Small hell libertarian

The Instapundit festival continues. But it’s worth it — this is compelling, because it speaks to the amoral libertarianism that is so dominant on the Internet. My favorite blogger Glenn Reynolds, boxed-in Giuliani-like* by his posture on “social issues,” has been on a positively libertine tear the last couple of days, and you have to wonder at a certain point if someone as smart as he is is speaking from the heart, or if part of him feels to need to toe the “anything but social conservatism” line with comments like this one:

IN THE MAIL: Carole Platt Liebau’s Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!). I would venture that the real problem isn’t sex as such, but the puerile way it’s treated. I think actual porn is more honest and healthy than the pop-culture treatment of the subject.

Do poor lighting techniques and cheap sets equal “honesty”? Does anything about filmed prostitution bespeak “healthiness”?

Then, yesterday, there was this one:

IN THE MAIL: Kingsley Browne’s new book, Co-ed Combat: The New Evidence That Women Shouldn’t Fight the Nation’s Wars. Kingsley’s a smart guy, but I’ll take some persuading on this topic.

For a fellow who posts as much cheesecake [UPDATE: Ah, hoh! UPDATE 2: Ugh, hah!] on his blog as Glenn Reynolds does, you’d think he’d have the natural differences between boys and girls down really cold. Those differences don’t amount to proof of fighting ability — but from an intuitive point of view, the burden of proof is, to most intellectually honest people, on the side that insists that, ceteris paribus, women and men make soldiers of equal quality.

I’m not here to argue the substance, but just to point out this soft spot in the social liberal worldview: They like strong defense, free markets, and free speech; but drag in “gender issues,” and their steely analysis turns into fragrant pink mush.

UPDATE: Glenn, back from Vegas (I was registered, but some of us still do billable work around here!) and catching up with this Technorati links, picks up on this insightful comment by the great Jaymaster in his defense:

I thought he was saying that “real porn” is probably less damaging than the kind of crap that Brittany, Madonna, gangsta rappers, etc. flout to our young folk as “sexuality”.

I follow the argument, and it’s an interesting one and undoubtedly has some validity (like most of what JM has to say). But I believe the effect of real pornography is to make sex disgusting and soulless, and to virtually dehumanize it — not to mention what it does to the participants. I believe social libertarians are very casual about this, and while I am in agreement that the debasement of the larger culture is a tragedy as well, the casual acceptance and promulgation of pornography, in my book, has no aspects whatsoever of either healthiness or honesty.

*Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

UPDATE:We all enjoy an Instalanche when it comes, even a baby one like this one — but should I be a little less, er, sanguine about it considering this?:

the-evil-one.jpg

66 Responses to “Small hell libertarian”

  1. Trudy W. Schuett Says:

    Right you are there! Decades of rhetoric from feminists and moral relativists has resulted, for a lot of people, in a deep-seated fear of being thought “anti-woman,” or “uncool.” Some people don’t even recognize it.

    But I find it telling that Glenn’s wife seems more willing to take on the snake-oil salesgirls than he does. ;>)


  2. Ron Coleman Says:

    Good point.

    Maybe he needs an intervention!


  3. Dave Justus Says:

    “the burden of proof is, to most intellectually honest people, on the side that insists that, ceteris paribus, women and men make soldiers of equal quality.”

    Why? It seems to me that if we want to restrict a persons freedom, the burden of proof is on those who want to do the restricting.


  4. zach. Says:

    Dave’s nailed it here.


  5. Yu-ain Gonnano Says:

    Playing Devil’s advocate here:

    Glenn didn’t say actual porn is honest and healthy.

    He said it is *more* honest and healthy than treating sex as if it were a disgusting habit that proper people shouldn’t discuss in public.

    IOW, he’s claiming filmed prostitution is better than “EEEK, a boob!, Runaway! Runaway!”.

    Or would the Castle Anthrax scene be a better MP reference? Oh well.


  6. Yu-ain Gonnano Says:

    As for whether gals and guys make equal soldiers: it is the brave man, indeed, that steps between two women fighting. :-)


  7. Ron Coleman Says:

    Dave, if you want to protect a person’s freedom, you do it the best way possible. If women make poorer soldiers, utilizing them in the defense of freedom is not the best way possible.

    I am not discussing freedom or restrictions on it, anyway. I am talking about (a) service in the front lines of armed conflict, which there is no “freedom” or right to, and, more to the point, I am talking about t(b) he cognitive and common-sense reaction that I believe any intellectually honest person will have to the question of whether women as a group are as valuable as men in battle.


  8. Stout Republican Says:

    …there’s also the question of men reacting around women in combat. As machismo as it might be…men (it seems) have that “protector” syndrome with women.

    “Talk or I’ll hurt her” causes a very different reaction than “talk or I’ll hurt him”.


  9. jaymaster Says:

    I interpreted Glenn’s remarks in an entirely different way when I read them.

    I thought he was saying that “real porn” is probably less damaging than the kind of crap that Brittany, Madonna, gangsta rappers, etc. flout to our young folk as “sexuality”.


  10. Dave Justus Says:

    I hold that choosing to act to defend freedom is a choice, and one that I honor anyone who makes. Even if the average woman is a worse soldier then the average man, it seems certain to me that there is enough variance from the norm to conclude that some women make better soldiers then some men.

    Saying that ‘women shouldn’t fight the nations wars’ is indeed advocating a restriction on freedom. It restricts people from making that choice. I don’t accept your assertion that choosing to fight to defend one’s country isn’t a ‘freedom,’ although I admit that there isn’t an explicit constitutional right to it (I also don’t think that every freedom is spelled out in the constitution.)

    I am not sure if you are claiming that I am non-intuitive or intellectually dishonest, but in either case I take some offense at that.

    I would think that any intellectually honest person would realize that a huge portion of the historical reasons for keeping women out of combat was a) risks to women in childbirth were much greater historically and societies could not afford the loss of those valuable breeding resources and b) muscle powered weapons were obviously more favorable to the ‘average’ male then to the ‘average’ female to a much greater extent then chemically powered weapons are and possibly c) a desire to keep control of females. Perhaps this is ‘non-intuitive’ but it seems clear to me. The situations of a and b have changed enough that I think any intellectually honest person would realize that re-evalution and re-proving of the conclusion is necessary, and I would hope that an intuitive person would realize that c is not justifiable.


  11. Ron Coleman Says:

    Okay, Dave. Let me work my way through that stump speech.

    I hold that choosing to act to defend freedom is a choice, and one that I honor anyone who makes.

    Here is your laurel, and hardy congratulations.

    Even if the average woman is a worse soldier then the average man, it seems certain to me that there is enough variance from the norm to conclude that some women make better soldiers then some men.

    You’re right, but we don’t make policy — or shouldn’t — based on exceptional cases.

    Saying that ‘women shouldn’t fight the nations wars’ is indeed advocating a restriction on freedom. It restricts people from making that choice.

    Oh, okay. I thought you meant “freedom” in some meaningful sense of the word.

    I am not sure if you are claiming that I am non-intuitive or intellectually dishonest, but in either case I take some offense at that.

    I didn’t mean you, specifically. I think you actually are intuitively correct: You acknowledge, I think, that across the population men (in general) are more useful on the battlefield than women (in general). As to you intellectual honesty, well… I like you.

    I would think that any intellectually honest person would realize that a huge portion of the historical reasons for keeping women out of combat was a) risks to women in childbirth were much greater historically and societies could not afford the loss of those valuable breeding resources

    No, I think any historical anthropologist would find this claim quite dubious. There is never a shortage of women in any society. Or of babies.

    b) muscle powered weapons were obviously more favorable to the ‘average’ male then to the ‘average’ female to a much greater extent then chemically powered weapons are and possibly

    Why is “average” in quotes? Also, weaponry is only one issue. See below.

    and possibly c) a desire to keep control of females

    There is no person better “controlled,” Dave, than a soldier.

    The situations of a and b have changed enough that I think any intellectually honest person would realize that re-evalution and re-proving of the conclusion is necessary

    I don’t think so regarding (b) (I have said I think (a) is not only irrelevant but factually incorrect), but reasonable people could certainly disagree about that. That’s why someone wrote the book. But to take the position Instapundit does that the premise is to the contrary — that the reality of warfare has already changed, and that besides exceptions we both agree upon women are presumptively as useful as soldiers as men are — I find difficult to understand, to put it mildly, without injecting a healthy dose of political correctness on the gender score.


  12. M. Simon Says:

    I’m reminded of the two Army Female MPs who were ambushed by 20 or 30 Ts. The women charged the ambush (the proper response) and took out about 1/2 the Ts and scattered the rest. That had to be a real morale booster for the Ts.

    The big problem with women is not fighting ability. It is carrying the combat load. And the usual – “do you think all this body armor makes me look fat?” LOL


  13. Ron Coleman Says:

    Sure, but anecdotes about how stuff doesn’t go wrong even if you do X doesn’t prove X is a good policy. But you’re right — it must have been extra humiliating for the T-boys.


  14. Dave Justus Says:

    Actually Ron, I don’t necessarily agree that men are better in combat then women, combat encompases a broad range of activity, and I suspect that some of those activities most men are better then most women at. I also suspect that in some of those activities women are better then men. I am sure that some individual women are better then some individual men at any of them, and vice versa.

    Here is one example, from a Michael Totten report:

    “The police won’t leave the station,” Major Garcia said, “unless Americans are there to protect them. They wouldn’t leave under any circumstances until Captain Naro showed up and was willing to go out on patrol. They were ashamed that a woman had more guts than they did.”

    No man could have done what Captain Maryanne Naro did there.

    I support non-gender based standards for our military. If a woman can meet the requirements of the job, she should be allowed to do it if she chooses, the same for a man. That is neither gender discrimination nor is it making policy on exceptional cases.

    I am not sure what freedom means to you, but I don’tthink being prohibited from participating in national defense is a meaningless loss of freedom. That which you are not entitled to defend, you don’t have any claim upon.

    Would it be ‘meaningless’ if Jews were not allowed in our army? Would that be a trivial loss of freedom? I could probably construct some arguments that that would be beneficial, especially in regards to our current conflicts…


  15. triticale Says:

    MP patrol Raven 42, under the command of Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, was not the target of the ambush. They were riding high cover for a regular convoy, and went on the attack when the convoy was ambushed. The effectiveness of this co-ed unit derived from the intensity of their training.


  16. Laika's Last Woof Says:

    “They like strong defense, free markets, and free speech …”

    We also like sex, which seems to be the most consistent difference between conservatives and small-l libertarians.

    (Big-L Libertarians talk about sex, but I can’t imagine those guys ever getting laid …)


  17. Laika's Last Woof Says:

    “They like strong defense, free markets, and free speech …”

    We also like sex, which seems to be the most consistent difference between conservatives and small-l libertarians.

    (Big-L Libertarians talk about sex, but I can’t imagine those guys ever getting laid …)


  18. Yu-ain Gonnano Says:

    Jaymaster, that’s a good point. It would fit that way too.


  19. Yu-ain Gonnano Says:

    As for females in the military, the issue is not just fighting ability.

    I think it was the History Channel that did a special series on Navy Seal training. During part of the training the candidates were ordered to crawl into a cold ocean a series of times. Immediately afterward they were ordered to basically strip down and huddle together for warmth while a doctor examined them.

    Now throw a female into the mix.

    You have a male superior ordering a female subordinate to undress and press her near naked body against a couple of near naked male subordinates.

    Somehow, I don’t think this would play well in Peoria.


  20. marypmadigan Says:

    You have a male superior ordering a female subordinate to undress and press her near naked body against a couple of near naked male subordinates.
    Somehow, I don’t think this would play well in Peoria.

    They’d warm up a lot faster. And the story would play well on both coasts, and probably in the theaters. It’s been decades since anyone cared about Peoria.

    Most men may be generally better than most women in in certain job situations due to the physical characteristics of both genders, but that shouldn’t be a reason to automatically discriminate against all men or all women who apply for that job.

    Most women are better than men at interpreting subtle facial expressions and verbal cues. Women are also better at verbal negotiations. Does that mean that all men should be automatically excluded from careers that require those skills, like diplomacy, intelligence and law?

    A man’s superior arm strength makes him a perfect candidate for scrubbing floors and doing laundry. A woman’s lighter weight and the fact that we are less likely to be color blind makes us better pilots. But that’s no reason why either sex only seek out those jobs.

    Conservatism used to be about freedom of opportunity for everyone.


  21. Yu-Ain Gonnano Says:

    Hey, I’m not advocating (here, at least) for either side.

    I’m just making the observation that there are other issues besides physical fighting capabilities.

    And if you think there wouldn’t be any issues, I could imagine that some of the accusations would make ‘tailhook’ look like an elementary school dance.

    If we are prepared to address the issue in a calm and professional manner (I hope, I hope, I hope) then there won’t be a problem.

    If, however, the men are convicted in the court of public opinion regardless of the truth the way the Duke students were, (they were far from angels, but rapists they weren’t) then we are probably not ready just yet.

    Where are we as a society? I’m not sure. But I can’t buy off that the concern isn’t legitimate.


  22. Ron Coleman Says:

    Dave, I recall from our many discussions about homosexual “marriage” that you are very earnest but have a lot of trouble with analogies.

    If you think the difference between men and women is in any way comparable to the difference between Jews and Gentiles, and that you can analogize in any way from one to the other, why, we’ve just reached the useful end of our discussion. We are not able to communicate. But I hope we’ll try again some time.


  23. naftali Says:

    Wow, Good post.


  24. marypmadigan Says:

    I’m just making the observation that there are other issues besides physical fighting capabilities.
    If, however, the men are convicted in the court of public opinion regardless of the truth the way the Duke students were, (they were far from angels, but rapists they weren’t) then we are probably not ready just yet.

    For many women, feminism sought the previously conservative ideal of freedom of opportunity. Then, stasist prudes like Andrea Dworkin pushed the movement in a leftward direction, encouraging women to see themselves as victims. This marxist-revised version of feminism wanted the state to solve all of our problems by creating laws that discriminated against men.

    The question is, what’s the best way to fix this situation?

    The current rise of right-wing stasist prudery isn’t the best solution. Laws that discriminate against gays, women in the military, or other aspects of the personal lives of grownups just add to the problem. Most Americans want to keep the state out of their private lives. When the conservatives start sounding like Dworkin, it doesn’t encourage people to vote for them.


  25. Ron Coleman Says:

    Conservatism used to be about freedom of opportunity for everyone.

    That sound great, Mary, but it’s erroneous. Conservatism, as opposed to libertarianism, places a high value on institutions, custom and culture, and these things are not solely, if at all, dedicated to “freedom of opportunity for everyone.”


  26. marypmadigan Says:

    So conservatives are not in favor of freedom of opportunity for everyone? Well, thanks for clearing that up, Ron.


  27. Ron Coleman Says:

    I didn’t “clear that up,” Mary. I disagreed with your formulation that “Conservatism used to be about freedom of opportunity for everyone.” The fact that conservatism cherishes opportunity, among other values, does not make it “about” that value only.


  28. marypmadigan Says:

    The fact that conservatism cherishes opportunity, among other values, does not make it “about” that value only.

    Sorry, I misunderstood the phrase “not solely, if at all”.

    Does conservatism currently cherish equality of opportunity for all citizens?


  29. Ron Coleman Says:

    Define “opportunity,” Mary.


  30. Dave Justus Says:

    Ron,

    I didn’t say at all that women and men were like Jews and Gentiles. Indeed I wasn’t making any sort of analogy. I was questioning whether the right to defend one’s country is a trivial freedom or not. Sometimes a freedom that seems trivial when denied to some other group seems more important if it were to be denied your own group.

    If it is trivial, then it should be ok with you if Jews were excluded. If it wouldn’t be ok with you, perhaps it isn’t as trivial as you claim.

    It is of course plausible that even if that freedom is not trivial (and clearly I hold that it is not) that their may be differences between men and women that make the loss of a non-trivial freedom for women necessary which wouldn’t apply to Jews and Gentiles. But that is beside the point of it being a freedom that doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t matter the you of course have a very low bar in asserting that the liberty be denied women, if it does, I should think that you would have a much more difficult case to make.

    You are advocating what I consider to be a restriction of individual liberty. You claim, in part, that this is ok becase defending ones country isn’t a right and being able to that isn’t a freedom that matters. I challenge that assertion, and hoped that a different example would illustrate that to you.


  31. marypmadigan Says:

    Define “opportunity” Mary

    via merriam webster: “a good chance for advancement or progress”

    But the definition of ‘equal’ might be more important


  32. Ron Coleman Says:

    Mary, you can’t give me a dictionary definition because I need to understand how you mean the word in the political philosophy sense, not in their plain meaning sense. Add in “equal” and tell me, as a policy matter, how being generally in favor of a concept as amorphous as “equal opportunity” translates into conservative policies that are different from liberal ones — for liberals believe in the “same thing.” Then get me from there to the “equal opportunity” to serve in the military — regardless of the effect on military efficacy.

    Don’t just analyze “equal opportunity” for women, by the way. I expect you to explain why the handicapped and every other group typically understood not to be fit for front-line service in battle also has, under conservative principles as you understand them, a “right” to “equal opportunity” that trumps other conservative interests, such as our interest in not losing wars.

    Whew! Your Ph.D. will be in the mail next week! ;-)


  33. Exit Zero Says:

    Interesting blog discussions..

    Shrinkwrapped: On Suppressed Rage

    What I said: Karol …


  34. marypmadigan Says:

    Mary, you can’t give me a dictionary definition because I need to understand how you mean the word in the political philosophy sense, not in their plain meaning sense…Don’t just analyze “equal opportunity” for women, by the way. I expect you to explain why the handicapped and every other group typically understood not to be fit for front-line service in battle also has, under conservative principles as you understand them, a “right” to “equal opportunity” that trumps other conservative interests, such as our interest in not losing wars.

    If we’re going to get picky about definitions, I ‘can’ give you a dictionary definition – but it may not fit your goals in the discussion.

    I’m not a conservative, and my goal was just to get conservatives to think about how their attitudes towards big government vs. small government have changed. I hope they’ll do that even if I don’t write your proposed thesis.

    About women and others in the military – I think every person who wants to join up should pass the same physical/mental tests. Our military is currently the strongest in the world. Power and strength are not an issue. The will to use them is.

    We can blame our lack of will on the feminization of the nation or on decadence, or on the Bush family friendship with the Sauds, but those partisan arguments ignore the fact that most members of both political parties are willing to ally with some of our enemies in this war.

    If we could put partisan and gender issues aside, we might be able to figure out why both parties are so clueless – and from there, figure out what to do about it.


  35. zach Says:

    obviously a biased observer here, but I still think Dave’s nailing it. Ron, it seems like you’re ducking the debate here. Dave already mentioned gender-independent standards, and as he pointed out above you are off-base in criticizing his analogizing.


  36. Ron Coleman Says:

    I agree, the standard should be bias-independent. But all I ever said was that taking the position, intellectually, that “all things being equal men and women are of equivalent military value” is not tenable.

    Okay, Mary. You’re right on your main thesis, though perhaps you are oversimplifying complex issues. I mean, gosh, if Coleman can tolerate the alliance with the Saudis — I’m not that partisan, but I think realpolitik requires it. Please let’s not start a thread on that point.

    As to the other topic that I did mean to write about: I am not compelled by the fact that our military is the most powerful. That doesn’t mean it performs optimally, or that the cultural / social situation in the services is desirable, or that just because we can slap around fourth-rate powers any morale vulnerability is of no tactical (or strategic, in the propaganda sense) importance.

    Sigh. Too much work for too little pay on this thread!


  37. marypmadigan Says:

    I mean, gosh, if Coleman can tolerate the alliance with the Saudis — I’m not that partisan, but I think realpolitik requires it. Please let’s not start a thread on that point.

    That’s a shame, because I post a thesis on why our alliance with the Saudis is bad – pages and pages, with references, appendices and everything. You could read it over the weekend..


  38. zach Says:

    Ron,

    “all things being equal men and women are of equivalent military value” is not tenable.

    but why not?? as mary pointed out, the sword cuts both ways. men are better suited to some tasks, women to others, and of course the bell cuves in most circumstances have a large degree of overlap.

    although, if we’re all going to be honest here, i think we could probably best solve this by polling some milbloggers. Please somebody correct me quickly if I’m off base, but we’re all, i think, speaking from positions of such third-hand knowledge on this subject that we’re probably all just allowing our own biases to fill in gaps in our knowledge with possibly reasonable (to us) but ultimately unreliable information.


  39. Tom Says:

    Never having visited this blog before, I’m afraid this thread reflects poorly on the host. Dave is correct and Zack is astute.

    With all due respect sir, after seeing your comment:

    Mary, you can’t give me a dictionary definition because I need to understand how you mean the word in the political philosophy sense, not in their plain meaning sense.

    I think you need to change your avatar to one that looks like Bill “define IS” Clinton

    Tom, I am sorry to disappoint you on the quality. I do try to make it up in volume, however. — RDC


  40. pst314 Says:

    “A man’s superior arm strength makes him a perfect candidate for scrubbing floors and doing laundry.”

    No need to be snide and condescending now, is there?

    Allow me to offer a few more pertinent examples of the importance of upper-body strength: Wear and carry fifty pounds of body armor, weapons, ammunition, and other gear, all day, day after day. Unload crates of ammunition from a truck. Quickly. Carry a 50-cal machine gun. Pick up a wounded buddy, sling him over your shoulder, and run to safety. Carry a casualty down narrow ship’s passages and up and down ladders and through hatchways–and since there’s only room for one sailor at each end of the stretcher, they’d better have the upper-body strength to do the job. Lift and carry artillery shells. And so on and so forth.


  41. pst314 Says:

    “men are better suited to some tasks, women to others”

    “Some” is very vague. How many? Enough to justify the expense and difficulties of supporting both sexes in the field?


  42. Eric Says:

    Actually, speaking of what “conservatives” and “liberals” believe, neither group believes, generally, in equality of opportunity. Oh, they may give lip service to it, but it is quite obvious from their actions that what they actually seek is outcomes that meet their pre-defined notions of justice. What used to be called liberal, and is now called libertarian, seeks equality of opportunity.

    And Ron, that term has a defined meaning in political science. It means that all citizens have the same opportunity from a legal and social perspective. It does not mean that discrimination is put in place to offset gender or handicap, whether physical or mental. That sort of discrimination, which we have decided to call affirmative action, is part of another political science principle called equality of outcome.

    Now, stop demanding that Mary define a term that is already well defined by political science and engage in an honest discussion. The reality is that conservatives don’t actually believe in equality of opportunity, although the Goldwater/Reagan branch of the conservative movement did/does. They are better described as libertarian conservatives, small government conservatives, or something similar, though. And don’t actually drive the philosophy of the conservative movement today anyhow.

    By the way, self-defense is, indeed, an individual right. Defending your nation is part of self-defense. By denying Mary the ability to participate in the defense of the USA you are, actually, denying her individual right to self-defense. Or a portion of it, anyhow. Then again, you appear to be part of the majority that misunderstands that freedom, liberty and right are synonyms.


  43. pst314 Says:

    “and of course the bell cuves in most circumstances have a large degree of overlap.”

    Not “of course”. You need to consider what are the skills needed by soldiers and what the overlaps are there. In regard to upper body strength, for instance, the overlap is definitly NOT large. And the military cannot afford to enlist women merely to offer them an equal opportunity. The highest priority is to fight and win wars. Selecting any but the best people endangers both soldiers and the mission.

    I believe that women have shown themselves to be well-qualified in some areas, such as pilots (Robert Heinlein may have been the first to suggest this) but many military jobs–and most combat jobs–require superior physical strength. And although some may argue that raw strength is less important in an age of mechanization and automation, they forget that the skill is still badly needed–and needed even more when equipment inevitably breaks.


  44. David Fleck Says:

    You consider that “cheesecake”? Even my grandmother wouldn’t consider that “cheesecake”.

    Now, David. I try not to be judgmental about these things. It was the nearest exhibit at hand. And Glenn’s intention comes shining through! — RDC


  45. Math_Mage Says:

    “I agree, the standard should be bias-independent. But all I ever said was that taking the position, intellectually, that “all things being equal men and women are of equivalent military value” is not tenable.”

    Ok, so if a woman does the same on the bias-independent tests as a man, she’s still not of equivalent military value? That kind of ruins the “bias-independent” part of the tests, because you’re taking gender into account for no other reason than because it is there. That’s what’s known as a bias. If there is a difference, it should show up without having to take gender into account. Your position really isn’t tenable. And the “define equal, define opportunity” semantic battling is really just ridiculous.

    Now, I’ll agree that there may be a difference between men and women on the average as to how qualified they are for military duty, but that’s no reason to actually take gender into account. That difference will show up in bias-independent tests.

    Oh, and Glenn has a point on the sex thing, too; you’re confusing relatives with absolutes, as others have pointed out on this thread. Saying that porn is more honest and healthy than pop culture’s treatment of sex does not mean porn is honest or healthy. It’s more a disparagement of pop culture than an elevation of porn.


  46. Ron Coleman Says:

    MM, you’re adding an entire layer of testing onto a system that has worked very well without it for most of human history because it has made one statistically valid assumption: The vast majority of healthy young men meet the standards, and the vast majority of comparably healthy young women do not.

    I get the point on the pop. I will admit, down here at comment number 45, to using a little rhetorical leverage to make my overall point. But I have commented before that Glenn and many on the right side of the Internet are very casual about pornography, and I stick by that.


  47. Math_Mage Says:

    Sorry for double-post. New posts require attention.

    Pst314:
    “Not “of course”. You need to consider what are the skills needed by soldiers and what the overlaps are there. In regard to upper body strength, for instance, the overlap is definitly NOT large. And the military cannot afford to enlist women merely to offer them an equal opportunity. The highest priority is to fight and win wars. Selecting any but the best people endangers both soldiers and the mission.

    I believe that women have shown themselves to be well-qualified in some areas, such as pilots (Robert Heinlein may have been the first to suggest this) but many military jobs–and most combat jobs–require superior physical strength. And although some may argue that raw strength is less important in an age of mechanization and automation, they forget that the skill is still badly needed–and needed even more when equipment inevitably breaks.”

    You know, I totally agree with you. We shouldn’t make women soldiers for the sake of making women soldiers. And this would be totally relevant…if that’s what we were discussing. But that’s not equal opportunity. As Eric notes, what you are talking about – and arguing against – is equality of RESULTS. Completely different subject.

    All these traits you mention, upper body strength and raw strength and mental ability, are TESTABLE attributes. If a woman can do all these things, it will show up on the tests and she will pass. If she can’t, she won’t. The same thing applies to men. That is equal opportunity. It may turn out that none of the women pass the test, in which case there would be an inequality of results, but nobody should care about that.

    What Ron seems to be arguing is that the quality of being a man or a woman inherently makes a difference. The fact is, it doesn’t. What counts is the upper body strength, physical and mental toughness, and all those other characteristics. Being a woman may change your chances of having those characteristics, but that doesn’t make “being a woman” one of those characteristics. Subtle difference here.

    EDIT: Ok, Ron, THAT’S a more defensible position. But, you know, there IS kind of a statistical weighting when considering the people who try to sign up for the military. If you’re a spindly-thin girl (or guy) with glasses and other setbacks, how likely is it that you’ll sign up? So if you take the girls that sign up, as opposed to girls generally, you really have no idea what percentage of them are fit for the job.


  48. Eric Says:

    Ron said: But I have commented before that Glenn and many on the right side of the Internet are very casual about pornography, and I stick by that.

    Well, presuming that the people making the pornography are doing so voluntary, and that I’m watching it voluntary, and that it is in the privacy of my home (or equivalent), why do you care? I’m pretty darn casual about most such things. Casual in the sense that I don’t get worked up by things that aren’t hurting me or you. If that makes me libertine (It doesn’t, but you apparently define the word different than the dictionary), so be it.


  49. Ron Coleman Says:

    Eric, I guess that’s what makes you a libertarian — libertine or otherwise — and makes me a social conservative.


  50. Ron Coleman Says:

    MM, your concerns are an issue when there is a shortage of men — from the military point of view. (If you take Dave Justus’s point of view and posit some sort of “freedom” or “right” to fight in combat, I can’t help you.) Even where manpower is at something of a premium, such as in Israel, however, there has been considerable skepticism about the utility of putting women into battle:

    Some caution against pushing women too far in the army.

    Initial findings of the study commissioned by the commander of ground forces found, for instance, that most women are not able to lift the minimum amount required of combat soldiers, 110 pounds (49 1/2 kilograms). It also said most women could not complete military treks, which typically involve carrying heavy gear, of more than 12 miles (19 kilometers). Male soldiers can be required to march more than twice that distance.

    The study has not yet been debated in the upper echelons of the army, but could prevent the eventual entrance of women into elite commando units.

    Housing Minister Effie Eitam, a former general, called for female soldiers to be removed from conflict areas.

    “The ability of women to participate in intense combat … is more limited,” Eitam told the Yediot Ahronot newspaper.

    Others warned that if women are kept out of combat, they will never achieve equality in the military, nor later in life, since the service shapes their motivation and expectations for future careers.

    Recent call-ups of reserve units wouldn’t have been necessary if women were used to their full potential, said Brig. Gen. Yehudit Ben-Notan, a former commander in the women’s corps.

    “I think a small nation needs to make use of everyone and to look at them not according to their sex, but according to the army’s needs, and their talents,” Ben-Notan told Israel Radio.

    Just to reiterate: My point was not to weigh in on this empirical question, but to express surprise that Glenn Reynolds considers the burden of proof on this issue to be on what most observers would acknowledge is on the wrong side of the question.


  51. pst314 Says:

    It appears that only a very small fraction of women are physically qualified for various military jobs. Shouldn’t we balance the logistical (and arguable social) costs of putting these small numbers of women in front-line ground combat roles? Might it not be better to assign them to other areas? Certainly there are plenty of other areas.


  52. Eric Says:

    Shrugs, social conservatives consistently wish to create outcomes that fit their pre-defined notions of what is right and wrong. I prefer to leave the choice on that to the individuals involved.

    Now, on the topic of women in combat. First, would you agree that self-defense is an individual right? If so, would you say that fighting for your family, town, state or country is a facet of self-defense? I’m interested in your answers to those questions.

    Still on that topic, I’m a combat veteran. I have no issues with women serving in combat so long as they meet the same physical and mental standards as the men. No more, no less.

    Oh yeah, last thing to say. I’m neither a libertarian nor a libertine. Nor am I a conservative, social or otherwise. Nor a leftist or progressive. I typically refer to myself as a classic liberal.


  53. Clay Says:

    Everyone is ignoring that men and women must meet different physical standards. If women were expected to rate as well physically as men for a combat unit, and they had no problem with being raped if captured… Sure, let them serve in combat!


  54. mockmook Says:

    A valid conservative argument for skepticism of putting women into combat (unless there is a shortage of men), is that we don’t know how morale will be affected by heavy women (versus men) casualties. And how is morale affected if many women (versus men) become POWs?

    My guess is that we would be less likely to engage in battles if we thought large numbers of women would be on the front lines; and, that might be a bad thing.

    I’m all for women in support roles, but we should be careful about social experiments on the battlefield. We could incrementally work our way up to women in combat, if we find that it does not impair effectiveness and resolve.


  55. Laika's Last Woof Says:

    “Now, on the topic of women in combat. First, would you agree that self-defense is an individual right? If so, would you say that fighting for your family, town, state or country is a facet of self-defense? I’m interested in your answers to those questions.”

    I can give you an honest neo-libertarian answer:

    No. The duty of the state in time of war is to win.

    If Ephialtes can’t hold his shield up Leonidas has no business putting him in the line of battle with the other Spartans. No citizen has a “right” to weaken his own country’s defenses, particularly by insisting on an inadequate participation in same.

    That solves the question of whether a person with no business engaging in combat has a “right” to do it anyway. The real question is whether there are combat-ready women, and I think the answer is self-evident: we have ways of testing and training men for battle. If women can pass those tests then they’re either also ready for battle or there is something wrong with the tests.

    Rational self-interest should lead us to want women in the military, but only in whatever numbers their combat capabilities allow. There are precious few women physically and mentally ready to take on the challenge of combat, but history shows there are a few in every generation who excel in the art of war. Letting that potential go to waste should be a mistake only our enemies make.


  56. Laika's Last Woof Says:

    “Now, on the topic of women in combat. First, would you agree that self-defense is an individual right? If so, would you say that fighting for your family, town, state or country is a facet of self-defense? I’m interested in your answers to those questions.”

    I can give you an honest neo-libertarian answer:

    No. The duty of the state in time of war is to win.

    If Ephialtes can’t hold his shield up Leonidas has no business putting him in the line of battle with the other Spartans. No citizen has a “right” to weaken his own country’s defenses, particularly by insisting on an inadequate participation in same.

    That solves the question of whether a person with no business engaging in combat has a “right” to do it anyway. The real question is whether there are combat-ready women, and I think the answer is self-evident: we have ways of testing and training men for battle. If women can pass those tests then they’re either also ready for battle or there is something wrong with the tests.

    Rational self-interest should lead us to want women in the military, but only in whatever numbers their combat capabilities allow. There are precious few women physically and mentally ready to take on the challenge of combat, but history shows there are a few in every generation who excel in the art of war. Letting that potential go to waste should be a mistake only our enemies make.


  57. Eric Says:

    Laika’s Last Woof:

    No. The duty of the state in time of war is to win.

    That doesn’t answer whether defending my family, town, state or country is a component of self-defense. Nor did you tackle whether self-defense is an individual right, or not. You just skipped immediately to rational self-interest and utilitarian answers.


  58. Charlie (Colorado) Says:

    But I believe the effect of real pornography is to make sex disgusting and soulless, and to virtually dehumanize it.

    Speak for yourself, Ron.


  59. Ron Coleman Says:

    Charlie, if people only spoke “for themselves,” there would be no blogs. I am speaking beyond myself because I believe my observations apply to more than myself. And because I am not a libertarian, I care about more than myself.


  60. jaymaster Says:

    Ron,

    Thanks for the kind words. And thanks for providing the opportunity to comment here!

    It’s an odd (but positive!) feeling scanning though the hollowed pages of Instapundit, and seeing my own words quoted by Glen himself. Its not something I expected to see.

    Back on topic, my opinion on women in the military is to let the military make the call. They should understand the ramifications better than we civilians, and I trust them to make the right decisions, (mostly).

    And, yes, I am probably softer on porn than you. Er, um, well, you know what I mean….

    Although I am sure there are individual cases of damage and degradation attributable to porn, I am not convinced that it causes significant harm to society as a whole. Maybe it does, but I think that’s arguable.

    I understand it goes counter to many religious beliefs or societal customs. And I do think there should be some limits placed upon it. It could have a negative effect on children, and obviously, it can offend some folks. I believe the current level of regulation in our country is about right. But some of my European and Asian friends think our restrictions are over the top, or a bit quaint. But they’re not citizens here, so what they think doesn’t really matter.

    But what if they do become citizens here? Then I think they have a right to lobby for a loosening of the laws. And my first instinct would be to support them. Of course, I would support your right to lobby against them too. In my dream world, it would come down to an actual vote. But politics being politics, we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

    For better or worse, societies change over time. Some religious thought changes over time too. Governments can act to hinder or accelerate such change. Here in the US, we do a pretty good job of keeping the government out of religious debate. From my “small l” perspective, I would like to keep them out of societal debate as well.

    I realize that’s not entirely possible either, since “they” are “us”, after all (at least in theory). But I believe in limiting the government’s impact on social issues to the greatest extent possible.


  61. Bleeding heart conservative Says:

    It used to be that the virtuous woman was rewarded for her integrity with a quality life.
    Now, every girl is provided media evidence that prurient shameful behavior is a means to securing a future. Bimbos such as Paris Hilton and just about every modern starlet on the Hollywood runway prove that an immoral woman will have jewelry and a ritzy home.
    It’s not just these individual’s private lives, it’s the characters they represent as well.

    Virtue is now mocked, and too many girls see the quality of chastity as a path to loneliness, or ending up with the nerd. They seee the “Desirable” boys as the ones who go after the girls who put out. In order to compete for the “best” they end up sacrificing their values. The only way to end this is to start really smashing the egos of these idiot boys, who see women as holes to fill.


  62. Clear Headed Conservative Says:

    Bleeding Heart Conservative overlooks the fact that females have been “really smashing the egos” of the other sex since the invention of two sexes. Duh.

    Those “virtuous women” helped create the problems BHC cries about. The major market for the media that sells “bimbos” to the masses isn’t men. Cosmo alone outsells all of its men’s counterparts by a huge margin. The other harlot’s how-to guides, Glamour, Marie Claire, etc. only add to the trash that “virtuous women” and their less virtuous sisters greedily consume. And there’s no boy’s equivalent to Cosmo Girl and YM, magazines sold in supermarkets to tomorrow’s trash in training bras today.

    Then there’s the a whole electronic media of TV shows such as Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight that feature “every modern starlet on the Hollywood runway” out to “prove that an immoral woman will have jewelry and a ritzy home.” Again, it’s not men who are glued to the tube feeding on that trash. Women are by far their primary consumers.

    Fathers aren’t buying trampy clothes for daughters, the mothers are. Fathers aren’t mocking the nice boy with names like “nerd” in front of daughters, mothers are. Mothers too often suppress the fathers as equal parents — when mothers aren’t throw fathers out of the house altogether. Mothers too often teach by example that “‘desirable’ boys (are) the ones who go after the girls who put out.”

    Throughout our human heritage, women have controlled what is considered virtue and imposed that standard on the whole culture. If “virtue is now mocked,” it’s because women have been mocking it. BHC is almost correct but missed the answer by an entire sex. The only way to end this is to start really smashing the egos of these idiot females, who see themselves as holes to fill with all the sperm they can solicit.

    Smashing the egos of female chauvinist pigs and their chivalrous male suck-ups who enable those idiot females will do some good too.


  63. Laika's Last Woof Says:

    “That doesn’t answer whether defending my family, town, state or country is a component of self-defense. Nor did you tackle whether self-defense is an individual right, or not.”

    In case you missed it, you have a right to self-defense. You do not have an individual right to deleterious participation in collective defense. If you feel you have a right to help, consider it also your duty to figure out how.

    “You just skipped immediately to rational self-interest and utilitarian answers …”

    Self-defense is fundamentally utilitarian and rational.

    “… too many girls see the quality of chastity as a path to loneliness …”

    There are lots of guys who’d settle for a GINO. You can tell them by their ability to speak Klingon and their intimate knowledge of such pastimes as Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft. And then there are those effeminate types who think knowing about wine and opera makes up for being shy and effete.

    Seriously, what heterosexual American male wants a girl who doesn’t want him? Life is too short to waste in chastity. Leave celibacy to the suicide bombers — we Americans have something to live for.

    “They see the ‘Desirable’ boys as the ones who go after the girls who put out.”

    Well duuh, that’s what virtually all boys, desirable or not, are after. Losers want it just as badly as winners, they just can’t get it. As Beavis of “Beavis and Butthead” once famously explained he’s not celibate by choice.

    “In order to compete for the ‘best’ they end up sacrificing their values.”

    It is the girls, not the boys, who control the definition of “best”. The “best” guy isn’t necessarily the one who speaks the best Klingon or shoots the most consistent 3-pointer, it’s the guy who gets laid. Women are the gatekeepers of who gets laid; consequently, that different skills among men yield different sexual rewards is the choice of women, not men.

    The only way a celibate girl can realistically approach this situation is by either changing her definition of “best” to the guy who can’t get it anyway — even a GINO is better than nothing — or by finding some alternative way to compensate for her would-be partner’s unfulfilled sexual needs.

    Even then there’s the problem of competing with the girl who is actually GOOD at sex. Most girls don’t bother getting good, but there are an eager few who do certain exercises and find out what turns you on and over time perfect the technique of rocking your world. Once you’ve experienced a screaming orgasm how’s a GINO going to compete? Baking cookies?

    “The only way to end this is to start really smashing the egos of these idiot boys …”

    You have it backward: the surest way to smash a man’s ego is to make him celibate.

    I will go this far in agreeing with you: guys who “keep score” are idiots who’ve never truly experienced mind-blowing sex. Imagine the next 20,000 times you have sex will either be with Wilt Chamberlain’s 20,000 anonymous bimbos or one incredibly skilled Love Goddess who will bring you to a screaming orgasm 20,000 times. If you’ve ever had the pleasure the choice is obvious.


  64. Laika's Last Woof Says:

    “That doesn’t answer whether defending my family, town, state or country is a component of self-defense. Nor did you tackle whether self-defense is an individual right, or not.”

    In case you missed it, you have a right to self-defense. You do not have an individual right to deleterious participation in collective defense. If you feel you have a right to help, consider it also your duty to figure out how.

    “You just skipped immediately to rational self-interest and utilitarian answers …”

    Self-defense is fundamentally utilitarian and rational.

    “… too many girls see the quality of chastity as a path to loneliness …”

    There are lots of guys who’d settle for a GINO. You can tell them by their ability to speak Klingon and their intimate knowledge of such pastimes as Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft. And then there are those effeminate types who think knowing about wine and opera makes up for being shy and effete.

    Seriously, what heterosexual American male wants a girl who doesn’t want him? Life is too short to waste in chastity. Leave celibacy to the suicide bombers — we Americans have something to live for.

    “They see the ‘Desirable’ boys as the ones who go after the girls who put out.”

    Well duuh, that’s what virtually all boys, desirable or not, are after. Losers want it just as badly as winners, they just can’t get it. As Beavis of “Beavis and Butthead” once famously explained he’s not celibate by choice.

    “In order to compete for the ‘best’ they end up sacrificing their values.”

    It is the girls, not the boys, who control the definition of “best”. The “best” guy isn’t necessarily the one who speaks the best Klingon or shoots the most consistent 3-pointer, it’s the guy who gets laid. Women are the gatekeepers of who gets laid; consequently, that different skills among men yield different sexual rewards is the choice of women, not men.

    The only way a celibate girl can realistically approach this situation is by either changing her definition of “best” to the guy who can’t get it anyway — even a GINO is better than nothing — or by finding some alternative way to compensate for her would-be partner’s unfulfilled sexual needs.

    Even then there’s the problem of competing with the girl who is actually GOOD at sex. Most girls don’t bother getting good, but there are an eager few who do certain exercises and find out what turns you on and over time perfect the technique of rocking your world. Once you’ve experienced a screaming orgasm how’s a GINO going to compete? Baking cookies?

    “The only way to end this is to start really smashing the egos of these idiot boys …”

    You have it backward: the surest way to smash a man’s ego is to make him celibate.

    I will go this far in agreeing with you: guys who “keep score” are idiots who’ve never truly experienced mind-blowing sex. Imagine the next 20,000 times you have sex will either be with Wilt Chamberlain’s 20,000 anonymous bimbos or one incredibly skilled Love Goddess who will bring you to a screaming orgasm 20,000 times. If you’ve ever had the pleasure the choice is obvious.


  65. Spiritual growth is for everyone! « Likelihood of Success Says:

    [...] by Ron Coleman on March 25, 2008 Glenn Reynolds always struck me as an agnostic, at best, but it looks as if slowly but surely he is narrowing down the field of possibilities: I [...]


  66. The reasonable man « Likelihood of Success Says:

    [...] “Surprisingly”?  There he goes again. [...]


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