Julie Borowski Is Wrong About Libertarianism and Women

Some of you may have seen the video above which @chrstinadarling put me on to. Generally I quite like Julie Borowski’s videos, as they’re pretty good at condensing Libertarian ideas into simple, understandable chunks.

However her views on why their are so few active female Libertarians are way off the mark. Julie makes two basic points. One that women are manipulated by the media into supporting the State. And two that Libertarianism isn’t main stream enough to attract women.

I would contend both points. The first smacks of that false conciousness bull that the left love to spout. Basically people are too ignorant to understand Marxism, Libertarianism or any other ism. And or they are too stupid to understand when they are being manipulated. I don’t think people are stupid or easily manipulated. First because the media doesn’t speak with a single ideological voice. In fact it is a very muddled voice that makes very little sense. And secondly I believe most people act on their preferences and incentives and that the problem is simply that many of these incentives don’t align with Libertarian ideals. This may change when, as most Libertarians believe, our financial system realigns with reality — but it may not.

The second idea that Libertarianism needs to become more mainstream is patent nonsense. Our society, if you could describe it, is neither capitalist nor socialist, it is, I believe, a corporatist fudge. And this hasn’t occurred because people have some deep understanding of Marxism, Leninism or more importantly the views of Hitler and Mussolini. It’s because people generally seem to feel that the State is an important part of a well functioning society, rather than a threat to freedom and prosperity as Libertarians believe. In reality Libertarian philosophy is never going to become more mainstream, just as Marxism is never going to become more mainstream. The general idea that freedom from the state is a good thing may become more widely accepted — as it was in the past — but certainly not Libertarian philosophy.

In all honesty I have no idea why there aren’t more women involved in the Libertarian movement. Because If I did Libertarian Home events would become far more ‘inclusive’ over night… But I’m quite sure this issue has nothing to do with ignorance or the popularity of Hayek and Misses.

  57 comments for “Julie Borowski Is Wrong About Libertarianism and Women

  1. Tim Carpenter
    Jan 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Maybe it is that The Left puts forward the disingenuous meme that they are kind, caring, supportive, giving and intellectually honest. Maybe that is why it attracts.

    Libertarians tend not to want to be dishonest. I don’t argue with that. We need to articulate how individualism, far from isolating us all, empowers, provides space, gives opportunity to real talent, not some Nomenklatura.

    • Jan 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      It’s probably not disingenuous, most of the left genuinely believe that their view point is kind, caring and supportive.

      What’s an interesting question is why despite relative freedom increasing prosperity massively people began to question its value towards the end of the 19th century.

  2. Jan 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t think you disagree as much as you think you do. When an idea is mainstream it is exactly because it is present in distilled form in films, magazines, novels etc , and JB talks about some examples of that. think you essentially agree that there won’t be formal philosophy in those cultural artifacts, just the ideas and assumptions.

    • Jan 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      My question would be why are they present? It can’t simply be because of gross ignorance or illogic.

  3. Arianna
    Jan 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I don’t think the kind of woman who reads those dreadful magazines is likely to care enough about politics to consider libertarianism. They’re not exactly intellectually engaging. I also disagree with Borowski’s very first point: that women are overly concerned with the views of their peers. In general, people, both male and female, who don’t care to analyze the media they’re consuming or indeed think too deeply about anything at all, will end up holding mainstream statist views of one sort or another. I tend to take the view that there are fewer of these people in existence than the left-wing elite would have us believe.

    I’d certainly find the notion of dumbed-down mass-marketed libertarianism-lite appealing more to women specifically somewhat insulting.

    Then again, I’m a libertarian woman, but not involved in any Libertarian movement, unless occasional blog commenting qualifies, which I doubt. I do think it’s rather a lost cause in the UK; the system isn’t going to be overhauled anytime soon and trying to change things is largely an exercise in frustration and futility. I’d rather spend my time improving my own life and work.

  4. Jan 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Men tend to be more ideological – and that means more men support bad ideologies, such as Marxism, as well as good ideologies – such as libertarianism.

    That does not mean there are not ideological women (there most certainly are) but there are fewer of them than there are ideological men (good and bad).

    Feminism was directly targeted at women.

    But I do not think that this is a good way for libertarianism to go.

    Most women will come round to the position that the state needs to be scaled back – if it can be shown that there is a direct practical need to do so.

  5. Jan 18, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    This is my favourite video of hers, not least because the make-up is hilarious.

    She makes the most fundamental and absolutely correct point (albeit generalisation) about female vs. male psychology. Girls want to grow up and fit in, and they tend to define themselves by their social bonds; “individualism” is not a word that is likely to appeal, we might as well call it “lonerism”. Boys want to come and go and do as they please; inasmuch as they want friends at all it’s usually to try to take charge of them or beat them at something: competitiveness certainly fits well with modern libertarianism.

    I still have the phrase “you’re so immature” ringing in my ears from my schooldays: this always came from girls. The gravest insult they could muster was to claim that you weren’t behaving as the adults expected you to behave. Adults use this control mechanism (for that is what it is) against all children: it tends not to work on the boys. And this is why Julie is also correct that libertarianism has to go mainstream before the gender-gap starts to even out. Libertarianism has to be the “mature” way to think and behave, being the next big thing isn’t enough.

    Doesn’t change a thing for us in terms of strategy, it’s always been the case that some people can’t be reached with arguments, they’ll only respond to repetition; overwhelming repetition from trusted sources. I repeat, this is a generalisation, and we still have to treat each person as we find them.

    • Arianna
      Jan 19, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Could you possibly link to some evidence backing up the male/female psychological divide you’re describing as fundamental? I’m not discounting the fact that you may be correct (making me, as an individualist woman, an outlier of sorts) but an anecdote about girls calling you immature in childhood isn’t quite enough to convince me.

      I do agree, however, that the make-up in the video is amusing!

      • Jan 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm

        “evidence”

        Marriage. Next question. 😉

        Obviously we could sit and list counter-examples (Ayn Rand is an extreme case).

        • Arianna
          Jan 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm

          “Marriage.”

          Pithy, but hardly conclusive. 😉 Most marriages are still between one man and one woman. Unless you’re going to argue that women marry due to social pressure, to ‘fit in,’ and men…I don’t know, end up coerced into it by those conformist women? Hardly a ringing endorsement of the individualist spirit, for either gender.

          (I’m surmising that was a tongue-in-cheek answer, anyway, but I did ask the question out of genuine interest!)

          Ayn Rand was an exceptional and visionary individual, but that would have been equally true had she been male.

          • Jan 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

            “Most marriages are still between one man and one woman.”

            That is precisely my point, monogamy is not normal for men. Look to the right of this page, you’ll see a chart of – well hold on now – is it of the world’s most male-dominated societies?

            Also, tell a man he has to change his surname he’ll freak out, but there is zero aggro when women are asked to do this. Why are women so happy for a social bond to be quite literally part of their identity? Doesn’t happen so easily with high-status (self-defined) women: Angelina Jolie is still Angelina Jolie.

            Why can’t I show you a scientific paper? I don’t know, maybe it’s not PC to talk about this stuff, maybe it’s so obvious that nobody bothers.

            To be clear: I’m saying that monogamous marriage is an ancient victory for “feminism”; something that is primarily in the interest of women because it forces men to make a commitment.

            • Jan 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm

              Sorry RWH, but are you debating the psychology of women, with a woman based on personal anecdotes and tangentially related stats? Hmm, I do believe men capable of empathy almost as sensitive as a female’s but you are coming at this from a disadvantaged position, if your avatar is anything to go by.

  6. Jan 19, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I’ve just watched that video again. Anybody else notice that she has a blue tongue? An annotation near the start says “thumbs up for blue candy”.

    F*cking hilarious.

  7. Jan 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    @Simon Clearly I know this argument (above) is going to p*ss people off. What did Oscar Wilde say? If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh: otherwise they’ll kill you. Polygamy has been banned since Ancient Rome: BANNED. It is natural for men, it is not great for women. Monogamy is now a such an ingrained cultural norm that men would comply with it, legal or otherwise. I am not trying to say it’s good or we should do it, I’m just saying that we (men) want it. Also, that was an ad hominem: shame on you. (My avatar is supposed to look like a hippy, not George Best or A N Other lothario, if that’s what you mean)

    • Arianna
      Jan 20, 2013 at 8:12 am

      “To be clear: I’m saying that monogamous marriage is an ancient victory for “feminism”; something that is primarily in the interest of women because it forces men to make a commitment.”

      Interesting. In the Western world, at least, incidences of men being “forced” to get married and make that legal commitment I would imagine are very low. If you want a poly relationship, there are plenty of other people out there who are into that, you’ve just got to find them. Sure, it’s not a cultural norm, but is that really the most important thing? In a libertarian society, surely people’s living arrangements and any contractual agreements they decide on to formalize them should be their concern and nobody else’s.

      With regard to Ancient Rome and their banning of polygamy, remember that women had practically zero legal power and were considered to be the property of their fathers or husbands. It wasn’t the women of Rome who passed that law. Monogamy-as-cultural-norm I would say has more to do with the historical spread and influence of Christianity than anything else, even if it originated earlier. Note also that while Rome enshrined in law the idea that a man could have only one *legal* wife, this was in order to simplify inheritance laws and avoid disputes, not to legislate morality. Concubinage was still legal, and prostitution was common.

      As for your point on women changing their names in your above post, in the past this had much to do with coverture, which is the idea that a married woman’s legal identity was subsumed into her husband’s: she couldn’t independently sign contracts or own property, but was seen as part of a family unit headed by him. Personal anecdote: I don’t plan on ever getting married, but if for some reason I did consider it, my potential husband wanting or expecting me to change my name would be a massive red flag that told me maybe we didn’t have as many shared values as I imagined.

      Interesting as this discussion is, I fear we’re straying somewhat off-topic! I don’t believe marriage, historic or modern, is evidence of the psychology of women being profoundly different to that of men as far as the authoritarian/libertarian divide is concerned.

      (I figured your avatar was a hippy, given your name! For what it’s worth, in case it’s not coming across well through text, I’m not “p*ssed off” in the slightest by the fact that you disagree with me. I enjoy a good civil debate now and then!)

      • Jan 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

        Simon seemed a bit pee’d off, not you. Nice of him to try to protect you from me though: LOL*.

        “…men being “forced” to get married and make that legal commitment…”

        Historically, it was hands off until you’ve signed your life away, not so much now. And there are a lot of serial monogamists out there. These days in the West, easy divorce and alimony approximates polygamy. (It really is much closer than you would think, polygamists tend to be very much like serial monogamists in practice.)

        “Sure, it’s not a cultural norm, but is that really the most important thing?”

        Analogy: life’s still pretty tough out there if you’re a gay teenager in a small town.

        “women…considered to be the property of their fathers or husbands”

        More evidence of male sociopathy, and female acquiesance.

        “It wasn’t the women of Rome who passed that law[…] Rome enshrined in law the idea that a man could have only one *legal* wife, this was in order to simplify inheritance laws and avoid disputes, not to legislate morality. Concubinage was still legal, and prostitution was common.”

        I bow to your superior knowledge, but I’m sceptical about this. I don’t think it’s right to assume that women had no influence in the past. As for the point about extra-marital “sins”, there has been one rule for the wealthy and another for everyone else for a very long time.

        “Monogamy-as-cultural-norm I would say has more to do with the historical spread and influence of Christianity than anything else, even if it originated earlier.”

        I certainly agree with this.

        Alright, well I give up on marriage psychology.

        Getting back to the point: I agree with JB on this (idiot mags aside, men have their own versions of these). To my mind we won’t have many female libertarians at least until we realise that women for the most part are not individualists. I bet C4SS has more women floating about than most of the standard lib. sites.

        I am pleased to hear that you would refuse to change your name: you do realise this is not normal.

        I don’t want to claim that women are inherently more authoritarian BTW, mostly more social, and less self-determined. Actually, I’m pretty sure authoritarianism comes mostly from men, at least currently existing authoritarianism.

        It is an irony that I was invited to a wedding yesterday?

        *I LOL very rarely, it is silly.

      • Jan 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm

        Adrianna I generally agree. But as you make clear these issues are far more complicated than can easily be discussed on a comment thread.

        For example it would be deeply unfair to suggest that there were no powerful or influential women in Roman society. They may not have had direct power but often wielded it via proxy or through exploitation of certain male failings. And I also believe that Native American societies had very different set ups to Western society. Often with Women having choice over issues like divorce.

        Also the monogamy thing I’m sure as you say has far more to do with economic, legal and health logic than moral. I think the idea of moral monogamy is only a very recent development — maybe the last 200 years. Because even looking at Renaissance history you can tell there was a clear separation between marriage and sex/love.

        And as for the main topic. The only feeling I get is that the act of modern politics turns a lot of women off. Rather than the issue being ignorance or lack of interest in political topics. But having said that interest in political activism, across the board, has been declining for decades.

        • Jan 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm

          “[Prof. John Witte Jr.] said ancient Greek and Roman philosophers described monogamous marriage as ‘natural and necessary’ to foster mutual love, respect and companionship among husbands and wives.

          In contrast, he said the Roman emperors who established the first anti-polygamy laws in the third century denounced the practice as ‘unnatural and dangerous,’ placing it in the same category as rape and incest. In some cases, polygamy was punishable by death.”

          From here.

          Quite obviously it was natural, “unnatural and dangerous” matches what some people say about homosexuality.

          I’m not sure I’m bothered whether we call this moral motivation or not, but I’m convinced that the ban was for the sake of women (and by implication their children), not for men. If this were not true, if it were simply in everyone’s best interest, it wouldn’t have required legislation.

          • Richard Carey
            Jan 22, 2013 at 1:22 am

            If you ask the average man if he minds his wife/girlfriend having sex with another man, he’ll tell you that he does mind.
            If you ask the average woman the same question about her husband/boyfriend, likewise she will prefer that he does not.
            Yes, there will be some who don’t care or who positively welcome it, but, as I say, the average person prefers to have an exclusive access to their partner’s body and, more importantly affections.
            I surmise that the popularity of monogamy amongst mature adults (i.e. past their ‘wild oats sowing’ phase) is due to human nature.

          • Tim Carpenter
            Jan 22, 2013 at 1:44 am

            Male polygamy, from a gene-pool acquisition perspective, favours women.

            Why?

            100 men, 100 women.
            On average, with monogamy, top man marries top woman. 2nd best man, 2nd best woman and so on.

            With polygamy, No1 man marries no’s 1 thru 5 women. No2 man marries the woman ranked No6 thru 9, say.

            No3 man in polygamy marries, at best woman ranked No10, vs woman ranked no 3 under monogamy, and the men ranked below 40 or so? No chance at all.

          • Arianna
            Jan 22, 2013 at 6:45 am

            Fair point. There was likely more than one reason for the ban; these things are rarely simple. Monogamy certainly wasn’t (and isn’t) in *everyone’s* best interest, male or female. I was more taking issue with the fact that you framed it as some sort of proto-feminist victory, when the legislation was passed by men. Pseudo-benevolent ‘oh, we have to pass this law, for the women’s sake’ isn’t quite the same.

        • Arianna
          Jan 22, 2013 at 7:01 am

          Yes, there were some very powerful and influential women in Ancient Rome, but, as you said, their power was largely wielded indirectly. They were exceptions who succeeded despite the legal inequalities of the time. But anyway, yes, complex and outside the scope of this thread!

          I’d agree with modern politics rather than apathy or ignorance being the root of many people’s disinterest. Personally, my moment of disillusionment came back in 2003, when upwards of a million people protested in London against the Iraq war, to seemingly no effect on the people in power. That’s when I stopped seeing the activism of ordinary people as being a potential catalyst for political change. Whether this an attitude more commonly held by women, though, I couldn’t say.

    • Jan 20, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Ad hominem, I suppose so, but only on he basis that your avatar looks to be male and Arianna seems female and the OP is about female psychology. I meant nothing else by it.

  8. Jan 20, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Its important to mention women as a group are the largest beneficiaries of the state.
    Men pay far more tax than women, and women receive far more handouts than men.

    There are 100’s of examples, the difference in U.K state pension age for women is just one example. Women are disproportionally employed by the state.
    Can anyone think of a law that is there specifically to positively discriminate in favour of men?

    This is why labour claim the ‘Austerity’ hits women harder.

    What’s in it for women to roll back the state when it advantages them in general?

    ALSO

    Men can anticipate never being dependent throughout most of their lives, women in general anticipate being dependent at some point. They see it as a necessity in life to have support, either voluntary or otherwise.

  9. Devika
    Jan 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I think there are some basic differences in the way men and women lead their lives. Basic differences in preferences and priorities.

    For most women in the 21st century, what’s the priority: Be financially independent, start a family, manage a successful one and be prepared for retirement. There is a lot of long term thinking for personal / selfish reasons. There are also the biological and physical reasons which make the above urgent. Also, woman are generally more emotional than men (i think that’s safe to say is a fact), so falling in love before the above starts is a preference. So their actions focus a lot on emotions and the way they think about relationships, and all this meant in a good way, and not necessarily the way Julie Borowski talks about it.

    Libertarianism, or any other theory for that matter which challenges the status quo, requires time and commitment to understand, grasp and then eventually act upon to make any difference to one’s life. You could say that most woman are more short term than men in that respect, and that not investing their time in a cause like libertarianism will prevent many long term benefits to society. But to do that, something will have to go to some extent, and most women do not make that sacrifice unless they have some form of support from their relationships. And libertarianism, which at the moment, is so early in its stages of finding a place in today’s society, holds little incentive for woman where some of their other priorities take precedence, due to emotional, biological and / or financial reasons.

    I do feel that because of some of the above reasons, women tend not to go deeply into matters outside of their immediate remit. There are some exceptions, of course, and I’m proud of them, but they remain ‘exceptions’.

  10. James Rigby
    Jan 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    It could all be something as mundane as the fact that many libertarian meetings take place in pubs and bars in the evening. Men tend to find it more comfortable to walk alone into a pub full of strangers. Also, speaking from personal experience, it’s easier for me to pop in to the pub after work than it is for my partner as she would have to find a babysitter etc. Perhaps the answer is to have some libertarian meetups in more female-friendly and family-friendly times and places.

  11. Devika
    Jan 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    What’s wrong with Rose & Crown…Plus, something as trivial as choice of venue doesn’t seem to explain much.

    On James’s point, what do we mean by ‘female friendly’ places, and can we please not suggest parks and picnics.

    • Jan 21, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      Starbucks*. Shiny glass-fronted bars where trendy young people go. Hotels have nice quiet bars, though possibly not big enough. Varying the day and time would also be a good experiment.

      “something as trivial as choice of venue doesn’t seem to explain much”

      Not in the grand scheme of things, but it’s bound to effect who turns up at Lib Home meetups. The Rose & Crown is a place for grumpy old men. I hate places like that, and I’m only slightly effeminate.

      *Make a record of how much is spent on “Starbucks Meetups”, stuff it up on the blog as a widget with a target spend. Wind-up Margaret Hodge and her ilk. Just a thought. (I am in a silly mood this week.)

      • Arianna
        Jan 22, 2013 at 6:36 am

        I’d probably turn up to a Starbucks meetup, actually – at least once, to satisfy my curiosity. Make of that what you will…

  12. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:50 am

    @Richard Yes, men don’t want to share either, no surprise, but polygamy mostly means one man many women. In sharia the women can be “adulterers” but not the men. The point here is about promiscuity: yes no-one likes to share, but men are much more likely to want to spread it around. Both sides fall in love of course, but this is a pre-marriage genetic trick that works against male promiscuity in particular, and it only lasts for some months (just long enough to protect a pregnant woman). Just look at gay relationships between men: the culture is hedonistic and promiscuous (group sex not unusual), those who want gay marriage are not the the mainstream. That’s what happens when you take women out of the equation.

    @Tim You are right about the “greater good” argument here. But I don’t believe this was about men. Why doesn’t a polygamy ban happen in the male-dominated afro-/islamic societies of today? Christian morality is very feminine by comparison to Judaism/Islam. If we are to go this route then the argument that is currently made in Africa (where this is normal) is that polygamy results in poverty for the children of polygamists: the men’s libido bigger than their wallets. It doesn’t take a genius to see who (which adults) think they will benefit from banning this. In reality a man’s ability to pay is a) a limit on the number of wives and children he can afford to keep, and b) a limit on how attractive he is to a woman: who wants a man who’s already struggling to feed his family when there are others who aren’t? The high-status men who can afford multiple wives will be in favour of polygamy, so you are relying on low-status men who don’t have the means being the driver of legislation: remember this is Rome not democratic Greece. It seems to me that this corresponds to a modern labour union restricting access to the industry: high status women already married to high-status men don’t want to share them (as Richard also says).

    @Arianna “you framed it as some sort of proto-feminist victory” I also regard Christianity in general as a proto-feminist victory. In the sense that socialism and feminism are closely related. The Christian God is feminine, Jesus was feminine, and a socialist (albeit voluntaristic).

    Notice we stayed with polygamy and haven’t even got to the point about marriage in general: polygamy in-itself is a step up from “f*ck em and chuck em”. There is still commitment.

  13. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:58 am

    @Arianna “Personally, my moment of disillusionment came back in 2003, when upwards of a million people protested in London against the Iraq war, to seemingly no effect on the people in power.

    Imagine if we could’ve raised a petition and recalled Blair from office directly. Then there would have been no war (no petition either, the threat of one would have been enough to stop him trying).

    Speaking of things that put women off. Coercive socialists ought to repel more strongly than they do:

    “The largest far-left organisation in Britain, the Socialist Workers Party, is currently imploding in the aftermath of a shocking internal scandal. After a leading figure was accused of raping a member, the party set up a ‘court’ staffed with senior party members, which exonerated him.”

    From here.

  14. Richard Carey
    Jan 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    “The Christian God is feminine, Jesus was feminine, and a socialist”

    You seem to be using your own definitions of words, which is fine, but doesn’t aid communication.

    • Jan 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      The God of the old testament punishes and smites and demands war. (Male)
      The God of the new testament cares and forgives and wants peace. (Female)
      I don’t imagine you mean to tell me it’s wrong to call Jesus a socialist?

      • Richard Carey
        Jan 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm

        I most certainly am taking issue with calling Jesus a socialist. Care to back it up?

        • Jan 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm

          I’m not calling him a Marxist, just a voluntaristic socialist.

          Here’s an article a lot of people here will find interesting.

          A response, (rightly) decrying the claim from the first article that Jesus was a Marxist (coercivistic socialist), includes this:

          “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no-one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. . . . There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it as the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. (Acts 4:32-35)”

          …that article also denies that Jesus was any kind of socialist. But I don’t think he reads his Bible:

          “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23-24)

          …Matthew was quoting Jesus there. Is that enough, should I find something on usury?

          Both of those are great articles in their own way. Which, incidentally, I would never have found if you hadn’t challenged me. 🙂

      • Tim Carpenter
        Jan 23, 2013 at 12:36 am

        The “God of the old” vs “God of the new” undermines the whole idea of eternal everlasting to everlasting gig, no?

        Still, the persona known as Jesus appears to have learnt many things from his, alleged, trip to India. In particular, aspects of Buddhism.

        I’d say Jesus was more Buddhist than Socialist or “feminine”

      • Arianna
        Jan 23, 2013 at 6:53 am

        That’s…a pretty low opinion of the male psyche you’re putting forward there, all violent and warmongering. Sounds like the sort of thing an essentialist feminist might say.

        It’s true that Jesus had a higher regard for women than most in his society at the time. It’s not true that the Christian church represented a victory for women or for feminism. You’ve only got to read Paul’s letters to see that. Certainly the erasing of all traces of female divinity puts it far below the ancient pantheons which had a range of archetypes of both genders presented. (Alright, so one could argue for ‘Sophia’ or ‘The Holy Spirit’ being in some way female-gendered, but that hardly compares to God the Father and the Son.)

        Today, in a society in which men and women are legally considered equal, women are still barred from being priests of the Catholic Church, because of Paul’s teaching that it’s wrong for a woman to be in authority over a man.

        I agree about Jesus’ (completely voluntaristic, but still) socialist tendencies. He didn’t have a very high opinion of wealthy people unless they gave away what they had.

        • Jan 23, 2013 at 9:38 am

          A male “archetype” is aggressive, warmongering; a female “archetype” peaceful, but most people (and Gods) fall somewhere in-between.

          It’s all relative, he’s relatively feminine and relatively socialistic for his time. And I would hardly be the first person to point out that modern “Christian” behaviour doesn’t seem to have much to do with Jesus.

  15. Paul Marks
    Jan 22, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Jesus the “socialist”.

    “My Kingdom is not of this world” would seem to rule him out of politics.

    And I see no evidence that Jesus ever supported the state, or private criminals, using FORCE to take property from one person and give it to another (or to make collective the means of production, distribution and exchange).

    The “Social Gospel” is an old heresy – but it is just that (a heresy).

    Of course, as a semi Pelagian – I am a bit of a heretic myself.

  16. Richard Carey
    Jan 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    RWH,

    I’ve seen the comment. Surely the second link disproved the dirty commie rat who wrote the first, which is an attempt to convince American Christians to dump capitalism and embrace collectivism.

    Most of the people he names are not libertarians, but right-wingers (I know the two are not mutually exclusive, but he seems to think the two categories are mutually inclusive). If he had something to say about Christianity and libertarianism, he would have dealt with the prominent Americans who are both, such as Ron Paul and Judge Napolitano. Of course, as in this country, there are many prominent libertarians who are atheist, and this same mix is found amongst influencial thinkers from the past. For every Herbert Spencer there is a Lord Acton.

    The Christian religion places a great deal of emphasis on the individual, and recognises private property (‘thou shalt not steal’ presupposes property rights). Jesus clearly distinguishes between Caesar and God. Socialists, whether professing Christianity or not, conflate the two and call it the State.

    • Jan 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      One of the things I found most interesting about those articles where how much they tell you about American politics. You are quite right that the first guy was a “dirty commie rat”, but the other guy wasn’t honest either, and the criticism that Americans like to pretend that Jesus was a capitalist is fair: that is a ludicrous idea. If it wasn’t, any number of yanks would be throwing quotes around all over the place: “see, Jesus says we must get into derivatives!”, they don’t.

      There is a distinction between Jesus and modern Christianity as practiced, which the first guy recognised. “Thou shalt not steal” came from Moses*, but Jesus (and other voluntaristic socialists) agree with this, without necessary contradiction. By “voluntaristic socialist” I mean to say anti-authoritarian or even anarchist: IE, one of the good guys. In his utopia I get to carry on holding property, and even become rich. Hoarding money will not get me into Heaven, but since that doesn’t exist, I don’t give a toss. Jesus might think I’m a selfish SoB, but he won’t come pointing his gladius at me.

      Marxists think the state is God (government loaves and fishes are conjured out of nowhere), but not every socialist is a state socialist.

      *These two would not have got on.

      • Richard Carey
        Jan 23, 2013 at 9:33 am

        I’ve seen no more evidence to support the notion that Jesus was a socialist that there is to support the notion that Jesus was an Arsenal fan. I’ve looked around to find such arguments (not having found them here) and they all seem shallow. The idea that exhorting people to charitable acts is somehow an endorsement of socialism is unsustainable. In fact the latter is a rejection of the former.

      • Richard Carey
        Jan 23, 2013 at 9:35 am

        … neither does the insertion of the word voluntarist change anything,

        • Jan 23, 2013 at 9:49 am

          I honestly don’t know what you are on about Richard, you don’t seem to be aware of any form of socialism other than Marxism. There are plenty of socialists who believe in property, and co-operation vs. competition. Find me something that shows that Jesus was in favour of competition and private capital investment for profit and I might have to change my tune.

          • Richard Carey
            Jan 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

            I haven’t said that. I have asked you to substantiate your assertion that Jesus was a socialist, which I don’t think you have done. You have merely repeated it.

            I am well aware there are various different versions of socialism – at least one version per socialist in my experience, which is one reason it is frustrating arguing with socialists.

  17. Paul Marks
    Jan 23, 2013 at 5:20 am

    Various Popes spent a lot of time refuting the idea that the early Christians held all goods in common. See the debate on Franciscan poverty and so on.

    • Jan 23, 2013 at 9:45 am

      I’m not trying make that claim, but the socialistic response to a crisis in that passage above is rather telling.

      “Pelagian” eh? It’s nice to know you feel responsible for your actions. In-my-humble-opinion original sin and absolution are the worst ideas that come out of Christianity: a little too feminine? More smiting needed. Especially of Tony Blair.

  18. Paul Marks
    Jan 23, 2013 at 9:57 am

    RWH – there is a lot of nastyness in Old T. as well – if one gets away from the King James translation and deals with a text that is easy to understand.

    For example, how many times have I heard people (or many different political points of view) praising Joseph in Egypt (many times….).

    The real Joseph does not seem to good in a straight forward translation (such as the 1960s Jerusalem Bible – Alexander James’s totally mainstream but READABLE version).

    First Joseph advices the ruler to take the crops by force from the people (which prevents them storing the surplus themselves) then (when the bad times come) the people get their own food back again – BUT only (first) by giving up their livestock, then their farms (the land itself).

    The people lose big – the ruler gets everything.

    The Bible is not the Koran – it is a lot of different people who, although they may be inspired (say they have warning dreams) look through a darkened glass, and ……… up most of what they do.

  19. Paul Marks
    Jan 23, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Are monasteries and so on, examples of socialism?

    Perhaps – if people are not allowed to leave.

    Socialism without force is like water that is dry.

    I am reminding of the M. homes in Ireland – where unmarried mothers (and so on) were so badly treated.

    When they were founded (back in the 19th century) they were actually a GOOD thing – a refuge from nasty people who wanted to force women into prostitution and so on.

    When did these places turn from good to evil?

    When they started to lock the doors……

    • Jan 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      “Socialism without force is like water that is dry”

      This is the same semantic debate I seem to be having with Richard, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  20. Paul Marks
    Jan 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    RWH – yes that is fine.

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