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Author Topic: Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)  (Read 4620 times)

Elizabeth

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Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« on: August 31, 2002, 04:48:20 am »

I'd like to offer a persepctive that seems to be rarely heard on the forum.

I wish that people would remember that Libertopia (or Ancapistan) are not going to be options for the Free State, at least not in the next decade or two.

In general, discussion about eliminating the police, coining money, rewriting the state constitution, creating EJ's all-nude state, etc., is getting way, way ahead of the game.

There are steps that will need to be addressed long before any of those things are ever even on our radar screen.

The first, and most important, is to reach 5,000 and then 20,000 members.  All else is mental masturbation until we accomplish this.  Remember, too, that failure of the FSP is not a politically neutral thing; it would have a major negative effect on liberty-based politics, adding to a long string of free nation failures and further reducing the credibility of liberty rhetoric.

Second will be the move.  This will take up to 5 years, and will entail all the regular move hassles plus the extra importance placed on building local relationships.  We will have to really help each other and come to the aid of the faint-hearted or resource-challenged to make sure a significant number of the signers actually make the move.  Welcome wagons, job and housing support, etc., will all be critical and require (gasp!) teamwork.

Third will be getting to know the local political scene, going to meetings, etc.  Then start making a local impact.  Eventually statewide impact.  Then, maybe we'l see some action on things like trash pickup, zoning, vouchers, etc.

We will be very, very lucky if we make an impact on smaller issues within 10 years of the start of the move.  This is liberty in our lifetime, not liberty pulled out of a magic hat.

So let me do my broken record thing: work on getting members.  Get more members.  Recruit members.  Find members.  Am I making my point?  ::)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2002, 04:49:17 am by Elizabeth »
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Elizabeth

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Re:Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2002, 10:25:38 pm »

I just want to make it clear that my point was not to talk about the FSP being impossible, but that recruiting members is much more useful to the cause than talking about Monsanto or suitcase nukes or nudity.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2002, 04:11:05 pm by Elizabeth »
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2002, 11:51:23 am »

I think Joe makes some valid points, though: we might as well know what is required for us going into this thing. :)  How many of you FSP members out there have not at least sent an email to your favorite writer/commentator/talk radio host about the FSP?  If you haven't done at least this, you should.  How do you expect to be an activist in our state if you can't even do this much?  If you have done it, let us know what reaction you got!
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Halo

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Re:Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2002, 12:01:31 pm »

Elizabeth, I understand your point completely and agree. That's why when I read all the "mental masturbation" about what people are going to do when they get to the free state I get a bet miffed. It seems their definition of freedom is doing what they want rather than doing what they ought.

Recruiting is only part of it - not everyone is an activist, but many will support a cause if they feel it is just, and when the hard part is done, they will follow. I think this is important too, and why it is important to stay away from the "personal liberties" that many on this forum seem focused on. That may turn a lot of people off and hurt the cause in the long run.
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Dex Sinister

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Re:Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2002, 01:00:36 pm »

That's 80 activists needed just to serve in office! Double that number again since at least half of the "activists" won't run for office or are not electable for various reasons. Now that's 160 activists needed for a county of 8,000 people or 1 in 50 !

Now go back to Jason's numbers of 20,000 for 1.2 million people which works out to 1 in 60. Yep, it works out to what I get for local activists needed to effect significant change. And that is if we have a office holder (past, present, and future) rate of 1 out of 4  activists. How many activists from FSP ranks will actually be that active? Using my usual pessimistic view, I'd consider the FSP very, very "active" and successful if a quarter of its members were past, present or near future officeholders and the rest were door-knockers, phone callers, envelope stuffers, letter writers, and newsletter editors. Do you get an idea of just how much of a job this entails -- to build a grassroots liberty culture, get working majorities on boards, and effect change which won't be undone when FSP people are replaced at elections?

A possible ameliorating factor is the 5-year move period into the chosen state. If the FSP goes from 5,000 to 20,000 in the scheduled time-frame, there is no reason to think that the numbers would stop there (unless someone thinks that there are only 20,000 libertarian sorts in America who would join such a movement.) If we project logarithmic growth in order to achieve 20,000 people, there is no reason to suspect that such growth would not continue over the 5-year move, and on into the politically active phase of state reformation.  

My prediction is that the FSP would also be aided by unaffiliated people who calculate that if the FSP is moving to a given state, then more freedom could likely be found there, who will consider moving to attempt to harvest the benefits of more freedom without the costs of perpetual political activism. These people could likely be counted on as a fairly loyal voting base, however.

If the concept snowballs enough to work to specifications, I’d suspect that 40-60,000 people might actually relocate, rather than just the 20,000.

That said, Joe raises a very valid point of questioning exactly how many current and future members realize that a pledge to become a FSP “political activist” may in fact be more like a pledge to become a politician, if the concept is to succeed? Personally, I happen to agree with Harry Browne’s pre-political writings, (for example, How to Find Freedom in an Unfree World ) that freedom is not necessarily found by devoting one’s life to politics and activism, because that becomes a life of politics and activism, rather than a life of freedom.

I tend to regard political activism in the same way I regard carrying a gun: I do so because I take responsibility for protecting my own life, but I’d vastly prefer not having to actually use it, because the results can be messy. Of course, as a [projected, re-entry-student on career track of] lawyer in the Free State, I’m also sure that I can find ways of combining assisting the FSP and my career, but what percentage of people are so situated?  

I’m really sure that this wasn’t the way Elizabeth wanted the thread to go, so I’ll shut up now.

Dex }:>=-
« Last Edit: September 01, 2002, 03:34:50 pm by Dex Sinister »
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Mega Joule

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Re:Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2002, 02:15:44 pm »

Quote
Quote from: Solitar

I've counted up how many activists we would need here in order to make moderate change in this little county of 8,000 people <snip>

As Elizabeth writes above, libertopia is a long time away even if we have the numbers of activists Jason asks for and what I document above. That is why Jason is so adamant about population and voter numbers. A state of 2 million is not doable with 20,000 activists.

You make some very important points here.  We will certainly need many who are willing and able to serve in official positions and many more as activists supporting those in and/or seeking office.  

I’m am here again reminded that so many people here see 20,000 as some static “magic number.”  It is unrealistic to believe that if we recruit 20,000 and begin the five-year relocation process, that our membership will stop growing.  In fact, five years of continued recruitment to a movement already underway, could yield tremendous increases in our membership.  

Meg
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James Reyes

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Re:Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2002, 03:23:07 pm »

One other very important thing is training and development.  That is what I do for a living, as an instructional designer and trainer.  Designing training courses and workshops on public activism, etc.  I definitley can help in this area and those who already have experience can too.

We need our membership to be aware of "how it works" and "what do do" to have a real impact.

Are there other HRD professionals in the FSP?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2002, 03:30:24 pm by James Reyes »
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stpeter

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Re:Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2002, 10:37:52 pm »


One other very important thing is training and development.  That is what I do for a living, as an instructional designer and trainer.  Designing training courses and workshops on public activism, etc.  I definitley can help in this area and those who already have experience can too.

Cool. I started out in instructional design 10 years ago, but now have morphed somehow into computers and management (I'm executive director of a software foundation, in which I'm leaning a lot that I hope to be able to apply to activism in the future). Let's talk HRD sometime offline, though. :)
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Zxcv

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Re:Utopia is not an option (for a while, anyway)
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2002, 02:30:42 pm »

Elizabeth, I thought utopia was never an option. You know, because humans are imperfect?   ;)

Just teasing. But I agree with your point entirely. For me, just seeing a state moving reliably in the direction of increasing liberty will be tremendously satisfying, even if we never quite get there by the day I die. In today's world, it helps to set low standards.   ;)

(BTW I know your comment on vouchers is as an example - but I think it's the wrong example. Tax credits maybe, privatization of individual government schools certainly, but vouchers have big problems in my mind. You will find half the FSP base fighting vouchers, so you can assume they won't happen!)

Dex, I agree with your prediction that more than 20,000 will come. My only worry is that we will be burned by our own success - e.g., that increasing freedom will have the effect of putting the local economy on a very healthy track - thus attracting also "economic refugees" from the more socialist states who have no idea how they came to be in that condition, people with no commitment to freedom.

Joe, I agree we need to work in depth with the local political structure. There is even another aspect you have left out, and that is the "old media". I don't know what can be done about it. It is declining in significance vis-a-vis the Internet but still has an awful lot of influence. Are we going to have people with the know-how who can start up a newspaper in competition with the local established press? I very much doubt it, that is quite specialized knowledge. Perhaps we can buy controlling interest in some existing papers, but those small enough to purchase may be in private hands and not for sale. It is a problem. Maybe a report on the larger newspapers in each state (with a view of prospects to either enlist in our cause, or to purchase) would be something to put on the agenda. Same deal for radio stations.
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