I am going to offer some quick thoughts. But first, a disclaimer: I am not going to keep writing “in general” or “for the most part” or “have a tendency to.” Obviously, this post will be full of sweeping generalizations. Don’t stereotype-shame me in the comments!
==> I rushed to Julie’s defense, not because I care about the particular issues over which others are arguing, but because (a) I’m her “Facebook friend” so I automatically was defensive and (b) I know what a pain it is to make videos like that. If you’ve never done it, you really have no idea. It would take me probably 6 hours to get something approximating the above. Oops, was your iPhone turned on? Well you gotta do it all over, because now there’s a buzzing in the audio. So, knowing how much effort she is putting into these things, and seeing exactly the little details and tricks she uses to build up her fan base, it is crazy when I was reading comments on FB etc. from people making completely asinine “suggestions” that would ensure no one watches her videos again.
==> Julie is cranking out videos that consistently get more than 10k views, and she talks about “the Budget Control Act of 2011″ and “Title IX.” She makes it cool to rip on Republicans for being for “small government” and yet freaking out over defense cuts. If you have never worked in a Think Tank environment, you don’t undersand how important that is. There could be a bunch of people all secretly thinking that, but if a few loudmouths set the tone about “that wuss Obama weakening our national defense!” then they’ll keep quiet. That’s why I am so happy with her video series.
==> The people saying, “I would never send that video to my non-libertarian friends!” are totally missing the point. This video is aimed at LIBERTARIANS. That’s why at the end she says her strategy is “how we win.”
==> If you say, “OK Bob, but then why the rant about the big purse? Why did she put lipstick all over her face? Why doesn’t she just read from cue cards with a stick up her butt?” I refer you again to her Views.
==> Julie is part of a broader trend that delights me. People are making it cool to talk about politics and economics. That’s why I adore Jon Stewart. If you told me in
2000 1998 that a comedian would have a very successful show, largely based on running clips of Fox News and making fun of speeches taken from the Congressional floor, I would have said you were nuts. Just like, if you had told me I’d one day be giving a talk at an event in Nashville with a bunch of musicians who hated the Fed, and where there were 23-year-olds smoking pot in their car beforehand listening to a black guy’s remix of Ron Paul speeches, I would have really thought you were nuts.
==> Right now, for whatever reason, it is cool in our culture to be a progressive. That’s why Matt Damon is being hailed for his anti-fracking movie, whereas Clint Eastwood is mocked for his views. Since libertarians (in our minds) are actually the ones who “know the street” and have the inside scoop on rich guys screwing everybody over, we should be the intellectuals to whom the cool kids turn when they want to learn how the world works. But they don’t trust us right now, because we are boring and out of touch.
==> Having said all that, I actually don’t think this issue–i.e., the need to make libertarianism cool in the popular culture–has much to do with girls not being in the movement. That I think is more explained, by the fact that girls don’t like to argue as much as guys do.
==> Lots of guys like science fiction, and some girls do too. But if I post on my Facebook status, “Who would win in a fight? The Enterprise (Galaxy Class) or a Super Star Destroyer?” it is going to be all guys, except for an occasional girl who makes fun of us for being such dorks. Notice, if I said, “Who could provide the most assistance to a space station with a flu outbreak?” no guy would care. But when I make it about a fight, now we’re interested.
==> So, right now libertarianism as a movement is like my question about the Enterprise vs. the Super Star Destroyer. “Suppose you had a fractional reserve bank versus a 100% reserve bank in a world with no government. Who wins?” Hell yeah, I’m going to make lifelong enemies debating that question. But most girls are going to think, “You guys are dorks.”
==> I think it would be interesting to study Marxism, because there are clearly sectarian squabbles there, but there are a bunch of women in it. So somebody explain that to me. I am quite sure I’m hitting something important above, but it’s not decisive since I can’t explain Marxism.
==> Last point: Say I’m right or wrong, but this is why I “make such an ass” of myself on the Internet. Sometimes I get the impression that certain critics think I got drunk and accidentally posted a video of myself in the bathroom taunting Krugman. Maybe that’s a dumb strategy, or maybe it’s brilliant, but please spare me the lecture, “Bob, don’t you realize that you don’t sound like a stuffy academic? Why would Harvard invite you to guest lecture next year with this video floating around?” Give me a break.