Wednesday, May 23, 2018

How About A Real Compromise on Guns?

Yes, we can have a conversation about gun violence.

But not one based on lies.

And definitely not one where the only outcome you will accept is the gun confiscation you really want but which you refuse to admit.

There is NO "compromise" on banning guns. Modern gun control hysteria seeks ONE thing and one thing only: complete confiscation. Registration is not confiscation, true enough. It is, however, the beginning of a database of gun owners, so the next administration has a list of homes to break into when confiscation does come.

You know this.

You know it from history, both in the US and abroad.

Please don't pretend you don't know it, because when you start a conversation with that kind of basic dishonesty, everyone can see right through it.

You're just going to have to be up-front and admit it: Your goal is to use gun registration as a preliminary step to CONFISCATION.

You are also aware that a "compromise" is where the sides all give up something.

But that's not what you're after, is it?

You want gun owners to give up their property and leave their homes vulnerable to every thug that comes along -- all while you give them NOTHING in return.

That's not a compromise.

How about this for a compromise:

Gun owner registration. Add a code to state driver's licenses indicating that person is qualified to be a gun owner. You can even keep your silly training requirements. The state already knows who 95% of gun owners are, anyway, through the forms people fill out during gun purchases.

If that person then commits a crime, then the code-enabled driver's license must be turned in and a new one issued without it, until that person has earned all of his rights back.

In exchange: 1) The code serves as a concealed permit (no additional permit required). 2) full and absolute recognition of carry permits in all 50 states plus any territories with a zip code ("full faith and credit"); and 3) the abolition of all federal agencies and laws regulating guns, including full-auto and sawed-off firearms.

Now there is a compromise. You get something, and we get something.
Written by Marc Montoni <>, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.  May, 2018.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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For more information about the Radical Caucus, see or see the Facebook group  .

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Proven strategies for LP Membership Building #1: The 1989-1992 Example

There was a rise in National LP membership in 1988-1992 (from ~8500k to about 13k).

Most of the increase was mostly after the Ron Paul campaign, and peaked as of the Andre Marrou campaign. It was unfortunate that the Paul campaign did not share its donor or prospect lists with the LP (the Paul campaign kept it to use for fundraising for Paul's subsequent House campaign(s)), but the LP managed to work around it anyway.

The donor increase during this period was driven by five main tools, beginning in ~1989:

1) Better advertising of the 800 number ("acquisition");

The LP had a toll-free number for as long as I can remember. The LP 800 number was given out several times during the Clark campaign's 1980 Election Eve five-minute infomercial, and I was one of the callers that evening.

What the LP lost from 1980 to 1988, though, was a comprehensive system of responding to inquiries coming in from the 800 number. That was addressed finally in 1988 and the 800 number started getting pushed on literature, commercials, and by candidates (but not by the Paul campaign). Despite the handicap of being left out of presidential inquiries, the LP's own number still generated a lot of traffic during the campaign. Then, we worked on capitalizing on the thousands of new inquiries that came in from 1988 and the four years following.

2) Better marketing to new LP prospects from the 800 number and other sources ("development").

LP office staff developed a four or five-letter series to new prospects including a big first packet that went out the day the inquiry came in and then several follow-ups spaced a few weeks apart (to maximize recruitment).

The fast turn-around on the first response was key.

The most flagrant reason the LP is right now pretty horrid at "conversion" rates is the lag between the time a new prospect comes to our attention, and the time a human being then reaches out to them and welcomes them (and puts an membership application /donor form under their nose).

In any case, we made a big effort to get those first-response packets out within hours rather than weeks.

Predictably, enough joined (~2% IIRC) as a result of the first packets, that the LP broke even on the packet costs -- and any of those new members who renewed or donated in subsequent years of membership represented revenue that could be sent downline to projects and candidate support.

3) Better renewal marketing ("customer retention").

LP office staff developed a series of seven renewal direct mail letters. We sent these out in succession every month beginning three (maybe four??) months before their expiration date. The earlier a customer got a renewal notice, themore likely they would renew. The series reduced attrition to the absolute minimum.

4) Better general and project fundraising activities.

We used many excuses to invite buy-in from our donors. If a project came along we thought the members would like and support, we sent out a call to do exactly that: Invite them to support the project.

Initially we were of the mindset that frequent fundraising burned out donors. However, we were persuaded -- by a professional fundraising consultant -- that this idea was a myth.

Successful nonprofits are active, and active nonprofits need money. The good ones generally use a 5-week fundraising schedule with direct mail, slightly more often with email and other online pitches.

The main thing to remember is that the people on your mailing list have different reasons for supporting the LP, and not every appeal is going to resonate with every member. A good fundraising message will generate about a 5% response rate. The rate will be similar on the next good fundraising message, but the respondents will often be different names.

5) A regular newsletter filled with content that would interest our audience.

Prior to '87, the LP national newsletter had suspended issues and was otherwise an unreliable "touch" for our members.

An effort was made to get it out monthly, and fill it with content that Libertarians would enjoy reading, and make sure it was on-time every month.

Many of our members are *never* contacted by their state or local parties, and there were no local affiliates or candidates within reach. Therefore, for weeks at a time, LP News was the only reassuring "touch" they received, to let them know there were others standing aside them; that they were not alone.

Lessons for Today

In the age of email and web, the idea that direct mail is dead and that state and local parties only need a Facebook page and an email list is a myth.

Your state & local parties can *still* use the above methods -- *plus* email and web equivalents -- to gain and retain members.

LP leaders at the state and local level are far too reliant on social media and such. The know-how to do basic membership building and donor development has been almost completely lost.

Try it.

Write a fundraising letter, and send it to your state LP mailing list.

Write a renewal letter series, and send them to your expiring national and state members, and invite them to renew.  You can do this via email also -- but don't neglect the opportunity to do it first via regular mail -- and scribble a handwritten personal note on the renewal, with your name and phone number, to increase their engagement.

The results might surprise you.

Personal agency: It's actually a thing.  And all individuals have it.

Written by Marc Montoni <>, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.  May, 2018.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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For more information about the Radical Caucus, see or see the Facebook group  .

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Welcome to the Libertarian Party, 2018

To all the new people who have discovered an interest in the Libertarian Party these past few weeks:


There are nearly half a million registered Libertarians in the 27 states where it is not illegal to register as a Libertarian.

What makes us different from the other parties? Well...

We have called for the repeal of all Drug Prohibition since our founding in 1971.

We have called for abolishing the income tax and eliminating the IRS, and have said that "Taxation is Theft", since our founding in 1971.

We have called for replacing inefficient, wasteful, and brutal government "services" -- yes, even those flashing-lights emergency services -- with private-sector alternatives since our founding in 1971.

We have called for abolishing government indoctrination centers (public schools) since our founding in 1971.

We have called for an end to all foreign aid, regardless of how evil or good the recipient nation is, since our founding in 1971.

We have called for an end to all military adventurism, and the removal of all US military assets from foreign lands, since our founding in 1971.

We have called for the repeal of all regulations on guns, including regulations on modified and automatic weapons, since our founding in 1971.

We have called for the abolition of the Federal Reserve and for sound, free-market money since our founding in 1971.

We have called for the elimination of all corporate and individual welfare and subsidies since our founding in 1971.

We have called for the privatization of transportation infrastructure since our founding in 1971.  Where we're going, we don't need "roads".

We have called for the complete separation of government and health care, and for abolishing medical regulation and licensing, since our founding in 1971.

We have called for an end to government meddling in private voluntary agreements, such as minimum wage laws and requirements that businesses recognize unions, since our founding in 1971.

We have called for eliminating all restrictions on the right of people to cross imaginary lines since our founding in 1971.

We have called for private property rights to be fully respected by governments, and for the repeal of land-use regulations and zoning, since our founding in 1971.

We have called for an end to all marriage regulation and licensure, as well as for an end to all *government* discrimination for or against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans individuals -- and heterosexuals -- since our founding in 1971.  And we actually mean it.  In 1972, our very first national Platform stated our support for the rights of sexual minorities ( .

We have called for an end to all government sex discrimination since our founding in 1971.  We actually walk the talk, too: our very first nominee for Vice President, Tonie Nathan, was the first woman to receive an Electoral College vote.

We believe all individuals should be treated equally by governments. Unlike the Johnny-come-latelys, Libertarians actually take the idea of equal rights seriously -- and we started that conversation long before Democrats opportunistically embraced it.

We have called for the abolition of all laws restricting Freedom of Association, and for the elimination of all subsidies, regulation, special rights, privileges, penalties, preferential treatment, either for or against any subset of individuals or "favored" groups, since our founding in 1971.

We have called for an end to all government interference in the freedom of religion and conscience since our founding in 1971.  We don't want churches taxed -- we want taxes abolished.

So, welcome to the Libertarian Party.

Leave those big-party ideologies at the door -- you won't be needing them any more.

Cast off those chains!

Remember -- those stale old ideas have turned the United States into a police state.

Libertarians believe people should be able to marry who they want, gamble if they want, party with a hooker, smoke weed or partake of other recreational drugs, live as a woman (or a man) if they want ... but they should also be left free to start a business without asking for "permission", keep their money and property, travel without papers, and enjoy any guns they can afford.

Enjoy your freedom, and we're glad you're here.


Get active!

-- end --

Personal agency: It's actually a thing.

Written by Marc Montoni <>, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.  Revised April, 2018.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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For more information about the Radical Caucus, see or see the Facebook group  .

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Libertarian Weenie Pipe Dream

The Libertarian Weenie Pipe Dream is a modern fantasy peddled by "pragmatic" Libertarians.  It goes like this, with some regional and/or chemically-induced variations:

a)  Get ourselves elected to local office without saying anything scary.

b)  Build our political resumes, all the while continuing to hide our true nature.  Presumably by "playing the game" and voting for fatter government.

c)  Get elected to slightly higher office (still somehow hiding our true goals).

d)  When there are enough of us, take our hats off for the Big Reveal Day.

e)  Then at long last, we will be able to make more significant changes.

Of course, assuming we still remember what they were supposed to be.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Very sorry - rest assured that there are many, but we can't tell you who they are. It's a secret -- that's the whole idea. If we told you, or if they ever said anything libertarian in public, they would no longer be stealth, and people would stop voting for them. This would ruin the grand plan to have them all rise up out of their wheelchairs in 2079 and unanimously vote to abolish government.  'Nuff said.]

But in all seriousness, generations of new activists have been brought into the party being fed this same ludicrous model of how we are going to build a free society.

Here's a clue: If someone says either "The only thing that matters is getting elected," or "First we actually have to get elected", then they're delusional simpletons who have no commitment to the reasons why we try to get elected.

[Partly paraphrasing Joe Dehn]

For more information about the Radical Caucus, see or see the Facebook group  .
Originally written April 2018, by Marc Montoni, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.  This version released 2018.
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 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Anarchophobia: The ignorant fear of anarchists.

Anarchophobia is normally used as an excuse to paper over the fact that almost all Libertarian candidates fail to seek adequate volunteer and donor support for their campaigns, to explain away the reason more Libertarians are not being elected to office.

Most anarchophobes are clueless about:

- ballot access censorship and judicial bias favoring the D/R monopoly of the ballots in all states.

- the many extensive contributions anarchists have made to the modern Libertarian Party.

- the fact that anarchists were among the founding members of the Libertarian Party, and,

- the fact that anarchists comprise a large fraction of the current donating membership of the Libertarian Party.

[paraphrasing D. Frank Robinson]

FACT: Until ballot bias is eradicated, the votes cannot come.

FACT: When the votes come, the money will follow.

FACT: When the money arrives, oaths of office will administered.

For more information about the Radical Caucus, see or see the Facebook group  .
Originally written April 2018, by Marc Montoni, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.  This version released 2018.
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 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Vohra Suspension Motion Fails

A motion to suspend Arvin Vohra (Twitter, Maryland US Senate Campaign Website, Facebook, MeWe) from his position on the Libertarian National Committee has failed.

Current LP chairman Nick Sarwark (Twitter, Phoenix Mayor Campaign website, Facebook) wrote up his opinion on the subject. I thought this part was the most cogent:

When I gave my speech for None of the Above for Chair in Las Vegas in 2012, it was due to the factionalism and infighting I saw on the LNC leading up to that convention. LNC members focused more on trying to oust each other or gain advantage internally than they did on trying to advance the goals of the Libertarian Party. That internal focus resulted in stagnant fundraising, candidate recruitment, and membership numbers.

Since 2014, our committee has been able to move away from the internal factional fighting and focus on moving the Libertarian Party forward. We are improving fundraising, candidate recruitment, and membership. These recent controversies have regressed us back to internal fighting instead of fighting the two old parties. We need to stop the internal fighting and focus on our real opponents.

Sarwark's 2012 speech was in some ways a landmark event in the party's history.  For a good portion of the previous ten years, the majority faction on the LNC had spent far more time setting up intrigues for removing the few radicals and anarchists who happened to be on the LNC -- along with intrigues to make the LP a far more hostile place for anarchists and radicals in general -- than they did trying new fundraising approaches and getting the LP's day-to-day operations in proper order (after basically the same leadership had allowed everything to tank during that same ten years).  It was a landmark because while he was talking, one could almost feel the change in mood among the delegates.  The result was that a different culture emerged in the LP after that convention.

I don't know if Sarwark is a radical libertarian, much less an anarchist. Based on his speech at the Colorado state convention last month, my suspicion is that he is not.

But I don't really care.

Sarwark has been patient and understanding of all sides and an excellent moderator for getting the crowd to pay attention to actual business.

I voted for him for chairman twice because I was one of many who were tired of the internal Machiavellians who simply couldn't keep their focus. I wanted to X out the hyper-factionalists. I didn't get my wish to dump the worst of them altogether, but at least Nick has done pretty well at keeping their desire to dominate contained, and redirect that towards business.

When VC Vohra began writing his controversial articles on his personal Facebook page almost a year ago, what I saw was mostly the same old hyper-factional individuals seizing upon their controversial nature as an excuse to return the party to the slash-and-burn internal culture that was the case prior to Vegas.

Please note that there are also anarchist and radical Libertarians who are in favor of Mr Vohra leaving the LNC.  The above paragraph does not refer to them.  They have their own reasons that are not mostly motivated by partisan hackery, and I understand that -- although I disagree with their position on removal.

I've made my position clear: I say things differently from Vohra. Of course, whatever opinions he puts up on his personal page are his and his alone.

I believe that his comments are infinitesimally less-damaging to the LP brand than the majority of LP candidates have been for most of our existence.   Several candidates in Virginia and almost all other states in years have in the past pushed the national retail sales tax [not to mention our most recent presidential candidate]. Johnson, for his part, suggested that Prohibition should continue, that Finking Feddie should maintain an "enemies list", and that American soldiers should chase hobgoblins like warlord Kony in Africa, among many other off-the-reservation pseudo-alcoholic stumblings.

Bill Redpath -- another sitting LNC member -- in several of his campaigns for federal office,  supported various forms of gun control, continuing to send money to institutions of higher indoctrination, and tax schemes like a "revenue neutral" flat tax.

It was LP candidates who seemed unable to use the "A" word ("abolish") that propelled me into the resurgent Radical Caucus movement in 2005-2006. When we formalized the Radical Caucus, the plan was to help fund candidates who didn't damage the name "Libertarian" and instead advocated a bold, clear, consistent brand.

In any case, the question has been settled for the moment. Hopefully, until the opening day of the 2018 national convention.

At this point, I believe Vohra's most recent comment about school boards was indeed over the line, and if I had said something like that I'd probably resign just so continued controversy didn't distract the organization from more important things.This has indeed become a distraction and a diversion, and it's time for all to move on.

That said, at some point, members of the LP are going to have a reckoning with the increasing hostility shown to anarchist and radical Libertarians.  Almost everything Vohra has said (with the possible exception of his ill-considered comment about school boards) in his writings over the past year have delineated correct, consistent libertarian ideas that are supposed to be part of the alleged "big tent".  Most of the controversy swirling about Vohra over the last year has been a loud call for those ideas to be squelched and thrown out of the tent.

For instance, Vohra's articles early last year criticized soldiers for making themselves pawns in the murderous games of the elites.  Many Libertarians became loudly offended.  Some understood exactly what he was trying to get across, however.

As John Kendrick Meadows said recently (note you will need to be a member of Facebook as well as a member of the particular discussion group to see the comment):

You can't hate war, but worship the people committing those acts of violence, and justify it with "just following orders"....  You can't be anti war and support the pawns of the military industrial complex. Those missiles don't launch themselves. Those planes aren't all autonomous.
[Note: Meadows is Former SSgt USAF Airborne Persian Linguist. 7 Combat deployments, 502 days.]

So, yes, I believe people are using his particular style as their excuse  for what they really object to.  It's not a question of how the message is being presented; it is that the message is being presented at all.

If you don't like what someone says, what's the best response?

How about we all ignore those who say things we don't like, and concentrate on doing what we're supposed to be doing?

One thing we should all remember that Facebook is a social medium, not a political organizing medium.  If growing the Party is your goal, turn off Facebook, grab a few hundred LP flyers and a list of registered Libertarians and Party members in your area (your state LP can probably help with both) and start calling people, and (better yet) visiting them, and otherwise act like you're serious about organizing Libertarians and aren't just playing activist on Facebook.  It starts with *you* and organizing your own home precinct or neighborhood.

If you disagree with one of the 25,000-odd LP members (or one of the the ~50% of them who are on Facebook), the worst possible thing to do is to share their articles, comment on them, or refer to them.  Be the adult, and ignore those who say things to which you object.
Facebook has a "block" feature. Use it.

For more information about the Radical Caucus, see or see the Facebook group  .
Originally written April 2018, by Marc Montoni, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.  This version released 2018.
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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Admitting My Error

I think I've made a mistake.

I think I continued to make it for almost two decades.

I used to be that guy who showed up at every LP meeting and invited everyone who was in attendance to make that next step, and to join the LP. I sent well over 1,200 new or renewal memberships to the LP between 1996 and 2016.

I think it was a mistake because the LP's membership efforts -- mine included -- have been too successful...

Too successful at enlisting people who Just Don't Get It.

In the seventies, even many minarchists would have been at great pains to describe even one government regulation that they agreed with; and which they could justify being left among the powers allowed to government.

Now we have self-styled "Libertarian anarchists" who have no trouble suggesting that there are, indeed, government regulations that have a libertarian justification for supporting them.

In the past week, I have read commentary by two people I have known for a long time, saying that there is a libertarian case to be made for preventing people under 21 from owning a firearm.

A month ago, a whole bunch of self-styled "anarchists" -- not to mention "libertarians" jumped on the "under 18 cannot consent" bandwagon -- despite the fact that it is just another government regulation like any other.

We appear to have a deep-seated misunderstanding of what anarchism and even libertarianism actually mean.

You become a libertarian when you understand that it's wrong to run the lives of others.

You become an anarchist when you understand that there simply are no exceptions.

We have spent the last forty years allowing ourselves to swallow Leviathan's propaganda that "it's for the children!!" and that only Leviathan can ever be the arbiter of who is competent to own a weapon, drive a car, have sex, take drugs, or set up a business.

We have become Leviathan's "good little junior partner" in the charade.

How far we have fallen.

I am deeply sorry for my error.  My penance is that I am going to take a long break from recruiting LP members, at least until I can find a better way to enlist the people who are already out there in the millions who completely understand that the entire construct of our government is one big fraud and long con.

The LP is not talking to them.  Instead, we're talking to valium-popping
socialist soccer moms and beer-swilling sports-bar union thug dads -- who both joined the Leviathan parties when they were in their teens either because that's what their parents were or because they were rebelling against what their parents were.

We've spent forty years talking to that audience, and the result has been 40 years of banging around between 10,000 and 25,000 annual donors.

There must be more.  We need a quarter-million annual donors, and walking softly isn't getting us introduced to them.

We need to be offensive to the rest to appeal to the best.

And make no mistake, Libertarian ideas themselves are TOXIC to Republicans and Democrats.  You can't make them like it; nor can you make them not be offended by our ideas.  They are simply not capable of any other reaction.  We should stop trying to be inoffensive and non-threatening to them, because in doing so, we sell our real cohort down the river -- without any benefit to us.

It appears to be reality that the LP is now on a path from which it will not easily diverge.  There are vanishingly few Libertarians who understand that we're ignoring our core market -- and they're getting more and more scarce every day.

Arvin Vohra, who has been trying something very different, will be replaced at the national convention in 2018 with someone far more milquetoasty who will go in the exact opposite direction.

The die is cast, and it will likely stay cast.

The LP is now part of the "loyal" opposition.

It has become a whipped puppy -- instead of the junkyard dog that it was supposed to be.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Tips for Potential National Convention Delegates / 2018

So You Want to Be a National Convention Delegate!
By Marc Montoni, LP Radical Caucus


Really, in most states, being a supporting member of your state and national Libertarian Party costs $50 or less for both.

I am in favor of all delegates being allowed to do their jobs without being required to pay a floor fee; however, I am also in favor of requiring **every** delegate to be a dues-paid member of **both** the national and state parties (at least -- in many areas they could also be supporting a local committee as well).

You can help us eliminate the Deformer's "freeloader" argument by making sure you have made at least the basic dues donation for both your national and state membership.


You are not required to purchase a package to attend only the Business Session under the LP Bylaws;but be aware that in some years various LNC members attempt to require a hefty fee.

BAD IDEA: Forget to register.

Your state LP sends its delegate list to the Credentials Committee, and it is the members of the CC who decide who is qualified to take part on the convention floor.

DO NOT fail to verify that the Credentials Committee has credentialed you, especially if you're planning to attend only the Business Session.

BAD IDEA: To forget your colleagues are human.  Trust, but verify.


The convention website says the LP convention rate is sold out.  However, there are people looking for roommates, and there are alternative hotels nearby.

If you seek roommates, begin seeking them now.  The below page was established for the '14 cnvention but people are still using it for this one:

or perhaps:

BAD IDEA: Waiting until the last minute to make your travel plans.

The above Facebook group has rideshares offered & needed also.

BAD IDEA: Failing to figure out how you're getting there.

Find out what the procedure will to seek a delegation seat with your state LP.

If you don't win a delegate seat this year, then start working on the next cycle.  Have some accomplishment behind you.  Don't wait to organize a booth, do a fundraising round for the Party, recruit candidates and members, or organize your home precinct.  DO IT NOW.  Next week is too late; next month is too late.  Do nothing and show up at your state convention and those who have done their homework will be first in line for those precious delegate seats -- ahead of YOU.  Get away from the computer, get off the couch, and engage in a real political act.

BAD IDEA: Ignoring your state party's convention call.

SHOW UP at your state LP convention, with your LP activity resume in hand, and do what you need to do to be among those considered for a delegate seat.  This is a fairly complete schedule:

BAD IDEA: Failing to show up.

Do a thorough read of the Delegation Chair's Manual.


Study up on the Convention Committee structure:


Here are the Delegate Allocations by state:


BAD IDEA: Remaining unfamiliar with or clueless about convention procedures.

Read through the current LP Platform, such as it is:


It's a lot shorter that it used to be, and it says a lot less.  Not a bad idea to pick a couple of previous platforms so you understand what used to be in it:


BAD IDEA: Not being fairly familiar with what the Party actually says.

Take anything said about the LP platform and how it "compares" with the platforms of other parties with a grain of salt.  Review the opposition's platform(s)for yourself:


BAD IDEA: Remaining ignorant of what our competition has in their platforms.

BAD IDEA: Allowing the individuals on the Platform Committee -- some of whom want us to say nothing about anything -- to make up your mind for you.

a)  Check out who is on the Platform Committee:


b)  Review what the majority on the Platform Committee has planned for the Platform; and keep in mind that a majority of the Platform Committee wants the LP platform to say very little:


c)  This committee had a meeting in March:


d)  Minutes from that March meeting:


Familiarize yourself with the current LP Bylaws:

BAD IDEA: Remaining unfamiliar with the current LP Bylaws.

a)  Check out who is on the Bylaws Committee:


b)  Study the Bylaws Proposals from the Bylaws Committee, and be sure to review any comments on each proposal:


BAD IDEA: Taking every idea in the Bylaws Committee Report at face value.  Some items will have a hidden agenda.

13: Get yourself a copy of Roberts Rules In Brief; optionally the full text of Roberts Rules.

Watch "Parliamentary procedure made simple: how to conduct a meeting".  Available at most large-ish public libraries.  Example:

If you can't find it at your local library, don't forget your municipality's law library, as well as school and college libraries.  I saw a few university copies available on this search:

BAD IDEA: Complaining when parliamentary tricks are used to silence and bypass you, and you don't know how to counter them.

BAD IDEA: Relying on the advice of "Registered Parliamentarians", who can't seem to understand the part of their training that dictates they must recuse themselves from offering opinions if they have a stake in what they are interpreting.

BAD IDEA: Relying on the advice of witch-doctor shamans who want you to believe they have special insight *you* could not possibly have.

I don't go because I think all of my ideas, candidates for LNC positions, or whatever will all win.  I go because I want to see that crazy remnant I enjoy spending time with so much.  Go for the drinking games, the parties and the socializing, and have a good time.

See you there!

-- end --

Originally written January 2008, by Marc Montoni <>, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.  This version released 2018.  License to use hereby granted under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. See .  All use of this or derivative works must include an unedited copy of this attribution statement as well as an unedited copy of the above original article (if used in a derivative work).
For more information about the Radical Caucus, see or see the Facebook group  .

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Short Answers to the “Can You Win” Question

By Marc Montoni

Most of the many thousands of Libertarians who have run for office since 1972 (estimated to be in excess of 25,000) have faced the inevitable question from reporters (and voters as well, but especially reporters), “do you think you can win?”

The question itself reveals the intellectually lazy view of politics as a horse race.  There's no room in that religion for ideology, belief, passion, or anything else of any substance.  There's nothing in a horse race that really means anything.  Well, except winning.

Essentially, reporters asking it have reduced politics to a simple race of nothing vs. nothing.

How to get around it?

How do you lead someone with such a short attention span back to real issues?

Libertarians have come up with many ways to steer the reporter back to their reason for running.  We share them with you below so you will have them ready in your verbal arsenal.

Here is how a candidate who was professionally coached answered the question: Ed Clark, when asked if he would win, and how many votes he would get, had probably the best answer I've heard:

"I'm trying as hard as I can to win.  We have a serious message, we
want to address serious problems..."

Clark's answer avoided both self-marginalization on the one hand, and overblown expectations that any moron, much less a reporter, could see right through on the other.

The essay I quote below appeared on "libernet" in the early nineties, but I did not record who wrote it:

In 1982, Ed Clark put together an audio tape of fifty ques-tions and answers, and on this particular matter, the conversation went like this:

Question: Do you really expect to win?"

Answer: "I'm trying just as hard as I can to win.  Libertarians have the right solutions for today's problems, they have the ethics of individual liberty--the only correct ethics for politics--and we have been gaining strength and we are going to get a lot of votes this time".

Question: "How many votes are you going to get?"

Answer: "We are going to get a lot of votes in 1982.  More than we have had before and enough to show the public that Libertarians are a very strong alternative in American politics".

Mr. Clark then went on to say:

"If you note the way I have answered the last two questions, these are perhaps the only two in the whole set of questions where you do not give a direct answer, because if you ever answer a question "Do you really expect to win" with a "yes", in many cases people will discard you as somebody who is obviously not realistic in your answer.  If you answer that question with a "no" you eliminate one of the principal reasons that people are going to follow your candidacy and there is the possibility that you might win.  So these questions call for strong affirmative answers, but not to answer the question precisely".
You are, of course, never under any obligation to give a direct answer to any question, and indeed few politicians do, often preferring to give an answer that they think will put them in the best possible light, whether it relates to the subject at hand or not.

There are sound reasons for reconsidering your answers.  You do not know for sure that you are not going to win, even if you think you might not.

Let me take a little more of your time by relating an event which occurred here in British Columbia within the last three months.  The term of our governing Social Credit (conservative) Party was drawing to a close following a five year term which had been plagued by scandal and corruption, including the resignation of the Premier under allegations of conflict of interest.

They and the New Democratic (socialist) Party both ran a full slate of candidates.  The provincial Liberal (wishy-washy) Party had been pretty well defunct for the last twenty years until recent times when a very energetic fellow started making really strenuous efforts to revive it ready for this last election.  The net result of his efforts was that he persuaded enough people to run as candidates so as to give them a full slate.  This then gave him sufficient leverage to persuade the powers that be to include him in a Party Leader's debate on local television.  This proved to be the turning point from which they never looked back.

The final result was New Democrats 51 seats, Liberals 17 seats, and the once ruling Social Credit 6 seats.

Knowledgeable commentators forecast that at best the Liberals might take a handful of seats.  Instead, they are now the official opposition.

Here are some additional sound bite-ish answers:

"If I wanted chaos, I could sit on my couch and vote for Democrats and Republicans."

"I want liberty.  I want freedom.  I can't get either of those things voting for Democrats or Republicans.
"I want government to protect my rights, and get out of my wallet and my bedroom.  The other guys will give me the opposite."
"I am running because I want liberty.  Voting for Democrats and Republicans is a lost cause; because both of them work to expand government and restrict liberty."

"Doing the same thing over and over - in this case, voting for Democrats and Republicans - and each time, expecting the results to be different, is insanity.  These guys refuse to protect individual rights, they are taxing the middle class into bankruptcy; they've saddled us with hundreds of thousands of laws no single person can be expected to know; they take our homes and give them over to developers; they've lied us into '100 years of war', and have made our money just about worthless.  Why give them a pat on the back and return them to office yet again?  I'm running because I refuse to give them that pat on the back."
For Libertarians in my homes state of Virginia, you can also make it a point to say that you're also running because Virginia doesn't have registration by party, and this is the only way we have to discover new Libertarians so we have a larger support base for the next election.  Along these lines, you might say:

"I'll count my race as a 'win' if I can find new libertarians and get them ready to support our candidates next year.  We Libertarians believe we're in a marathon, not a one-year sprint."

It is important for every Libertarian to remember the following:  You’re not going to get fiscal conservatives to vote for you; at least not en masse.

You're not going to get a mass number of liberals, either.

For that matter, winning is out of the question without a campaign war chest equal to the sum of both of your opponents.  Your campaign should pursue the swing voters who aren't married to either camp; and it should specifically target those who are already libertarian.

Below I provide you with several more brief articles on how to address “The Question”.  Enjoy!  And above all, good luck and have fun with your race!

Donny Ferguson says:

I would respond with:

1) There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of elected Libertarian officials.

2) There have always been independent and third party members of Congress, and they all beat Republicans and Democrats to get there.  Right now we have two independ-ent U.S. Senators.

3) Any candidate can win as long as you vote for him.

James R. Stevenson says:

Start off by saying that right now you have a 33% chance of winning.  If you can get your message out and people realize they are in agreement, then you can certainly win.

I would avoid using the word 'conservative' in any incarnation.  Say you are trying to appeal to those people who believe in personal liberty and fiscal responsibility.  This way you can appeal to any disaffected constituent, Democrat, Republican, or independent.  If you use the word 'conservative' you automatically lose all Democratic tribalists.  Similarly, if you use the word 'liberal', you automatically lose the Republican tribalists.

It is unfortunate that Bob Barr is already campaigning as a 'true conservative'.  He has already marginalized his campaign, just as Ron Paul did. Quite stoopid if not downright idiotic.

Probably the most important thing you can say is "If the media responsibly reports on your positions, then you have a great chance to win. If the media censors your candidacy, you will have little chance of winning".

Steve Damerell says:

One of the best answers is to say "I'm running to win, be-cause people don't run in elections to lose."  Then immediately delve into WHY you're running.

That lead-in sentence is neither defeatist nor delusional, and from there, you can bring the question back around to the issues, your strong point.

Rick Sincere says:

The classic response in this genre was, of course, William F. Buckley, Jr.,  running as a Conservative Party candidate for Mayor of New York in 1965.   Asked, "what's the first thing you'll do if you're elected?," Buckley  replied:  "Demand a recount."
I'm not saying you should copy Buckley, but you should be prepared with  something similarly pithy and funny -- something quotable that will get you noticed.


Marc Montoni serves as the President of the Libertarian Practical Politics Association as well as the Chief of the Annoyance Caucus of the Libertarian Party.  A long-time resident of Virginia, primariy Richmond and Harrisonburg, Montoni has served as the Membership Chairman for the Libertarian Party of Virginia as well as many other posts over four decades of service.  He now resides in Colorado with his family.

See his blog at:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Yes, The Campaign Against Vohra *IS* a Witch Hunt

Do you know where the term "witch" originated?

It is thought to be descended from words used to describe midwives in ancient Roman times.

Midwives found abortifacients and antifertility effects in various herbs, spices, and roots.  One of the theories about the disastrous decline in population of the Roman Empire was the primary reason for its collapse: It no longer had anywhere near enough young bodies to fill military needs.

Over time, midwives went underground, and their go-to kit containing things like peacock flower went underground with them.  As Europe became more and more paternalistic, and more emphasis was placed on the need for women to squirt out babies, anything that disrupted that model became something that had to be stopped by any means necessary.  A "witch" was a woman who learned how to take control of their reproduction -- and thus since few knew how chemicals worked, the myth that these women were putting spells on men to make them impotent or unfertile became more and more common.

Thus, burning witches.

Which brings us to the current outrage-of-the-day, regarding Arvin Vohra.  Many have described the campaign to remove him from our ranks as a "witch hunt".

Of course, the outrage fetishists are whining that such a characterization is "unfair".

Is it unfair?

It's actually pretty accurate.  It IS a witch hunt.

Check out the definition.

A crowd of people, both on the LNC and off, who are calling for Vohra's immediate removal.  They're not interested in censure, they're not interested in waiting until the convention, they want him purged *now*.

He has also been doxxed, threatened with violence either now or at the National Convention in New Orleans, has had complaints against him filed with the police, his business has been attacked, and he has been slandered in many ways; chief among them the hundreds of claims that because of his opinion on Age of Majority, that he is ipso facto a pedophile -- despite not one single shred of evidence being presented.

Pretty much all falls under definition #2 of "witch hunt".

If it ends up going further than that, it might even fall under definition #1.

Certainly all of this is "free speech".

Of course it is.

So is any speech inciting to riot.

"Witch Hunt" is an accurate word.

Outrage fetishists should maybe stop being offended by words or phrases that are accurate.