Within my little twitter circle of liberty, there seems to have been some controversy regarding some opinions of how the liberty-loving community can recruit more women. In short, libertarian YouTube mini-star (LYTMS…you too, can be one of these) Julie Borowski posted this video addressing why there is a dearth of libertarian (small “l”) women.
The original video has impressive entertainment value (with 30,000+ hits, as of this writing), and has initiated a discussion among the liberty-minded. I will summarize some generalizations about women that have been both proposed, refuted, or affirmed by all involved. These generalizations are presupposed to be anti-liberty traits, thus making it difficult to attract the gentler sex to liberty ideas. Women, in general, are…
- more social
- more collectively minded
- more susceptible to trying to “fit in”
- more likely to make to decisions with feeling rather than by thinking (research facts were actually noted by Caplan; women tend to be 30/70 thinking to feeling while men tend to be 60/40 on Myers-Briggs tests)
- less argumentative (according to Murphy)
It appears that some of these generalizations may be true about women, in general. However, I think maybe the discussion misses the point. The point is how do you sell liberty to a population that has been force fed safety, collectivism, and the “government is always right” (at least about the big things) propaganda? Whether the generalizations above are true or false about any segment of the population is less important than if there ARE segments of the population who think that way. In fact, if I crunch the numbers correctly from Caplan’s data, assuming 50/50, male/female, then there are more FEELERS in general, and this includes nearly half of all men. Indeed there are plenty of women AND men too, who feel more than think, who are less argumentative, and who think we should all help each other out.
I must diverge here, just a bit. An equally impressive video could have been made about men, and how they fall into the marketing trap of media as well. Just think about video games, NFL, etc. Take a look at a men’s health or bodybuilding magazine, sometime. Men and women are both equally capable of begging for free handouts, while blowing their resources on trifles. All are vulnerable to propaganda and uninformed hypocrisy.
OK, back on point… A consistent message of why liberty actually makes us safer, wealthier, and more cooperative is the rub here. That requires persistence and patience. It requires people who can reach beyond the stuffy academic arguments and be entertaining, and it requires a simple approach. Look to Julie Borowski…she’s nailed that (she needs a sponsor).
I suggest that maybe the four facts below might be a consistent message to deliver to those who a) feel, b) those who think we should “cooperate and help each other,” and for c) those who don’t like arguments. In fact, as they are explained over and over again, liberty facts sell themselves to anybody with an open mind, who is not too far gone.
- Non-aggression — No person has the right to take the property of another through any means. To do so is violence.
- Government represents the ultimate form of aggression — taxes, war, fees, regulations, and controls are all violence against individuals. They forcibly take the property and freedom of individuals who have hurt nobody.
- People will help others and cooperate without government aggression (in fact, they do it all the time) — some people will be more selfish than others, but in the end most people understand reciprocity. If they do good, then they get it back. They inherently know that sharing, giving, helping and serving others is the right thing to do and is in their best interest. Likewise, they inherently know that to cheat, steal, kill is wrong, and will lead to their own demise. This goes for 98% of all people (maybe more).
- The government is not “here to help” — some claim that government knowingly does evil. I think maybe the institution of the State just can’t help itself. It grows and grows, and feeds on the productive in the name of doing good, when in fact it just creates more misery. Having the state’s powers minimized allows for people to act in more natural ways and accomplish #3 above. Furthermore, one of those 2% who aren’t “good,” who are in government (and I anecdotally guess that these sociopaths are overrepresented in government service) can do far worse than an individual committing evil on her own.
I agree with Caplan, that we need to market our ideas to the “feelers” (men and women). Again, this requires a persistent message that shows how the state does so much damage to the individual. We need to make those “feelers” hearts bleed, with counter-stories of how guns don’t kill people, government does. Then we can fight for “government” control, rather than gun control.
No doubt it will be an uphill battle. I’m in!