Re: Fuck. Yes.
all-left.net is run by Roderick, not by me.
For what it’s worth, I certainly agree that our essay should not be the only thing cited in a discussion of libertarian feminism.
The “Libertarian Feminism” essay was not written in ignorance of ALF or the work that y’all have done. It would not be too much to say that if it weren’t for ALF I probably never would have become a libertarian — it was specifically a couple of essays by you, Sharon, and some others by Joan Kennedy Taylor, which really opened me up to the possibilities of radical individualism, and taught me my first and most important lessons on libertarian and market anarchist approaches to social justice. (It’s the libertarian part that I needed convincing on. As a man I am come to feminism with a certain distance that women don’t have — but I’m not exactly writing from the outside looking in, either. While I’ve seen my share of ivory towers, I am not a professional academic, and I actually came to libertarian thought by way of years of prior work within local feminist groups, GLBT groups, and anti-rape/anti-battery activism — work which started for some pretty heavy personal as well as political reasons — and which eventually lead to anarcha-feminist organizing efforts, which lead…..)
It is true that men writing critical assessments of women’s work, including (especially?) in the feminist movement, are necessarily in a tricky position, and we are prone to all kinds of dumb moves and bad faith. No doubt in that essay and elsewhere I’ve neglected a lot that oughtn’t have been neglected and said things that are off-kilter or mistaken. But I don’t think it’s fair to infer from a failure to talk about something in the essay that we are oblivious, or don’t think that it’s important; lots of things we wanted to talk about, we didn’t get the chance to. I don’t think we claimed that no 20th/21st century libertarian feminists ever drew a connection between patriarchy and statism, or that Wendy McElroy is the only voice of “libertarian feminism” out there. Certainly the discussion (in section 2) of a number of common libertarian errors about feminism wasn’t intended to suggest that there aren’t any libertarian feminists who have pointed out and corrected those errors. If what we wrote, or what we neglected to write, does suggest that, then that’s absolutely a mistake, and I’ll publicly retract it.
For whatever it’s worth, in the essay we do allude to ALF and discuss an article by Joan Kennedy Taylor which appeared in the ALF News — but unfortunately, the format of the paper being what it is, we spend much more time (including in that section) talking about the points on which we disagree rather than the points where we agree. Similarly, we hardly canvass the whole range (as if we could!) of non-libertarian radical feminist thought (we only deal at length with one major instance — Catharine MacKinnon’s discussion of formal consent under patriarchy — and briefly mention a handful of other figures); and we hardly talk about any concrete examples of antifeminist libertarians by name (Hans Hoppe is in there, I guess). All I can plead is that the essay was presented live and so subject to limitations of time and the audience’s attention, never intended to be a comprehensive overview of anything, only an elucidation of a few conceptual issues that we see as especially important in finding the most promising strands of thought and action — by doing some totally incomplete and regrettably selective engagements on a handful of points that might help bring those conceptual issues out as clearly as possible. It’s certainly not intended either to be the first or the last thing that anyone reads on the subject of libertarian feminism — if it’s of any use at all, it will only be as something read alongside a lot of other broader, deeper, and more comprehensive material (which absolutely includes a lot of the work by Sharon Presley and other women in ALF, and I’m sorry if anything we said or anything we left out ever suggested otherwise). If the essay has been taken as an attempt at a comprehensive statement rather than a brief attempt to engage in a much, much wider conversation, then I can only say that I’m sorry for that, and the bit about pointing back and onward to the foundational works in the feminist tradition is really seriously meant — and work like “Government is Women’s Enemy” is as foundational as anything else I could mention.