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I recently responded to an article posted on "Skeptic Freethought", about a man claiming to be a feminist. The article was not very well written (it failed to even define feminism as he saw it), but I pointed out that most of the feminist leaders really were after a female dominated society. I also made the point that many of them called not for respect for such abilities as they have, but to be judged on entirely different scales, in the same manner as the racial quota advocates. When asked for sources, I searched through Peter Schwartz's essay on the subject, and found no names, and thus far have been unable to find the articles he quoted. I don't need a whole dissertation, but does anyone know of any prominent feminists who wanted women to have positions they didn't earn, and said so?

asked Aug 31 '11 at 17:54

white%20knight's gravatar image

white knight
502

edited Aug 31 '11 at 19:22

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
1002425618

This is not a question about Objectivism.

(Sep 01 '11 at 10:38) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

Given that a number of prominent Objectivists have made the claim that these feminist leaders have said such things, including Rand herself, it does indeed have something to do with Objectivism. This was, if I recall correctly, one of the primary reasons that Rand rejected feminism. I suppose its more of a history question.

(Sep 01 '11 at 14:45) white knight white%20knight's gravatar image

The question states:

I searched through Peter Schwartz's essay on the subject [of Women's Lib] ... and thus far have been unable to find the articles he quoted.

The question does not provide a specific reference for the essay by Peter Schwartz, but I can infer that it most likely refers to "Gender Tribalism" in Return of the Primitive (ROP), pp. 205-216. (If my inference is off, I trust the questioner will provide the correct reference.)

If the questioner obtained his own information from that essay, then that essay itself would be an entirely appropriate reference to cite on the website to which the questioner was posting. If that audience wants more references, the questioner could cite some or all of the references that Peter Schwartz provided at the end of his ROP article. There are twenty references altogether, in perfect literary form -- author's name, article name, publication name, date and page, or similarly detailed, equivalent reference information. To be fully forthcoming, the questioner could also take a somewhat "journalistic" position regarding Peter Schwartz's references, mentioning that those references are from Peter Schwartz and are not products of the questioner's own independent research.

If the questioner has actually located some of Peter Schwartz's references, checked them, and found that they don't quite express what the questioner is looking for, then perhaps the questioner has misunderstood the point that Peter Schwartz was trying to make in citing those references. Peter Schwartz's main thesis is clearly stated at the outset of the essay and again at the end:

The collectivist tenets ... all stem from a deeper premise: that the individual is impotent to cope with reality. The individual, on this premise, cannot sustain his life on his own, and must depend upon the group for survival.

This viewpoint, as applied to women, is what feminism essentially promulgates. [p. 205]

... the ideological battle over feminism is not between the female and the male -- but between tribalism and independence. [p. 215]

The question identifies the essence of feminism as follows, without mentioning the underlying tribalism involved:

...most of the feminist leaders really were after a female dominated society. I also made the point that many of them called not for respect for such abilities as they have, but to be judged on entirely different scales, in the same manner as the racial quota advocates....does anyone know of any prominent feminists who wanted women to have positions they didn't earn, and said so?

The references to "respect for such abilities as they have," versus being judged "in the same manner as the racial quota advocates" and wanting "to have positions they didn't earn," are all good observations; but the fundamental essence of Objectivism's criticism of Women's Lib is the deeper tribalism of it, and the irrationality (the anti-reason nature) of tribalism in any form. Ayn Rand explains this even more forcefully, if more briefly, in her own article, "The Age of Envy," in the same book, especially pp. 147-149.

The problem for the general public in comprehending a fundamental issue like tribalism is that groups such as Women's Lib don't go around proclaiming, "We are all anti-rational tribalists seeking power over others." Instead, they proclaim, in one form or another, "We are an oppressed class and demand liberation from our oppressors." Hence, the very name, "Women's Liberation." It takes a philosophy like Objectivism to identify what such "liberation" actually refers to in reality, and why it is deeply anti-life.

(Note: if the foregoing qualifies as a "dissertation," I hope the questioner and other readers will nevertheless find it useful.)

Update

In essence, the question asserts some strong claims about feminists and asks Objectivists for documentation. When challenged as to what these claims have to do with Objectivism, the questioner replied:

Given that a number of prominent Objectivists have made the claim that these feminist leaders have said such things, including Rand herself, it does indeed have something to do with Objectivism. This was, if I recall correctly, one of the primary reasons that Rand rejected feminism. I suppose its more of a history question.

The questioner has also narrowed the focus to just the issue of seeking the unearned: "does anyone know of any prominent feminists who wanted women to have positions they didn't earn, and said so?"

The questioner goes on to state and/or imply (both in the original question and in another subsequent comment) that he has tried to find documentation in Peter Schwartz's ROP article on "Gender Tribalism," but couldn't find it.

I have now rechecked the ROP article myself, including the end notes and where each of them is cited in the text of the article. I have found that most of the article, and nearly all of the end notes, pertain more to the feminists' view of sex than to their view of unearned career positions. I found only two notes, and only a handful of paragraphs in the text, on the latter issue. The main paragraph is 205D, i.e., the bottom paragraph on p. 205. (I use letters A through Z to denote individual paragraphs, starting with "A" as the first full or partial paragraph on each page.) The paragraph ends with a citation to note 1, but note 1 pertains primarily to a legal precedent concerning "Playboy-type material" (i.e., the feminist view of sex). That paragraph (and others like it) seem to be written on the premise that the facts referred to (concerning unearned career positions) are already widely known, uncontroversial (as to having been promulgated by feminists), and easily verifiable even by anyone who hasn't already seen (firsthand) such views being expressed by feminists.

The feminist view of college admissions is very similar to the issue of seeking unearned career positions, and the ROP article does provide two end notes on that issue: notes 2 and 5. Note 2 is cited in paragraph 206D, and note 5 is cited in paragraph 210B. Note 2 refers to a book. I ran a quick check for that book on Amazon.com and confirmed that the book actually does exist and can be ordered from Amazon for the incredible price of $.01 (used), plus shipping. Note 5 refers to a 1993 editorial in the New York Post. I checked the website archives of the Post but found that the on-line archives apparently only go back to 1999. To find a 1993 article, one will probably need to utilize an older technology known as "microfilm" and find it in a sufficiently large, big city public library.

Beyond that, if the questioner doesn't already have ample knowlege and documentation himself to support his own views and claims about feminism, the general Internet may help. I ran a quick Google search on "Women's Lib" and found a large number of interesting leads, including articles on Wikipedia (see "Feminism" and "Women's Lib"). The Wikipedia article on "Feminism," in turn, provides nearly 200 specific references, although that article covers the broader history of "feminism" in general, worldwide. The Google search also turned up one real "doozy" of a link to an organization called "National Women's Liberation". The questioner's "opponent" might challenge how representative that organization is for "mainstream feminism" (whatever that is), so the questioner might want to look into that issue a little further.


It is not clear from the questioner's description of his "opponent" whether this opponent is open to reason or not. If he is, I would think that the kind of broader integration and perspective on feminism that the ROP article provides would be of great interest. Issues like tribalism, egalitarianism, irrationality, the meaning of rights, etc., are not of interest only to Objectivists. If the opponent is not open to reason, then what is the purpose of trying to reason with him? What difference would additional documentation make to such a mentality? He is actually starting to sound like the type of individual who may be opposed to integration on principle, characteristically striving for disintegration instead, and skillfully utilizing every possible device, however flimsy, to undercut and dismiss his adversaries. The questioner's own valuable time and effort might be better spent elsewhere.

If the questioner's interest is for his own knowledge (or for an "audience" that may contain rational members), then he will clearly need to look elsewhere besides the ROP article for the specific documentation he seeks, and study the ROP article carefully to put everything into full pespective.

answered Sep 02 '11 at 02:10

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
467718

edited Sep 03 '11 at 16:06

It is useful, and thank you, but I already understood that part. I asked if anyone knew any names because I realized that I didn't, and my opponent is not an Objectivist. I apologize if I wasn't clear, but I do get the tribalism thing. And I get why its irrational. But I was asking if anyone knew any names because that was a quick way to illustrate the reality of such demands. Yes, that was the Gender Tribalism essay. Peter Schwartz has plenty of articles, but names none of those women outright, and thus far my attempts to track down his sources have failed. But I will keep trying.

(Sep 02 '11 at 06:17) white knight white%20knight's gravatar image

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Asked: Aug 31 '11 at 17:54

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Last updated: Sep 03 '11 at 16:06