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Posts tagged Kerry Howley

Proof by ostention

So, Kerry Howley (of Reason) and Megan McArdle (of The Atlantic) have a discussion about libertarianism and feminism, criticizing the reflexive anti-feminism that goes on in many circles, the deeper affinities between radical libertarianism and radical feminism, which, when you just think about it in the most basic terms, ought to be quite obvious. A book like The Second Sex is nothing if not placing itself in opposition to something like a group identity. It’s a book about individualism…. (The two often agree, although Howley seems generally more sympathetic to both the feminist tradition and contemporary feminism, and McArdle more inclined to paint it as broadly statist.) It’s an interesting dialogue, well worth taking the time to listen to; watch the whole thing. McArdle and Howley cover a lot of ground, and get into some really interesting arguments about the intellectual intersections between the two traditions.

Then a link was posted to Hit and Run.

Here are the first four comments that this post received.

Brian Sorgatz | August 4, 2008, 3:13pm

Since you’re sporting enough to call yourselves lipstick libertarians, I’ll have to blog about your discussion in some detail at Reflections on Playboy soon.

It’s politically complicated for a guy to mention, but you two are reinforcing the positive stereotypes about brainy brunettes. I don’t know if it’s good, bad, or neutral for feminism, but it’s fascinating.

Warty | August 4, 2008, 3:16pm

In my imagination, you two are planning a rainbow party. I’m not about to watch the video and spoil that image.

Your Mother | August 4, 2008, 3:24pm

You girls would be so pretty if you just did something about your hair and makeup.

Fratboy libertarian | August 4, 2008, 3:27pm

Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

Further down the thread:

shrike | August 4, 2008, 4:21pm

Any chick who classifies themself as a libertarian, atheist, or Tom Waits fan automatically gets extra Hotness points – but not quite as many points as “bisexual” garners.

And:

ktc2 | August 4, 2008, 4:42pm

Kerry is hotter. She wins. No need to watch the video unless they get naked and wrestle in some jello.

And:

MikeT | August 4, 2008, 3:41pm

If one is really a libertarian, then how can one subscribe to an ideology that has to be redefined in such a tortured manner to be individualistic as feminism? The very idea of feminism is a collective identity political system. Not that I am surprised, since many libertarians are so enamored of left-wing politics.

Of course, Howley (in particular) gave several arguments for seeing feminism as a mainly individualistic movement, and echt-feminist texts — The Second Sex, for instance — as basically individualistic in spirit. But why bother engaging with those arguments, one way or another, when you can just run off at the mouth about it? Why even act like there’s an argument at all, when two women having an intellectual conversation about feminism obviously serves no function at all other than an opportunity for blowjob jokes and lesbian jokes and hamhanded attempts at flirting with complete strangers?

Take a look at these two threads of conversation — the original dialogue, and the thread in reply to the link. Of these two, which kind of libertarian movement would you rather be a part of?

In fifteen words or fewer: Massachusetts state Representative Paul K. Frost and Auburn Dog Officer Kathleen Sabina on renting pets

(Via Kerry Howley, in the July 2008 issue of [Reason](http://reason.com/).)

From the Worcester Telegram and Gazette News (2008-03-05): Fangs bared over rent-a-dog: Fido-for-hire service facing legislative ban

Marlena Cervantes, 30, of Big Sky, Mont., is the owner of FlexPetz, which she described as a unique concept for dog lovers who are unable to own a pet, but miss spending time with a dog.

. . .

Most interest was from professionals living in metropolitan areas.

They had the money but not the time to own a pet full time, Ms. Cervantes said.

There are no brick-and-mortar FlexPetz offices; instead, the operation is run out of existing dog day-care centers.

Clients pay a $299 startup fee, including the first month’s rental in advance, and $49.95 per month, plus an additional fee each time they take out a dog. The clients must make a minimum one-year commitment.

. . .

We’ll probably be in Boston by midsummer, she said.

Maybe not.

State Rep. Paul K. Frost, R-Auburn, and state Sen. Edward M. Augustus Jr., D-Worcester, filed legislation Feb. 21 to ban pet rentals in Massachusetts. Also signing were Sen. Robert A. Antonioni, D-Leominster; Rep. Bradford Hill, R-Ipswich; and Reps. John P. Fresolo, D-Worcester, Stephen R. Canessa, D-New Bedford; Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera, D-Springfield; Thomas P. Kennedy, D-Brockton; Denis E. Guyer, D-Dalton; Kay S. Khan, D-Newton; Denise Provost, D-Somerville; Jennifer M. Callahan, D-Sutton; and William N. Brownsberger, D-Belmont.

The legislation is in the House Committee on Rules. It prohibits the business of renting dogs and cats. I have not heard of a legitimate business like this. The MSPCA and dog officers in other towns oppose this business, Mr. Frost said. Guide dogs and working dogs are exempted. Mr. Frost said he is a dog lover and owner of a chocolate Labrador retriever named Reeses and a golden retriever named Snickers.

I know what kind of bond there is with a dog. You don’t rent out members of your family, he said.

I normally side with the free market, which dictates what is successful, but this is breaking new ground. Concerns are valid. The legislation deserves a public hearing. Let’s give the company a chance to show the benefits of this business, and let’s give a voice to those who have concerns. Are we fostering disposable pets? I’m not sure that fosters responsibility.

Mr. Frost said he was first contacted on this issue by Auburn Dog Officer Kathleen M. Sabina, who yesterday said she is appalled by the FlexPetz concept.

I can’t think of a dog that would flourish in that situation. These people want an animal but no responsibility. I’m furious about this. There’s a lot of money to be made exploiting animals, she said.

She suggested that potential renters instead help an elderly neighbor with their dog, walk a friend’s dog or volunteer at a shelter. Animals need consistency. Each person expresses love differently. In my mind, this is like rent-a-kid. If you wouldn’t rent your child, don’t rent a dog.

— Worcester Telegram and Gazette News (2008-03-05): Fangs bared over rent-a-dog: Fido-for-hire service facing legislative ban

Apparently, you shouldn’t rent family members. You must buy them, like a responsible family-owner.

In fifteen words or fewer: Robert J. Samuelson in the Washington Post on immigration and poverty statistics

(Via Kerry Howley @ Hit and Run 2008-05-15, via John Markley @ The Superfluous Man 2008-05-19.)

Robert J. Samuelson, in the Washington Post (2008-05-14):

Finally, let’s discuss poverty. Everyone’s against it, but hardly anyone admits that most of the increase in the past 15 years reflects immigration — new immigrants or children of recent immigrants. Unless we stop poor people from coming across our Southern border, legally and illegally, we won’t reduce poverty. Period. That doesn’t mean we should try to expel the 12 million illegal immigrants already here — an impossible and morally dubious task. Many families have been here for years; many have American children. We need a pragmatic accommodation: assimilate most people now here; shift future immigration to the highly skilled.

— Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post (2008-05-14): Truth Serum on The Trail

Shorter Samuelson: Let’s reduce poverty by forcing all the poor people to be poor in other countries.

See also:

Masculinity Studies 102: Let’s ask the experts.

Over at Hit and Run, Kerry Howley, a contributing editor at Reason, explains part of what she finds lacking in a common anti-feminist argument to the effect that large-scale socioeconomic disparities between men and women are the result of inborn differences, rather than pervasive forms of sexism.

The different-preferences-create-different-outcomes argument is ambitiously superficial and question begging. Absent any account of how preferences are shaped, I’m not sure why anti-feminists think they’re saying something intelligent when they boldly assert that men and women want different things. IWF loves to talk about Title IX, and it’s a great example of a cultural shift affecting preferences in young women. Did 14-year-old girls just not like sports before Title IX and the rise of the girl jock? Or did Title IX help create a culture where a broader range of interests could be engendered and cultivated? Does the fact that girls in 1950 did not aspire to captain high school soccer teams say anything interesting about women? I don’t think so.

— Kerry Howley, Hit and Run (2007-11-29): Men Are From North Dakota and Women Are From South Dakota

I’m sure she’s entitled to her opinion. But now let’s see what a real expert has to say about whether or not women experience discrimination in America today: Mr. Brian Sorgatz!

What gender inequality? I ask in earnest. In 2007 in the United States, discrimination based on gender is like highway robbery. Technically, it still exists, but it’s been shrunk to a tiny remnant of the problem it once was.

— Brian Sorgatz, 29 November 2007, 1:55 pm

Well, that’s that. If some dude can’t think of any major examples of inequalities that American women face in 2007, must not be a problem after all. Any woman who thinks she has noticed counterexamples had better get on board with a theory that can make some kind of peace with the realities of human nature.

Like this one, offered by another male expert on discrimination against women:

I think it has much more to do with mate selection criteria — women tend to place more emphasis on men who earn large amounts of money, while men tend to place more emphasis on women who are physically attractive and have the personality traits to make a good mother. This sexual selection pressure would result in men making the tradeoffs and sacrifices that result in higher average salaries, while women would be more likely to pursue other values. Both are rationally pursuing the goals that they perceive benefit them most.

— prolefeed, 29 November 2007, 4:01 pm

Did you know that if you take a series of 1950s sitcom punchlines and slap a sticker with the words mate selection criteria on top of them, that makes it Scientific?

Meanwhile, three minutes later:

Prolefeed, you just raised the I.Q. of the entire thread. Thanks for that.

(Again, it’s not that Prolefeed is necessarily right in every particular. But his thinking is admirably sophisticated.)

— Brian Sorgatz, 29 November 2007, 4:04 pm

The hedge is important. We do have to leave room for other well-researched theories proposed by other men. For example, we must remain open to the possibility that 13,000 years and more of patriarchy turns out to all be the result of the (probably genetic) advantage in upper-body strength that the very strongest men have over the very strongest women. Who knew that so much could turn on a bench-press?

Further reading:

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