Everyone should go read Kerry Howely's posts on libertarianism & feminism. Kerry is being sly in the first post when she writes that "For some reason, various libertarian-leaning men are only capable of acknowledging the limiting nature of social norms when those norms result from recent political action." She calls the tendency "extremely weird," which is polite, because what she really means is that it is extremely stupid.
Male libertarians who denigrate the pervading social constraints on women and people of minority racial groups and people with less common sexual predilections--i.e., most male libertarians--do so because their ideology is grumpy and reactionary; it is forged of the same stuff as crybaby conservativism; its concerns with genuine liberty are purely tactical, and entirely personal. These scattershot beliefs, which consist principally of disliking taxes, regretting surveillance, and smoking weed hardly constitute a political identity at all. Sometimes they involve opposition to imperialism abroad; sometimes not. They're the reason libertarianism in general is routinely mocked as a kind of solipsism: it is! A guy like Radley Balko is the rare case who actually goes out of his way to consider the plight of minorities and impoverished people, especially as relates to the drug war, but many, many self-identified libertarians are in fact bourgeois white men firmly ensconced in a patriarchal heteronormative social order that they fundamentally do not wish to change. The seek to remove impediments to their petit bourgeois hedonisms , and they have the vague sense that if the government got its mitts out of business, everything would be fine.
I've largely stopped thinking of myself as a libertarian; obviously the drift of this blog has been toward blow-up-the-world-and-die-laughing anarchism. But a truly minarchical social order requires a revolutionary change far, far beyond that which most internet spouter-offers envision. It would require a deep, abiding alteration in almost every aspect of daily existence; it would require the complete dismantling of the current economic order; it would require redrawn political borders, disbanded militaries, the destruction of whole industries, the wholesale dislocation of huge populations. Even very particular policies that libertarians might seek to ameliorate represent immense alterations in our extant society. Freeing the majority of the 2 million prisoners in our penal system requires more than deciding to decriminalize marijuana. It requires a wholesale restructuring of our jurisprudential understanding, a change, from top to bottom, in the way that justice is delivered, from beat cops to DAs to judges to jury selection to the appeals process . . . and so on.
Feminism's challenge to our bedrock assumptions are to be embraced, not dismissed, by anyone actually dedicated to the radical change that such libertarianism envisions, but most soi-disant white male libertarians don't actually contemplate radical change. They contemplate the one part of their anatomy that once connected them directly to a member of the second sex.
Are we to think that a hypothetical future world in which there is absolutely no government and no coercion (as traditionally defined by libertarians) but in which most women choose to spend their days jobless, giggling, and stripping (without pay) in front of males to get their attention and approval is in some way unlibertarian? It may be offensive. It may be stupid. It certainly doesn’t sound feminist to me, and maybe it’s even a bad idea — but it’s free,says Todd Seavey, to whom Howley has been responding. To which one is tempted to reply that future hypothetical counterfactuals, or whatever, do not a counterargument make. This is libertarianism as practiced by Glenn Reynolds, full of joyous Barbarellas, nanobots, and manly men doing manly things, like shopping for gadgets and dreaming of meeker, more compliant chicks.