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OMG it appears I am a feminist!

There is an article on the Grauniad site called ‘Men – if you’re not a feminist, it’s fine, just move on’ which was rather amusing.

My position is no one, male or female, should have any statutory right to maternity or paternity leave, and indeed an employee should not expect it unless they negotiated for that with their employer.

So it seems that as I favour equality in maternity and paternity leave, I am a feminist according to some commenters! Who knew? ;-)

34 comments to OMG it appears I am a feminist!

  • pete

    But we do negotiate with employers about our employment rights.

    Employers have a vote. So does everyone else. We can all negotiate with each other as electors and discuss what rights a person should have at work and then vote for people we think will enact the laws we want.

  • Eric

    My position is no one, male or female, should have any statutory right to maternity or paternity leave, and indeed an employee should not expect it unless they negotiated for that with their employer.

    But you don’t understand. Women are oppressed by society into not negotiating, see, so for true equality we need to make sure women just get the goodies that men have to negotiate for. Or something.

  • Eric

    We can all negotiate with each other as electors and discuss what rights a person should have at work and then vote for people we think will enact the laws we want.

    In a democracy the majority view dictates to the minority. How is that negotiating?

  • pete

    Well Eric, it works for things like theft, speeding and murder.

    I’m glad we don’t have to negotiate individually over those things.

  • We can all negotiate with each other as electors and discuss what rights a person should have at work and then vote for people we think will enact the laws we want.

    So a plurality of people point a gun at me and tell me I have to do something I did not agree to and that is… a negotiation? What did I get out of that ‘negotiation’?

  • Sigivald

    “Feminism is the radical proposition that men and women are equal”, as the bumper-sticker says.

    We’re all feminists here, so to speak.

    (Assuming that “equal” is interpreted the only sane way, as “equal in basic humanity and, if the laws were just, equal under the law”.)

    (Assuming pete isn’t being a very subtle advocatus diaboli or just trolling, I will reply: Speeding laws are bullshit, and note that everyone ignores them, pretty much; and nobody got to “vote” for or against them, and indeed they’re typically “regulations” made by the unelected and unaccountable.

    More importantly, “theft” and “murder” are crimes against property and person – a different thing in itself than contractual payment for work.

    The only way to safeguard anyone’s property and person is for theft and murder to be universally criminal [and philosophically, we assert they're wrong-in-themselves from first principles and thus not subject to "negotiation" except at the fringes of the definitions].

    This is, again, not remotely true of compensation negotiations.

    The two are different in kind; the only commonality they have is that currently the State enforces the latter as well as the former.)

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Pete, when have you ever seen a politician run on a “pro-murder” or a “pro-theft” platform?

    I don’t think you’ve thought this through.

    Those things are not illegal because some politician thought it would make a good campaign promise. Those things were illegal long before there were such things as politicians.

  • Mr Ed

    So a plurality of people point a gun at me

    Of course, this almost never happens in dealing with the State in the UK, the UK tax authorities are unarmed, most police are unarmed and bailiffs are also unarmed. I wish that people didn’t resort to such language as referring to guns being pointed, unless qualified by ‘metaphorical’, to my ears it sounds overly dramatic, factually inaccurate and may distract from the message, which is really that the legal system may be rigged against a minority or a type of people. The reality is that the State enables a minority to live well at the expense of others and to impose their ways on the passive be they the majority or not. When the State gets too big, it goes bust, as we may soon see, then the Schadenfreude starts.

  • No Ed you are quite wrong about that. The police are not ‘unarmed’. Try barricading yourself in your home and refusing to pay your taxes and waving a pointy stick at the Old Bill from your upstairs window and you will soon discover they actually do have guns, you know.

    Mao was right, all political power does indeed grow out of the barrel of a gun. It is just that most people are not willing to push the state to the point the state needs to use them to enforce their laws. But they really will, you know. If you keep saying “no” at some point, the gun stops being metaphorical.

  • Laird

    “Are you getting bogged down in semantics, shrugging ‘it depends what you mean by equality’, instead of answering the questions in the straightforward spirit in which they are asked?”

    Rank dishonesty. If you have no interest in defining precisely what you mean by “equality”, all you’ve done is set up a “have you stopped beating your wife” type of question. Which is fundamentally dishonest, and hardly “straightforward”.

    Obviously I am not a feminist.

  • Andy Hatton

    I like this…

    “My position is no one, male or female, should have any statutory right to maternity or paternity leave, and indeed an employee should not expect it…”

    Where’s the “LIKE” button? ;)

  • Mr Ed

    Try barricading yourself in your home and refusing to pay your taxes and waving a pointy stick at the Old Bill from your upstairs window and you will soon discover they actually do have guns, you know.

    What sort of idiot does that?

  • pete

    Jaded Voluntaryist, there were always politicians.

    When the first humans emerged in Africa all those years ago I’m sure they had discussions about what rules they should all follow, and that some of them took the lead in those discussions.

  • pete

    ‘So a plurality of people point a gun at me and tell me I have to do something I did not agree to and that is… a negotiation? What did I get out of that ‘negotiation’?’

    Perry, don’t be so melodramatic.

    This world is real, full of people and not everyone can do as they like.

    So we negotiate, and if we are lucky we get what we want.

    That’s how it works for most of us.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I’ve been saying for years that in the mouths of politicians, ‘fair’ is a one-word oxymoron. Come to think of it, so is ‘equal’.

  • Lee Moore

    Guardian teenie : “Are you getting bogged down in semantics, shrugging ‘it depends what you mean by equality’, instead of answering the questions in the straightforward spirit in which they are asked?”

    Laird : Rank dishonesty

    I’m really not sure about that. I think she’s just deeply, humiliatingly and irredeemably confused. I find when I discuss matters even with friendly non fanatical lefties, the slogans have gone in so deep that they really can’t explain what they mean by them.

  • Eric

    What sort of idiot does that?

    The sort of person who thinks the UK is different from other governments in this respect? Governments everywhere are all about a monopoly on the use of force. The fact that UK functionaries don’t actually display their hardware doesn’t mean it isn’t close at hand.

  • Eric

    So we negotiate, and if we are lucky we get what we want.

    That’s not at all how it works. It’s not a negotiation.

  • So we negotiate, and if we are lucky we get what we want.

    Pete, I negotiate for thing all the time and with all sorts of people. But what you are describing is not negotiation. You are making a category error. I want to stop paying for the NHS and spend that money on private insurance for myself. Who do I ‘negotiate’ with to get that? I want none of my money to be spent on foreign aid , not a penny of it. Can I negotiate for that and with whom? Representative democratic politics is *not* a negotiation… it is just a popularity contest for who controls the means of collective coercion ;-)

    What you are describing is not ‘negotiation’, it is something really quite different.

  • Mr Ed

    Eric, that would seem to be a vanishingly small number of people, even by our standards. In fact it isn’t close at hand at all, and to say that it is misrepresents the reality of day to day life. To say otherwise is (if one may paraphrase Lenin-speak) Juvenile Rothbardism.

    How can ‘libertarians’ (a word that to me, has unfortunate echoes of ‘vegetarians’) hope to win converts by using language such as that? I would hope that we would reach out to people who are intelligent, decent and curious. I don’t think that Perry’s example is helpful.

    I recall the Seigneur of Sark saying that on his island, taxes are so low that people can’t be bothered to avoid them. Isn’t that a great situation from where we are now?

  • The fact that UK functionaries don’t actually display their hardware doesn’t mean it isn’t close at hand.

    Exactly so. Everything a state does to its people is backed by law, and that means backed by the threat of literal force, physical violence, if you keep insisting on saying “no” when it tells you to do something. This may or may not always be justifiable, but that *is* the underpinning truth.

  • In fact it isn’t close at hand at all

    The weapons are one phone call away. I am astonished to even be debating such a truism about the nature of nation states.

  • pete

    Perry, I negotiated with a person yesterday about a car he had for sale. We failed to agree and we parted, never to see each other again.

    On such a private, petty matter we can do that.

    I’d hate to live in a world where absolutely everything had to be negotiated from scratch.

    That’s why we have laws.

  • Mr Ed

    I do not seem to have a direct response to my ‘what sort of idiot’ question. Is there any reason why?

  • Ed, it is so obvious that your question nothing but answers itself, that I am amazed that you don’t see it.

  • That’s why we have laws.

    No, we have laws for rather different reasons than the avoidance of constant negotiation… and those laws are also not the product of ‘negotiation’ so much but rather the outcomes of who can apply the proxy force of the state to serve their ends. For example me having to pay for some function of the state is not a ‘negotiation’, it is an imposition. That function may or may not be ‘a good idea’ or morally justifiable but it sure as hell ain’t a negotiation.

  • steve

    I took that Grauniad test. I got all the way to the end and it became unclear. Do I think something should be done? Yes, like education, agitating for good female role models in cartoons and on tv etc. So I am a Feminist.

    But somehow I think the author really means pass a bunch of new laws. So, maybe I am not a Feminist.

    I don’t know.

  • Jordan

    I do not seem to have a direct response to my ‘what sort of idiot’ question. Is there any reason why?

    Because it’s irrelevant to the question of whether or not state actions are backed by the threat of violence.

    I’d hate to live in a world where absolutely everything had to be negotiated from scratch.

    Politics is negotiation in the same sense that being mugged is.

  • Lee Moore

    I think pete is trolling, but just in case he isn’t…..

    Negotiation commonly implies a discussion aimed at reaching agreement without using force, and so covers the sort of voluntary contracting that libertarians tend to prefer. But it is obviously possible to use negotiation in the context of discussions aimed at reaching an agreement where the use of force is present, or threatened. One can negotiate ceasefires, surrenders, peace treaties and so on. And negotiation can be used in the world of politics – we’ll water down our employment rights bill if you’ll abstain in the vote of no confidence about the ten million we stole in the defence contracting scandal, and so on.

    But even in its most extended meaning, negotiation cannot be used of the voting process involving millions of people who do nothing more than make an X beside a candidate’s name. One voter is not involved in any discussion with any other voter. Although employers and employees may vote, they do not talk to each other through the voting process. If they want to talk, they call each other up or knock on each others doors. It’s certainly true that the outcome of an election – say a victory by pro-employer politicians – may shift the battlefield conditions for the next bout of actual negotiations between employer and employee, by varying the amount of legal coercion that each party may bring to bear, but the voting process itself is not a negotiation.

  • veryretired

    The genius of the Constitution is not that it got everything right, but that it managed to get some things very right, and one very special thing spectacularly right—the concept of inalienable rights as a natural component of the individual person.

    They are, in effect, non-negotiable. Human rights exist, within the person, as a part of his or her humanity. They are not granted, not a privilege, but must be recognized as an element of the individual’s existence.

    That everything is negotiable is the assertion of those who see all of existence as a series of salamis that they can slice a little piece of whenever they can get away with it. And each time they manage to cut a slice, or advance the ratchet, then the next issue becomes how big the next slice will be, never that there shouldn’t be any slicing to begin with.

    Getting back to the subject of this posting,(a novel idea, I know,) my mother was a traditional proponent of equal rights for women, especially when it was a matter of jobs and pay.

    Fortunately, she was not afflicted with the bizarre man-hatred of the radical feminists of the left, and she lived her life as a hard-working, fiercely independent, and passionately loving person. Not surprisingly, my grandmother, and my own preferences in women, were and are very similar.

    I was the fortunate recipient of that ferocity, and thoughtful independence of mind, and revere her memory.

    I have been proud to consider myself a feminist in that vein ever since I understood the concept.

    Receiving the respect and love of an independent, intelligent, strong woman is one of the great compliments, and affirmations, a man can get in this life.

  • Hurrah! Welcome to feminism. Seriously tho, my sister works for a small company and was raging about her maternity leave situation. Totally inept.

  • patriarchal landmine

    I’m so sorry to hear that.

    get well soon.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post Perry.

    And clearly I am a “feminist” also – as I favour no government subsidies (or regulations mandating other people pay X,Y,Z) to either men or women.

    Nor do I object to women not sharing my baldness or my short life expectancy.

  • Tedd

    Regarding the article, I think Steve nailed it: As is so often the case, the difference between the libertarian view and other views is not so much the existence or non-existence of a problem, or its causes and effects, but rather what constitutes legitimate and effective solutions.