Monday, June 18, 2007

The Libertarian Party's dishonest fundraising pitch.

Yesterday I received three separate automated phone calls from the national Libertarian Party informing me that my membership had lapsed and asking me to renew.

For reasons that are my own, I'm still a registered Libertarian and an officer of the local party. Registering LBT is enough in Arizona to be a member of the Libertarian Party and to be eligible to hold office.

Since the passage of the Squyres proposal to eliminate the Unified Membersip Program and move away from a dues-based model, being a member of the national Libertarian Party has been even easier. One must merely sign the Libertarian Party Pledge, which means different things to different people.

To be a sustaining member, one must contribute at least twenty-five dollars per year. This is the equivalent of the trendy tote-bag level of public television support; it gets the contributor a subscription to the always Pollyannaesque LP News, and perhaps more junk mail.

When I told two of the callers that the LP was no longer on a dues-based model and that I had nothing to give at the present, they let me go politely, but the third argued and said that some director of fundraising told them that members must pay dues. My reply: "When Bill Redpath or Chuck Moulton call me up and tell me we're charging dues again, I'll pay."

I'm usually reluctant to donate to the national LP, as although they maintain a classy website these days and handle quite a few inquiries, the party is moribund, laden with ideologues out to prevent it from doing what it is supposed to do, and perhaps with a bad name due to years of failure and attrition. On occasion I can be convinced that this effort or that is worthwhile, but now that I've been lied to over the phone, I don't think the national office will see a contribution from me for a long time.

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