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. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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!


  4. 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.


  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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.


  10. 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.


  11. 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.


  12. 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.


  13. 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.


  14. 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.


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