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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?

Morale vs. Motivation

Some time back, when reading a tome of Peter Drucker’s management wisdom, I came across a comparison of morale vs. motivation. I don’t remember the details of his arguments, but he did make it clear that the two terms, while sometimes related, are quite different. It is possible to have low morale and still plug away, getting the job done. It is possible to have very high morale and be very under motivated.

I have seen a fair number of examples of this difference in life in general—not just politics. I have known many a procrastinator who used overconfidence (excessively high morale) as an excuse to put off doing unpleasant work. I have known successful people and organizations who self-motivate through fear: think of Intel. I have seen successful fundraising letters which told of imminent disaster.

Thus, I have a significant contempt for positive thinking gurus.

Yes, in third party politics, there is a definite need for morale boosting (Bottleneck C). Whenever a third party sends out a “send money now or we close shop” fundraising letter, it calls into question the viability of the whole enterprise.

For this reason LP News has historically been more of a morale building tool than a motivational tool. Bill Winter was masterful at making it so. Under his tenure LP News gained a truly professional look and was filled with glowing articles about Libertarian celebrities. The paper grew in size under his tenure, which gave longtime readers a positive feeling that the party was growing. (Some of us remember the mid 1980s when LP News collapsed in size and printing frequency as the party collapsed.)

LP News has always been a morale building tool for the party, but how effective has it been at motivation?

My personal feeling is: not very. This feeling comes both from my active years in the party, when I tried to get LP News reading members to do something, as well as my own memory as a passive member who read LP News regularly but never showed up for local party meetings.

I once tried to make LP News more of a motivational tool. I wrote up a detailed article on one of my in-the-field experiments. My theory was that people were more likely to act when they had detailed knowledge of what to do.

Bill Winter said he liked the article well enough but considered it inappropriate for LP News – too technical – that it should go in The Libertarian Volunteer.

Thus I was irked, perhaps unduly. Keeping morale up was a critical task for keeping the national office funded, and Mr. Winter performed this task admirably.

The real question is: would adding more motivation to LP News detract from its morale-building function? I could see how repeated clarion calls to get out there and petition could be irksome to those who support the cause by donating. But how irksome would it be to have detailed articles on different petitioning strategies?

When I go to the grocery store, I do see a fair number of celebrity based news magazines filled with puff pieces on celebrities. These magazines are the ones that get featured at the checkout aisles. However, when I look at the wide array of magazines offered in the main magazine area, most of the magazines are of the hobbyist variety. There are magazines on woodworking, crafts, bodybuilding, hot rodding and computer operation. Obviously, a great many people enjoy reading about the technical details of their field of interest.

In fact, as I got actively involved in the LP, I found that people were more interested in what I had to say on politics because they were interested in the operation of a political party. Non LP members were more interested in the operation of the LP than what it stood for.

Methinks LP members might be interested as well. This includes passive members. As a donor, I am interested in the details of how my donations are spent, and I don’t think I am unique in this sentiment.

And had LP News provided more such detailed articles, I probably would have gone from passive to active member much sooner. Knowledge is motivating. The more you know about how to do something, the more tempted you are to try doing it. It may take a passive member years of reading such articles before the moment of action occurs, but so what?

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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