What Women Don't Want:
Why Libertarian Men Don't Get Laid
These questions are ubiquitous to libertarian, ancap, and other freedom-oriented forums - why aren't more women involved in the libertarian movement? After attending my first convention within the freedom movement, I think I can now answer them with a fair degree of confidence.
Libertarian men tend to be jerks.
It's not quite that simple, I suppose. The usual economics model applies. 80% of libertarian men are actually okay, but they are quiet, unassuming, and blend into the background (at least 80% of the time). The remaining 20% - the jerks - are the propagators of the behaviors in question. They are vocal, obnoxious, and consequently define the movement for the rest of you poor bastards. Blame them for your lack of a sex life.
Robert Heinlein stated that, "An armed society is a polite society." Heinlein obviously never attended a libertarian gathering in Arizona. While I have no doubt that a great minority (if not a majority) of the participants was armed, etiquette was the last thing on these revolutionaries' minds.
Participants asking questions of the speakers were often heckled by other participants including celebrities within the movement. Should a questioner offer an opposing viewpoint, these helpful audience members would taunt him until he retreated in confusion, question unasked. Civil discourse only applied to those who toed the party line (which in Arizona appeared to be "pure" libertarianism or market anarchism - a distinction few newcomers could understand, much less care about).
Some of these freedom-fighters stood up during the question-and-answer period to make their own pronouncements. They seemed to feel their name had been left off the speaker roster purely by accident, and they would generously correct this by taking the opportunity to hold forth. In many cases, these mini-speeches were on subjects that had nothing to do with the topic of the speaker to whom they were ostensibly asking the question.
The arrogance of the twenty-percenters was palpable - the testosterone could have been scraped off the walls with a putty knife. Much as Ayn Rand assumed that her conclusion on every subject was by definition the "rational" conclusion, so too did the twenty-percenters, on every subject including astrophysics.
This is not to say that the arrogance was undeserved - these are bright guys, no doubt. And they certainly had a thorough understanding of (most of) the subjects under debate. But they did not seem to realize that it IS possible to be both arrogant and personable, as the engaging Dr. Walter Block demonstrated. He was cocky, he was adamant, he was supremely assured of his own rightness ... and he was funny as hell. In other words, he didn't take himself too seriously. You can bet he gets all the sugar he wants.
Endless philosophy also dominated the convention - how many angels COULD dance on the head of a pin? Who was more pure? Who was more correct? Who was more extreme?
The twenty-percenters defended this by proclaiming, "You have to know your foundational principles!" And I don't debate that. But do you have any idea how ridiculous it sounds to a newcomer? It's like a Star Trek convention: "In Episode 42, you stated the warp core was ready to explode, but later sequences clearly show an implosion. How, precisely, do you explain this oversight?"
One overwhelming point of contention was a game offered by a speaker. The speaker inadvisedly used the term "believe" as opposed to "think". Several of the philosophers objected because, "They aren't the same thing" and proceeded to defend their position regarding this ad nauseum (I won't even discuss the guy who objected on the grounds that the game "aggressed against him").
I'm not saying they weren't correct, I'm not saying that clarity of speaking isn't important (although probably not quite as much as they appear to believe). I am saying that few women would want to listen to this endless philosophy, and fewer still are going to want to say something for fear of a public tarring and feathering. It is telling that out of all the audience questions, only one was posed by a woman. And it was an innocuous, "How can I do more..."
I know what you're thinking. "Women shouldn't be so sensitive. Women shouldn't be afraid of confrontation. Women shouldn't be so hung up on niceties. Women..."
Guess what? It doesn't matter. They are. And if you want a little lovin' - or just want to see more women at your local LP meeting - you need to accept and accommodate this little eccentricity of ours. Or, accept the fact that the freedom movement is always going to be a male-dominated fringe movement. And you ain't gonna be gettin' any.
Copyright © 2002 by Dakota James. Feel free to circulate, as long as full credit and copyright information are attached, and no changes are made to the text.
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