Get the Book

The page below is an old version of my Business Plan for a New Political Party. Due to popular demand, I have updated the Plan considerably and put it into Kindle Format. You can buy it here.

Yes, it costs a bit of money. But the return on investment is enormous if you are serious about starting a political party.

Are you serious?

Part 4: Lessons Learned in the Libertarian Party

I had been a member of the Libertarian Party for a quarter of a century. For the first decade or so, I was an outsider member: someone who paid dues, read the literature, and promoted the party and its ideals to friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, but had very little interaction with local Libertarian activists. Then, in the 1990s I slowly began to be active in the Fairfax County VA LP: working on campaigns, doing some petitioning, working booths etc. By the late 1990s, I had really caught the bug, and started my own experiments: Quiz2D and the Economy of Scale Project. This led to my becoming the Region 5 Alternate Representative for the Libertarian National Committee during the 2000 term. I ended up attending more meetings than my primary, and participated in the Strategic Planning Team. Since then, I have worked on more campaigns, been active at the county level, including several years as county chair in Asheville, NC, and served as a recent member of the Libertarian Party national bylaws committee.

So, I have many years of experience with third party politics--the Libertarian Party in particular, from multiple viewpoints. The ideas in this business plan as a whole were inspired by real life experiences. I did not derive them from a priori reasoning; they manifested themselves to me many, many times and eventually I noticed them.

The core ideas in Part 2 are not easy for hardcore libertarians to accept. They were not easy for me. When I first broke away from the dogma that you could derive a complete moral and political system from basic metaphysics, I actually experienced vertigo.

But once freed from party dogma, I began to look at the process of third politics more scientifically. As a result I have been able to learn many lessons. The most important lessons are covered in Parts 2 and 3, but there are also many smaller lessons, some of which are mainly applicable to reforming the Libertarian Party, while others are applicable to third parties generally.

Others in the LP have learned many of these same lessons. Some have stayed in the party long enough to apply them. Others have given up and taken their knowledge with them. Without a catalog of lessons learned, Libertarians, and third party activists in general, can end up reinventing the flat tire.

So here is my catalog, for those who want to fix an existing party. Those who want to start from scratch may want to skip on to Part 5 first. Feel free, but do come back here afterwards, as many of these lessons would apply to a new party as well.

One thing to keep in mind: many of the lessons that follow are useless without the lessons in Part 2! In fact, some can be worse than useless! Better execution of a bad plan is dangerous; it can postpone fixing the really important things.

Also, I will not cover here all the lessons I have learned. This business plan is getting thick enough already. If you want more, go to, and read my Incrementalator Essays , essays written for after my participation on the Strategic Planning Team (SPT).

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Next

Lessons Learned in the Libertarian Party
General Motors vs. McDonald's
Danger! Overhead!
Economies of Scale
Professionals: not a Panacea
It's Coke or Pepsi Time
Use the Volunteers
Morale vs. Motivation
Proof by Definition
Vote for me, you Bastard!
Voter Education vs. Indoctrination
Sound Bites, Anyone?
First, Don't Be Silly
On Herding Cats
A Better National Committee?
And More
Why Third Political Parties Fail
The Constraints Third Parties must Obey to Succeed
A Strategic Framework for Third Political Parties
Starting a New Political Party from Scratch