Twelve Thoughts On Feminism And Its Place In Today’s Political Environment
Caitlin Johnstone

I consider myself, in some respects, quite a feminist. I am also an ardent libertarian; my feminism follows as a logical outcome of libertarianism. But the article makes some good points about how reality is frequently more complicated than theory.

Why can’t we just completely ignore all issues of race and gender and accept that everyone is exactly equal? As Caitlyn points out, reproductive issues cannot easily be swept under the table: women can get pregnant and give birth, whole men cannot. And this creates an asymmetry: during pregnancy, birth and in the years after that, women’s “productivity” (as measured by employers) go down. This may well be an important reason why they end up getting paid lower salaries. Add to this the frequency with which men just up and leave, and you have a problem.

Now in libertarian thought, one function of government is to enforce contracts. And I would think that when people engage in intercourse, there is an implicit contract: sex may result in a baby, and if so, both parents are responsible, not just the mother. Period. As such, it seems to me that one thing that may help here is if fathers are forced to contribute their part, if necessary on pain of imprisonment or sequestration. Deadbeat fathers are a major cause of much of the trouble we currently have in the west, including children’s bad progress at school.

What I don’t get is that in many western countries, there are already laws that say precisely this. Somehow the laws are just not applied. Why not? That may be a fruitful avenue of research. Of course, such laws should also address the much rarer but real issue of deadbeat mothers, who dump the baby in dad’s lap and runs off with the football jock.

I am also perfectly in favor of one of Johnstone’s other suggestions, namely female-only clubs and Facebook groups, etc. It should be noted though that the right to form such private clubs, in which membership can be denied to anyone on any grounds, is once again a libertarian solution. I am very skeptical of the notion of government regulating every aspect of people’s private lives.

In the end, I’m not sure we’re going to be able to have our cake and eat it. The very fact that we need special protections for women tells us that there really, genuinely, are inherent differences between the sexes. If there weren’t, feminists would have been clamoring for and end to gender-separated sports events. Thus we need to think very carefully about what kind of laws we want. Applause to Caitlyn Johnstone, for taking on the issue — it’s a real can of worms.