I often get asked about the lack of women in the libertarian movement.
There have been countless articles written lately on why our movement has failed to attract large numbers of women. Caitlyn Bates believes that it’s because we have not focused enough on social issues like gay rights. James Padilioni Jr. thinks that we need more empathy in our arguments for liberty. Kelly Barber writes that it’s because women have been historically oppressed. And Kevin Boyd blames the creepertarians (creepy libertarian men who inappropriately hit on women.)
All of these articles make good points and perhaps there are numerous reasons that men far outnumber women in the liberty movement.
But I believe the main reason is simpler and possibly politically incorrect: libertarianism isn’t exactly considered mainstream (yet.)
Compared to men, women tend to be more social and care more about what people think about them. They are usually very concerned about being socially accepted and fitting in with their peers. Most women do not want to be associated with something that is considered “weird.” And let’s face it: libertarianism is still considered “weird” to mainstream society (though that has started to change.)
I often get strange looks from people when I tell them that I am a libertarian. Some people have heard of the term, some people have not. But most people have no idea what it means to be a libertarian. They really only know about the two “normal” political viewpoints: liberal and conservative. Libertarians don’t fit into neat little boxes.
Men tend to be less social and care less about what people think of them. They don’t care if society doesn’t view them as “normal.” Their interests tend to be more obscure. Compared to women, more men have “nerdy” interests like video games, comic books, computers and sci fi. They are also more likely to dabble in “alternative” religions and political philosophies.
I assume most people found out about libertarianism on the Internet. Women are more likely to visit popular culture websites and connect with their peers on social media. Men are more likely to look at “nerdy” websites that discuss views that are outside of the mainstream like libertarianism.
If we want to increase the number of libertarian women, we need to make liberty mainstream. Make it part of popular culture. Make it— well, not weird. We can do that without changing our beliefs. We need more libertarian musicians, filmmakers, authors, actors, artists, etc.
Over the past couple of years, libertarianism has become more normal. We are becoming less of a fringe movement. I’ve noticed a growing number of libertarian women since 2007. This trend should continue as long as we keep spreading the message and expand into popular culture.
*Of course, everyone is an individual and they do not always conform to gender stereotypes.
Originally posted at FreedomWorks.org.
The American people stopped Congress from passing disastrous so-called cybersecurity bills that would infringe on the free speech and privacy of internet users. Nothing short of amazing happened when Congress tried to ram through CISPA, SOPA, and PIPA. The defeat of these bills showed the power of grassroots activism as countless activists rose up and took action by calling their congressmen and spreading the word on social media.
Senator Joe Lieberman hasn’t been pleased.
Lieberman was the lead co-sponsor of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 that failed to muster up the 60 votes it needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.
Now, according to the Daily Caller, Lieberman is pushing Obama to issue a cybersecurity executive order identical to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012:
In a letter to President Barack Obama Monday, Lieberman urged the administration to use the president’s ‘executive authority to the maximum extent possible to defend the nation from cyber attack.’
There’s a reason that the Founding Fathers were so adamant on a system of checks and balances to help ensure that one branch does not become too powerful.
But the Obama administration believes that it can simply bypass the legislative branch anytime they feel like it. Obama has passed a whopping 139 executive orders to date.
Unfortunately, it looks like Joe Lieberman may soon be getting his wish.
The Daily Caller reports that a “cybersecurity” executive order currently being written closely resembles Lieberman’s bill:
While President Barack Obama still needs to approve the order, Napolitano told senators Wednesday that the order is now ‘close to completion.’
It is believed to closely mirror the failed cybersecurity bill sponsored by independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
While the exact details of the executive order are still unknown, it would be a huge mistake for Obama to sign an executive order implementing a misguided bill that failed to pass the Senate.
The broad language in the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 leaves the door wide open for abuse. It would set up a new government bureaucracy called the National Cybersecurity Council to govern cybersecurity for “critical infrastructure” and it could encourage companies to share more of our private information with the federal government.
This is problematic because it would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to define what falls under the category of “critical infrastructure”. Since it is not known which industries fall under the DHS’s definition, it would essentially create a completely open-ended regulatory apparatus for internet security.
Rather than improving internet security, the multi-year process of creating government standards would halt private innovation in cybersecurity because no one wants to invest in something that may or may not meet government standards that have yet to be defined. No one is quite sure how much it will cost to implement these burdensome regulations. This bill will likely be a job killer because businesses could be dramatically impacted by the new costs imposed by the bill.
We must remain vigilant and stop any efforts by the federal government to control the internet.
Originally posted at FreedomWorks.org.
President Obama said that “Social Security is structurally sound” in the presidential debate.
He’s joking, right?
For the second straight year, Social Security paid out more in benefits than it took in through payroll taxes in 2011, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.
According to the report:
As more members of the baby-boom generation enter retirement, outlays will increase relative to the size of the economy, whereas tax revenues will remain at an almost constant share of the economy. As a result, the gap will grow larger in the 2020s and will exceed 20 percent of revenues by 2030.
The number of retirees is growing far faster than the number of new workers. The ratio of workers to retirees has grown from 42 to 1 in 1940 to just 3.3 to 1 today. Social Security is facing more than $20 trillion in unfunded future liabilities. How is that structurally sound?!
Check out this graph from the National Center for Policy Analysis showing the declining number of workers per retiree:
It is absurd to say that Social Security is structurally sound. A USA Today Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of non-retirees believe that Social Security will not be able to pay them a benefit when they retire.
Young people are the most pessimistic about the future of Social Security. And rightfully so. Three-fourths of young adults between the ages of 18 to 34 don’t expect to see a Social Security check when they retire.
The numbers don’t lie: young people shouldn’t expect to see a Social Security check in their lifetimes unless there are major changes to the program. That’s unlikely to happen anytime soon since most politicians are still afraid to touch Social Security in its current form.
This is why young people should be allowed to opt out of Social Security, if they wish. It’s cruel to force young people to pay into a terribly mismanaged government program that they don’t expect to get any benefits from when they retire. No wonder that Obama is losing youth support.
Americans should be allowed to invest in their retirement as they see fit—not be forced into a mandatory Ponzi scheme against their will.
Originally posted at FreedomWorks.org.
During Wednesday night’s presidential debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney disputed over the military budget. Obama accused Romney of supporting “$2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn’t asked for.” Instead of denying the repeated claim, Romney asserted that “I do not believe in cutting our military.”
By refusing to cut military spending, Mitt Romney just took about 19 percent of federal government spending off the table. The pie chart below produced by the Cato Institute’s Downsizing the Federal Government project shows that Pentagon spending is a large chunk of the federal budget:
As the American Conservative’s Jack Hunter writes in his recent column, it will be impossible to balance the federal budget with a $2 trillion increase in military spending. Of course, no one is advocating that the troops shouldn’t be properly paid. He goes on to say:
If our soldiers are not paid enough, do not receive proper benefits, or do not have necessary weapons or essentials it is not because we don’t spend enough on the military. We currently spend more on our military than we ever have—and most of that money goes to fund a massive bureaucracy that has little to do with our actual defense.
At a time when the official U.S. national debt has surpassed $16 trillion, it is time to put all federal spending on the table. More military spending won’t necessarily make us any safer. Hunter further writes that:
America’s youth aren’t better educated isn’t because we don’t spend enough on education. Conservatives rightly understand this government dynamic when it comes to agencies like the Department of Education. They need to start understanding it when it comes to the Department of Defense.
Jack Hunter is exactly right. We need more serious Republicans who are willing to eliminate unnecessary items in the Pentagon budget. It’s good policy and good politics as over 74 percent of the American people favor cutting the Pentagon’s budget.