Signal Intelligence About The LP

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why So Few Women LP Activists?

Carolyn is too polite @6 to describe how bad it can be for single female Libertarians.  And unless she's used surveillance equipment, she probably doesn't even know just how differently many Libertarian men behave around/toward them. But these issues aren't at the beginning of the lines of causation here.  It starts with a culture built around individualism, survivalism, evolutionary psychology, guns, science fiction/fantasy, engineering, computers, technicalities, polemics, one-upsmanship, iconoclasm, conspiracy theories, paranoia, the narcissism of small differences, factionalism, purity-testing, etc.  The end result are demographics and norms so skewed that many Libertarian men wouldn't even understand why our few women aren't flattered by how solicitous some of our men are toward them.

The dynamic seems very similar to that of the engineering/technical world here in Silicon Valley. It's surely exacerbated by the fact that Libertarians explicitly question most of the legal and social norms that our patriarchal society uses to protect/repress females.  Thus I'm impressed that @3 Carolyn can stand up and Just Say No to identity politics.  Still, all of the above shows why it's very important for Libertarian women to seek each other out, both for support and for outreach.  The same is true for Libertarian parents, which reminds me I still need to try to organize a "play date" for other local LP parents of young children.

If (passion for) technology is one of the underlying problems here, perhaps it can help towards a solution, too.  After having worked on Yahoo Personals for eight years, I'm confident that Libertarians could improve our gender ratios through more intensive use of online dating.  Perhaps this advice is itself symptomatic of the problem here, but it's hard to dispute that Libertarians should get better at mating and breeding.


Vernon L. Etzel said...

Perhaps, and I'm reaching here, the issue involves the rhetoric that LP activists often use. I think of a man with a shotgun sitting on his porch with a copy of the USC in his hand yelling at kids to get off his lawn. That's not a nurturing image, but LP'rs often come off that way. Even the "force and fraud" argument is a militant perspective of government. If people don't come off as CARING about other people, tribally I think we come off as a bunch of 18th century patriarchs. Perhaps if we approached people as if they mattered, as if we cared, people of both genders would me more conducive to participating.

Becky C. said...

I read this article--or at least the core article it is lifted from at least two years ago.

Whether the premise was accurate then is highly doubtful--but it is certainly not now.

Women are heavily invested in libertarianism. Two women were candidates for the presidential nomination in 2008--the LP board--places like Free Project have a heavy female representation. The Goldwater Institute is not the oly libertarian organization headed by a woman. Of course there is Ladies Alliance for Liberty

Gerhard said...

Politics is the art of civilized war. Libertarians didn't invent it and libertarians are certainly not responsible for the eons of human history where men went to War and women stayed home to cook and take care of children.

What is right and wrong changes. Those are facts of history. Technology changes how people communicate and how they interact. For better or worse. When we killed each other with sticks and rocks, having women in combat was probably not a good idea. When Gutenburg invented the printing press he started a revolution.

Today, sitting in an office in Nevada women can kill the enemy just as well or maybe even better than their male team members. Is it right or does that MAKE it right is a whole different subject.

Fifty years ago there were few women in upper level corporate or public office. Now it is common place. Change takes time. Politics is a multi-generational business. For those females who seek "power" the glass ceiling was broken a while ago. On the other hand joining a rag tag band of patriots fighting the evil empires of the world for all the right reasons and risking everything you have just for the slim chance of changing history is something very few men will do. And its going to take a little more time to find a few women and then a few more; who will show their daughters the way to ... the future.

Paul Studier said...

I think that women are in the vast minority in all parties. The Green Party explicitly acknowledges "Feminism and Gender Equality" as one of their 10 key values, yet the vast majority of people that go to Green Party meetings are male.