Libertarianism & Feminism, Sessions 3, 4, & 5!

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December 4, 2015 by Racheltd

The Students for Liberty Virtual Reading Group on Libertarianism & Feminism has been going so well! We have had weekly, lively conversations on everything from the influence of the American founding to whether feminisms is or is not compatible with theism.

Here are the highlights from the past three sessions:

Session 3: Sarah Grimké “Letter I: The Original Equality of Woman”; Angelina Grimké Weld “Address at Pennsylvania Hall

  • What is the argument Sarah Grimke makes about the nature of women in society?
  • Angelina Grimke: Relevant to current events: If we replaced “slave” with “refugee” what would change?
  • How did winning the right to vote change the nature of women’s contributions to culture/society?
  • How successful is reconciling feminism and libertarian feminism with Christianity with Sarah Grimke’s rhetoric
  • Example of knowing your audience, knowing deeply what was compelling to their audience.
  • Angelina: Would she have supported the civil war?
  • Angelina: Emma Goldman and the arguments against suffrage
  • Christianity and Natural Rights: tension between religion and libertarianism?
  • What is the nature of women’s power before suffrage?

You can find the full Session 3 Session Notes here.

Session 4: Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century,  Pages/Sections 17-19, 22-32, 82-84, 106-08, 119-162

“In every-day life the feelings of the many are stained with vanity. Each wishes to be lord in a little world, to be superior at least over one; and he does not feel strong enough to retain a life-long ascendancy over a strong nature.”

  • Is Fuller’s argument one that stems from Natural Law? (p26)
  • What is the appeal of “Miranda” for Fuller? (p28)
  • What is the nature of self-reliance, can this idea be expanded to all women?
  • How does Fuller’s ideas on the education of women (p83) compare to Wollstonecraft’s?
  • What do we think of Fuller’s discourse on the nature of marriage?
  • Rhetoric: Was Fuller trying to be incremental?
  • What is the tenability of Feminism with Theism?
  • Does anti-feminism stem from anything other than religion?
  • How far do you go back to find the source of oppression?
  • Do feminists have certain audiences when we talk to people?
    • Do libertarian feminist have a good sense of their audience
    • Who is the audience?
  • What is a libertarian feminist?
    • What is different from mainstream libertarianism?

You can find the full session notes for Session 4 here.

Session 5: Seneca Falls Convention “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions”, Susan B. Anthony From The United States of America v. Susan B. Anthony; Address by Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Woman’s Rights Sept 1848

“So long has man exercised a tyranny over her injurious to himself and benumbing to her faculties, that but few can nerve themselves against the storm, and so long has the chain been about her that however galling it may be she knows not there is a remedy.”

  • American Exceptionalism and feminism: what is the link between American recognition of the rights of man in the context of the revolution and the rights of women within that history?
  • Are American values inherent to feminist values? contradictions?
  • All three of her counter-arguments in that section basically boil down to, “But how do you know men are superior if women aren’t given the ability to develop themselves fully?”
  • Given that Susan B. Anthony is one of the most well-known suffragists, and that next week one of the readings is by a critic of suffragism, we might ask how much good has been done by suffrage (or liberal feminism in general).
  • What is the nature of education for women that allows/doesn’t allow them to be advocates for themselves against oppressors, whether that be the state, or others?
  • “Man cannot speak for us—because he has been educated to believe that we differ from him so materially, that he cannot judge of our thoughts, feelings and opinions by his own. Moral beings can only judge of others by themselves—the moment they give a different nature to any of their own kind they utterly fail.” ECA

  • Education and changing culture: “You can’t reason with power.” Persuasion, can only go so far.
  • “Barbarians tho’ they be in entertaining such an opinion—they must be met and fairly vanquished.”

    • Libertarians should learn from this rhetoric, engage with every interlocutor “meeting and fairly vanquishing” them

The Session 5 notes can be found, in full, here.

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