Miscellany:Repealing the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Why should we repeal this amendment? The most common argument is that the majority of women tend to vote for leftist candidates and causes. I would add another argument, which is that the state's core functions are those provided by the police, courts, and defense agencies, all of which are male domains. Most policemen, soldiers, judges, and prosecutors are men. The state functions typically carried out by women, such as teaching, are functions that women could better perform in the home. Libertarian economist Murray Rothbard writes:

Perhaps the leading argument for democracy is that it substitutes "ballots for bullets": that it replaces the inconvenient and disruptive processes of violent change by peaceful changes expressing the majority will. . . . . In the first place, physical power is manifestly not equally distributed. In a test of combat, women, old people, and the sick would do very badly. On the peaceful change argument, therefore, there is no justification whatever for giving these physically feeble groups the vote. And not only would they have to be barred from voting, but so also would we have to bar 4-F's [ineligible for the draft because of medical problems] and all citizens who could not pass a test for physical combat fitness. On the other hand, there should obviously be no literacy test, since literacy has no relation to a man’s combat potential. In addition to barring all those not fit for combat from voting, we would clearly have to give plural votes to all who have been militarily trained (such as soldiers and policemen), for it is obvious that a group of highly-trained fighters could easily defeat a far more numerous group of amateurs, even if equally robust.

(Imagine if only physically fit men were allowed to vote. Political parties' "get out the vote" efforts would involve encouraging their supporters to put down the fork and start lifting. The increase in testosterone flowing through the electorate could have an interesting effect on politics.)

Some will argue, "Women are affected by government policies, and therefore need to have the right to vote." It is still men who bear the brunt of bad policies. Men are more likely to die in wars, to be the victims of violent crimes, and to be sentenced to prison (often for such offenses as selling drugs in order to have money with which to impress women or support their families). Compared to that, what do women suffer from the state? Oh, they pass out drunk at a frat house, and get raped, and the government doesn't process the rape kit. Why are they passing out drunk at frat houses? Because of feminism telling them (or at least implying) that passing out drunk at frat houses is liberating and empowering,[1] and that fathers and taxpayers should pay tuition bills to finance this happening. Get rid of feminism, and the problem is mostly gone.

The "no taxation without representation" argument[edit]

It might be argued that there shouldn't be taxation without representation. But before women's suffrage existed, women already were represented, in a way, by their father or husband who casted a vote on behalf of the household. At any rate, "no taxation without representation" was just a slogan used to justify the American Revolution; it's not really a libertarian principle, or part of libertarian ethics. Libertarians have always been concerned with the fact that in any democracy, regardless of who is allowed to vote, a freedom-loving minority is in danger of being oppressed. It's the two-wolves-and-a-lamb-voting-on-what-to-have-for-lunch problem; even if women can vote, freedom-loving women (aka libertarian women) may still find themselves in the minority.

"No taxation without representation" is not even always a guiding principle in American politics. It's commonplace for people to be taxed, directly or indirectly, by governments in which they have no representation. If you travel through another state, for instance, you may pay their tolls and sales taxes without being given an opportunity to vote in their elections. Business owners based in one state, who own property in another, pay property taxes without being allowed to vote in that state's elections. (Minors, too, pay sales and income taxes when they make purchases or work. I would be interested to know whether libertarians who favor giving women the vote would also favor giving the vote to minors.)

At any rate, if we want to tie taxation to representation, without giving women the vote, then we could simply not tax women. If we repealing the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, then taxes will not be imposed on incomes, but rather taxes will be apportioned among the states on a per capita basis and could ultimately be assessed against men, with women being exempt.

But let's assume income taxes will remain in effect. If taxation and representation are supposed to go together, then shouldn't those (for example, men) who earn more money and pay more taxes get more representation, similarly to how those countries that donate more to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank get more votes in those bodies, or shareholders who buy more shares get more votes in corporations? Hence my idea that we should running the government as a business.

At any rate, looking at the issue from the standpoint of political affiliation rather than sex, Libertarian women already are not represented in the legislature. Despite how many women vote Libertarian, there are no Libertarian members of the Virginia General Assembly or the U.S. Congress, because we have a single member district system rather than a proportional representation system. So, for Libertarian women, a loss of the right to vote would not actually result in taxation without representation, because they are already, in a way, not being represented.

One might argue, "Even if Libertarian candidates don't win, it is still valuable for Libertarian women to have the right to vote, because they can at least register their dissent." Statistics show, "More than two-thirds (68 percent) of libertarians are men, while 32 percent are women." Therefore, we can presume that female suffrage causes the Libertarian vote percentage in the election returns to be less than what it otherwise would have been. In that sense, female suffrage causes Libertarian women to have less representation than they otherwise would have, because non-Libertarian women are canceling out their votes, and even dominating. How is it better to be ruled over by fellow women, than by a slightly more Libertarian demographic of men?

It isn't better. Even if, for the sake of argument, we were to assume that those fellow women in the Democratic and Republican parties place a higher priority on women's issues than men do, that doesn't mean that the means by which they try to advance women's interests actually benefit women. For example, if they're trying to get the government to fund birth control, that could ultimately harm women by increasing the taxes that women pay, and decreasing the competition in the market for birth control (since manufacturers need not control prices so stringently in order to attract business, when the government is paying). As libertarians, we should always assume that libertarianism will benefit both men and women, regardless of whether the libertarian voters are male or female.

One might argue, "Women vote against the Libertarian Party because they feel it is full of sexist men, or that the platform and candidates don't adequately address the issues that are of concern to them as women." If that were the case, how does one explain why the majority of white women vote Republican? The Republican Party is not known for being a bastion of feminism, relative to the Democratic Party. Women are not necessarily voting for politicians based primarily on women's issues, and even if they are, they don't necessarily favor feminism as the answer to those issues. The average voter within any demographic, including women, will tend to be older and more conservative than the average member of the demographic as a whole.

Black women tend to vote Democratic, but that's probably more because of their identification with the black race and concern with its interests, than because they are pro-feminism.

Women's suffrage harms family unity[edit]

Women's suffrage sows division and discord within families, as women are encouraged to vote against their husbands if they disagree with them, rather than advising their husbands if need be and letting him make the final decision. There are even some women who proudly announce that they are going to the polls to cancel out their husband's vote. Women who do this show disrespect and insubordination, insulting their husband's intelligence and judgment in an area that is rightly his domain. It would be like if a man were to tell his wife how she should organize the kitchen, implying that she does not know how to be a proper Général de l'Intérieur, in charge of matters concerning the household. Families should be united under the leadership and protection of the husband, with both spouses showing proper deference to the other's spheres of authority in order to avoid unnecessary conflict.

No team or organization with coequal leaders can prosper. One will always need to be dominant in order for the group to function. Look at government, which is composed of three coequal branches. What do we see there? Gridlock. Fighting. Attempts to usurp power. The family is the same way, when there is not one man whose authority to make final decisions is respected. When men are dominant, relations between spouses are more harmonious. Even the sex is better. As Max Roscoe astutely notes:

Of course, there are many unequal institutions. Indeed, equality is rarely if ever encountered, and it’s an absurd demand. The arrangement between employee and employer is practically never between equals–a large, wealthy, powerful employer offers a wage to a worker, who is of comparatively minute power and importance to the operation of the firm. And yet this arrangement produces a productive and profitable arrangement for both parties.

An education is not obtained between equal parties. A trained, knowledgeable superior imparts knowledge and experience to a novice learner.

A religious consultation is between a trained, knowledgeable theologian experienced in helping others through moments of weakness or pain and someone full of doubt or pain or questions. There is typically one religious leader responsible for dozens or hundreds of individuals in a very unequal relationship, yet both parties happily coexist in this arrangement.

Even friendships are rarely “equal.” Some friends offer me greater social access, a nicer home, or are wealthy enough to pick up the tab for nights out, or are simply more dependable and reliable, while others may not have as much to offer, but I still value their loyalty, sense of humor, or other facet which brings value.

The political philosophy of Western democracy relies on the social contract, where the individual agrees to abide by the laws and rules of a government in return for legal protection. Who do you think holds more power, you or the federal government? It’s an incredibly unequal arrangement.

The bottom line is that equality is a rare occurrence, and the mere fact that two people enter into an agreement unequally is not only irrelevant, but largely expected.

Or as Christy0Misty put it:

So I always find it funny when I see a marriage where the wife will brag that they're friends. They're really good friends. She'll say, "We don't have the typical marriage. We're best buddies. He's not this overbearing chauvinist pig. I'm not a feminist brat. We get along great."

Usually I look over and the guy's sitting there looking whipped. The woman's saying, "We have an equal relationship." What she means is, "I'm in charge." She doesn't realize it, but to her, her being in charge makes it equal.

Often, the government and the family will be at odds with each other, as when feminists seek to gain control of the state to harm and break down the family. Just as it is the husband's role to be the one to investigate a suspicious sound in the middle of the night and defend his family if need be, it is also his role to use his intellect to protect his family from political forces inimical to its well-being. An effective husband is able to offer reassurance to his family that he has everything under control, and that everything will be okay. If his wife feels the need to disobey his instructions and take matters into her own hands, it shows there are problems in that marriage, in that he has failed in his role, and/or she does not have a properly submissive attitude.

One might argue, "What about women who don't have a husband; who will cast a vote on their behalf?" Their fathers, of course. The father is supposed to be a woman's guardian until she is married off, since she can't make good decisions on her own. If women will be voting on the same sides as their husbands and fathers, then their votes are essentially redundant and duplicative; but if they're going to be canceling out their husbands' and fathers' votes, then they're being insubordinate. So either way, there is no point to women's having the right to vote.

If someone wants to question whether fathers and husbands can truly make better decisions than the women they are entrusted with protecting and providing for, then they are questioning the whole basis of patriarchy, which is the presumption that women, if given freedom, tend to lack the ability to make as good decisions as a father or husband, exercising authority over her, could have made. That could, and should, and probably will, be the topic of a whole separate essay.

But suffice it to say for now, it's a different matter to be ruled over by one's own father or husband, than to be ruled over by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington. One has more access to one's rulers if they are in one's own family. There is daily communication with them, they are more familiar with the particulars of one's situation, and there are fewer principal-agent problems because they are able to rule directly rather than through layers of middle managers. Because of the smallness of the family compared to a state, they can tailor their instructions to fit the needs of the individual, rather than promulgating regulations to be uniformly applied on all.

The familial rulers (i.e. patriarchs) have more of an incentive to care about their subjects, because of the tie of blood or marriage, and because the relationship is permanent (rather than just lasting until the next election). When one is comparing family to the state, one has to keep in mind that the incentive structure, and the nature, characteristics, and purpose of the organization, is very different. Different moral rules might apply when one is dealing with one, as compared to the other. Consider, for example, home-schooling; many libertarians advocate it, even though all it does is replace the authority of the schoolmaster with the authority of the parent. Consider the reasons for why the authority of the parent might be preferred.

Getting women to vote to abolish their own suffrage[edit]

Some will ask, Why would women vote to abolish their own suffrage? Let's suppose that 55% of women are leftist, and the other 45% conservative. If conservative women believe that abolishing women's suffrage would help the conservative cause, then that's 45% of the female voters who have a reason to vote to abolish women's suffrage. (And indeed, we have seen that some conservative and antifeminist women, such as commentator Ann Coulter and YouTuber Christy0Misty, have made statements suggesting they would not mind if women's suffrage were abolished.)

At that point, it just becomes necessary to convince slightly more than 55% of men that abolishing suffrage is a good idea. Since men tend to be more conservative than women, that's not necessarily an impossible task.

We might ask ourselves, How were men convinced to enact the 19th Amendment in the first place? Probably progressives thought it would help their agenda, and manginas and white knights supported the idea on principle, or because they thought virtue signalling would get women to have sex with them. So what happens when voters are in a more conservative mood, and when men and women no longer support women's suffrage on principle, and when we have taught the manginas and white knights that they need to learn game rather than try to impress women with virtue signalling?

How strongly do women really feel about women's suffrage? Might not some of them be glad to be relieved of the responsibility of voting? Women often like to tell men, "Honey, there's a spider in the shower" or "The roof needs to be fixed" and use sex roles as a way of avoiding unpleasant or challenging tasks. When I go to the polls, I usually hear women complaining about how long the line is, while the men are more stoical.

Abolishing women's suffrage would give women an opportunity to unload on men the task of staying informed about politics and getting involved. When women are displeased with what a politician is doing, they'll be able to simply tell their husbands, "Honey, please take care of that," rather than actually becoming activists themselves. When elections have bad results, they'll be able to wash their hands of it and say, "Hey, I had nothing to do with that."

In reality, though, as traditional sex roles are restored, women won't be the ones paying taxes, attending universities, holding government jobs, etc., so their tendency and perceived need to concern themselves with politics will be diminished. Abolishing women's suffrage will further reinforce traditional sex roles by serving as a reminder that men and women have different strengths and domains.

The low rates of women running for office are telling. The large number of candidates running unopposed, especially at the state and local levels, shows that women's lack of involvement isn't because men aren't giving them an opportunity to be nominated. Clearly they're not all that engaged in the process, despite how much they repeat what society expects everyone to say, which is that participation in elections is important.

Before the 19th Amendment was passed, women already had most of the rights they wanted, such as the right to own property, to manage their own affairs, etc. The historical record shows that when men are in charge, they don't mind giving women whatever freedom they think will be in their best interest. The past century and a half has been characterized by men increasingly bending over backwards to give women whatever they said they wanted, in an effort to please them, and finding that it didn't make them happy. Should it surprise us at all if women say they want suffrage, but actually want something entirely different?

In politics, as in game, what matters are women's actions, not their words. When the time is ripe, let's put the issue of women's suffrage on the ballot, and see what women do in the secrecy of the voting booth. Women are followers by nature, but it is also in their nature to test men. It is up to men to provide leadership and stand their ground with integrity and firm belief in the rightness of their cause, despite the cries of "misogynist," in order to earn women's confidence that men are strong enough to take care of them without women's needing to hold the reins of power.

Women want to be led and put in their place by a strong man, so it is up to men to give them what they want.

What have libertarian thinkers written about women's suffrage?[edit]

Ludwig von Mises writes:[2]

Whether, for example, the law obliges the wife to obey her husband is not particularly important; as long as marriage survives one party will have to follow the other and whether husband or wife is stronger is certainly not a matter which paragraphs of the legal code can decide. Nor is it any longer of great significance that the political rights of women are restricted, that women are denied the vote and the right to hold public office. For by granting the vote to women the proportional political strength of the political parties is not on the whole much altered; the women of those parties which must suffer from the changes to be expected (not in any case important ones) ought in their own interests to become opponents of women's suffrage rather than supporters. The right to occupy public office is denied women less by the legal limitations of their rights than by the peculiarities of their sexual character.

References[edit]

  1. Okay, so maybe I haven't been able to find a citation to where feminists actually said that passing out drunk at frat houses is liberating and empowering. But Sheryl Sandberg did advocate that women "date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys", and feminists did call Brock Turner a rapist for fingering a drunk girl behind a dumpster, rather than acknowledging she had any responsibility for what happened. Feminists also encourage women to go to universities, while also saying that there's a high campus rape rate, albeit one that is, according to RAINN, not as high as the non-campus rape rate. If you connect the dots, the totality of the feminist message boils down to something that's not all that far from, "Go ahead and pass out drunk at frat houses; it'll be empowering."

    Because after all, isn't it empowering in a way to become famous for getting raped and have your victim impact statement read aloud by members of Congress? Her statement was very angry. As Joanna Nicola notes, with regard to high conflict wives, "When she adds in the element of righteous anger at you for not treating her the way she feels she is entitled to be treated, she doesn't just feel better, she feels empowered and back in control. . . . But when the temptation to let someone else take the blame so they can feel more powerful is presented, some women cannot resist."
  2. Mises, Ludwig von (1922). Socialism. 

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