Tuesday, 28 February 2012

For debate: Why don't more feminists support libertarianism?

WARNING:  This post and the ensuing thread include a lot of libertarian ranting.  You may prefer to find another time-wasting/procrastinating technique.

Prompted by a discussion in comments in another post, here's a question for debate, and I'll recreate the comments on the matter so far so you can see how it's all come to this:
Mark Hubbard:
To state my ideology, I'm an Objectivist Libertarian. From that point of view, a query.



In light of the government in Greece which has managed to create a State rail system that employs more people than it carries, and it would be cheaper for Greek taxpayers to simply pay for taxi chits for all the passengers; in light of this, and every other disastrous decision made by central planners that are currently collapsing the economies of Europe and the USA, for central planners, including in our crony social democracies, can never anticipate the complex needs and desires of all the individuals in a society (in comparison to a laissez faire free market which in and of itself is the very expression and working out of those needs and desires): given this, how on earth do you think governments can create jobs?

I contend that if governments cast aside their doomed Keynesian socialism and got out of the lives of individuals, economies would then be prosperous, and would provide the more jobs necessary.

And even more important than that, albeit intricately linked, because you can't separate philosophy, politics and economics, such a society, a classical liberal society, would be denoted, above all else, by the freedom of the individuals within it, including every woman.

A bit scatter gun now, sorry, but one of the mysteries of a 'feminist movement', at least according to the myth of it, to me is why it has adopted the central planning Big Brother State collectivist model, and not the individualistic one of classical liberalism. The smallest minority is the individual: protect that minority, as, say, a constitutional libertarian minarchy would, then every individual is set free, regardless of gender or race?

I've never understood this. Though I do understand the impulse to be free.

Psycho Milt:
I contend that if governments cast aside their doomed Keynesian socialism and got out of the lives of individuals, economies would then be prosperous, and would provide the more jobs necessary.

Sure you do. And Karl Marx wrote some very good descriptions of what the resulting society would look like, and where it would be headed. Which is why we've spent the last 150 years getting govts to make sure that doesn't happen.

Still, your comment does reflect National's thinking to some extent: their thinking being that if they just unbalance labour relations sufficiently in the employers' favour, employees become cheaper and more jobs can be created. It's a recipe that's worked for various Third-World countries, and as long as we don't mind Third-World living standards I expect it's one that would work for us too - thing is though, employees here don't fancy Third-World living standards much.

Mark Hubbard:
Milt, I said I was a Libertarian: that's a long, long way from a Conservative right winger: I would no more vote National than Labour.

You write on conditions under a crippled capitalism called crony capitalism, under which we are simply slaves of those businesses that can capture monopoly rents in collusion with Big Government. I'm writing on the only economic system consistent with my individual freedom, and everybody elses: laissez faire.

So this debate doesn't simply break down to ad hominem, can you name me an economy where Marxist theory has made the individual's lot better, in every sense, not much, much worse?

Because regarding Keynesian socialism - because Marx has still been at the lectern of every western economics tertiary course for the last eighty years - I cite Europe and the US: they're now wiping out swathes of their middle classes, and, Europe first, will in many areas enter the third world, yes. And worse, Nanny's already Big Brother States - please don't deconstruct that - will take them down Hayek's Road to Serfdom where they risk repeating all the evil excesses of the 20th century all over again.

Humans have done that already: why haven't we learned from it? Why are we so scared to move to free societies: Classical liberalism?
 
What say you all?  Is libertarianism the answer we've been striving for all these centuries?

69 comments:

Mark Hubbard said...

Is libertarianism the answer we've been striving for all these centuries?


Whose 'we'?

I'm more interested in what it is 'we' have been striving for all these years? Answer what that is, then we'll see how it differs from a libertarian minarchy. Because if 'we', as in I and 'we', all want our freedom, and the caring society that can only exist on such a state, I don't see how we can be that different in our pursuit of happiness.

(Qualification: I have time constraints vis a vis this debate. I shall do the best I can, but timeliness is not guaranteed).

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Perhaps because they trust the state more than they trust men?

Mark Hubbard said...

Nice to see another non-pseudonym Lindsay :)

I hope this topic is taken up, because I firmly believe that the humanist, classical liberal ethic is the only politick with an underlying philosophy (and system of economics) that does truly support the 'radical notion that women are people'; because the orientation is on the discrete individual. It protects the smallest of all minorities, thus eliminates all 'isms (sexism, rascism, which are all just forms of collectivist stereotyping - which the State loves using, incidentally - and an excuse to treat a fellow individual on something other than their own terms, their identity).

Acid Queen said...

Why are we giving this derailing misogynist wanker a forum?

I agree with Stargazer in the thread he originally ruined with his bullshit. This crap is not worth engaging with.

Mark Hubbard said...

Goodness me. Ouch.

When arguing with children I've learned that irrational, ad hominem outbursts such as your's, Acid Queen, are normally indicative of an inability to argue your cause.

If you're not going to 'engage the real world', and look at me, I'm the real world: I'm posting under my own name, I have the self esteem to stand by, and live by, my opinions and thoughts, to justify them, and I am here because I am interested in your blog, in your thoughts: I want to learn in order to cast light on a subject that has confused me, and I am not being confrontational, unless you believe holding a debate around facts, and an expounded position, is a threat to your own position?

Now, I'd love we be adults and have a discussion. Can we? Classical liberalism and my freedom versus ... well, that's what I'm trying to find out.

And note: if you can't do something as simple as tell me 'what you are striving for' - your header post, not mine - then how do you actually plan to get there (it may well not exist)? And if you don't want to 'win over the world' then why run a public blog?

Though the worse thing you've done is confirm the preconceptions of every sexist male reading this thread: undeconstructed as I am, I am not that, and I am not your enemy. I was hoping Julie realised that by making this thread.

Mark Hubbard said...

Um, by the way, Acid Queen, did you ever have the sense to stop for one minute to think it was deeply offensive calling me, whom you don't know, a misogynist wanker? What does that say about you?

Cite what evidence you have here, or the link to my own blog, that counts me as a misogynist (I probably won't debate 'wanker')?

Note also on the other thread, Stargazer was flat out wrong in her economic answer to me: I simply stated the economic reality on that thread, to which she (assumption) was not able to refute (because reality just is, it can't be refuted).

There's only one thing you need to know, to know me: I want to be a free man. Given, I assumed, freedom was the underlying ethic here, I thought we had more common ground than not.

Apparently not - why?

James said...

This is essential reading on this topic: http://charleswjohnson.name/essays/libertarian-feminism/

It basically argues that libertarians need to pay more attention to feminists and feminists need to pay more attention to libertarians. What do libertarians need to take from feminists? That oppressive, monopoly power doesn't just exist in governments and firms, but in social relations, too. Libertarians need to be more vocal in opposing social-oppression e.g. of women, minorities, the disabled from within society (from what feminists would probably call "the priveledged").

Feminists, though, need to take from libertarians that the government is essentially a rich, white, male-enabling mechanism and they (i.e. pro-government feminists) do women (but also all individuals) no favours by turning to it to solve problems. The more governments are relied upon to address, for example, gender inequality, the more the basic inequalities that governments feed on are exacerbated (and the cycle continues).

I think that a lot of Lindsay's work actually acknowledges this feminist-libertarian cross over (even if she might not explicitly acknowledge it herself). For example, her writing about welfare dependence such as the stuff about men who prey on single women on the DPB.

Mark Hubbard said...

Interesting post James. I'll certainly follow up that link.

What do libertarians need to take from feminists? That oppressive, monopoly power doesn't just exist in governments and firms, but in social relations, too. .

How so, if - and this is the Objectivist speaking - both parties have self esteem? And how is self esteem attained? Answer - I say self reliance, self responsibility: having goals and pursuing your happiness in the community of your friends and family. So again, the classical liberal society is consistent with breaking down any such oppression in social relations, and it's the only society that is true for.

Note my single point on this thread: how is classical liberalism not consistent with the aims of the authors' of this blog?

Libertarians need to be more vocal in opposing social-oppression e.g. of women, minorities, the disabled from within society (from what feminists would probably call "the priveledged"). .

I don't think we do need be 'more' vocal, because that is the rationale for what were are about. That is, per my previous post, a society in which the rights of the individual, regardless of race or gender, are the building block of that society, protected by a constitution, and the policing of the non-initiation of force principle (and I reckon I'd need some of that with Acid Queen), only in such a society with an individualistic ethic can the 'isms such as sexism truly be done away with, as they should be.

And if you're saying in this - vis a vis 'disabled' - that in a libertarian society the sick would be 'dying in the streets', then you know, don't you, that is absurd?

James said...

I'm new to the "feminist-libertarian synthesis" so forgive me if I'm less than consistent on this one :-)

I'm gonna adopt a utilitarian method of social analysis here, because I don't think we can get any traction without it (i.e. we'll be reduced to "I like socialism" "no but I like freedom!" arguments that go nowhere).

Ok, so monopolies are bad because they overprice such that fewer "goods" are consumed than would be the case in a competitive market place. Firms can be monopolies (e.g. as Telecom was), governments can be monopolies, but so can social groups.

Let's take a simple example. Say men routinely harass women that like to have sex. The harassment is a cost to women, and so the price of sex for them is higher than it would be without that harassment. Less sex is consumed than would otherwise be the case and thus society is worse off.

There are two standard responses to this. The Austrian-economics school response is something like: "markets abhor monopoly rents, so another group should step in to compete with men and lower the price of sex". The Keynesian-type school response goes: "there's a market failure here (monopoly power) that needs to be addressed". I think the Keynesian recognition of the market failure is right, but we don't need government intervention to fix it. We, as men and agents in this market, can be the people to step in and "compete" with the harassing men.

This is the sense in which I mean we need to be more vocal: we need to recognize instances of social-monopoly power and act in ways consistent with "competing" with it. The thing is, there's really not much we have to do in that role. It's as simple as acting against, rather than with the oppressors and, where possible, turning those people away from their oppression. This could be as easy as calmly discouraing a racist, or offering a simple "not cool" in response to sexist comments.

I think your apparent take of "promoting liberty for all does the job already" is half right, but on its own it does very little to counteract particular social monopolies.

(and no, I didn't mean what you're suggesting in your final comment).

tatjna said...

I do not speak for feminism as a movement.

My issue with libertarianism is that it tends to assume everyone starts from the same place, with the same advantages and opportunities.

Mr Hubbard's statement bears this out:

"How so, if - and this is the Objectivist speaking - both parties have self esteem? And how is self esteem attained? Answer - I say self reliance, self responsibility: having goals and pursuing your happiness in the community of your friends and family."

The assumption being that everyone should be capable of these things, and the underlying assumption that those not achieving those things have some kind of personal failing.

Maybe in the libertarian's ideal world it would be true but in this world, it isn't.

Now we know that in reality people don't start from the same place, that advantages and opportunities are not universal, and that it's often women - with varying levels of intersecting oppressions added on - who are not starting from this place of advantage and opportunity. I have also noted the libertarian view is often espoused from a place of privilege - often blind privilege - which makes it difficult to even agree on a frame for the discussion that both parties can relate to.

So until libertarianism comes up with a practical plan for how it's going to ensure that everyone really does start from the same place, something with a bit more substance than just "If only" or "Let it happen", I'm just not that interested. As a personal philosophy, fine. Applied to populations? Not so much.

tatjna said...

Hey James, discussing economic theory in terms of how to reduce the harrassment of women so they'll want more sex is kind of sexist. Not cool.

Mark Hubbard said...

No one connected with this site can summarise 'what we are striving for'?

I came to this site, from my home at SOLO, to find out one point that's been irking me. If I could have written the header post to this thread, I would have posed the question as follows:

Why has feminism, since the Blue Stockings, sided with a collectivist ethic to pursue their freedom and happiness, rather than an individualistic ethic?

As simple as that.

I contend that freedom is only found in the individualistic ethic according to which 'I am my own master, I can do whatever I want, so long as I don't initiate force or fraud on other individuals'. The opposing position to this is collectivism, and particularly the Left, as feminism seems to have allied itself largely to Marxism, and under this the individual has no real volition over their 'self' as that has to be sacrificed in subservience to the group. And subservience is what I assumed would be anathema to a feminist movement.

I further contend, and will debate if you wish, that if feminism keeps it's apron strings - sorry, couldn't help it - tied to the Left, then as a movement it will always experience the sort of disappointment and bitterness such as I see in the outrageous post from Acid Queen above.

That's it. Don't panic, I'm no bully: the opposite, in fact, a libertarian, so I won't darken your door other than on this thread - and in fairness this thread was set up for me. But can no one here argue the case of 'we' coherently, other than, ironically, perhaps James?

Mark Hubbard said...

Good one, and apologies, while I was writing my last post there are other comments.

Tea for me - I'm cooking it - then I'll get back to them as I can.

James said...

Hey Tatjna, mischaracterizing a position you disagree with but won't sensibly engage with by irrelevantly pulling the "sexist" card simply because the poster is a man and you hope it'll stick long enough to discredit his position without having to construct an appropriate response: not cool.

Acid Queen said...

Mark the internet is full of places where your posturing will be indulged. We are trying to deal with real issues here, not your entitled self-impressed musing. Take it elsewhere.

You have nothing to say we haven't heard a thousand times before.

Seems that nobody wants to engage you except your fellow libertarians who want to clap you on the back for echoing them. Quel surprise.

Psycho Milt said...

I'm more interested in what it is 'we' have been striving for all these years?

It's a feminist blog - how hard can the answer to that be to figure out?

Answer what that is, then we'll see how it differs from a libertarian minarchy.

I'd be willing to bet it differs not even slightly according to you, because the great thing about ideological utopias is they solve any problem of any description. Trouble is, non-ideologues tend to want a more practical approach to problem-solving.

Hey James, discussing economic theory in terms of how to reduce the harrassment of women so they'll want more sex is kind of sexist.

Those of us familiar with James from this and other blogs will be aware he's deliberately trying to wind THM readers up. Fortunately, he also serves as an excellent example of the reason libertarianism is largely a woman-free zone.

James....other one. said...

Mark...and others...great post on the topic of Libertarians and Feminists here. By default Libertarians are feminists...of the equal,individual rights variety. Were we differ from the positive rights feminists is the same point we leave those Gays,coloured people etc who also want special protective "rights" set for them by Government... because that requires people be made unequal under law...and that's the warning bell of approaching tyranny.

http://storeyinstitute.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/open-letter-to-anti-feminist.html

tatjna said...

@James You described sex as a commodity in a market, the price of which is set by men's harrassment of women, and suggested that society would be better off if women wanted more of it therefore men should dismantle their monopoly that overprices 'the goods'.

I'm not sure how I 'mischaracterised' that. Yes, I know it was only an example. I also know that you were trying to illustrate ways in which libertarianism needs to recognise the 'monopoly' of oppression and call it out. I have no beef with that idea, but the way you illustrated it is actually pretty offensive.

You suggested that offering a simple 'not cool' in response to sexist comments was a way of doing that. I have offered my 'not cool'.

In return you have told my my 'not cool' is wrong, irrelevant, 'not engaging sensibly', 'only saying it because I'm a man' and 'playing the sexist card'.

These sorts of statements along with the refusal to acknowledge sexism, are examples of the type of thing that comes from a 'monopoly of oppression' that attempts to silence women who speak up against it.

If you look closely I am not trying to discredit your position. You will alienate fewer feminists by actually listening to them.

James....other one. said...

tatjna said...
I do not speak for feminism as a movement.

My issue with libertarianism is that it tends to assume everyone starts from the same place, with the same advantages and opportunities."

No it doesn't. Libertarianism only agrees that all human beings are created equal in the sense that by virtue of well all being human we all share the same individual human rights...to life,liberty ,property and to pursue our own individual happiness with the only obligation reality puts upon us being to respect this fact in regard to everyone else. Its in the context of being created human with rights that Libs say we "start" at the same place... Objective reality make it so. In no material sense do Libs claim we all arrive "equal" as that's impossible to begin with and impossible to attain...and is not a goal that's worth the cost anyway.

PS...hat tip to Julie for posting this and having this debate...I would hope people would take the chance to respect Marks honest attempt to interact and understand them and their position on thing...

Mark Hubbard said...

Acid Queen, where to you get off patronising people?

My freedom, and your's is not a 'real issue'. Jeez.

Mark Hubbard said...

Tatjna

Thanks for the great post. Getting to where I want to be.


I do not speak for feminism as a movement.


Agreed. Just as I don’t speak for libertarianism – I can ultimately only speak for myself.


The assumption being that everyone should be capable of these things, and the underlying assumption that those not achieving those things have some kind of personal failing.


You’re about to make a very good point that I can only give my view on, there’s no ‘solution’ to, but I’ll pull you up here first. I never said a lack of self-esteem was a personal failing. Of course we all want to have high self-esteem, I struggle with confidence often, and failure to attain that is due to myriad forces, but I was concerned with making the point that a classical liberal society, by concentrating on the individual, the self, and not as part of some ‘group’, would foster self-esteem, unlike any other form of society, and patently unlike in the welfare state where it is creating a youth without self-esteem, nor the tools to attain it. Until we get to that point, then ‘oppressive’ relationships in all their guises will continue. Reality, I’m afraid.


Where we break apart is in that ‘until’:


Now we know that in reality people don't start from the same place, that advantages and opportunities are not universal, and that it's often women - with varying levels of intersecting oppressions added on - who are not starting from this place of advantage and opportunity. I have also noted the libertarian view is often espoused from a place of privilege - often blind privilege - which makes it difficult to even agree on a frame for the discussion that both parties can relate to.


Agreed, people don’t start from the same place. And I don’t think that is either ever likely, nor, probably, desirable. We’re all different. I don’t understand what you mean by blind privilege: I can honestly say most of the libertarians I know of are closer to broke than they are to well off (boiling the issue momentarily down to money). But that’s an irrelevancy to me.


The current ‘contagion’ of achieving ‘equality’, which more often than not, boils down to concerns about income inequality, is destroying freedom in our Western social(alist) democracies. I hate it. And I hate those who push it such as Kim Jong Hickey and Jesus Morgan. Because policies pursued by the State, acting at its coercive worst, always centre on limiting the incomes of producers, and redistributing that to those earning less (many of whom are yet happier than the ones being taxed), rather than creating economies that foster prosperity and growth. That is, the equal society is built always on a brutal act of theft, and nothing, certainly not a free society, can ever come from that. Also, as I was debating with Stargazer on the other thread, the State can’t create jobs and wealth, because when it ventures outside implementing the rule of law, only, it destroys wealth and economies. No centrally planned economy has ever, or will ever, succeed, as no central planning agency can ever anticipate and resolve the complex needs and desires of all individuals in a society better than an unfetter free market can. Central planning, including that practiced in the West today, always results in varying degrees of human misery.


Note my overriding belief here being that the Big State is at its base immoral.


So I agree with you, we are not all born at the same place, nor will we ever all have the same income earning power, nor should we. But for me, collectivism, be it socialism or right wing Statism, will always lead away from freedom to some form of the Gulag (including out current Gulags of Good Intentions). Thus my question for you - and I’m not calling you a collectivist - but the end point you want to be at Tatjna, what is it? How do you think society gets to that point? And if it is via the State, given the evidence of history to the opposite, by what mechanism can the State achieve this do you think?

Acid Queen said...

James, did it ever occur to you that there are ways for me to work towards my freedom that don't involve you and your pseudo-intellectual cock-stroking?

Enjoy your circle jerk.

James....other one. said...

PPS....I am the "James " PM has mistakenly referred to in his last post. The first poster "James" is not me.... hence the addition of "other one".

And plenty of Women are involved within Libertarianism...no surprise when you consider possibly its greatest recruiter was a intelligent Woman of self generated esteem and spirit..Ayn Rand.

Julie said...

We = feminists.

What do feminists strive for? Well there are many feminisms, but generally it's about ending discrimination against women, and acknowledging that women are human beings of equal status to men.

I suspect we probably have different ideas of freedom (based on concepts of positive and negative freedom, where I am more interested in the former while I suspect you would probably be more in favour of the latter?)

Rather than libertarianism championing minorities it seems to me more based on the idea that people are not interconnected, and interdependent - each one an island and all that.

But most of those who identify as belonging to groups that challenge the Establishment have actually found they progress their issues and make change far more effectively not by isolating themselves but by working together - within a cause and across causes.

This is certainly the case where feminism - collectivity is an important part of it. In recent times I think there's been a lot of friction resulting in many (including myself) ending up in a place where we want to work collectively when we can but acknowledge that blaming individual women, or groups of women, for coping with a crappy situation as best they can doesn't help. Which is why personally I avoid making negative comments about the life choices of individuals, e.g. smoking, not using contraception, etc, because I can't possibly be them and understand precisely their circumstances and even if I would have made a different decision in that exact same place well it's their decision to make not theirs.

Interesting that Lindsay raises the issue of trust. The whole problem around the abortion debate is a lack of trust in those with wombs to make the right decisions for their lives. And when it comes to rape women are trained not to trust men; I want us to live in a society where we can trust each other, because no one feels entitled to anyone else's body.

In a similar vein, Mark (and James) you aren't entitled to a platform here and you aren't entitled to responses either. None of us owes you anything and indeed I'm possibly the only blogger here interested in engaging in this discussion (and I may well change my mind). We all have commitments in the real world, and even if we didn't we get to determine how we spend our free time, not you. Or is our freedom only allowed when it doesn't inconvenience you.

In terms of the practicality of libertarianism, tatjana you are spot on. There does seem to be a disquieting correlation between libertarians and those who have more power and resources than the average.

Hugh said...

Speaking as a sympathetic male, I don't find feminism's failure to engage with libertarianism a huge barrier, myself.

Julie said...

I'm going to be moderating this thread pretty hard for the next wee while, as per my last comment, btw.

James said...

@tatjna: no, you have mischaracterized my intitial comment again. I said that society would be better off if women who wanted more sex got to have more sex with fewer costs (to them). That improvement has absolutely nothing to do with the satisfaction of male desires. If the women who wanted sex were masturbating or having sex with each other, society would still be better off. Again, male satisfaction has nothing to do with it.

I apologize for being rude, but you really didn't read me at all carefully enough. Might I suggest that you also follow your own advice.

James....other one. said...

Libertarianism has never been about or advocated the "Man as an island" myth. It simple states that all humans are created as sovereign individuals (metaphysical fact)and that the moral,and therefore the practical way for them to interact and prosper is by respecting the rights of all others to be left alone when they so wish to be.Has not the history of the Women's struggle been about gaining and having the right to be left alone by choice , sovereign in their lives,bodies and possessions?

"n a similar vein, Mark (and James) you aren't entitled to a platform here and you aren't entitled to responses either. None of us owes you anything and indeed I'm possibly the only blogger here interested in engaging in this discussion (and I may well change my mind). We all have commitments in the real world, and even if we didn't we get to determine how we spend our free time, not you. Or is our freedom only allowed when it doesn't inconvenience you.""

Mark and I would agree....you have made a Libertarian case.We would hope you would engage more as that's how progress gets made but again its your choice.. which is all we want.

Julie said...

I think the repeated phrase "right to be left alone" is getting to the crux of libertarianism.

It seems to me to reject any recognition that we are very rarely truly alone in the sense I think you are meaning.

The roads we drive on are collectively funded and built. Home schooling is rare. There are a whole heap of things we do collectively and very few people do live off the grid in a way that means they are totally independent of the efforts of others.

James said...

@julie: the right to be left alone captures the right to choose those you want to form relationships with, those you want to form communities with, those you want to share resources with (including roads, schools, etc). If it were possible (it's not because of rigid state boundaries) libertarians would be happy for groups to form communities in which they tax themselves highly, provide high levels of welfare, etc, as long as individuals had the right to opt out by going somewhere else. The US is a little bit like this (but not much because of the federal government): Texas had low taxes and few social services, California has high taxes and (is meant to have but doesnt always deliver) many services.

So libertarianism isn't about "living off the grid", it's about choosing which grid to plug into, and how and when you'll do it. Libertarians see the world as having far too few choices on this front.

James....other one. said...

^ what "James" said.

Collective action with ones fellow human's as happens by voluntary and self interested action in a free market allows everyone to rise as far as they are willing to try for without shackling some to others for the crime of having more ability,skills or just plain luck.

Collectivism by contrast throws a coercive noose around everyone and try's to vindicate this by appeals to altruism under the veil of "The Common good"...the "social contract" compassion....etc. All excuses for force and the denial of individual rights.

Julie said...

Sheesh, do you have to surrender your I statements and your correctly placed apostrophes when they give you your Libertarian badge?

I never understand why all the libertarians dont just set up their own state together somewhere - be the change they want to see in the world and all that. Because I still fail to see how you can actually practically set this up from within existing society short of forcing at least someone.

James....other one. said...

Julie...its because people want to force others together that we Libertarians get annoyed. The free atate idea is being tried but it shouldn't have to be...how about a feminist state free of male oppression for you while we are at it....?

Why should people have to go to such lengths to be left un-molested by others....?

...and doesn't that sound kinda familiar re your rape/harassment issue? Same principle.

Best of luck to you if you are allowed to have it.

James said...

They've tried several times. Some notable failures: "The Republic of Minerva" got annexed by Tonga (sorry, I can't post links via my phone). "operation Atlantis" was a libertarian ship anchored in the Caribbean, which was sunk in a hurricane. "Freedonia", set up on land leased from Somalia, got overrun by riots. Seasteeading is something that has a lot of interest and may happen in the future. Another popular project is leasing land off a government for the purpose of setting up an independent government within the first country's borders. There are attempts to do this in Haiti at the moment.

You can't say they aren't trying!

James....other one. said...

Yes...the force mongers don't like their victims escaping them. One neck ready for one noose is the goal....

Ayn Rand said...

"Because I still fail to see how you can actually practically set this up from within existing society short of forcing at least someone."

Does feminism meet this test that you're setting for libertarianism?

Psycho Milt said...

So libertarianism isn't about "living off the grid", it's about choosing which grid to plug into, and how and when you'll do it. Libertarians see the world as having far too few choices on this front.


More accurately, it's about well-off people wanting to enjoy all the benefits of living in a society without the accompanying inconvenience and obligations. The world does indeed offer few choices on this front...

Mark Hubbard said...

I not you won't let this post go up, Julie, as you've not allowed my two earlier posts, though if you have some tiny ounce of professionalism left you will allow me my final retort.

What you've done here is appalling. I try to 'live the dream', all you've done is live the stereotype.

MeToo said...

I was raised in a libertarian household and became a feminist in my teens. Some of my attitudes around social issues are in tune with libertarianism (such as abortion - woman's autonomy over her own body; marriage - the state should not be making rules around the relationships consenting adults have) but I call myself a feminist not a libertarian for the reasons Tatjna gave.

Feminism to me is about the real world, libertarianism is about some sort of utopia that seems indulgent to promote by comparison.

I think the real Q is, why aren't more libertarians promoting feminist campaigns?

Psycho Milt said...

...you've not allowed my two earlier posts...

Blogger sometimes diverts your comment to the spam folder for no apparent reason - I've been caught by it before myself. More likely to be that than Julie deleting your comments.

Suicide King said...

"Why are we giving this derailing misogynist wanker a forum?"

If advocating the idea that each individual should be respected as an individual is misogynistic, then it would seem to me that it is the case that in order to not be misogynistic, you must, ironically, see women as some how inferior. Individualism and libertarianism are the ultimate ideals of political equality, and respect FOR each individual AS an individual, and not as a member of a sex or race; giving certain groups (in this case, women) financial, professional, social, and political "handicaps," as it were, seems to cast a negative pall on the estimation of the capacity of individuals within that group. If you say that women should be given preferential treatment in the workplace and should be "distributed" goods and services for free from the government for being women, then it seems to me that you must see women as being unable to cope with reality well enough to compete with men, all other things being equal. That being the case, it follows that your version of "feminism" entails a view of women as being inferior to men.

How ironic.

tatjna said...

James, thank you for your apology, it's appreciated.

As for the rest of this thread, correct me if I'm wrong here but what I'm seeing is that a bunch of men claiming to wish to understand why "Feminism doesn't support libertarianism", then a bunch of women and men saying "Here's why", then the bunch of men coming back and saying "You're wrong." Not really a recipe for productive discussion.

Just to highlight a couple of things from Mark Hubbard's response to me:

1. Blind privilege - perhaps unacknowledged privilege would be a better word.

I don’t understand what you mean by blind privilege: I can honestly say most of the libertarians I know of are closer to broke than they are to well off (boiling the issue momentarily down to money). But that’s an irrelevancy to me.

This kind of statement equating privilege to purely wealth demonstrates a lack of understanding of the concept of privilege in this context, followed by a dismissal of it as irrelevant. Considering that privilege is a core concept to much feminist discussion, an unwillingness to acknowledge this immediately frames the debate outside that which feminists will engage with, because it denies a fundamental truth. I suggest googling 'privilege 101' for more on this.

2. Somewhere in this thread someone says that no planned economy has ever or will ever succeed. Of course this statement depends on one's definition of success, and I'm finding myself wondering how we got from feminism's disengagement from libertarianism to the expectation that feminists will defend planned economies (and reading between the lines, provide a platform for Lib men here to lecture us). I'm not actually all that interested in that debate because it's not what I came here for and frankly, it's a bit pointless if the people involved in the debate don't agree on terminology or understand the basic concepts.

Suicide King said...

Ok. If by "privilege" you are refering to this:

"The privilege of being a masculine-appearing, male-identified person living in the United States, which
both historically and currently functions in a system of patriarchy. Some women may not feel that sexism
or discrimination based on their gender is still a constant reality. At TJLP we recognize internalized
oppression and how it functions within a broader system of institutionalized oppression. For every woman
who has hated her body, been on a diet to look thinner, has experienced gender-based sexual violence, or
has simply felt scared being on the street alone – patriarchy persists."

then I have to say: that is 100% a personal problem. Speaking for myself, I have never looked down on people for being fat or ugly, but if people do hate those things, then I would like to mention that those things are in no way exclusive to women. The real root of the problem is self-esteem, and NOBODY can give that to you. That HAS to come from inside of YOU. If you're looking for the state to try to make things more "fair," then that merely exacerbates the problem, because now, everyone who sees a woman in charge cannot help but wonder to himself/herself "did this person get put in charge due to personal competence, or due to political pressure?" You want to defeat "paternalism" (assuming there is such a thing on a broad scale today in the Western world, which I do not)? Then don't look to the force peddlers to put you in charge. Do it on your own esteem. That is hard, but guess what? Everybody is hated for something or other, and often for reasons beyond their control. You need to get over it. Life isn't fair. Being a woman doesn't make you a martyr. Trying to force "acceptance" is counterproductive. And if you're afraid for your physical wellbeing, get a CCL.

2. I, for one, would not make that claim. Stalinism, Moaism, Naziism, and Mercantilism were all successful planned economies. I will say, though, that in order for planned economies to work, you have to resort to grinding tyranny. Europe tried to have its cake and eat it too, and look how that is turning out. It comes down to this choice: individual freedom with individual responsibilit, tryanny, or economic collapse. If you accept the first choice, then you have to let go of (among other things) affirmative action and government subsidies of some individuals over others. Can you continue to limp along with limited government economic tampering? Sure. But it typically tends to expand. Once you abandon the ideal of each individual being equal before the law, all things follow. And in any case, favoring one group over another deepens resentments toward that group, and lowers peoples' estimation of their ability to survive on their own merits.

tatjna said...

You fail Privilege 101. Come back when you have educated yourself, I doubt anyone here has the time or the inclination to do it for you. I certainly don't.

suicide king said...

Oh, that's classic. You refer to a concept that you refuse to define, and then, rather than address the argument, you say "you just don't understand."

That's juvenile.

James said...

@ Psycho Milt: "More accurately, it's about well-off people wanting to enjoy all the benefits of living in a society without the accompanying inconvenience and obligations. The world does indeed offer few choices on this front..."

You're assuming certain "obligations" exist and provide a moral imperative (one that apparently justifies compulsion). Simplifying a lot here, but I think libertarians
would generally presume that we don't owe anyone anything even if they think it would be nice or morally praiseworthy to act as if we did; non-libertarians think we
owe a lot of people a lot of different things and whether we want to fulfil those obligations or not, they should be fulfilled. I see that debate as fairly intractable because senses of obligation and entitlement differ a lot and don't seem to be particularly responsive to reasoning (call them "Hume-ian moral sentiments", or something).

As an attempt at outreach, can I suggest that those hostile to often-typical libertarian sentiments (e.g. "screw you guys, I'm going home"), try this brand of libertarianism instead?

"In particular, we are libertarians who believe that addressing the needs of the economically vulnerable by remedying injustice, engaging in benevolence, fostering mutual aid, and encouraging the flourishing of free markets is both practically and morally important." - http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/about-us/


@ Tatjna: I think you've picked the sore spot in terms of feminist-libertarian disagreements. I think what you're saying is that with respect to freedoms, libertarians are too often focused on the "big picture" and they miss the smaller, but important, obvious freedom-trampling of particular groups. I really have no idea how to get the groups to pay attention to each other's concerns, though. I know it's long, but this is a seriously good start: http://charleswjohnson.name/essays/libertarian-feminism/


Can you offer advice on this given your leanings? (i.e. how would you try to convince libertarians of the importance of feminist concerns? Not tell them they're wrong, necessarily, just suggest why they
should widen their scope [or, perhaps, widen scope by narrowing the focus].)

suicide king said...

James:

With respect, I think that you fail to realize that the issues here are not, at heart, gender based, social, or political, but, rather, psychological.

I would venture to say that women who are highly successful in the business world tend not to be radical feminists. Why? Because rather than spending their time decrying how unfair and paternalistic the world is, they simply go out and do substantive things with their lives. My wife is that way, so I've seen this first hand. And, actually, where we live, there is some remnant paternalistic ideology (we kind of live out in the boonies; she's the CFO for a large rural construction company), which she has had to ovecome, and when the final remnants of paternalism are stamped out, it will because of people like her -- not people who sit around crying about how unfair life is -- those people make things worse, because it gives "paternalists" the excuses they need to continue to dismiss the accomplishments of women, and it lends credence to their way of looking at things.

What radical feminists need is some tough love. Life isn't fair. Get over it. Whining won't make Darwin go away. You wanna defeat prejudice? Go out there and show people what you can do.

James said...

@ Suicide King: pscyhology, society, and politics are intimately linked.

With respect, also, you really don't have the right temperament to be the feminist outreach spokesperson for libertarianism. Not that that's what we're necessarily looking for, I just think you're really not helping (but to be fair to you, perhaps you're not at all interested in finding common ground).

suicide king said...

James:

That's a fair point.

One caveat:

Most radical feminists, psychologically, do not have what it takes to embrace the philosophy of individual liberty and individual responsibility, because they are crippled by fear, insecurity, and, frequently, suppressed self-hatred; thus they are not libertarian material. Freedom is not for the weak of spirit.

There are a few that do have the psychological capacity to accept these ideals (I encountered a handful of them in college). Those people usually need to be reminded what the cold, hard truth feels like in order to snap out of the web of excuses they've allowed themselves to be caught in.

I actually would not necessarilly consider myself a libertarian anymore, because I recognize that liberty requires a certain kind of individual -- most people do not have the strength of mind and spirit to embrace it. Thus, the majority of humanity is and always will be destined for tyranny, and in a democratic society, there is very little we can do to prevent that. Total democracy will always lead to the Stalins and Hitlers of the world, and that is a reflection on us as human beings. The majority of human beings deserve to live under a dictatorship, and, at the end of the day, people generally get what they deserve. Not only will tyranny come to us, but it is what should come to us. We deserve it.

But I will not let that come to pass without speaking my mind when I can.

tatjna said...

@James Thanks for the link. I will read that when I have time. Meanwhile, in answer to your question, I think Suicide King has illustrated quite nicely the problem with convincing libertarians of the importance of feminist concerns.

The belief that issues of oppression and privilege are somehow purely personal is probably the biggest hurdle. It disallows (for example) that it's possible for a woman to be successful and acknowledge the oppressions that affect her at the same time, and assumes that a woman who overcomes these oppressions is somehow 'better' than one who doesn't.

The issue here is that Suicide King is dismissing feminist concerns - put simply the ongoing oppression of women and how that affects everyone in society - as 'psychological issues' or 'whinging'. In my experience, this belief in personal responsibility is fundamental to libertarianism to varying degrees, which makes it really hard for a libertarian to seriously acknowledge feminist concerns, which in turn causes feminists to not want to bother. As evidenced by me being the only one still engaging with this thread - and that being only because I believe it's rude not to try to answer a direct question.

James said...

@ Tatjna: Thanks for responding. Read the link, and you'll see that there are some libertarians out there that are trying to understand the kinds of concerns you mention. (You're right that there really aren't many, though).

suicide king said...

J:

"The issue here is that Suicide King is dismissing feminist concerns - put simply the ongoing oppression of women and how that affects everyone in society - as 'psychological issues' or 'whinging'"

Difficulty is ubiquitous. Everyone faces obstacles in their lives.

Tu Ne Cede Malis.

When confronted by obstacles, you have a choice: either overcome it, or succumb to it. My point is that when you talk about paternalism as an obstacle to success, rather than simply overcoming it through personal excellence, whether or not it is true, you will be seen as a failure who is making excuses. Whether or not that is the case, that is how you will be seen, and when you take the easy way out, you not only fail personally, but you also make it that much more difficult for women who are trying to overcome similar obstacles, who will be (albeit with gross intellectual sloppiness) lumped together with you.

You want to defeat paternalism?

Become the uberfrauline.

As for being dismissive, I did look up the term you cited. I met you half-way. You did not. You responded curled up in your security blanket of denial. I know I'm being blunt, and I know I can be hard to listen to, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Julie said...

Moderation conversations to email please. I'm minded to delete comments which break this rule (and already have), even if they have other things that are on topic in them.

Julie said...

In regard to the issue - I see feminism(s) as advocating clear everyday ways we can improve the current situation. Sometimes things are more aspirational and will take more time and effort, but by and large wanting women to be treated as human beings isn't beyond the world we live in now at all. Whereas libertarianism really does require a massive change. And I am by no means convinced that the outcome is something that would be workable anyway.

In terms of the assumption that the private sector is always more efficient than the public - really? I have some pictorial examples that refute this that I intend to put up in coming days (or weeks!) but until then, just look at public hospitals - they get through a lot more work than private, yet they are often not allowed to carry the kind of redundancy in their systems that private ones are, e.g. spare operating theatres and staff for busy times. I guess it also depends somewhat on your definition of efficiency. In public life it is not always just about the dollars. E.g. public libraries have significant social benefits and outcomes they aim to meet, such as visit numbers, items taken out, community programmes run from them, etc. Private libraries usually don't have these kinds of KPIs, and while they may be delivered at lower financial cost someone else still has to meet those non-financial needs.

tatjna said...

@SK Spare it. Someone who doesn't understand the basic principles of privilege acknowledgement is not in a position to be lecturing others on self-actualisation, especially if they are upset by a suggestion they take responsibility for their own education.

But this is getting way off topic and I have things to do. I hope it serves as an example for others who wonder why feminists often give libertarianism the side-eye.

James said...

@ Julie: The reforms that took place in NZ in the 1980s were very large, and moved NZ a long way
towards a "libertarian paradise" - much closer than any other developed country, I dare say. Many of
these changes will be appreciated by feminists: easier divorce, decriminalizing homosexuality, loosening
of censorship regulations... Many will not be (cuts to public services, tax changes, etc). However, the
reforms have stuck and New Zealand is a much, much better place because of them - those changes turned
out to be very workable. However, I think you're right that those kind of wide-ranging changes do not
happen very often.

Yes, really. But when people say that they're talking economic efficiency. This term has (three)
very, very specific definitions and they don't quite fit with what a lot of regular-people definitions.

Public libraries, for example, can be hideously inefficient if they would not have existed without
government funding (as it turns out, libraries were actually very popular in Victorian England, and
they were privately run). However, that inefficiency is to do with a "dead weight loss" that has a lot
to do with the economic analysis underlying the term "inefficiency". Basically, the fact that someone
wants something but can't afford it has nothing to do with the economic term "inefficiency".

(If you're interested [I'm warning you, it's very dry] check out "The First Welfare Theorem of Economics"
and the "Second Welfare Theorem of Economics". They explain the concept of markets being efficient in detail).

Ayn Rand said...

Julie

You are comparing apples to oranges. Feminism's end goal, a world without gender inequality, is just as far off as libertarianism's, a world without unwanted government regulation.

Feminists do indeed advocate small, easy ways to move towards that world even if its realisation is a long way off. Libertarians do the same. You may not be aware of these moves but that doesn't mean they're not happening.

It seems unfair to characterise libertarianism as impractically utopian based on its end goal while ignoring the smaller steps libertarians advocate to get there, while characterising feminism as practical based on the small steps required to get to its end goal, which is a long way off.

The equivalent of feminists calling out sexism in the media is libertarians questioning government prescription of bicycle helmets and seatbelts. You may not agree with their goal but I don't think you can claim that it would only be achievable by coercion.

Brett Dale said...

The only thing I have to say is..

Calvin and Hobbes! Cool!

Psycho Milt said...

Simplifying a lot here, but I think libertarians
would generally presume that we don't owe anyone anything even if they think it would be nice or morally praiseworthy to act as if we did;


Exactly. Like I said, you want to enjoy the benefits of living in a society, while pretending that society is a given - something that merely is, like the atmosphere, not something you might be expected to contribute to maintaining. It's a delusion not widely shared, fortunately.

James....other one. said...

No Milty.... libertarians understand that "society" is an abstraction...it doesn't actually exist as a being separate from the human individuals who comprise it. WE are the ones who WANT to pay our way...but OUR way...not everyone else's who thinks that being born entitles them to be looked after and supported as of "right" at our expense.

WE are the ones who WANT to freely trade with our fellows for our mutual benefit...and we do want our fellows to prosper and advance because that's to OUR own self interested benefit.

Remember also that WE in our capacity as productive capitalists carry YOU redistributive socialists on our backs ....and if we stop you are in big trouble.

Psycho Milt said...

Thanks James - you always provide such an excellent example of what I'm talking about.

suicide king said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stargazer said...

SK, let me put this to you again in very plain english: any comments on moderation must be sent to us via email. the email address is above the comments box. if you do it as part of your comment on any thread, your comment will be deleted.

if you can't understand that (and it has been pointed out to you already), or you do understand but don't care about our rules, then i suggest you stop commenting here. it will just be a waste of your time.

stargazer said...

again, we seem to be having some trouble with communication. i said this:

the email address is above the comments box.

let me explain further. the comments box is the box where you type in words to make a comment. there are a few paragraphs above this box. in the last paragraph, you will find our email address.

the reason we don't allow moderation comments on threads is because it derails the thread. like for example how we are now wasting everyone's time talking about moderation, instead of focusing on the topic the author of the post has written about. this is disrespectful to the work of the author, it tends to overtake or sideline any discussion of the actual comments, and past experience tells us that we have to relitigate our moderation policy every time we allow such a discussion to take off in the comments section. we are not interested in doing that.

i have indulged you in this case by explaining and allowing your last comment to stand. this won't be happening again. as you said, this is our blog. these are the rules. please respect them.

suicide king said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julie said...

I find it rather depressing Ayn (and lovely of you to ressurect for this discussion) that you consider a world without gender inequality just as far away as a world without government regulation.

Serious Question: it seems to me like libertarians want to force others to be in a society which is not communal in nature. Isn't that inconsistent?

Certainly (and this is a more flippant comment) there have been libertarians in this thread trying to force me to run a blog I am part-owner of in a way that suits them and not me...

David S. said...

The answer is simple really, popular right wing libetarianism is about protecting privilege that was won through physical force, Feminism is about dismantling privilege.

How is ownership decided under a system of laissez faire? Nothing can be produced without raw materials, nothing can be bought until it is owned and until the buyer owns something to barter with. Ownership has been decided by a contest of physical force, someone stuck a flag in the ground and said, "This is mine, try and take it from me", and more often than not someone did. Now that governments and other owners of capital have asserted their rights and dismantled physical threats to those rights things have "settled down" a bit and people have forgotten how we got where we are.

Capitalism, and by capitalism I mean either laissez faire or the kind we have now, is based on force. Libertarianism, a philosophy that opposes physical force, should embrace finding consensus and value collective ownership, central planning, decentralised planning, markets or any other organisational system as long as people reach a consensus on how it should be organised and work together to create it.

Most people who identify themselves as "libertarian", and support laissez faire are not really libertarian, they are closer to neo-feudalists, essentially wanting to return to the days when those who owned capital had all the choices, and those with none had very little.

Ayn Rand said...

"I find it rather depressing Ayn (and lovely of you to ressurect for this discussion) that you consider a world without gender inequality just as far away as a world without government regulation. "

I wish it wasn't the case, but yes I do. A world with less inequality than we have now? Absolutely. But there is still a massive amount of patriarchy, it is still very strong. I could give examples but this blog is full of them! Women have been fighting uphill against patriarchy for a hundred years and it is still with us. So yes, a world where there is no patriarchy, no inequality, is far off for me. Even in a best case scenario I don't expect to see it. Maybe my graudndaughters.

If you're more optimistic fair enough but I don't think my pessimism is anti-feminist.

As for libertarians forcing people they believe that communal structures would be less appealing if they weren't backed with coercion. But if people, free of coercion, want to form communities, libertarians wouldn't have a problem with that - or rather they might try to dissuade people, but they wouldn't force them not to.

The ideal libertarian communalism is something akin to a nineteen sixties hippy commune where people are free to drop out if they want to.

Katie said...

Here's an article from a feminist libertarian perspective that discusses the relationship between the two(NB I don't necessarily agree with everything it says, but thought it was useful to this thread)

http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2012/03/a-feminist-libertarian-dilemma/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BleedingHeartLibertarians+%28Bleeding+Heart+Libertarians%29&utm_content=Google+Reader