On being part of the problem

Matt Cockerill at the Young Americans for Liberty blog wants to know why there aren’t more libertarian women. By which he apparently means that he wants to know why more women don’t read his own personal libertarian blog and why more women don’t go to the libertarian political events that he personally goes to. (Which is actually a separate question, although men posting Where’s the women? posts never quite seem to recognize that.)

The first point in Matt’s discussion is to ask whether this might be the result of intractable forces predisposing women to be anti-libertarian. (Along with a link to an LRC article arguing, based purely on anecdote and appeal to conventional wisdom, that women are instinctually anti-libertarian because they are too emotional and mostly incapable of abstract thought.)

The second point in Matt’s discussion is to wish for more women to show up for his Sausage Party because libertarian men are currently being driven insane by the lack of young libertarian women to hit on.

But I do know that a proportional increase in libertarian women would do well to preserve the sanity of libertarian men. As it stands, the young female “itinerary” [sic! —R.G.] is mostly composed of Obama zombies, fully-blown Marxists, and “murder-all-Iranians” type chickenhawks. This undoubtedly needs to change.

The first commenter, Anonymous, adds: Most women/girls are more emotional than logical. The ones who think with their brain and not their heart are libertarians. But at the same time most libertarian women have a hard time being libertarian with ALL issues.

The third commenter, John M., adds: I think many of the libertarian women that read this site would take offense to being labeled as more emotional than logical. A more scientific distinction would be to argue that the ratio exists because men are naturally more skilled at mathematics and science whereas women are more skilled in the disciplines of reading and writing. This gives men an advantage at comprehending and anaylzing the ramifications of policies. But he does want more women in the movement, because he believes (based on the experience of Sarah Palin, who he insults as having little … brain-power or charisma) that having a few women on the ticket (a few women who he believes will need to be politically educated by libertarian men) they will be useful for getting out the vote.

Commenter Jack, in reply to John M.’s mention of a female professor who once chewed [him] up for saying that women are more emotional than logical, adds: LOL. More indoctrination. I hate to hear stories of culturally marxist academia. It would be one thing to politely disagree, but professors these days will eat you up if you try to say that any two people are different than each other in any way. Matt Cockerill comes back around to use this as an opportunity to tell us what he thinks is wrong with the modern women’s movement: The result of the egalitarian, denialist feminist indoctrination of the last few decades has been a generation of guys afraid to act like guys, and women who hate most of us for being fakers.

Matt Cockerill also comes back around to mention that he opposes a woman’s right to abortion, and that he considers this position compatible with the politics of individual liberty.

Sometimes, when women don’t show up for your parties, the best thing to do is not to ask whether there’s something wrong with women that makes them naturally predisposed not to dig the things you think they should dig. Because, dude, sometimes the reason that women don’t want to hang out with you is because there’s something wrong with you. And, specifically, because there’s something wrong with the way that you treat women.

And if you want a good example, why not start with the way you approached your original question?

Incidentally, be sure to read through the comments thread on the original post — not because the bulk of the comments are enlightening or even maginally original, but rather because radical feminist, left-libertarian Drunkenatheist’s commentary on the bulk of the comments is. Props.

(Link thanks to Drunkenatheist [2009-08-28].)

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46 replies to On being part of the problem Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Nataliya Petrova

    I can’t say I don’t enjoy meeting women interested in similar ideas but am shocked at how blatantly stupid people can be in public forums. I thought it was true that the Libertarian movement is generally male dominated ~ just as a neutral observation devoid of harem implications. I would hope that any human being of any gender would be interested in discussing the politics of freedom.

    Question: anyone on Facebook knows what kind of comments Angela Keaton or Allison Gibb’s photos can elicit. There is a definite compliment brigade of Libertarian men out there. I’ve sometimes wondered how a particular individual feels about constantly being reminded of how physically attractive they are. I know how to approach certain Libertarian women friends of mine ~ as we have discussed sexuality and their own preferences privately. What I am unsure of is the implications of sexual equality for approaching women I am just getting to know or are mostly connected through politics. If there is no obvious boundary in plain sight then would you oppose a tasteful comment upon a Libertarian woman’s looks? Or is it just the double standards of patriarchy involved? I spent a week being affectionate with a Libertarian female friend of mine in Chicago. On a humorous related note: I was added as a Facebook friend by a Libertarian woman recently and somewhat unthinkingly asked whether or not she appreciated/was comfortable with people complimenting on her looks lol.

    ( :

    I like to think of it as adorable but clumsy conscientiousness!

  2. Nataliya Petrova

    BTW Charles I personally encountered the women are generally less logical than men argument within Libertas. I didn’t scorched earth repudiate the guy but did rather assertively argue with him. I am much more comfortable with that kind of strong but non-overly militarist approach with people. I am going to spare personal details of discussion for sake of privacy. You probably have heard the talking points before anyhow.

  3. anonymouse

    Why not ask some actual women? They’re not that hard to find, after all, making up a whole 50% of the population. And when manage to find one and explain libertarianism to her, listen to what she says in rejecting it. I think it’s not a matter of emotions versus logic, I think it often comes down to a matter of abstract ideals versus actual real-world oppression. Libertarianism, and anarchism, is often perceived as advocating a sort of social free-for-all, where the big and strong can crush the small and weak, and guess which group women see themselves as part of, after centuries of being subordinated. They’re not concerned about abstract ideals of economics, they’re concerned about personal safety and the right to be left alone, something that’s very hard to subjectively feel if you’re not female, and which you wouldn’t necessarily know about if you don’t ever actually stop and listen to what women have to say.

  4. michael yarbrough

    oh man, I see that the libertarians love their facts. like, WHETHER men or women do this or that….mmm this thought is going nowhere lemme compose another…uhh

    oh okay, so, I would like to raise the question of whether it’s good/productive to talk about these questions. There is a part of me that sees the matters of complete liberation of women as so profoundly important that all or most facts fly out the window when we talk about it. We talk instead about /possibilities/, and to do this we try to restrain our evaluations on empirical matters, because we see that our own evaluations are as fallible, are subject to error just as much as are those of the most brutal patriarch (because there is little escape from hegemonic . It seems most convenient, then, to abandon all pretentions toward accuracy or facts, so that we may focus solely on possibilities for equalizing gender relations since it is so urgent.

    so maybe tl;dr is- we shouldn’t even be having discussions of what men or women are or are not like, but rather on what possibilities are open to us.

    of course the criticism that some accuracy is as a matter of course indispensable to the very discussion applies. yes, but, …. etc, etc…

    I’m totally, totally rambling here, maybe someone can clean up after the nonsense i’m spewing, probs not. oops, looks like the battery’s about to die better hit enter.

  5. JOR

    Even if women were more “emotional” than “logical”*, there are plenty of “emotional” reasons to be libertarian, and plenty of “logical” reasons to be against libertarianism.

    *I guess “logical” here kind of means utilitarian or something? Near as I can tell, people who try and define beliefs and thinking in these terms just arbitrarily decide what to file under “logical” and what to file under “emotional”.

  6. Discussed at aaeblog.com

    Why Aren’t More Women Libertarians? | Austro-Athenian Empire:

    […] Sometimes questions answer themselves. […]

  7. TC Bell

    On our first date my wife told me how she had read Ayn Rand’s We The Living, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I was amazed because as a 19 year old I was the only person I knew who had ever read Atlas.

  8. A.B. Dada

    Craziness, really.

    Every woman I have dated — casually or seriously — has taken on a libertarian or anarcho-capitalist direction. Some started extremely progressive, and they ended up as radical as I did. Why? Because I intelligently offer my end of the story, and if they’re as wise as they usually are, they see the light.

    I wouldn’t even THINK of trying to find libertarian women. I generally date left-wing or progressive women, mostly because they ARE intellectual, they’re just socially stunted by the radicals who want more government. Since they can read, and they can think, they’re great to date. Since they’re smart, they can see the errors of their ways very quickly.

    The last gal I dated seriously voted for Obama — and then she became a libertarian after 2 books I recommended.

    So let’s not worry about where the libertarian women are, let’s move forward to bring some more into the fold.

  9. Bill R

    “By which he apparently means that he wants to know why more women don’t read his own personal libertarian blog and why more women don’t go to the libertarian political events that he personally goes to.”

    I was curious about this a few months ago. I looked up the profiles on thoroughly liberal blogs and most of them are male-dominated as well. Wonkette, Huffington Post, and Salon. The only one devoted to general politics(as opposed to something like Feministing) I’ve found that is predominately female dominated is Firedoglake.

    Now I read some of the links Rad Geek provided but most of them refer to a parity of female bloggers not visitors. Assuming Quantcast is accurate…why is Salon, the most popular liberal website still 71%-29% Male. Any ideas?

    • gdp

      Perhaps because most women would rather talk to people “In Real Life” instead of via virtual online avatars?

  10. Rad Geek

    Bill R.,

    It is certainly true that certain kinds of political blogs tend to be read primarily by men. However, part of the question here is why those blogs get counted as being devoted to general politics and, say, Feministing, is not. (In fact what is typically covered in Wonkette, just to take one example, is in many ways more narrow than what Feministing typically covers, unless one is unwilling to count anything that doesn’t cash out in something happening inside the Beltway as being political.) It seems to me that a lot of the problem here has precisely to do with selective counting more than with the facts on the ground.

    As for the reasons why narrowly Beltway-politics blogs tend to be read primarily by men, I dunno; you should probably ask women who don’t read those websites why they don’t read them, or ask men who do read them what they think is so awesome about them. But I suspect that whatever the answer is, (1) it has more to do with existing political pop culture than it does with division of labor on the Paleolithic savannah; (2) the explanation ought to have as much to say about particular choices made by bloggers in that genre as it has to say about some sort of general facts about women as a sex-class; and (3) it doesn’t speak very well for those men’s tastes, since the kind of blogs you have in mind strike me (whether they are nominally liberal or conservative) as tending to be conventionally dull, narrow-minded, self-important, and mostly a lot of irrelevant squawking.

  11. Neil

    I imagine that most women aren’t exactly turned on by pseudo-intellectual ‘circle jerks’ and e-prickwaving contests.

  12. Jim Davidson

    I’ve always assumed that Angela and Allison would let me know if they got tired of me saying nice things about their photos. I generally assume that other people are free and self-sovereign, capable of choosing whether to be friends, etc.

    There is certainly a broad streak of sexism running down the backs of a lot of men. I don’t think the libertarian “movement” is exceptional for being sexist any more than, say, the GOP. I do see a lot of the comments about why (whine) there are not more women in the movement as self-defeating. As Rad Geek seems to say, anecdotal evidence and conventional “wisdom” is no substitute for evaluating a random, representative sample or treating individuals as they are rather than as you imagine they should be.

    But I think I have the answer. Much older libertarian men ought to be hanging around schools recruiting young women in their early teens, when they are still impressionable. Yeah, that oughta work. lol

  13. Drunkenatheist

    Thank you so much for the shout-out and the link!

    This has been a horrendous week for me for a gajillion reasons, and it means a lot to get some backup. I resisted the “libertarian” label for quite some time because of the implications and, more importantly, because feminist and libertarian don’t often gel together in people’s minds.

    The lack of respect towards women on that thread is astounding. What really cracked me up is that no one seemed to think “maybe there are a lot of libertarian women and they just don’t want to hang out with us.” Oy.

    Again: Seriously, thank you, I really appreciate it!

    PS- For clarification’s sake: I honestly wasn’t going for a cliched “omg!redneck!” crack. For chrissakes, I love guns and think everyone in a “progressive” cause ought to be comfortable with them. I have absolutely no issues with 100% legal drugs, either.

    My issue, though, is in the thought that guns should be legal despite the fact they were designed to put holes in people and drugs should be legal despite the fact there is such a high potential (depending on the drug) for addiction and death. Making or keeping these things illegal is a clear violation of my freedom as a citizen.

    But shit, that whore over there wants to kill a baby? Well, that’s just wrong! Abortion is a matter of life and death! She could have all the freedom she wanted if she had just shut her legs!

    LOL WHAT? As I argued in an post on my own blog (sorry for the shameless plug!), wanting either minimal or no government means we have to accept that sometimes ooky behavior that we don’t like is legal. The main theories of libertarianism seem to go out the window when we’re discussing abortion.

  14. Bill R

    I imagine that most women aren’t exactly turned on by pseudo-intellectual ‘circle jerks’ and e-prickwaving contests.

    Another factor: Take for example Salon. It has 2.2 million US visitors. That means 660,000 women visit that site. This dwarfs sites like Firedoglake and Feministing despite the ratio. LewRockwell.com actually has more than female visitors than Feministing. (66,000 vs 61,000).

    Just a curious disparity not something to create a grand theory of everything on. The “pop culture” approach seems like the best guess.

    Or, more simply, Quantcast is full of it.

  15. Mara

    Drunken Atheist,

    Save yourself the grief by ignoring any libertarian cisgendered male on the topic of feminism.

    Here’s your primer:

    1.) The Rockwell crowd links to pseudo-science bullshit like “evolutionary psychology/biology” to rationalize sexist idiocy that sounded neanderthal in 1958. You see it is really your feminine nesting instinct that makes you clean your house and not the perfectly adult urge not to wallow in one’s filth.

    2.) The left-libertarian crowd including professors, geeky bloggers and one yappy Canadian and his little pod casts have an affection for Andrea Dworkin and rescue fantasies of “fallen women” like it’s 1938. Note: You can fuck, just don’t fuck too much or get rent money out of it or total strangers will grouse about your childhood, uncles and drug habits.

    3.) A cadre of misogynist social retards on the Libertarian National Committee including a secretary who refers to other men by their title and last name but women board members by their first names; a former national chair who expresses his fondest wish to be teleported to 1858 so he can avoid darkies, Papists, and lesbians; assorted unemployable men who find bisexuals to be circus acts (Hmm… might explain why College Libertarians ain’t what it could be.)

    4.) I’d say something about women at Cato or Reason but there aren’t any who aren’t fetching coffee or “support staff.” Never mind.

    Run. Run now, no drive away. Drive before any of the good ol’ boys at Campaign for Liberty waxes Andy Rooney on “wimmen drivers.”

  16. Matt Cockerill

    You guys are making some extremely unfair assumptions about me here. I’m particularily saddened that you assume I objectify the wonderful libertarian women in our movement. That is a horrible thing to say and completely unjustified based on the content of my blog post.

    In the thread, I stated the following:

    1) Women, in my view, are the intellectual equals of men. 2) Men who think women should not work outside the home are “petty bigots.” 3) Women differ emotionally from men.

    On the third point, the argument is often made (including by Allison Brown in that profoundly interesting LRC article I linked to) that women aren’t be libertarians because they are more emotional and less logical than men.

    But while many people do seem to believe this, (and as a libertarian, I acknowledge their right to do so) I don’t happen to be one of them. I do, however, believe that “intractable” forces may be at work, because women are emotionally “different” from men.

    Quoting my friend and editor Bonnie Kristian, women and mean have different emotional proclivities (and thus) irrationalities: “men (tend to be) more emotional about the warfare state and women more emotional about the welfare state. After all, which is more likely to enlist in the army and who is more likely to be responsible for educating children or caring for the sick and aged?”

    I think that there is substantial statistical evidence for the above paragraph, (the amt of men v women who nerd around the internet, are libertarians, are elementary school teachers, are construction workers, etc) which is why we have to express the merits of libertarianism in a different way. I don’t think that my message was a sexist one, and I hope you’d reconsider your perspective on this.

  17. Matt Cockerill

    P.S. judging from the (2) spelling errors in the previous comment I am both: 1) Lucky to have a great editor on the YAL blog and 2) Pretty upset at you guys for all the hate flowing on this thread.

    P.P.S. “itinerary” (which only the most overly sensitive man or woman, completely incapable of humor, would take seriously in the context of a tongue-in-cheek blog post)is spelled i-t-i-n-e-r-a-r-y, although the “blog master” attempted to “correct” YAL on that in his/her original post on this thread.

  18. Drunkenatheist

    @Mara:

    Oh sweet merciful Jesus, that sounds so suspiciously like many a rant I have given to my boyfriend while reading Lew Rockwell or Reason over his shoulder.

    With the exception of one C4L dingleberry, I have yet to encounter too much stupidity with the real life LP guys I know. Then again, there was that one time I was stuck drinking a beer with one of the very LNC retards you’re referring to. Imagine his confusion when he realized I was a feminist yet hadn’t yet castrated any of the men at the table!

  19. your name

    @Mara,

    While I can’t argue with any of the points you’ve raised about the various, less-than-appealing in terms of their views on women, factions of the “liberty movement”, I don’t think it’s exactly unique to left-libertarians to think prostitution is fucked up. Not saying it should be illegal, but it’s fucked up. An individual has every right in the world to go down on sweaty IT professionals for rent money, but they shouldn’t be shocked/offended when this isn’t viewed as your average, crappy job by others in society…and, at the same time, let’s not pretend this is a field chosen as anything but a last resort by the VAST majority of those in said field.

  20. Matt Cockerill

    I have seen two sides to you now. The somewhat conciliatory tone from your more recent entries in the YAL blog, and your uncompromising, mean-spirited side on this blog.

    You are calling LRC types sexist while engaging in completely unfounded stereotyping and group judgment at a massive scale.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about avoiding a cesspool of bigoted filth, because you’re already immersed in it deeply here at the “rad geek.” As for your story, and reference to castration, the fact that you’d think a libertarian man would conclude such horrible thoughts about you just because you are a feminist is, not only defensive but, I daresay, sexist.

    This website is a hate site, period. While I express your right to write such defamatory lies and sexist trash, don’t expect me (and most libertarians) to voluntarily associate with people espousing such victimology. Just because sexism has historically and contemporarily overwhelmingly victimized women doesn’t mean anti-male sexism can’t occur.

    None of this is to be judgmental. We’ve all been intolerant in our lives, and I’m certainly no exception. But I’d hope YOU’D make an effort to be more tolerant if you’re really going to be a feminist/libertarian individualist, as well as criticize others for failing to adequately meet that admirable standard.

  21. Drunkenatheist

    Matt:

    Seriously, you accused me of being overly emotional and unreasonable in email?

    I can’t imagine why I didn’t write you back within 30 seconds. I also can’t imagine why the hell you’d have problems bringing women into the party. I am really beginning to think that “hateful” seriously is internet for “a girl disagrees with me.”

    Why not try listening to women instead of being a dismissive jackass or posting these tl;dr rants? I put my perspective out there and you chose to prove me right. If I - or any other random passerby - wasn’t supposed to comment, then I guess you should have restricted comments one way or another.

    It’s like I said above: wanting freedom - in this case unmoderated comments & freedom of speech - includes the freedom for to come along and crap all over your sexist little website, kiddo.

  22. Matt Cockerill

    Drunken Atheist,

    Calling a woman “overly emotional” and “sensitive” does not necessarily imply you are doing it because of her gender. If I called a black politician like Jesse Jackson stupid, does this necessarily mean I think he is dumb because he is black? I called you overly emotional and sensitive because you made a rude rant at the YAL forum about how my sexism is “proven” because I am pro-life, and used fowl language to describe how you thought I perceived you as a “wh*re” because you are pro-choice. I don’t like overly emotional and sensitive people, men or women, gay or straight. They’re not very fun.

    If you really think I’m sexist, why don’t you find a single (1) libertarian woman who actually agrees with you? Allison Gibbs, Bonnie Kristian, and Mikayla Hall all are talented young libertarian activists that volunteered at CPAC with me, and I shared housing with 2 of the three girls there. Why don’t you ask them if I objectified them, hit on them, or otherwise mistreated them (or ANY of the dozens of other volunteers) in this and ANY of my other interactions with any libertarian (or socialist, fascist, etc) woman?

    Hateful isn’t code word for a girl who disagrees with me. Hateful is code word for a girl who assumes a man is sexist in a thread where the only thing he says is that men and women behave differently, while expressing his belief in equal rights and equal ability. You also enabled a meanspirited rant in a public forum by forwarding “rad geek,” this stuff.

    The victim stuff just pisses me off generally, but I get that from my mom. She immigrated from Egypt as a young girl, and was teased constantly about being a brown girl who thought she was going to amount to something. Somehow, she has managed to overcome such treatment and be immensely successful as a physician without being an overly sensitive perpetual “victim,” or a sexist.

  23. Discussed at drunkenatheist.com

    Baker’s dozen links dump:

    […] on Baker’s dozen links dumpdrunkenatheist on Scott Peterson was convicted with less evidence.Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-08-29 – On being part of the problem on Baker’s dozen links dumpMarc on Scott Peterson was convicted with less evidence. […]

  24. Rad Geek

    Drunkenatheist,

    The lack of respect towards women on that thread is astounding. What really cracked me up is that no one seemed to think maybe there are a lot of libertarian women and they just don’t want to hang out with us. Oy.

    Yep, exactly. Thank you.

    My own impression is that there’s lots of libertarian everybody, actually, just not a lot of people willing to call themselves libertarian, and far fewer who are willing to join up as big-L Libertarians in official Libertarian political orgs. (Actually, I’m generally not willing to join big-L Libertarian political orgs, because I think they’re generally a waste of time, unless you count ALL among them. Which I don’t.) So when folks at an outfit like YAL start trying to figure out why more of X aren’t libertarians, because they don’t see any X around them at their own personal parties, well, maybe the problem is that they started out looking in the wrong place.

    I resisted the “libertarian” label for quite some time because of the implications and, more importantly, because feminist and libertarian don’t often gel together in people’s minds.

    Yeah, which is unfortunate, because I think three’s a hell of a lot to be learned from the conversation on both sides. (Just to see your shameless self-promotion, and raise you one, my own take is online in Libertarian Feminism: Can This Marriage Be Saved?.)

    Mara:

    As a matter of fact all of my fallen women rescue fantasies are vintage 1919. A very fine year.

    As far as I know, I’m just about the only left-libertarian who’s had much to say publicly in the way of kind words for Andrea Dworkin’s work. (Roderick approvingly quoted a short passage of hers on the relationship between patriarchal masculinity and militarism, but it was in an essay that he co-authored with me.) Not that I think that there’s anything wrong with taking Andrea Dworkin seriously as a radical feminist thinker (since, after all, I do); but I must confess that I am pretty peculiar, even amongst left-libertarians, in that regard.

    Matt:

    “itinerary” (which only the most overly sensitive man or woman, completely incapable of humor, would take seriously in the context of a tongue-in-cheek blog post)is spelled i-t-i-n-e-r-a-r-y, although the “blog master” attempted to “correct” YAL on that in his/her original post on this thread.

    Speaking in my official role as Blog Master, I will say that the [sic] wasn’t intended to correct your spelling.

    As for your story, and reference to castration, the fact that you’d think a libertarian man would conclude such horrible thoughts about you just because you are a feminist is, not only defensive but, I daresay, sexist.

    Dude, really?

    I can’t speak for Drunkenatheist, but on my reading it sure seemed to me that the quip about castration anxiety was in fact a joke. She was light-heartedly exaggerating the anxieties and the fearful stereotypes that non-feminist men often express about feminist women, especially radical feminists. And they say feminists have no sense of humor….

    I wouldn’t worry too much about avoiding a cesspool of bigoted filth, because you’re already immersed in it deeply here at the “rad geek.” … This website is a hate site, period.

    Yeah, O.K., you got me. Don’t tell anyone, but besides being a hairy-legged man-hater and a purveyor of bigoted filth, I am also anti-life and anti-America. Now, can we move on to discussing whether, in fact, leading off with extremely broad gender stereotypes or tirades against modern feminism are really the most effective means of building a movement that women might find it worth their time to participate in?

    You also enabled a meanspirited rant in a public forum by forwarding “rad geek,” this stuff.

    Just so we’re clear, Drunkenatheist didn’t forward me anything. I read a post on her blog, which contained a brief link to your post and the comments thread on it, and I decided to write a post of my own. My memory may be faulty, but as far as I can recall, I don’t think that she and I have ever corresponded prior to my putting up this post. She certainly didn’t forward anything to me or prompt me to write the post that I wrote.

    Incidentally, just out of curiosity, what’s the point of repeatedly scare-quoting my online username?

    You guys are making some extremely unfair assumptions about me here.

    Actually, the points that I made were primarily about some specific things you said. I have no opinion of you as a person, because I’ve never met you. It might be more productive for you to think about whether the approach you chose to take in your post was really the best approach you could have chosen to the topic, rather than focusing on how you might defend your good name rom dastardly charges of sexism.

    [My post couldn’t have been sexist; some of my best friends are libertarian women]

    Dude, really?

    [My post couldn’t have been sexist; I love my mom]

    Dude, really?

  25. Stephan Kinsella

    Mara,

    “The Rockwell crowd links to pseudo-science bullshit like “evolutionary psychology/biology” to rationalize sexist idiocy that sounded neanderthal in 1958. You see it is really your feminine nesting instinct that makes you clean your house and not the perfectly adult urge not to wallow in one’s filth.”

    Well be sure not to link to that site, or you’ll be linking to that too!

    FYI, not all of us Rockwellers hew to your prejudices.

    Nataliya, unless you mean to refer only to members of the Libertarian Party (only a subset, or intersecting with the set, of all libertarians), you don’t need to capitalize “libertarians.”

  26. Jen

    So let me get this straight… the comments on that blog want women around so 1) we can reproduce with them, and 2) we’d make awesome political allies because we can woo a crowd with our looks. Wow, where do I sign up?

    Oh and: “As it stands, the young female “itinerary” is mostly composed of Obama zombies, fully-blown Marxists, and “murder-all-Iranians” type chickenhawks. This undoubtedly needs to change.”

    Yeah in case you haven’t noticed, the young male “itinerary” is mostly composed of Obama zombies, fully-blown Marxists, and “murder-all-Iranians” type chickenhawks. Maybe those dudes are just too “emotional” :(

  27. Micha Ghertner

    Mara,

    [Full disclosure: libertarian cisgendered male here attempting to broach the topic of feminism; ignore me as you wish, though doing so preemptively feeds into the “identity entails innate cognitive ability” myth that feminism is attempting to combat. Throat cleared.]

    Regarding #1 and 3: Just so.

    Regarding #2: I’m not sure who the “yappy Canadian and his little pod casts” is, but if I had to guess, maybe Stefan Molyneux? I don’t know much about him. From what little I remember, he seemed kind of cranky, in the same way all libertarians who think they have finally discovered “The One Apodictically True Argument To End All Arguments And Prove Libertarianism From First Principles/Pure Logic, No Ifs, Ands, Buts, Or Empirical Evidence Allowed” are cranks.

    I assume you are referring to Charles Johnson and Roderick Long, inclusive in your reference to “professors [and] geeky bloggers [with] an affection for Andrea Dworkin”, specifically this essay? In which case, I don’t think you’re giving them a fair reading. Here is the relevant portion of the essay:

    McElroy’s discussion of prostitution [Sexual Correctness, chs. 9-10] is likewise frustrating. On the one hand, she makes a good case for the claims that (a) many feminists have been condescendingly dismissive of the voices of prostitutes themselves, and (b) legal restrictions on prostitution do more harm than benefit for the women they are allegedly designed to help. But McElroy neglects the degree to which critiques of prostitution by radical feminists such as Diana Russell and Andrea Dworkin (who prostituted herself to survive early in her adulthood) have drawn on the (negative) testimony of women in prostitution; she often seems unwilling to accept—in spite of what is said by the very women in prostitution that she cites46—that the choices women can make might be constrained by pervasive economic, sexual, and cultural realities in a way that’s worth challenging, even if the outcomes are ultimately “chosen.” When McElroy urges that feminist discussions of prostitution need to take seriously what women in prostitution say about it, she is making a point that every feminist ought to keep firmly in mind; but her zeal to defend the choices of prostitutes, McElroy comes close to claiming that any critical attention to the authenticity of someone else’s choices, or to the cultural or material circumstances that constrain, them is tantamount to treating that person as “a child or a mentally incompetent person” (p. 124)—a claim that no-one in the world ought to believe, and one that no-one earnestly does.

    This seems like a pretty balanced view to me; certainly not accurately summarized as “don’t fuck too much or get rent money out of it or total strangers will grouse about your childhood, uncles and drug habits.” They are not “blaming the victim,” nor even implying that all sex workers are necessarily victims, but only allowing for the possibility that some sex workers are unhappy (by their own testimony) and would prefer other forms of employment if given the chance. The claim seems to be that some sex workers do not enjoy their jobs but do so out of necessity. They don’t expand further on this point; the obvious rebuttal seems to be that lots of people don’t enjoy their jobs but do so out of necessity. And even communists seem to agree with the notion that “Them that works not, shall not eat” (implicitly, those who are capable of working but choose not to do so shall not eat). But this part of the essay is limited only to a dispute over testimonial claims, and not the much stronger claim that all wage labor - especially sex labor - is necessarily exploitative.

    Regarding #4, Kerry Howley is still a contributing editor at Reason, though I believe she is taking a break to get a graduate degree. Her feminist bonafides are rock solid, as is her contribution to Reason. She has written a number of excellent long-form cover stories over the years, on topics ranging from markets in human organs and tissues to labor migration.

    Katherine Mangu-Ward doesn’t self-identify as a feminist from what I can tell; she seems like more of a right-wing ancap.

    Cathy Young used to have a regular monthly column in Reason; now Shikha Dalmia has one.

    None of these women can accurately be described as merely “fetching coffee or ‘support staff.’” They are all serious writers.

    As for Cato, when I interned there the intern pool had a relatively even gender balance (though part of the job description of an intern is basically fetching coffee and support staff). There were a decent number of full time female employees - Brooke Oberwetter and Amy Phillips were doing think-tanky work when I was there, though both of them have since moved on to other libertarian gigs. As for Cato’s current staff, I count at least one female policy wonk. Not impressive numbers, true, but one is more than your asserted none.

  28. Matt Cockerill

    Regarding the LRC bashing, it is true that LRC commentary is(generally, but not always) more traditional and socially conservative than most libertarian websites, but this isn’t why young libertarians dig it. In my opinion, the reason many teens and college kids, (like us YALers) gravitate towards LRC/MI is because they are principled. I hate to break it to the “cosmo” libertarians, but we don’t think you’re “hip,” “trendy,” or “with it,” at all. Incidentally, we also don’t think the folks at LRC are any of these things, but they’re considered “cool,” because they’re always principled, radical libertarians.

    Another important issue for many young libertarians is political correctness. Many see it as a sort of de facto censorship, (especially on college campuses) and despise its ability to shape debates. We think it’s not only phony and stupid, but the byproduct of a totalitarian impulse. Many of us appreciate LRC columnists because they don’t kowtow to PC.

    Rad Geek:

    I did not have sexist intents in writing the post, but I can see how you could’ve interpreted it that way. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have used the word itinerary, because like “castration,” it can have crude connotations. I am not a sexist, but I, like every person, have written intolerant things in my life. Like I told you in my email, it’s difficult for me to listen to you with an open-mind when you personally attacked me. Accusing me of writing a sexist post is one thing, but speculating that my desire for more female libertarians comes from a debased desire to “hit on them,” as if they were slabs of meat, is pretty rude and speculative.

    To be honest, I probably over-reacted to what (i hope you have the modesty to concede) was probably an over-reaction by you to my original post. It was just weird to see myself attacked on the Internet for the first time, especially as a sexist.

  29. Matt Cockerill

    Jen:

    The female “itinerary” sucks and the male “itinerary,” sucks, because they’re few libertarians in each group. Most men and women support murdering people in Iraq and Afghanistan, or at least would if they were more “popular” wars. As it stands, though, men vastly outnumber women among the libertarian ranks.

    That’s just a fact. I am not “blaming” women for this. A good criticism would be to tell me to “stop whining,” but the sexism stuff is a pretty big reach.

  30. Jen

    Listen Matt, my boyfriend spends hours reading libertarian blogs and debating online. I spend my time reading, watching reality tv, and posting sarcastic comments on one forum. The reason you don’t see a ton of girls around is because girls tend to have different interests. I know tons of libertarian girls but they hardly spend their time announcing it to the world let alone post online.

    I’m an example of this. I’ve obviously heard of you and Rad Geek but this is the first time I’ve ever read this blog or yours. I’ve never been to a libertarian meeting even though I’ve been invited to tons of them. I just don’t see the point of reading about stuff I already know and posting on blogs where everyone already agrees. Just because you don’t see us doesn’t mean we’re not there.

    Did you ever think that maybe the reason you see so many guys around is because most of the libertarian literature is online and men tend to be online more than women?

  31. Marja Erwin

    2.) The left-libertarian crowd including professors, geeky bloggers and one yappy Canadian and his little pod casts have an affection for Andrea Dworkin and rescue fantasies of “fallen women” like it’s 1938. Note: You can fuck, just don’t fuck too much or get rent money out of it or total strangers will grouse about your childhood, uncles and drug habits.

    Mara,

    I am not sure who you are referring too. Many different philosophies and attitudes come into the left-libertarian milieu. Kevin Carson largely stays out of the cultural debates. Roderick Long and Charles Johnson come to mind, but I don’t see that attitude in their writing.

    I do not recall any of the left-libertarian writers I read infantalizing sex workers in any of the works I have read. I do see them exploring how economic and political power-structures shape the alternatives among which people choose. The conditions of sex work may be one example; the conditions of other kinds of work are more examples. Kevin Carson frequently raises the same issues in other industries:

    But the grand-daddy of this argument was Ludwig von Mises, writing in Human Action:

    The factory owners did not have the power to compel anybody to take a factory job. They could only hire people who were ready to work for the wages offered to them. Low as these wage rates were, they were nonetheless much more than these paupers could earn in any other field open to them. [Regnery Third Revised Edition, 619-20]

    See, laborers just happen to be stuck with this crappy set of options—the employing classes have absolutely nothing to do with it. And the owning classes just happen to have all these means of production on their hands, and the laboring classes just happen to be propertyless proletarians who are forced to sell their labor on the owners’ terms. The possibility that the employing classes might be directly implicated in state policies that reduced the available options of laborers is too ludicrous even to consider.

    In the world the rest of us non-vulgar libertoids inhabit, of course, things are a little less rosy. There was a great deal of continuity between the Whig landed aristocracy that carried out the enclosures and other abrogations of traditional rights to the land, and the employing classes of early industrial Britain. The early industrialists of Manchester, far from being (as Mises portrayed them) an upstart class who accumulated capital through their own parsimony, were junior partners of the landed oligarchy; the latter were a major source of investment capital. And the factory owners benefited, in addition, from near-totalitarian social controls on the movement and free association of labor; this legal regime included the Combination Acts, the Riot Act, and the law of Settlements (the latter amounting to an internal passport system).

    http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/01/vulgar-libertarianism-watch-part-1.html

    http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/01/vulgar-libertarianism-watch-part-2.html

  32. Matt Cockerill

    Jen:

    First off, I appreciate you being respectful and fair to me. We need more thoughtful people like you in the libertarian movement.

    I don’t, and never have said, that I believe women are “naturally” inclined away from libertarianism. This “inference” was nothing more than sexist speculation and stereotyping on the part of RG and DA. I have stated that as things CURRENTLY are, (i.e. that men use the internet much more, blog, etc) bringing an equal number of women to the libertarian foree may seem an intractable task. I admit I could have worded my post in a better way, but the hysterical, super-sensitive reaction by DA and RG was hardly warranted.

    Join Young Americans for Liberty. (we have over 8000 fans on Facebook) Join Campaign for Liberty. Visit LewRockwell.com. Read Rothbard’s “The Ethics of Liberty.” Read essays by academics like Walter Block. Smash the state and uphold the individual.

    Read the important literature. (www.mises.org is THE SITE for Old Right/libertarian literature) If your boyfriend is more familiar with libertarianism, he can probably be of some help there. I hope to see you active in the movement!

    matt

  33. Black Bloke

    Matt:

    Join Young Americans for Liberty. (we have over 8000 fans on Facebook) Join Campaign for Liberty. Visit LewRockwell.com. Read Rothbard’s “The Ethics of Liberty.” Read essays by academics like Walter Block. Smash the state and uphold the individual.

    Read the important literature. (www.mises.org is THE SITE for Old Right/libertarian literature) If your boyfriend is more familiar with libertarianism, he can probably be of some help there. I hope to see you active in the movement!

    Who asked for tips? (I don’t mean to stir the hornets’ nest any more than it already is by saying that)

    Honestly, I think she’s been more familiar with radical libertarianism for longer than you have Matt, if I can tell anything from your suggestions, but that’s just a guess on my part.

    You seem like an alright guy, I would just let this go. I think you’ve made your point, I think others have made theirs, and I think that’s as far as it’s going to get here.

  34. Micha Ghertner

    Matt,

    Regarding the word “itinerary”, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Actually, I have no bloody idea what you think it means. I’m pretty sure Rad Geek put the “[sic]” there because the word doesn’t make sense in the context in which you used it under any definition of “itinerary” I can find on these here intertubes. Are you using your own private definition or something? Wittgenstein does not approve of that, you know.

    Regarding political correctness, I too used to think it was silly back when I was on a college campus, and reveled when libertarians and conservatives would be politically incorrect simply for the sake of being politically incorrect (I was introduced to the concept of libertarianism by listening to right-wing talk radio - Neal Boortz, of all people.) Then I read “One Cheer for Political Correctness”, thought about it for a while, and changed my mind. There are more than enough topics about which most people are mistaken; it’s silly to pick fights just for the sake of being contrarian. Some people call it trolling. It’s generally a waste of time.

    Regarding “principled”, you might not be aware that Rad Geek is fully NAP compliant, and so are many “cosmotarians,” whatever that term of derision is supposed to mean these days. I am not NAP compliant, for reasons David Friedman discusses here. Further, the NAP is not the only principle relevant to libertarianism. Some libertarians come to pretty darn radical conclusions through various forms of utilitarianism, contractarianism, Stinerite non-cognitivism, among other routes. Unlike orthodox Objectivists of the ARI persuasion, libertarians usually pride themselves on their philosophical pluralism, not their adherence to a single dogma handed down from on high by the Approved Authorities, Hallowed Be Thy Names.

    There is something to be said for the Mises Institute, and attending Mises University: apart from getting to meet Roderick Long in person, it was also the largest gathering of young market anarchists I’ve been involved with in person. Just be careful, though - don’t be too vocal about pointing out certain cultish behaviors. And don’t be too vocal about pointing out Hans Hermann Hoppe’s more bigoted writings. If you keep your mouth shut, go with the flow, and avoid talking about certain forbidden subjects (“the Rothbardian view on fractional reserve banking is completely ridiculous? Oh noes!), you should be golden.

    I don’t think there is anything “cool” about singing the praises of John C. Calhoun or the Confederacy, saying hateful things about various minorities and immigrants, stoning unruly children to death, calling poor people “human trash”, having a mystical and cranky fascination with gold, and the list goes on and on.

    I guess if I based my political affiliations on “coolness”, I’d probably … not be a libertarian of any kind. I would instead base political affiliation on…hmm…popularity, maybe? And guess what? No kind of libertarianism, no matter what catchy name you come up with for it, is politically popular right now. So I guess that makes both of us uncool? Bummer.

  35. Matt Cockerill

    Black Bloke,

    I wrote the post to Jen because, in her words, contrasted to her boyfriend, she little time reading libertarian material, except from one source. I like promoting libertarianism, so I give her a little spiel.

    This is an unfortunate tendency of the libertarian movement in general. The PC libertarians are going to have to realize that socially moderates/conservative and “traditionalist,” libertarians are here to stay. Who cares if some men and women think women are more emotional than men? Again, I don’t believe this to be true, but why should anyone but a busybody give a shit if his/her neighbors believe that?

    I don’t view this thread as a huge deal regarding me personally, (a couple of near-30 adults, at least one of whom is unemployed, have speculated about an 18-year old stranger’s “love life,” and lack of appeal to women, for God’s sake) but the lack of tolerance among the “cosmo” libertarians is a more relevant issue that will have to be addressed eventually, especially considering the rise of the oft-“paleoish” RP/LRC types.

  36. Danny

    Matt, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t both react so dramatically in this thread and then disingenuously claim that this thread isn’t a “huge deal regarding me personally”. It’s okay to react emotionally, but it’s important to try and reverse-engineer why you’re reacting so emotionally, especially when you say that you don’t like “overly emotional and sensitive people”. If your heartrate is going up reading this stuff, you’re being emotional and sensitive. Good!

    Otherwise, you risk falling into the classic power trap of reserving the right to be sensitive to criticism and over-react when you’re doing it, but not when people who disagree with you do (especially members of groups who are frequently marginalised by saying that they are oversensitive).

    Also, if you’re going to claim “why should anyone but a busybody give a shit if his/her neighbors believe that?”, you shouldn’t give a shit what other people on the Internet think. I think it’s okay to give a shit, as long as one is not explaining one’s objections to your neighbour with a gun.

  37. Jen

    quote I don’t, and never have said, that I believe women are “naturally” inclined away from libertarianism.”

    I never said you stated or believed that :-/

    quote I admit I could have worded my post in a better way, but the hysterical, super-sensitive reaction by DA and RG was hardly warranted.”

    Super sensitive? Seriously, how do you expect women to react to that blog post and (especially) the comment section? How are we supposed to react to someone saying that having more women around will keep the male libertarians sane? Obviously your post was poorly thought out.

    As for the Lew Rockwell/Mises/Block info, you can keep it. I was one of the first people to sign up at Mises forum… I used to go to LRB all the time… I was there when campaign for liberty was thought up… I’ve read “The Ethics of Liberty.” I have no idea why you would assume that I haven’t immersed myself in libertarian doctrine despite my low online presence. I don’t quite understand how you come to the conclusion that I only get my info from one source. Like most “traditionalist” libertarians, you assume wayyyyyyyyyy to much. Quite literally, I’ve “been there, done that”.

    But thanks for suggesting I get my boyfriend to help :-/

  38. Darian

    Another important issue for many young libertarians is political correctness. Many see it as a sort of de facto censorship, (especially on college campuses) and despise its ability to shape debates. We think it’s not only phony and stupid, but the byproduct of a totalitarian impulse. Many of us appreciate LRC columnists because they don’t kowtow to PC.

    Calling people out on inaccuracies or poorly worded posts is not censorship. People who “shape debates” in ways that you don’t like have no obligation to put up or shut up. Maybe the reason libertarians you know go for LRC is because that’s the kind of libertarian you attract. And there are plenty of phony, stupid, and totalitarian tendencies in that crowd.

  39. Matt Cockerill

    Jen: I assumed you weren’t a hardcore libertarian because you told me you didn’t visit a lot of libertarian blogs. It was a faulty assumption, but every statement doesn’t have to be construed into some conspiracy against women. In my view, people (men, women, blacks, whites, gays, straight) who are offended by moderate or gasp slightly conservative values are “super-sensitive,” and rather intolerant.

    Darian: It really just represents a difference in our respective worldviews. While I wish the paleos/left-libertarians could unite under a common banner, it’s difficult with such stark differences. While I’m sure we agree on some women’s issues, much of what you view as sexism I view as reality, at least given the current cultural norms. The LRC crowd has gone further, of course, but that isn’t why I read/cherish LRC.

    As for me, I’m done with this thread. I’m grateful to those of you who actually tried to discuss this matter rationally rather than personally and hysterically.

  40. Jeremy

    I know tons of libertarian girls but they hardly spend their time announcing it to the world let alone post online.

    Frankly, I think most of us libertarians could learn from your example, Jen. I think you’re right - and I perceive that Charles was making a similar but broader comment - when you say most libertarian girls don’t get their kicks by “being libertarian online”. I think that applies to most libertarians, as Charles was trying to indicate.

    Sometimes, I think our fixation on online politics is quite unhealthy. We end up building this identity based on serious thinking, and too often we only realize this identity in cyberspace. It’s almost like we learn to expect nothing to come from our beliefs, because we put all our energy into creating links between records in databases on computers somewhere out there. In that kind of distorted environment, it’s not hard to imagine pre-existing bigotries getting exaggerated (and it doesn’t just happen to libertarians, if Daily Kos is any indication).

  41. LadyVetinari

    s. While I’m sure we agree on some women’s issues, much of what you view as sexism I view as reality, at least given the current cultural norms.

    And you wonder why more women don’t identify as libertarians or hang out at your site?

    You dismiss sexism as “reality” and bitch about how women are “super sensitive” because they object to “conservative values,” which of course are patriarchal values.

    If you do this, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously when you complain about why women don’t want to be politically associated with you.

  42. Elinor

    you made a rude rant at the YAL forum about how my sexism is “proven” because I am pro-life

    Goodness, when I express unsolicited opinions about what women decide to do with their own genitals, and advocate that the state step in and force them to make decisions I would like, some of them get mad! How rude! How MEEN! They must be bad at reasoning!

    Also, what LadyVetinari said.

  43. db0

    This post is so full of win!

— 2010 —

  1. Discussed at dbzer0.com

    On the heterosexual male’s love for the cock | A Division by Zer0:

    […] right-libertarians end up being misogynists or supporting sexist positions (and then end up wonder why there are so few womyn in their movement). I’m guessing it has to do with the fetishism of market theory, making them try to apply it […]

  2. Discussed at whiskeyandcarkeys.wordpress.com

    Picking with Phil: Week 6 | Whiskey and Car Keys:

    […] only Picante Pants.  She’ll be the first woman to pick with Phil, so let’s hope she represents her gender well.  Anyway, the hour is growing late, let’s get to the […]

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