates only have ~2-3 volunteers and spend ~$500 to get elected. Even challenging all 400 seats, we could have parity with the largest party (R) with only 1200 acitivists and $200k. That's only about 1/16 the project's expect growth, and $10 a person. Put another way, if we get the full 20k, donating $100 each, we would have 16x the volunteers and 10x the money of the R's.

Comparing population to population without taking the costs, political systems  and physical size of the districts into account is comparing apples and oranges.

Buying seats does not make you popular. Besides once the statists get wind of you trying to eliminate there cash cow they will turn on you.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: ZionCurtain on July 06, 2003, 03:01:56 pm
What are you talking about? Every politician who ever ran a campaign "bought" the seats! How else do you think they get elected? They have to spend SOME money to convince people that they are the best choice for the office.

I don't think it is nearly as important to look at total population as it is to look at "What will it take to become as popular as the largest party in the state?" and "How receptive will the voters be to voting for someone with an (L) next to their name?
In NH, for instance :), most state rep candidates only have ~2-3 volunteers and spend ~$500 to get elected. Even challenging all 400 seats, we could have parity with the largest party (R) with only 1200 acitivists and $200k. That's only about 1/16 the project's expect growth, and $10 a person. Put another way, if we get the full 20k, donating $100 each, we would have 16x the volunteers and 10x the money of the R's.

Comparing population to population without taking the costs, political systems  and physical size of the districts into account is comparing apples and oranges.

Buying seats does not make you popular. Besides once the statists get wind of you trying to eliminate there cash cow they will turn on you.
You obviously missed my point.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Penfist on July 06, 2003, 03:04:03 pm
I seem to miss the vast majority of them. Perhaps my brain doesn't work as well as yours?  :P
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: s_layne on July 06, 2003, 06:11:38 pm
I don't think it is nearly as important to look at total population as it is to look at "What will it take to become as popular as the largest party in the state?" and "How receptive will the voters be to voting for someone with an (L) next to their name?
In NH, for instance :), most state rep candidates only have ~2-3 volunteers and spend ~$500 to get elected. Even challenging all 400 seats, we could have parity with the largest party (R) with only 1200 acitivists and $200k. That's only about 1/16 the project's expect growth, and $10 a person. Put another way, if we get the full 20k, donating $100 each, we would have 16x the volunteers and 10x the money of the R's.

Comparing population to population without taking the costs, political systems  and physical size of the districts into account is comparing apples and oranges.


You falsely assume that every FSPer who runs will have an L by their name.  Many of them will recognize the prudence and ease of gaining the majority party's nomination in a small-turnout primary and then actually getting elected.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: cbisquit on July 06, 2003, 07:04:14 pm
I was under the impression that, come September 2005, if we don't have 20,000 members then the FSP would cease to exist. Shooting for anything short of that number would mean no one but the most hardcore would feel obligated to participate. I have resolved to participate if that goal is met but I believe I and many more moderate members will just go about our lives as if it never happened if that number isn't reached. With that in mind it would make more sense to choose states where our most immediate goals have a chance rather than those where our most distant ones do.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Adam Selene on July 06, 2003, 07:43:15 pm
As has been mentioned in other threads, population growth is also a very significant factor. If for every year 5,000* FSPers move to a target state and 200,000* other people do so (many importing statist/socialists attitudes from nearby states), the effectiveness of the FSP migration can be neutralalized.

This is a benefit to Wyoming (low population growth) and a substantial negative for Idaho and New Hampshire.

* numbers pulled out of a hat
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: robmayn on July 06, 2003, 07:44:42 pm
I don't think it is nearly as important to look at total population as it is to look at "What will it take to become as popular as the largest party in the state?" and "How receptive will the voters be to voting for someone with an (L) next to their name?

I agree that population is not as big of a factor as some make it, but I have different reasons.  The notion that one activist can influence 62 people depends on several factors.
That is why I think that simply using raw numbers to project
how many people 20,000 activists can influence is a bit simplistic.  A small group of activist can influence more people if they are opperating in an environment that is conducive to organizing.  A smaller population spread out over a vast distance is actually harder to organize than a bigger population that is a little more concentrated.  It also makes a great deal of difference if there already exist a number of issue groups who may be sympathetic to the cause.

When one factors in these conditions, it is a little more realistic to play up the population difference between Vermont and New Hampshire than Wyominmg and New Hampshire.  In fact, I believe that it may be even more difficult to organize a political movement in Wyoming than in New Hampshire.  

In relationship to Vermont, New Hampshire compensates for its bigger population by have a MUCH better organized pro liberty movement.  The extent to which an already existing pro-liberty movemnt is present in the chosen state is a crucial issue, as unlike the Progressives who moved to Vermont, a good number of FSP members are likely to be less politically experienced than are socialists.  It will take a while for the newcomers to be politically efective.  Plugging ourselves into an already existing organization will
give us the leverage to to make changes right away and will greatly multiply the effect of the efforts of FSP members.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Reaper on July 06, 2003, 08:33:07 pm
IMHO, if our members are more serious about their liberty than their finances and comforts, population is THE most important factor.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Dave Mincin on July 06, 2003, 08:48:42 pm
RobertH

Why is it that so many of your posts always fall back on the what if we don't reach 20,000?  Do you have so little faith in the people?  Do you have so little faith in our ideas?
Were you one of those who said what if we don't reach 5,000?

To establish a free state anywhere we must have the support of the people of that state!  What if gets us nothing!

I have alway believed we would reach 5,000, we will reach 20,000, and that will be only the beginning.

As Joe has stated," losing is not an option!" Freedom is too important!

What if FSP does not reach 20,000, then well read the statement of intent my friend the FSP goes caput!!!

Dave

Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Robert H. on July 07, 2003, 10:09:02 am
RobertH

Why is it that so many of your posts always fall back on the what if we don't reach 20,000?

Because we're (almost) 5,000 voting on some states that may need up to 20,000 for this idea to succeed, and there's no guarantee that we'll get them.  It's the same reason that I stop for gas before I absolutely have to on a trip: I have no guarantee that I'll be able to get it again before I run out.  I don't plan to be caught on "E" with no gas station in sight.

I'm not averse to taking risks, but I do prefer to have as many advantages on my side as possible going into it.  

Quote
Do you have so little faith in the people?  Do you have so little faith in our ideas?

Can you have so much faith to base so much hope in people you've never met?  Do you know how they'll conduct themselves and the case for liberty?  Do you know what lies down the pike that may affect recruitment or how we're received?  How far out on that limb are you prepared to go?  What do you have against playing with odds that allow us a better chance in spite of potential issues?

Quote
Were you one of those who said what if we don't reach 5,000?

I thought the FSP would probably reach at least 5,000.

Quote
To establish a free state anywhere we must have the support of the people of that state!  What if gets us nothing!

Except, I presume, for the question of "what if we don't get the support of the people of that state?"   ;)  Yes, we do need their support, but I've never maintained otherwise.  I've said just the opposite.  Their support will be critical.  Twenty thousand will not be enough for a majority in any state.

Quote
What if FSP does not reach 20,000, then well read the statement of intent my friend the FSP goes caput!!!

I seriously doubt that so many people who have already expressed interest in this idea will simply give up on it if we fail to reach 20,000.  They're likely to continue on in some other fashion and locate to the same general area anyway.

I have that much faith.   ;)
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: cbisquit on July 07, 2003, 10:35:07 am
I seriously doubt that so many people who have already expressed interest in this idea will simply give up on it if we fail to reach 20,000.  They're likely to continue on in some other fashion and locate to the same general area anyway.

I have that much faith.   ;)

Not me. Faith has nothing to do with this project, this is calculated political move. In fact I think I'd rather not find out what kind of people attempt a similar goal with less "head" and more "heart."
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Sebastian on July 07, 2003, 10:42:20 am
Quote
If for every year 5,000* FSPers move to a target state and 200,000* other people do so (many importing statist/socialists attitudes from nearby states), the effectiveness of the FSP migration can be neutralalized.
If the FSP is even slightly successful, why would statist/socialists from nearby states continue to migrate into the FSP state?

If they continue to migrate because they feel like they have to fight us off, then we've won round 1...

Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Robert H. on July 07, 2003, 10:54:42 am
Quote
If for every year 5,000* FSPers move to a target state and 200,000* other people do so (many importing statist/socialists attitudes from nearby states), the effectiveness of the FSP migration can be neutralalized.
If the FSP is even slightly successful, why would statist/socialists from nearby states continue to migrate into the FSP state?

Economic opportunity:  lower cost goods, higher paying jobs, the ability to start a new business easily.

Statists like prosperity as much as anyone else, they just don't understand much about what creates or maintains it.  This is another reason why it is so important to give ourselves as many advantages as possible starting off, so that we can get as many disincentives to statism implemented as possible.  Otherwise, people moving in to take immediate advantage of the economic situation could end up undoing much of what we've managed to accomplish over the long run.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: JonM on July 07, 2003, 10:56:11 am
I've been reading the forums ever since I heard about the project on that NPR broadcast a few months ago.  I've only occasionally wanted to chime in, but never enough to actually take the time.  Congratulations for getting me off my behind RobertH.  When I got in my car last night a little after 7, NPR was on (Car Talk at 6 you know), the Motley Fool radio show was on, and they were interviewing the CEO of overstock.com.  They asked him what he thought about selling overstock.com to another company.  His reply: "As far as selling it, we have no exit strategy.  I, as an investor, I won't listen to somebody who tells me they have an exit strategy.  That's like entering a marriage with an exit strategy.  The best exit strategy is being profitable and building a great company and someday good things can happen if you do that.  But we literally, I never think about selling the company.  You build it as if you're going to own it 10 years." *

So as for this:


Because we're (almost) 5,000 voting on some states that may need up to 20,000 for this idea to succeed, and there's no guarantee that we'll get them.  It's the same reason that I stop for gas before I absolutely have to on a trip: I have no guarantee that I'll be able to get it again before I run out.  I don't plan to be caught on "E" with no gas station in sight.

I'm not averse to taking risks, but I do prefer to have as many advantages on my side as possible going into it.  

If you wanted to minimize risks on long trips, you'd install an auxiliary gas tank.  I don't see the correlation between the prudence of filling up at 1/4to 1/2 full and planning on the project never hitting 20,000 members.

As far as planning on the project not hitting 20,000, all I have to say is: If you play to lose, you will.


* As of today the archive of this is here: http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.jhtml?prgDate=07/04/2003&prgId=15 (http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.jhtml?prgDate=07/04/2003&prgId=15)
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Zack Bass on July 07, 2003, 11:08:27 am


Statists like prosperity as much as anyone else, they just don't understand much about what creates or maintains it.  This is another reason why it is so important to give ourselves as many advantages as possible starting off, so that we can get as many disincentives to statism implemented as possible.  Otherwise, people moving in to take immediate advantage of the economic situation could end up undoing much of what we've managed to accomplish over the long run.


This won't be important at first, but it's going to be a great concern down the road.  I'm not so worried that Statists will bother to move to a libertarian State just to give us grief, but they sure as heck will come for the goodies, unless we quickly make the State the kind of place they abhor.
In doing that, of course, we will also make the State a place that the current Statist residents will abhor....

Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Zack Bass on July 07, 2003, 11:15:00 am

I, as an investor, I won't listen to somebody who tells me they have an exit strategy.  That's like entering a marriage with an exit strategy.


You're on your first marriage, aren't you?
I felt like that, first four times.  Learned my lesson.  Last three I made sure I had that ante-nuptial, and next time I will too.  And some other stuff too, since courts don't believe in the Sanctity of Contracts when it comes to Marriage and Child Support.

Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: JonM on July 07, 2003, 11:24:28 am

I, as an investor, I won't listen to somebody who tells me they have an exit strategy.  That's like entering a marriage with an exit strategy.


You're on your first marriage, aren't you?
I felt like that, first four times.  Learned my lesson.  Last three I made sure I had that ante-nuptial, and next time I will too.  And some other stuff too, since courts don't believe in the Sanctity of Contracts when it comes to Marriage and Child Support.



You'd have to ask Patrick Byrne that, it's his quote.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Zack Bass on July 07, 2003, 11:33:53 am

As far as planning on the project not hitting 20,000, all I have to say is: If you play to lose, you will.


Sorry, once again I made the mistake of assuming that when you quote without criticism you agree with what is quoted.

Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Leonard on July 07, 2003, 12:02:26 pm
I'm not so worried that Statists will bother to move to a libertarian State just to give us grief, but they sure as heck will come for the goodies, unless we quickly make the State the kind of place they abhor.
In doing that, of course, we will also make the State a place that the current Statist residents will abhor....
Not necessarily true.  Different statists want the state doing different things.  Some of them want to regulate their neighbors' consensual activites.  Some of them want their neighbors paying taxes to be spent For The Children or whatnot.  Some of them want to pry the guns out of their neighbors' hands.  So it is quite possible to offend only the statists outside of a particular state.  This is one of the wonderful side-effects of guns in the movement, I'd say.  Libertarians (and even Western statists) don't fear them.  

I have to laugh a bit reading this, seeing as in other threads you are going on about how you have been "threatened" by Wyomingites.  Do you see that they have deterred you, and with just a few lines of (cheap) speech?  But is not this exactly the sort of thing you would think is a good idea, once we have chosen a state - cheaply deterring outsiders who we think would be bad neighbors?

Seems to me some of those Westerners are just talking in way that they think will keep out the wrong sorts - California types.  We should not let such talk deter us - we're not the wrong sorts.  In fact such talk might well be scored as an asset for a state.  

I don't worry too much about any of the Western states under our consideration being overrun with statists.  That's because of the gun issue, mainly - coastal liberals are terrified of guns.   It also is a testament to those states' remoteness, and their (perceived) bad winters.

I do worry about NH being swamped with statists.  Other than accessibility, the reality of the place does not seem to be much different than the Western states, but the perceptions of it are.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Kelton Baker on July 07, 2003, 12:04:21 pm

Because we're (almost) 5,000 voting on some states that may need up to 20,000 for this idea to succeed, and there's no guarantee that we'll get them.  It's the same reason that I stop for gas before I absolutely have to on a trip: I have no guarantee that I'll be able to get it again before I run out.  I don't plan to be caught on "E" with no gas station in sight.

I'm not averse to taking risks, but I do prefer to have as many advantages on my side as possible going into it.  

If you wanted to minimize risks on long trips, you'd install an auxiliary gas tank.  I don't see the correlation between the prudence of filling up at 1/4to 1/2 full and planning on the project never hitting 20,000 members.

As far as planning on the project not hitting 20,000, all I have to say is: If you play to lose, you will.
The number 20,000 is one major reason I continue to support Idaho.  That and my observation of reaction to the FSP at the last California LP Convention:

When Jason Sorens announced the FSP to the interested attendees at the California LP meeting, a lot of people laughed-off the whole project for its consideration of only "cold states".  Several people came up to me as I manned the FSP booth and informed me that they were disappointed that Nevada was no longer being considered.  It seems, most Libertarians from the Nation's most populous state are pretty content with warm weather.  It is not fair to simply call them "sunshine patriots" as some amazing activism for liberty has come out of California.  Top activists we wish to attract remain in this statist, socialist state and not necessarily from more libertarian states like the top states in our listing.

The largest and greatest pool of potential activist supporters for the FSP do not necessarily all come from our top choice candidate states, they come from California,Nevada,Florida and other warm and populous states where liberty is a much lesser factor in livability factors.

While our most populous states have more people than the smaller states, they have more people for very good reasons.  Those reasons, such as jobs, and the weather that Idaho offers are also a potential draw for attracting for the remaining 15,000 activists and those liberty-hungry people to follow.

Another reason I support Idaho is because of the opportunity to interact with a larger group of existing libertarian-leaning individuals and thus influence and inspire movements in the smaller populations in Montana and Wyoming (and additional carry-over of ideas and influence in Nevada to the South!)  

Think about that thought for a minute, please.

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Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Sebastian on July 07, 2003, 12:07:13 pm
I can't wait to leave this heat behind.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Dave Mincin on July 07, 2003, 12:08:18 pm
Not about Faith, well you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but to me the FSP is all about Faith, my belief in the porcupines I have met.  My Faith in liberty, my Faith that most people whatever we call them really long for Freedom!  Our task is to spread the word of Freedom, and my Faith leads me to believe the people will respond!

Elizabeth was so right when she said at the Getaway, "None of us know what we are doing."  So true Elizabeth, so true, but I am so heartened when I see how the leadership is learning, getting better at spreading the word of freedom, how individual porcupines are learning and growing, working together, WOW, my Faith tells me we can move mountains!

Political activism, organizing, and promoting NH seems to be a dirty word to some, they call it hipe, and spin.  Well to those I say, what is political activism?  What will it take for us to gain real political power?  And to the what if, back up plan group, I say were is your Faith?

To those who bury their head in the numbers and say no, no, I say YES, YES, falure is not an option!  And I am so hopeful the the porcupines who have not yet made there choice will realize that NH is leading the way!

Dave

Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Kelton Baker on July 07, 2003, 12:20:29 pm
Not about Faith, well you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but to me the FSP is all about Faith, my belief in the porcupines I have met.  My Faith in liberty, my Faith that most people whatever we call them really long for Freedom!  Our task is to spread the word of Freedom, and my Faith leads me to believe the people will respond!

Elizabeth was so right when she said at the Getaway, "None of us know what we are doing."  So true Elizabeth, so true, but I am so heartened when I see how the leadership is learning, getting better at spreading the word of freedom, how individual porcupines are learning and growing, working together, WOW, my Faith tells me we can move mountains!

Political activism, organizing, and promoting NH seems to be a dirty word to some, they call it hipe, and spin.  Well to those I say, what is political activism?  What will it take for us to gain real political power?  And to the what if, back up plan group, I say were is your Faith?

I agree,  the number 20,000 itself is taken a bit on faith, in fact I used the word faith to describe this whole endeavor when I started the following :The Premise of Viability: The Population Question (http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=1407;start=0)
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Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: JonM on July 07, 2003, 12:25:24 pm
Not necessarily true.  Different statists want the state doing different things.  Some of them want to regulate their neighbors' consensual activites.  Some of them want their neighbors paying taxes to be spent For The Children or whatnot.  Some of them want to pry the guns out of their neighbors' hands.  So it is quite possible to offend only the statists outside of a particular state.  This is one of the wonderful side-effects of guns in the movement, I'd say.  Libertarians (and even Western statists) don't fear them.

There's a commercial on a Boston radio station right now for a rifle range in Manchester New Hampshire, where they encourage people to come rent machine guns (and other weapons) and fire away.  AK-47s, MP-5s, UZIs and the like.  "Out of state residents please bring a picture ID."
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Zack Bass on July 07, 2003, 12:34:57 pm

I have to laugh a bit reading this, seeing as in other threads you are going on about how you have been "threatened" by Wyomingites.  Do you see that they have deterred you, and with just a few lines of (cheap) speech?  But is not this exactly the sort of thing you would think is a good idea, once we have chosen a state - cheaply deterring outsiders who we think would be bad neighbors?


Of course; I thought of this as I wrote it.  But I don't think we can effectively keep them away so cheaply.  Fortunately, we'll have a lot of leverage once we control the State, and we have a while before the lure of goodies begins to tempt them.
It'll take more than macho words to keep them out once they smell money.  And in fact Foreman Brucie's and Hank Hill's words alone aren't keeping me from Wyoming, they just make me ask a lot of questions to see if there's something backing them up.  I personally have no objection to shooting back at a bunch of cowboys (after I trade in my SKS for a Hunting Rifle, many of which, despite what the gungrabbers tell you, are far more powerful than any Assault Weapon), but that sort of thing is counterproductive as far as the goals of the FSP are concerned.

The main reason I keep going on and on about the Threats is that I can definitely prove that they are Threats, yet some people (including Jason, at one time) have tried to pretend that they were not Threats.  Sure, you can say they were Empty Threats, that he couldn't or wouldn't really carry them out, but that's true of 99% of the Threats you see on the InterNet, and we ought not to allow such things here.  You never know when you're dealing with that one percent.

And think about one other thing:  Why in the world would a Freedom Lover want to deter the FSP from moving to his State and Liberating him?  The only possible reason is that he is not a Liberty Lover, he likes the Status Quo and he is opposed to our goals, no matter if we phrase them sweetly or roughly.  So don't pander to his sort.

Quote

I don't worry too much about any of the Western states under our consideration being overrun with statists.  That's because of the gun issue, mainly - coastal liberals are terrified of guns.   It also is a testament to those states' remoteness, and their (perceived) bad winters.

I do worry about NH being swamped with statists.  Other than accessibility, the reality of the place does not seem to be much different than the Western states, but the perceptions of it are.


I think you're right.  This is a plus for the long-term advantage of the West.  But I think we can make even New Hampshire secure from them, with some vigilance.

Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Dave Mincin on July 07, 2003, 12:43:57 pm
Ask Doug!  He was packing all week at the Getaway, he and Trevor traveled extensively looking for property and getting his read on the people that live there.  Not so much as a stare from anyone, not even the police!
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Penfist on July 07, 2003, 12:55:42 pm
Doug and I do think we scared one real estate agent but I haven't had a chance to call him yet to verify that.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Stumpy on July 07, 2003, 12:59:38 pm
Yep, I carried my 45 Colt automatic all week.

It was concealed, but this type of weapon concealed under a summer shirt isn’t what you would call discreet.

We spoke to all types of people, including a policeman who knew I was from out of state. Even though New Hampshire does not boast a gun culture, NOBODY seemed to have a problem with me being armed.

I think the realtor that Trevor is speaking of, was frightened when Trevor went to his truck to fetch his laptop, but that’s my guess. I know that seems improbable, but you had to be there.

It’s a long (funny) story.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Dave Mincin on July 07, 2003, 04:36:29 pm
I chuckled everytime I think about the story! ;D  Think the porcupines with a sense of humor would really enjoy it! :)
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Stumpy on July 07, 2003, 04:40:49 pm
I’ll write it up when I get a chance. That is, unless Trevor would like to do it.

You gotta know that realtor is getting razzed by everyone in town. I hope the lady he abandoned wasn’t his wife.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Robert H. on July 08, 2003, 12:27:30 am
If you wanted to minimize risks on long trips, you'd install an auxiliary gas tank.  I don't see the correlation between the prudence of filling up at 1/4to 1/2 full and planning on the project never hitting 20,000 members.

An auxilliary tank is not as cost effective as filling up before you have a chance to run out, and you'd still have to fill the auxilliary from time to time as well.  As for the correlation between this example and the FSP, it simply boils down to not taking the riskiest path when there are so many unknowns before you and very little chance that you'll be starting over again if you fail the first time.

Quote
As far as planning on the project not hitting 20,000, all I have to say is: If you play to lose, you will.

I don't see how advocating that we consider taking a safer route is playing to lose.  I don't believe that the prospects of our success are equal between the states.

As for "exit strategies," emphasizing the importance of population is not an exit strategy because it does not depend upon failure before it can be implemented.  People sometimes think of it only in the case of a worst-case scenario (we don't get 20,000, or whatever), but there are much more positive benefits to it than that: such as the ability to influence a larger number of people more readily.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Dave Mincin on July 08, 2003, 06:25:28 am
To influence people, you must first gain acceptance and trust.  This is a long and difficult process when you have no friends.  I have been there.  No organization there to support you and help you gain credibility is a
big risk unless you are willing to wait the 3-5 years it takes to establish credibility and trust and then it is only a maybe.  The choice is simple, begin to build a free state now, or wait 3-5 years and maybe begin?
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: JonM on July 08, 2003, 09:56:08 am
If you wanted to minimize risks on long trips, you'd install an auxiliary gas tank.  I don't see the correlation between the prudence of filling up at 1/4to 1/2 full and planning on the project never hitting 20,000 members.

An auxilliary tank is not as cost effective as filling up before you have a chance to run out, and you'd still have to fill the auxilliary from time to time as well.  As for the correlation between this example and the FSP, it simply boils down to not taking the riskiest path when there are so many unknowns before you and very little chance that you'll be starting over again if you fail the first time.

In my mind the auxiliary tank isn't to increase your milage, it's for when the "last gas for 100 miles" station has run out of gas, ie, unexpected events.  But this analogy digresses too far.  I think we have different views of where the risk lies.

Quote
Quote
As far as planning on the project not hitting 20,000, all I have to say is: If you play to lose, you will.

I don't see how advocating that we consider taking a safer route is playing to lose.  I don't believe that the prospects of our success are equal between the states.

As for "exit strategies," emphasizing the importance of population is not an exit strategy because it does not depend upon failure before it can be implemented.  People sometimes think of it only in the case of a worst-case scenario (we don't get 20,000, or whatever), but there are much more positive benefits to it than that: such as the ability to influence a larger number of people more readily.


If our target states had 1.2 million rabid statists in them, I might agree.  But the reason Montana, New Hampshire, Wyoming and the others are on the short list and Rhode Island isn't is because they're not teeming over with frothing at the mouth people demanding more government in their lives.  If there were, 20,000 people would be a useless drop in bucket, their pleading for a return to the days of individual liberty unheard against the cry of the masses demanding more handouts.

Once the target state is picked, this forum should shut down and the recruitment forum should hit overdrive, cause there are ~15,000 people you have to convince to pack up and move to someplace else.  If we don't hit that 20,000 number, everyone who signed up is released from their obligation, so it will be catch as catch can on who moves to a fallback state.  WHEN we hit 20,000, we have five years to find out who puts up or shuts up.

Now I don't see a large population in most of these states as a detriment, I see it as a tremendous recruitment base of people who don't have to move to join up.  In that view, the more liberty loving people who are already there, the better.  
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Hank on July 30, 2003, 07:41:49 pm
If you all want an ironclad recruiting attraction PICK DELAWARE!
Lots of land, warm climate, big metropolitian areas next door.

Do you want the Free State to succeed or do you want 20,000 wannabe activists diluted among a million voters?

Population, population, population.

There are more statists in New Hampshire or in Idaho than in all of Wyoming.
You only have 20,000 troops.  You pick the less numerous enemy.
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Kelton on July 30, 2003, 07:56:02 pm

There are more statists in New Hampshire or in Idaho than in all of Wyoming.
You only have 20,000 troops.  You pick the less numerous enemy.

But then there are more friends in Idaho than in any other state too!  
The other side of the argument is that even in Wyoming, we are just a tiny minority trying to tip the scales.  

The problem with applying that logic to the FSP plan is that cumbersome number 20,000; the recruitment of such a large group of people to move, change their lives, their jobs, everything to try something that has never been done before is a great task, especially considering many of the people we might try to recruit come from places like California.

Low population can also work against you in other ways, as I touched upon in this thread: http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=2673;start=msg38788#msg38788 (http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=2673;start=msg38788#msg38788)
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: JonM on July 30, 2003, 08:00:28 pm
If you all want an ironclad recruiting attraction PICK DELAWARE!
Lots of land, warm climate, big metropolitian areas next door.

Do you want the Free State to succeed or do you want 20,000 wannabe activists diluted among a million voters?

Population, population, population.

There are more statists in New Hampshire or in Idaho than in all of Wyoming.
You only have 20,000 troops.  You pick the less numerous enemy.

How exactly are you quantifying the number of statists in New Hampshire and Idaho?
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Zxcv on July 30, 2003, 08:42:28 pm
Quote
Now I don't see a large population in most of these states as a detriment, I see it as a tremendous recruitment base of people who don't have to move to join up.

Jon, I'm wondering about this. I don't think this is so.

When George dreamed up his scheme a while back to boost the pro-NH vote by recruiting NH residents and suggesting they can opt out of all states but NH, we had a big brouhaha about that. Some thought that was a little fishy because the point of FSP was to move people to the chosen state.  ::)  Anyway, when we resolved that by disallowing more such recruitment, some subsidiary questions came up, such as, could we recruit for the chosen state from within the chosen state? Your point, in other words. If my memory is not failing me, I believe the answer from the board was no. The next 15,000 have to be recruited from outside the chosen state.

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure...   :)
Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: JonM on July 30, 2003, 08:58:50 pm
Quote
Now I don't see a large population in most of these states as a detriment, I see it as a tremendous recruitment base of people who don't have to move to join up.

Jon, I'm wondering about this. I don't think this is so.

When George dreamed up his scheme a while back to boost the pro-NH vote by recruiting NH residents and suggesting they can opt out of all states but NH, we had a big brouhaha about that. Some thought that was a little fishy because the point of FSP was to move people to the chosen state.  ::)  Anyway, when we resolved that by disallowing more such recruitment, some subsidiary questions came up, such as, could we recruit for the chosen state from within the chosen state? Your point, in other words. If my memory is not failing me, I believe the answer from the board was no. The next 15,000 have to be recruited from outside the chosen state.

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure...   :)

People who join before the state is chosen who live in the chosen state are members and count towards the 20,000, so long as they didn't opt out of every one of the other 9 states.  People who live in the chosen state who join after it is chosen do not count towards the 20,000, but I'm sure they'd be welcome as friends.

Title: Re:Reiterating the Importance of Population
Post by: Zxcv on July 30, 2003, 09:36:54 pm
That's correct.