I’m sure, given how vast the world is, that someone out there has formulated a non-coercive form of Naziism, paradoxical as it may sound, and perhaps somewhere there’s even a non-coercive form of Naziism that makes no false empirical claims. But we would rightly say we are not going to give such eccentrics much weight — or bend over backwards to speak open-mindedly of “diverse Naziisms” — before judging Naziism in general a bad thing.
Likewise, feminism in virtually all of its formulations considers many outcomes of voluntary and market activity “unjust.” Furthermore, feminism reaches such conclusions for reasons not so unlike those that Naziism does: because, despite the fact that we can bend over backwards finding something admirable in feminism, it is at base a partisan, bigoted, tribalist philosophy that is amorphous precisely because its real underlying motivation is “whatever seems to help our side, women.”
Just as one does not act surprised when “white power” skinheads embrace one policy rule today and a seemingly contradictory one tomorrow — all with the advancement of their own group, just or unjust, as their real political lodestar — no one is surprised that feminists lie in wait hoping for chances to use law, or mere guilt-tripping, or bad philosophy, or relativism as tactically required to advance their self-serving agenda (with the results routinely being anti-libertarian ones, whether it’s the explicit embrace of legislation or the mere assertion that voluntary, market-based interactions are unjust, with the listeners [most of whom are statists] left to draw their own inevitable conclusions, likely leading to laws, lawsuits, or simply more groundless guilt-tripping claims about what social patterns “ought” to have resulted despite market-expressed preferences of the participants).
Let’s please stop pretending feminists’ aims are noble or even morally-universalist in the bare-minimum sense that we normally expect from modern creeds (as opposed to anti-modern or ancient — and frankly particularist — ones). It’s a pseudo-philosophy for juvenile, self-serving savages, but, again, chivalry (the frequent partner of feminism) discourages saying so openly when the fairer sex might be offended, one of intellectual history’s great and tragic ironies.
And speaking of self-serving savages, might evolutionary psychology have far more to teach us about natural and thus possible and thus likely gender roles (not all the same thing, of course) than feminism with its artificially egalitarian premises? If one wanted to study fish and deer, one would not for a moment feel aided by a philosophy that warned, in a scolding voice, that one must begin by assuming — assuming! — that fish and deer are “equals” (In what sense? We don’t yet know — they just damn well better look “equal” when all is said and done, buster!).
Obviously, fish-deer equivalency theory would be a prima facie impediment to rational, empirical inquiry, and we should at the very least begin by setting it aside, if not necessarily condemning it outright, since it keeps leading otherwise well-meaning and open-minded investigators to conclude that if there are more fish than deer in the river and more deer than fish in the forest, it “must” be the result of some injustice — possibly to be rectified by law but, if not, then through massive fish-deer relocation efforts on the part of guilt-wracked volunteers. Well, to hell with all that, and with feminism.
If feminism is an a priori moral claim, it is fundamentally and quite radically at odds with libertarian, market-based thinking. If it is an empirical claim about the equivalency of the genders, well, the market will test that claim, won’t it? And if it is some incoherent hodgepodge of the two, its time on this Earth and its time distorting and damaging philosophical dialogue has already gone on quite long enough. Perhaps it has already impeded the creation of the far happier and smoother gender relations that would otherwise have been built on the foundations of (for example) evolutionary psychology and traditionalist insights about gender “complementarity.” It is not libertarians’ place to say qua libertarians.
A wide-open empirical question — such as whether tradition or avant-gardism produces greater happiness — should surely not be incorporated into the basic moral rules of a society, and certainly not into a philosophy such as libertarianism, which has as its greatest strength a willingness to keep groundrules minimal — while society (possibly over the course of centuries) works out the answer (or diverse answers) to most big social questions.
If you think you’ve already solved the gender-relations question, good for you, but that doesn’t rightly make it part of society’s legal groundrules or the basic premises of libertarian thinking any more than the latest results of psych studies aimed at seeing whether kids are made happier by Mozart or Britney Spears.
P.S. But if you disagree and must say so, you can always catch me tonight circa 10 at Jen Dziura’s “Man-Pageant” thirtieth birthday party at Madame X — which, as it happens, will be feminist Jen’s rather Weimar-like foray into male-model stage show-organizing. I am not one of the models, I should make clear.