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Author Topic: Is 20,000 enough?  (Read 22569 times)

Robert H.

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2002, 07:12:04 am »

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Quote from: Jason Sorens
Hey Robert - you're going to have to post your message again...I accidentally hit the "modify" key rather than the "quote" key!   Second time I've done that.  Sorry about that.  For those interested, Robert was arguing that FSP'ers are basically like "registered voters."  I was arguing that we will be much more once we get to our state, since we've all committed to "exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a [free] society" (from the Statement of Intent).  That's the debate in a nutshell.

I'm trying to remember what all I wrote (had little hands tugging on me at the time wanting snacks and such), so I'll work on summing it up again.  Joe quoted my pre-modified post, so that helps some.   :)

Joe also added this, which is the heart of the matter:

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As of arrival of the much-vaunted 20,000 you will have the equivalent of 20,000 "registered" members of the Free State Party.

The AIP and the FSP are certainly not one and the same thing.  The main difference between them and us, as you point out in your summarized argument above, is that our members sign a statement of intent, which ultimately requires more of them than just their name under the FSP's letterhead.  Also, I would have to say that anyone who picks up their family and life in general and relocates to another state to be a part of this movement certainly deserves some credit beyond a "registered" voter designation.

The problem that we run into, which I think makes the AIP at least a decent analogy, is the fact that we cannot anticipate the degree to which members will be true activists (or "paid-up" to use your term).  If we get 20,000 to the target state, then that's just what we'll have:  20,000 people in the target state under our banner.  This is essentially what the AIP has: 20,000 paper supporters, some of whom have actually paid dues to the party.

We can anticipate that our people will be "paid-up" in terms of being "activists," and thus say that we have 20,000 "paid-up" members because they've all signed a statement identifying themselves as such, but we have no means of predicting how this will translate into reality in the target state, nor can we enforce it.  Life being what it is, many who do make the move will probably find themselves caught up in the day-to-day problems of living (just as they do now), not because they're not well-intentioned, but because life is life.  

Others will probably restrict their activism to voting, making contributions, writing letters, patronizing FSP businesses, etc.  These things are valuable, but it still leaves a lot of people to "do the doing" when it comes to the political nitty-gritty:  organizing events, hosting candidates, running for offices, taking part in public debates, etc.:  the major time-consuming, headache stuff.

For that, again, I believe we will have minimal to moderate participation on the part of "paid-up" members like the AIP does (although we will probably have more of them).  So, for these reasons, I see us as being very much like the AIP:  having a relatively large base of people (for this type of organization) who will, to at least some minimal extent, support a small group of people who will do most of the work.

This does not automatically equate to failure as far as I see, but it does testify strongly to Joe's contention that we will need many, many more baseline supporters who can be counted on for a vote at the very least (even in the less populous states).  And I think it also speaks strongly to the idea that we should not risk so much on the more populous states when we really don't know how many "paid-up" members this movement will result in when we finally reach the target state and settle down to work.

If we don't meet our goals to the letter in the target state then we'll still have less of a chance for absolute defeat than we would in a more populous state.  It doesn't guarantee anything, but at least it gives us some margin for error without jeopardizing everything.  So, even though we cannot predict how many members we will have, or how activist they will be, we can locate ourselves someplace where these factors would not work as much against us if our expectations do not precisely translate into reality.

JasonPSorens

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2002, 10:18:51 am »


We can anticipate that our people will be "paid-up" in terms of being "activists," and thus say that we have 20,000 "paid-up" members because they've all signed a statement identifying themselves as such, but we have no means of predicting how this will translate into reality in the target state, nor can we enforce it.

Well, sure.  We don't have any means of enforcing activism, any more than we do now.  The Free State Project solves one coordination dilemma (getting enough good people into one place so that they could make a very big difference if they tried), but it leaves one Prisoner's Dilemma (the tendency to free-ride on others' efforts).  As the long as the human race exists, this Prisoner's Dilemma will exist.  The only way we can combat it is through informal social pressure.

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Others will probably restrict their activism to voting, making contributions, writing letters, patronizing FSP businesses, etc.  These things are valuable, but it still leaves a lot of people to "do the doing" when it comes to the political nitty-gritty:  organizing events, hosting candidates, running for offices, taking part in public debates, etc.:  the major time-consuming, headache stuff.

Well, the arguments that went into my essay on the subject ( http://www.freestateproject.org/strategies.htm ) assume merely that FSP'ers will be about as active, on average, as LP or PQ members.  So to argue that 20,000 will not be enough, you would have to argue that FSP'ers will be less active, on average, than LP and PQ members are currently.

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This does not automatically equate to failure as far as I see, but it does testify strongly to Joe's contention that we will need many, many more baseline supporters who can be counted on for a vote at the very least (even in the less populous states).

I don't think that Joe's suggestion that we get 100,000 voters to move in with us is realistic.  I don't think there are that many "pure" libertarians in the country, maybe the world.  If that means the FSP is doomed, it is a much stronger case for the assertion that every effort for liberty we could possibly devise is doomed.  If I were persuaded of that, I would probably just go hide in the woods.


Regarding the implications for state choice, I don't disagree with you, but I would say also that a state with a higher population that is still within the realm of possibility should not be automatically discounted, though it starts out with a heavy presumption against it.
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Robert H.

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2002, 05:51:25 am »

Well, sure.  We don't have any means of enforcing activism, any more than we do now.  The Free State Project solves one coordination dilemma (getting enough good people into one place so that they could make a very big difference if they tried), but it leaves one Prisoner's Dilemma (the tendency to free-ride on others' efforts).  As the long as the human race exists, this Prisoner's Dilemma will exist.  The only way we can combat it is through informal social pressure.

True.  And one thing the FSP does have going for it here is the fact that it requires a greater up-front committment:  uprooting yourself and moving to a new state.  That fact alone will tend to eliminate a number of those who could be deadwood otherwise, so long as those signed up to move actually do so.

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Others will probably restrict their activism to voting, making contributions, writing letters, patronizing FSP businesses, etc.  These things are valuable, but it still leaves a lot of people to "do the doing" when it comes to the political nitty-gritty:  organizing events, hosting candidates, running for offices, taking part in public debates, etc.:  the major time-consuming, headache stuff.

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Well, the arguments that went into my essay on the subject ( http://www.freestateproject.org/strategies.htm ) assume merely that FSP'ers will be about as active, on average, as LP or PQ members.  So to argue that 20,000 will not be enough, you would have to argue that FSP'ers will be less active, on average, than LP and PQ members are currently.

You certainly have a point there, particularly with regard to the PQ.  Quebec is a province of, I believe, seven million or so, but I wonder how much of their solidarity and progress has been spurred by the cultural and linguistic divisions that separate them from the rest of Canada.  It seems that their activists might have had a broader appeal to Quebec's general population due to those two factors, although I don't have any hard numbers on it.   It would make sense though.

Quebec is already different enough from the rest of Canada to make it a good separatist proving ground.  In our case, however, we'll be trying to take a state that is currently only marginally different from the rest of the country and make it radically different.  So, in that case, it seems like we won't be starting off with as broad an appeal as the PQ might have had.  Again, it's just speculation though.

I haven't heard much about the PQ lately, so I don't know if they're slowing down or not, but I've heard that some concessions from Ottawa may have appeased them for the moment.  Alberta seems to be the province raising the most sand right now over Kyoto and various other issues.  I expect that the U.S. will keep itself together for awhile longer yet, but I imagine that Canada as we know it will be history in 10 to 20 years (if that long).  It's fun to speculate on anyway.   ;)

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I don't think that Joe's suggestion that we get 100,000 voters to move in with us is realistic.  I don't think there are that many "pure" libertarians in the country, maybe the world.  If that means the FSP is doomed, it is a much stronger case for the assertion that every effort for liberty we could possibly devise is doomed.  If I were persuaded of that, I would probably just go hide in the woods.

Well, don't get me wrong here, I do think that we can accomplish a great deal with 20,000, depending on how committed and careful they are, and I certainly think we should press forward, even if it means restructuring ourselves, no matter how many come with us.  At the same time though, I think Joe's looking at it from the perspective of how 20,000 "pure" libertarians are likely to be treated by the other few hundred thousand surrounding them, particularly when it comes to dismantling the machine that so many of those people have grown accustomed to.

Of course, our involvement in communities and making friends in the target state will bring along sympathizers who could probably be counted on for a vote at least.  Others, conservatives and the like, will eventually follow as things continue to get worse elsewhere.  If we can begin establishing a framework, we should be able to influence such new arrivals more in our direction with time.

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Regarding the implications for state choice, I don't disagree with you, but I would say also that a state with a higher population that is still within the realm of possibility should not be automatically discounted, though it starts out with a heavy presumption against it.

I understand what you're saying here, and have nothing against finding a state that more people will be attracted to as long as it's still feasible.  The thing that worries me here is that 5,000 of us will be choosing the state based on the assumption that we'll have at least another 15,000 joining us.  If we choose a "borderline" state, and don't get what we need in either the sheer number or type of activists required, then we've got a real problem.  From your remarks though, I believe you understand the concern.

On Joe's thread on the importance of bringing business and jobs with us, I asked this:

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How many FSP members are part of multi-member households?  In other words, if you take 100 members, count 30 as single people, 20 as two-income households, and the remaining 50 as one income households, you have transformed the need for 100 jobs and houses into 75 jobs and 65 houses.  This may somewhat off-set those two issues, but again, I don't have the stats to address it.

So, if we were able to obtain any information on the number of members in a given FSP household, we might be able to better determine what what we really need in terms of choosing a state (with regard to jobs and housing, two of the most important issues following general viability of a given state).  Do you have any information on this?

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2002, 08:15:05 am »

If I didn't know better, I'd think that some of those posting to this forum were statist propaganda experts planted here to discourage people from joining the FSP.
In true propaganda fashion, they follow each strongly negative statement with the statement that they believe the project will succeed. :)

Just my  two cents (or whatever the going rate is) worth

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Robert H.

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2002, 11:12:08 am »

If I didn't know better, I'd think that some of those posting to this forum were statist propaganda experts planted here to discourage people from joining the FSP.
In true propaganda fashion, they follow each strongly negative statement with the statement that they believe the project will succeed. :)

Actually, Philly, it's my experience that statist propaganda experts generally try to divert people from the issues with personal remarks, generalizations, and by questioning motivations.  "You don't want to fund prescription drug programs because you don't care about the elderly, etc..."  It's the intellectual equivalent of sticking your tongue out at someone:  a debate technique more suited to schoolyard playgrounds than adult discussion forums.

Please, if you feel that something I've said here constitutes propaganda BS, you're welcome to refute it, preferably with logic or facts or something other than innuendo.

I hate engaging in this sort of thing, but there's something that I hate worse:  when people who claim to be working for a free society cannot even tolerate opposing points of view among their own number, and resort to personal dispersions instead of addressing issues.

JasonPSorens

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2002, 12:29:16 pm »


You certainly have a point there, particularly with regard to the PQ.  Quebec is a province of, I believe, seven million or so, but I wonder how much of their solidarity and progress has been spurred by the cultural and linguistic divisions that separate them from the rest of Canada.  It seems that their activists might have had a broader appeal to Quebec's general population due to those two factors, although I don't have any hard numbers on it.   It would make sense though.

Absolutely.  However, the Liberal Party of Quebec also cast itself as the defender of Francophones; in fact, they passed the legislation that made French the sole official language of Quebec.  Elections are generally fought on the issues of sovereignty and economic management, the Liberals being opposed to sovereignty as not being in Quebec's interests and slightly more free-market than the PQ.  So while the linguistic division was necessary for the existence & success of the PQ, it wasn't sufficient.

I think our success likewise hinges on stressing the distinctiveness of our state and our superior approach to economic management.  In a way we have an advantage over the PQ in that we aren't pursuing secession.  Thus, a linguistic division isn't necessary; a "cultural" division should do.  The Canadian Reform Alliance is perhaps the most appropriate analogue to what we will be trying.  They have their greatest support in the West of Canada and advocate a free-market economic agenda generally out of step with Ontario and the East.

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Quebec is already different enough from the rest of Canada to make it a good separatist proving ground.  In our case, however, we'll be trying to take a state that is currently only marginally different from the rest of the country and make it radically different.

I would say that the PQ is trying to do something radical with a province that is radically different, while we are trying to do something fairly moderate (in the short run) with a state that is slightly different.  Sure, we can't impose a radical libertarian agenda on any state right away, nor do I think we want to.  But we can provide a very solid foundation for substantial, meaningful reforms.  At least it gives us a chance, if we can convert enough people to libertarianism, to create eventually a truly free society.  Right now, converting people to libertarianism hardly helps at all, because we are so outnumbered everywhere.

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I haven't heard much about the PQ lately, so I don't know if they're slowing down or not, but I've heard that some concessions from Ottawa may have appeased them for the moment.

The PQ is slowing down, mostly because of dissatisfaction with their long period of incumbency & economic failures.  Ottawa hasn't really given Quebec any concessions lately.  The PQ's decline is somewhat misleading, however, since a "moderate-secessionist" party, the Action Democratique Quebecois, will probably win the next election.  The ADQ is a free-market liberal party advocating a "confederation" with Canada.  (They supported Yes in 1995.)

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Alberta seems to be the province raising the most sand right now over Kyoto and various other issues.  I expect that the U.S. will keep itself together for awhile longer yet, but I imagine that Canada as we know it will be history in 10 to 20 years (if that long).  It's fun to speculate on anyway.   ;)

Yeah...I think Quebec might go in about 20 years.  Alberta won't be seceding any time soon; Western secession remains something of a pipe dream that hasn't yet been distilled into concrete action.  After Quebec secedes, BC & Alberta might go - or they might hang on a while longer with the prospect of controlling the Canadian government.

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Well, don't get me wrong here, I do think that we can accomplish a great deal with 20,000, depending on how committed and careful they are, and I certainly think we should press forward, even if it means restructuring ourselves, no matter how many come with us.  At the same time though, I think Joe's looking at it from the perspective of how 20,000 "pure" libertarians are likely to be treated by the other few hundred thousand surrounding them, particularly when it comes to dismantling the machine that so many of those people have grown accustomed to.

A few savvy, committed leaders can do the work of thousands, though.  I'll be glad if we have 20,000 diehard, pure libertarians, so long as we also have a few dozen intelligent, attractive leaders who are able to mobilize the hard core without alienating the general populace.

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I understand what you're saying here, and have nothing against finding a state that more people will be attracted to as long as it's still feasible.  The thing that worries me here is that 5,000 of us will be choosing the state based on the assumption that we'll have at least another 15,000 joining us.  If we choose a "borderline" state, and don't get what we need in either the sheer number or type of activists required, then we've got a real problem.  From your remarks though, I believe you understand the concern.

I think most people will not move until we reach 20,000.  Thus, if we pick a larger state and don't reach 20,000, we can then convert the FSP into the "Free Wyoming Project" or whatever.  Send out letters to everyone who's signed up and ask them all to commit to moving to WY within 5 years.  I see this as our fallback option.  But let's not even think about this now, because we really need to be committed to reaching 20,000 at all costs.

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On Joe's thread on the importance of bringing business and jobs with us, I asked this:

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How many FSP members are part of multi-member households?  In other words, if you take 100 members, count 30 as single people, 20 as two-income households, and the remaining 50 as one income households, you have transformed the need for 100 jobs and houses into 75 jobs and 65 houses.  This may somewhat off-set those two issues, but again, I don't have the stats to address it.

So, if we were able to obtain any information on the number of members in a given FSP household, we might be able to better determine what what we really need in terms of choosing a state (with regard to jobs and housing, two of the most important issues following general viability of a given state).  Do you have any information on this?

Hm... I guess I don't understand where you're coming from here.  If 20% of FSP members are part of 2-income households and wish to continue that lifestyle, that would mean we'd need 120 jobs, 1 for every FSP member and 1 for FSP spouses that wish to get jobs.  And it still seems we'd need 100 houses, 1 for each household, right?  I must be missing something!
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2002, 12:33:15 pm »

Hold on, I get it now... You're asking how many FSP participants are part of the same household.  It's a rather small percentage, perhaps about one-quarter I would guess.  I think the percentage of married FSP'ers is much higher (perhaps 50%), but my guess is that most FSP'ers do not have libertarian spouses, so their spouses do not sign up as FSP participants.
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Robert H.

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2002, 07:05:04 am »

Jason,

I think our debate here boils down to a matter of perspectives with regard to approach as we basically agree on everything else.  Wherever we end up, it'll be an unprecedented opportunity and effort well worth working toward regardless of how many join up with us.  Our making friends and community in-roads in the chosen state will also be invaluable in terms of garnering additional support that we'll need over the long haul.  It's the time and population risk factors that concern me the most at this point.

I do sometimes wonder if a few hundred or thousand energetic activists could reanimate the AIP.  They have so much going for them there, but seem to have lost heart.  Joe Vogler's murder may have had something to do with that, which I could see, but I do hope that they at least make another concerted effort.  They have a good case, but in the post 9/11 world, they may be struggling against a perceived anti-patriotic image.

As for Quebec, I asked some Canadian friends of mine (from Ontario and BC) what they thought of the prospects of secession, and what Canada would do if it happened, and they replied:  "Tearfully wave good-bye in public, and celebrate in private."  Yes, western provincial secession seems to be catching on more, but it has yet to gel into an organized effort.  There certainly is an economic, and to some extent cultural, basis for it though.

And thanks for your response on the number of FSP members from the same households.  It might be negligible when compared against our current membership, but it might also become more advantageous as that percentage is spread out over a larger member base.

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #38 on: December 10, 2002, 10:27:48 pm »

Hey Joe, I have new hampshire's voting stats done, if you need them... both raw data and summary information... PM me
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Kelton

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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2002, 06:28:53 pm »



Within the communities in our future state, we will not only change the terms of the debate on political issues acting as voters and activists within the system, but we will change the climate in the workforce as employees, within labor and trade groups, and among co-workers; as business owners, by giving voluntary incentives that encourage  thoughts towards reason for workers and customers; as consumers, through our patronage and how we respond to marketing.

Of course, we all need to be activists in this effort.  Just living in our state as diminutive, provincial Hobbits will never get us anywhere, but most of that activism will be outside the political scene.  Influencing market forces such as what books go on the front shelves at the bookstore would be a goal worthy of me buying a few more books at my local bookstore.  

I look forward to the day when I will no longer be a minority in my community that subscribes to a political viewpoint called libertarianism.  After all, it is a common human need to want gather together and live among others who share things in common.  

For these reasons, I anticipate moving to the chosen  state, even if 20,000 is not enough!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2003, 10:39:15 am by exitus »
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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2003, 02:05:29 am »

I'm with exitus,
I'm moving even if 20,000 is not enough because it will probably still be a freer place to live than where I am, first.
Because I said I would second.
And third because we can keep the movement going for as long as we want (hey we've moved here to ?, what else are we gonna do right?) and keep inducing others to come join us.
Seriously though since this is the biggest Libertarian contact group I've ever heard of we could just take up a collection to advertise on a commercial on TV. Once we have about 20,000 members who'd pitch in $50 we could afford to run the ad for a month on a slice of the major networks. We could get Kurt Russel or someone similar to just sell freedom on TV. "Would you like to know how you can be really free in your lifetime, stop paying taxes, plan your own retirement, end govt intrusion?" Send $19.95 to... They wouldn't have to know what they were buying until they got their freedom packets in the mail or by email and it would be several books explaining Libertarianism to them or the equivalent in email files. It wouldn't have to be just about the FSP either; Carla Howell's surveys in Mass. revealed about 80% of the population knows nothing of the LP! It'd be helpful to the cause even if we didn't mention the FSP in it. Hell once 200 million people saw that commercial we could see a landslide LP victory as society has an epiphany! I wonder how many Libertarians even know about the FSP? A friend had to tell me about it, a Republican! How about contacting NORML, FIJA, NMA and a host of other organizations with similarly motivated members? I don't mind at least emailing them and suggesting they add  our project to their regular email notifications of their subscribers. There must also be 1000 Libertarian organizations that we could set up a group of us to contact such as Outright libertarians <<<(gay group) who have no idea about us. We could place cheap ads in local newspapers $25 or so would get us a lot of curiosity seekers. Ad: "Would you like to learn about a way to get away from it all and never come back?... etc. go to www.freestateproject.org"
Jeez this thing is just a baby; nurturing it will take some ingenuity and time. I think it's a little early for such pessimism. This is gonna require work and a little creativity. If we can average 10 people each to induct in the next 5 years we'll have 100,000 people! That would make a dent in one of the less populous states! As an active LP activist in the Dallas area I am willing to throw in my 2 junks of worthless copper and more than a few ideas. I've been promoting the LP cause for about 10 years with an LP based business. If such tactics do work (and we get a huge overall response) we could even work on 2 states, one for people who like wide open spaces and one for you yankees ;)lol.
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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #41 on: May 21, 2003, 10:08:06 am »


Frankly, I'd head on over if we had a firm 1,000. That's a lot of people. I've taken on a lot bigger than this project myself with a heck of a lot less people than that.

Ditto that. I think a good 100 activists could help out any state...maybe not make it free...but help out.

Having an extra 100 activists in Nevada alone would more than quadruple our activist base of 30.
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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2003, 03:10:17 pm »

My biggest concern is how much porcupines will work toghether in the chosen state.

For example, if 10,000 insist on operating through the nonpartisan league and the other 10,000 insist on operating through the LP then the vote totals are split.

Right now I have absolutely no sense of how much the membership is willing to compromise to win. Personally, I'll try anything. I'll register with any party and make short-term compromises if it means getting closer to liberty instead of further away.

Assuming that the membership splits two-ways or even three-ways due to inability to agree, which states are still small enough for success?
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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #43 on: May 21, 2003, 03:14:02 pm »

Those who don't vote with the LP are guilty of not only dividing our efforts, but nullifying the whole project.  It wouldn't matter if you had 100,000 people if this is going to happen.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2003, 03:14:27 pm by Radar »
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Re:Is 20,000 enough?
« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2003, 03:51:21 pm »

This thread is pure speculation. You can prophesy all you want, but until the people who promised to move actually move, settle in and start voting, we don't know what will happen.
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I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
--Thomas Jefferson
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anything