No Girls Allowed!

(co-authored with Steve Horwitz)


This morning Julie Borowski, who makes videos as “Token Libertarian Girl,” shared her answer to the question “Why aren’t there more female libertarians?” While we certainly agree with Borowski that this is a question worth asking, and while we also agree that in the long run her video answers the question, we think just about everything else she says in her two minute video is wrong.

Borowski argues that because libertarianism and liberty issues are not thoroughly integrated into popular culture, women—who are slaves to being “socially acceptable and fitting in with their peers”—find libertarianism unappealing. She excoriates popular culture and women’s magazines in particular as left-wing feminist (!?)  programmers of women’s minds, and damns women as passive recipients of everything the culture hands out.

Borowski then slut shames women who engage in casual sex, off-handedly dismisses the possibility that a libertarian could be pro-choice, and spirals off into an unfocused critique of the luxury goods market.  Every single one of these things that she criticizes women for doing should be seen not as causes for shame, but as complex choices that smart, thoughtful women can and do make, without destroying their lives in the process.  In addition, Borowski is making arguments that conservatives hurl at women all the time. If we want to pull young women away from liberalism and toward libertarianism, repeating the very same intellectually patronizing conservative arguments that pushed women to liberalism in the first place doesn’t seem to be the way to go.

Telling women that they aren’t libertarians because they are too stupid to choose something better for themselves isn’t great advertising for liberty. Claiming that women are passive, easily programmed, and incapable of critical interaction with political and cultural ideas is simply wrong—as centuries of history of women fighting against the state and decades of critiques from the left and the right of women’s magazines and popular culture have shown.

What Borowski does get right is that libertarianism does need to move into the popular culture. We do need more, and more vocal, libertarian authors, actors, musicians and so on—with the talent to produce good work that addresses themes of liberty without being dogmatically and annoyingly ideological.

But the way that Borowski’s video answers the question, “Why aren’t there more female libertarians?” is, sadly, just by being itself. There aren’t more female libertarians because libertarians say things exactly like this. Nearly every female libertarian we know can tell stories about being told, “Women aren’t really equipped to understand libertarianism. It’s a biological thing.” Or “Of course women are statists. They all just want to be taken care of.” Or “Women’s brains just can’t do economics.” Or “Women’s right to vote ruined the country.” Now Borowski has added yet another insult to the pile.

We are convinced that if a bright college-aged woman considering libertarianism saw this video, she’d think “I don’t want to be part of that movement if that’s what libertarians think women are like. And Borowski is one of the women! I can only imagine what libertarian men think…”  Borowski might want to ask herself what the reception of that video would be at something like an Institute for Humane Studies introductory seminar.  How would a several dozen smart, interested-but-not-yet-libertarian college-aged women respond to it?  We shudder to find out the answer.

The result is that female libertarians continue to look over their shoulders and wonder which of their fellow travelers thinks they don’t really belong in the movement.

Videos like this are yet another “No Girls Allowed” sign on the treehouse of the libertarian movement  and the nodding heads and “likes” by libertarians on Facebook and YouTube just add a few exclamation points and a larger font to that sign.

We’re libertarians. One of us is even a female one. And we’re going to spend yet another day being just a little embarrassed to admit it.

  • Kyle Nearhood

    The problem with your criticism is that the statements that Women tend to want to enforce social norms, and women want to be taken care of(adverse to risk). Seem to have a lot of truth behind them when speaking in the aggregate. It is probably also true of a majority of men, but not as large a majority.

    • And you know this because? Not from taking a psychology or sociology class. I know this because I taught Psych of Women for 20 years, as well as other gender classes. If you imagine that women enforce social norms more than men, you desperately need to take a sociology class. Furthermore it depends on what norms we have talking about. What the social science research actually shows is that the vast majority of differences between women and men are in kind not amount. That is, men enforce social norms as much as women but they may not be all the same norms.

      • Kyle Nearhood

        Perhaps everything you say is correct, but besides the point. Society gives the appearance that Women more risk adverse and more likely to enforce at least some social norms. So my real question is why? And do these things have a bearing upon their obvious and real preference for more left wing social and economic structures than for either conservative or libertarian ones?

      • Kyle Nearhood

        And by the way I do not share your confidence in the social “sciences”, I find it hard to take seriously any discipline in which everything we “know” changes every 6 or 7 years.

  • James E. Miller

    Lumping Julie’s video message that many women, like many men, are enticed by government handouts and material culture to become statist with an assertion like “Women aren’t really equipped to understand libertarianism. It’s a biological thing” is quite a stretch.

    • ben

      Indeed, that whole paragraph is pushing the article into strawman territory.

  • armesmash

    I am a feminist libertarian and proud of it. I take care of myself, make my own decisions about my body and what happens to it, and manage my own money. It is just that simple. It seems to me that being a libertarian is the ultimate result of true feminism, because if a woman does not want to be told what to do by men, why would she want to be told what to do by a government? So it really becomes a question of why we aren’t attracting more feminists.

    • Jessica Flanigan

      YES! Let’s be friends.

      • armesmash

        Cool! So glad that I’m not alone on this!

      • Kitty_T


    • Methinks1776

      Nice! I would only add I don’t want to be told what to do by men, the government or OTHER WOMEN. I hate it when has the audacity to declare that they speak for me and often solely because we share the same gender.

      • armesmash

        Yes, I tend to forget about sexism coming from other women. There have been so many strong female figures in my life, it always blindsides me when I encounter another woman who thinks I need to be more “traditional.”

        • Methinks1776

          I’ve mostly encountered liberal women besmirching those who choose to give up or hamper their careers when they have children or engage in some other “traditional” activity. They feel that these women have betrayed their sex. I feel that these women have as much right to follow their bliss as I do. Besides, it’s exhausting spending your life categorizing every action.

          • armesmash

            I live in the deep south, so I tend to encounter the other end of the spectrum. 🙂

          • Methinks1776

            Aaaaaaah! Yes.

    • Because most feminists think that men should be killed(not a joke) and be oppressed.

      • purple_platypus

        Hey, Steve and Sarah? You forgot to mention moronic remarks like SlickR’s here.

        • You obviously don’t know the history of feminism and how it started and even why it started and let me tell you its not like they teach you in school and since they its only become more radical to the point of if given the chance(major polls, look it up) feminist would restrict men ‘s rights(which is oppression) and even kill men until there are so few that they live only to serve woman. This is not a joke, butt I know most of you are just pure ignoramuses and won’t research what I wrote.

          • purple_platypus

            I’ve studied that literature with some care, as a matter of fact. You’re either lying, crazy or drinking way too much of some lying and/or crazy person’s Kool-Aid.

          • Madfoot 713

            You can say that Andrea Dworkin and the scum manifesto are outside of the mainstream of feminism, but they DO exist and they ARE influential. you can’t just call someone a moron for criticizing feminism.

          • purple_platypus

            Even Dworkin didn’t teach that men should be killed, or any of this other sewage dripping from SlickR’s brain, and she was about as extreme as it’s possible to be and still be considered representative of any significant part of the feminist movement.

            I didn’t call him a moron for criticizing feminism. I called him a moron for being a moron. There are many criticisms of feminism over the years that I’ve agreed with, but they were intelligent ones, not completely fucking over-the-top stupid ones. Similarly, I called him either crazy or a liar for saying things that can only be characterized as crazy lies.

          • Feminists care about the right to vote. I’m a guy. They could take my right to vote away tomorrow, and I wouldn’t care. I know it makes no difference. I do know that when millions of people vote, they usually make us poorer and less free.

        • Marcy Fleming

          If not most than a great many do wish ill of men. Many of us know the statist history and Communist background of feminist pioneers like Abzug and Friedan. You might be projecting in using the moron label.

          • purple_platypus

            “If not most than a great many do wish ill of men.”

            Even if true, that hardly justifies the conspiracy theory nonsense being spouted in this subthread.

            “Many of us know the statist history and Communist background of feminist pioneers like Abzug and Friedan”

            And I’m one of them. That you think that is as damning as you apparently do tells me a great deal more about you than it does about me, feminism, Friedan or anyone or anything else.

            “You might be projecting in using the moron label.”

            That would be best addressed to your mirror, if this is the best quality of argument you can come up with.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Thank you for making my own case. And I’m glad to hear your admission of your statist-collectivist antecedents. As far as the establishment term ‘conspiracy theory’ there are plenty of conspiracy facts.
            There’s a lot more to say and I have done so in response tp Presley several times today but in your case I have spent all the time I judge you to be worth.
            Hope your mirror doesn’t crack.

          • purple_platypus

            Oh, my. We’ve got a live one here.

          • Marcy Fleming


      • TracyW

        That must create a lot of cognitive dissonance for all those feminists who are men.

        • Feminism is idiotic

          I’m a male Libertarian who believes in female rights, but there are too many idiots under the label “feminist” that I never use it. Which is sad because it means we need a new label for those who are actually in favor of women’s rights and fairness between the sexes.

    • Marcy Fleming

      Because 99% of feminists are statist/collectivists AND there are sexual differences just as much as racial differences.

    • Dave Carroll

      ” It seems to me that being a libertarian is the ultimate result of true feminism, because if a woman does not want to be told what to do by men, why would she want to be told what to do by a government?” Because we are all part of society and ‘we are the government’ and blah blah blah the patriarchy prevents me from making as much as men so I deserve handouts etc. etc. etc. Being an independent woman has little to nothing to do with feminism in my opinion.

    • Guest

      Typical feminist believes that females should take over the government

    • G Trieste

      Well, a feminist libertarian would be exactly coincident with the dictionary definition of feminism. And if your libertarianism enforces your feminism to be true to the dictionary definition, then I am more than enthused to see and actual instantiation of dictionary level rigorous feminism.
      The problem is not with the dictionary definition, which is just fine and quite consistent with libertarianism, but rather the expedient and arrogating nature of the modern incarnations of so-called “feminists”, who because of their numbers of the majority of those who call themselves feminists, effectively define what feminism is, for all intents and purposes.
      So, when I hear that someone is a feminist, I absolutely don’t think libertarian, I think Marxist and socialist.
      Watch Karen Straughen’s speech on the connection of feminism and Marxism to a libertarian audience:

  • Jessica Flanigan

    oof, that is terrible! On one hand I’m glad that you two posted this, on the other I kinda wish you didn’t send any traffic her way.

    • Why? Have you seen her other videos? I think her work in general is good and if only because it is another medium reaches people BHL never would.

  • Jason

    While I see your point, your last line “And we’re going to spend yet another day being just a little embarrassed to admit it” and some of the assertions above it are just as ham-fisted as Julie’s presentation. Why are you embarrassed to be libertarian? Is it not cool enough or acceptable? Do you really feel that awkward to embrace the ideology because of a handful of bad eggs being intellectual chauvinists? You almost make Julie’s point for her.

    • Amen

    • Sean II

      Jason, I think you’re onto something there.

      Consider this line from the original post: “There aren’t more female libertarians because libertarians say things exactly like this [Julie’s video].”

      Horowitz begins by admitting that “why aren’t there more female libertarians?” is a “question worth asking”, but he ends by casually claiming he has the answer to that question.

      Unfortunately, the answer he gives is part of a long tradition at BHL, which boils down to variations on the theme of claiming: “There aren’t more libertarians – male or female – because too many libertarians say things that lefty academics and student hipsters really don’t like”.

      It’s hard to forget, in this connection, that most of our esteemed bloggers work in institutions where they are surrounded by those lefty academics and their none too questioning students. Perhaps our hosts can be forgiven for suffering a bit of sampling bias when it comes to the reasons why libertarians are not more popular. Given where they work, what they do, and who they spend time with, it’s hardly shocking they might find their way to the conclusion that libertarianism is unpopular simply because Ayn Rand was an unpleasant bitch, Murray Rothbard flirted with rednecks and racists, Ron Paul opposes abortion, etc…with the most recent addition to that list of talking points being: because somebody named Julie Borowski found a way to get herself some web traffic.

      The thing is, though…that’s the easy way out. In reality, there is no cost-free way to make libertarianism more popular. Simply purging a few loudmouths and weirdos won’t do much of anything for us, because few will notice, and fewer will care.

      The saying of stupid things by individual libertarians can’t be the reason we are disliked, because the habit of saying stupid things has never stopped or really even slowed down statism on its march. At any given time, our opponents are always saying more stupid things, to more people, with more at stake, than any of us could manage in our worst week. For those who doubt me on that, I prescribe you 30 minutes of watching MSNBC followed by a short visit to Brian Leiter’s blog.

      The parsimonious explanation – and I don’t like it either! – is that libertarianism is unpopular because most people either do not know we exist, or they oppose us more or less on our actual merits. The ideas we advocate are complicated, counter-intuitive, and alien to most people at this point in history. (Quick self test question: how many of you know any libertarians who are not intellectuals?)

      As so many other BHL bloggers have done before, Horowitz in this piece comes off like the deeply caring but tragically clueless mother of libertarianism, trying to give it some encouragement on the first day of school:

      “Straighten your collar there. Good. Now don’t be nervous, honey. You really need to smile more. I bought you this backpack because our neighbor, Mrs. Rawls, says it’s what all the kids are carrying these days. Just be yourself, and people will see what a charming wonderful thing libertarianism really is.”

      Wrong! At this point, it’s probably time for libertarians to consider that “they” may very well hate us because they don’t know we exist, or because they know exactly who we are.

      • Well said Sean!

      • jacoblyles

        Spot on, Sean.

        The libertarians I know who are not intellectuals are Tea Party, right-wing, Ron Paul types – exactly the kind of folks who would have ideas that the hosts of this blog wouldn’t like.

  • Methinks1776

    I guess I wasn’t that bothered because I’m a much older, richer, thick-skinned woman who also spends gazillions of dollars on luxury goods (including TONS of expensive make-up, creams, etc. Just because you’re a libertarian doesn’t mean you have to look like you just crawled out of a cave) and hasn’t once given a fig what anyone ever thought of it. I think that’s what makes me a libertarian. I do not care what people think of my personal choices any more than I care to involve myself in theirs uninvited.

    For a woman, I think I’m strange. I don’t care to have a pack around me. I’ve never felt the need to fit in and I only care about what people I happen to love and respect think of me. I don’t necessarily care what anyone outside that group thinks. Julie’s right that most women do feel the need to be part of a group and will do what it takes to assimilate. Maybe it’s biologically driven. I don’t know. But, I’ve had much more success selling libertarianism to women by reinforcing their individual strengths and pointing out that they are stronger than they imagine and don’t need the pack as much as they need to be true to themselves. I don’t think shaming adult women about their very enjoyable addiction to handbags and shoes is effective and neither is it effective to reduce them to mindless drones who do whatever Anna Wintour commands them to do from the pages of Vogue.

    • Kyle Nearhood

      I think your libertarianism, is a result of not only being smart and successful but comes from the repressive political system you left.

      • Methinks1776

        Thanks for the kind words, Kyle. However, I think in my case, I was born that way. I was an independent, self-motivated soul from an early age, and my first and favourite phrase was “I’ll do it myself”. I think the immigration strengthened those traits, but I could never be socialized to value the collective – despite the best efforts of collectivists – not only because I am a Soviet refuge but because it never made sense to me on a theoretical basis either.

  • Michael Wiebe

    “But the way that Borowski’s video answers the question, “Why aren’t there more female libertarians?” is, sadly, just by being itself. There aren’t more female libertarians because libertarians say things exactly like this.”

    Do you think there are other factors that play a role? Or is the sex ratio completely explained by the fact that some libertarians are jerks to women?

    • Maybe like the fact that most libertarian magazines and organizations rarely talk about issues that matter to women– like social services, day care, egalitarian marriage, etc. Like the fact that most libertarian organizations have very few women involved, Like that fact that few women are asked to write for the magazines. Like the fact that some libertarians are jerks period. Like the fact that potential women speakers for conferences are often ignored on *any* topic. Like the fact that women are often asked to do menial tasks as if they were servants. Like the fact that women are often ignored period except by those bozos who want to hit on them? Shall I continue?

      • Brent Davey

        1) Social Services: All service is a “Social Service.” How can a service not be social? Unless server accomodates his/herself, which I believe, is called masturbation. Libertarians generally believe that markets sans roadblocks put up by entities like governments promote the poor the most. Prices generally lower and serv ice standards rise. 2) Daycare is a service. 3) Marriage: No one has the right to stop anyone from associating with anyone. (Minors excluded).

        • good_in_theory

          No reason to be willfully obtuse. Social services is a term of art. Would you complain that natural sciences are also social sciences, because they are social?

          • Brent Davey

            No. Those are not services. They are phenomenons.

          • good_in_theory

            What are you talking about?

          • Grow up.

        • The term “social services” to refer to welfare and healthcare is widely used and widely known. Yes, you are being willfully obtuse and look rather silly making this point when most people, even libertarians, know full well what the term means. And physicians and people involved in both welfare and charity work would surely be surprised to find out that what they do is a “phenomenon” rather than a service.

        • G Trieste

          I invited Karen Straughen to speak at our NYS 2013 libertarian convention, and in fact she spoke about womens’ and mens’ issues:

      • Kyle Nearhood

        If you admit that social services, day care and marriage are matters that matter most to women then you implicitly admit that women are not natural libertarians. To a libertarian those things are all personal and should be pursued independently of government and public policy.

        • Thanks for proving Sharon’s point, Kyle. Ever think that maybe the magazines should talk about how to do these things WITHOUT government? Or do you think they should continue ignoring these issues?

          • Methinks1776

            How sad is that, Jeremy? I’m a woman and I have to admit: I’ve never needed a magazine to explain to me how to live my life without the constant assistance of government or relying on a man. Plenty women have figured out how to rise above the prejudices of Libertarian and other men and the soft tyranny of low expectations (to quote a shrub) and it is they who have blazed the path for the rest of us, not the whiny women complaining that life just ain’t fair because opportunity and success is not handed to them on a silver platter and the world does not change simply to make life more comfortable for them. Women are not going to pout and legislate their way to what they want.

        • I did not say ” matter most;” I said “matter.” So first you misrepresent me with a strawman.Then the rest of your statement makes no sense at all. Jeremy is entirely correct. The point is that libertarians should be talking about how to do a lot of things without government, including these. Every one of those items have been done with and without the state but most people (not just women) imagine that they can be done only by the state. [excepting daycare but many people think the state should do that too]. Your conclusion that I implicitly admit that women are “not natural libertarians” is a complete non sequitur. I did no such thing nor do I believe any such thing.

          There may in fact be genetic influences on willingness to go against convention but there is nothing in gender research (an area in which I am in fact an expert) that suggests it divides along gender lines. There is no evidence however for a “libertarian” gene or set of genes.

          There is evidence that being liberal or conservative may have a genetic component. Libertarians weren’t included but if they had been they would have been indistinguishable on the dimension studied [studies of “openness to experience v. closed to experience) from liberals. I am unaware of any gender differences in that trait.
          In my own research on desire for uniqueness, I found no difference between libertarians and liberals but conservatives were lower on that trait, which is consistent with the above finding. There were no gender differences there either. I hope to pursue this research further in the future.
          In spite of all those who rush to assume women and men differ on many traits, what social psychology actually tells us is that on every trait measured, even when there are differences between men and women (which is far less often than people imagine) it is still the case that intra-group differences are greater than inter-group differences. Thus to make sweeping statements about either women or men is both silly and unscientific. I would further argue that stereotyped statements about gender (or race or age or whatever) is anti-individualist. What extensive social science research actually shows is that merely knowing one’s gender or race only accounts for very small proportion of the variance, ergo guessing what psychological and cognitive traits any particular person has merely on the basis of gender or race is likely to be inaccurate. Ergo, individuals should be treated and evaluated as individuals. It appears to me that many libertarians have a problem with this, especially when it comes to gender. if these libertarians did the same on the basis of race, they would be denounced as racists. When they do it on the basis of gender, why should they not be called sexists?

          • Kyle Nearhood

            I simply disagree that making generalizations on sex is the same as making generalizations on race. Although I agree that making any generalization is at best a sort of shorthand, and will always be inexact. Nevertheless, you can state some things with validity about the differences in men and women. They are not anomalous to race because there is no essential difference between a black woman and a white woman, but there are differences between men and women.

            I did not come into this discussion with a strong feeling either way, but when I ask the question Why do a majority of women prefer Big government solutions to problems?
            I think that an inherent gender factor is a possibility for at least a partial explanation.

            One question I would like to research to come at the truth is; Is this tendency to seek governmental solutions to problems the same across different cultures. If no, then your view is probably correct, but is so, then perhaps you are mistaken.

      • Amazing, so you say it’s sexist for Julie Borowski to call out differences in prevailing cultural attitudes, and state a priori they somehow just don’t exist, and then you turn around and make a sexist comment about libertarian men being a bunch of uncaring misogynists. A prevailing attitude does not presume the attitude can’t be changed, but to deny such a prevailing attitude doesn’t exist is the height of willful ignorance. She’s pointing out a problem, there’s an attitude that exists, as a result of the culture that women are raised in, a narrative that they have been exposed to on an almost daily basis, and you’re shocked someone has the gall to point it out?

      • Guest

        Why in the world do day care and marriage matter to women more than men? It takes both a man and a woman to have a child. And most marriages are between a man and a woman, and even the ones that aren’t, are as likely to be between two men as they are between two women.

      • Audrey T Benjamin

        I disagree with practically everything you say at a fundamental level, Ms. Presley, and it’s NOT because you are a woman, it is because I think you are wrong.

        • Sharon Presley

          There’s a reason I blocked you on Facebook. You are an obnoxious person. Do you really think I give a crap what you think of me? Snort.

  • Julian Sanchez

    (1) I’d question the premise a little; my (admittedly totally anecdotal) impression is that the gender gap has narrowed quite a lot among 20- and 30-somethings. At least in DC, I certainly don’t remotely have this (apparently widespread) impression that libertarian women are thin on the ground.

    (2) To the extent it’s the case, though, isn’t one obvious factor just that contemporary political thought taking gender inequality and patriarchy seriously has come overwhelmingly from the left? (In other words, the same reason my father was a socialist in 1960s Spain: Because that’s who was opposing Franco.)

    • Those both seem true to me as well.

    • Guest

      You’re in DC, your anecdotal experience doesn’t count.

  • Fran

    Julie rocks and does a lot for the movement. Leave it to one of “our own” to be a jackass and attempt to tear her down. Here’s an idea: move along.


    • Chad

      Policing your own might be the most important thing any political ideology or philosophy can do. The utter lack of interest in doing so is part of the reason the modern GOP has fled so far from its intellectual heritage. It doesn’t make you an “a-hole,” it makes you intellectually honest.

      • biasedmonster

        The GOP never really had the ‘intellectual heritage’ I believe you’re thinking of.

    • Julie does seem to have provoked a lot more negative response than a 2 minute somewhat throw away video deserves. Apparently some people are very invested in casual sex and designer labels and felt she was trying to read them out of the movement. I like sex and frivolous luxury goods and pretty much thought she was on target. I enjoy porn myself but also think the magazines at checkout stands have become too crass for something in public view. I was taken aback that so many took her comments on these peripheral issues to indicate that she is a social conservative.

  • Isn’t that cute, Steve let a girl help write…

  • Cap’n Facetious

    If any of you ladies needs any help using the computer to watch that video, just let me know.

  • This isn’t an argument I like making, but the fact is that libertarianism is primarily an ideology for privileged white males:

    Why? Because people who aren’t at the top of the privilege pyramid has experienced power relations and social/cultural pressures that libertarianism is ill equipped to explain, with its focus on ‘voluntary’ transactions and individualism respectively.

    I’d go on, except that’s pretty much the long and short of it.

    • Gary Chartier
      • Joy H

        Go Gary! Woot!

      • Eh? I’m aware that libertarian was originally used to refer to anarchists. But that wasn’t the kind of libertarianism the reddit survey was about.

        • Victoria Granda

          Gary Chartier is a libertarian market anarchist. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of him and other left (though free market) libertarians if you’re posting on this blog.

          And for the record, I am a Hispanic female.

          • I still don’t see the point. Single data points don’t disprove statistical evidence.

          • Miguel Lopez

            LOL @ a reddit survey being “statistical evidence”

      • Victoria Granda

        Thanks for the links, Gary, I’ve been meaning to read your book!

    • j r

      There are any number of reasons why libertarianism trends white and male and there is definitely something to be learned by exploring why, but your definition of privilege is so limited as to be meaningless. There are certainly many examples of societies where gender and ethnicity are so central to the order of things that they trump everything else. Contemporary America, however, is not one of those places.

      Walk into the cafeteria of a high school and explain to me how the socially awkward white male kid with bad acne who can’t get a date is in a privileged position relative to the cheerleader or to the black quarterback of the football team. And the ask which of those three is more likely to self-identify as a libertarian.

      • I didn’t say they ‘trumped everything else.’ I just think they are significant

        Your example is just pure speculation. AFAIK most quarterbacks are actually white, although that’s not the point.

        Once these people get out into the real world, who is going to earn more? It’s not like most high school quarterbacks actually go on to become superstars.

        • j r

          You speculate about the race of quarterbacks while simultaneously accusing me of speculation. That’s interesting.

          Anyway, I can just as easily make the point I want by replacing quarterback with running back or small forward or 100m sprinter. Or I could just eschew athletics all together an just use an example where the most popular kid in school happens to be a middle class black kid with a bright future.

          The idea that the people at the top of the pyramid are libertarians is just plain false, unless you consider the kind of folks that you find at a comic book convention to the top of the pyramid.

          • I didn’t speculate, I said AFAIK, I was wondering what you had to say on

            “Anyway, I can just as easily make the point I want by replacing quarterback with running back or small forward or 100m sprinter. Or I could just eschew athletics all together an just use an example where the most popular kid in school happens to be a middle class black kid with a bright futureit.”

            …and it would still be speculation and spurious extrapolation.

            “The idea that the people at the top of the pyramid are libertarians is just plain false, unless you consider the kind of folks that you find at a comic book convention to the top of the pyramid.”

            ‘Privilege pyramid.’ They are empirically white, straight males. Do you realise what privilege means?

          • j r

            ‘Privilege pyramid.’ They are empirically white, straight males. Do you realise what privilege means?

            To be honest, no. I generally find privilege to be one of those terms that is suitably devoid of meaning, so that it can be deployed in a way that defies verification.

            Yes, there are any number of advantages that one has as a result of being born male and/or white. Yes, there is racism and sexism. Those things exist, but America in 2012 is at a point where privilege is much more than a function of gender and ethnicity.

            Go to a college campus and find the members of the most popular fraternities and sororities. Find the leaders of student government and the editors of the school paper. Find the student athletes and the members of the honor roll. How many of them self-identify as libertarians? And don’t stop there. Go into the boardrooms of America’s corporations. Go to the newsrooms and editorial offices and faculty lounges of the top universities. Go find religious leaders and popular actors and musicians. How many of them are libertarians?

            In a world where Barack Obama was just re-elected to a second term and Gary Johnson got less than a percent of the vote, your notion of libertarians sitting atop the “privilege pyramid’ simply doesn’t pass muster.

          • Balls&Strikes

            Because you (admittedly) do not know what “privilege” means — and refuse to find out — maybe you should hold off on declaring so emphatically that it does not exist.

          • good_in_theory

            What doesn’t pass muster are your metrics for evaluating how hard libertarians have it.

          • If you find ‘privilege’ – which is a well defined term – to be ‘devoid of meaning,’ you could at least google it and get to wikipedia:



            The answer to your third paragraph is: I don’t know, and neither do you. You’re simply refusing to consider concepts and evidence that go against your world view.

            As for Barack: anecdotes do not refute data.

      • Balls&Strikes

        “Contemporary America, however, is not one of those places.”

      • good_in_theory

        Well, if we’re doing just-so stories…

        the black athlete might, if lucky, get into a decent college on a partial scholarship, where he will be exploited for popular entertainment by the NCAA, not get a professional contract, and then graduate washed up and likely without strong positioning to start a career. If he’s not so lucky neither his athletics nor his academics will be sufficient to get him into a good college and he will either directly enter the low-wage labor force or perhaps go to community college or a non-premier state school. The cheerleader will probably be sexually assaulted or raped in college.

        The stereotypical white nerd high school libertarian will probably exit college on track for a lucrative career, where his narcissism and anti-statism will be rewarded and encouraged by other like minded economically conservative professionals (most likely also white men).

        • Kyle Nearhood

          That was rather silly, and did not answer the gist of what JR said.

          • good_in_theory

            The gist of what jr said (libertarians aren’t popular in high school, and women and minorities can be popular in high school, therefore privilege doesn’t really exist) isn’t really worth answering.

          • Ken Switala

            You have reversed the order of JR’s claims to set up a straw man (although it’s customary to actually bother to take a swing or two at these straw men). He was talking about a lack of white male privilege first and moved on to a separate point. Even if he is wrong about the first point, and a high amount of white male privilege exists, it would still be fallacious to infer that any particular group of white males possesses some ‘unfair amount’ of unearned privileges, because there may be some other factor that has a heavy negative correlation with overall privilege. JR can be read to be saying that being a libertarian is one such factor.

          • good_in_theory

            It wasn’t a separate point. The post is pretty clearly a proof by example. ‘White male privilege doesn’t exist in America. As an exemplary instance of this general truth, see high school popularity.’

            I don’t think exemplary reasoning is out of bounds (a fastidious adherent to purely logical argument might), but I do think that the example pointed to doesn’t demonstrate anything about the proposition it is meant to support.

            The ‘privilege is complicated and some white boys have it hard’ gripe really isn’t very interesting. Intersectionality and crosscutting identities have been pretty standard in the discourse around privilege for awhile now. Here’s a pretty popular pop take on the whole thing:


          • ben

            “Here’s a pretty popular pop take on the whole thing: …”

            You’re linked article doesn’t really make an argument at all, it simply stretches out the claim “Straight white men are privileged” into a multi-paragraph would-be metaphor.

            I say would-be, because it never bothers to map aspects of the metaphor onto actual things/experiences in reality.

            Thus neither does it elevate the proposition “Straight white men are privileged” from the status of a completely unsubstantiated claim, nor does it shed any light on what kinds of real-life things “privilege” is supposed to refer to.

            That’s consistent with pretty much all previous experiences of mine, of hearing liberals deploy the term “privilege”. Not for clarification, but for obfuscation – to arrive at desired ‘conclusions’ without ever making an argument.

            I’m open to change my opinion about the topic if presented with reasonable arguments in favor, but I haven’t encountered any so far in conversation with liberals – just evasion and insults.

          • good_in_theory

            Well, I wasn’t claiming the piece made an argument. It’s an illustration of a conceptual framework, offering an analogy by which to imagine how ‘privilege’ works. If one wants an argument for its existence, that’s something different.

            Qualitative accounts of various kinds of privilege are pretty easy to get. Establishing its existence in aggregate is of course harder, but can be rather trivially done for particular elements of privilege (or, probably more often, their converse: practices of discrimination to which some others are not subjected), either by identifying systematic practices explicitly undertaken by large institutions (red lining, stop and frisk, other varieties of racial profiling; poll taxes; underservicing of poor/minority polling places, &etc) or by inferring the existence of such practices (intentional or otherwise) through the relative prevalence of particular sorts of experiences (rape, driving while black, the bamboo ceiling, police abuse, domestic violence, and so on).

          • Ken Switala

            “The ‘privilege is complicated and some white boys have it hard’ gripe really isn’t very interesting. Intersectionality and crosscutting identities have been pretty standard in the discourse around privilege for awhile now.”

            Well sure, but then again most gripes of ‘some X have it hard’ aren’t very interesting, but nevertheless true, when X is a very large class of people.

            Also, from Wikipedia:

            “Intersectionality is an important paradigm not only for sociological and cultural studies, but there have been many challenges in utilizing it to its fullest capacity. Difficulties arise due to the many complexities involved in making “multidimensional conceptualizations” that explain the way in which socially constructed categories of differentiation interact to create a social hierarchy.”

            A fair translation: privilege is complicated. Or is it only complicated when the categories that are interacting are the ones we have already chosen to study for other, possibly subjective, reasons? How much of ‘the discourse’ is devoted to studying individuals that identify with libertarianism?

          • good_in_theory

            Well, the focus is pretty clearly on ascriptive identities, not self-identifications, so political viewpoint isn’t really relevant. It doesn’t make sense to speak of ‘privilege’ when talking about what political party one identifies with.

        • Sean II

          G.I.T…I think that entire comment was plagiarized from the god-awful 1990s message film “Higher Learning”.

          • good_in_theory

            Well, take out the white supremacist skinhead murderers and, from scanning a synopsis, the scenario is pretty typical.

      • Sam Raker

        The ‘socially awkward white male kid with bad acne who can’t get a date’ will, all but certainly, never be raped and then have his sexual behavior picked apart in a courtroom by the defense. All but certainly, he’ll never be stopped and frisked just for walking around his own neighborhood. He won’t be trivialized or objectified out of a job he’s qualified for because of how he looks or talks (and before you start–with a straight face, try and tell me boat-show bikini model or Abercrombie associate or non-major league sports person is a ‘better job’ than say, CEO, or manager, or coach.)

        I have to say, it’s comment threads like these that make me want to redefine myself as ‘someone who favors limited government and increased personal liberty,’ and eschew the rotten-apple*-tainted label that ‘libertarian’ seems to have become.

        *read: jerk

        • j r

          You’re responding to an argument that I didn’t make. I could get into a discussion about what privilege means in 2013 America and how things like class and human capital and access are coming to trump things like race and gender, but that’s not my intention right now. I was responding to the claim that ” libertarianism is primarily an ideology for privileged white males.”

          Again, there are certainly reasons why libertarianism trends white and male and those reasons are worth exploring. However, the idea that it’s just because libertarians are a bunch of privileged white jerks is about as inane as Borowitz’ claim that it’s just because girls read too much Cosmo.

    • RichardAllan

      Perfect example of the ignorance of your kind. A sweeping generalisation is backed up by some charts without any kind of source or explanation. I don’t know how anyone can be so delusional or intellectually dishonest as to think that constitutes any kind of argument. “This isn’t an argument I like making”. Well, I hope not, because anyone who liked making such “arguments” would be a c**t. Unfortunately I don’t believe you, I think you love making such arguments, otherwise why would you bring it up? “I’m not racist, but…” In the absence of any kind of scientific evidence for your position all you can rely on to make yourself feel superior are ad-hominem attacks. By the way I checked and there seems to be exactly the same gender imbalance among contributors to the crap you put out. Funny that, eh?

      “I’d go on, except that’s pretty much the long and the short of it.” Well, you’ve said nothing, so I guess your position is untenable then? And oh look, someone wants to talk about “privilege” despite being associated with the “post-autistic economics” movement, a disgusting example of ableist prejudice. For the record, if you want to call me “privileged” for pointing out your lies, you should know that I’m disabled (and obviously physically so, as you apparently believe mental disabilities don’t count).

      • “My kind”? Talk about sweeping generalisations!

        That is the result of a self-conducted Reddit Survey of libertarians. I can no longer find the initial thread so that picture is all that’s left.

        “By the way I checked and there seems to be exactly the same gender imbalance among contributors to the crap you put out. Funny that, eh?”

        Sorry, what?

        “And oh look, someone wants to talk about “privilege” despite being associated with the “post-autistic economics” movement, a disgusting example of ableist prejudice.”

        No I am not.

        • Al Bundy

          Don’t know if you’re the one who conducted that survey but you do realize that the entirety of Reddit skews heavily towards college-age white guys, right? You could just as easily poll the communist subreddit to “prove” the same thing about communists, or poll libertarians on to show that who woulda thought, 95% of libertarians are into same-sex relationships. I mean come on..

          • Yeah, that’s a fair cop. I’d be interested to see results of polls of r/communism or a libertarian poll that wasn’t just reddit.

      • Balls&Strikes

        Anyone who starts out their comment with “your kind” cannot really complain about “ad hominem” attacks. Unless it was meant to be ironic. In which case, well played!

        • guest

          The point is, there is no point in adhering to logical argument standards when disproving Unlearning Economics’ post since it is not based in logic to begin with.

    • Too simplistic in so many ways. Libertarians have always had a disproportionately high number of gays and Jews, and I think now we are beginning to see Indians/south Asians over represented. And these people were not in the ruling elites when attracted to libertarianism.

      You’d be better off making the argument the other way around. The tax predator ruling class, through its near total cultural and media monopoly (including the revolving door of politicians and their flunkies being TV presenters, etc) tells Americans that the government helps poor people and them. And they do see checks arrive in the mail. But no one reports on how we have more poor people than ever, more illiterates than ever, more drop outs than ever, de facto segregated schools in many cities, bureaucracies that destroyed more low income housing than they rebuilt, etc etc. Poor people and minorities have been brainwashed and re educated with billions of dollars of PR to believe they are better off being managed by all the fat ‘crats who get paid 6 figure salaries to herd them.

  • j r

    I am bothered by the casual assertion that women care more about fitting in than men. Not because of any particularly feminists consideration, however. Rather, I want a citation. This is the sort of weasel words/conventional wisdom/”everybody knows that group x does behavior A” should always be questioned. It’s fine to make observations about differences between groups, but show me your work.

    Also, many questions popped into my head while watching that, but the biggest question I have is: what exactly does it mean to “win”?

    • martinbrock

      “Fitting in” presumably seems a concrete and well understood notion to someone TLG’s age. Expecting academic precision here seems unrealistic.

      “That’s how we win” didn’t appeal to me either. As a libertarian, I don’t want to win political contests. I only want to be left alone. If other people want to be subjects of a totalitarian state, that’s none of my business really. If we can both have what we want, I’m O.K. with that.

      I doubt that TLG alienated legions of women from libertarianism, and I’m a little surprised that anyone at BHL felt compelled to reply to a teenage youtube channel, but she is kinda cute.

      • Your flip and cavalier attitude, as evidenced in your last remark, is just one of many examples of why many women find libertarianism offensive.

        • martinbrock

          Your holier than thou pretense of victimization is just one of many examples of why many people find feminism offensive.

          • If you think I preach victimization then you have never seen my feminist essays nor any of the writings at the website of the Association of Libertarian Feminists. Nice try but it’s a rather silly one, as anyone who knows me can attest.

          • martinbrock

            I only know you from this forum, and the rant below (women are ignored except to do menial tasks for bozos who want to hit on them) looks like a pretense of victimization to me.

    • Thank you for asking the question! Here’s what psychology actually says, as opposed to what some people choose to imagine: On average, there are no differences in conformity between women and men. Women are more likely to try to encourage group consensus on average; that is often mistaken for conformity but it is not. Young men are just as likely to want to fit it to their peer group as women, but do it in different ways. The young woman in the video is a twit in so many ways.

      • Sean II

        I would not be doing my duty, Sharon, if I didn’t drop in here to point out that psychology cannot possibly have a defined phenotype for “conformity” or “preferring consensus”.

        Post a link to the methods used in whatever source you have in mind there, and I’ll gladly explain exactly what I mean.

  • martinbrock

    The video doesn’t affect me at all as it affects Sarah. TLG is right that women, for various reasons, see state benefits more as a plus than a minus in their personal ledgers. In reality, there has never been any war on women by a male dominated state.

    Statecraft emerges from natural contests to dominate territory, and males battling males for territorial dominance is a common natural pattern. Rather than men exploiting women, in the feminist formulation, states are more nearly men waging war on other men to win the favor of women. Even in cultures that liberals (classical and otherwise) perceive as terribly oppressive toward woman, states are men waging war on other men, and men within and without the state imagine themselves protecting women.

    Male dominated states want to tax men, outside of the state, to benefit women as much as statist feminists do. Male dominated states do not now and never have much taxed women outside of the state to benefit men outside of the state, and women entering politics are not inclined to change the established pattern. Under the circumstances, women as a class would be foolish to oppose statutory redistribution to the same extent that men, outside of the state, oppose it.

    Neither Sarah nor TLG much confronts this reality. If anything about the video, and this post, makes me roll my eyes, it’s the shared premise that women need better marketing within popular culture to embrace libertarian ideals, even while women increasingly dominate the academy. If men don’t need more libertarian authors, actors and musicians to show them the way, why do women? Men read this web site and Cafe Hayek and Marginal Revolution and Lew Rockwell and without Madison Avenue approval.

    The “women need more popular culture” argument doesn’t address the gender disparity among libertarians at all. It looks more like a denial tactic.

    • MartinBrock, Steve and I didn’t say that “women need more popular culture.” We said that libertarians need to be more vocal and influential in popular culture.

      • martinbrock

        In context, you both seem to say that libertarians need to be more vocal and influential in popular culture specifically to attract more women, but this assertion only raises the question. Why are more men libertarians without more vocal and influential libertarians in popular culture?

        • Libertarians also have long seemed to have a slightly higher representation of Jews, gay men, bisexual women, and now I think as well Indians and other south central Asians than does the general population. Maybe there are things about libertarianism and the way it has been been published that attracts all of these groups more than others. And indeed pre-Paul the people who did the most to advance libertarianism have mainly been Jewish and perhaps the most influential has been female.

          Why is it so difficult to ask about new venues or media or packaging to present it to black baptist ministers or soccer moms etc?

    • martinbrock, your whole commentary on how the state developed is an example of how the male-dominated state and many if not most men view women as an object. We are things, to be won or bought and sold, by men and for men. Suggesting women aren’t more libertarian because there is no war on women (I’m sorry, but historically yes, there has been a war on women in that we couldn’t own property or vote; we were the property and weren’t full citizens) is grossly short-sighted. The war on women as constructed by the in-power left is a very narrow view of what the state’s war on women has been and still is. Women’s preference for statism over libertarianism comes from the (very widespread belief) that if we just get the “right” people in government, it will work in our favor. Old delusions die hard.

      • martinbrock

        Males naturally battle for females rather than buying and selling females. They battle other males for access to females on the same territory. Females select mates from the victors.

        If this process makes you fell objectified, I can understand that, but the process objectifies males every bit as much.

        There is no war on women, but women are not less libertarian for this reason. Women are less libertarian, because states are men waging war on men to win the favor of women.

        When women couldn’t vote, most men couldn’t vote either, but they could and did routinely battle other men to defend states and enforce laws.

        In English law, husbands and wives were property of one another. Men were proprietors of family estates, because proprietorship implied the obligation to defend proprietary rights, and men bore this obligation exclusively; however, male proprietorship did not imply that women had no rights on the property.

        In early Anglican marriage, each spouse takes the other “to have and to hold”. People at the time understood this language in its modern legal sense, i.e. the spouses acquired property in one another, but the language is symmetric. The wife is property of her husband, but he is also her property.

        On the other hand, in the same ceremony, a husband endows his wife with all of his worldly goods, and this language is not symmetric. The marriage endows the wife and only the wife with all of the family’s goods, and women wore the key to the family house on their person to symbolize their rights.

        Women expect the “right” politicians to work in their favor, but most men suffer under the same delusion. The question is: why are more men libertarians? Why do more men escape the delusion? Most men and women don’t escape, but more men than women do.

        • TracyW

          I don’t know what you mean by early Anglican marriages, but before the various Married Women’s Property Acts of the 19th century, women in English-speaking countries, so far from getting the husband’s worldly goods, lost their rights to their own goods, after marriage.

          • martinbrock

            See the 1662 Book of Common Prayer on the Solemnization of Matrimony for example. Many marriage ceremonies today use similar language.

            As Blackstone explicitly notes in Commentaries, “coverture” was the doctrine that a husband shielded his wife from the state, even including liability for her crimes. When a woman committed a crime, her husband could be imprisoned or locked in stocks or publicly whipped for the crime, and her husband was civilly liable for her torts as well.

            In the Declaration of Sentiments, Elizabeth Cady Stanton decries the fact that women could “commit crimes with impunity” in the nineteenth century and earlier, and I agree with Stanton, but coverture is also a remnant of chivalry. If a man doesn’t perceive the state as friendly to himself or his family, standing between the state and the family is not tyrannical. It is a defense from tyranny.

            At a time when defending property rights was practically the responsibility of proprietors themselves, husbands were also solely responsible for this defense, including service to the lord of an estate policing the estate generally. When you discuss men “owning all family property” in this context, you’re discussing these standards, involving a division of responsibility and corresponding rights based on gender. The “property owner” is the person responsible for defending the property, and husbands customarily (and then statutorily) bore this responsibility exclusively within marriage.

            We can debate the merits of this division, and I certainly oppose it in the modern context, but these standards did not simply enslave women to their husbands. Most women themselves at the time certainly didn’t see it this way. Say what you like about medieval standards and their gradual evolution into modern standards. They are not as one-sided, vis-à-vis men and women, as popular culture suggests.

          • Actually Stanton as well as many other suffragists, feminists and other political reformists decried the fact that married men had total control of the family property, even property that the wife brought to the marriage. Men could do whatever they wanted with property that the wife brought into the marriage. You seem to imagine that this was actually benign. No, it was not. Drunkenness, for example, was common in 19th c America. Because of these laws, the family had no protection against the husband spending all the money on drink (including the wife’s inheritance in some cases). That was one of the main motivations for the temperance movement. However misguided that movement may have been, it was addressing a serious problem in the 19th c. In fact, one of the earliest reform laws that passed in the 19th c. was in regard to this very issue of control of property. You apparently have not been reading the same history books I’ve been reading if you imagine that such laws were as popular with women as you claim. Many women did in fact think of it in terms of slavery.

          • martinbrock

            Actually, I never suggest that Stanton did not decry the fact that married men had total control of family property, but your characterization of this practice, even in the nineteenth century, is exaggerated.

            Dred Scott’s owner was a woman, an aristocratic heir to a Louisiana plantation, before the woman married. Her husband was a noted abolitionist, but he could not free Scott, because the woman placed Scott in a trust for her benefit before the marriage, so despite the fact that she received income from Scott, she did not technically own him personally.

            Wealthy women managed their property this way routinely. Common women had little property to manage anyway, and although their husbands owned family property, where interaction with the state was concerned, the reality within families was often very different.

            Women, far from having no control over their household property, were often principally responsible for its management, and everyone knew it. Pretending that married women no property rights is a statist denial of very real, customary rights that women routinely exercised.

            I never anywhere suggest that anything was benign. Men can still squander a family’s wealth, and so can women. Alcoholism and prohibition are red herrings. These problems still exist despite changes in family law.

            Show me the history of women prior to the nineteenth century claiming that women had no property rights within marriage, much less that they associated the role of a wife with the role of a slave.

          • Until the 1990s some states had dower rights in real estate transactions. A person could not sell a property owned by his or her spouse without the spouse signing a quit claim deed. This was left over from a time when men sometimes abandoned wives and children, moving west, but first selling the home or farm and leaving the wife with nothing. DC did not get rid of dower rights until around 1995.

    • good_in_theory

      Ah yes, men warring with other men. And then raping the women and taking them as slaves, as happened in ancient and medieval cultures the world over. Very protective of women.

      • martinbrock

        Lions don’t rape other lions, but men at war do rape women, and the men with whom they war defend women from rape. Warriors tell this story anyway.

        Victors in ancient cultures often take men as slaves and women as wives, and the line between slavery and wivery is not as blurry as some revisionist historians pretend. I don’t blame women for choosing wivery with a victor in war over slavery. I would too.

    • TracyW

      I suppose it depends on what you mean by war, but the Contagious Diseases Acts of the British government in the 19th century were a pretty horrendous violation of non-rich women’s rights,. see

      (Rich women could afford to have a servant with them whenever they went out).

      • martinbrock

        In the historical context, I don’t see anything so terrible about the act described. To say that the act’s disparate treatment of men and women was arbitrary simply ignores the fact that women sell sex to men and not the other way around.

        A libertarian might argue, and I would agree, that no state regulation of prostitution (or milk production or anything else), to control the spread of contagious disease or other illness, is ever justifiable, since free consumers can police their consumption as they will, but hardly anyone defending the regulatory state today argues today that people who sell goods don’t have an obligation to sell safe goods and that consumers of hazardous goods are victims of the seller, not the other way around.

        The herstory spin on this history seems incredible to me. That prostitutes carrying a sexually transmissible were quarantined and treated in a hospital for a few months at public expense, at a time when syphilis could be fatal, rather than imprisoned as criminals and left to rot, seems remarkably humane to me.

        Were men contracting syphilis from a prostitute treated similarly, or did they fend for themselves? What are you suggesting as an alternative exactly?

        • TracyW

          You missed that any woman on the street alone was subject to being defined as a prostitute and grabbed for the compulsory medical examination.
          Firstly, it rather interferes with one’s life to be subject to arbitrary detainment like that, many of these women were responsible for businesses, children, or had jobs they might be dismissed from for not turning up.
          Secondly, what sort of men do you think would like to take jobs compulsorily examining women’s private bits? I once read an experienced police officer saying that the way to recruit a police SWAT team was to ask for applicants, and then those who applied were the ones that you did not hire.

          • martinbrock

            I didn’t miss this point, because it isn’t there. Only women suspected of prostitution were subject to compulsory examination. We can debate the wisdom and justice of this response to an epidemic of fatal disease, but pretending that it’s a war on women is nonsense.

            I’ll wager that 1) most Victorian women favored the act, 2) many women opposing the act thought it too easy on prostitutes, 3) people opposing the act on the grounds described at herstoria were a small, vocal minority, and 4) many, if not most, of these opponents were men.

            Being detained rather interferes with one’s life, but quarantining someone carrying a contagious disease, someone routinely engaging in behavior at high risk of transmitting the disease, is not arbitrary. It’s not justified either, in my way of thinking, but unjustified is not equivalent to arbitrary.

            Prostitutes and their clients can police their own risks without state intervention, and prostitutes and their clients alone should bear the cost of this policing. If herstoria made this point about the act, I’d agree.

            Ron Paul was a gynecologist. If you want to discuss abuses of the power of police, that’s fine with me, but let’s not pretend that abuses of this power somehow target women because they are women or even that it targets women more than it targets men. Rightly or wrongly, it targets men far more than it targets women.

          • Funnily this practice existed in the last decade. In gentrifying neighborhoods like DC’s Logan Circle, which had been havens for street walkers (there was even a brothel at 1306 O Street NW, a giant Victorian now converted to condos), the police began giving women they took to be prostitutes black plastic bags and ordering them to pick up trash or be arrested for prostitution and taken to jail. I don’t know what percentage of those conscripted were just gals doing a walk of shame home with smeared makeup and party frocks akimbo. Curiously people in condos a few blocks farther downtown adjacent to the Cato Institute tell me the streetwalkers have relocated to the alleys there, where construction workers provide both patronage and Porto Johns that can double in some cases as work space.

  • I’ve been a practicing libertarian for about 30 years, and I’d have to say that the percentage of female libertarians has increased markedly. Part of the increase seems to be the result of the Ron Paul movement, especially on college campuses. Part is due to a broader social movement – a rejection of victimless “crimes” such as sex acts between consenting adults or the use of Politically Incorrect Substances; an increasing understanding of the failure of Keynesian models of economics; a rejection of interventionist foreign policy and the Military-Industrial Complex.

    I view libertarianism as empowering to individuals of all sorts. If you wish to do anything peaceful and honest to improve your life, without violating the rights of others, why should your actions be subject to a majority vote? If one is not part of the “elites” who make the decisions, freedom is a very attractive option.

    • Brent Davey

      Well said, sir!

    • Marcy Fleming

      I’m 37 and have been a libertarian for 20 years and I have not noticed any increase in female libertarians. The biggest female libertarian group is Doris Gordon’s anti-abortion one and that’s no credit at all to our gender. I supported Ron Paul but his position on abortion is worse than terrible.

      • I’ve been a libertarian about 15 years longer than you and I think he may be correct about the increase and he may be right that it is due to Paul and ther popularizes like him, which was Julie’s thesis.

    • I think you may be correct.

  • Jason B

    One of the worst aspects of libertarianism is the irony of the movement, which Sarah does a great job fulfilling. A libertarian is embarrassed for being a libertarian because of another libertarian…….WHAT!?!? How do you hold yourself emotionally accountable for someone else’s arguments? Don’t worry Sarah, you’re not alone, many libertarians also do this. In fact, ironically, it seems to be a core prerequisite in order to be a libertarian these days. I’m not embarrassed by it, I just accept them. Which is why I’m glad Sarah is a libertarian, regardless of whether or not she is.

    • Oh it’s a brief and momentary embarrassment. You know, like the kind my kids get when I call them “punkin” in front of their friends. It’s one of those human responses you may have heard of. 😉

  • Pingback: No girls allowed? « Bonnie Kristian()

  • Thanks for misreading (deliberately?) Borowski’s entire point. You only proved one thing, that lefty libertarians are like their comrades on the statist side of the fence: no sense of humor. Borowski has done more for the libertarian movement with her videos than your silly anti-capitalist pseudo libertarian site will ever do. Seriously, piss off. Go form some anarcho-syndicalist whore house and leave the adults to the real work of promoting capitalism and freedom.

    • Steven Horwitz

      Yeah, I have over a million youtube views of my own, so what have YOU done, Mr. Kenner?

      • Julia

        And by “I” you mean Learn Liberty…

  • Pingback: No Girls Allowed? « Electa Liberata()

  • I think Julie misses the mark in explaining the libertarian gender gap by suggesting the main problem is that women are, as a group, more shallow and more concerned with conformity than men and offering no supporting evidence. My preferred explanation for the majority of the gap is twofold: libertarians too often don’t communicate their message in a way appealing to most women and libertarians are not friendly and welcoming to outsiders. I think libertarians have improved in recent decades on both of these, particularly the latter, which accounts for the shrinking gap. Still, my preferred explanation relies partly on some intrinsic differences between men and women in that they respond differently to styles of argumentation. Women are less likely to respond to explicitly economistic arguments for libertarianism because women think less like economists than men, on average (see Caplan, What Makes People Think Like Economists, JLE 2001). It is not right to dismiss arguments simply because they suggest gender differences, as belief differences between men and women are frequently different in a statistically significant way.

    • Zac, there is supporting evidence, Julie just didn’t provide it. But if you’re interested, here you go:

      Women reported themselves to be higher in Neuroticism, Agreeableness,
      Warmth, and Openness to Feelings, whereas men were higher in
      Assertiveness and Openness to Ideas … Contrary to predictions from the
      social role model, gender differences were most pronounced in European
      and American cultures

      Males were found to be more assertive and had slightly higher
      self-esteem than females. Females were higher than males in
      extraversion, anxiety, trust, and, especially, tender-mindedness (e.g.,
      nurturance). There were no noteworthy sex differences in social anxiety,
      impulsiveness, activity, ideas (e.g., reflectiveness), locus of
      control, and orderliness. Gender differences in personality traits were
      generally constant across ages, years of data collection, educational
      levels, and nations.

      when altruism is expensive, women are kinder, but when it is cheap, men
      are more altruistic. … men are more likely to be either perfectly
      selfish or perfectly selfless, whereas women tend to be “equalitarians”
      who prefer to share evenly.

      In three experiments, using a step-level public-goods task, we found
      that men contributed more to their group if their group was competing
      with other groups than if there was no intergroup competition. Female
      cooperation was relatively unaffected by intergroup competition. These
      findings suggest that men respond more strongly than women to intergroup

  • FB

    I watched her video and died a little bit inside. I don’t think she understands what Libertarianism is. Why does she rail against other women’s choices? Surely a core libertarian value is neutrality between different conceptions of the good? Her vulgar libertarianism is incredibly off putting.

    • The core libertarian value is nonaggression. “Neutrality between different conceptions of the good” has nothing to do with libertarianism. If you were truly neutral between different conceptions of the good, you wouldn’t be arguing against Julie’s conception of the good.

      • Sean II

        After reading this thread, I’m beginning to think the core libertarian value should be changed from nonaggression to…hyperbole.

        Such a tiny provocation with this little video, and such a full-throated response. In the hours since Mr. FB “died a little inside”, we can be very sure that several people did some regular, outdoor dying thanks to drone strikes or drug raids or 3rd world agricultural policy or whatever.

        My latest theory why libertarians aren’t more popular? Its just too damn easy to draw us off our game.

  • Anyone who enjoyed Lena Dunham’s campaign spot is not going to be enamored of the (do we really have to call it this?) “movement”. Julie’s parody of her was dead on and much closer to the unapologetic and less-than-angry female libertarian’s view. Granted, I’m relatively new to libertarianism, but I think it’s going to be a hard sell to convince the average liberal woman to stop burning her bra and pay attention to issues outside the bedroom. Which is where most of the real world issues reside for people not stuck in the sixties.

    • Sean II

      I don’t know why more women aren’t libertarians, but I do know that Lena Dunham has something to do with why I’m not a progressive Democratic statist.

      • Disgusting as Ms. Dunham’s seeming opportunism and ignorance are, she is the issue in a way. We need libertarians doing what she is doing career wise.

  • Julia

    My comment on Julie Borowski’s response.
    “Also, women tend to end up in more caring and nurturing paths of life; education/special education, social work, nursing etc., which all happened to have strong ties with government money. I think it is difficult to conclude wether you are right or wrong about social pressure being more significant to women’s stance on libertarianism than men’s, but I do think social pressure is overall a small factor in comparison to the career or life paths that women choose. It is a natural first (emphasis on first) instinct to assume that if the government isn’t paying for healthcare, education, social welfare, like it does now, that there won’t be much of any of those things. So if you are a compassionate woman(or man), of course you will advocate for the political system that you feel 1) will employ you and 2) nurtures society. Unfortunately, this first instinct often leads to liberalism. I think you critique of consumerism culture is warranted, but I think men and women both fall prey to it equally (more or less). Yes! Let’s make libertarianism hip, but for the men just as much as the women. Keep the videos coming, I always enjoy them.”

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  • purple_platypus

    “off-handedly dismisses the possibility that a libertarian could be pro-choice”

    I haven’t watched the video, but are you sure you wrote that right? (I.e. that you didn’t mean “pro-life”?) I would think pro-choice would be the *default* for libertarians, I mean it’s practically right there in the name.

    • good_in_theory

      No, he got it right.

      “Not only do these liberal feminist magazines support the view that casual sex is empowering to women – no it’s not – they’re also pro choice and abortion, pro title IX, they support Obamacare, they support regulation to fix the so-called ‘gender wage-gap,’ they support taxpayer funded birth control, and so on”

      But then, the whole video is just a pretty typical conservative-traditionalist screed against sex and consumer culture. Which is sort of ironic because as far as I know, so-called “choice feminism” (which attempts to defend and validate the sort of consumerism here criticized) is typically viewed (and often strongly criticized, at least from some parts of the left) as being a thoroughly libertarian, individualist variety of feminism.

      • purple_platypus

        Then in what sense is she a libertarian? She sounds like a straight-up conservative who likes using libertarian buzzwords, but hasn’t given any real thought to what they mean.

        • good_in_theory

          I hear that’s a problem among “libertarians”.

          • wrothbard

            This all stems back to a classical divide in libertarianism on when one persons choice impedes on another person. Ie, if you’re anti-murder, you’re anti choice, because people can no longer chose to murder.

            When libertarians apply this to unborn children, from the zygote-to-fetus-to-20secondsbeforebirth, it becomes a task of determining whether the choice of the destruction of the cells is an act against a fellow human being or a sub-human being.

            Complete philosophical warfare usually ensues.

          • purple_platypus

            I’m not saying it’s impossible for a libertarian to take an anti-abortion position, but it takes some explaining. It certainly shouldn’t just be assumed to be the default.

          • wrothbard

            Actually it doesn’t take much explaining at all. Simply consider the fetus/baby a human being, and the libertarian stance becomes that you’re not allowed to aggress against it. (Which is why Walter Block has advanced the evictionism idea. Or consider the fetus like you would consider a trespasser who never chose to trespass, that is, think of the fetus as some drunk you carried into your apartment and then left on your sofa, and now you’re sick of having him lying on your sofa but he’s unable to leave (since he’s dead drunk).)

          • purple_platypus

            “Simply consider the fetus/baby a human being”

            A controversial position even before you start thinking about any considerations more or less specific to libertarianism, like the fetus’ lack of any features that make liberty meaningful and worth having.

            So, just like I said, not impossible to argue for, but not something that should the the assumed default either.

          • Another massively dumb comment.

          • Meet dumber.

        • Sergio Méndez

          Myt thoughts exactly on that video. She is not concerned with women not being libertarians, she is concerned with women being liberal and not conservative.

          • You have to separate out the many unrelated remarks and asides in her two minute video. I think the core is an argument that women won’t join a non mainstream movement because they like to fit in and or be trendy. Her discussions of consumerist culture are what she takes to be a sub/supporting argument by giving examples of conformist female behavior, but her primary argument doesn’t depend on them. Bu focusing on her sub argument and trying to prove her making it makes her a social conservative (which everyone who knows her and has seen her other videos will know is not true), you miss the main argument.

        • Dumb.

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  • Imagine you are a social scientist asking this question. How might you start? One way would be to ask why *a person* might become a libertarian and, even before asking that question, why *a person* might be drawn to a systematic political philosophy/identity rather than the more common combination of self-interest (personal but ethnic, communal, familial, religious, whatever) and issue-by-issue instincts (something must be done). What is the influence of temperament? Life experience? Historical context? Professional culture? Religious background? Parental influences? The number of possible factors is enormous.

    Having accounted for why a small percentage of the population is drawn to systematic ideologies (for lack of a less-pejorative word) and why a portion of that subpopulation is drawn to libertarianism, you could then look at how men and women–as well as other ways of subdividing the population–might differ. These are empirical psychological and sociological questions and would require some careful research, not just speculation that starts from the presumption that people become libertarians because they are good, smart, rational people who see the light. These questions also cannot be answered by evolutionary psychology, which is valuable in its place but isn’t the be all and end all of psychological understanding.

    If you don’t know why people become libertarians in the first place, it’s silly to speculate on why women and men might be different. Of course, people LOVE to talk about sex differences, so if this is pure entertainment I’m just being a spoil-sport–like one of those men who insists on trying to analyze and solve problems when the wife just wants to vent.

    • martinbrock

      It’s pure entertainment, but if I suggested that men try to analyze and solve problems when their wives just want to vent, Sharon would vent all over me.

      I had a “laissez faire” personality and a strong aversion to or distrust of authority from a very early age. This attitude seems as innate to me as sexual preference and other personal characteristics that many people now consider innate, so I suppose evolutionary psychology is relevant to the question, even if it cannot answer the question.

      I like your classification of people “drawn to systematic ideologies”. We can hardly think without a systematic ideology, but people differ in their adherence to particular systems and their comfort with inconsistency and ambiguity. The most ideological libertarians need bright lines separating rights from wrongs as much as anyone else.

      Do men and women differ on this scale? Is the median man more drawn to systematic ideology than the median woman? I don’t think so, but men and women are drawn to different ideologies. More men are drawn to libertarianism and to atheism for example. Small numbers of both men and women are drawn to both libertarianism and atheism, but both attract many more men than women.

      Both libertarianism and atheism are, in a sense, anti-ideological ideologies, but both attract many people drawn to systematic ideologies.

      • I suspect, or at least hope, that Sharon realized that was a joke about stereotypes.

        But your discussion is the kind of thing I had in mind. My point is that before we can talk about sex differences, we need to know what the relevant factors are, and that requires more than anecdotes and introspection, as helpful as those may be in guiding where to look. It strikes me as quite plausible, for instance, that people with the same personality traits but different life experience, possibly just because they were born in different eras, might be drawn toward different political identities/philosophies.

        I don’t know about atheism, but my impression (not something I’ve looked into) is that there is good evidence that a higher percentage of women are religious believers. How that difference manifests itself will depend on the cultural context.

        • martinbrock

          The Pew Research Center surveys religious attitudes in the U.S., and “New Atheists” cite its report of a growing number of people (roughly 20%) with no clear religious affiliation. Men outnumber women in this group significantly but only slightly (roughly 55% are men); however, self-identified “atheists/agnostics” are minority of this minority. Among atheists/agnostics more specifically, men outnumber women nearly two to one. We’re only discussing a few percent of the U.S. population here, but among this small group, men substantially outnumber women.

          Men seem more likely to go all the way in their departure from the dominant tribe, and this tendency does seem innately sex-linked to me. Maybe it has more to do with risk-aversion than with adherence to systematic ideology.

    • Sean II

      Seeing your name here brought something to mind :

      People are not especially nice to libertarians – they call us irresponsible peacenik baby-killing heathens on one side, and selfish money-grubbing baby-starving blackguards on the other.

      It seems a fairly standard thing in politics than women are more shabbily treated then men. See for example, how in 2008 Hilary Clinton was made to seem like an extremist bitch while the far-more ideologically risque’ Obama skated by on a telegenic grin like the Don Draper of politics. Or, just drawing from that same year, consider how the loathsome and unprincipled McCain was held up as a symbol of American decency and statesmanship while prominent lefties were on TV skewering Palin in unmistakably ugly and misogynistic terms.

      Now, it also seems to be a standard thing in politics that principled minor party figures (like libertarians) are treated with cruelty, both when they deserve it and when they do not.

      So…have we considered that the lack of female libertarians might have something to do with the simple fact that people are not nice to libertarians, and not terribly nice to politically active women, thus raising the combined cost of becoming a female libertarian to a level most people would find intolerable?

      And even leaving public life aside, it takes a certain amount of courage to come home for Thanksgiving dinner during your sophomore year and tell your parents you’re a libertarian. It also takes courage to make that same announcement to friends, co-workers, etc. At every turn there is a real risk that people you care about will denounce you as crazy, stupid, and evil.

      Given the still very different way men and women are treated in society, does anyone doubt it takes more courage for a woman to emerge from the closet of libertarianism than it does for a man?

      That difference, by itself, might go a long way toward explaining the gap.

      • martinbrock

        Are women more shabbily treated then men in politics? Imagine you are a social scientist asking this question.

        • Sean II

          See, and I think this is precisely the sort of question best kept away from social scientists, and left to the imprecise but ever more modest instruments of common sense.

          • martinbrock

            I’ll ask more specific questions. John McCain can’t lift his arms over his head, because he was tortured for years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. This fact doesn’t make him a statesmen, or even more heroic than tragic, in my way of thinking, but it is a fact.

            Is war political? Is torture during war a political act?

            Is being tortured during war shabby treatment in politics?

            Is being called an airhead shabbier treatment than being tortured for years to the point of physical disability?

            Is it ever appropriate to call anyone an airhead in politics? If it is, briefly describe characteristics of an appropriate target of this description, and distinguish the person described from Sarah Palin. For extra credit, distinguish Sarah Palin from George W. Bush in this regard.

          • I don’t know why you say this. I can only assume that you have no idea how social science research is done. In spite of some libertarians’ petty prejudices, the social sciences, while far from perfect (and what science is perfect?), are far more rigorous (especially psychology) than many laypeople (or economists) imagine. As for common sense, well, as the adage goes, common sense isn’t very common. “Common sense” leads to imagining that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, while research shows that the real differences are small and greatly swamped by intra-group differences.

          • Sean II

            Sharon! I see you’ve brought your usual light touch to the table again : “I can only assume you have no idea how social science research is done” 🙂

            You are very fond of talking about what “psychology says” (as if it speaks with a unified voice) or what studies “show” (as if that carries the same meaning in your usage as it might in an internal medicine study) and you do love those modifiers like “carefully controlled” and “rigorous” (adjectives easy to mention, but hard to defend).

            Sadly, I note you’ve never taken me up on my invitation to explore one of these methodological questions in detail.

            For example, can you tell me how one “rigorously” defines a concept like “openness to experience”? You seem very confident that it can be done, but not so eager to say how.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Don’t hold your breath waiting, Sean. She evaded this issue even before I was born during early 70s debates on the Goldberg book on patriarchy. I think these debates were in the Libertarian Review but it’s been a while since I’ve read them. There was a goofy strain of libertarians back then who supported the ERA while ignoring its broader implications in a statist society like ours. My boyfriend even recalls an ALF member, Janice Allen, telling him in 1973 that ERA only consisted of a very words, so what was the problem ! Nationalize the means of production is even fewer words. The most knowledgeable and consistent libertarian Senator, Sam Ervin, lead the battle against the ERA.
            Some of these libertarian feminists came over from the left culture and like some other converts from the liberal ranks like John Hospers and Edith Efron, we could have done better without.

          • Marcy Fleming

            You have got to be kidding. There’s nothing approaching rigorous research in the social sciences as a whole and in psychology in particular except in the work of Thomas Szasz who has totally debunked all the premises of psychiatry and also of pop psychologist Nathaniel Branden in his 2004 book, Faith In Freedom. I know from my own 37 years here on the planet as a native San Franciscan who has also lived in Texas, Australia and Israel that women as a group are definitely more emotional and less intelligent than men as a group. Rand, Paterson, the usual exceptions. The idea that the real differences are small is garbage. I recall Nathaniel Branden once claiming the only differences were in the sexual apparatus. What an ass ! I have some bones to pick with Presley on that ALF group particularly on Joan Kennedy Taylor’s misrepresentation of Rand’s views on McCarthy and also Taylor’s venomous smear job on Robert Welch’s great book on Ike, The Politician, in that crappy ‘student of Objectivism’ magazine almost half a century ago but that is an issue for another forum. Unfortunately I haven’t run across any others to bring it up.

        • I don’t have to “imagine” being a social scientist. The first thing I would say is that no social scientist would ever ask the question in such a loaded way. They would operationalize the general question in a series of specific ways. It has actually been done.

          Research in South Africa and Canada do show differences in the way women candidates are treated that favor men. In the US, research shows that while women candidates are getting much more air time than they used to, the media are still likely to emphasize candidate sex and “masculine” issues (i.e., economics as opposed to health care) as well as women’s appearance and marital status. This, say researchers, may interact in many ways with people’s prejudices in ways that are more negative for women than for men.
          The obvious examples that come to mind are the ways that the media treated Janet Reno, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin. They made a big deal of Reno’s looks and unmarried status, Palin’s looks, and Clinton’s looks. How often do such irrelevant traits get mentioned for men? Way less. Is this “shabby”? Depends on what you mean by shabby. Is it inappropriate and discriminatory? Of course it is; the net effect is to trivialize them. Not just my opinion. That is what social scientists are saying too. Since you raised the question…

          • Oops, sorry. I just realized this is a different thread, which explains why Sharon’s response seemed unresponsive to my point. (So I deleted my previous comment and plugged this one in.)

          • martinbrock

            You don’t address the question I raised. I address it below.

            I don’t dispute the point you make here. Popular media accounts of political contests are generally superficial, and this superficiality takes the form you describe regarding women in politics. I don’t know how shabby it is, but it’s not what I imagined when Sean suggested that Palin was treated “shabbily”.

            Despite the obsession with women’s sex appeal, I doubt that Palin lost many votes because she was too hot. The media’s focus on her airy head was more decisive, and I see nothing sexist about it. Critical media also focused on Bush’s airy head and rightly so.

          • Marcy Fleming

            You don’t have to imagine being a real ‘scientist’ at all because you are not. The epistemological corruption prevalent today has even effected the hard sciences, see David Harriman’s book on physics today, The Logical Leap. The social sciences were corrupted long ago.

            Janet Reno was a vicious statist who resembled Comrade Sonia in We The Living. Waco, Elian are just two examples. As US Attorney in Miami she falsely accused and pursued phony child sexual abuse charges against innocent victims.
            Hillary Clinton is a vicious power monger and advocate of mass murder as Secty of State. The only good thing Obama did was keep her from becoming Prez. She’s even worse than Bill and that’s saying a lot.
            Palin is stupid. Stupid. Period. She did refer to Africa as a country too.
            You come off sounding like Katha Pollitt and who needs her ?

          • martinbrock

            I was no fan of Janet Reno, but I was firmly on the side of Elian’s father, and so was she.

          • Marcy Fleming

            No, because I didn’t want to see the kid grow up in a Communist state.

          • martinbrock

            Family relationships are more important to me than political relationships.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Not when you live in a totalitarian dictatorship. And by the way when Elian got back to Cuba Castro had him put in a Communist boarding school.

            Some ‘family’ life.

          • martinbrock

            Taking children from their families to protect them from the family’s, or the family’s nation’s, politics is not my idea of a libertarian program.

            Elian’s father and all of his Cuban classmates from the school he attended, before the ill-fated and nearly fatal voyage to the U.S., also attended the “boarding school” in Havana for a few weeks, and Elian’s father consented to it. It was a political stunt, and Elian has been politically privileged ever since, but if you want to know who made him one, don’t look in his father’s direction.

            Juan Gonzalez takes every advantage of the situation, created by his son’s mother and the Cuban exile community, to advance his son’s interests where he and his son were born and raised.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Look into Fidel Castro’s direction as he is the one who originally made it a propaganda issue. By the way it IS a boarding school. Elian’s Dad is a high ranking Communist bureaucrat. And it was not for a few weeks either.

            What kind of a government has the power to take a kid and put him or her into a boarding school ?

            So escaping from a vicious Communist dictatorship with your own son is not your idea of a libertarian program ?!
            You seem like the kind of faux libertarian that Presley, PP, et al, are.
            Not a kind I’d like to know.

          • martinbrock

            You don’t understand. I don’t care about Fidel Castro. If Fidel Castro were standing in front of me right now, I could happily shoot him.

            Elian’s father, Juan Gonzalez, was not and is not a high ranking Communist Party bureaucrat. He’s a waiter in a restaurant. He called relatives in Miami the day after Elian’s mother left Cuba to tell them that the mother had taken Elian on the voyage that nearly killed him without his father’s consent. These relatives then found Elian at the INS where the Coast Guard had left him, and the relatives refused to return him to the father, and they did so for political reasons with encouragement from the Cuban exile community in Miami.

            Again, Juan Gonzalez allowed Elian to stay in the “boarding school” in Havana along with many of Elian’s classmates from the school he attended before the voyage, and Juan Gonzalez stayed there with him. It was a political stunt, no doubt, and I don’t need to defend it to defend a father’s right to the return of his kidnapped son.

            Everyone stayed at this “boarding school” for a few weeks. Elian then returned to his father’s home and attended neighborhood schools until he reached high school, when he entered a different boarding school. Being a political icon undoubtedly helped him get into this school and will help him getting into a prestigious Cuban university as well. He might even end up as a high ranking Communist Party bureaucrat.

            I couldn’t care less how Fidel Castro or Al Gore or anyone else capitalized politically on the tragedy, and I don’t blame Juan Gonzalez or Elian for capitalizing on it for Elian’s benefit.

            You already know me. Guess it sucks to be you.

          • Your argument fails. Elian didn’t have a choice really. And a parent doesn’t have a right to compel their child to live in a country that is not good for the child, whether the reason be plague, famine, war, or totalitarianism. It’s child abuse.

          • martinbrock

            Children don’t have choice in general, so they don’t have compulsion either. Elian is an adult now. We can ask him who abused him. Why should I believe you instead of Elian? Why should I believe you instead of his father?

          • You are correct that children are a special case that no political philosophy deals with well if it treats them as if they were adults. But you are a fool if you think a parent’s desire to take his child to live with him in Nazi Germany or a war zone is his right. It’s such an enormously stupid position that I don’t really feel the need to pay attention to you.

          • martinbrock

            Cuba is not Nazi Germany or a war zone. I don’t see parents taking their children into war zones, and I never anywhere suggest such a “right”. Paying attention to me is obviously your choice, along with the diversionary red herrings and ad hominems.

          • You are silly. Cuba is a country where they sell their own doctors and nurses to other third world dictatorships for hard money, oil and weapons. They put gay people in camps. They have such poverty that young married couples have to live with in laws and many can only find work whoring at the tourists hotels on the beach. These are facts, not red herrings. Observing that you are ignorant and have an atrophied moral sense is an observation, not an ad hominem.

          • martinbrock

            So much for your inattention span.

          • Marcy Fleming

            You have presented no proof Bruce is a politician but even if he was, so what ? The ancient Greeks coined the word ‘idiot’ to refer to those uninterested in politics.

            There will never be a post-political society and you can tell all the Randians & the Rothbardians that.
            Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty as Jefferson wrote.
            Are you equating the US, as statist as it is, with a Communist country ?

            How many people do you see on rafts trying to get into Cuba ?

            I’m afraid since you are defending the Cuban state’s right to kidnap the children of fleeing Cubans, then you ARE defending the Cuban state
            and your disingenuous denials ring false.

            Thanks for your comments, Bruce.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Elian’s Dad was described in the mainstream media as a long time Communist Party member with a middle high ranking. He was not just a waiter. Elian was not kidnapped but was taken by the woman who brought him into the world to get out of the Castro gulag to a freer country. Reno kidnapped him to return him to the tyranny.
            He was in a Communist boarding school for much longer than a few weeks and why do you put quotes around boarding school ?

            Oakland’s then Mayor Jerry Brown visited him there.
            What kind of a family life can anyone have in a Communist society where everyone belongs to the state ?

            This is the first time I ever heard of the Left invoking family values !

            Frankly the first I have ever of heard ditzy left libertarians invoking them either !
            Of course the relatives and the Miami Cubans had political reasons to fight for Elian. Any person opposing tyranny would understand them. And it wouldn’t be the physical danger for Elian they were most concerned about. Can you think of others ?

            As for Elian’s becoming a high Communist Party official why would any sane, decent person consider that a good thing ?
            Well, I do know all that I want to know about you.
            Your last sentence reads like pure projection.

          • martinbrock

            Show me some evidence that Juan Gonzalez was a Communist Party official with a middle to high ranking at the time of Elian’s near drowning or at this time.

            In the controversy, Elian was kidnapped by his great uncle and others in Miami after his mother died at sea, who refused legal orders to return him to his father; however, the mother was also guilty of kidnapping earlier. Taking a child without the consent of another parent with parental rights, so as to permanently interfere with the other parent’s access, is kidnapping under U.S. law.


            Cuba is not a gulag. The reference to a gulag is a red herring.

            Reno kidnapped no one by any law anywhere. I don’t like the way she handled the recovery of Elian from the people holding him unlawfully, but defending her is not burden here.

            Elian stayed in a boarding school in Havana, along with his father and many other children from the school he attended before the tragic voyage, for a few weeks following his return to Cuba from Miami. The “boarding school” was created for this purpose. It didn’t exist prior to Elian’s return.


            Elian and his father and many children from Elian’s hometown stayed in the “boarding school” for weeks, not years or even most of a year, before returning to their hometown. This story reports Elians return to his usual school in Cardenas the school year following the tragedy. He continued to attend neighborhood schools in Cardenas until he reached high school age.


            People manage to have family lives in all sorts of circumstances, even when you don’t like their politics. People with all sorts of politics invoke family values, but Juan Gonzalez;s relationship with his son is a political relationship. Castro’s relationship, and Reno’s relationship and Gore’s relationship and your relationship with Elian are all political, but his father’s relationship with him is not.

            I can think of Elian and his father. Again, Elian is an adult now. You can ask him who abused and exploited him at the time of the tragedy. My opinion is irrelevant, and so is yours.

            I’m not Elian Gonzalez. I don’t make choices for him, and I don’t want to make choices for him. If he moved to the U.S. and sought U.S. citizenship and joined the military or went into politics here, I might not respect these decisions or favor the political institutions enabling them, but the decisions are none of my business.

            You say I’m someone you’d like not to know, but you know me anyway, so you know someone you’d like not to know. You’re the one suffering someone you’d like not to know. I’m not.

          • But the media don’t talk about those issues. They talk about their personal lives.

      • I don’t know. I came home and told my family and hometown friends I was a libertarian, and most people agreed with me. (I have an uncle who is a member of the Communist Party, but he’s regarded as a nut by the rest of the family so that’s not a problem.) Sure, we have disagreements, but by and large most people respect the fact that I’m a libertarian and don’t really have a problem with it. Heck, my parents voted for Ron Paul in 2008 and Gary Johnson in 2012, and my dad is a fan of Jeffrey Miron on LearnLiberty. So I don’t know. I think there are a lot of people out there who might be “latent” libertarians, they just need the philosophy explained to them so they know about it.

        • Sean II

          I’m sure you’d be willing to entertain the idea that your experience is atypical there.

          I’m also sure you wouldn’t pretend not to know what I mean, when I speak about the social cost of being a libertarian.

          • There’s a social cost to everything, because that’s how life works. TANSTAAFL.

            The thing is, while my experience might be atypical, I have met more and more non-intellectual libertarians, people who really do want a smaller government across the board and just don’t care about the social issues anymore, and actually think more of a free market is a good thing. Have you seen the Cato Institute’s recent study on how America is a center-libertarian nation now? This might not get translated into political victories at the top YET, but it’s clear from the evidence that the status quo cannot hold. I think you’re severely underestimating the width and breadth of libertarianism, particularly those who consciously recognize it as such and espouse that. Sure, we might not have discussions about Locke and Horwitz, but people out there do think we have a too-large government, and there’s a growing number of folks who think our nation’s foreign policy needs an overhaul and we need to stop with the social issue regulation.

          • Sean II

            I’ve seen the CATO thing, I just happen to think they’re kidding themselves. They wanted a certain set of answers, and as one always can with a study, they found a way to get them. But the preference for libertarian ideas they measured is paper thin, and it falls apart on contact with specific proposals. Here a link to a very good talk, that says it all better than I can:


            Also, I should have made this part clear earlier: Obviously no one really comes home for the holidays and outs himself as a libertarian, just like that.

            What actually happens is much worse and much more personal. You come home for the holidays in November 2002 and tell your Dad you don’t think the invasion of Iraq is a good idea. Or you tell your aunt, who happens to be a tenured public school teacher, that you oppose public funding and control of education. That’s when the sparks fly.

            And yes, of course its true that everything has a cost, but the point is that the cost of being a libertarian is higher, and the benefits lower (read: nonexistent), than with either of the two dominant ideological camps.

            We are the Anabaptists of modern politics. However much the main armies of Catholic (R) and Protestant (D) might hate each other, when they came across a village full of us, they are only too happy to set aside their differences, lock arms, and unite to destroy us.

            BTW – I just want to make clear that I am not the down-thumber of your comments.

      • The meanest thing people did to me when I was editing Reason was ignore me and the magazine. The nastiest things said about me personally always came from people more or less in the libertarian camp. I don’t think the “people will be mean to you” explanation washes. That’s true of any political position. It MIGHT explain why women are less likely to engage in political disputes, but it doesn’t explain anything about libertarianism.

        • Sean II

          You dismissed that thought too quickly, and thus somewhat missed the point.

          Of course you don’t feel the pain of being a libertarian more keenly than the pleasure of it. You have spent a good part of your adult life as a professional libertarian, so no surprise it should seem well worth the trouble to you.* The effect I’m talking about falls heaviest on the plains, not the mountains.

          To get the idea, imagine this: somewhere right now there is a young woman with 1/2 your ambition, 1/3 your conviction and 1/4 your talent. At the halfway point of her undergraduate studies, she is libertarian in everything including name.

          But she eyes her future nervously. If she sticks to her guns and gets obscenely lucky, she might end up as a pale imitation of you – that’s all her gifts will allow. If she sticks to her guns and doesn’t get lucky at all, she’ll end up working a day job in some field unconnected to her interests while writing a spare-time-only libertarian blog that gets 200 hits…per month.

          But if she sells out (no one does this consciously, and no one does this other than gradually), there may yet be a place for her at Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, Boing Boing, whatever. If she sells out and goes to grad school, there may even be a faculty position in the cards for her.

          Every step away from libertarianism will win her a few more friends (this point really cannot be controversial) along with a few more opportunities, so long as she chooses to remain in the business of words and ideas. I don’t understand how you can say that has nothing to do with the number of libertarians in general, and female libertarians in particular.

          * Also, as a side note, the fact that you did not walk around feeling sorry for yourself when people ignored Reason (which they did and by the millions still do), is commendable from the standpoint of your personal character and mental health. BUT…that does not change the fact that it was an injustice for people to ignore so much good journalism for so long, while lavishing their attention on the rusty old organs of middlebrow bullshit, like the Nation or the New York Times. Whether you know it or not, whether you care or not, and however you feel about it, you were a victim of that injustice.

          • martinbrock

            Everything you say is true about countless men with 1/2 of Postrel’s ambition, 1/3 of her conviction and 1/4 of her talent, and the competition to be a male professional libertarian is much more intense. Many potential libertarians presumably do follow the path you describe, but if this path accounts for the gender difference, the question remains: why do more women than men follow it?

          • I got my job as editor of Reason fair and square, by underpricing the more experienced male competition by $15K a year.

          • martinbrock

            You obviously need an EEOC workshop on negotiating skills.

          • Though in the olden days, Libertarian Review, the competing libertarian magazine (now on the Mises Institute archives) was edited by two women, the late Joan Kennedy Taylor and Victoria Vargas, and a gay man, the late Roy Childs.

          • Sean II

            I dealt with that already, who knows how many comments ago. I really am I surprised it should be so difficult to put across what seems to me like such an obvious idea. But I’ll give it one last try:

            1) Women are treated differently from men.
            a) Specifically, women are treated more harshly than men when it
            comes to politics, conflict, public intellectual life, etc.

            2) Libertarians are treated more harshly than everyone else.

            3) Conclusion: You know its hard out there for a libertarian lady.

            Now…that should be not at all confusing, and it really should not be more than a little controversial. I’m closer to the edge of banality here than I am to any bold and provocative thesis.

            You can tell Virginia is not trying to misunderstand me, but damn if she didn’t manage it anyway. You, Martin, like to play the contrarian, so it’s harder to tell in your case.

            But lay it on me, brother: what part of 1) through 3) do you not understand, and what part do you disagree with?

          • martinbrock

            Women are not men, but a) seems incredible to me. I don’t at all believe that women are treated more harshly when it comes to politics, conflict or public intellectual life.

            In public life (politics, seeking dominance of the state), libertarians (of the sort I support) are treated more harshly by others seeking dominance of the state, because libertarians (ideally) seek to dominate the state only to cripple it, while others seek to strengthen the state, because they want to dominate a strong state.

            It’s hard, in this sense, for all libertarians, but every libertarian lady has a legion of libertarian lords rushing to her defense at every opportunity, precisely because most libertarians are lords and not ladies.

            People often accuse me of playing a contrarian. I only play myself. If I happen to be contrary to you, that’s just a coincidence.

          • Sean II

            Martin, here’s a good hint for future reference:

            If you ever find yourself starting a comment with a statement like “women are not men” or “ink pens are not chickens” or “planets are not pancreata” or anything like that, there are two possibilities:

            1) You are about to make an ass of yourself
            2) You are composing a haiku

            As you exceeded the maximum allowable syllables for option 2, that leaves you in an unfortunate position.

          • martinbrock

            Sean, “You make an ass of yourself” is not a description of the person addressed. It’s a description of a speaker calling this person an ass while projecting responsibility for the statement onto the alleged ass.

            Positing a false choice like “ass” or “haiku” does not strengthen an argument for the alternative advocated.

            “Women are treated differently from men” is so prosaic and indisputably, even inevitably, true that it hardly requires a response, and I concede that I wasted words on a response. The rest of the post is still up there if you’d like to reply.

          • I understand you. I’m just saying that you’ve put forward a hypothesis about women that ignores the questions I think are more fundamental. I’m also not entirely convinced, empirically, that libertarians “are treated more harshly than everyone else.” In mainstream journalism, for instance, it is much easier to be a libertarian than it would be to be a social conservative.

            It’s also not clear whether you include people who hold libertarian-leaning views but do not spend a lot of time arguing about them. One can have certain political views, libertarian or otherwise, without having them define all that much of your life or your interactions with other people. People who interact on comments threads tend to imagine others like themselves.

          • Sean II

            Okay, this statement just seems crazy to me: “In mainstream journalism, for instance, it is much easier to be a libertarian than it would be to be a social conservative.”

            First of all, without even steeping past your front door, you know that the outlook called “social conservatism” has millions upon millions more adherents than the outlook called “libertarianism”. In so far as the business of journalism largely consists of telling people what they already know and want to hear again, that cannot fail to be a huge advantage in favor of the social conservatives.

            Empirically speaking, your statement seems even crazier, as I defy you to name any libertarian woman (or indeed any libertarian) who reaches a wider audience than Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin.

            For proof, I give you the following Google hit scores:

            Bill O’Reilly = 121,000,000
            Ann Coulter = 18,600,000
            Michelle Malkin = 6,700,000
            Nick Gillespie =1,700,000
            Katherine Mangu-Ward = 78,000

            Again, I really cannot believe I’m having this argument. Still less can I believe I’m having it with Virginia Postrel. It all just seems painfully obvious to me.

            And by the way yes,…I believe that as things go for public figures and blog commenters, so also do they go also for private citizens.

            Libertarianism is a form of rebellion, is it not? So try this: ask any sister who has a brother if female rebels are treated the same way as male ones. I believe most will tell you that their brother’s deviations from the established order were written off as boyish and charming, while theirs were considered disgusting and unseemly.

          • You seem to be confusing *mainstream* journalism with opinion journalism more generally. Someone who believed that homosexuality is a serious sin, to take just one example, would have a much harder time working at The New York Times than someone who believed that we should abolish the FDA. Mainstream journalism has a work culture, just as investment banking or semiconductor design does, and that work culture strongly condemns socially conservative views. Libertarians, by contrast, are generally considered wrong and eccentric (even nuts) but, at least if they are personable individuals, not outright evil. Colleagues do not feel personally attacked by libertarian views the way they do by socially conservative views. I don’t think this is a controversial view of the situation.

          • Sean II

            I’d really love to know where you’re meeting your leftists, because they sound like a finer breed than I typically encounter The ones I know come in two main types:

            1) Those who simply aren’t aware a distinction exists between libertarians and conservatives. They know only that there’s a category of people who don’t support Obama or a $12 minimum wage or whatever, and who must accordingly be the most evil, stupid, and crazy people in the history of the planet.

            2) Those who know what libertarians are, but find them inconvenient, and so make every effort to reclassify them.

            Example: I say “Have you ever stopped to think that taxes are taken by force?” They answer: “Oh, I see where this is going. Right here, right now, you tell me where you stand on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Do you believe people should be allowed not to hire people solely because of their race?”

            You might recall Rachel Maddow used this trick on Rand Paul a few years back. If you poke a minarchist long enough, you’ll find an area where his non-aggression stands in the way of a leftist social policy, and then voila, you’ve got yourself a social conservative or close enough

            Now, about the line you draw between mainstream journalism and opinion journalism…I’m sorry, I don’t see it. It all looks like point-of-view stuff to me. And in any case, I was only ever using journalism as an example. I never intended to limit the discussion to that alone.

            The question is: do libertarian women have it rough out there? That’s bigger than any one profession.

          • Marcy Fleming

            Give us a break ! She was a futurist airhead (Postrel) and the shallowness of her 1996 book was dissected at length on LRC, TAC
            and other sites.

          • martinbrock

            I read The Future and its Enemies back in the day, and I didn’t think it shallow then. My thinking has evolved a lot since, so I don’t know how I’d perceive it now.

            No one short of Murray Rothbard is ideologically pure enough for LRC, and I wasn’t tuned into Rothbardians at all when I read Postrel; however, emphasizing the distinction between stasis and dynamism, rather than a political distinction between statism and libertarianism (which often comes down to a statist proprietarianism), made a lot of sense to me then and still does.

          • Marcy Fleming

            It was shallow and I think Paul Gottfried did the best dissection of it on either LRC or TAC. I’ve mixed views too on LRC and Rothbard.
            Negative views on the Randroid and Brandenroid Cult sites, ARI,
            SOLO Fruit Passion, RoR, Hseih, Peikoff, Objectivist Lying, etc.

          • Marcy Fleming

            On LRC generally there is a Roman Catholic bias that is reflected in the inane rants against abortion by Lew Rockwell, Laurence M. Vance, Becky Ayers and a whole host of Fundie nuts who write there.
            Rothbard himself gave the best defense of abortion rights ever in The Ethics of Liberty, far better than the feminists and Rand but these intellectually dishonest creeps at LRC never refer to it.
            One thing Presley did right was coin the term ‘fetus fetishist’ to correctly describe these folks. I went back to LRC recently after a long boycott just to read their dozens of pieces against gun control.
            I was referred to this site by Thomas Woods piece two days ago in LRC.
            But now that they are starting up their old mackerel snapper anti-abortion nonsense again I may resume my boycott.
            I am an Irish-American secular Jew who had 16 years of classical Roman Catholic education so I know all the arguments.

          • Her remarks here are not air headed. The point that to understand why men and women are differently attracted to libertarianism if they are one must first understand why anyone is attracted to it is a question that needs to be asked in this discussion.

          • It sounds like that young woman is pretty dumb if she aspires to be a journalist or academic with minimal talent and ambition. I suggest trying a line of work where there are jobs. But it’s actually EASIER to get a job as a professional libertarian than as a professional liberal (for instance) because there is much less competition. (Remember: I’ve been on the hiring end, though I suspect there are more good candidates today.) Anyway, I thought we were talking about people who don’t get paid for their ideas but, rather, who simply hold their political views as part of their private life. I’m reminded, for instance, of two female college friends whose libertarian political views I learned only after I became editor of Reason and encountered them in that context. (One met her husband when she saw him reading Reason in the company cafeteria and said, “I know Virginia Postrel.”) Someone can be a libertarian, or libertarian-leaning, without spending a lot of time arguing about political issues.

        • Marcy Fleming

          It wasn’t just you. REASON has always been very boring.

      • Tedd

        “… if the social pressure to conform actually is applied more heavily to women than men.”

        I think that’s where your thesis falls down. I’m with you regarding how Clinton, Palin, and other women political figures have been treated. It might well be true that women in politics are judged more harshly (or at least condemned more harshly) than men in politics. But I don’t believe that translates at all to the lives of everyday people who are not politicians.

        My own experience has been that it takes thick skin and self confidence to be a libertarian. There are very few people in my life in whose presence I dare to share my thoughts about political issues, largely because I regularly listen to them berate in the strongest terms the very ideas and people I respect. But nothing in my own experience suggests to me that it would be either harder or easier for a woman to believe what I believe to do what I do.

        • Sean II

          I’ll grant you, the part you’ve identified there is probably the weakest link in my chain of reasoning. Certainly I don’t have at hand the means to convince anyone who wasn’t already leaning my way.

          Consider this though: the things you yourself identify as essential qualities for the libertarian are “thick skin and self confidence”, right? Well okay, I happen to agree.

          But be honest: would you say thicks skins and self-confidence are among the traits young girls in our society are encouraged to develop?

          I don’t think they are. I’ve known a few women who displayed plenty of both, and I’m sorry to say they were nearly always maligned as merely bitchy.

          I guess what’s what it comes down to: if you disagree with me, you’re saying that society no longer teaches women to be shy, retiring, delicate, or any of that other southern belle bullshit that formed the basis for of female socialization for the past 300 odd years.

          Is that in fact what you’re saying?

          • Tedd

            My second paragraph about my own experience as a libertarian was meant to be a separate point, not directly related to the subject at hand. Sorry, I probably could have been more clear about that.

            “I guess what’s what it comes down to: if you disagree with me, you’re
            saying that society no longer teaches women to be shy, retiring,
            delicate, or any of that other southern belle bullshit that formed the
            basis for of female socialization for the past 300 odd years.

            Is that in fact what you’re saying?”

            I hadn’t thought of it that way. But, yes, I do not think that society is socializing girls that way anymore. Quite the opposite, in fact. I hadn’t really factored that into my opinion but, now that you bring that up, your explanation works even less well for me. But I understand better why you see it the way you do.

          • Tedd


            Thinking about this a bit more, it seems to me that there may be some way to integrate your ideas and mine.

            I’m not much of an expert on popular culture, but it seems to me that U.S. culture today encourages girls to be very assertive and confident, almost to the point of cockiness. Quite the opposite of the sort of indoctrination to submissiveness that you’ve described. However, all that “girl power” stuff seems to operate within the context of a presumed gender solidarity. So, from the point of view of the individual, it might well be more a reflection of under-confidence than over-confidence. (Caveat, I never even took Psych 101, so I’m settled pretty deep in my armchair, here.)

            Could this perhaps be a dichotomy where an exaggerated sense of individual power is entirely dependent on group membership? If so, then your thesis — that women aren’t drawn to libertarianism because they’re afraid of how they’ll be treated as a result — would stand, although for reasons that are in some ways opposite to your explanation.

          • Tedd

            Sean II:

            “Is that in fact what you’re saying?”

            In a
            single phrase, yes. Have you not
            watched, read, or listened to any girl culture in the last ten
            years? It’s utterly unlike what you’ve described. The clear message to
            girls and young women growing up today is completely opposite to what
            you seem to believe.

            However, there may be a sense in which what you say is true. When girls begin to become women and enter the adult world, they no doubt generally discover that they’re not nearly as clever or special as they have been told by the culture. That has got to cause a blow to their self esteem. We haven’t done girls any favours by flattering them so extravagantly, no matter how well intentioned it was.

            And I do think it has been well intentioned, for the most part. We’re living in an era when the culture has bent over backward to compensate for prejudices of the past and, not surprisingly, the pendulum has swung too far. But it surprises me somewhat that we could have nearly completed the counter-cycle and you still believe it hasn’t even started yet!

    • Fewer women are libertarian because fewer women than men grew up reading science fiction. Much of science fiction consists of thought experiments in societies where the state (or community or ‘corporation as state’) trumps or attempts to trump individual wills and desires.

      • biasedmonster

        I always tend to get along more with anybody, no matter the ideological bent, who appreciates and is deeply intrigued by dystopian literature. People who lack that imagination, and who cannot consider the word ‘imagination’ to mean something more than ‘made up things that could never happen ever’, tend to be harder to communicate with.

        There is science fiction that explores feminist themes too, you know. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a great example.

        • martinbrock

          The Handmaid’s Tale is an allegory on the experience of men in the modern world. The experience of women in the story mirrors the experience of common men in reality, separation from their children, cleaning up toxic waste. Offred is a Scrabble player, and HANDMAIDEN is an anagram for A HIDDEN MAN.

    • LIBIntOrg

      The data is wrong. See our comment below.

    • Why not outreach to the women who have shown the most interest?

  • Todd Myers

    I think the topic is vitally important for the success of the libertarian movement. I do not have a great deal of time at the moment, but I believe exploring the importance of subjective values and understanding the importance of diverse approaches to personal freedom may be a way to make libertarianism more attractive and inclusive not only to women, but to people who are inclined to use their brand of rationalism as a tool to bludgeon others into intellectual submission as opposed to allowing others to have the space to explore a variety of options to realize the productive potential of their freedom.

  • Todd Myers

    I think the topic is vitally important for the success of the libertarian movement. I do not have a great deal of time at the moment, but I believe exploring the importance of subjective values and understanding the importance of diverse approaches to personal freedom may be a way to make libertarianism more attractive and inclusive not only to women, but to people who dislike a brand of rationalism that is used as a tool to bludgeon others into intellectual submission as opposed to allowing others to have the space to explore a variety of options to realize the productive potential of their freedom.

    • Tedd

      Not sure if this is your point, but I’ve noticed a cultural phenomenon that is probably a limitation on the popularity of libertarianism. There seems to be some correlation between libertarian political beliefs and some rationalist philosophies, such as objectivism, individualism, or atheism. Most people think about these things simplistically and so, if the first few libertarians they meet are also objectivists (for example), they’re likely to conclude that libertarianism is a sister philosophy to objectivism and, if they then reject objectivism, they will also reject libertarianism. That kind of thinking seems to be reflected in a lot of the articles and comments I read that are anti-libertarian.

      Libertarianism is much more inclusive than other political philosophies. But the effect I described above seems to result in it being perceived as, if anything, less inclusive. Libertarians can probably counterbalance that effect by being very clear, to themselves and others, about the boundaries between their political philosophy and their overall philosophy.

  • Steve, You write:

    “But the way that Borowski’s video answers the question, “Why aren’t there more female libertarians?” is, sadly, just by being itself. There aren’t more female libertarians because libertarians say things exactly like this. Nearly every female libertarian we know can tell stories about being told, “Women aren’t really equipped to understand libertarianism. It’s a biological thing.” Or “Of course women are statists. They all just want to be taken care of.” Or “Women’s brains just can’t do economics.” Or “Women’s right to vote ruined the country.” Now Borowski has added yet another insult to the pile.”

    Well how is it *you* are able to be a libertarian in spite of all these insults to women?

  • Our modern culture and media advocates, even stereotypes, women being liberal and completely thoughtless about it. Your article is an example of it. You are upset that the video accepts the mainstream ideas of women. You are not upset over her ideas of conservative women. I think you’d get upset if she mentioned that more women go to church than men do and are therefore the arbiters of godly culture BUT she did say the same thing about them being the arbiters of popular culture and you were outraged as it being some stereotype. Being Pro Choice is not being ‘smart, thoughtful and responsible,’ — if you believe that, you believe Sandra Fluke wanting you to pay for her birth control is somehow responsible. Believing the SCIENCE that men and women are different when it comes to the way they think about math is an offense to you, but you are perfectly willing to accept the science when it pertains to men and violence, or even something like global warming? The reason more women aren’t libertarian is because they are hypocrites, just like the reason more minorities don’t vote conservative – they live that way, but they still want the perks of voting for the goodies that liberalism offers. That is my opinion as a feminist in the tradition of Camille Paglia and a libertarian in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson.

  • Jim Harper

    I was really unimpressed with this post in both tone and substance. Example: saying that Borowski characterizes women are “slaves” to social acceptance. It’s a needlessly hostile misdescription of what she says in the video. So, strike one against BHL for being the thoughtful forum I think its authors intend it to be.

    Here’s an example of someone disagreeing with Julie Borowski’s video intelligently and fairly.

    • Jim Harper


  • John Strong

    For most of the history of our species, women have had a larger biological investment in sex than men, and that continues to be true even after the invention of birth control. To deny the overwhelming biological and anthropological evidence of this is Social Science Model Religion, not “feminism”. Genuine feminism would allow a woman to selfishly pursue her own interests, which means a more careful attitude towards sexual encounters than men take. The original suffragettes were much closer to genuine feminism in that regard than the modern libertine variety. The latter was hatched in university environments full harmone-charged youngsters with a little help from Madison Avenue, exactly as Julie Borowski claims. And a genuine commitment to individual *freedom* would leave individual women free to decide how to govern their own sexuality while objectively acknowledging that popular culture is dominated by libertine males who create a dogmatic social narrative that places pressures on women of the precise sort that Julie Borowski describes.

    • martinbrock

      I agree except for the assumption that “sex positive” popular culture targeting women is some kind conspiracy of libertine males. Helen Gurley Brown was neither a libertine male nor part of their conspiracy, except insofar as libertines generally include libertine males.

      The idea that libertine females are victims of libertine males leading them to perdition is an incredible denial of female autonomy. Libertine females become libertine by making their own choices, just like libertine males. Whether causal sex empowers women or enslaves them to their own self-destructive sexual impulses is a separate question, and the answer differs from individual to individual.

      • John Strong

        No conspiracies. But the entertainment guild is no different than any other. It both shapes and is infused with the perspectives of its members to some degree in isolation from the wider culture. Betty Friedan complained that her job as a female newspaper editor was a lonely one. It would be interesting to ask her if she thought Helen Gurley Brown’s views were liberating for women.

        • martinbrock

          My job as a software developer is a lonely one, but so is the rest of my life. If I didn’t have a very solitary personality, I probably wouldn’t be a software developer. If I were a female software developer with the same personality, I might perceive my circumstances differently, because stories of female subjection affect perceptions.

          I have two female colleagues within a few doors of my office. One is as solitary as I. The other is far more gregarious. The solitary one is a recent immigrant from China, so she might be more gregarious in her native culture, but she seems more solitary by nature.

          Brown’s views were liberating for women in some sense, but personal liberation is not always a blessing. I’m in no position to shame sluts myself, but my own sluttiness always concerned me, because sluttiness has a very real price, as my HIV+ friends can tell you.

          • John Strong

            Sure, I understand completely. We don’t have the luxury of choosing the dominant narratives in our popular culture. Imagine how a Jewish person must feel hearing these assinine jokes about reputed Jewish avarice (something I’ve never personally witnessed, just the opposite) or how a Polish person must feel about the stereotype that Polish people are all stupid hayseeds. I certainly don’t want government intervention to “fix” people’s false stereotypes. But it is also a pity that we can’t find common ground more easily about certain social facts. At this point, I will concede something. I don’t know what drives the entertainment industry to promote libertine values. Whatever the reason, it is less important than noticing that a libertine lifestyle is less expensive for men than for women, so to the degree that our culture promotes a libertine lifestyle and stigmatizes the alternatives, it is biased against women in the exact same way that an antisemitic joke is biased against Jews or a Polack joke is biased against Polish people.

          • martinbrock

            You make TLG’s point here, and I don’t dismiss the point, but if libertine popular culture harms women more than men these days, I suppose the difference is marginal. Popular culture also glorifies war, and it glorifies all sorts of male sacrifice, not least male sacrifice for women. The bias in these cases is much more explicit and much less discussed.

    • Sergio Méndez

      Yeah…genuine libertarian attitude toward sex means “slut shaming”. Treating any women who wants to live her sexuality in an open maner as a prostitute, with all the social consequences such negative treatment implies (from physical violence to social ostracism).Let alone the supposed scientific value behind the ideological rationalizations behind those attitude (know as sociobiology…).

      • Kyle Nearhood

        What you call ostracism, is not always as bad as you make it out to be. I have seen our society decline dramatically over my lifetime because of a lack of shame for stupid, selfish, or antisocial behavior. This also leads paradoxically to a rise in legalism as some turn to laws to try and control what in the past was controlled by social stigma.

        • Sergio Méndez

          Actually, I agree that social stigma can be a powerfull mechanism for the good, when put inmotion against authentically evil things (like, slut shaming for example). But women living their sexuality at full, is not a legitimate target for stigma, nor for calls to “slut shaming” is really about.

  • martinbrock

    Yesterday, the youtube video in question had no commercial sponsor. Today, it does, and views of TLG’s channel apparently increased by 50% in 24 hours. Does BHL get a commission?

  • The thing that really annoys me is that this is a woman saying this. If it were a guy, it would just be another example of dudes being dumb. But I don’t get it when women go off and say that people of their own gender are too dumb to make their own decisions. I even get told by women that women want, even need, me to make decisions in a relationship, instead of asking them what they want. They don’t want me to ask them “Well, what do you want to do?” They want me to just say “We’re doing X” and that be the end of it.

    I really don’t get it. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Conservative women are particularly odd to me, who frequently make arguments like Julie’s. I don’t understand why so many don’t want to feel empowered, but are not just content to play second fiddle, they really want to play second fiddle. Or, perhaps, I am just getting bad information. I would really like to know, because I’m very confused and puzzled by the whole thing.

    • martinbrock

      A dumb guy is just another example of dudes being dumb, but a dumb girl is more of a monumental tragedy, annoyingly.

      TLG does not say that women generally cannot make their own decisions. She clearly enough believes that she makes her own decisions, and she distinguishes herself from a stereotypical woman in the video.

      If some teenage guy makes a youtube video mocking men addicted to internet porn who blow all of their money on boats advertised on ESPN, what’s the difference, other than a cultural norm that mocking men this way is not so bad?

      Never mind a teenager’s youtube video. How about Family Guy?

      I love Family Guy by the way.

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  • Jade

    I am a college-age woman considering libertarianism and I didn’t get that feeling at all. Perhaps I’m just a strange minority though.

  • I finally watched the video in question. Julie says that if we want to make more women libertarian, we need to make it more mainstream and make it seem cool. We need lots of cool celebrities endorsing it. Etc.

    I’m going to go against the trend here and say that on this point, she seems absolutely right. I’ve spent the past few years studying political psychology. Very few people form their beliefs about politics by rationally weighing the evidence, Bayesian updating, and so on. Most people–even those who lack a systematic ideology–are cartoon ideologues. (True of libertarians, too.) By extension, most women, just like most men, are cartoon ideologues, and so if you want to recruit them, you need to use the recruiting techniques that work on cartoon ideologues. Guess what? An econ textbook ain’t it.

    Sorry, that’s how the world is.

    • Sergio Méndez

      Is funny how she complains about how women follow pop culture and at the same time you recomend more pop culture injected into libertarianism to make it palatable to certain people. Isn´t that a contradiction?

    • j r

      How exactly is the world? I would be curious to hear you flesh this out a bit.

      Besides the overall gender goofiness of the piece, the thing that bothered me the most is this idea that the libertarian movement and the overall climate for classically liberal ideas would be vastly improved by more pop culture awareness of libertarian ideas.

      What would that look like? A libertarian character on Girls? More importantly, what would a libertarian character on Girls look like? Chances are, like every other character on that show, he or she would be annoying. You have a character like Ron Swanson, who is pretty awesome, but it’s not clear that he’s going to bring people over to libertarianism. Any character overtly written for such a purpose would most assuredly fail at that purpose.

      Pop culture is shallow because pop culture ideas are shallow. So, it’s unclear to me that trying to incorporate libertarian ideas into the next TOMS shoes or Call Me Maybe or young adult fiction craze will lead to some great boon. The people who have managed to spread libertarian ideas in the past are serious thinkers who excelled at making complicated and somewhat counter-intuitive ideas accessible to a wider audience. Pop culture acts in the exact opposite way: elevating the inane to a position of pseudo-importance.

      • Most men and women are shallow when it comes to politics, and they are going to remain shallow. So, if you want large numbers of adherents, “recruitment” should focus on whatever works on the shallow. If you want 80% of people to be libertarian, then you’ll need to accept that 75 out of 80 libertarians will be fairly shallow, thoughtless libertarians.

        Take the excellent Learn Liberty videos. These explain counter-intuitive ideas in a clear and engaging manner. But–nevertheless-only the top few percent of people will get something from them.

        • j r

          That just begs the question of what works. This way of looking at things implies that pop culture is just a delivery mechanism, through which any ideology can be pumped straight into the collective hive mind. I don’t think that’s true.

          The reason that TOMS shoes are popular is because they are based on an easily digestible, but questionable, model of economic development. You can’t differentiate a brand that’s already based on comparative advantage and free trade.

          The reason that Twilight and The Hunger Games is popular is because it allows teenage girls to take their very local, very personal feelings of awkwardness and alienation and project them on to a grand scale. This reinforces the progressive notion that the personal is political.

          It also begs the question of how desirable it is to have large numbers of adherents Personally, I don’t care so much about the liberty movement as I do about classical liberal ideas. An awful lot of attempts to popularize libertarianism (the Tea Party or Lew Rockwell’s copy for Ron Paul’s newsletters) end poorly. This video is the perfect example of this. I’m not sure why you want more of it.

          • JR, my point is that most people are crackpots about politics, and so you can’t change their minds with rational arguments. (NB: I don’t just mean that you can’t make them libertarian. I mean that even if you had overwhelming evidence that, say, left-liberalism were the best view, you couldn’t get people to change to left-liberal using rational arguments.) So, instead, your best bet is superficial, shallow stuff. That said, it might be that superficial shallow stuff won’t work either.

        • So you need to figure out a way to present libertarian class analysis or Austrian business cycle theory in fiction as a novel, play or movie.

      • I think it would be more along the lines of plot lines in which people cannot choose which school to go to or cannot open up a lemonade stand or braid hair or run a day care center because of regulation. Why would you be so obtuse about what libertarian pop culture would be, given that there is a smattering of it, from Rand to Heinlein to the occasional movie.

  • Jon Walker

    Then there is the fact that the Libertarian Party has strayed into Tea Party territory. Plus too many libertarian thinkers espouse total freedom unless you’ve got a vagina (you’re either free to choose or your not, no exceptions). Finally, the fact that a lot of libertarians tend to demand immediate and radical changes that will instantly crash the system instead of gradual change tends to turn a lot of people off (especially, in my experience, women).

    BTW, I like the constitution and SOME of the perks of having a central government, like, you know, uniform civil rights laws, watch over the local bigwigs and chase after real criminals who cross state lines.

    • You seem rather uninformed on every point. You think your system is not crashing even now, as your masters discuss minting a trillion dollar coin to save them. Obama and the GOP and Democratic establishment have entered the land of Tolkeinonomics, where magical rings and daggers save they day.

      • Jon Walker

        Actually, considering the fact that the question being
        “why aren’t there more female libertarians”, I would argue that my answer is quite well informed. If the question had been, “is it too late to save the
        republic” then you would be correct. As it is, I would contend my answer has merit and your straying into “they are all evil and the world is ending” is both irrelevant and ironic.

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  • Lambasting Julie’s answer but agreeing with the solution is conveluted. If changing popular culture is the answer to attracting more women to the movement, then the admission is made that many women root themselves in popular culture. Isn’t it odd, then, to dismiss, as politically incorrect, the premise that solution depends on?
    In my experience there are many women in the movement in my geographical area. In fact, they are the ones getting the job done. We guys pontificate, grouse and theorize, and the women get the job done.
    The on-coming Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman in Washington is a woman, and the majority of organizers are women.
    Some see other things. I will not dismiss someone because they have an unapproved opinion. That is what Statists do. Shame on you BHL. A brown shirt does not look good on you.

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  • The valid points in this article are overshadowed by the hyperbole and misrepresentation of Julie’s comments. She certainly did not argue that women are “slaves to pop culture” and I’m not familiar enough with the term “slut shame” to know if its being used accurately, but that sure seems like another example of hyperbole. I actually re-watched her video after reading this piece, thinking I must have missed something.

    I think most of her comments apply to all types of people, and her mistake was implying that women are more susceptible to the same forces that mold popular opinion than the average person. It certainly seems plausible to me that women do feel greater pressure than men to be socially attractive, appealing, etc. (Not to mention physically, as well.)

    Basically I think this response treats a failure of articulation much too harshly and creates a mountain out of a molehill.

    Is articulation and presentation extremely imporant? Of course, and that’s why I think there are valid critcisims to be offered. I just think they can be made without claiming that Julie is arguing, “women aren’t libertarians because they are too stupid to choose something better for themselves”, or that she “slut shames” them and so on.

    Just let the material speak for itself, explain how her comments come across, and feel free to criticize accordingly. Don’t falsely inject your interpretation of her comments as if that’s what she actually said, merely because that makes your criticism that much stronger.

    I mean read her response to this criticism here: and then re-read how you paint her in this article.

  • Millions of women would rather have a government check than struggle through the hard work of keeping a male partner for life. Men are guilty too. The guilt goes all around. They were born into this system, and rather than fight against it, they just go along.

    Today, people broadly see each other as dispensable. You just trade the old one in for a new model when you get tired. That hardly qualifies to create strong, independent families that keep the state in check. This is partly why libertarians are not necessarily libertines. They realize that traditional morals are conducive to a free society. A real marriage is not about male dominance. It is about partnership. Obviously, two people do not always agree. Does that mean the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater? For a marriage to last, one person sometimes has to capitulate. You buy into this or you don’t.
    The idea of dominance by either sex has consequences. Libertarians do not disagree with practical applications of authority, which all people have to a degree. They want Private authority, and at least a minimal state.

  • If men and women are essentially the same between the ears, which seems to be the BHL supposition here, then why should anyone care how many libertarians have vaginas? Why isn’t it as irrelevant as how many libertarians have moles, cysts or skin tags?

    • martinbrock

      This reference to my moles and skin tags has put me off libertarianism forever.

  • If men and women are essentially the same between the ears, which seems to be the BHL supposition here, then why should anyone care how many libertarians have vaginas? Why isn’t it as irrelevant as how many libertarians are brunettes or left-handed?

    • martinbrock

      I like your point, but it matters because gender is incredibly politicized, because politicians can and routinely do gain by offering women statutory rights at the expense of men and vice versa (more vice than versa in my lifetime).

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  • j_m_h

    I really cannot disagree with your assessment. After viewing a few of her videos I’m left with the impression of something of like Libertarian meets Clueless or maybe Libertarian legally Blond. Or maybe Libertarian Cheerleaders (Gone Bad?)

    I have to give her good marks on both energy and a positive attitude in presentation.

    I do wonder what she really knows about libertarianism, economics, Austrian Economics, the FED or banking in general.

    With regards to the idea libertarians need more pop culture representatives to get more adoption, I don’t really think that’s the path. I think showing that libertarianism (or classical liberalism) is fully consistent with being either mainstream or sub culture is better and keeps it from simply being a fad.

    After all, isn’t the bottom line that it’s about individuals granting one another both mutual respect, mutual toleration and recognizing that mutual cooperation is beneficial to both sides — which includes helping those who hit hard times. It’s our differences that are our strengths, not our similarity.

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  • Rothbardian2012

    Steven Horwitz is an excellent Austrian economist but sadly misses the important point stressed by Julie Borowski. Of course many women will be moved by the libertarian message, but many cultural obstacles enhanced by modern feminism stand in the way. I recently met a woman who supported Ron Paul in 2008, but because he rejected state coerced subsidies for contraceptives, she then abandoned him (before the general election) and pulled the lever for the drone bomber n’ chief Obama.

    She believed that Ron Paul maybe represented an attack on women’s reproductive rights. I reminded her that the FDA could have allowed contraceptives to be sold over the counter or prescribed outside of doctors permission through local pharmaceutical stores, significantly reducing the cost. These are positions undoubtedly accepted by Dr. Paul. It seemed irrelevant to her unless it was baptized and allocated by the state.

  • I find it ironic that the very same people claiming that women are just as rational/not more emotional in their thinking ALSO apparently believe that if you offend them, they are unable to move past that and examine the rational basis for various positions unrelated to that. So apparently women are not really emotional, except all the times they are emotional.

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  • Xavier M

    The most problematic claim in this post I think is that Borowski “added an insult to the pile”, especially when it comes from scholars. For presumably, insults are not proposals one would put under scientific scientific scrutiny, aren’t they? What happens then is that her proposal is to be dismissed out of hand, in this case the mere assertion that women would tend to be more attracted toward mainstream ideas for social acceptance reasons, not to mention the proposals she did not make, such as the “biological thing”. To follow the logic of this post, we are now supposed to consider any controversial proposal -or not so controversial actually- as an insult. For if the claim that women are more attracted toward mainstream ideas and preoccupations is an insult, there is going to be a lot of more controversial insights to dismiss, including many which are often used by libertarians. What about natural inequalities of skills? Someone could feel offended…

    Ironically, since she did not even try to explain the causes of her observation -why women would be more preoccupied with social acceptance- her claim is not even anti-feminist. For no doubt, some feminists could agree with her on the observation and offer their explanation for it.

    • martinbrock

      I agree that she’s not even anti-feminist. The “feminist” limit tests taken for granted here would black ball Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other founders of American feminism.

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  • Vongoh

    I love Julie and found the video hilarious. I don’t think she considered beltway intellectual libertarians with a stuffy sense of humor to pick it apart and try to rip it to shreds.

    She’s right about the thinking / feeling dichotomy between men and women. That there are those that further place a value judgement on that (“Oh! So you’re saying that men are *better* than women because they’re usually more logical!”) apparently can’t be helped. Accepting that as a fact of life, and understanding that each way of perceiving reality is of equal value is also apparently beyond some (many) people.

    Follow the editorial chain and ownership of popular mass media magazines – actually, all mass media social magazines of either gender – all they way up the chain?

    And I’ll bet 100 bucks the people making the decisions about what gets published and what the viewpoint they are trying to push are pushing exactly what Julie says they are.

    “Bank” on it (pun intended)

  • I would guess that women are more likely to be conservatives than libertarians (for instance, women tend to be more religious than men while libertarians tend to be irreligious). Libertarians aping social conservatives, a la Borowski, would bring in more women than actually acting like a libertarian.

    • I think this is why among twenty something libertarians there are so many more women. Ron Paul pulled them in. But once in I think many of their ideas change.

  • martinbrock

    I just saw another youtube video that arguably presents a message similar to TLG’s.

    Does this video discourage the scientific interests of Cosmo girls?

    If you haven’t seen “Science, It’s a Girl Thing”, here it is:

    Does this video encourage the scientific interests of girls generally?

  • Cathy Reisenwitz

    My video response to Julie:

    • martinbrock

      Your response definitely appeals more to me personally, because sex, butts and orgasms are also some of my favorite things, and I just prefer your style. A Gucci handbag doesn’t appeal to me, but I am a gratuitous gadget geek.

      On the other hand, if libertarians are only people who share my slutty, materialistic preferences, then people like Julie are excluded.

      Julie is entitled to her opinion that sluttiness and extravagant consumption do not empower women, and she’s entitled to call fashionable “liberals” on the hypocrisy of demanding free contraceptives while peddling $200 lipstick. Slutty materialists needn’t take personal offense at her personal preferences. The libertarian tent is big enough for both of you … and me … at the same time.

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  • Rick20033

    “Why does she [Borowski] rail against other women’s choices? Surely a core libertarian value is neutrality between different conceptions of the good?”

    Good lord. I am so tired of people saying things like this. A condemnation of another person for not recognizing a “neutrality between different conceptions of the good” VIOLATES the notion that there is a neutrality between different conceptions of
    the good! It suggests that the morality that assumes a neutrality between different conceptions of the good is BETTER than a morality that considers one conception of
    the good to be right and others wrong. But, if that were true, that means the person who believes a morality of neutrality between different conceptions of the good is contradicting himself, because he both believes a person shouldn’t believe their morality is better while simultaneously appealing to his own morality to prove it. Social liberals make this mistake all the time. “It’s wrong to push your morality on others” is a statement that is itself an example of a person pushing his morality on others. People who believe in an *objective* morality that applies to all people equally can logically argue for right and wrong. But, a person who believes we each get to determine our own morality has no business condemning anyone for anything, because every “moral” decision is simply a matter of personal taste, like whether a person likes mustard. We don’t go around outraged to learn that so-and-so doesn’t like mustard, but people who claim that all of us define morality for ourselves spend a LOT of time going around condemning things as wrong. They have borrowed a worldview so that they can complain, but when called upon to live by it themselves they cry, “Don’t you judge me!”

  • It’s just a video. Wow. Get the stick out of your ass, Sarah skwire, and steve horwitz.

  • Lemmy C

    The complaint about the content of women’s magazines would seem to fly in the face of libertarian values about markets and choice.If her argument suggests that women are so easily manipulated by shallow appeals, that’s not far from stating that women are too dumb to be libertarian (apart, of course, from a gnostic handful like herself) – which then would suggest that some kind of paternalism is actually rational.

    Short version: so much of her rant was against the cultural impact of the very free market principles she claims to espouse.

  • Kj

    This kid sounds like a high schooler. I would consider myself more liberal but hardly subscribe to her cartoonish ideas about women sponging their values from magazines. Plus what is with the blue tongue? An amateur in every way.

    • It’s called video. She’s using visual props. Including make up and handbags and magazines. I think it may have led her to spend too much of her two minutes mentioning peripheral and non-essential items.

  • Borowski’s video supports what I’ve long suspected: most Libertarians are just Republicans who aren’t quite as hung-up about sex and drugs.

    • martinbrock

      One video support this suspicion?

      She’s no hung up about sex and drugs? Isn’t she a heinous slut shamer?

    • You dumb people are so boring. Especially when your masters forget to feed you new material.

  • dtenner

    The basic problem with most of the answers here is that the people doing the answering are libertarians (in the contemporary American sense of the word). This is of course understandable because this is a libertarian blog, but it is still conceivable that maybe the supporters of an overwhelmingly unpopular movement are not the best-qualified people to explain why it is unpopular–as libertarianism undoubtedly is, among both males and females.

    • martinbrock

      I don’t much care that libertarianism is enormously unpopular. When “libertarianism” becomes enormously popular, I’ll presumably be looking for another label. Alternatives to libertarianism, in my way of thinking, are popular because most people want to impose their will on others at gunpoint, for all sorts of reasons, and I don’t imagine this preference of most people changing any time soon, certainly not in my lifetime.

      • 315_to_yuma

        they are unpopular because they are perpetual critics. It’s kinda like a 35 year old dude who still wears Vans sneakers and thinks American Idiot by Green Day is really deep.

        • martinbrock

          Like everyone on Earth isn’t a perpetual critic.

          Libertarianism in my way of thinking is the least critical ideology imaginable. Leave me and mine alone, and I’ll leave you and yours alone. Asking you to leave me alone as I make choices that you wouldn’t make is not a criticism of your choices. Suggesting that I criticize you by asking you to cease forcing your choices on me is Orwellian. Your criticism of me is the problem in this scenario.

          • 315_to_yuma

            You can always move. Seriously.

            What libertarians do is they get in the way of people who want to do some collective action to improve their region. The individual isn’t the only unit at play here. There is also the group.

          • martinbrock

            Yes, I can always move, and I accept this approach to resolving disagreements with my neighbors; however, if my neighbors join forces with others to threaten disagreeable people like me across a continent, they severely limit my movements.

            I don’t want to impose myself on others, but if I and others like me may not congregate somewhere to live as we wish, criticizing a state ruling out this option seems completely reasonable to me.

            Libertarians do not get in the way of people who want to do some collective action to improve their region unless “their region” describes a region so large that these people must impose the alleged improvement on many other people who don’t agree that it’s an improvement.

            The individual is always the unit. Individuals choosing to join a group are still individuals.

          • This remark seems to betray that you have no familiarity with any libertarian analysis.

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  • martinbrock

    Here’s TLG’s follow up video. She nails the issue. She also parodies a “libertine” view counter to her own, but she’s hardly unique in this regard.

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  • Tedd

    It seems to me that a lot of men who describe themselves as libertarian are really small-government conservatives. Could it simply be that women self-identify as libertarian less than men because they don’t self-identify erroneously as often as men?

    • martinbrock

      How small a government must a conservative want to qualify as a libertarian? If someone does not have sex outside of marriage and thinks that you shouldn’t either but doesn’t want to criminalize fornication or adultery, can this person be a libertarian?

      • Tedd

        “How small a government must a conservative want to qualify as a

        I doubt there’s a simple answer to that. But I don’t think it works to try to define an ideology in terms of policies. By definition, ideologies are defined by principles, which can legitimately be interpreted to have some range of policy implications.

        “If someone does not have sex outside of marriage and thinks
        that you shouldn’t either but doesn’t want to criminalize fornication
        or adultery, can this person be a libertarian?”

        The first part is irrelevant to libertarianism. The second part is a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement.

    • RDjackson

      “a lot of men who describe themselves as libertarians are really small government conservatives ” . of course . that goes without saying , theyre basically connected. its a pretty self evident statement . if by small government conservative , however , you mean small government republican , than you are wrong . republican neoconservatives have never been true conservatives except for when true conservatives got into the party

      • Tedd

        Libertarianism is as distinct from conservatism as it is from any political philosophy, and more so than from many. It’s actually a branch of (classical) liberalism, and has the most in common with that view.

        In this present, very narrow slice of history there happens to be a slight overlap — a slight marriage of convenience — between libertarians and ostensible conservatives, in one country. If that’s what you meant by “basically connected” then yes, I agree. But the phrase then no longer supports your conclusion that my remark “goes without saying.”

  • richard40

    Interesting article. It shoots down many reasons libertarians give for why libertarianism does not attract more women, and lists many things lbertarians say that irritate women. One quibble though, it provides no answer to the question. What type of libertarian message WILL attract more women?

    • martinbrock

      A small minority of both men and women are libertarians, so libertarians say things that irritate many men. What type of libertarian message will attract more men?

      If we promise men a bigger pension by taxing their children, or other people’s children for men with no children, maybe that would work.

      • RDjackson

        ummm … taxation is agaisnt libertarianism though . wow

    • RDjackson

      this one already does . theres a few haters but theyre brainwashed , so it will require more things and much different things for them to see the truth

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  • The reason some women are not libertarians is the same as the reason some men are not libertarians. That reason is failure to understand principles of economics.

    • RDjackson

      the reason some women are not libertarians is the same reason some men are not libertarians . yes , i agree with that first part . but i think the reason both some men and some women dont like libertarianism is not because of anything economic . rather it is exactly what miss Borowski described , being too obsessed with mainstream culture and being a libertine . those are what damages people . it also applies to men as much as women .

      • RDjackson

        people need to realize fascism and libertinism are much more related to eachother and similiar then the libertines will admit

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  • Kubrickguy

    I think your article is extremely unfair about Julie Borowski. She makes some very valid points which are easily shot down. Perhaps, if you proffered a more constructive solution rather than a simple critique many of us might actually take the article more seriously. As it stands it just a cheap shot and an easy put down. That’s the way is comes across, suggest you re watch the video and re write…

    • RDjackson

      shes right in the sense that being a pervert and killing unborn children is evil and we shouldnt be so obsessed with mainstream society and being normal and doing whatever the corrupt and sick mainstream tells us to

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  • Libertarianism, as near as I can tell, has been so polluted with Bible-(t)humping right wing “conservatism” that it may well be that there isn’t much of it left anymore. Much like Liberalism, although you’d never know that by listening to the gasbags.

    • RDjackson

      neocons are evil and republicans corrupt . there is a way to get back to the truths of paleo conservatives . how ever you claim the bible is a lie and is a neocon thing , and that the true conservatives and libertarians oppose it . youre wrong . the bible is actually the word of god and true , and is the basis of true conservatism and libertarianism .its the fake conservatives like Bush and his criminal mafia who are the ones who oppose the bible and secrelty worship satan at bohemian grove

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