So True It Hurts

IOZ drops it like its hot on Phallibertarians, riffing off the exchange between Kerry Howley and Todd Seavey:

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. [...]

[M]any 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. They 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. [...]

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.

It always amuses me when white male libertarians wonder why there are so few non-white non-male libertarians out there. This is why.

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Todd and Kerry

Todd Seavey is absolutely correct that social pressure should not be confused with coercion. Kerry is absolutely correct that both are worth worrying about. As far as I can see, they are talking at cross-purposes. I think Todd may have a point against Kerry if Kerry's concern about social pressure causes her to succumb to the confusion that Todd warns against. I think Kerry may have a point if the distinction between coercion and social pressure leads Todd not to care about social pressure.

But as far as I can see, neither one is making the mistake that each seems to perceive in the other.

Meanwhile, Iox's "riff" strikes me as drivel. Which is not to say that I disagree with every word, but it makes for an incoherent whole.

I will add that "feminism" is a label that applies to a wide range of ideas, and a lot of those ideas are inimical to individual liberty.

Constant, You might be

Constant,

You might be interested in Will Wilkinson's take on this debate, as he gets into your "thrown into prison versus stuck in a hole" idea.

Will Wilkinson

Against Fake Libertarian Clarity

The clarity (if you're referring to Todd's entry) is real. Distinctions (say, between violence-based coercion and ostracism-based social pressure) are usually worth making even when you care about both. Making a distinction doesn't mean that you end up only caring about one side of the distinction. Meanwhile, not making and appreciating the distinction can get you lost in a forest of confusion and lead to real trouble, to serious infringements of individual liberty in the name of protecting one or another person or group - I am sure you can easily come up with any number of examples. I'll give you one: the Canadian human rights prosecution of Maclean's for publishing a piece by Mark Steyn.

This exchange reminds me that many (maybe most) self-styled libertarians think that libertarianism is, by definition, a philosophy that conceives of liberty as a lack of coercion, and, additionally, that coercion is something easy to understand. For these libertarians, just as one might decide to take up an interest in the plight of foreign war orphans, one might decide to be troubled by the fact that some people’s lives are stunted or ruined by arbitrary yet systemic social exclusion, or by having the development of their interests and talents constantly discouraged and their aspirations and confidence constantly undermined. But, they say, these elective worries cannot flow from an interest in liberty, because liberty is about not being threatened with involuntary confinement in a small room, while these things are about being threatened with involuntary confinement in a small life.

Here, let me perform a substitution:

one might decide to be troubled by the fact that some people’s lives are stunted or ruined by life-altering congenital illness. But, they say, these elective worries cannot flow from an interest in liberty

And indeed these worries do not flow from an interest in individual liberty as defined by libertarians. But this does not make the worries any more "elective" than any other worries. No one is required to be a libertarian in the first place, so an interest in individual liberty itself is elective. You don't have to care about whether I am robbed or murdered. That concern, too, is elective.

Liberty is defined in that particular way by libertarians because libertarianism is a political philosophy. It is not a social philosophy. It is not a philosophy of social virtue, any more than it is a philosophy of medicine. It is a political philosophy and so it concerns matters political.

These libertarians are usually guilty of defining “coercion” ideologically, and then acting as though the word has always meant what they use it to mean.

Oh no, please, not word games. Define terms however you like. I'll wait. Just remember to make the distinctions. You don't want to call the libertarian concept of coercion "coercion"? Fine. Call it something else. Then let's move on. Here, I'll do it for the purpose of this response: libertarians have a philosophy governing the use and threat of violent force. Call this "the use and threat of violence" or more simply, just "force". Libertarians propose certain rules for when it is, and when it is not, okay to use force. You can't use force to persuade a stranger to give you his wallet. You can use force to persuade a would-be mugger to leave you alone.

But it is abuse of language to deny that many emotional or social threats are coercive–that they can strip a person of her liberty by raising the price of its free exercise beyond what she should be made to pay.

So then call emotional and social threats (such as ostracism) "social pressure" and feel free to talk about them all you want. But for the sake of discussion, please, accept some terminology. Don't just refuse to make a distinction - which seems to be what you are doing, since you insist that the usual meaning of "coercion" means both force and social pressure and yet you do not propose any substitute in its place. If you refuse to make the distinction then you are refusing to engage those who do make that distinction on an intellectual level. You are denying them the terms with which they might make their points, without offering any subsitutes. That is not discourse. That is a refusal of discourse. You are suggesting that libertarians who want to make the distinction are being intellectually dishonest and that the intellectually honest thing to do is not to make the distinction. That is nonsense.

You can choose to welcome the knifepoint. But we agree that this is too much to ask, so we agree that going along at knifepoint doesn’t count as an exercise of freedom–as something for which you bear responsibility. There are many other things that are too much to ask.

These libertarians are also notoriously guilty of pretending that their favorite kinds of coercion aren’t. Threatening force to deny another person use of one’s land, or one’s house, is coercion.

That is a whole separate issue. The earlier issue was the distinction between force and social pressure. You are now bringing up a distinction between force used in defense of rights, and force used to aggress against rights. Again, you are arguing about terminology, but portraying libertarians who use the word "coercion" a certain way as "pretending" and therefore as dishonest. No, they are not "pretending" anything, they are just using terms a certain way. If you're not flexible enough to meet them halfway then the problem is with you. Smearing libertarians as dishonest is a poor response to a mere terminological quibble.

A system of private property is a system of coercion. It may be justified coercion. It is justified coercion. But then the question is: What justifies it? The coercive protection of property is justified because people do better with it than without it.

Well, that is one argument for it, one which not everyone buys. And, as stated here, it's a pretty vague argument. You might be advocating utilitarianism here. Not everyone accepts utilitarianism.

If people do better in a system that defines rights to property a bit less strictly, and coercively guarantees an economic minimum, then that is justified coercion.

Again, a pretty vague argument, which not everyone buys. You know, I think everything that came before the verbal quibbling, is masking this simple point of difference. Will is advocating what looks to be utilitarianism and something like it. He goes on at length quibbling over terminology, but all those quibbles are distractions. They're beside the point. He's advocating utilitarianism and saying that it's possible that a social safety net funded coercively from taxpayer contributions increases total utility, and that for that reason, it may be justified. If you look back at his quibbles over what to call things, none of it really feeds into this. It just distracts from it.

Recall the analogy with illness. Will thinks that force is not the only thing that can ruin lives - social pressure can ruin lives as well. But, as I pointed out, illness can also ruin lives. Will wants to use the same word - "coercion" - to label both force and social pressure. But that is entirely inessential. After all, I doubt that Will would argue that illness is coercion. If someone is born with a congenital disease such as cystic fibrosis, that isn't coercion. And yet it should just as surely be included in any utilitarian calculus as either force or social pressure. Will can recognize the distinction between coercion and illness without thereby losing sight of the importance of illness. So it is not essential to include illness into the category of coercion in order to appreciate its importance to utility. But then, by the same token, it is not essential to insist that force and social pressure be called by the same term ("coercion") in order to appreciate the importance of both to utility.

So the verbal argument is a distraction. You can either accept or reject Will's comments on what "coercion" properly means without this affecting whether you agree or disagree with his advocacy of utilitarianism.

It’s not really a philosophical question whether it is or not. Justified coercion, like the coercion in the protection of property, isn’t wrongfully liberty-limiting, but it does limit liberty.

If libertarianism is the view that coercion is never social or emotional,

A terminological quibble.

and that coercive limits to liberty are justified only in defense of private property,

A moral disagreement (e.g. between opponents and advocates of a social safety net, universal health care, legally imposed affirmative action, etc.)

or in the enforcement of contracts, then libertarianism is false, and I am not a libertarian. If libertarianism is the view that human well-being is best promoted by ensuring “that every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible with the possession of like liberty to every other man,” then I am a libertarian.

Unfortunately that is a vague statement that could be taken many different ways. If it can be twisted into support for a social safety net, then surely it can be twisted into totalitarian communism. Why not? As the first commenter to this piece points out: "Isn't every ideology about human flourishing?" Including totalitarian ideology. Don't totalitarians go on about how they are freeing man? Of course they are. Or they did. Everyone claimed that they were freeing people from oppression, etc.

Libertarianism isn't mere advocacy of goodness and light. As pointed out, all political philosophies are this. Libertarianism is a specific set of ideas.

If this is a libertarian view, then the goal to minimize or abolish wrongfully liberty-limiting social norms is a libertarian goal.

Bravo.

Bravo.

M]any self-identified

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. They 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.

Yeah! Label me a phallibertarian. "Heteronormative"... pathetic.

A short reply to IOZ

In reply to the first bit of quoted text from IOZ:

Bullshit psychoanalysis of libertarians - i.e., attack on motivation. Libertarians have certain ideas. If you want to attack libertarianism, how about attacking the ideas of libertarianism? If you want to take libertarians to task for denigrating social constraints on women, why not explain how the ideas of libertarianism entail or are related to opposition to social constraints on women? But here, neither is done. Instead, someone fancying themselves a psychologist offers a bullshit psychoanalysis. Don't people get tired of this? I think the attack on the person, while such attacks have been made throughout history, was greatly popularized in the twentieth century by Marxists: instead of actually dealing with the arguments of the opponent, call him bourgeois. Attack him for what he is - his social class, or his sex, or the color of his skin, or his supposed psychology. That way you don't have to construct a valid argument.

You must admire the turn of phrase

"bourgeois white men firmly ensconced in a patriarchal heteronormative social order" just tells you so much about the author.

Without intending to comment on the substance

This is a good chance to plug the amazing random postmodern essay generator.

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IOZ overestimates the change

IOZ overestimates the change that "radical libertarianism" will cause and underestimates the power of biological norms. Many norms have developed more or less universally because humans are fundamentally wired that way - for example, feminism has not led to equality in the workforce because women, in the aggregate, value children more and career less than men.

This is not to say that libertarian change is irrelevant; plenty of people will indeed live differently than they did before, and the mere fact of liberty is valuable in itself. But the "challenge to our bedrock assumptions" is likely to be less dramatic than IOZ appears to wish.

feminism has not led to

feminism has not led to equality in the workforce because women, in the aggregate, value children more and career less than men.

And we know that this is a result of biology and not conservative, socially constructed norms... how?

By the usual means

You look across societies for constants. These are not as easily explained as (say) greeting customs (which vary) by mere adherence to the norms of the society one happens to find oneself in.

You can reason about what is biologically adaptive. We do this for other animals - it is not in principle wrong to do this for humans.

You can look at what women have gravitated toward again and again in our own society. Women have gravitated toward caring for children. This cannot be explained by mere conservatism, because mere conservatism only slows down social change. Over time, if mere conservatism is the only factor in play in drawing women to children, then roles will shift, shift some more, shift some more, and women will be doing something else entirely. But what we know of women throughout history and throughout the globe suggests that women gravitate toward caring for chidren.

I don't know if I would say it is proven. But I find it at this point a better hypothesis than the competitors I know of.

You look across societies

You look across societies for constants.

Slavery. Genocide. Disease. Governments. I look across societies and see these constants. What does this observation tell us about the biological necessity of these things? What does it tell us about their adaptiveness or desirability?

From Chapter 5: Empirical Evidence * - Anthony de Jasay, Justice and Its Surroundings [2002]

Throughout its history, humanity has permanently displayed a physical condition classified in ordinary language as “illness” or “disease.” There has always been what Hume would call a “constant conjunction” between human life and illness.

The Hobbesian hypothesis that illness is a necessary condition of the survival of the human species has strong empirical support. It has never been falsified.

Throughout its history, humanity has permanently displayed a social condition classified in ordinary language as “the state” or “government.” There has always been what Hume would call a “constant conjunction” between human society and government.

The Hobbesian hypothesis that government is a necessary condition of social life has strong empirical support. It has never been falsified.

Arguments in favor of the prevention or eradication of disease are evidently misguided and may be dangerous. They are often put forward by naïve persons with little understanding of reality.

Arguments in favor of fostering society’s capacity to evolve anarchic orders and live with less or no government are evidently misguided and may be dangerous. They are often put forward by naïve persons with little understanding of reality.

Slavery etc.

Slavery. Genocide. Disease. Governments. I look across societies and see these constants. What does this observation tell us about the biological necessity of these things?

The issue was:

And we know that this is a result of biology and not conservative, socially constructed norms... how?

Crimes surely are a result of biology. And so is defense against those crimes. Surely rapists are driven by a biological urge to reproduce at all cost. Just as surely, men defend their sisters and daughters against rape for reasons also based in biology.

Diseases are often the result of biology.

What does it tell us about their adaptiveness or desirability?

Desirability? You're changing the subject. I mentioned adaptiveness but not in this section. You're mixing up two parts of the response.

Surely rapists are driven by

Surely rapists are driven by a biological urge to reproduce at all cost.

Surely? I am not so sure. What about rapists who use a condom? Or commit sodomy? Yes, you might say that at some level, their sex drive is "driven by a biological urge to reproduce at all cost", but their capacity for reason overrides the reproductive motivations of the act. So what good is this biological explanation? How is it any better than the feminist explanation that rape is about violence and exercising power over someone, not sex?

Desirability? You're changing the subject. I mentioned adaptiveness but not in this section. You're mixing up two parts of the response.

The introduction of biology into this discussion, by Reason, was to justify aspects of the status quo that feminists criticize and wish to change. If the evidence for this biological norm is the observation of similarities across societies, than this same sort of argument can be used to justify nearly anything.

Condom users are driven by biology

What about rapists who use a condom?

Also driven by biology. I'm not sure if you actually need an explanation here. Look, biology gives us desires, and the biological function of some of those desires is to reproduce. But we can satisfy those same desires by masturbating or by using a condom. The desires nevertheless drive the behavior. Some people have trouble distinguishing between biological function and conscious purpose, and your comment suggests you are one of them. But I'm not sure that's the case. So I'm not sure how to respond.

The introduction of biology into this discussion, by Reason, was to justify aspects of the status quo

According to Arthur it was you who introduced biology. Anyway, whoever did that, I was answering a question - I wasn't advocating anything. The question that you posed seemed to me to challenge the entire field of evolutionary psychology - in fact, to challenge the entire nature side of the nature/nurture debate in psychology. As if there had been no developments at all since the blank slate theory was first introduced. Taken just a little more broadly, your comment seemed to challenge the very possibility of science. AFter all, the way of knowing things can be applied in any area. To question the applicability to humans is either to treat humans as fundamentally different from the rest of nature, or else to question (by implication) the applicability to anything at all.

To question the

To question the applicability to humans is either to treat humans as fundamentally different from the rest of nature

This seems like a reasonable question, since humans have the capacity to reason, communicate, create culture and social norms, all in a way that the rest of nature does not. This complicates explanations offered by evolutionary psychology, because the alternative explanation of social psychology - sociology - exists for humans but not as much for the rest of nature.

Over time, if mere

Over time, if mere conservatism is the only factor in play in drawing women to children, then roles will shift, shift some more, shift some more, and women will be doing something else entirely.

Have you noticed any shift in the roles of women in society in, oh, say, the last century or so? Do we have any reason to think that the status quo is the final or correct shift?

As I said

I've seen some shifts and I've seen some constants through those shifts. I'm not sure what your game is. Instead of responding to what I actually wrote, you are ignoring it and writing as if I am a moron. Is this how you preserve your worldview?

I am agreeing (partially)

I am agreeing (partially) with what you actually wrote (part 2), and showing how it contradicts another part of what you actually wrote (part 1).

You wrote:

(part 1): You can look at what women have gravitated toward again and again in our own society. Women have gravitated toward caring for children. This cannot be explained by mere conservatism, because mere conservatism only slows down social change.

(part 2) Over time, if mere conservatism is the only factor in play in drawing women to children, then roles will shift, shift some more, shift some more, and women will be doing something else entirely.

We observe roles shifting, shifting some more, shifting some more, and women doing something else entirely different than what they had been doing in the past. This shifting continues. Women are less likely to be homemakers than they once were, and more likely to have a career.

This tends to support the idea that previous gender roles were socially constructed and weakens the view that they were biologically determined. Of course, economic growth and technological innovation had a lot to do with these changes as well. But this does not help the biological determinist theory either.

This tends to support the

This tends to support the idea that previous gender roles were socially constructed and weakens the view that they were biologically determined. Of course, economic growth and technological innovation had a lot to do with these changes as well. But this does not help the biological determinist theory either.

Technological innovation (such as... oh contraception), higher standard of living weaken the case of a cultural shift and thus make the biological case stronger. You may think it weakens it because you may it says : women will care for children 12 hours a day. It's more subtle. Women will invest more time in raising offspring that men do. However, as the time needed decreases, the fraction of total time spent by women not rearing children against men's time not rearing children will slowly go to 1.

Poor society : a child needs 11 hours of care a day
Husband gives 1 hour, wife fives 10 hours, 10 times more. Time left for career, 11 hour for the husband, 2 hour for the wife, 5.5 to 1.

Very rich futuristic society : a child needs 11 minutes of care a day. Wife gives 10 minutes, husband gives 1 minute. Time left for career ? Roughly 1:1

Related question: in

Related question: in addition to a biological urge to change poopy diapers at relatively greater rates than men, do women also have a biological urge to vacuum and do dishes at relatively greater rates than men?

What sort of empirical evidence would strengthen or weaken the case for the existence of such a biological urge? And how much of this is simply people in positions of power appealing to Timeless Fundamental Wiring to better shirk their share of the undesirable but necessary chores of family life? "But Honey, you're just better at mopping the floor than I am. It's biology!"

Related question: in

Related question: in addition to a biological urge to change poopy diapers at relatively greater rates than men, do women also have a biological urge to vacuum and do dishes at relatively greater rates than men?

I have no biological urge to wake up at 7:00 in the morning to go to work, yet overall I enjoy work. Same for poopy diapers, vacuuming and doing the dishes. It's about how much you value children and household, not the task involved in maintaining them.

What sort of empirical evidence would strengthen or weaken the case for the existence of such a biological urge?

Observing higher mammals comes to mind, observing cross civilization, cross time etc. Constant answered that.

I could also suggest the following experiment. Make a list of all chores, give 100,000 chore bucks to a husband, 100,000 chore bucks to the wife and see how they trade it. Surprise, I'll bet you'll see tradition patterns emerge, and in some cases the higher earner will buy out all of his significant others chore bucks with real cash.

"But Honey, you're just better at mopping the floor than I am. It's biology!"

That's bullshit. "Honey, if you don't mop the floor, I won't mop it, and after two weeks, you'll give up and mop it yourself" is closer to the truth.

The difference is

a) The difference is artificial, socially constructed norms are ultimately phenotypical.

b) It doesn't matter why group X has set of personal preferences Y as long as they're happy with it. So what if women were influenced by society to prefer caring for children, as long as it is what they recognize to willingly prefer?

It doesn't matter why group

It doesn't matter why group X has set of personal preferences Y as long as they're happy with it. So what if women were influenced by society to prefer caring for children, as long as it is what they recognize to willingly prefer?

It is strange to hear libertarians, believers in an individualist philosophy, talk of group preferences. The problem with social pressure, and the reason it is worth worrying about, is that not all women want to become homemakers, and not all men want to become careerists. Many women want to work, and many men want to raise children. Social conservatives seem to think these preferences are unnatural and should be discouraged.

No it is not strange. When I

No it is not strange. When I say group X prefers Y I mean that a large portion of group X tends to have preferences close to Y. Italians like pasta.

What is not individualistic is to claim that it is a duty to yield to this kind of general preference.

not all women want to become homemakers, and not all men want to become careerists.

You were worrying that women who prefer to care for children did so because they were influenced by nurture rather than nature. Why are we
- suddenly switching to women who do not want to become homemakers
- assuming that having a preference towards caring for children imply the desire to be a homemaker. It merely means spending a larger fraction of time caring for children rather than working, not spending all of one's time.

When I say group X prefers Y

When I say group X prefers Y I mean that a large portion of group X tends to have preferences close to Y.

And what portion of that relative preference (the preferences of women taken as a group relative to the preferences of men taken as a group) is explained by biologically determined factors? What portion of that relative preference is explained by socially constructed factors?

You were worrying that women who prefer to care for children did so because they were influenced by nurture rather than nature.

Where did I worry about this? My worry is that the belief that certain preferences are determined by biology leads to social pressures to conform with that outcome, and not some other outcome. Or that this somehow justifies discrimination in the workplace.

And what portion of that

And what portion of that relative preference (the preferences of women taken as a group relative to the preferences of men taken as a group) is explained by biologically determined factors?

Well the rest of the message explained why this distinction was dubious and irrelevant.

Where did I worry about this?

Right there

feminism has not led to equality in the workforce because women, in the aggregate, value children more and career less than men.

And we know that this is a result of biology and not conservative, socially constructed norms... how?

You are worrying that women might value children more than career because of social norms. If they value children more, that's all that matter, period.

You might be worried about women who value other activities not being offered the opportunity to engage in them, but that is not what you said.

Or that this somehow justifies discrimination in the workplace.

Discrimination needs no justification.

And we know that this is a

And we know that this is a result of biology and not conservative, socially constructed norms... how?

You are worrying that women might value children more than career because of social norms.

No. I am asking a question. How do we know this? I am objecting to claims of biological determinism on grounds of insufficient evidence.

No one made the claim it was

No one made the claim it was biological before you started taking about biology. You're trying a diversion here.

Read Reason's comment again.

Read Reason's comment again. My comments were in response.

IOZ overestimates the change that "radical libertarianism" will cause and underestimates the power of biological norms. Many norms have developed more or less universally because humans are fundamentally wired that way - for example, feminism has not led to equality in the workforce because women, in the aggregate, value children more and career less than men.

Emphasis mine.

Libertarianism rather about individual, not social, change

"[M]any 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."

Well, yes, libertarianism ain't about changing society, but really making it (much) better by giving the individuals that compose it an ethical compass instead of being pushed around by the ambiant ideological winds (parties) of the day.

This makes about as much

This makes about as much sense as when conservatives claim that theirs is not an ideology. Making society better by doing X ("giving the individuals that compose it an ethical compass") is changing society.

It always amuses me when

It always amuses me when white male libertarians wonder why there are so few non-white non-male libertarians out there. This is why.

Who cares if there are little non-white non-straight non-male libertarians ? Either you want to get laid by a bi black girl at libertarian meetings (don't claim you don't) or you assume that ethnic or gender diversity within libertarianism should be pursued as a pure end. While it surely is beneficial to have more, rather than less libertarians, this should be done by working at the margin, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or any characteristic in the set of criteria you give so much importance to while preaching it's not important. To be fair, your point might be that the margin lies precisely against those these group, I'm skeptic.

Apparently many people do

Apparently many people do care, or they wouldn't ask the question so often. It is a question worth pondering, isn't it? When you notice that the product you are selling tends to appeal to certain groups and not others, it makes you wonder if there is some feature of the product - perhaps the way it is marketed - that attracts some and turns off others. And if you believe the product to be beneficial not just to existing customers, but also to those who don't yet find it appealing, it might be worth reconsidering something about the product and its marketing, no?

Apparently many people do

Apparently many people do care, or they wouldn't ask the question so often.

Natural curiosity, it doesn't mean we should make a goal to appeal to these groups in particular. Libertarian principles are open to everyone, all welcome. I think the low participation of minorities is that there small size gives them more coordination, hence it makes political action more appealing to them. Women are different, I think they often tend to value submission to authority more than men do (men would rather obtain said authority), probably for biological reason *

* just messing with you :)
** but sadly no, I really believe that... resume despairing

Libertarian principles are

Libertarian principles are open to everyone, all welcome.

I agree that the principles are open to everyone, but the way they are marketed by many socially conservative libertarians certain don't make all feel welcome. "If you're a non-white European immigrant, get out of my country." "If you're a woman, get back to the kitchen." "If you're gay, get back in the closet." This is the socially conservative libertarian welcome mat.

I don't hear that

I'm not sure who you're listening to. I don't hear many libertarians say that. Maybe you think that a few guys at the Mises Institute comprise the entire libertarian movement. I had been a libertarian for about twenty years before I had ever encountered Hoppe's peculiar ideas (which I did around January/February 2005, if I remember right).

Look at this very thread.

Look at this very thread. Suppose you are a women who feels no particular urge to raise children, or wants to work full time in addition to raising children, perhaps by sharing child-raising duties equally with her partner, or outsourcing to a nanny or daycare. You encounter a group of people who call themselves libertarians and who also happen to believe that women, by their very nature, prefer childcare to having a career, and that this biological fact justifies any discrepancy in pay between men and women. Are you likely to find libertarianism appealing if this is how it is presented to you?

No you're not. In fact very

No you're not. In fact very few people are likely to find libertarianism appealing. Thing is, this is not a beauty contest. An intelligent woman who can understand libertarianism should not be rebuffed by this stuff.

Litmus test, ask a woman if she finds offensive the idea that there is some scientific evidence that men are on average more intelligent than women. If she does, abandon all hope.

Thing is, this is not a

Thing is, this is not a beauty contest.

But if you have any interest in changing people's minds, then it is a beauty contest, insofar as persuasion has an aesthetic component.

I might be able to understand a doctrine but still feel something is fishy about the fact that many people who believe in that doctrine also dress up as white-sheeted ghosts for Halloween, but with pointy hats.

Litmus test, ask a woman if she finds offensive the idea that there is some scientific evidence that men are on average more intelligent than women. If she does, abandon all hope.

Well, I fail your litmus test, so what does that mean for us, Arthur? Are we breaking up?

Hollywood is a beauty contest

Hollywood is a beauty contest, and in Hollywood it is (I hear) career suicide to say certain things. The result is that a lot of Hollywood stars say (and presumably genuinely believe) a lot of asinine things because it makes them beautiful (within Hollywood).

Now, do I want to say a lot of asinine things and win the beauty contest? Or do I want to confess what I believe to be the truth, and risk displeasing somebody?

In my private life, I keep my mouth shut and remain reasonably attractive to people who believe asinine things. Online I confess what I really think is true.

The Hollywood argument, as

The Hollywood argument, as far as it goes, explains why it would be unwise to base all of what one says and believes on aesthetics alone, with no regard for truth. But it doesn't tell us that aesthetics is unimportant, or that picking your battles isn't a wise strategic move.

Here is what I mean by strategically picking your battles. Suppose your ultimate goal as a libertarian is to convince other people not to use state violence to achieve their goals. There are two ways to go about doing this. One is to convince other people to change their goals. The other is to take other people's goals and complaints seriously, and show how their goals and complaints can best be achieved through non-statist means, and that increasing the size and power of the government is often detrimental to their concerns, by giving their political enemies access to the same regulatory apparatus.

Which approach is more likely to change minds? I've found that when I use this approach, I often go from taking other people's goals and complaints seriously to sharing those same goals and complaints myself. This would not happen if I had reflexively rejected those goals after observing that they are often wrongly attached to statist means.

You've just been offended by

You've just been offended by a fact. (the fact being the existence of some scientific evidence of course)

It implies that facts may conflict with your view of morality, thus that your morality is not grounded in reality.

If your morality requires women to be on average as intelligent as men, then something's wrong with it. This is why egalitarianism is always a revolt against nature.

N.B. what I said do not imply I believe women are on average less intelligent than men.

I believe however the probability that the average is identical is 0.

And no, we don't have to break up, I know there is some good in you, you're worth salvation :)

I am offended by a "fact"

I am offended by a "fact" that I believe is untrue, and thus my morality is not grounded in reality?

(For the record, being offended by something is not necessarily a statement of morality. I am offended by certain kinds of ugliness; this doesn't mean I believe ugliness is morally wrong.)

It implies that facts may conflict with your view of morality, thus that your morality is not grounded in reality.

The contrapositive of this argument seems to be: a morality grounded in reality must not allow the possibility of facts to conflict with it. A morality grounded in reality must be afactual. Is this what you meant?

a) I can prove this fact

a) I can prove this fact with absolute certainty. (There is some scientific evidence, I'm not saying the evidence is conclusive)
b) A mere untrue fact should not offend you. If I said, there's an elephant knocking at the door, it would be false, you wouldn't be offended. You are offended because you believe if that statement were true, the world would be immoral. If I tell you, you're just like Hitler, it's offensive not because it's wrong but because I am giving you the moral characteristics of a killer.

A morality is not fact neutrals, but it should be based on human reason, not some obscure facts about IQ.

And it's not the same thing

To say that women are less intelligent than men on average is not to say,

"If you're a woman, get back to the kitchen."

These are not the same thing.

I Thought...

The evidence suggested, in contrast to men, women had their IQs grouped closer to the mean - in comparison, more Einsteins and Karl Childers to be found among the ranks of men.

"Mmm. French fried potaters."

If libertarian advocating

If libertarian advocating immigration restriction are right, then there's nothing wrong with their discourse, it is part of normal libertarianism and should be accepted. Prospective immigrants are likely not to like it? So be it... I don't think people who want to make a career in politics will ever like libertarianism.

If they are terribly wrong, which is my opinion, this is not a problem about their values but about them being wrong, and they should be corrected within the libertarian framework. It is in my opinion a priority.

Now for the get back to the kitchen / get back in the closet, this has nothing to do with libertarian principles. Those who conflate those are ruining nice ethical principles, using them as a vehicle for dubious values. Someone intelligent will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, but yes, this is somewhat dangerous, this is thick-libertarianism.