Events, the LP, and Concentrated
Activism – Part 2 of 2
the last Corner
, I asked 4 questions relating to concentrated
activism that came out of the Porc Fest and the LP National
Convention. I answered the first 2 of those questions. Here's my
take on questions 3 and 4. If you missed the first 2, they're
. Now, on to the next two questions.
concentrated activism actually work in the LP or the FSP?
important to note that the FSP Organization doesn't do any of the
things I mentioned, and they're merely representations of what has
happened, not recommendations or endorsements. It's FSP
participants themselves doing that work on their own or with other
organizations in New Hampshire.
are a few concrete examples of what FSP participants have
accomplished in New Hampshire in a fairly short period of time:
participants campaigned and voted against a 7-figure spending
measure in a New Hampshire town. The measure was narrowly defeated
saving taxpayers all that money. The margin of defeat was smaller
than the number of FSP participants lobbying against it.
participants have been elected and/or appointed to several
town-level offices including school board, budget committee, town
selectman, planning board, and probably several others.
several occasions, FSP participants have been challenged by law
enforcement while exercising a basic legal right in New Hampshire.
On every occasion, the Participants were successful in exercising
that right without being found guilty of committing any crime.
participants founded a lobbying organization which supports
pro-freedom candidates, opposes anti-freedom candidates, rates all
bills which go before the legislature for their stance and impact on
liberty, lobbies accordingly on some of those bills, and rates all
of the legislators based on their votes.
participants, both individually and on behalf of pro-freedom groups,
are gaining positive name recognition and respect within the
government. At Porc Fest, activists from several organizations
related many anecdotes about state representatives not only being
well aware of Free Staters, but actively soliciting their opinions
and assistance on issues. They know who we are, and are paying
attention to this growing cadre of libertarian-minded activists.
are a few examples of ways FSP participants have worked to promote
freedom, many of which have brought an actual measurable increase in
freedom for citizens in New Hampshire. In my answer to the next
question, there are a couple of examples of concentrated activism
within the LP.
either the FSP or the LP have a strategy to solve the concentrated
activism problem? Is it working?
problem faced by both groups is the problem the Free State Project
seeks to solve by design: too few of “us” (freedom seekers), too
many of “them” (everyone else).
far as I'm aware, the LP has no concentrated activism plan. Having
said that, concentrated activism does happen within the LP. In 2000,
the Carla Howell campaign for U.S. Senate tested the concentrated
activism theory. I don't know how many activists worked on that
campaign but it spent more money than any non-Presidential campaign
in party history. I believe the number of activists was similarly
large in comparison to other LP Senate campaigns. The result was the
only 3rd party U.S. Senate election return above 10% in a 3 (or more) way race – double
the next nearest LP example and higher than the Republican candidate
in the race. The incumbent did win the election by
a solid margin and was never truly in jeopardy of losing. There was significant synergy, though, between Howell's campaign and a ballot measure to end the Massachusetts state income tax.
That measure actually came close to passing, earning about 45% of the
vote. Without concentrated activism, it's unlikely it would have
done so well.
year, another campaign shows promise of returning record setting
results. Michael Badnarik, an FSP participant, is running for U.S.
House in a campaign that already appears to be setting records. With
about 4 months to go, they have already raised more than any LP House
campaign in history. When Michael told me how many volunteers they
have working on the campaign, I predicted immediately they'll have
returns well above the 2-4% that the usual inactive LP campaigns get.
If I'm right, he will have demonstrated again the power of effective
activism. It's unclear what his opponent will do, but so far it
appears his campaign poses a very serious threat to the incumbent –
probably more serious than any federal campaign in LP history. All
of this is possible only because of concentrated activism.
given those examples of concentrated activism within the LP, there
are simply not enough activists to accomplish the LP's overall
national goal now. Both groups just had their largest annual
gatherings with roughly comparable attendance. The LP's territory
covers 300 Million, the FSP's just 1.2 Million.
State Project's bottom-up, start-small, realistic concentrated
activism design is actually causing stable pro-freedom activism -
activism not based on a single campaign - and it's already delivering
successful results. The freedom movement's resources might possibly
be enough to significantly influence one state, and that has already
begun here in New Hampshire. Concentrated activism does work. The
question is, will enough pro-freedom activists join this most
realistic plan and make it work?
answer to that question is unknown at this point. There's great
news, though. Now with two options (the original 20,000 Statement Of
Intent and the First 1000 pledge), people can decide how many
activists they think it will take to achieve a level of success
worthy of participation. And if we don't get enough commitments,
nobody is committed to moving. Of course, there are some who are
ready to go regardless and they have given us all the evidence we
need that this plan can succeed. All we need now is your help.
If you have any suggestions or ideas for this feature, please feel free to send them my way. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the best quality response.