Thursday, August 30, 2012

feminism, atheism, libertarianism?

This is what I have posted, so far, here, note that this is a link to the blog Almost Diamonds, by Stephanie Zvan, not a direct link to my post.
The link to the source for the 'equity' feminist description is here, which is a link to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
I will make a longer comment about these things later.

----(the posted comment starts here)----
I have never described myself as an 'equity feminist',  nor am I banned here (or anywhere else that I know of), but I do hold what are usually thought of as classically libertarian views.  I do see these views as being left out of Atheism Plus, by at least some definitions.  I am not sure that this matters to me as I will do what I was doing before A+ came along with regards to social justice issues with probably very few changes.

"I’m sure there will plenty to critique on method."  This is what I have time to do right now, since this is not my day job (and it is the middle of the workday here).  I will try and get to this part "Equity feminists, give me data" later, though to be honest I am not sure how much data exists on the topic (pertaining to the claims you would like to examine or in general).  This is in part at least because libertarian (classic or the more Republican-esque variety in the US) is not a particularly common philosophy, and it has not (so far as I know) been the dominant philosophy in any society large enough to compare to the US.  Given what I am guessing will be a few (if any) sources of data I presume could be found to compare to, does the progressive view simply declare victory on the issue (either due to lack of evidence or lack of abundant evidence)?

"..the only morally significant source of oppression of women is the state" from 'Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  The corresponding truth claim suggested is this:
"Is there coercive interference outside the state that leads to the oppression of women?"
This completely ignores the modifier 'morally significant.'  This may be because it is much harder to treat the original statement as a testable truth claim (without an a priori agreed upon moral standard for both parties).  In any event, they are different statements, and the test methodology would need to be correspondingly different.

Again, quoted from 'Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Some equity feminists see a nonpolitical role for feminism, helping women to benefit from their freedom by developing beneficial character traits or strategies for success, or navigating among their increasing options."  The corresponding truth claims: 
"Do laws that treat women differently than men grant special privileges instead of or beyond protecting from coercive interference?
Does developing “beneficial character traits or strategies for success” eliminate any coercive interference so that no state (or local proxy for the state, given the scope of recent discussions) intervention is required?"
I think that at least the first of these is a perfectly fine question to ask, and is the corresponding truth claim to the position given.  The second statement about 'beneficial character traits, etc.' suffers from the same problem as the first truth claim.  The two 'sides' are probably using different criteria (and metrics) of beneficial, success, and moral.  Skepticism is certainly a good method for arguing about consequences, and sometimes for arguing about intent leading to consequences (where they are correlated, or totally uncorrelated), but this fits (in my opinion) in the middle ground where 'both sides' will end up yelling past one another.

"Other equity feminists are socially conservative and argue that, while the state should not enforce them, traditional values function as bulwarks against state power and produce independent and self-restraining citizens."  Before I get to the corresponding suggested truth claims, this implies that the previous group of feminists are not socially conservative and that socially conservative people would like to limit state power in favor of self-restraint.  I do not know what the source of the first implication is (and have not had the time to read all of the entry, let alone the sources, in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that was linked to) but I do not think this point has much bearing on what follows other than as an indication of the potential bias of the writer.  The same could be sad for the mention of conservatives wanting to limit state power, though this is also true of classical liberal and libertarian philosophy.  Now, the corresponding suggested truth claims:
"Do “traditional values” decrease state power?
Do they promote “independent and self-restraining citizens?"
This suffers the (by now) usual problem of vague definitions which are not necessarily agreed upon by equity feminists and gender feminists.

I want to make a longer comment on the topic, but I am still composing it.  In the mean time I would like to address a few of the comments made here (rather than the post):
'Tis Himself (#1): Not all libertarians think the government is the only coercive thing in existence (or necessarily even the *most* coercive thing) but they do all (to a greater and lesser extent) find government coercion morally objectionable.  Having things you would rather being doing might be coerced behavior, but unless you feel you are being coerced immorally it is not the same comparison.
Tige Gibson (#2): Libertarianism is not 'right or left' in essence.  It is anti-authoritarian which is typically a different variable since there are authoritarian left and authoritarian right philosophies (and their opposites).

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