Where are the libertarian women?

I think I have only ever met three women who could be considered true libertarians. That is probably three more than most.

Andrew Sullivan has a blog post about the lack of women libertarians. He posted this video from Julie Borowski, who wonders why there are so few women libertarians and suggests ways in which to attain an increase in numbers.

That video has set off a massive fight amongst women commentators. Sullivan links to Sarah Skwire who reject Borowski’s premise:

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

Well, proof is in the pudding…have a look at who controls ad spend in the agencies on behalf of advertisers…here is a clue..it is women…and they place ads and buy inventory according to their demographic and sensibilities…often ignoring the client…who is paying them.

Borowski has responded to the backlash and criticism: 

I do not think women are “stupid” or incapable of thinking on their own. I just realize that there are a lot of societal pressures on women to act and believe a certain way. There are likely numerous reasons why there are far more males than females in the libertarian/liberty movement but this point should be made: men are more likely to embrace views outside the mainstream.

She makes a good point…just look at the state of politics in New Zealand…we have a major party with a very popular leader who was selected mainly for his appeal to the middle woman voter. He doesn’t want to rock the boat lest those same middle women voters get upset and start thinking about another party.

We have another political party that pretty much assumes that the middle woman voter is theirs as of right, and if it wasn’t for that nasty fake Mr key women would vote in droves for their party…and then there are the Green taliban who have made much mileage out of conning and hoodwinking the white middle class women of the country into thinking they actually care about the environment and no one else thinks of the children but them.

Any political policy wonk who even thinks about policy ideas from outside mainstream and worse elucidates it to the leadership of their party will usually be delivered a swift kick in the nads for such perilous thinking…leaving us buried int he morass of the unthinking middle….who sit and wait for the media to tell them what they should be outraged against and voting for.

Which leads me to this libertarian anthem – The State by Porter Robinson


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  • A.random.reader

    The problem with classical libertarianism is that it ignores the value of social behaviours such as altruism.

    You see this quite clearly in Ayn Rand’s objectivist novels (which are markedly devoid of any altruistic activities such as parents caring for children, or caring for the elderly).

    Given that women tend to have a more highly developed social sense then men, it isn’t surprising that libertarianism doesn’t find much acceptance among women.

    • In Vino Veritas

      Way to open up a discussion random! A couple of beauties; Rand and altruism, and women having a more highly developed social sense.

      On Rand, I believe she was of the view that a man is entitled to his own happiness and that he must achieve it himself. He cannot demand that others give up their lives to make him happy (altruism). She also didnt believe that parents caring for children or their parents (elderly) was altruism.

    • Alex

      Libertarianism is all for altruism provided that it is a voluntary thing; that a thing is voluntary (ie the person didn’t have to do it) is what makes altruistic actions inherently commendable. It is also more stricter in its condemnation of anti-social behaviour that involve tangible interference with person and property .

      Your thesis that women “tend to have a more developed social sense than men” is offset, I would have thought, by Porter Robinson’s thesis that women as a group are prone to be self-absorbed with superficiality. I’d also add that when women do get politically interested, they buy into the “caring and sharing” rhetoric of leftist parties, ie that we “care” because we want to spend millions and millions on this and that and want to ban this and that.

      But this talk about “women” as a group, and trying to make judgments from these as to the motivations of individual women, is inherently distasteful to me — it reeks of the thought processes of leftists who seek to undermine the autonomy of the individual by viewing him or her only in the context of a group.

      More pertinent is the question: why hasn’t Libertarianism a wide appeal despite over a century of social decline, economic mismanagement and wars caused by the practitioners of Statism?

      • Ronnie Chow

        The world is dumbing down . The battle for the occupation of our headspace by advertising gurus using advanced psychological techniques , in all media , means that less and less time is given over , in the minds of the harassed public , to deeper introspective , rational thought . Apathy is winning . Consumerism is winning .
        Political activists must use these same methods to reach their audience , as evidenced by Obama advertising on every single cable channel , whereas Ronmey inexplicably failed to do so .
        The Libertarian Fuddy Duddys had better get with the program . Which means using social media , sound bites , in your face publicity .
        Otherwise , who’s listening ?

        • Alex

          Ditching this Rand adulation would be a start. Seriously she’s a bloody awful writer. What was with that rape scene in Atlas Shrugged? But I digress, they also need to start showing that Libertarianism is as much a moral, as an economic, philosophy — one that has insights into how we should live our lives. Following on from that, another good step, would be for libertarians to be able to talk about other things than making money, ingesting drugs. Then this might actually furnish sufficient materials for good advertising campaigns.

      • Economist

        Libertarianism is all for altruism provided that it is a voluntary thing

        Oh come on: There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help

        Helping the “undeserving” – those unworthy of help – the starving in Africa, say, most certainly is condemned by Rand.

    • Richard McGrath

      You seem to be confusing altruism (the sacrificial exchange of something of value for something of lesser value or of no value) with benevolence (charitable giving where there is no sacrifice). The example you give of parents caring for children is not altruism. The act of child-raising is probably the thing of highest value to any parent, so how could it be sacrificial? Whereas to spend time caring for a complete stranger in preference to one’s own children WOULD be altruistic.Hope that clarifies the distinction, though some people (mistakenly in my view) use the terms altruism and benevolence interchangeably.

  • “true libertarian”

    A phrase that in its subliminal request for rigid conformity of thought demonstrates so well why the Libs will never amount to any kind of significant political force. With women or men.

    • Ronnie Chow

      Whereas skinheads…..

    • Rodger T

      rigid conformity of thought

      Ha,ha Hello Mr Pot, the only difference is you are about as subliminal as a baseball bat to the head.

    • Richard McGrath

      I think what the phrase implies is matching beliefs with actions. Call it rigid conformity, I call it integrity. The alternative is populist pragmatism.

      • Ronnie Chow

        So there’s no room for evolution ? Most intelligent people can adapt to new information , and change their beliefs accordingly .
        Skinheads excepted , of course .

        • Richard McGrath

          Yes there is the possibility of evolution – for instance someone who after careful consideration of the facts changed from being socialist to being libertarian. But beliefs still have to match underlying ideology. Which means, of course, that a socialist can have integrity provided his/her beliefs all align with socialist principles. A communist who believed his laptop was his own private property would be a hypocrite.

          • Economist

            Which means, of course, that a socialist can have integrity provided his/her beliefs all align with socialist principles.

            Again. Conservatism says: leftism is evil and must be wiped out.

            Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.

            Integrity – like “Liberty” (and Fraternity, and Equality) – is fundamentally leftist

            The Proper Study of Mankind is God, and then the King.

  • manuka416

    Is she saying something? I’m too distracted by the blue tongue.

    • 4077th

      Looks like she has been blowing Poppa Smurf

  • LesleyNZ

    I am free in spirit and have a value and moral based foundation to what I believe in. I feel free. I wouldn’t want to be a libertarian. Being a libertarian means you are labelled and have to conform to the libertarian idealogy. I don’t call that being free. The libertarian woman is trapped in her own so-called liberty and doesn’t even see it.

    • Richard McGrath

      Mmm… trapped by freedom… please elaborate. If you enjoy your own freedom while respecting the freedom of others to go about their business quietly, and don’t use aggressive force against anyone (acting forcefully in self defence is justified of course) then I hate to break this to you Lesley, but you’re a libertarian.
      (For six easy payments of $29.99 I can send you the libertarian handbook which must be carried on your person at all times and referred to in all situations for guidelines which must be adhered to strictly, etc., etc.)

      • LesleyNZ

        LOL Richard – like “The Little Red Book”? No-one is ever really free – we are all in bondage to the vagaries of life – including the libertarian women.

  • Trouble with the libertarian ideal is humans evolved in groups and rely on each other mentally and physically. By nature woman are more dependant on others, especially when they have children, I loath dependency so much I would rather be dead. Yet that is where I find myself rotting on welfare for years after the authorities and my community decided I could deal with being raped sodomized, the guy being found not guilty then ongoing degradation and rejection from the authorities (eg health professionals, ACC), when I begged for help because my family and friends didn’t know what to do.

    In Cameron’s mind, and those MEN and WOMEN that call themselves libertarianz, I am the perfect example of the bludging worthless loser that is stopping them from being free. Shit the head of the Libertarians in NZ is a GP living in the Wairarapa who makes his living out of providing services to drug addicts – unusual occupation for him don’t you think. Of course you have to be a drug addict to get most mental health services now – thanks to Paul Holmes and idiot politicians.

    • Richard McGrath

      JR, I have trouble following your train of thought. If I can address some of your comments:

      1) Of course people evolved in groups – peaceful co-operation between humans with free exchange of goods and division of labour is essential for prosperity and a situation libertarians advocate.

      2) I am sorry if the guy who violated you was found not guilty (remember the onus is on the prosecution to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt – an acquital doesn’t mean he was innocent but usually prevents him from being tried again for the same crime).

      3) I am also sorry if you feel the health system and ACC failed you. For years I have called for the opening of competition to the basket case that is ACC – neither the current govt or Labour would ever allow that to happen.

      4) Yes I provide services to drug addicts – they are people in need of help, many with horrendous stories of parental and other abuse – don’t they deserve assistance to overcome their problems? The last patient I saw today had knocked off work early after eight hours of lawnmowing to attend the clinic – he is a taxpayer like you and me, and working thanks to methadone treatment.

      5) Like you I would like to see reform of mental health services – I believe private agencies and charities could do a much better job of targetting the needy than the cumbersome largely state run apparatus that allows so many to slip through the net (but does a great job with others). FYI I am looking at working in Australia shortly looking after the medical needs of refugees – does that make you any happier?

      6) JR, it is not people like you that stop other NZers from being free, it is the screeds of legislation, red tape and PC bullshit that prevent the average person, and particularly those with talent, from being able to pursue their dreams without molestation from bureaucrats.

      • Economist

        I believe private agencies and charities could do a much better job of targetting the needy

        Why the f**k should we “target the needy”?

        I can’t think of a better example of the leftism underlying libertarianism that this quote – in fact, than all this comment.

  • Economist

    The problem with libertarianism is that it is, at the core, leftism

    Communism and Libertarianism both have the same goals – maximum individual “rights” for everyone – they differ only in how to get their. The rallying cry of the libertarian is the same as the rallying cry of the communist: “you have nothing to lose but your chains!”.

    Conservatism starts from the premise that people are most certainly not “created equal”; that everyone has duties to assume; that some deserve privilege (but that most do not); that there is “a place for everyone and everyone in their place”.

    The rich man in his castle
    The beggar at his gate
    The Lord hath both appointed
    And ordered their estate