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Cory Robin post about Mises, Sex, and by extention (according to Robin) Birth Control

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geo8rge Posted: Wed, Feb 29 2012 1:20 PM

Ludwig Von Mises Makes the Libertarian Case against “Free Love” (and Implicitly Against Birth Control)

Robin also discusses Ron Paul on his site.

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Could you post an executive summary?


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1. Robin's first gripe against Mises:

First, Mises exempts from his account the “exceptional” man of genius — again, always a man — who cannot abide by the dull terms of a marriage. So while he insists on marriage with its obligations as the lot of the masses, men of genius are not, and cannot be, bound by its claims. Woman cannot, no matter what, enjoy such exemptions: “because the functions of sex have the first claim upon woman, genius and the greatest achievements have been denied her.” So already we have a sense of the unequal distribution of rights and responsibiltiies in a marriage.

And my response:

Isn't it fun to see how people just don't know how to read?

By "functions of sex" Mises means that it's women who get pregnant and raise the kiddies. And being pregnant and having screaming lil kids to deal with 24/7 can kinda slow even an Einstein down. This has nothing to do with rights and responsibilities of marriage. Sheesh. 

Here's what Mises wrote, with some context this time:

First, the Feminist position, summarized by Mises. [As an aside, note that he does what he is supposed to. He summarizes the oponent's position first, in a way totally acceptable to the opponent, before going on to rebut it. Take heed, Pete Sudra and others].

The attacks launched against it by the Feminism of the Nineteenth Century seemed much more serious. Its spokesmen claimed that marriage forced women to sacrifice personality. It gave man space enough to develop his abilities, but to woman it denied all freedom. This was imputed to the unchangeable nature of marriage, which harnesses husband and wife together and thus debases the weaker woman to be the servant of the man. No reform could alter this; abolition of the whole institution alone could remedy the evil. Women must fight for liberation from this yoke, not only that she might be free to satisfy her sexual desires but so as to develop her individuality. Loose relations which gave freedom to both parties must replace marriage.

Sounds like Corey Robin speaking, nes't ces pas? So Mises knew what the feminists were claiming.

Now Mises points out that the feminists forget that women get pregnant and raise kids, which is what is, fairly or unfairly, holding them back. No law or social institution can make the men get pregnant, or produce milk and feel motherly instinctual affection for the yowling little tykes:

The radical wing of Feminism, which holds firmly to this standpoint, overlooks the fact that the expansion of woman's powers and abilities is inhibited not by marriage, not by being bound to man, children, and household, but by the more absorbing form in which the sexual function affects the female body. Pregnancy and the nursing of children claim the best years of a woman's life, the years in which a man may spend his energies in great achievements. One may believe that the unequal distribution of the burden of reproduction is an injustice of nature, or that it is unworthy of woman to be child-bearer and nurse, but to believe this does not alter the fact. It may be that a woman is able to choose between renouncing either the most profound womanly joy, the joy of motherhood, or the more masculine development of her personality in action and endeavour. It may be that she has no such choice. It may be that in suppressing her urge towards motherhood she does herself an injury that reacts through all other functions of her being. But whatever the truth about this, the fact remains that when she becomes a mother, with or without marriage, she is prevented from leading her life as freely and independently as man. Extraordinarily gifted women may achieve fine things in spite of motherhood; but because the functions of sex have the first claim upon woman, genius and the greatest achievements have been denied her.

Tune in next post for Mises second great crime.

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2. Corey Robin's second gripe against Mises:

Second, I’m not sure where you get the idea that he thinks free love is about the legal prohibition of marriage.

[Right here, when he summarizes their position: Loose relations which gave freedom to both parties must replace marriage.]

He says, “Free love is the socialists’ radical solution for sexual problems. The socialistic society abolishes the economic dependence of woman which results from the fact that woman is dependent on the income of her husband…Public funds provide for the maintenance and education of the children, which are no longer the affairs of the parents but of society. Thus the relations between the sexes are no longer influenced by social and economic conditions….The family disappears and society is confronted with separate individuals only. Choice in love becomes completely free.”

He’s very clear that the program he has in mind is one where the state makes women the economic equals of men such that they are no longer dependent on men.

That to him is the great evil of socialism in terms of gender politics. It actually enables women to act like the libertarian actors he imagines men to be. Not by abolishing marriage but my instituting economic equality.

And my response:

Hmm, looks pretty bad. Free love as described by Mises in the above quote, with the state taking over the raising of kids, liberating women forever from the chains of momminess, is exactly what Corey Robin wants. He considers this economic equality. So if Mises is against this scheme, it must be because he is against economic equality for women. There can be no other reason to oppose it; at least Mises doesn't mention one.

Yes, it looks pretty bad, until you actually read what Mises wrote.

First of all, he states clearly that he is all for freedom for the chicks:

So far as Feminism seeks to adjust the legal position of woman to that of man, so far as it seeks to offer her legal and economic freedom to develop and act in accordance with her inclinations, desires, and economic circumstances—so far it is nothing more than a branch of the great liberal movement, which advocates peaceful and free evolution.

So what is he against? Simple. Throwing out the baby with the bath [excuse the pun], in this case, throwing out the institution of marriage in the mistaken belief that will help women: 

...When, going beyond this, it attacks the institutions of social life under the impression that it will thus be able to remove the natural barriers, it is a spiritual child of Socialism. For it is a characteristic of Socialism to discover in social institutions the origin of unalterable facts of nature, and to endeavour, by reforming these institutions, to reform nature.

But what does Mises have against free love and the state raising everyone's kiddies? How can he be pro economic equality, and yet against such a wonderful plan that gives women the freedom they so justly deserve?

First, Mises points out once again that abolishing marriage and having the state raise the kids will not solve the essential problem of women being the ones who actually have the babies, and all that entails. Here is the quote, with Smiling Dave's snarky explication in brackets]:

It is clear that sex is less important in the life of man than of woman. Satisfaction brings him relaxation and mental peace. [Meaning once he gets his rocks off he's ready for a beer and some television, with not a care in the world].

But for the woman the burden of motherhood begins here. [Meaning her troubles are just beginning].

Her destiny is completely circumscribed by sex [because sex means babies];

in man's life it is but an incident. [Couple of minutes and it's back to the video games].

However fervently and whole-heartedly he loves, however much he takes upon himself for the woman's sake, he remains always above the sexual. [It's not you who will barf up your breakfast for nine months, hubby; not you who will pine for the adorable tykes when the State takes them away].

Even women are finally contemptuous of the man who is utterly engrossed by sex. [How respected is Hugh Hefner?]

But woman must exhaust herself as lover and as mother in the service of the sexual instinct. [A woman cannot have sex and walk away. Her belly swells, like it or not].

Man may often find it difficult, in the face of all the worries of his profession, to preserve his inner freedom and so to develop his individuality, but it will not be his sexual life which distracts him most. [Getting laid may be a problem, but there is always SOME substitute, however poor].

For woman, however, sex is the greatest obstacle. [Not the getting laid part, for which all she needs is a push up bra. It's what comes after, as explained above.  "Pregnancy and the nursing of children claim the best years of a woman's life"] 

Now some may argue that Mises forgot all about condoms when writing this stuff. That will solve the eternal feminine problem of morning sickness and losing the best years of her life. Just get free condoms in your health care plan, like Obama wants, or buy 'em yourself, like Peter Schiff wants, and the chicks will be fine.

But good ole Mises was one step ahead of you. He knew all about condoms:

...Just as the pseudo-democratic movement endeavours by decrees to efface natural and socially conditioned inequalities, just as it wants to make the strong equal to the weak, the talented to the untalented, and the healthy to the sick, so the radical wing of the women's movement seeks to make women the equal of men. [Yeah, right. Jeer jeer].

Though they cannot go so far as to shift half the burden of motherhood on to men,... [Motherhood meaning having the actual baby inside her for nine months. The feminists cannot make men have the kid in them for 4 and a half months, but they can do the next best thing. Have no kids at all for anyone. Equality].

still they would like to abolish marriage and family life so that women may have at least all that liberty which seems compatible with childbearing. Unencumbered by husband and children, woman is to move freely, act freely, and live for herself and the development of her personality. [Go dykes!]

That was Mises' masterful summary of their position. Condoms for all! Equality! Next, Mises chivalrously shows these poor women the error of their ways. Now guys, this one is going to be contreversial, so tune in next post.


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