Libertarian Feminism — Can This Marriage Be Saved?

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The case for a radical libertarian feminism — a critique of the state and of patriarchy which understands both as parts of an interlocking system of oppression, and which draws on the insights of both radical libertarianism, and radical feminism, in the effort to analyze, undermine, and abolish both statism and sex-class.

Libertarianism and feminism, when they have encountered each other, have most often taken each other for polar opposites. Many 20th century libertarians have dismissed or attacked feminism—when they have addressed it at all—as just another wing of Left-wing statism; many feminists have dismissed or attacked libertarianism—when they have addressed it at all—as either Angry White Male reaction or an extreme faction of the ideology of the liberal capitalist state. But we hold that both judgments are unjust; many of the problems in combining libertarianism with feminism turn out to be little more than terminological conflicts that arose from shifting political alliances in the course of the 20th century; and most if not all of the substantive disagreements can be negotiated within positions already clearly established within the feminist and libertarian traditions. …

… In an important sense, putting the libertarian in libertarian feminism will not be importing anything new into radical feminism at all; if anything, it is more a matter of urging feminists to radicalize the insights into male power and state power that they have already developed, and to expand the state-free politics that they have already put into practice. Similarly, a radical libertarianism aligned with a radical feminism may confront many concerns that are new to 20th century libertarians; but in confronting them they will only be returning to their 19th century roots, and radicalizing the individualist critique of systemic political violence and its cultural preconditions to encompass those forms faced by female individuals as well as male.

Introduced October 2009.

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