Where Are The Female Libertarians?

The ALS poll is currently showing a massive two women libertarian readers out of 63 who have voted.  Is the ALS site a bastion of aggressive men asserting their dominance over their peers like my dog pissing on the boundaries of his territory?  Or is it just that libertarianism is a guy thing?

If the latter (which i suspect is the case, because unlike that rowdy rabble at Catallaxy, we are all very polite over at the ALS and in touch with our feminine sides), then why are there so few women libertarians? Perhaps only a woman can answer this question. It would be wonderful to get a variety of views from female readers but sadly, if past history is anything to go by, i suspect it will largely be up to us guys to ponder this question amongst ourselves.

Lew Rockwell’s blog is a good place to start. A bunch of libertarian women looked at this issue a few years back. Allison Brown holds the view that the first step is to acknowledge the obvious truth that men and women are different creatures.

‘Women’s behaviour is governed by feelings whilst men are governed by logic. We are nurturers and we expect the ‘have’s’ to take care of the ‘have-nots”, the strong to take care of the weak. We want everyone to like us and we want everyone to like each other. Men, to put it simply, are more independent in thought and in action.’

Allison is unlikely to win first prize in the feminist’s annual convention.

Karen de Coster also writing on Lew Rockwell’s blog adds,

“It is indeed frustrating to witness the lack of skepticism and sound thinking within our gender…Women love laws. The more the better! And in fact, a favorite statement of women in general – parroted by Stevie Nicks in concert –is “We got to do something!””

Here is a list of prominent female libertarians, though the word ‘prominent’ is debatable.

Libertarianism should appeal to feminists but appears not to. Through Dagny Taggart, Ayn Rand created one of the great feminist characters of literature. In fact the US Libertarian Party was the first political party to recognise the rights of women to own their bodies and their money.

Libertarianism should appeal to women who care about poverty, about human rights, about treating people with respect and dignity. Countries that adopt policies favoured by libertarians have vastly superior track records on all three. But appears not to.

Libertarianism should appeal to women’s less aggressive nature as its core tenet is the non-aggression principle (don’t initiate violence) but appears not to.

Claire Wolf notes that although only 5% of her correspondence comes from women, this 5% tends to to be ‘hardcore’. Her thoughts on the absence of women from the movement,

‘There are strong biological reasons for women to value family more than men do. This plays into a tendency to value groups higher with respect to individuals than men do. There are strong social forces which encourage everyone to value the collective above the self, and these are analogous to gravitational force. The biological tendency to value family higher means women have a much higher escape velocity with respect to collectivism, and only the highest energy women break free of the social force.’

Phyllis Chesler, interviewed for her book ‘The Death of Feminism’, is hopeful that in the future more women will embrace libertarianism but not entirely for healthy reasons,

‘Women are not peaceful towards each other – but wish to appear peaceful. It is the “feminine” thing to do. Thus, to the extent to which traditional concepts of femininity and womanliness are being challenged and rejected by women, I expect to see more “male” like behaviour, including libertarian thinking.’

Women received the right to vote in Australia in 1901, in 1918 in the U.K., and in 1920 in the US. Up until then, the governments of these three countries pursued largely classical liberal policies (by today’s standards). A generation later, classical liberalism was dead and social democracy was born – a system that is largely still with us today. Coincidence?

140 thoughts on “Where Are The Female Libertarians?

  1. Very good point you raise here Pommy. Out of 61 LDP candidates in the federal election, just 5 were women. At the time it made me wonder whether we were excessively blokey and made it difficult for women to join in.

    Your post supports the point that there are inherent differences in the way women view libertarianism and politics. I think it’s also true of business – there are also far fewer women in senior management and board positions.

    People bang on about the glass ceiling and male prejudice, but that’s crap. The fact is, most women don’t want to run companies or be on boards. Similarly, most are not attracted to the individualism of libertarianism.

    It’s significant that the Greens are dominated by women. That supports Claire Wolf’s hypothesis that they tend to see society as an extension of family collectivism. That’s consistent with the observation that, just as women who succeed in business tend to be well above average, female libertarians are smarter and more committed.

    I’m not sure if it’s nature or nurture, but it clearly takes more for them to break out of the collectivist paradigm. The LDP needs to find a way to sell itself better to women.

  2. David

    Your conclusion is exactly my thoughts. We simply have to sell our message better to women. I don’t know why so few women joined the LDP or read this blog but it’s up to us to get the message across better.

  3. For women, their battles for freedom (suffrage) are largely won, and damn few ‘libertarians’ helped them. The new battles are over expanding their hard-won power, and the demographics of graduates at western universities tells the tale: no libertarian help is needed.

    There are lots of libertarian women; but one finds them in conservative political parties, not in the libertarian parties. Family values play a critical role in conservative ideologies, and protecting children from self-destructive influences (drugs) has an over-riding appeal for libertarian/conservative women.

    So long as libertarian ideology is equated with hedonism or anarchism, don’t expect women to give up their freedom as a philosophy to join libertarian men who continue to wield freedom as an ideology.

  4. We also don’t get much following from the over 60s. Only 2 so far in the poll are in that age category. Perhaps that is worthy of a separate discussion.

    I have no special insight on this topic however I do think that Catallaxy, the ALS blog and the LDP are all pretty blokey (Catallaxy in particular). However you can’t tell a bunch of highly individual people to stop being themselves. Blokes are going to be blokey and I think that the blokey nature of these environments is a product of who they attract more so than the other way around. Places with lots of women are less blokey because in relative terms there are less blokes. The blokey nature is in my view an effect not a cause.

    I do think that Libertarians bang on about individualism more than they need to. For me the key to libertarianism is non-coercion rather than rugged individualism and self reliance. For exampe one of the campaign messages used by the LDP was “You pay too much tax”. I think a less individualistic version would have been “Aussies pay too much tax”. I can see little downside with the latter version and considerable upside. The former is about you and me the latter is about we and us.

    The extent to which women are involved in political debate at all (libertarian or otherwise) is a relevant consideration. Maybe men are more prone biologically to expend energy scaning the horizon for signs of trouble/opportunity whilst women are more interested in more immediate concerns. I don’t claim to have an answer on this one but some personal anecdotes would suggest that this might be the case.

    Keen to hear other ideas.

  5. Terje, I could assume that the reason we don’t get an over-60 following could be because of the lack of Internet literacy among that age group.

  6. Duoist – <iFor women, their battles for freedom (suffrage) are largely won, and damn few helped them.

    What makes you say that?

    Terje – I do think that Catallaxy, the ALS blog and the LDP are all pretty blokey (Catallaxy in particular).

    Yes. Because so few women comment here!! which is exactly my point. Duoist makes a good point about families. i don’t think we help our cause by our indifference to the family. the family is the bedrock of stability for children.

  7. Right here, Terje

    http://www.ldp.org.au/federal/policies/lifestyleChoices.html

    ‘The LDP does not endorse or reject marriage…Children require a loving, stable and safe environment. They do not necessarily require parents who are formally married.’

    Yes, nice words in theory but in practice married parents stay together a lot longer than unmarried parents. and children with two parents do better than those with just one (whatever the gender).

  8. I’m not sure this example proves the point. The Greens seem to willingly and frequently defend defacto marriage and as DavidL indicated above the Greens don’t have any issue attracting women.

  9. in practice married parents stay together a lot longer than unmarried parents. and children with two parents do better than those with just one (whatever the gender).

    The empirical evidence is against you Pommy. Children do better in a loving, stable and safe environment. Two parents in conflict are worse than a single parent without conflict. Staying together can make things worse.

    I also suggest that people who go to the bother of a formal marriage have a different mindset than those who think it’s nobody else’s business. That may explain why they stay together longer (which I agree is the case).

  10. Terje; It only takes a couple of us over 60s guys to keep you young pups in line, and Pommy; You are forgetting the cultural differences here, our women are truly docile creatures who almost never argue with their menfolk, and rely on our superior judgement. (I hope the missus doesn’t see this)

    Back in the PP days we tended to have quite a few women around, I think the reason was that we tended to have meetings regularly and they used to attend, so making it a more family orientated thing. There tended to be a social aspect along with the political one.

  11. As (I think – correct me if I’m wrong) both Catallaxy’s and the ALS’s sole libertarian, I started thinking about this issue here. At the time, I made this point:

    It’s long been my view that the most significant difference between western civilization now and western civilization, say, 500 years ago, was the status of women. Not technology. Not free markets. Not modern warfare. Europe 500 years ago made Iran’s current treatment of women look exemplary. The idea isn’t new – even the totalitarian Plato recognised that Athens was ‘half a state’, and that one of the reasons Sparta handed their arses to them was the better exploitation of their available human resources. It’s also why fundamentalist Islam is doomed.

    That said, the remarkable speed with which thinkers like Friedman and Mill, say, managed to catch on to the idea of gender equality is notable. Hayek, for all his great gifts, was operating out of a European tradition where women’s rights lagged behind those in the US and the UK, and for that reason I forgive him this lapse.

    Similarly, too, Hayek was a keen social observer, and I’ve long maintained that just as men stand to learn much from women – the traditionally ‘feminine’ characteristics of cooperation and empathy – women have just as much to learn from men – the traditionally ‘masculine’ traits of individuality and courage.

    I’ve long been of the view that when women ‘pile on’, it’s just as nasty, and it’s made worse because the rules are less clear. One of the reasons for my libertarianism is my tendency to be individualistic to the point of eccentricity. I’ve learned that this requires courage, sometimes even recklessness.

    This is not something traditionally rewarded in women.

    The comment was made on the fly, so I’ve got no idea whether any of it holds, or whether Hayek was an acute enough social observer to notice the female tendency to reward conformity, or the male tendency to reward recklessness, or if the former worried him. A few people have commented that there are many fewer female than male libertarians – and I’ve copped a few jibes from the LP crowd about being Catallaxy’s only female staffwriter [This has since changed – Kitty now writes at the Cat from time to time]

  12. “It only takes a couple of us over 60s guys to keep you young pups in line”. Stick it to them Jim!
    Riley, I don’t think that computer literacy will play a big part in gaining converts, initially. In talking to my over 60’s friends there is interest in the message. However it will take a lot of personal approaches to achieve substantial awareness within the community. And a “Ron Paul” type response will not happen without a significant base.

  13. The ladies of liberty are out there. You just gotta put yourself in a position where they will find you. I run my group on myspace which went from a small forum to arguably the largest libertarian discussion group on the internet. While men still out number women we have numerous libertarian women posters and many more lurkers. At the few meetings here in Riverside, Ca that I have been to I found that the ratio gets much closer to 1:1. Many women tend to like social events, even if it is just a dinner/meeting. While we 21st century men are content with words on screen sometimes we have to play the whole IRL MMORPG.

  14. “Women’s behaviour is governed by feelings whilst men are governed by logic.” — Allison Brown as quoted in the original post above.

    Sorry, but the day men are governed by logic is the day that the last war will be fought and the last child dies of starvation. Men want to think they are governed by logic and most women wish men were. If logic and reason actually held much sway in the world we’d all live rather comfortably and in peace.

    Men are aculturated to be competitive, to hide most any part of themselves that might be identified as feminine, and to acquire status symbols. Men get confused about the difference between reason and rhetoric, intelligence and volume, governing and controlling, useful discussion and grandstanding, support and manipulation. Many men think a clever putdown is witty rather than mean. The list goes on.

    All of those things are true of women to a certain degree as well, but less generally so. I think that small degree of difference tells the whole tale. Probably a fair guess that in cases of physical abuse or murder involving people who know each other its usually men doing the crime and women being the victim. Yet not much is done about it in terms of the way we raise male children.

    If I was part of a group that was nearly all male, the first thing I’d do is what Pommy has done in this post. That is, ask, “What the hell is so wrong with my group that women don’t want to part of it?”

    Excellent post.

  15. Who really knows? Maybe men are more idealistic, and women are more power hungry, hence, join established parties only.

    Come on. The ALP wanted a 50/50 quota. I don’t think the ALP has 50/50 membership. You can’t compete with that.

  16. Trinfiar – so what’s your conclusion? why do women not relate to the seemingly benign principles of non-violence and freedom?

  17. It’s actually pretty simple…

    The members of this party and the ALS are primarily made up of people who are interested in Politics and read Political blogs on a daily basis. We haven’t done a hell of a lot of recruiting or advertising anywhere except the WWW.

    Males are much more likely both to use the WWW for long periods and to read political blogs. That’s why most of our members/readers are male.

  18. I am reminded of the story of a researcher who was going round finding out how women intended to vote at a forthcoming election. At one place a man came to the door, so the researcher asked him how his wife was going to vote.

    “She’ll vote the way I vote!”, came the reply.

    “Ah. I… see… And what is that?”

    “She hasn’t decided yet!”

  19. Pommy,

    Trinifar – so what’s your conclusion? why do women not relate to the seemingly benign principles of non-violence and freedom?

    With the caveat that this is all gross generalization, I think women relate to the “seemingly benign principles of non-violence and freedom” better than men. Women are used to male dominated groups in every aspect of society from marriage to business, politics, and education — not a lot of freedom for them in that. In the US (1920) and the UK (1928) they had to fight just to get the right to vote. They know the difference between talk of liberty and freedom and the reality.

    Women know that without laws against gender discrimination they’d be much worse off, and many libertarians fight such laws by claiming that it’s an infringement on their natural rights. Why would women join such a group? The same goes for ethnic and religious minorities. It’s not just women that libertarians are lacking, it’s pretty much anyone who is not a white male.

    Given that murderers, rapists, dictators, leaders of genocides, etc. are nearly always men, it’s no wonder that women tend to see their freedom and liberty not being well-secured by libertarians who advocate for minimal government, minimal restrictions on male behavior, elimination of a social safety net and other government functions. If you replace the social safety net with voluntary charity, you put all the power right back into the hands of white males, and women have seen how well that’s worked for them in the past.

    Women want actual freedom and liberty — not an abstract set of ideas.

    To repeat: this is all gross generalization.

  20. Trinifar

    Interesting observations. but the inference from what you say is that women feel insecure in a movement that advocates a meritocracy. they wish to secure their position in life by quota rather than merit. i’m quite sure many women would disagree strongly with your conclusion.

  21. According to the girls and girlie-men of Larvatus Prodeo (social democrat, ‘third-wayers’ to their stilettoes), us libertarians are

    “strange men with limited social skills”, “socially inept”, “maths-heads”, “gun nuts”, “couldn’t organise a root in a brothel”.

    Holy shit! Phyllis Chesler was bang on the money.

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/2008/03/16/i-wont-add-my-condemn-to-your-condemn-xvi/#comments

    and scroll down to comment 45.

    mmmiiiiiiiiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww!

  22. Whenever my missus has been near a workplace or institution that wants to “balance gender” by reserving places for women she chews my ear endlessly about what a put down it is. A lot of women of merit hate been put in a position where their advancement looks like charity.

    Trinifar – can you cite any advocacy of laws or rules that prejudice women on this blog? Secondly can you explain why women who disagree with a few ideas here would abstain from dialogue rather than engage and refute the logic? Are women less inclined towards debate?

  23. Pommy,

    the inference from what you say is that women feel insecure in a movement that advocates a meritocracy.

    No, that’s not it. Women (again generalizing) feel insecure in a world dominated by men in every position of power and don’t see libertarianism as changing that but rather excusing it. Advocating for a meritocracy is not the same as having one.

    In general, I don’t see libertarians as advocating a meritocracy. Do you? I’ve always understood libertarians advocate for everyone being allowed to do what they want as long as they don’t physically harm anyone. That means if some of them what to form a meritocracy (like a business corporation) they can do so, but it’s by no means a requirement. Equally, if some want to discrimate against women, they can do that too.

    Terje,

    Carson puts it like this:

    I think mainstream libertarianism probably is marginalized largely to relatively educated white males precisely because it treats everyone else’s concerns as imaginary, and only gets indignant when “them pore ole bosses” are getting picked on. Even raising issues of corporate power, or of racial and gender equity, is enough to draw suspicious glares — if not to get you presumptively labelled a statist.

  24. Let me be very blunt: Carson is full of shit. It doesn’t marginalise anyone. Australian libertarians often talk about issues that socialists don’t even like to mention, like the economic well being of the poor and the invalid and their carers. We have a good dialogue with the Carers Alliance actually.

    Yobbo, don’t use common sense. You might burst someone’s ego about their ability to miscegnate prolificly. You might also hurt someone’s feelings that they can quote nonsense like Foucault but don’t have any useful analytical skills.

    Corporate power and gender equity are nonsense issues that only rent a crowd really care about.

    I don’t care if we marginalise ourselves from those people.

  25. Mark, so you in effect agree with Carson’s statement that “[libertarianism] treats everyone else’s concerns as imaginary.” If gender equity is a “nonsense issue” (your term) then libertarianism will never appeal to more women than it does now. OTOH, if you were to at least entertain women’s concerns about gender discrimination in a serious way, you’d have a hook to talk with them about other aspects of libertarianism. When you dismiss them as nonsense…. Well, Terje (@24), there’s your answer.

  26. Quality not quantity matters.

    Libertarians and free marketeers get the tough accomplished women who instead of whinging about being oppressed, keep their chin up, and go on to better things. The Left gets the whingers who prefer political action to private initiative.

    Ayn Rand’s Jewish family suffered anti-semitism under Tsarist Russia then communism. She packed up and came to the US and enriched her chosen country, became a successful writer and public intellectual despite being an immigrant with a thick accent.

    Margaret Thatcher overcame class prejudice from being a mere shopkeeper’s daughter, got herself degrees in Chemistry and Law and then became a great Prime Minister.

    Contrast Hillary Clinton, a rich spoiled brat who failed her bar exams at least once, rode on her sleazy two-timing husband’s coat tails, claims credit for brokering peace in Ireland because she took a plane there with him, and whose academic reputation insofar as there is any is based on writing a whole bunch of books themed ‘government gimme gimme gimme’.

  27. Notice how the left feminists totally disown Thatcher while valorising a woman who stayed married to an utter sleaze ball and probably sexual predator and harraser of women and has few accomplishments of her own.

    Hypocrisy writ large.

  28. Get real Trinifar. You think most women actually care about “gender issues”? Most people don’t even know what the hell that means.

    I am quite sure by ignoring gender issues, we face no competitive threat.

    Wake up to yourself. The ALP in Australia had a well to do economy and lost an election (after previously winning after a recession) because it tried to ram social issues down our throats.

  29. Notice how Rudd hasn’t really pushed any of these, besides the apology, which are most people are sympathetic to even if they think it is riddled with problems…Rudd isn’t out there pandering to women’s groups like even John Howard did with his ridiculous “Office for the Status of Women” (and a cushhy job for a preselected Liberal chick mate of his, Pru Goward)…do the ALP and Liberal/National coalition really think women need an office to help them pursue a career…how bloody demeaning.

  30. Thatcher also overcame a lot of sexism, paticularly from her own cabinet bosses and then the Biritsh Labour Party, and arguably the Argentinian Junta…

  31. I’m old enough to remember Labour members of the House of Commons shouting ‘Ditch the Bitch’ at Thatcher en masse, and only stopping after pleas from female members of the Labour movement.

    Now, let’s look at this a bit more closely

    Women know that without laws against gender discrimination they’d be much worse off, and many libertarians fight such laws by claiming that it’s an infringement on their natural rights. Why would women join such a group? The same goes for ethnic and religious minorities. It’s not just women that libertarians are lacking, it’s pretty much anyone who is not a white male.

    This does not chime with the fact that a greater proportion of women than men vote ‘conservative’ in all western countries save certain regions of the US. Indeed, a common argument against women’s suffrage from Labour leaders in the past was that it would entrench conservative power.

    Given that murderers, rapists, dictators, leaders of genocides, etc. are nearly always men, it’s no wonder that women tend to see their freedom and liberty not being well-secured by libertarians who advocate for minimal government, minimal restrictions on male behavior, elimination of a social safety net and other government functions. If you replace the social safety net with voluntary charity, you put all the power right back into the hands of white males, and women have seen how well that’s worked for them in the past.

    See above. I think you’re confusing the collectivism in which many women engage with socialism, when it’s really a species of conservative communitarianism. I suspect the reasons for that may be biological, as Pommy points out, and social in the way that Jason describes with regards to Margaret Thatcher. Libertarianism rewards independence. I like that. It’s why I’m a libertarian woman.

    Here’s what I said over at the Cat on this issue:

    I’d never be involved with a political movement based on its gender composition. There may be lamer reasons to join a political party but I can’t think of many (’oooh, more girls, I think I’ll join!’). I joined the LDP because I liked the policies, and because (over time) I’ve come to see myself as libertarian. I think you’ve got a point, Adrien – when it comes to ruthless exclusion, chicks make guys look like rank amateurs. We don’t even need ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ or strip bars to do it, either – a few of us standing around chatting and casting sidelong glances at the disfavored one usually does the trick.

    . This was followed by:

    And that’s why I’m a libertarian, FDB – I don’t have to be an ad for anything, for anyone, for any reason. Maybe that sort of stuff is important to other people who get involved in politics, but it isn’t for me.

    Now lets see how badly I’ve mangled the code…

  32. when it comes to ruthless exclusion, chicks make guys look like rank amateurs

    my five year-old daughter has just started school. man, are my eyes being opened to the mind games young girls can play on each other. they are brutal. at age 5!

  33. I think the answer to this lies within the same answer to why do so few women receive advanced educations in the most academically demanding disciplines? In my experience female friends with very high IQs and top degrees in Maths, Natural Sciences, Neuroscience, top Law/MBA grads, economics are just as likely to punch-on with men and hold libertarian-sympathetic views.

    This makes intuitive sense as the insights of libertarianism are not always self-evident and often involve confronting counter-intuitive thinking. Tragically, our women are brainwashed into the lower-level less analytical Social Studies areas. Also, Australia is unique in the degree to which we have been swamped with the Cultural/Literacy/Gender Studies sect.

    The lower down the academic food chain you go, the more the bovine bints are easily herded into the leftist “victim” cattleyard.

  34. Both Hilary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher are/were First Class Bitches. That is why we love them. Compare them to some anodyne fembot like Kate Ellis 😉

  35. I asked my wife Emma why there are so few female libertarians. Without having read the above article, she answered as follows.

    “Because females do all the unimportant stuff like bringing new people into the world, deciding what to have for dinner, and keeping the house in order, while men do all the important stuff like go to war, worry about the national debt, and talk politics.”

    “Because females aren’t all that keen to go out there and fight, and being a libertarian is actually a form of male fight behaviour.”

  36. That explanation is just crap, as there are plenty of female socialists, trotskyists and “anarchists”. Take a look at the gender makeup of the G8 protests/riots.

  37. When I was in college, I encountered many female libertarians, not so many now but I am not as politically active in the community now either. If I had to estimate I would say there was maybe a ratio of 2 men to every 1 woman. I don’t know what would account for the discrepency in terms of participating in online discussions. I think in terms of young educated women in the west, most are liberal, but there are large number of libertarians, as well as conservative voters that lean left on the libertarian issues.

  38. skepticlawyer writes,

    This does not chime with the fact that a greater proportion of women than men vote ‘conservative’ in all western countries save certain regions of the US.

    I’d have to see some evidence to believe this. It’s not true in any region of the US. I don’t think it’s true in the EU, Canada, Japan, or Australia — or to be more blunt any region on Earth. Where’d you pick it up?

  39. Trinifar, it is amazing how you consistenetly demand evidence, always get shown evidence which confirms what other say and then never produce any of your own.

    Let’s assume you’re wrong and need to cough up the evidence for once.

  40. Just wondering: Are any of the libertarians reading this post and its comments aware of the misogyny — or, to be more gentle, the foolishly male-centered wording — inherent in the original post and many of the comments?

    I’m not being coy. It’s rather astounding that a post about the lack of female engagement itself demonstrates why that may be so, and the following comments to a large degree just re-enforce it. No one has mentioned it yet, so I thought I’d do so. On second thought, I guess it’s not so astounding.

    I’d thought, though, that an impressively honest post like this might elicit a more, well, thoughtful response.

    If you’re going to appeal to Rand and Dagny Taggart you need to say something about Rand’s rejection of feminism and belief that a female US President is a bad idea. You might also address why Rand’s female heroines need to get “raped” to gain sexual satisfation. Failing that, you’re in a bind (pun intended).

    There’s a reason that Ann Coulter is rich and famous and it’s not because she is particularly insightful.

  41. Trinifar – I have commented on the poll itself (ie go to the poll and view comments) about the idea that giving women the vote brings liberalism to it’s knees. In short I think the idea is rubbish.

  42. Trinifar

    Hang on a minute. One minute you’re describing this post as ‘excellent’ and the next you decide it’s ‘mysogynistic’. what’s the evidence for this?

  43. Are you aware of the distinction between fact and fiction, Trinifar? Do you really think Rand approved of rape? That rape scene was a badly mangled piece of melodramatic writing.

    On one side we have Rand who talked her husband into allowing her to have a relationship on the side with a disciple 20 years younger. On the other we have Hilary who stays married to a sexual predator (Anita Broderick, Paula Jones) so she can have a shot at the White House. And you’re linking Rand with approval of actual rape?

  44. Of course Trinifar. If you get chided for using silly arguments, you were just being “mysoginistic” and drawing us into a trap. You idiot, I pointed that out. How about being honest and admitting you were wrong, and your “clever ploy” is simply a result of your disingenuous civility and rancorous personal feelings about people who hold different political views than you.

  45. Rand’s heroines never get raped. Quite the opposite. They are extremely selective in their partners.
    Rand does however make sure they enjoy sex occasionally, something that definitely needed to be said in the US at the time of her writings 1930s – 1960s.

    But I don’t get why people have this idea that Rand had raunchy sex in her books. It’s pretty tame compared even to romance novels. There’s barely any detail at all.

    Most people understand that women are generally suited to some careers and men are generally suited to others. Feminists don’t understand this and many wish to use government force to achieve “equality”.

    For a recent and interesting article discussing the destructiveness of politically correct (“anti-sexist”) politics see, http://www.american.com/archive/2008/march-april-magazine-contents/why-can2019t-a-woman-be-more-like-a-man

    My question is what about other libertarian blogs? Do they also have low female numbers? Maybe the low female numbers here are just a coincidence.
    I generally think women value the feeling of security more than men. This would make them more socialist (because they incorrectly believe they need protection from evil corporations). However my theory doesn’t explain the seriously low numbers of women on this site.

  46. There is a mountain of research on this, Trinifar – seriously, hop onto Google scholar and go digging. A good place to go for the historical view is Before the Vote was Won: Arguments for and Against Women’s Suffrage 1864-1896, edited by Jane Lewis. What makes this book invaluable is the large amount of material from early Labour and Radical Party leaders opposing female suffrage, including a thunderous speech from Radical Party leader John Bright.

    Concern about the conservatism of women led to the development of early forms of polling, and a large number of comparisons with other jurisdictions. There’s some delicious quotes from Conservatives in Britain and conservatives elsewhere to the effect that giving women the vote gifted them political power, particularly at the state level.

    The US, of course, is a partial exception – and the only Western exception – to the general trend. This is especially the case with the Carter Administration, where he received a small but significant boost from women voters in electorally crucial states.

  47. “There’s a reason that Ann Coulter is rich and famous and it’s not because she is particularly insightful.”

    Uh, because she’s a shrill lunatic, and some people find that entertaining.

  48. Yep, Coulter is right off her rocker, but gee whiz she’s funny. In the UK she’d get her own comedy show. Wouldn’t have to change a thing, either – the Brits would be crying laughing.

  49. SL

    Coulter is an absolute scream and a marketing genius. Of course her shtick would be nothing without the reality of her stitched-up targets. I have always been intrigued by why Luvvies fear her so much; particularly men. Australia seems to be slipping back into a sort of 1950s pre-colour mindset. It is so ironic how folks accuse the Americans of lacking irony! 😉

  50. TimR,

    I put “rape” in quotes precisely because it’s ambiguous in Rand’s novels. You might read Who is Dagny Taggart? which discusses this and other aspects Rand’s aproach to gender.

    Most people understand that women are generally suited to some careers and men are generally suited to others.

    Those are exactly the words that created the feminist movement.

    I read the article you linked to and found a review of a book by the same author: Who Stole Feminism? (that’s a page of reviews, see about the middle for the one about Sommers).

  51. skepticlawyer,

    There may be a “mountain of research on this” but, at best, I only find that in the UK 100+ years ago many conservatives believed that women would swing things their way, but no evidence that that was actually the case then or now.

    This section (see “Source 5”) of Before the Vote was Won: Arguments for and Against Women’s Suffrage 1864-1896 says as much. Some politicians in the 1880’s thought women might be more conservative than men and some thought otherwise. That’s a far cry from your claim:

    …the fact that a greater proportion of women than men vote ‘conservative’ in all western countries save certain regions of the US.

  52. Pommy,

    One minute you’re describing this post as ‘excellent’ and the next you decide it’s ‘mysogynistic’. what’s the evidence for this?

    Fair question. My first comment was about the existence of this post and what I thought (and still think) to be an excellent question, bravely asked. I assumed at some point that someone would comment on Allison Brown’s words (in the post itself, it’s not your words but Brown’s), “Women’s behaviour is governed by feelings whilst men are governed by logic.” What a load of tripe. As you said, she’s “unlikely to win first prize in the feminist’s annual convention.”

    In the comments:

    I assume Jim is just being humorous saying, “You are forgetting the cultural differences here, our women are truly docile creatures who almost never argue with their menfolk, and rely on our superior judgement.”

    Same with P.M.Lawrence and the joke he related.

    John Greenfield’s “First Class Bitches” and “anodyne fembot” phrases cross the line even though he tries to soften the blow with a smilely. But later he adds “the bovine bints.” That’s what caused me to use the term mysogyny.

    skepticlawyer and Mark give us “chick” and “chick mate,” terms which seem benign but aren’t.

  53. Pingback: Club Troppo » Libertarian algebra

  54. Oh that’s right. We’re rampant sexists. “Chick” etc. Is a woman who says “dude” a misandrist?

    Jesus Christ you can really be a boring idiot when you like Trinifar.

  55. Trinifar I’ll read that article, but I despise feminism because of it’s usual call for government force. So I don’t expect to agree with some feminists opinions on Dangy Taggart.

    To even mention rape in regards to Ayn Rand is ridiculous and baseless. It’s totally contrary to her philosophy.

    Generally men are suited to some jobs and women to others.

    This is a fact and what the hell is wrong with this anyway?
    I don’t see women complaining that they are under-represented as plumbers or bricklayers.

  56. Are you getting offended on Womankind’s behalf Trinifar? Seems a tad patronizing to me wouldn’t you say?

  57. Trinifar is being a mendacious blockhead again:

    “There is a [scarequotes/]mountain of research[end/scarequotes] on this but I can only find one reference”.

    Try harder, wilful ignorance is not a cogent argument.

  58. “Australian libertarians often talk about issues that socialists don’t even like to mention, like the economic well being of the poor and the invalid and their carers.”

    uh, talked to a socialist lately?

    the reason there are fewer female libertarians probably has something to do with the fact that an ideology that primarily supports the right of the rich to fuck over everyone else has little appeal for a group that historically had no access to capital or protection from oppressors. Libertarians may have supported the rights of women to vote and own property (along with women of a range of political perspectives), but the establishment of the welfare state is what allowed them to get to a stage where they could exercise those rights.

  59. @62 Mark, they aren’t scarequotes when they’re used to denote words someone else said — you know, like quotes are often meant to do. See the preceding comments.

  60. Mark – you’re getting a little feral in your commenting these days… I thik you’ve been tangling with GMB too much. There are politer ways to point out someone is saying something willfully stupid, you know…

  61. I don’t see how “bitch” is sexist. It’s an insult… but it does not imply that women are inferior (or even different) to men. There are also some insults generally used for men. I don’t think anybody assumes a “bastard” is an inherently better person than a “bitch”.

    I have no answer to the original question. In my personal experience, guys & girls often do think differently about issues, and more generally think about different issues. When debating some women, I find that they spend lots of time suggesting that I should have better intentions. With guys, we more often assume we both have good intentions, and talk about the consequences.

    Having said that — there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. On both sides.

    I think it is self-evident that male and females are different. Discussing the possible differences and how they may manifest is perfectly legitimate. If that is sexist, then I am proud to be sexist and all thinking people should be.

    Of course, that’s not to excuse sexist bigotry. Though the problem there is the word “bigotry”, which should be opposed in all it’s forms.

    [everybody — please try to play nicely and try to avoid personal insults]

  62. “the reason there are fewer female libertarians probably has something to do with the fact that an ideology that primarily supports the right of the rich to fuck over everyone else has little appeal for a group that historically had no access to capital or protection from oppressors. Libertarians may have supported the rights of women to vote and own property (along with women of a range of political perspectives), but the establishment of the welfare state is what allowed them to get to a stage where they could exercise those rights.”

    What a load of tripe. If consensual transactions ‘fuck over’ people, that doesn’t put non-consensual transactions in a better position, does it, you blockhead?

    As for the establishment of the welfare state ‘allowing’ women to exercise the right to vote and own property
    a) you don’t need to own welfare state rights to go into a polling booth and vote you idiot, and
    b) where do you think the welfare state is getting the money from? If it’s not from women on the ground that they’re such victims they don’t own property, it must be from men. A condition of equality that depends on men being taxed unequally to provide benefits for women doesn’t say much for the starting proposition of equality of the sexes, does it, you halfwit?

  63. John,

    “Bitch” is a dehumanizing way to refer to a woman. That’s why it’s sexist. That there may be some symmetry in “bastard” doesn’t make it okay. Similarly with “chick.” Even though you can find instances of women using the term, that doesn’t mitigate that it’s mostly males using it to refer to females. (An African American using the “nigger” in reference to another African American is quite different than a white person doing so.)

    I think it is self-evident that male and females are different.

    On that everyone agrees. Vive la différence! The question is what are those differences and are they important when it comes to employment and basic rights?

    A recent NYT article about an American army unit in Afghanistan reported that its soldiers were especially happy to hear a female voice from the cockpit of a responding fighter jet when they called for air support. One female pilot was especially well received because she had repeatedly shown a willingness to fire, more so than her male counterparts who seemed to be more concerned about how their superiors would evaluate the rules of engagement.

    Not long ago women were not permitted to fly US combat aircraft because of unfounded — but widely spread — beliefs about gender differences.

    In general, women are smaller and physically weaker than men. In general. Few occupations today require physical strength and those that do find that many women still qualify and perform just as well as males (firefighters for example). I assume that everyone here is content with that. In every instance in which women have been able to compete with men in areas where physical strength is not essential, they have shown they are as capable.

    The only stumbling point for women is men’s preconceived notions, this crap that women lack something fundamental and important for occupations that have nothing to do with size and physcial strength.

    Woman Earns Silver Star in Afghan War, “only the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest medal for valor.”

    Women only got the vote 80 years ago. Given the “old boys network” and the customs around raising boys and girls, God knows when they might compete on an even playing field.

    The flip side of this is the notion that men are doomed to fail as care givers.

  64. If Catallaxy and TÖF are any guide libertarians encourage a “locker room” environment. Take this thread. Trinifar has been called a pig, a halfwit, blockhead, and mendacious blockhead. Strange thing is that his own blog is much more carefully constructed and maintained than these forums. The people there are polite, and there are a number of women there. More women on that small blog than C and TOF combined. Want to learn something about why women are not attracted to L? Check out Trinifar’s blog and you might learn something.

    Yep, can just see the gals ready to come onto L forums to cop a daily load of abuse from all and sundry.

    PS: Skepticlawyer doesn’t count because everyone here fawns over her so she is not subject to the same critical attack as the average Joe or Jane here.

  65. John, I suspect this is just politics. I’ve been called all sorts of names and accused of being everything up to and including an axe-murderer by lefties – on Catallaxy. The Cat is just about the only large blog that has a decent number of people from ‘the other side/s’ turn up to comment. It’s effectively unmoderated, except for the Bird, who is a one man twister (destroys everything in his path).

    Sad to say, I’ve found it very hard to spend any time on politically different blogs without being abused, so I don’t. Jason is in a similar situation, as is Pommy. The only exception to this is Club Troppo, which is (a) heavily moderated and (b) has such a wide range of posters from different perspectives it’s possible to pick and choose threads based on the individual posters’ politics.

    Is the Club Troppo method going to be the only way to get cross-political civility on blogs? I hope not, but it’s likely to be the case. If so, that’s a shame, but short of injecting everyone with a dose of AEPS (Acquired English Politeness Syndrome), there’s not much you can do.

    I don’t know about ‘fawning’, either – I’m officially one of the ALS posters, although I haven’t posted here for a while. One large blog, where my involvement is very irregular (depending on work/study commitments) is enough for me. I’m supposed to post at Troppo, too, but apart from Missing Link, I don’t think I ever have.

  66. Skepticlawyer,

    Yes, politics does something to people. I can understand why Jason gets into trouble, he is volatile and does his nana nana too often.

    I’ll accept your argument that political blogs are like this. I only go this blog and C, a few others occasionally. Like yourself I need to be careful here, I should be more focused on my own endeavours than tolerating the political ranting of others.

    However you need to take note of your own words. You noted how yourself and others have been subject to abuse and no longer go there. That is exactly my point Helen. Tribalism, if a political movement continues to act as other political movements yet claims to be radically different then … . If you and others went away because of abuse what does that say about the abuse of this forum?

    Yes, there is fawning.

    Good luck with your studies,

    John.

  67. I’d recommend LP, which while is largely a conversation among lefties, it’s a conversation among lefties of all different stripes, and very literate and thoughtful lefties, too! I sometimes join in on the more ‘politically neutral’ threads.

    Club Troppo is probably the best Australian blog, not only for consistently high posting quality, but when a discussion there takes off it can be exhilarating – partly because everyone knows they have to mind their ps & qs. Mind you, it can still get quite heated.

    I should have probably mentioned that I have met most of the people who post here and at Catallaxy IRL. I find that takes the sting out of disagreement. I’ve also met Mark over at LP (and went to Uni with him, too, so we go back a bit). I find I can’t really get into arguments with people I’ve met.

  68. “b-”

    Either you are a blithering idiot or a smooth and grubby operator of dissimulation.

    “Liberalism lets the rich fuck over the poor”

    Let’s have a look at an example of one policy that fucks over the poor at the behest of political expediency: the war on drugs. It is a corrupt failure.

    Is this a libertarian policy?

    Another example: the Kelo decision in the United States. It was ruled by the US Supreme Court that eminent domain powers can be used for what essentially ends up as commercial use of property. Libertarians basically believe in a very restricted eminent domain power or none at all.

    Is this a libertarian policy?

    What about some of the teriffic economic blunders we have had in Australia recently, like encouraging those who cannot afford to raise more children to have more through short term financial incentives? Or the regressive taxes on fuel, clothes etc through tariffs and excise?

    Are these libertarian policy?

    Either admit you are a dishonest tool or are an imbecile.

  69. Trinifar
    Skepticlawyer who used the word ‘chick’ here is herself a ‘chick’. While I don’t like using the word myself except in jest because it reminds me too much of Happy Days I am puzzled as to your PhD-like earnest exegesis of its supposed dehumanising tendencies. Similarly Greenfield used the word ‘bitch’ semi-admiringly to refer to Thatcher and Clinton – also from what I can figure he sounds like he is not completely ‘hetero’ and therefore he tends towards the ‘camp’ in his writing. What is it with this oversensitivity> Is this one of these earnest American things?

  70. im not a Libertarian myself, though I have Libertarian sympathies which is why I read this blog.
    I suspect many women aren’t attracted to it for the same reason I am not 100% Libertarian, at times the message comes across as very male, harsh and unforgiving.

    you know, free market darwinism, almost no social welfare… it doesnt take a rocket scientist to work out that its not a very “female” way of looking at things.

  71. verbatim

    you don’t have to be a libertarian to read, comment or even post articles here 🙂

    ‘harsh, male and unforgiving’ is not what we are about here so i do hope you will join in some of the conversations.

    i would be interested to hear why you do not consider yourself a ‘100% libertarian’.

  72. This reminds me of Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie ‘As Good as It Gets’. He plays a highly successful but eccentric, cynical and reclusive author of romantic style novels. He gets spotted in a restaurant by a fan who’s ecstatic to see him, and she asks something like ‘how do you get inside a woman’s mind the way you do’? He replies something like ‘well, I think of a man then I remove all sense of responsibility and accountability’!

    I’d say libertarianism has two main stumbling blocks for women. First is complete accountability for your decisions. As any man who enjoys relationships with women can testify, you’re never going to say ‘that was really bad decision baby, and now there’s nothing you can do but accept the consequences of it. Try not to make the same mistake next time!’ to your love interest……….no, you’re going to say ‘Baby, you did your best and it didn’t come off. Next time we’ll make sure we do better’. However to your male friends you’ll just go ‘mate, you fucked it’!, and it goes without saying he’ll have to accept the consequences. And he expects that to be the case.

    Second is the fact that the nature of libertarianism involves questioning social norms, and actually maintains that social norms don’t apply in personal life or on private property if the individual doesn’t want them there. Women get frightened that this will break down the social structures that provide them with security and a framework within which they can work, even when they are complaining that existing social structures are unfair or hold them back.

    To me this means that when selling libertarian theory to women the attraction to individual choice is not as attractive as it is to men because it has a disclaimer tacked onto the end of it in the form of ‘all you have to do is take responsibility for your own actions’. So I start with the line that libertarians believe women own their own lives, and therefore we are pro-choice, vibrant market places empower women to achieve their best and provide more opportunity (use some examples of successful women, preferably ones who do charity or not-for-profit as well), and less laws don’t mean that you can’t protect yourself with private contracts, for example in relationships.

    Unfortunately in real world politics I think this means compromise. As seems to be the case at the moment, it means that you do have to entertain ideas such as maternity leave until there is a critical mass of empowered women in business, divorces, politics, society etc. Once the rest see that critical mass the rest will want it and enough of them will get it to maintain it. I personally believe that women can be quite ruthless in pursuing these things if they see they are obtainable.

    Then, at that stage, maybe it will be OK to talk about winding back the welfare state and promoting true individual liberty! Which really proves we’ve got a long way to go!

  73. Verbatim – has the US’s “war on drugs” with it’s 1.15 million non violent offenders got anything to offer to the mothers of those incarcerated? Really? I’d like to know about it.

    Please tell me how market protectionism and socialism help the poor with the regressive taxes on employment (payroll taxes), clothing (tariffs) and buying fuel to drive to work (excise taxes) and offer the poor and working poor better social welfare than a liberal market economy.

  74. Mark

    verbatim said she isn’t a 100% libertarian not that she’s a card-carrying socialist.

  75. you know, free market darwinism, almost no social welfare… it doesnt take a rocket scientist to work out that its not a very “female” way of looking at things

    You are suggesting women have a bias towards socialism.

    I am not aware of any evidence that shows we prefer individualism or collectivism because of our gender. Are you?

  76. Don’t have data, Dave, but women most definitely have more collectivist tendencies. It’s a personal view, and I don’t mean offence to women, but I believe men create more wealth, produce more science, hold more positions of power, win more gold medals etc because a) their willingness to ‘go it alone’ and b) their outcome focused way of doing things. (And these traits lead to bad things as well, just sayin’ is all……..Not sayin’ this won’t change in the future either).

  77. I am fairly sure that women as a class tend to be net beneficiaries of the welfare state and men as a class tend to be net payers, especially when we consider benefits on account of children or elders, the burden of caring for whom would, in practice, otherwise tend to fall unequally on women. This includes not just the sole parents’ pension (most beneficiaries of which are women) but also such things as state schooling, state hospitals and so on.

    So much for the ‘social darwinist’ gibe. It is the advocates of the welfare state who are in favour of the use of force to take from those they want to treat as their beasts of burden. To ascribe this selfishness and spirit of conquest to ‘nurturing’ is laughable.

  78. ‘all you have to do is take responsibility for your own actions’.

    Yeah, go tell that to a parent. In a society you have do more than look after yourself, also have keep an eye on your neighbour’s welfare. This is a critical failing of libertarian philosophy, a type of philosophical selfishness. “I’m alright Jack and I don’t give a fuck about you.” The paradox is libertarians typically behave as if they should be concerned about other poeples’ behavior and do go out of their way to lend a helping hand. So even in their own behavior they demonstrate a need to go beyond this idea that all you have to do is look after yourself. So stop saying it because it is wrong.

  79. Yeah, go tell that to a parent. In a society you have do more than look after yourself, also have keep an eye on your neighbour’s welfare.

    I am a parent, John. And i tell my children three things –

    i) take responsibility for your own actions
    ii) treat others as you would wish them to treat you
    iii) never start a fight but if you get hit, then hit back harder.

    to say that libertarians have no regard for their neighbour’s welfare is to not understand libertarianism.

  80. But John, that is such a cliched crock of shit.

    Libertarians care deeply about the poor. I keep on naming real life examples where socialism or crony capitalism screw over the poor, point out it is not a libertarian policy or philosophy and the critics remain silent, save for the ready to use cliche they keep on using without shame or guilt.

    The best way to look after your neighbour isn’t through a political-economic electoral cycle and centralised bureacracies with sixteen or so layers between stakeholders and management.

  81. I have young kids also (three in fact). I agree with Pommy in his comment above. Humphries who started the ALS spends a good bit of his time in Cambodia working on a not for profit education funding scheme (not to mention the ALS and LDP which are both time consuming and unprofitable). Libertarianism is not and never has been about leaving your neighbour to drown. If I thought that winding back the welfare state was going to kill people I wouldn’t advocate it. As it is I do think keeping the welfare state is leading people to kill themselves slowly. And I think the circumstances produced by the welfare state is bad for kids also. In fact bad for kids that I know personally.

  82. John

    In fact, stick with the children analogy. Once my children leave Uni, i do not intend to give them a cent. Those of my friends at Uni whose parents kept digging deep for them, have ended up flitting from career to career, constantly unhappy with their lot. Those (like myself) who had to provide for ourselves (and hence couldn’t afford the lifestyle of some of our peers) have done far better in adult life.

    Net – welfare destroys people’s work ethic. It destroys their dignity. It’s called ‘tough love’ and it’s what every parent teaches their children.

  83. In a society you have do more than look after yourself, also have keep an eye on your neighbour’s welfare. This is a critical failing of libertarian philosophy, a type of philosophical selfishness. “I’m alright Jack and I don’t give a fuck about you.”

    You have an incorrect impression of libertarianism, John. We all care about our neighbours. The difference is the way in which we help them.

    What libertarians dislike is coerced help. That is, we don’t think it is fair to take money from you by force and give it to your neighbour when you would not voluntarily assist that neighbour because he doesn’t really need it. While there are some cases where government welfare is legitimate, most genuinely needy cases would be well provided for if the government got out of the way. Society is far more caring without the dead hand of government.

    We also believe in teaching a man to fish and giving him a reason to go fishing. Low taxes and the removal of barriers to the dignity of earning a living are a big part of that.

  84. Regarding #93 – saddly it isn’t what every parent teaches their child. Some parents teach dependance through word and deed.

    The fact that the government does too much is a political problem. The fact that people want the government to do a lot for them is a cultural problem.

  85. Trinifar, your example is wrong to my knowledge.
    I don’t think the city I live in has one single female firefighter. Recently I heard of a woman that tried but she was knocked back because she couldn’t carry 80kg over x distance wearing a fire suit.

  86. verbatim

    you don’t have to be a libertarian to read, comment or even post articles here 🙂

    I have been reading this blog for months now. i have posted on other topics under the name Harvey (i am male not female) but i recently started a blog on WordPress so thats why my name comes up as Verbatim.

    ‘harsh, male and unforgiving’ is not what we are about here so i do hope you will join in some of the conversations.

    i don’t mean you guys are like that, i just mean some of the ideals Libertarians hold seem quite unforgiving. it seems to favour the very strong and capable.

    i would be interested to hear why you do not consider yourself a ‘100% libertarian’.

    for the same reason i do not subcribe to any one way of religious thinking. i believe there are good things to take from all political beliefs, take the good things, reject the bad things. Fundamentalism is a bad thing in my opinion, no matter what its applied to. Religion and politics especially. I believe a world run purely on Libertarian values would be awful, just as a world run purely on Socialist values would be (see 1984) or any political belief.

    same principle applies when i was studying martial arts. i didn’t just study one style, kung fu, or karate but all styles, even boxing and gymnastics. to me its more interesting to do things, live that way… partly because i can never fully agree with any one person.

    or as Lao Tzu put it in the Tao:

    know the masculine, keep to the feminine.

  87. i don’t mean you guys are like that, i just mean some of the ideals Libertarians hold seem quite unforgiving. it seems to favour the very strong and capable.

    what i mean by that is that is the perception that others have of Libertarianism, whether its true or not. possibly a reason why females aren’t as attracted to it.

  88. Fundamentalism is a bad thing in my opinion, no matter what its applied to. Religion and politics especially. I believe a world run purely on Libertarian values would be awful, just as a world run purely on Socialist values would be (see 1984) or any political belief.

    Verbatim, there is no such thing as “pure libertarian values”. Nor is it possible to be a fundamentalist libertarian.

    What libertarians agree on is small government. While “small” is obviously distinct from “big”, its definition varies considerably and never implies “non-existent”. A lot of the argument between libertarians is about how small it should be and how to achieve it.

    If you supported small government but tended towards the big end of small, you would probably still be a libertarian. Neither you nor those who preferred the small end of small would be either pure or fundamentalist.

  89. true
    i think there are benefits to big and small government.

    really, i just can’t make up my mind. 🙂

  90. Trinifair

    I get the impression you must be American. You could not be English or Australian. Only a pussy-whipped Yank would still persist with that sophomoric soooooo 1980s PC bollocks. However, I think you are in denial. Dude look around you. There are dopey bints to the left, chicks to the right, and bitches every which way. Who do you think you are to tell Australians how to speak. We use the language a million times better than y’all do. So get a dead dog up ya, dude. 😉

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=417403

  91. Yes, Trinifar is a woman. 1980s or not, she’s been taken in by some ridiculous PC thuggery. Being called a chick is not sexist unless it is used in a very, very specific context. The ADF’s recruiting on the other hand, is sexist. America cleverly and perhaps by necessity has frontline women B1-B bomber pilots for example.

    Gangsta rap isn’t racist, despite some colourful self referential phrases. David Duke playing a charmer, never using “the” “n” word but showing deceitful pseudoscience about “negroes” as to why pro white programmes need to be implemented is.

    Now we have this straw-person argument out of the way, pay attention to waht Yobbo said: the net isn’t a multi-demographic marketing tool yet.

  92. Mark

    I just cannot believe that an educated grown adult would have the gall to accuse another educated grown adult of something so childish.

  93. Now “pussy-whipped”? (@105 & 102) Would have been nice to see some of the regulars here object to that term. Seriously, what’s going on? Is this reasonable way to promote the principles of freedom and liberty?

    BTW I made a decision long ago not to talk about my race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation on-line. Perhaps with some digging you can discover those attributes, but I hope you’ll respect my privacy.

    For what it’s worth I am an American — even worse, a Californian! In this context, though, I don’t see why that’s relevant.

  94. TimR (#96),

    Put “female firefighter” in a search engine and you’ll find there are many women in firefighting in the US although the percentage is small. I think everyone agrees there are jobs like firefighting where strength is a salient requirement and there can’t be two standards, one for men and a different one for women. Even in those jobs, there are some women who can meet the standards (and some men who can’t).

    So I don’t think it’s useful to say there are any jobs that only men can do.

  95. I agree, there should be one standard and such jobs should be open to all – but I won’t stop a person privately discriminating – this violates their right to free association. If women want an all women women’s shelter or gym, fine.

    There is a degree of specialisation however. A lot of gender roles I suspect are because of this.

  96. I asked, “Is this reasonable way to promote the principles of freedom and liberty?” To clarify and maybe headoff needless typing:

    To me freedom and liberty mean I must defend your political right to say things I object to even when I think they are, on the whole, harmful. Taking that as something we all agree on, my question is about something different. I was thinking about what you want to accomplish with the ALS blog.

    Given the political right of freedom of speech, using it to demean others in very direct, personal, and vulgar terms doesn’t seem very smart if your goal is to attract people to your position.

    In a post that asks why women are not commenting here in larger numbers, it’s paticularly ignorant to use terms like “bitch” and “pussy-whipped” — or, at a minimum, not to have lots of people objecting to such terms.

    It may be, though, that that’s what you want, to attract people who are just like you, not just politically/economically like you, but also in the way they wish to socialize.

    Although I slip up at times, I really like to avoid personal attacks and vulgar language. I just don’t see any other way to sway people, to get them to focus on my reasoning instead of reacting to my word choice.

    Contrary to the position that many take, I believe demonstrating sensitivity and understanding is a sign of strength, confidence, and intelligence — attributes that I would think you’d like libertarianism to be associated with. Terje obviously understands that. (Sorry if that sort of affirmation puts you in a bad light among your friends and colleagues, Terje.)

  97. Trinifar: If you think women who want to be involved in politics can’t take a slur in jest (after you took offence to the word “chick”) you need a reality check.

    Your evasive style of debating is dishonest. Clean it up.

  98. Q: How many libertarians does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: Who owns the lightbulb?

    Some libertarians would rather live in the dark while answering that question rather than putting in a new bulb and in its light deciding how to cooperate.

  99. Mark,

    Your evasive style of debating is dishonest. Clean it up.

    Debating is a very masculine idea, one in which there is a side that “wins” and another that “loses” — a zero sum game. But knowledge and reasoning don’t often operate like that. Sometimes, yes. But not usually.

    Discussion is different and could be presented as feminine. Instead of determining winners and losers, the point is to create understanding and (however idealistically) learn from our “opponent.” We might still have important differences, but we try hard to understand the other’s position — and to communicate that understanding as a way of showing good faith in the exchange of ideas.

    It’s very masculine or macho to try to smash down or destroy what the other is saying. It’s feminine (perhaps) to attempt to learn why the other is saying it, and saying it in a particular way.

    Physics and mathematics might be good examples of domains in which yes/no answers apply. But little else. Most knowledge is nuanced. Seeing nuanced as evasive is … .

  100. More dishonesty. You don’t understand what libertarianism is but you continue your ill informed tirades (despite being supplied with mountains of evidence that would ameliorate your ignorance and never once applying the same standards to your own arguments or assertions).

    You made a big deal out of thing. John was right. Being called a chick is at worst, trivial. Get over it. Our attitude on this isn’t why there aren’t a lot of female libertarians. Yobbo was right. The net isn’t a multidemographic marketing tool.

    Your unwanted attempts to “help” us are nothing more than thinly veiled attacks on an idea you’ve clearly demonstrated you do not understand.

  101. You are simply evasive, dishonest and duplicitous. This isn’t feminine or “nuanced”. Stop trying to win arguments by changing the definition of an argument and then pretending your opponent is wrong by using the old defintion. You won’t remove your record of deplorable tactics by a syntax game. This just goes to show your arguments here and generally have no substance other than trivialities.

  102. Well Trinifar, here is a chance to backahnd me and prove what an idiot I am, as well as show up libertarian politics and economic leanings as totally and utterly bunkum.

    Would you like to describe your debating style (err, “discussion style”) re: the alleged causes of the great depression?

    1. You believed and proceeded to some educated people, among them, trained economists that the great depression was caused by income inequalities. This is just fanciful BS.

    2. You were evasive in saying which economist actually said this. (Don’t forget how generous various commenters and bloggers have been here in backing up there assertions and claims, where support of your claims is either absent or irrelevant [e.g Brad de Long’s (if I remember correctly) website commentary and your absurd depression theory]).

    3. You point blank refused to acknowledge you were wrong and several orthodox and heterodox but empirically supported business cycle theories totally disagreed with your pet theory. Your counter argument was that there was “several alternative views” to why the great depression happened contrasting with the ones accepted by economists. You didn’t even say what these were other than “income inequality”.

    4. You became mildly abusive when you were challenged for swalling such odious tripe.

    Yet you carry on with this passive agressive BS about women not wanting to come here for the behaviours you showed.

    Never mind your ignorance which is blindingly infuriating.

  103. Seeing nuanced (knowledge) as evasive is…..

    Wrong! This is the first position of the wishy washy lefty – you can’t know anything for sure, therefore we can’t really determine right and wrong, therefore my opinion is just as valid as yours even if our opinions conflict.

    Not the case. You like is ice-cream and I like cheesecake comes down to our personal nuances. When determining the rules that should govern our interaction within civil society we use reason and objective observation, and if we are both reasonable and objective we will arrive at the same conclusions. Anything else isn’t civil society.

    (Incidentally, after that, our wishy washy lefty will bring out their collectivist logic i.e. if as a society we all settle for less, we’ll really have more i.e. more false logic to justify an immoral use of force usually through law).

  104. Contrary to the position that many take, I believe demonstrating sensitivity and understanding is a sign of strength, confidence, and intelligence — attributes that I would think you’d like libertarianism to be associated with. Terje obviously understands that. (Sorry if that sort of affirmation puts you in a bad light among your friends and colleagues, Terje.)

    Oh well, there goes all those friendships. Never mind, at least my ego won’t need to be fed for a week or two now. 😉

  105. Mick,

    This is the first position of the wishy washy lefty – you can’t know anything for sure, therefore we can’t really determine right and wrong,…

    But that’s not my position. Sure, sometimes things are wishy-washy, and then we need to acknowledge that. But not always and for many things rarely. For example, you can not show that universal health care does not produce better outcomes than privately funded health care. You have no way to show that privately funded roads produce a better outcome than government funded roads. Etc. There’s no good data on “your” side. Just wishes and hopes.

    When determining the rules that should govern our interaction within civil society we use reason and objective observation, and if we are both reasonable and objective we will arrive at the same conclusions. Anything else isn’t civil society.

    All to the good if we could agree on what “reason and objective observation” means. You use the term as if it is clear and meaningful. It’s not. There is a host of assumptions involved.

    My (perhaps feminine) perception of civil society says that no child should be without good shelter, health care, community support, and education — especially in a first world nation. Yours (I think) says it’s okay if some children get stiffed. Right there we have an important difference. This isn’t wishy-washy. It’s not even lefty. It’s about caring about real, live people — children.

    Now tell me that voluntary charity is going to mitigate this.

  106. Debating is a very masculine idea, one in which there is a side that “wins” and another that “loses”

    I would have suggested that both parties win in a debate. The party that is convinced by the logic of the other persons argument wins because they have been given knowledge they did not previously have.

    You might even say they happen to win more as the so called winner really gets nothing.

    The fact that you would argue that using logic and reason are masculine goes to show how shallow your support of gender equality truly is.

  107. More bloody deceitfulness from Trinifar:

    “There’s no good data on your side. Just wishes and hopes.”

    You’re not innocent and ignorant anymore Trinifar, you’re simply dissimulating false propaganda.

    There are several measures to show why you are wrong. You even contradict well known facts (i.e private roads are better).

    Measures include: willingness to pay experiments, public vs private sector efficiencies, deadweight loss measures.

    “You can’t show public health has worse outcomes than private…” (paraphrased – please don’t point this out).

    Trinifar – this is what I am extremely frustrated by. I showed you in nearly every way the private sector is better. You never believed anything I said, even though I meticulously presented the evidence. You had nothing to say back in reply when all of the evidence was presented. Lo and behold, you still bang on about this garbage.

    Well I don’t know what the hell “community support” is or you measure it (you say we can’t even be reasonable, objective or observant). What we do know is that as society gets wealthier, welfare is increasingly unecessary. Your concern is a matter more of parental responsibility, regulatory barriers to services and perhaps child endangerment than a redistributive issue. Have you even checked out the figures on philanthropy? What we do know about philanthropy is that it increases as incomes increase and it increases as taxes decrease. See John Humphreys for more on this, he has the specifics (wrote about this in his honours thesis on implementing a NIT). On this issue we haven’t shown you much thus far and can be forgiving. You haven’t brought up an issue you were resoundingly shown to be wrong about.

    We have the evidence and it is favourable.

    Now please show us how being wrong on these issues makes you right – i.e we shouldn’t be “confrontational” in order to attract more women to our point of view. You’re ignoring reality as Yobbo (Sam Ward) put it – the net isn’t a multidemographic marketing tool. That about sums it up.

  108. Libertarian is a broad spectrum of less-government types. As such, some might choose to be free of social constraints, and use demeaning language. I think this is counter-productive, but some words have personal meanings. If you can believe it, some misguided people take pride in atheism! Whereas, if I ever called anyone an atheist, you’d know the gloves were off, and that I wouldn’t be passing them the sugar-bowl at the tea-break!
    Still, let’s all try to use high language, and leave the name-calling to the taxonomists.

  109. It needs to be remembered that those who talk about how caring and nurturing they are by supporting re-distribution by governments, are specifically asserting that police and prisons are the basis of social co-operation, and specifically denying that the basis of social co-operation is or can be voluntary agreement and peaceable exchange. Their pretence of caring is just so much bullshit. So much for Trinifar’s ‘trying hard to understand the other’s position’; so much for her ‘trying to communicate that understanding as a way of showing good faith.’

    The fact of inequalities in income is a feature, but not a fault of capitalism, since under any other social system the plight of the poor would be worse. You only have to compare the progress of the poorest classes in the capitalist countries over the last two hundred years, and compare with their plight in traditional or socialist societies to realise this. It is precisely the policies of the interventionists which are the single biggest causes of the poverty economic disadvantage that they blame on capitalism, and want to fix by more of the collectivist restrictions on individual freedom and capital accumulation which are causing the problem in the first place. Yet all we get when we call the interventionists on this undeniable fact is more of their preening.

    Trinifar, it is true that much knowledge is nuanced. But that does not mean that anything is true, or that reason and unreason are on the same footing. The fact is, you keep running the same old amalgam of fallacies that have been refuted over and over and over again. Each time you are faced with a fresh refutation, your approach is to sail past the evidence and reason that show that what you are saying is false, and without specifically rebutting the argument, to just keep repeating the same old glib slogans and fables: capitalism grinds the faces of the poor, capitalism stiffs the disadvantaged, and so on, as if all the issues were merely matters of arbitrary opinion. Mark Hill is right to point out the intellectual emptiness and ethical bankruptcy of your approach.

    Your sexist waffle as an attempt to get out of the fact that you have just been proved wrong is just so much rubbish. Stop resorting to ploys, misrepresentations and circular arguments, and actually deal with the refutations you are being given.

    By the way nick gray, have you read Richard Dawkins ‘The God Delusion’? If so, what did you think?

  110. Ben,

    The fact that you would argue that using logic and reason are masculine goes to show how shallow your support of gender equality truly is.

    What I said was the idea of a debate entailing “winners” and “losers” is masculine. Logic and reason, to me, are neutral like math and physics.

    I’m not at all sure that carving things up into masculine and feminine is all that useful, but in that playful spirit I’d say there’s a feminine approach to debate which has to do with both sides engaging with the goal being to learn, discover, and understand rather than win or lose. That changes the game from being zero-sum to purely positive. Cooperation rather than competition.

    Yeah, I know, some of you will say that’s just so much lefty pablum. Here’s an analogy:

    I know some people here are software development professionals and that’s a large part of my background. The customer has a set of requirements that some computer program must satisfy. When a requirement is crisp and clear, you can test whether or not the software satisfies it in a zero-sum way. It does or it doesn’t, win or lose, black and white decision making. Everyone involved has a much easier time with requirements like that. It’s easy to test whether a database lookup takes 500 milliseconds or if a table can hold a half million records. Crisp, clear requirements constrain the work of the designers and programmers in a good way, so those (expensive) professionals don’t waste time and effort wondering if the customer wants it to work this way or that way.

    But it’s a rare (or trivial) software project in which all the requirements are crisp and clear.

    Often a customer will say “it must be user-friendly.” Huh? For who? A novice or an expert? How do you test it? Even among user-interface experts there’s a lot debate about what’s user-friendly and what’s not. And I always shudder when I see a requirement likek “the program must conform to the following set of standards….” since I’ve never seen a standard that’s not at least in part ambiguous.

    In spite of this, software gets written and often does the job in a good way. That usually happens with a lot of back-and-forth with the customer. Is this what you mean? If we do it this way, will you signoff? Can you afford having us develop several alternatives to the way this feature works so you can determine what’s best for you? Etc.

    There are some customers who are just daft, but most who can afford to pay for good software are pretty smart. The problem is communication. Some things are hard to express accurately enough so that everyone involved understands in the same way what’s required. It’s great when you can develop a prototype so you have something concrete for everyone to see and use, then at some point everyone can signoff and say, “Yeah, we’ll do it like version X of the prototype.” But that’s not always possible.

    The real world is like this. Saying that natural rights are X, Y, and Z is akin to saying “make the software user-friendly.” Does everyone have the same understanding of X, Y, and Z? Of couse not. Are the X, Y, and Z statements unambiguous? Of course not. Same goes for hand-waving discussions of the economy, how free markets work, politics, social systems, and so on.

    [Well, this comment is way too long. I should write a post for my own blog. Trying to wrap up:]

    I think much that gets labeled as wishy-washy or typically left-wing is really about fuzzy requirements and very honest attempts to sort them out. There is this whole industry full of software development professionals (many of them hardcore conservatives and right-leaning libertarians) who day-in and day-out are sorting through what people really mean even in the very contrained space of specific business cases.

    How in the world do you expect discussions of politics and philosophy to not be filled with the same sort of confusion? More than 100 years ago Russell and Whitehead tried to nail down the foundations of mathematics in the three very dense volumes of Principia Mathematica — and failed. In 1931 Kurt Gödel showed why that project necessarily had to fail. (His work is legendary in the field.) If it’s not possible in a domain like mathematics and logic, why would you expect things to be different in politics, economics, and philosophy?

    This isn’t to say it’s all relative. It’s just damn hard. We should be trying harder to understand each other (feminine approach) rather than throwing stones (masculine).

  111. Justin,

    The fact of inequalities in income is a feature, but not a fault of capitalism, since under any other social system the plight of the poor would be worse.

    In the software trade, calling what’s really a bug (a defect in the software) a feature is commonplace. “You really want it to work that way, because [some misdirection goes here].”

    I don’t mind income inequality as such. It’s vast income inequality that pisses me off.

  112. Why don’t we incorporate the gender imbalance into a cute slogan- “It takes balls to be a Libertarian!”?

  113. Pingback: skepticlawyer » Be nice to nerds, you may finish up working for one

  114. My ex-wife was a rabid socialist…the government should take care of everyone, cradle to grave EVEN IF TAXES HAVE TO BE RAISED TO DO IT. THEN there was an IRS audit. As a result, the IRS determined that she owed $20,000.00 plus interest and penalties. Guess who’s a Libertarian now.

  115. Maybe women don’t read your blog because of the overwhelmingly patronizing tone you take towards them – er, us. You won’t get more female readers by implying that men are somehow more rational than women; that we are unable to think in economic terms; and that women simply “don’t want” high paying jobs as CEOs or business executives. (Thanks to DavidLeyonhjelm for that last gem.)

    Please – address us as equals and it will be much easier for us to take you seriously. Personally, I find many libertarian arguments to be quite interesting — but its difficult to truly appreciate them when I’m being told that I’m biologically predisposed against logical thinking and individualism.

  116. CatholicGirl
    Of course it is offensive to suggest that women are biologically predisposed against logical thinking and individualism.

    However men and women obviously aren’t equal in their capacity, or liability, to have babies, so what would or could it mean to address men and women as equals in that respect? How could it be anything other than meaningless?

    The significance of this basal inequality cannot be removed, while ever a woman looks for some kind of assistance from other human beings in providing care for her child. It is not an answer to say the father has an equal responsibility, for if that is to be obtained by the use of force – the law – then it is only begging the question.

    Furthermore, to appeal to the idea that a man has a moral, and should have a legal responsibility to provide for his biological offspring, is to assert the foundational belief of patriarchy; thus arguing that women, but not men, should have the benefit of patriarchal authority in their favour.

    Perhaps one reason why there seem to be so few women libertarians is because, putting aside the patriarchal belief that men should have a legal responsibility to provide for their biological offspring, women as a group stand to gain unequally from the status quo by the existence of laws that take from men as a group unequally in their capacity as fathers or taxpayers, and give to women in their capacity as mothers.

  117. that women simply “don’t want” high paying jobs as CEOs or business executives. (Thanks to DavidLeyonhjelm for that last gem.)

    CatholicGirl, you are assuming you know what women want merely because you are female. You don’t. I run an employment agency, specialising in senior roles. I have interviewed large numbers of men and women candidates. A few women aspire to senior management but most prefer lifestyle factors. It’s pointless denying that kind of reality – women are different from men.

  118. I think women are not attracted to Libertarianism for quite practical and prosaic reasons. For example, a lot of Libertarians seem to be against seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws as they infringe on personal behaviour and rights, which I guess is a legitimate viewpoint. However if the non-user of safety equipment has an accident and fails to die, the care of the injured usually falls to the nearest female relative. For example the mother, wife or sister of the injured. In other words, if a Libertarian policy fails, it is often left to women to pick up the bits afterwards, whether they were responsible for the failure or not.

  119. i don’t agree with some of the arguements here, Libertarianism is actually the ideology can atract Women easier then rest of others.

    We People with Libertarian views defend volantary society which mean is (Cherities, so willingly helping others)

    Freedom is key to us, Women want Freedom, They don’t want to be put on pressure by social norms, that’s what we offer.

    also we don’t oppose marriage, we say you can be the one who writes the terms on Marriage agreement, Goverment have no power over Your personal life.

    FOr example: WHen i talked to my Girl friend, i realized that She had some sort of Libertarian views and i can’t hide that this made me happy.

    actually i can’t know Hows that in Australia, when we think about it World Wide, There must be bunch of Women with Libertarian views Women wants to be free and that’s what Libertarian understanding offer to them.

    Now it’s the information age and with this Globalization and while internet is spreading, more and more people from boath sexes will meet lights of freedom.

    Libertarianism is a young ideology which is the rising trend, This planet goes more ttwords Libertarianism, so be it.

    Hi from Turkiye to my Australian friends.

  120. i am a woman and i consider myself a libertarian. I was unaware of the lack of female LP followers. However, after reading this I might suggest that many women do not follow Libetarianism because of such a sexist standing by the male counterparts. I mean really was that last paragraph really necessary? It assumes that women are possibly the main reason behind such a social democracy! Rubbish. I believe that many women like many “men” do not endorse the LP because there are many social factors that disallows for them to do so. Why is it that the LP doesnt have a huge social following regardless of gender?
    Because factors such as infatuation with corporate ran TV, shitty education, misinformation, materialistic glorification etc etc disallows and distracts from ALL genders to educate themselves on Real issues. We forget that we still live in a racist patriarchal society and whatever social factors hit men hard hit women and women of color even harder.

  121. I think it should also be noted that females are a group the government at present specifically goes out of its way to court; in the political system as it exists now, everything from the education system to affirmative action in the workplace to criminal, labor and divorce laws to health services (note that there are sizable government grants to deal specifically with women’s health problems, but none for men’s, even though men are, on average, more infirmed than women) are ostensibly geared deliberately towards helping women. In general, the average individual is more likely to support policies which favor a demographic he or she is a member of than is an individual who is not a part of said demographic. Note that racial minorities tend to support affirmative action, old people tend to support and care deeply about Social Security, etc.

    People who think they stand to directly profit from big government are more likely to support big government. As it so happens, the way things are right now, young white males are about the only demographic group who are NOT the ostensible focus of any current big-government initiatives, and it is thus not shocking that libertarians are statistically likely to be young white males.

  122. To keep your company consistently doing well is difficult, keeping up can be a true challenge. Make things so much easier and get better results in terms of efficiency and your bottom line. The formula for business success with proven-to-work strategies may just be what is needed. With the use of proven-to-work formulas, you can make your business success happen. People systems to create productive and motivated employees might be in order.

Comments are closed.