Tradeoffs



It’s funny how all the instances of “collective action” he mentions are examples of top-down, bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all governmental policies. I think you could put me under the “libertarian feminist” heading, so here’s what I believe: Life involves trade-offs. Women’s lives involve some particularly difficult trade-offs, regarding things like working, having children, taking time off from work, balancing work & home life, and on and on. I want those trade-offs and decisions to be weighed by individual women and their families. I don’t want government (especially the federal government) trying to impose “solutions” that seek to favor decision A over decision B.

As for things like rape crisis lines, battered women’s shelters, and the like: I’m all for them! (Is there anyone who’s against them?) But why on earth should the federal government provide the funding for a battered women’s shelter in Uvalde, Texas? What’s the federal interest there? Why do we need a federal law about violence against women—don’t state laws take care of that? And is it so hard to believe that private charities can provide some of these services that Amp assumes the government must provide?

-- The Dredge Report

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I read the piece the Dredge

I read the piece the Dredge report was commenting on. Basically, I've just been educated. I thought I was a feminist (the individualist sort, I like Roderick Long and Wendy McElroy's writings), but apparently I'm not, since you cannot be a feminist if you oppose government action to "help" women. After all, if not the government, who's going to do it? Here I see a common thread that runs through many of the "why libertarians are complete idiots" and "why libertarians can't be feminists" discussions I've seen. The role of women, and feminist issues such as pay equity, sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, oportunities in education and employment, women in math and science, careers and motherhood, marriage and divorce, etc, are social issues, many of which are shaped by deeply held cultural attitudes and beliefs. As such, an attempt to change these things involves attempting to change society itself. Unfortunately, we've come to the point where people simply cannot conceive of any force besides government that is powerful enough to bring about societal change. Want to eliminate sex discrimination in the workplace? What on earth besides a law could possibly do that? You don't think people are actually going to bring it about themselves, do you? The people commenting on the thread responding to the original piece really cannot comprehend how anything besides government could undertake action on a large enough scale to change society and solve social problems. They do acknowledge that people try, as in the case of battered women's shelters, but it's just not enough. As far as they're concerned, without government, meaningful change simply would not take place- we would remain stagnant, ever in the same place. As a libertarian feminist, I think this is one of the most difficult challenges. How did a movement that was originally about liberty and the dignity of the individual become so intertwined with the state? How did feminism come to trade dependence on men for dependence on the government as the provider of everything we wish to have? It seems to me to be a sad sort of giving up: we can't change ourselves or our society, so let the government take responsibility for it. You can't stand on your own two feet, you need the government to hold you up. How did we get there, and how do we get out?