I was honored to attend and speak at the Students For Liberty 2013 Carolina Regional Conference this weekend. It was my fifth SFL conference, including the 2013 International Students For Liberty conference, and, I have to say, it was the best of all the SFL conferences I have attended so far. It boasted a great diversity of speakers, both in identity and in thought, and it was filled with great people from across the Southeast. Conference organizer Barbara Sostaita executed it with amazing efficiency and was well-rewarded for her efforts by grabbing the largest number of conference attendees in SFL’s history. Congratulations to her and her team! I’m so thankful to have been a part of such a great event, and you can check out my speech below. A video is forthcoming.


Why Do Women Hate Freedom?

Why Women Aren’t Libertarians, and What We Can Do to Fix That

If you look at the membership, readership, or donor base of just about any organization promoting freedom, you’ll find some discouraging ratios: 70-to-30; 60-to-40. These are the proportions of men to women. Walk into any libertarian gathering and you’ll see the disparity first hand. For whatever reason, women don’t seem to be “into” liberty.

This should be embarrassing for all of us. We should be asking ourselves, why don’t women like freedom? After all, women have gained more from classical liberalism than from any other ideology in the history of our species: From reproductive rights, to suffrage, to the choice in who to marry (or not)—all of these accomplishments are rooted in the idea that women are individuals and have the right to make decisions for themselves. These, too, are the fundamental principles of classical liberalism. Women should be the first champions of liberty, not the last.

So what is keeping women away from liberty? Some have suggested that it’s a marketing problem. In fact, at last year’s International Students For Liberty conference there were two panels, both devoted to women in the liberty movement, both focused on marketing. They were focused on how we can “repackage” or “resell” freedom to women more effectively. I went to both panels and asked similar questions: Do you think that outright sexism in the libertarian movement might have anything to do with women not wanting to participate? Crickets.

It seemed like a foreign concept to the panelists that libertarians could be sexist. We all believe in the sacred individual, right? So everyone in the room decried of course women wanted liberty, they just hadn’t seen the light yet. It never occurred to them that libertarians might be doing things that actively pushed women away from the movement.

Aside from the active sexism in the liberty movement, libertarians are glossing over and straight up ignoring issues that women care about—when they’re not telling them that they aren’t problems at all. This method of persuasion does not appeal to women, but, in fact, actively repels them from the movement. After all, who wants to ally with someone who doesn’t care about the things they care about? Who wants to be stereotyped and marginalized? Not me. Not any woman.

When I was at ISFLC last year and listening to panelists talk about the need for marketing to improve the presence of women in liberty, I immediately thought of the movie Dogma. Has anyone here seen it? If not, please do. It’s brilliant. In the movie, a Catholic Cardinal (played by George Carlin, appropriately) suggests a brilliant marketing campaign to make the Catholic church “cool” again. One part of this campaign is called Buddy Christ. The statue of Jesus, winking and pointing at passersby, is meant to bring young people into the Church. But of course, that’s the joke. It’s not marketing that’s the Catholic Church’s problem (at least according to the satire of the movie), it’s the church’s orthodoxies and the way they treat others that are putting people at odds.

In other words, libertarians are misguided. We don’t have a messaging problem. We have a dogma problem.

By now in this speech I’ve accused libertarians of being sexist a couple of times. I guess it’s time for me to provide some evidence. Last year, the question of women in libertarians went around the libertarian blogosphere. Popular vlogger Julie Borowski made a two-minute video that essentially claimed that women weren’t into libertarianism because women are passive receptacles of pop culture. Women, she said, are taken in by lady magazines, are taken in by “liberal propaganda” like sexual awareness, and pro-choice advocacy. She claimed that women choose to buy expensive products over birth control because the government will take care of them. Her video caused quite a stir, and, unsurprisingly, deeply offended a lot of women. No, really? Who wants to be a part of a movement when its participants believe this stuff about them?

Adding on to this kerfuffle was EconLog’s Brian Caplan. I’m sure most of you know him or at least of him, for his great book The Myth of the Rational Voter. Caplan felt the need to invoke the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to explain why women aren’t libertarians. If you’re not familiar with MBTI, it’s a personality test that rates preferences among four categories, one of which is a Thinking and Feeling preference. After stating that women tend to be “feelers” over “thinkers” (which is true), Caplan says:

To make a long story short: Thinking people tend to have “hard heads” and “hard hearts,” while Feeling people have “soft heads” and “soft hearts.” Unsurprisingly, then, Feeling people tend to hold more anti-market views. I’ve similarly found strong evidence that males “think more like economists.”

If you connect that logically, you have women = feelers. Feelers = soft-heads. Thus, by the transitive property, we have women = soft heads. Yes, women are logical enough to figure that out! And, yes, they are rational enough to know that you are insinuating that women can’t reason properly. And, yes, women, like myself who are intimately familiar with Myers-Briggs, the system, its merits and faults, and what it actually says, knew that he was absolutely wrong[RB1] because he fundamentally misunderstood what having a feeling preference means. So not only was he generalizing about women, but he was sloppy in his research and made sexist generalizations with crap data to back them up. Yeah, that’s gonna piss women off.

Don’t get me wrong. Julie and Bryan have done great, amazing things for the liberty movement. I’ve had the pleasure to meet them both, and they are, in my opinion, wonderful, wonderful people. They are well celebrated for their work as they should be. But therein lies a lot of the problem as well. When prominent, well-respected libertarians say these things, we all look sexist.

Other forms of sexism in the liberty movement are a bit more subtle. Men who tell women at conferences that “Women aren’t really equipped to understand libertarianism. It’s a biological thing.” Or even “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.” The list goes on and on, and, yes, I have heard every single one of those things myself. In person. To my face. Hell, a Reason contributor even suggested that Obama needed special social skills to talk to women. Now, these statements might sound like jokes to some of you, but if you hear something enough, you start to get the tone of the group those sentiments belong to.

The Libertarian Party serves as an introduction to many people who might want to come to libertarianism. During the 2012 election, they ran this ad on an affiliate Facebook page. They attempted to use a woman’s body (who posed for a cheap stock photo) to promote their “principled cause.” It tells women, particularly liberally-inclined women, that libertarians only see them as good for their bodies to sell things, not as equal partners in liberty.

The examples are endless—when you know what to look for. If you want more women in the liberty movement, ending blatant sexism has to be the first step in doing that. Libertarians should call out other libertarians when they say things that are factually incorrect or uphold sexist stereotypes with no facts or good data to back them up. Men, I hate to do this to you, but you are the people with a majority of the power in this movement. A large part of the burden will fall to you. When women try to call sexist people out on their sexism, we tend to be deemed “too sensitive” or “unable to take a joke.” We are immediately disregarded and discounted. Say something. That’s a power that you have and can use to the benefit of your lady libertarian friends—and they will thank you for it!

Let me ask y’all a question. In the last 30 days, how many of you have talked about gender discrimination? What about LGBT discrimination? Sexual harassment? What about rape? Here’s a good one. What about doulas or midwives? Now, out of those of you who talked about those issues, how many of you said that the issue wasn’t a problem at all? Or perhaps shifted the focus of the conversation onto women in general, maybe by saying that the gender wage gap was a myth, or that differences in occupational representation was due to personal preferences, or that, dare I say it, most rape cases were in some way preventable by the person raped?

This, after sexism, is the second biggest thing that keeps women away from liberty my friends. Libertarians either don’t know, don’t care, or don’t “believe” in problems that affect women’s liberty. I can tell you, the biggest threats to their freedom are things that libertarians weren’t talking about before Thoughts on Liberty existed. Women feel unsafe to let down their guard among friends, lest they be attacked and raped. They feel that they cannot succeed in their lives on par with men because for whatever reasons, they will not make as much money. They feel enormous, unweilding pressure to live two lives at once: one as the primary caregiver of the children of the home and one wherein they have a successful career—and to look fabulous doing both. Their right to their bodily autonomy when giving birth to children is not respected. In 23 states, home births are illegal and midwifery is banned. Women who are gay or transgender or polyamorous or asexual or black or hispanic or poor or any other kind of marginalization are routinely ostracized, misrepresented, and sometimes outright abused.

And libertarians don’t take these problems seriously. So much that we just don’t seem to care.

These are significant barriers to women’s liberty in our country. They are facts of women’s lives that significantly, substantively, visibly affect the quality of life and quality of freedom of women in the world, and libertarians would rather talk about marginal tax rates and agricultural subsidies.

Which brings me to the subject of economics. Whether it’s because women are “soft-hearted” or not, women—at least the women that work for me—don’t reach to economics to talk about liberty. Out of the 20-ish writers TOL has hosted over its lifetime, only three have had economics degrees. Thoughts on Liberty’s most popular topics are Social Issues, Domestic Policy, Women’s Issues, and Theory. Keeping in mind that TOL does have a separate category for all things to do with economics. Out of nearly 500 articles over the span of a year, only 19 of them have been written about economic policies. If libertarians want to bring more women into the movement, we have to realize that liberty is more than supply and demand. Liberty is about the way people live their lives. Libertarians need to look beyond economics and start talking more about the things that women care about: their lives, their homes, their families, their friends. Because when you make anywhere from 33% to 3% less than your male friends do, getting upset about a .05% tax increase just doesn’t seem as important.

The takeaway here is this: Don’t assume that people move through the world the same way you do. Just because an issue isn’t a problem for you doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. The world libertarians are selling right now is a world in which women will be tossed under the bus, and all libertarians will do is throw up their hands and say, “Freedom of association. Not my problem.” But how could such a society be free when its citizens cannot all participate according to their individual will, when some get advantages from the setup while others are cast out? From a woman’s perspective, libertarians are selling a society that isn’t free to them at all. And we’re surprised that they don’t rush to sign up for it? I’m not. No amount of marketing can fix a product that looks rotten.

I want to close briefly with some testimonials for Thoughts on Liberty, a libertarian online publication that features women’s voices exclusively.

I love following your various political posts [from Thoughts on Liberty]. I’ve only really recently started caring much about politics. … It’s taken me a while to realize I was Libertarian as I always just assumed I was some kind of liberal.

I like TOL because the writing is excellent and relevant to my life. I like that they sometimes write about feminism and identity politics. I don’t like to be “collectivized” but the reality is that my life is VERY different from the life of a “typical libertarian blogger”(white, male, straight). While I may agree with certain positions, I tend to not read blogs relating to them because they come off as dry, impersonal and dismissive. My free time is a valuable commodity and I do not want to waste it on dismissive people that come off as impersonal and aloof. I think TOL is doing a great job of reaching out to women who feel alienated from other blogs/discussions.

I just want to let you know in a private message that your blog has really opened peoples’ eyes to libertarianism in my life where I’ve been sharing it- the kind of people who would have been historically turned off by the rhetorical approaches of other blogs and sites out there. In its own way it has succeeded others in providing folks *access* to *ideas* in a way that I think has been sorely neglected by too many in the liberty movement for too long.

Thoughts on Liberty has been able to appeal to readers who otherwise wouldn’t have even approached liberty because of its ability to transcend the libertarian mainstream. We reject sexism, give women a voice and a say, and we talk about things that women want to hear about. We listen. We engage. We reach across boundaries. And we’re bringing women to liberty. It’s time for you to do the same.

  • Barry Soetoro

    So, if you’re going to suggest that it’s bad to posit that the gender wage gap is a myth, you might want to actually, you know, support that claim, since I’m assuming you haven’t watched Walter Block’s takedown of the gender gap myth? Calling a belief sexist isn’t a refutation of it. lol.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      It was not my intention to begin refuting that point (which is why I say “anywhere from 33% to 3% less” because what that number is depends on the analysis done). That’s an entirely different conversation. My point is only to say that dismissing the gender pay gap is not at
      all an appropriate response for libertarians to take. While “Women make
      70% of what a man does because of outright sex discrimination” may not be true, the fact that women do make less than men is something that women
      are concerned about and libertarians should take into consideration. We should be talking about and exploring the causes together, instead of one group of people attempting to brush aside the concern.

      I’m familiar with Walter Block’s assessment of this, and is something in Q&A with my speech. The truth is a bit more complicated than either “side” commonly talks about.

      • Andrea Castillo

        “My point is only to say that dismissing the gender pay gap is not at all an appropriate response for libertarians to take.”

        This is a strawman argument. Very few people outright dismisses the gender gap. Can you point me to a prominent libertarian who does what you accuse?

        What libertarians *do* do is “talk about and explore the causes” of the gender gap – which they believe can be explained by differences in choices and work-life preferences.

      • Nathan Scott

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/young-women-now-earn-more-than-men-2364675.html

        I wonder, now that the gap is perhaps moving in the opposite direction, particularly for the millennials that the libertarian party are likely to pick up in future elections, will we see ToL start making a stink out of women repressing men? Also, does only allowing people of one sex write for your website make the message more focused and interesting or simply predictable and played out?

    • Timothy David Cruise

      Calling a belief a belief is a refutation of the need to prove anything against it.

      Propose something, provide evidence. Not propose something, shout “PROVE ME WRONG” and then claim the lack of interested arguers and a defunct book about bell curves to be proof that you’re correct.

  • PGTB

    A woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all

  • Robert Kenneth Kirchoff

    Good speech Gina.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      Thanks!

  • Michael D

    Very thought provoking article, as a male interested in Libertarianism I think this is a good discussion to keep going.

    However,
    in every single woman I’ve talked to who was not a libertarian, never
    once was some form of implicit sexism raised, it has always been the old
    ‘you don’t care about the poor’ trope. Of course that is anecdotal, but
    I was raised liberal, and my mother held a local elected position as a
    Democrat, and is affiliated with numerous Democratic women’s
    associations. I’ve grown up and lived most of my life interacting with
    many liberal women. Every single time on discovering my libertarian
    inclinations the response from women has been about how libertarians
    lack compassion, not about implicit sexism.

    Relating to that, you
    said “you are insinuating that women can’t reason properly” I never had
    the impression from Myer’s Briggs personality assessments that people
    who are “F” instead of “T” are not capable of reasoning. Myer’s Briggs
    is a measurement, not a causal claim, which it’s part of the problem
    with it, all too often people take it to mean ‘well, this is the kind of
    person I am’ instead of ‘is this the kind of person I ought to be’
    Anyway, it doesn’t not mean one can not reason, only that (for some
    reason) that person chooses to values emotional assessments more than
    logical assessments. We can let the philosophers, sociologists, and
    evolutionary psychologists debate the reasons *why* women are more
    likely to choose to prioritize that way, but it certainly seems to be
    the case they do, which is what Julie Borowskis point was. To reduce
    all that to a summary that libertarians are saying ‘women can’t think’
    is, I think, disingenuous and misleading.

    Many people value
    feelings as a source of knowledge over reason and logic, how many times
    have we heard ‘go with your heart instead of your head’ etc. This is
    popular philosophical inclination in western culture, it is a form of
    epistemological intrinsicism, the idea that our feelings are in some way
    a source or access to truth about the universe, and that just because
    we feel something it must be true. For some reason, women tend to think
    this way more often than men do. I don’t see how calling such
    observation ‘sexist’ will make any progress toward liberty.

    I would be interested in seeing some polls on why women report they are not interested in the Libertarian movement.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      “it has always been the old ‘you don’t care about the poor’ trope.”

      I would definitely file that under “Libertarians don’t talk about the things that women care about.” I agree that discussing the poor is one of those things, but I didn’t mention it in my speech. I think libertarians writ large can do a better job of this, though there is a great deal of information on libertarians who do care about the poor.

      “I never had the impression from Myer’s Briggs personality assessments that people who are “F” instead of “T” are not capable of reasoning”

      You are correct, and I believe Caplan’s use of MBTI here is just incorrect. I discussed my beef with his analysis in some detail here: http://thoughtsonliberty.com/when-discussing-why-more-women-arent-libertarians-we-are-shown-precisely-why-more-women-arent-libertarians

      “Anyway, it doesn’t not mean one can not reason, only that (for some
      reason) that person chooses to values emotional assessments more than logical assessments.”

      I do not believe that’s what it means either. I would need to defer to my feeler-preferenced friends to explain a little further.

      “To reduce all that to a summary that libertarians are saying ‘women can’t think’ is, I think, disingenuous and misleading.”

      It’s a good thing I didn’t say that, then. ;-) I said that that was Caplan’s assertion. My beef with Julie’s assertions are different. While I agree there are definitely observable differences in men and women’s preferences, I don’t think that hers (women are passive receptacles of popular culture) is one that has support, and, as such, is a bit insulting.

      “I would be interested in seeing some polls on why women report they are not interested in the Libertarian movement.”

      Me too! Unfortunately, no one seems to care enough about us yet to ask such questions. ;-)

    • Antonio Buehler

      Michael, I have heard the sexism line.

    • CB

      I kind of think the test is flawed, at least in my experience (not that it means that that is so; thisjust my anecdotal experience). As a female, I do have strong extremely strong emotions. However, I am easily able to differentiate between when my emotions should be relevant to a decision or conclusion and when they should not. I’m an Econ student who is usually at the top of her class and my analytical skills in writing are also very well-developed. The questions on the Personality Test are general in nature. Many of them don’t differentiate between being emotional and acting on your emotions (some of the do, though).

  • beach

    Fantastic article Gina, nail on head again. Bryan’s use of temperament is misguided, he has misunderstood temperament btw.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell
      • beach

        My friend, David Keirsey, (of Please Understand Me), hopes to drop by and give his thoughts as well, loved the blog you did replying to this, (Bryan’s temperament discussion), love the discussions all this brings to table. From one of the ‘F”s :-). INFP. Incidently, Emma Goldman was ENFP, Voltairine de Cleyre and INFP, Moses Harman, INFP, Ayn Rand, INTJ, Adam Smith + David Hume both INTP’s, Michael Shermer an ENTJ, Joan Kennedy-Taylor an ENTJ, Dr Presley an INTJ, (based upon my temperament research), incidently if anyone thinks an INFP cannot do, or inclined not to do violence they only need study Pol Pot, (INFP), Hitler, (INFP), Osama Bin Laden, (INFP).

        • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

          Cool that you’re friends! Tell him I love his book!

  • Andrea Castillo

    Not your best work, Gina. The first sentence of yours that I quoted stands in direct contradiction to the proceeding quotes I pulled.

    “We all believe in the sacred individual, right?”

    “Aside from the active sexism in the liberty movement, libertarians are glossing over and straight up ignoring issues that women care about—when they’re not telling them that they aren’t problems at all. This method of persuasion does not appeal to women, but, in fact, actively repels them from the movement. After all, who wants to ally with someone who doesn’t care about the things they care about? Who wants to be stereotyped and marginalized? Not me. Not any woman.”

    “Yeah, that’s gonna piss women off.”

    “If you want more women in the liberty movement, ending blatant sexism has to be the first step in doing that.”

    ——-

    You are, again, collectivizing female libertarians.

    I have no doubt that these problems of perceived sexism and dismissal cause you and others deep personal distress. I am glad that you found the strength to overcome these issues and find success as a prominent voice within the movement.

    These “problems,” however, do not cause me a moment’s despair. I rarely (if ever, really) witness such behavior. It has hardly been a barrier to me. In fact, I suspect that I have been promoted higher up the movement as a woman – due to my relative scarcity – than I might have been if I were male.

    By stating that all women are susceptible or even care about the problems you outlined, you make the same error that you accuse Borowski, Caplan et al of.

    Don’t speak for me. I can speak for myself.

    The takeaway here is this: Don’t assume that people move through the world the same way you do. Just because an issue is a problem for you doesn’t mean it’s a problem for everyone that has the same private parts as you.

    ——–

    PS: “They attempted to use a woman’s body (who posed for a cheap stock photo) to promote their “principled cause.”

    Um, didn’t you do the exact same thing, Gina? Is female sexuality only empowering when the “right” people use it?

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      Was wondering when you were gonna chime in, Andrea. ;-)

      I think it makes sense to use a photo of a woman in an article discussing women. Seems like a matter of germane-ness to me, whereas I can’t really see how using the photo of a woman posing poorly with a football is necessarily germane or relevant to what the LP was trying to use.

      Using photos of women isn’t inherently objectifying. It’s how and why they are used that makes the difference.

      I didn’t say that all women care about those issues, just that women do (and they do! I think it’s hard to argue that women, in general, don’t care about those issues). I only cast my net to say “all women” when talking about women not wanting to ally with people who don’t want to back them up on the things that they care about. I think that’s pretty fair statement. I think it’s fair to say that no one wants to ally with someone who isn’t talking about the things that they care about.

      If I said that these issues applied to ALL women, I’d be fairly called idiot, as there are women in the liberty movement. There are women economists as well. That’s plain to see. But I do not think it is unfair to say that sexism and a failure to address certain issues pushes women away. Not all of them, obviously, but enough for us to address the issue of not talking about things that they care about.

      • Andrea Castillo

        “I think it’s hard to argue that women, in general, don’t care about those issues.”

        It’s not hard at all. More women do not identify as feminists than do. You have not attempted to demonstrate or verify that all or most women feel the way you do – you merely assert it.

        What’s more, this method undercuts your core complaint. You complain that Borowski and Caplan categorize and belittle women through false homogeneity. You are doing the same thing, albeit with values and attributes that you feel are positive.

        If, as you wrote, it is sexist, on its face, to suggest that women might share common behaviors, values, and aptitudes, then this article is a shining beacon of sexism.

        —–

        “But I do not think it is unfair to say that sexism and a failure to address certain issues pushes women away. Not all of them, obviously, but enough for us to address the issue of not talking about things that they care about.”

        It’s not a question of fairness, but veracity. You can make these claims all day (and feel good and noble while doing it), but you haven’t really demonstrated that this is a widespread problem.

        How many women have you talked to that said: “You know, I really was going to be a libertarian, but sexism and meanies pushed me away?”

        I haven’t met anyone. I’ve met a handful of current female libertarians that regularly *complain* about these issues – but they don’t show any signs of exiting the movement. In economics, this is called a “revealed preference” – they matter a lot more than stated ones.

  • lucasgrijander

    “Libertarians either don’t know, don’t care, or don’t “believe” in problems that affect women’s liberty”.

    So now “women’s liberty” is something different from “men’s liberty”?

    Libertarians defend liberty, period. Anyone who doesn’t understand that liberty includes women’s liberty, simply does not show much capacity for abstract thought. Which is the real reason why women are not into to libertarianism.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      Generalizations like the implication that women are not capable of abstract thought is part of the reason why women stay away from libertarianism. Why would anyone join a group of people whose members make ill-conceived generalizations about them and no one challenges them?

      I agree with you that liberty is liberty, but there are certain issues that affect certain groups of people more than others. The War on Drugs effects people of color more than it does white people, for instance. It’s not un-libertarian to point that out or to focus efforts on fixing those problems for those people—because liberty is liberty and everyone should have it.

      • Keith Hamburger

        I have regularly tried to talk to women about such issues in the same way I talk to men. My basic assumption is that anyone can grasp the concepts. Just last night I had a discussion with a “moderate liberal” about the implications of chaos/complexity theory and fractal geometry in global warming when climate is nearly infinitely complex, and the interactions of that with “political solutions” which will extensively impact economics, another nearly infinitely complex issue. And how no predictions can be made about either because no models can ever be accurate enough.

        HE got excited and started talking about how we needed to write a book together on the subject. I have never had such a response from a woman. The most likely response is for her eyes to just glaze over and shut down. Another response would be to change the discussion from basic concepts and principles to some sort of “do something, anything” concern.

        It is obvious that, in general and not always, women react differently to the issues considered by libertarians. If it is “sexist” to recognize there exists a difference I don’t know that any “solution” can be found to these issues.

        • Tom Bombadil

          Well, my eyes would probably also glaze over and shut down if you tried to explain those concepts to me. It’s not a women problem, it’s a complexity problem. If you had the same discussion with women in academia maybe they’d be as receptive as your friend.

        • CB

          That discussion sounds fascinating to me. A generalization based on one anecdotal piece of evidence isn’t very rational. ;)

          • Keith Hamburger

            that was just one of the most positive, and most recent. sure there have been men who have not been responsive. and women who have been somewhat receptive. but the majorities and extremes are quite sex selected.

  • Evergreen Libertarian

    Just over a week ago a fellow Libertarian and I sat down with three members of the state legislature to discuss a problem for some women who have been raped. We will most likely see a bill to correct this problem this next session. In the last session of the legislature I testified at a hearing on midwifery and suggested that the state needed to reduce and or repeal regulations that make it difficult for Certified Professional Midwives to practice in our state. As a side note I have brought up the issue of midwifery previously on Libertarian lists but it doesn’t get much attention even from the women.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Libertarianism is what it is. The “dogma” isn’t going to change, nor should it, to appease women. We can agree that rape is something libertarians should be talking about, as is allowing midwifery and getting the government out of healthcare. On the other hand, wage equality is obviously getting us into pretty much the opposite of what libertarianism is all about because any wage regulations will necessitate mechanism antithetical to what the core of the dogma is. It just may well be right that women may never like libertarianism, that is unfortunate, but we cannot start twisting the philosophy in the way you are proposing.

    As far as I see it, women’s issues are ones that require state coercion, be that to “end discrimination” or “close the wage gap”. No one ever promised you equality of results, or even equality of opportunity, in a state of liberty. Only the State can promise you that. But, if you choose the State, then stop pretending to be a Libertarian.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      In none of my speech, nor in any of my writings, have I called for state intervention. The idea that you need the state to “fix” women’s issues is, I think, part of the libertarian misconception that is causing the problem. You can create social change without the state. In fact, that is the way it SHOULD be done. But I think that if you just dismiss those problems as something that libertarians can’t do anything about, then you’re basically saying that libertarianism has no solutions for the issues that plague women. And that is (a) untrue and (b) going to push women away.

      • SalarymaninSeoul

        Oh Gina, please, let us be logical. Half the article, or even more, gets at issues like ‘pay equality.’ Now, please, tell me, how will you accomplish pay equality if not by State intervention? Moreover, when you ask Libertarians to take on such issues, you are asking us to get behind such interventions. It is clear, why do you refuse to see that? Yes, you can affect social change but let’s be honest (!) women want pay equality NOW, not after some social paradigm shift.

        Libertarianism does not posit solutions to problems. Please, understand this BASIC tenet. Democrats, liberals, conservatives have positive agendas which aim at some ends: “social justice” (which it seems you are a proponent of), equality, fairness, family values, the dictatorship of the proletariat, what have you. Libertarianism is unique in that we offer NO positive solutions, our solution being negative ones: we want to remove as much state control as possible, and that means as much social “guidance” as possible (if you got over your fear of economics and read Hayek you would get this, but alas, Econ is cold and not for girls, as you say up there somewhere). We do not aim at goals because we want INDIVIDUALS to pursue their own, whatever that may be. We do not see ‘society’ we see INDIVIDUALS. As such, no, we do not dismiss your problems; we recognize they are unfair but we do not wish to coerce others into rectifying that unfairness. Not all outcomes in a state of liberty will be particularly equitable and fair. It is up to you to find ways of addressing and rectifying them.

        All we can offer is this: in a state of liberty you will be protected from outright physical aggression (PHYSICAL being the key adjective); you will be allowed to pursue whatever goals you want by whatever means you deem appropriate (within obvious limits, which you should know); but in return, on the “down side,” you will have to encounter injustices and unfairness and not all your dreams will come true. You will have freedom but your freedom will require industriousness from you to overcome injustices on your own. Good luck, and God speed.

        Now, one more thing, don’t you think its time to take the plunge and read economics? I mean, really, to take pride in not reading any economics, when so much of libertarianism IS AN ECONOMIC theory, where the main proponents from Bastiat to Mises to Hayek were economists, is to me being silly.

        • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

          “Now, please, tell me, how will you accomplish pay equality if not by State intervention?”

          Like with all social change, I advocate a few things (a) media criticism, encouraging the end of harmful tropes and stereotypes about people, (b) individual persuasion, individual people calling out harmful stereotypes, bad behavior, etc. and persuading people to act and think differently and (c) creating institutions (not gov’t ones) that promote this kind of change.

          I think the idea that you can’t change society without the state is a really fatalistic, pessimistic view and one that statists uphold. I believe change can and should come about organically, and, indeed, that it is the only ethical way for it to do so.

          “Libertarianism does not posit solutions to problems.”

          I don’t think that’s true, and I don’t think it’s a basic tenet of libertarianism. In fact, I think it is that idea is part of what keeps libertarianism from being a relevant political ideology. Many people share our skepticism with government, but it’s lazy and uncaring, IMO, to posit no possible solutions to societal problems. Libertarianism can and does do that, and that is why libertarianism is awesome.

          “I mean, really, to take pride in not reading any economics, when so much of libertarianism IS AN ECONOMIC theory, where the main proponents from Bastiat to Mises to Hayek were economists (or wrote on matters economic), is to me being quite a silly goose.”

          An interesting claim. Would you mind showing me where I said I had not read economics or took pride in such a thing?

          • SalarymaninSeoul

            “Which brings me to the subject of economics. Whether it’s because women
            are “soft-hearted” or not, women—at least the women that work for
            me—don’t reach to economics to talk about liberty. Out of the 20-ish
            writers TOL has hosted over its lifetime, only three have had economics
            degrees. Thoughts on Liberty’s most popular topics are Social
            Issues, Domestic Policy, Women’s Issues, and Theory. Keeping in mind
            that TOL does have a separate category for all things to do with
            economics. Out of nearly 500 articles over the span of a year, only 19
            of them have been written about economic policies. If libertarians want
            to bring more women into the movement, we have to realize that liberty
            is more than supply and demand. Liberty is about the way people live
            their lives. Libertarians need to look beyond economics and start
            talking more about the things that women care about: their lives, their
            homes, their families, their friends. Because when you make anywhere
            from 33% to 3% less than your male friends do, getting upset about a
            .05% tax increase just doesn’t seem as important.”

            This seems to be rather like taking pride in the dearth of economic content on this blog and downplaying what is crucial and central to libertarian thought.

            I totally disagree with you about positive goals. Is Libertarianism to have a set agenda of ENDS and MEANS? And if so, whose positive agenda? On social change all I can say is this: in a state of liberty anyone would be free to try and change society. Its called free speech. Heck, this is a truism since by merely writing a book or an entry on a blog one is trying to sway minds. As Nietzsche said, all philosophers are engaging in an act of asserting power.

            But you go beyond that when you say Libertarianism should be a set platform with a specified set of positive goals. What would these be? Well, from this blog entry I would imagine your agenda is something that could be described as “social justice”: you see unfairness for women, gays, transgenders, as-of-yet-gender-undecideds, minorities, and you wish to bring about some ‘Social Justice’ and state of equality. Reading Hayek would enlighten you on the incredible silliness of the notion of social justice and the folly of those who want to bring it about. Because it CANNOT be brought about without massive coercion. Yes, go and shout it from the rooftops, but let’s be honest and say that the women, the vast majority of them anyway, want these issues handled NOW, and not by vague social shifts but by legislation. And that means Libertarianism is never going to be for them. We cannot get on board of THAT boat.

          • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

            “This seems to be rather like taking pride in the dearth of economic content on this blog and downplaying what is crucial and central to libertarian thought.”

            No, it is simply a statement that, given a sampling of 20 or so libertarian women, a separate section for economic issues, and an editorial policy that does not tell people what to write about, that those women don’t use economics to talk about liberty. I’m simply reporting data from my website. Is it conclusive? No, not in the slightest. It probably has an evidential reliability a step or two above anecdotal. But it is at least a trend worth considering as we talk about why women aren’t as prominent in libertarian circles as men are.

            It is not a statement that I or my authors don’t know economics or take pride in that non-lack of knowledge.

            As for your social justice points, I couldn’t say conclusively that I am or am not for so-called “social justice.” I just know that I want to live in a society where human beings flourish. I believe libertarianism is the best way to do that, but deconstructing a lot of the power dynamics that exist and have bled over from state oppression, I think, should be an important project for those wanting to live with a decreased or eliminated state.

            Aside from that point, I will say that libertarians have done some great work in that realm, and I would encourage you to check out Bleeding Heart Libertarians, in particular, their post on Hayek and Social Justice.

          • SalarymaninSeoul

            “Liberty is about the way people live their lives. Libertarians need to look beyond economics and start talking more about the things that women care about: their lives, their homes, their families, their friends.”

            Sorry, but this does NOT sound like a mere statement of fact.

          • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

            Certainly not. It is an opinion, and one I know that not all people share. But it also doesn’t say that I don’t know economics or take pride in that so-called lack of knowledge.

          • SalarymaninSeoul

            The distinction you need to draw, which You have failed to do, is between your agenda and libertarian agenda. Libertarianism only wishes to create conditions, yes, often these conditions can lead to a death of libertarianism, for you, and others to pursue personal agendas. Realize, that just as you would be free to set up institutions and enact change that reflects your values, others would be free to pursue goals you may find unjust or unfair.

          • Alan

            I think I see both of your points. @salarymaninseoul:disqus I don’t presume to speak for Gina, but my take on her message (and her conversation with you) is that first off, libertarians need to recognize and *actually care* about these injustices, even though they affect a subset of the population rather than everyone. I feel I have this much of her message correct: it’s not about wrangling the philosophy of liberty itself to cater more to women; it’s about those people who espouse the philosophy taking some time off from discussing what the government should or shouldn’t do, and spending some time connecting with real people’s problems–not to figure out a way for the government to deal with it, but simply to understand their situation.

            From a purely logical perspective about the proper role of government, you’re right: there is no need to focus on the inequities befallen this group or that; if an injustice is done to any person of whatever demographic, we should seek to end that. But this is about demonstrating that we’re not all robots, simply applying fundamental rules in a logical fashion to every situation. It’s all fine and well that it may be correct, but that sort of dry, impersonal logic is uncompelling for most people. Before someone is going to take the time out of their busy schedule to read much of our thoughts, they want to see that they can relate to us in some personal way; it builds a sense of trust, I think. Anyway, I’ve gone on too long.

  • Kirsten Tynan

    I was just looking into why the Mercatus Center rated North Dakota- a very anti-women’s freedom state -as the number 1 most free state. As far as I can tell, they purposely chose to leave out all sorts things that women might be concerned about such as abortion, birth
    control, public breast-feeding, invasive mandatory drug-testing
    of pregnant women, midwifery, home births, etc. from their report. Does anyone see ANY of these things in their freedom index? If not, it would be nice if they would relabel their report “Freedom for Men in the 50 States” if they are simply going to exclude things that don’t interest them because meh, women’s issues.

    • Daniel J. D’Amico

      Kristen, The econ freedom index in its various iterations does not include things most would consider civil liberties or the processes uniquely related to women you mention for a few key reasons. First, the Mercatus, Fraser and Heritage studies are aimed to test a specific hypothesis about the ability to first measure those decision making processes crucial to doing business and provide a reliable and quantifiable figure for it. Second they want to see what social processes might relate to that meaningful measure and how. Conflating economic and civil liberties is problematic when it comes to the data. The accumulated insights from these studies is that the measure for purely economic freedom is highly and consistently correlated with a variety social welfare outcomes including living factors for women and other civil liberties. But if you include the issues you mention or other civil liberties in the measure itself you loose a lot of the consistent correlation to other welfare factors mainly because the proxies for the factors you mention typically take the form of regulation, taxing and spending relative to other factors in the index. Econ freedom is defined in objective terms of the size and process of trade relative to state. If healthcare involves state institutions, internalizing that to the index clouds the definition of what the index tries to measure. The declined correlations between social welfare and econ freedom when civil factors are included as subsets of economic freedom can be interpreted in many ways. One it is not necessarily the case that you cannot have good financial institutions without civil liberties, Hong Kong and Singapore do well. In general social freedom lags economic but not the other way around. Social freedom is not gauranteed by economic freedom but it does seem to push that way. Hong Kong and Singapore women and minorities are not socially free compared to others but they are compared to themselves without economic freedom. Also, in the uniquely state by state measures you have free mobility across state lines so specifically socially unfree states do not significantly damage their economic performance because people can easily move across state lines. In short the best predictor of a nation’s quality medical, health, birth, and other womens’ conditions is its wealth via economic freedom.

      http://www.freetheworld.com/2011/reports/world/EFW2011_chap4.pdf

    • Andrea Castillo

      Hi Kirsten. I work at the Mercatus Center.

      Some of the variables that you described were indeed not included in the main text of the index report. The authors explain their methodology in the Introduction to the report: http://freedominthe50states.org/download/print-edition.pdf

      “Our definition of freedom presents a specific challenge on some high-profile issues. Abortion is a critical example. According to one view, a fetus is a rights-bearing person, and abortion is therefore an aggressive violation of individual rights that ought to be punished by the government. According to another view, a fetus does not have rights, and abortion is a permissible exercise of an individual liberty, which entails that government regulation of abortion is an unjust violation of a woman’s rights. Rather than take a stand on one side or the other (or anywhere in between), we have coded the data on state abortion restrictions and made them available online at http://www.statepolicyindex.com

      As they write, their decision was not based on their personal beliefs, but on the fair philosophical arguments that can be made by both sides of this issue.

      Speaking as a woman who worked on this project (along with many of my other female colleagues!) I can assure you that the variables that you mentioned were not intentionally omitted because “meh, women’s issues.”

      I encourage you to submit an email with your comments to the contact listed on the Freedom in the 50 States website – feedback like yours is invaluable as we continue to improve this project!

      • Lexi

        That sounds like cool job! Props.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      For what it’s worth, TOL authors came down on either side of that report.

  • Kirsten Tynan

    Add to that the special “Bachelor Party Freed” category here:
    http://freedominthe50states.org/how-its-calculated

    Yes, because women don’t have any interest in laws regarding drinking, smoking, gambling, etc. Those are all boys’ things, of course.

    • Kirsten Tynan

      *Freedom

  • Magus Janus

    someone better call the waambulance.

  • SN0man

    Gina, you missed a huge factor that explains lower attendance by women — a lot of libertarian women stay home while the husbands attend political events. It’s not that they aren’t interested; it’s that there is a voluntary division of labor occurring in order to make the family as a whole more productive.

    • Antonio Buehler

      Does that explain why so few single libertarian women get engaged?

      • SN0man

        I’m not sure that’s the case, but I’ll accept the premise for the sake of discussing it. Given the premise that fewer libertarian women get engaged than non-libertarian, it might be explained by the fact that there’s a significant population that is libertarian but doesn’t identify itself as such. I was one of those for many years, and I know many more people like this.

        So you have libertarians who are liberal, maybe have an interest in feminism, and they readily identify as libertarian. Then you have people who are conservative in their personal and social values, but have a libertarian view of their relation to the state. These people often don’t recognize this distinction and don’t identify themselves as libertarian, even though their views of government are more consistent with libertarian ethics than with the Republican Party they came from.

        If this is accurate, then it would mean both our observations are correct in part. A lot of married, stay-at-home women are members of a household that has a growing interest in a libertarian view of government, while a lot of vocally libertarian women are feminist and don’t get engaged.

        I don’t have much empirical evidence of this, but it’d be interesting to see if it’s true.

  • Becky Belding
    • Andrea Castillo

      This is a great reply. Gina, I think you’ll enjoy the quality of the response.

      • Becky Belding

        Thank you, Andrea.

    • kevin777

      well done.

    • lucasgrijander

      Excellent reply. Read it if you want to understand what the problem with this article is.

      (I’ll sum it up: the author needs to understand the meaning of “freedom”).

  • Tony Dreher

    Let me preface this by saying that I totally agree that it is almost certain that at least part of the reason that issues which are of particular concern to women are not often prioritized by the bulk of libertarians is due to sexism. Moreover, the undue emphasis put on issues like marginal tax rates, for instance, is probably a reflection of the interests of a group comprised mostly of well-to-do white males. However, I’ve always been under the impression, though possibly a mistaken one, that libertarians generally prioritize what appear to be universally human or more immediately harmful problems over issues like discrimination against minority populations and that this prioritization is in fact a good thing. For example, while the fact that women make 33% less than men for what appears to be very similar work is indeed a serious issue and deserves to be addressed, if I were pressed on whether I would rather spend my time focusing on that issue or drone strikes in Pakistan, I’m probably going to pick the issue that involves state-sponsored murder of men, women, and children. I believe this might be the case for many libertarians.

    Issues specific to women and other minorities should be prioritized higher than they currently are. Really, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Ultimately though, these issues don’t seem as important as the large number of more universally human and immediately harmful problems that libertarians tend to concern themselves with.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      Perhaps so, but I do not think that political discussions are zero-sum. You can talk about issues that women care about and talk about drone policy (which women care about as well) at the same time, or side-by-side with each other.

      • Tony Dreher

        There’s certainly room to introduce intersectionality to libertarian discussions, but there are limits to the value of talking about one issue alongside another. It may not be a zero-sum game, but there are definitely diminishing marginal returns.

        My point is that I agree with you that libertarians should probably be better about addressing the concerns of minorities if they wish to persuade them to investigate libertarianism further. However, what you’re advocating seems to broach full-blown identity politics, and that doesn’t really seem to be a part of the libertarian project – again, because libertarianism, as I understand it, prioritizes the universal over the particular.

        Libertarians should most definitely work to stamp out sexism within their ranks, but at no point should the desire to diversify the makeup of those who call themselves libertarians ever lead one to ask for a a shift in support of class interests over universally human ones. I don’t think you’re guilty of this exactly, but your argument appears to be that the total composition of libertarian output should have absolutely nothing that is biased against women and a much higher percentage of stuff that’s specifically relevant to women whereas I believe libertarianism would be fine with just the former.

        • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

          I actually do support libertarians engaging in identity politics. And other TOL authors have written about it as well.

          I do not think that supporting class interests means that you support them over universal ones, but it’s simply recognizing that some issues are more important to some groups of people. So, while tax issues may affect everyone and harm everyone, that harm is a different priority to a person with fewer institutional barriers to success to deal with than someone who does. For instance, if systemic racism is putting people of color in jail (and, thus, keeping them out of well paying jobs, etc.), it makes sense for them to prioritize that higher to “fix” than trying to lower the amount of taxes they would have to pay in that job they can’t get.

          • Tony Dreher

            It appears that you’re conflating triage with supporting class interests. That systemic racism is part of the cause for a large number of people being put in jail is less consequential in calculating how libertarians should prioritize that issue than the fact that people being put in jail (at least in the volume they’re currently being put in jail) is probably more harmful than something like the capital gains tax. As a hyperbolic counter-example, if there were only two people being put in jail every year, but entirely due to racism, and the state was taxing everyone’s income at 90%, I would argue that opposing taxation should probably be a higher priority. This isn’t an easy calculus by any means. I don’t know how many fewer people would need to be unjustly imprisoned to justify a shift in priorities, but of all the variables that such a calculus might include, it isn’t immediately obvious that the racial composition of the population being imprisoned should be one of them.

            If, in marketing libertarianism, libertarians call attention to how their proposed policies would benefit a particular class, that’s fine. I agree, for obvious reasons, that members of minority and/or historically oppressed classes will respond more readily to solutions that attend to the problems that most directly affect them. However, that a libertarian solution is particularly beneficial for this class or another should not be the reason why that issue is focused on.

            One of the things, I believe, that makes libertarianism distinct among ideologies is its treatment of individuals as individuals rather than members of classes. However, this does not mean that libertarians should ignore the reality that class-biased decision making exists. Such thinking is inimical to rational thought and ultimately prevents libertarianism from coming to a “correct” prioritization of issues according to the harm or restriction of freedom they impose. Thus, when bias of any kind is recognized, it should be highlighted and eliminated to the best of our ability. If this is, in fact, more or less what you’re advocating and I have mistaken your argument for one which posits that far more positive steps be taken to address class bias, then you have my sincerest apologies, but it seems that you actually want libertarians to increase the amount of class bias in their thinking, just in the opposite direction from which you perceive it to be currently.

  • kevin777

    Sexism happens in both major political parties as well so it’s a bit of a red herring.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      This is true, but I think libertarians, those who claim to champion the individual, are particularly susceptible when they claim that they are such and then have a sexism problem.

      Sexism is a systemic societal problem. But libertarians should be above that.

      • Andrea Castillo

        What does it even mean to “have a sexism problem”?

        Can you give me the criteria for what it means to “not have a sexism problem” so we know exactly what we are talking about here? At what point would you say we would “not have a sexism problem”? What specific actions will you take to achieve this?

        • Kathryn Warner

          Perhaps you might enjoy reading Ursula LeGuins ‘The Dispossessed.’ That is an excellent example of a society that has carefully eradicated sexism except at an individual level (which can’t be eradicated). And, of course, the book isn’t specifically about sexism so it’s rather enjoyable.

          To not have a sexism problem, in general would be the following:
          -Not dismissing a female dissenting view on the basis that she must have arrived there illogically. This is akin to treating women like children. That would be like assuming a man only thinks with his penis – incredibly unfair (and ridiculous).

          -Not suggesting there are appropriate places for women or men to be or not be in terms of their personal futures.

          -Recognizing and addressing liberty issues that arise for both genders, even those that arise for one gender unique of the other. (the same would be true of those for race, of course, but that’s a racism problem)

          -Not, not, not making blanket statements about genders to reinforce ones personal worldview.

          • Andrea Castillo

            Thank you for your thoughts.

            You have provided a bill of positive rights, which places claims on the thoughts and expressions of individuals and necessitates social regulation and force to uphold.

            Do you, by chance, identify as libertarian?

          • Kathryn Warner

            My apologies, but I don’t -I don’t identify as anything. However, social regulation implies these must be enforced – especially not at a state level.

            If, for instance, I want to improve my chances at landing a job, I will practice positive speech methods, learn how to ask appropriate and meaningful answers, and learn how to express myself eloquently. If a group states ‘we have determined we have difficulty with interviews’ I would suggest they take the same procedures. This is not the same as saying they must enforce those procedures.

            Libertarians should by no means enforce those things above, but it is generally wise to be aware of the message one sends and let others know the ramifications of their behavior. From a free market perspective, this would be similar to letting a company know that, if it intends to appeal to X crowd, it may want to engage in behavior Y. Is it forced to engage in Y? Well, no. But it’s sure not getting that market share.

          • Lexi

            Why is criticizing people’s ideas about others and advocating that they are unfounded and trying to change people’s opinion through conversation force? Then we could never discuss anything at all! If you could elaborate that would be great.

    • Antonio Buehler

      Of course it happens in both major political parties – but it isn’t embraced or made excuses for quite like it is within the libertarian / liberty / ancap movement. Everyone can pretend that what Gina raised isn’t an issue, but if people step out of the bubble they’ll see that it is.

  • tbottruth

    Women, Beauty, Voting and Tyranny!-Stefan Molyneux

  • Fred Strychnewicz

    I’m sorry but you have completely FAILED to paint a picture of a movement where sexism is systemic and institutionalized.

    What your complaint is, is that women who enter the Libertarian movement are overhearing random events of kitchen, and bedroom jokes every now and again by random members of the party and this is what is keeping them away. It is bullshit. The stink on this article is unbearable. What is keeping women away from the Libertarian movement is that women in a generalistic sense tend to like to vote for politicians that promise they are going to give them stuff for free rather than vote for the guy (or gal) who preaches personal responsibility and earn what you want.

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      “What your complaint is, is that women who enter the Libertarian movement
      are overhearing random events of kitchen, and bedroom jokes every now
      and again by random members of the party and this is what is keeping
      them away.”

      If you’ll note, my examples were not overhearing jokes it consisted of (a) examples of prominent, public, recorded (in writing and video) sexist statements by libertarian thinkers. (b) An ad put out by the Libertarian Party and (c) instances of being ridiculed and dismissed, all of which have happened to me, and I know not only me. So, this claim just does not have merit.

      • Andrea Castillo

        You didn’t really address Fred’s core point (which does have merit): that items (a) through (c) cannot explain gender representation in the libertarian movement.

        • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

          His main point was that “women who enter the Libertarian movement are overhearing random
          events of kitchen, and bedroom jokes every now and again by random members of the party and this is what is keeping them away” and he thinks that does not constitute a systemic sexism problem in the movement.

          The problem is that that’s not what I said. If he wants to argue that items (a) through (c) plus the fact that issues that women care about are not well represented are not keeping women away from liberty, I’m happy to hear a reasonable argument in that, cause that would be an interesting rebuttal of my piece.

          But that’s not what he said. I’m a full believer in the principle of charity, but I think your reading of it is a bit too charitable to the point of putting words in his mouth.

          I believe he made himself clear on why he thinks women aren’t libertarians when he said, “What is keeping women away from the Libertarian movement is that women in a generalistic sense tend to like to vote for politicians that promise they are going to give them stuff for free rather than vote for the guy (or gal) who preaches personal responsibility and earn what you want.”

          • Andrea Castillo

            “I believe he made himself clear on why he thinks women aren’t libertarians when he said, “What is keeping women away from the Libertarian movement is that women in a generalistic sense tend to like to vote for politicians that promise they are going to give them stuff for free rather than vote for the guy (or gal) who preaches personal responsibility and earn what you want.”

            Yes, like I said, you didn’t reply to his core point. You just told him that his “claim does not have merit.”

          • Kathryn Warner

            But then isn’t the issue that both parties would be voting for whom gives them the most? That implies that men aren’t choosing libertarianism because it is the logical choice, but because it is the one which disadvantages them the least.

            His argument is NOT that both parties are illogical and choose only on what benefits them the most, but that women are *uniquely* illogical in desiring personal benefit. This does not coincide with reality.

  • Bob_Robert

    “Who wants to be a part of a movement when its participants believe this stuff about them?”

    As opposed to the Christian Right who sees women as nothing but breeding stock, and the Liberal Left who treat all women as welfare queens.

    Sexism will be found where you look for it, just like age-ism, race-ism, and all the other isms, because individuals have preferences.

    “Libertarians” do not think like you say they do. Some individuals do. So whose the one making over-generalizations now?

    • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

      I’ve been around in the movement long enough and have known plenty of women who raise the same issues and concerns to me that, while it may be a generalization, I don’t think it’s an over-generalization. Noting a broad problem and pattern for us to fix is not over generalizing, IMO.

      • Bob_Robert

        It’s not a broad problem.

        Woman are not pandered to. That is a shock to many women, to be treated as an individual. It seems like sexism.

        • Antonio Buehler

          “Woman are not pandered to. That is a shock to many women, to be treated as an individual. It seems like sexism.”

          Assuming women are irrational, want to be treated like princesses, want government handouts, are unable to understand economics, etc., is hardly treating women as individuals, and is quite sexist.

          • Robo

            If you don’t think they’re irrational you’ve never lived with one. ;)

          • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

            Come on, now. That’s just blatant sexism. People of all genders have equal capacity to act rationally and they all have moments when they do not.

          • Robo

            It was somewhat tongue in cheek but there are obviously distinct differences between men and women. E.g. I’ve never seen a man break down crying at the office but have seen plenty of women do it. Pretty sure it’s due to differences between the genders not just because it’s acceptable for a woman and not a man. Doesn’t mean I don’t think women should have the same individual rights.

          • http://thoughtsonliberty.com/ Gina Luttrell

            “Pretty sure it’s due to differences between the genders not just because it’s acceptable for a woman and not a man.”

            From what I understand from the research I’ve read, men and women both have equal capacities for and depth of emotion, men are just less willing to express it. Whether that’s due to societal expectations or not (and I suspect that it is), it doesn’t mean that men do not act on emotion, rather that it’s just less plain when they do.

            Besides, emotion is not the antithesis of reason, not by any means.

          • Kathryn Warner

            Another interesting facet to the ‘cry-not-cry’ is the physiological response. When we cry whilst highly stressed, our tears contain the stress hormone. We, in essence, excrete our stress via the tear ducts.

            Then, to cry while stressed, is no more illogical than to urinate when the bladder is full. It is a helpful physical response to an overabundance of a negative hormonal balance.

          • Antonio Buehler

            I know you’re joking – and I know you could say the same thing about men.

          • Bob_Robert

            Antonio, that’s quite a list of awful attitude, I agree.

            Did you have someone in mind, or is that just a compilation of bad things into a single package for discussion purposes?

            I certainly would have no interest in dealing with such an individual either.

          • Antonio Buehler

            Yeah, earlier this month I posted numerous examples on my facebook page. You can go to pages like “Statist Idiot of the Day” to see more examples. In addition, there were “libertarians” and “anarchists” who were spewing overtly racist, sexist and homophobic garbage, and even making jokes about raping ten year old girls. This wan’t just a few. I deleted over 500 friends who said this stuff, actively endorsed it or attacked me for pointing it out. Feel free to go to my facebook page and check near the beginning of November and just follow all the links.

            Here’s a picture for you.

          • Bob_Robert

            They certainly deserved to be deleted!

      • Andrea Castillo

        I’ve been in the movement long enough and know plenty of women who do not share your complaints.

        I think your view is an overgeneralization, as do many other female libertarians.

  • Antonio Buehler

    Bravo, well said!!

  • Antonio Buehler

    Wow, look at the comments and the push back Gina is getting. Talk about proving her point.

  • Jaime

    The short answer is that libertarians (especially “Big L”) do fit neatly into the MBTI trope of being socially awkward and/or extremely introverted (I), being being highly logical (T), and not having a higher sense of social flow (High “J” or high “S”) as comparatively experienced by the statistical majority of people (ISFJ, especially dominant in the female population, or ESFJ).

    This effectively lead to a growing culture death because the majority of libertarian discussion had been around dry econ talk and, occasionally, a reference to Ayn Rand or George Orwell – nothing to satiate minds more curious about the beauty in art, nature, and human social interaction barring the talk of trade.

    Only recently has libertarianism broken into the “pop culture” sense, which has begun to open the door to not only the statistically average woman, but the statistically average human. (E.G. Looking at the incorporation of liberty into everything from talk shows to football to interior design has begun to perk up ears across the Web, especially as seen in the proliferation of YouTube channels which splash liberty into other broader topics.)

    The sexism aspect (I find) is more related to the social ineptness of libertarians as a whole. Libertarians are argumentative (in a logical way), and often cannot first address the (F) human element before moving to the meat of the discussion.

    I think Sharon Harris and the “Advocates for Self Government” have been the best at exploiting this understanding by using the world’s smallest political quiz.

    Such has been one of the most effective “social” media tools to opening fresh minds to the concepts of liberty in a way that side-steps the social awkwardness of many libertarian advocates.

    The harsh past reality is that the average person tabling a libertarian-oriented group was some white male below average height with some scruffy facial hair and unfitted clothes liked you’d expect of a retiree in a 55+ mobile home development.

    Fortunately, that has begun to change as diverse crowds join through the growth of liberty+culture and, thus, the female gap is shrinking.

  • LibertarianGrump

    Dear author of this article:
    Define “Economics”. Contrast libertarian micro theory with a theory of “how we live our lives”.

  • http://www.jonesfamily.us/ Ron Jones

    “I went to both panels and asked similar questions: Do you think that outright sexism in the libertarian movement might have anything to do with women not wanting to participate? Crickets.”
    ….
    …Aside from the active sexism in the liberty movement, libertarians are glossing over and straight up ignoring issues that women care about

    What, precisely, is “sexism?”

    “After all, who wants to ally with someone who doesn’t care about the things they care about?”

    Is this a serious question? This is the normal state of things. People are concerned about themselves, and what affects their lives. If you cannot understand, and work within this paradigm, your attempts to educate others will meet with constant frustration.

    “Who wants to be stereotyped and marginalized? Not me. Not any woman.”

    Yes… let’s observe pop culture trends of the last 30 years… Yet, I don’t hear husbands and fathers whining as if they have sand in their shorts.

    “women, like myself who are intimately familiar with Myers-Briggs, the system, its merits and faults, and what it actually says, knew that he was absolutely wrong[RB1] because he fundamentally misunderstood what having a feeling preference means. So not only was he generalizing about women, but he was sloppy in his research and made sexist generalizations with crap data to back them up.”

    Citation?

    “When prominent, well-respected libertarians say these things, we all look sexist.”

    Again… what exactly IS “sexism?”

    “Other forms of sexism in the liberty movement are a bit more subtle. Men who tell women at conferences that “Women are[n’t]…..
    …Now, these statements might sound like jokes to some of you, but if you hear something enough, you start to get the tone of the group those sentiments belong to.”

    Duh! “…animated contest of freedom…” and all that. Which is precisely why it is called “the marketplace of ideas” instead of “the list of permitted ideas.”

    “It tells women, particularly liberally-inclined women, that libertarians only see them as good for their bodies to sell things, not as equal partners in liberty.”

    By the way…who’se the babe with the cigarette?

    “When women try to call sexist people out on their sexism, we tend to be deemed “too sensitive” or “unable to take a joke.” We are immediately disregarded and discounted.”

    That is because there is no universal definition of “sexism.” If you complain about something to someone who holds a different view, or cares about their own life more than yours, you are going to be perceived as overly sensitive.

    So…if there is a gender wage gap…Men, whom you claim “think like economists,” should only hire women. And let’s not forget the statistics on workplace romance. You know how men think… given the possibility of creating his own “target rich environment,” (and being able to pay them less than market rate) women should be getting all the jobs.

    Yes, it IS (or should be) exclusively about economic liberty. For economic liberty is inextricably linked with personal and political liberty.

    And while we are on the subject of personal liberty, there are behaviours in which people engage, with which I disagree. But I do not attempt to use the power of the gun (i.e. government) to forbid those behaviours…SAVE FOR when those behaviours are a violation of the Libertarian principle of non-aggression.

    (Mark 12:30-31) ” And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
    {31} And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
    (Romans 13:10) “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

  • prolibertate

    Dear Gina,

    Thanks for all your efforts to spread libertarian ideas among women. Greatly appreciated.

    And it highlights something essential that is perceptible throughout your writing, but which should be made more explicit:

    You mention the MBTI issue, which I’ll use to make my point.

    I gave a speech about the effect of personality type on politics at a libertarian event (LA in Sofia, Bulgaria, April 2005), which made quite an impression. My speech mentioned some natural preferences, but mostly the need to communicate differently with people of different personality types.

    (The difference in T/F ratios among men and women is actually lower that generally assumed. But that’s irrelevant)

    F types can perfectly understand and support the libertarian approach to social problem solving. It just has to be presented in a way that they can relate to.

    Given that the first adopters are usually NT types, knowledge seekers, because they are drawn to such issues, their presentation for non-NTs tends to suck – they are not good communicators.

    One of the best communicators I know is Prof.Ken Schoolland and he is an NF type – no surprise there.

    Like everything else, Libertarianism must rely on the division of labor between individuals with different skills. NTs can hack out the theories and solutions, but then we need people who can communicate those ideas to the general public – and that’s a specialized job for people who are good communicators.

    And yes, there is that other issue: people must be able to relate to the communicator. They must feel that they can trust the person who tells them about solutions to social issues they worry about.

    So yes, women are more likely to listen to other women. Blacks will be more receptive to black speakers. etc.

    That’s not collectivism. It’s just based on the fact that we tend to trust another person if we think that their life experience is somewhat similar to our own.

    Ultimately, male, white NT intellectual Libertarians are not bad, they are just not the right people for the job of bringing more women into the movement. You can’t really blame such men for not understanding issues that they may not be aware of, because it is not part of their life experience.

    But I can assure you that not all male NTs are unable to relate – rape, excision and other forms of gender-based violence have always been big in my fight for more freedom. Even before I had a daughter, but now obviously even much more so ;)

    Regards,

    Stefan Metzeler

    • JhoffaX

      lol.

    • JhoffaX

      To be a libertarian is to be a fool..

      They’re the bunch that proudly assert an absolute right to screw a goat on their front porch, in full view of the world, and claim no one has the moral authority to tell them to stop.. (Provided that they own both the porch and the goat they’re screwing, of course.)

      It’s a joke.. its adherents are the punchline.

      An unworkable system of non-government that devolved into a debating society for petulant children.

      • prolibertate

        This post, all by itself, disqualifies you from ever commenting on anything.

        And you’re confused: Muslims screw goats, with the approval of their “prophet”, not Libertarians.

        • JhoffaX

          It’s the libertarian philosophy of “no force, no fraud”

          You libertines are so.. “edgy”

          lol..

          • prolibertate

            The retard doesn’t even know what a “Libertine” is, let alone a libertarian…

          • JhoffaX

            They’re interchangeable in a Libertarian society.

            Any other inane or hopelessly naive comments to throw out there?

          • prolibertate

            No, you retard, traditionally, libertines are on the ideological left, while Libertarians tend to have VERY strong moral values, because they are concerned about RIGHTS.

            Libertarians have no problem with rules, as long as they are self-chosen.

            There’s no connection between being Libertarian and Libertine.

            Your confusion just shows that you have no clue about the meaning of words.

            It makes you look like an idiot, which you are.

          • JhoffaX

            How naive do you have to be to believe that? What are you, 12?

            They share the exact same values… Which are nothing.

            It’s the reason that sane people avoid your bratty little debate clubs. You sit there and prattle and make things up out of whole cloth.

            It would take about one (1) bad actor to turn libertine/libertarianville into a living hell for everybody.

            The worst part? You’d be foolish enough to act surprised when it happened.

            It’s why you are a minority, and will remain so forever.

            It’s a smorgasbord ideology, where someone might happen by and sample a little? But there’s no way they’re voting for the entire, retarded thing..

            Your battle cry: “We’re the 2%! HURRRRR!!!”

          • prolibertate

            To anyone consulting this forum who wonders about this evil character JhoffaX: he’s an anti-semitic hate monger who is pissed because I told him what he really was.

  • NanaCoupeau

    I think there are not too many women libertarians in the same way and for the same reasons there aren’t that many successful female comics. Like comedy, being in an intellectual movement requires women to think quickly, verbalize extemporaneously, embrace controversy and not to be afraid of seeming weird. You have to push boundaries and be a little combative. Women are not rewarded for risk-taking, verbal or otherwise, we are shunned for any sign of aggression or weirdness in polite circles, and rewarded for being compliant. I’ve been a libertarian for 30 years now, have gone to countless events, conferences, and small gatherings over the years. While I feel I can hold my own in one-on-one discussion, the small groups of men talking over each other is off-putting and frustrating. Also I’m a foot shorter than most men, so they can’t hear me. Most women can’t deal with being challenged on ideas and strangely enough, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that most young men can’t deal with it either. Perhaps that’s the feminization of boys at work.

  • Alan M

    Sexism among pro-liberty people certainly needs to be addressed. However, I think I can explain 50% of the liberty “gender gap” with three little words: Felons can’t vote. The higher incarceration rate for men means many of them, who probably would vote Democratic (most of them) if they could, instead can’t vote. Give them the vote and watch the gender gap get cut in half.

  • jtkennedy

    Gina,

    You affirm that women tend to be feelers over thinkers. Do you dispute Caplan’s contention that feelers tend to hold more anti-market views that thinkers? Do you dispute his contention that thinkers tend more to think like economists, and thus hold more pro-market views than feelers? What is it you think he fundamentally misunderstands about the feeling-thinking dichotomy?

  • Tim Lubej

    Its in the gens!

  • cosmopolite

    One would never suspect, from reading Luttrell, that three women founded the American libertarian movement: Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane and Ayn Rand. Or that Reason magazine was founded and edited for a number of years by Virginia Postrel.

    I am very disappointed that Luttrell cannot see that comparing the wages of men and women is a far subtler affair than believers in naive “gender wage gaps” let on. Women prefer to work shorter hours, and to avoid occupations that involving hard manual labour, dirty conditions, or that put the body at risk of injury. Men have a more durable attachment to the labour force, and so tend to work more over their lifetimes. Wages tend to rise with experience. These choices by women are freely made.

    There was a problem 50+ years ago, in that women tended to get finishing school educations rather than lucrative ones, but that gap in the choice of college majors and in professional degrees has largely faded. The gender wage gap is largely the result of women’s occupational choices, and of marriage and fertility, and not of sexism. Economists correctly point out that labour markets are very competitive. If women are paid less for no good reason, then profit seeking entrepreneurs should lay off male workers and replace them with women. We do not observe that, which gives the lie to the notion that the measured gender wage gap (which has substantially shrunk a lot over the past 40 odd years, BTW) is arbitrary and unfair.

    Two simple facts strongly suggest to me that men have a harder time of it than women do. 80% of suicides, and over 90% of felony convictions not involving drugs, are men.

    “how many of you have talked about gender discrimination?”
    I think about it regularly, but do not reach Luttrell’s conclusions; see above.

    “What about LGBT discrimination? Sexual harassment?”
    I believe that state action to remediate real and perceived discrimination of this nature greatly risks becoming a case of the medicine being worse than the disease. A libertarian social order is one where people enjoy great freedom to associate with whom they please. The outcome will be states of affairs that your typical Democrat will deem per se discriminatory. This is not say that freedom of association carries all before it. What was completely unconscionable in the American South 50+ years ago was that Jim Crow was backed by state force, and by the state declining to prevent mob violence. I fully agree that the best policy for African Americans is educational opportunity and a competitive labour market with freedom of entry and exit for employers. Ditto for discrimination against LGBT and sexual harassment in the workplace. If sexual harassment were a serious problem, entrepreneurs would create all-women workplaces, and women would accept lower wages for the privilege of working for such employers. But we do not observe that.

    “What about rape?”
    Rape is a very clear violation of basic libertarian principles. Private property should extend to sexual access to our bodies. That said, the difficulty of proving consent or the lack thereof makes the job of the DA in rape cases very very unpleasant. The best way to minimise rape is to be very careful about where one is, and at what time of day, and to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    “What about doulas or midwives?”
    The regulation of allopathic medicine has done much to harass midwives and to prevent doulas from coming into being, and to criminalise home birth not attended by a licensed professional.

    “…by saying that the gender wage gap was a myth…”
    To a large extent, when one learns to think correctly about labour markets, the gender wage gap is no longer a reality. Sorry, but that is simply the case.

    “…or that differences in occupational representation was due to personal preferences…”
    This too is largely true in recent decades.

    “…most rape cases were in some way preventable by the person raped?”
    Some cases were preventable, just as common sense can reduce the frequency of many nonsexual felonies. Freedom includes the freedom to park one’s car with the keys left in the ignition. But Camille Paglia has said that anyone who parks a car in New York city with the keys left in the ignition is in fair part to blame for any ensuing theft of the car. Likewise, to behave in certain ways in certain places and times, is the sexual assault equivalent of leaving the keys in the ignition. I realise full well that the thinking I am sketching out here is damned in PC circles as “blaming the victim”. So be it.

  • JhoffaX

    Frankly? Women hate freedom, and equality, because they have no use for it..

    They’re inferior creatures in the natural world, are acutely aware of this, and need rules, laws and etiquette to protect themselves.

    The natural world is an ugly place that no proper woman would want to find herself.. and I understand that.

    Sadly, like any simple concept, this can be taken so far that it becomes detrimental for men and women alike.

  • Lorenzo Balzi

    I stopped reading at “diversity”

  • Lexi

    I am just so confused. People who are calling you out on the fact you are treating women as a group (cause, idk, they’re women and are the ones who get pregnant and birth children?) when discussing issues that are unique to them, and saying you’re not a true libertarian, then they go on to say that the real reason there isnt a proportion equal to the population of women is because they enjoy government handouts, want to be taken care of, and are irrational.

    I just dont understand how that contradictory belief isnt obvious to them!!

    From what I understand, is that libertarians think everyone should be treated as individuals. Wouldnt libertarians be up in arms when seeing a bunch of people that happen to share cultural or physical characteristics be grouped together and then discriminated against by many others and society? Wouldnt a libertarian use the power of their voice and speak out against this kind of treatment because it is devaluing the people’s individuality? That seems logical to me!

  • David_Rogers_Hunt

    Interesting article,… I am glad to have perspectives like this being offered. I am especially impressed with the quality of the comments. I didn’t read all of them, but I didn’t see any flamers or trolls in what I did read.

    Am I being sexist if I point out that the majority of women consistently tend to vote democratic/progressive while men tend to vote republican/fiscally conservative? Women and men do have differing frequencies of personality types. see http://www.mypersonality.info/personality-types/population-gender/

    Unfortunately, I believe Thomas Sowell in http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2012/06/06/the_real_war_on_women/page/full gets it right that women who put in as much work time as men make as much money as men. There is a real penalty that young women pay in that employers have to discount their economic worth in that women do leave the workforce to have/raise children, while men do not. If a woman has no intentions of ever having children, her job/pay prospects are still discounted because she ‘may’ change her mind. Is it the author’s position that the state should outlaw such ‘rational’ discounting on the part of employers? If not, what then? Life ain’t fair. Economics is called ‘the dismal science’ because it is all about how making any choice necessarily excludes being able to act on other desired choices. The government can sprout a great deal of rhetoric to address these issues, but all it can actually do is make one set of people unwillingly subsidize another set of people’s choices. What else do you have in mind? And just as important,… how am I, and your readers, supposed to know what you have in mind? I may empathize with you,… but I am not a mind reader after all. I am not trying to be snarky. But after reading your article, I understand that what libertarians say is perceived as sexist. I have little idea of what libertarians should be saying instead. Is my lack of understanding of what libertarians should be saying instead a sign of my sexism,… or possibly yours? I am asking the question because I genuinely care about the answer.

  • Brendan

    I am glad that female libertarians criticized this article. Now I’ll criticize it some more.

    It is really obnoxious for every movement that ever exists to be taken over by women who want to make the movement about their vaginas. If you see the world through your vagina, you’re not going to get a very full picture. Women are not oppressed, and they have never been oppressed as a group, and if you think so, then you deserve to be shunned. It is really obnoxious to see this nonsense about the wage gap (which isn’t real) on a libertarian website. If women really gave a damn about equality, they’d start doing things like advocating for male reproductive rights (males don’t have any reproductive rights to be taken away), or they’d advocate for their rights as fathers, or their right to a fair trial when accused of a crime by a woman. Or they’d advocate for equal government services for men and women. As it stands, men are the majority of victims of violent crime, the majority of work place deaths, the majority of suicides, and make up about 40% of domestic violence victims. Yet all the government services go to women. When women complain about how hard they have it when they really have things a lot easier than men, it makes you look like stupid sociopaths. Probably the reason why women don’t like liberty is that they are benefiting from the lack of liberty in this country. A lot more government services go to women, despite the fact that they work fewer hours at easier jobs, which means that they pay fewer taxes. Women would take a tangible cut to their standard of living if everyone in the USA consumed only what they earned, or what other people were willing to give them.