You say you asked Aaron and M whether they voted to raise dues, but you haven't told us how they responded. Did they admit to voting for $50 dues? Did they defend the secrecy of the vote?
In response to what you've written below...
Even if new memberships at the basic level were costing the LPC more money than they were bringing in, that doesn't explain why membership dropped. People who quit the party or didn't renew their memberships were not taking those actions in order to save the LPC money! Or are you saying that the decline in membership was due to a reduction in the number of new memberships brought in at the state level, because the state couldn't afford more members? If that's your hypothesis, some figures would be in order.
You complain that the LPC's share of party dues are too low for the LPC to cover a newsletter, an office, or paid staff. But in fact the LPC currently has all three of those things. Meanwhile, many county LP chapters don't have newsletters, and few if any have offices or paid staff. Is your argument that the LPC is more justified in having such things because it covers a larger region? Well, the International Society for Individual Liberty is trying to cover the whole globe, and they have a simple, home-based office and no paid staff. I have to go outside the LP to draw this comparison because we don't even *have* an international Libertarian Party, let alone an office or paid staff for such an entity. Why should the state level of the party be much better equipped than the local or the international level?
I disagree with your describing basic memberships as "subsidies." This implies that the Libertarian Party is doing people who join the party at the $25 a year level a favor. I think that's the wrong attitude to have toward core supporters. The party and the movement should be grateful to *them* for caring enough to join and support the LP with money when so few registered Libertarians do this much. Aaron Starr and M Carling had a similar attitude toward convention delegates -- that they were being "subsidized" unless they helped pay for the cost of the meeting room by buying a package or paying a floor fee. Wrong! Convention delegates are volunteers doing important work for the party. By contributing in this manner, they are doing the party a favor, not the other way around. Starr and Carling wouldn't call paid office staff who weren't paying for the cost of their office space "subsidized," and just because LPC delegates are not paid to come and conduct the party's business at conventions is no reason to adopt this condescending attitude toward them -- just the opposite.
In fact many if not most LP members voluntarily give more than $25 a year, whether by cash, or via in-kind contributions such as volunteering for the party. Sure there will be some who do nothing more than send $25 a year, and who are receiving newsletters costing the party more than that amount. Should we resent these Libertarians? No! By allowing themselves to be counted as members, they are giving important moral support, and by receiving the party's newsletters, they are probably becoming more educated about libertarian ideas, and perhaps more willing to contribute more in the future. If the party charges someone $.40 to buy and read a newsletter that costs $.60 to produce, that is not necessarily a loss for the party, just as it's not necessarily a loss for the party to print and give away pamphlets promoting libertarianism. Sure it's costing money in simple economic terms, but those terms do not capture the full picture of what is going on.
Yours in liberty,
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