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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Good or Bad?

I was checking one of my many email accounts and came across this update from the LP:
Libertarian Party Membership Continues to Grow

Hard on the heels of the first full year of membership growth for the Libertarian Party in several years, the first quarter of 2005 saw continued growth -- and March provided the largest monthly increase in membership in nine months.

"Membership increased by 466 in March, and we have had 2.4 percent growth in membership between the end of 2004 (22,177) and the end of March, when it had grown to 22,706," said Jessica Neno Wilson, development coordinator for the national LP.

"We had 337 new members sign up in March and 1,528 Libertarian Party members renewed their memberships," she said.

I have mixed feelings about this.

First, I think it great that there are more people coming to libertarianism, though the announcement does not say if those 337 are completely new to libertarian thought and were convinced to join because of LP recruiting efforts, or if they have believed in libertarian philosophy for years and finally got around to joining the LP. I am sure it is probably a mix, with more coming in via the later rather than the former.

Of course, growth of 466 in a country of 290,000,000 plus doesn't exactly show a groundswell of sentiment in favor of libertarian ideas. However, after 4 straight years of declining membership, it is something.

This brings me to my second reaction. I hope that the LP doesn't interpret this as more than it actually is. As Wilson says:
It just so happened that several states sent in their 'join via state' memberships all at the same time, significantly boosting our figures for the month.

It is quite possible and very likely this is a statistical anomaly caused by the simultaneous submittal of several state's membership applications. We will have to see if this trend continues.

Hopefully, the LP does not see this increase as a justification for the status quo.

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Copyright © S Michael Moore 2005