Thursday, April 12, 2018

Reading update: libertarianism, democracy, black studies, and Marxism

So long libertarianism

It's been over a year since my last reading update! In my last post I summarized both my feminism and libertarianism reading projects. One interesting development of the libertarianism reading project plus marinating in the Trump era is that I've determined I can no longer call myself a libertarian. One thing I gleaned from my reading is that there's a useful distinction to be drawn between libertarianism and classical liberalism, based roughly on the property rights absolutism/monism and anti-institutional tendencies of libertarianism versus the more comprehensive value pluralism and sensitivity to institutional context of classical liberalism. That's the theory. In recent practice, most libertarians have also just proven to be exceptionally useless in understanding Trump. Trump, to most libertarians, is just another politician, and not any kind of special threat. I wrote a rather long critique of libertarian anarchism, and most of the arguments therein apply to minarchist libertarianism as well.


In my last post I also hinted at a miniature reading project inspired by Jerry Gaus's Tyranny of the Ideal, and I did read a few such books:
I recommend Page and Muldoon, even though I somehow failed to review Muldoon's book. The common theme within all the books except Brennan's is that a pluralistic society leverages epistemic advantages by the very fact of pluralism. People from different walks of life, regardless of their raw intelligence, bring different perspectives, or different ways of organizing information about the world. These different perspectives each can make certain problems more readily soluble. I read Against Democracy as a sanity check on my enthusiasm for this idea. As I make clear in the link, I was unimpressed.

And all that other stuff

I took a break from major reading projects after this mini-project just to read a few things I'd been meaning to get to. I read Tyler Cowen's Stubborn Attachments and Wolff & de-Shalit's Disadvantage, from the capabilities literature, back to back. I have a long simmering idea of writing an essay connecting these two works. Namely, I want to argue that access to effective, growth oriented institutions (Cowen) is a powerful example of a fertile functioning (Wolff & de-Shalit), or a capability/functioning that naturally tends to enable the development of further valuable capabilities/functionings.

In my hodgepodge between-projects reading, I also read Liz Anderson's wonderful book, Private Government. Francis Fukuyama's Origins of Political Order and Mark Weiner's Rule of the Clan both helped me write my critique of anarchism. And I finally got around to reading a couple classics: Charles Taylor's Sources of the Self and Seneca's On Anger. After finally serendipitously spotting it at Powell's after years of looking, I read Martha Nussbaum's Fragility of Goodness. All of Nussbaum is really an ongoing project of mine. I've loosely set a goal to read one Nussbaum book per year, which should keep me busy for the rest of my life at her rate of publication. Next up in this effort will be the Therapy of Desire. I read Capitalism: For and Against, by Ann Cudd and Nancy Holmstrom after seeing it referenced by Charles Mills (see below) in his Occupy Liberalism essay (incidentally one of my favorite essays since my last update here). Ann Cudd is amazing and I'm looking forward to reading more by her. Finally, Jacob T Levy did not disappoint with Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom (which, inexcusably, I neglected to review).

Black studies

That brings me to my tour of black studies, which I have kinda finished, though I'm still reading the autobiography of Malcolm X and I'm planning to read more Angela Davis for my next project (see below).

And I watched Black Panther. Only half kidding about this, given the amount of commentary I read both before and after the film's release and the discussion groups I participated in.

This was an incredibly productive reading project, significantly nudging my perspective, albeit in a direction I was already trending. Concretely, I was skeptical of affirmative action before embarking on this tour, and I thought reparations were a clearly bad idea, both for political reasons and problems with targeting. Anderson convinced me of the merits of affirmative action as an instrument for integration even while she criticized other more common defenses of affirmative action that I was familiar with (as compensation, for example). By the time I got through Kendi, even though he doesn't focus on this, I came around to the idea of reparations (details matter, obviously) and the principle of black power generally. Blacks and other marginalized or oppressed peoples have to seize what power (economic, social, political) they can when they can (though not by "any means necessary"). Waiting for those things to come from the grace of the powerful is getting the cart before the horse. Power and privilege is jealously guarded, and this seems to be just a feature of humanity. Interestingly, my thoughts on black power resonate with some of the things I've learned from, e.g., Fukuyama and Acemoglu/Robinson on how equality and inclusive institutions typically depend on historical contingencies that happen to empower some groups relative to the existing elites. This is also in line with Jacob Levy's sort of agonistic view of politics and pluralism, from which I've learned a lot.

I'm also enchanted with the idea of "black radical liberalism" as is being developed by Charles Mills. Mills accepts what I view as the most challenging critiques of liberalism in both theory and practice without trying to claim these aren't "real liberalism." He argues that liberalism can survive these critiques but only if it turns away from ideal theory and embraces instead a non-ideal and rectificatory approach. Specifically, racialization and sex/gender oppression seen in actual non-ideal societies should be the focus of corrective justice, rather than being seen as deviations from liberalism (see paragraph above). I'm itching to write about this, especially since I think there are potentially very fruitful alternative directions to the one Mills has chosen. He's working from a theoretical tripod of liberalism (Kant and Rawls), radical theory (Marx), and black critical theory. A black radical capabilities liberalism could, at least in some ways, replace both the Kant/Rawls and the Marx legs, with the additional advantage that the capabilities approach is already well-suited to non-ideal theory and liberal practices.


I've just started the Selected Writings of Karl Marx, edited by David McLellan. I've only read one book on socialism thus far (Socialism after Hayek), and this seems like a clear gap in my knowledge, especially since some kind of Marxian analysis is often implicit in some of the other topics I've become at least peripherally interested in, like radical feminism and black radicalism (see above). I'm ... not exactly in danger of becoming a Marxist. Or a socialist, except insofar as democratic socialists blend into social democrats blend into social justice-oriented (neo!)liberals. But I do have the impression that Marx has a far more humanistic perspective than some of the more economistic classical liberals. Marx was also inspired to some degree by Aristotle. Whatever the failures are of the labor theory of value and like, actual communism in the world (understatement), I'm pretty open-minded that Marxian class analysis might have useful resources. Anyway, at this point I don't even know enough to know what to read, but here are a few I'm intending to read so far:

  • Karl Marx: Selected Writings - David McLellan
  • Marxism and Freedom - Raya Dunayevskaya
  • Women, Race, and Class - Angela Davis
  • I dunno some other stuff open to suggestions
  • Main Currents of Marxism - Leszek Kolakowski

Monday, December 12, 2016

Books of 2016, feminism and libertarianism

In my previous post back in April I gave the first impressions of my tour of feminism, which I concluded with this facebook post. I also previewed the tour of libertarianism I had planned to embark on, a syllabus to fill some gaps from my youthful libertarian indoctrination. It's amazing how these proposed lists differ so much from what I actually read. And then there was my New Years resolution to read more scifi and fantasy. I pretty much failed that as soon as I got inspired to read Les Misérables (just over 25% through that one ...).

Anyway, here's the list, with links provided to my reviews or relevant blog posts. Turns out I wrote a lot of book reviews this year.

Somehow I never got around to reviewing Elements of Justice, even though it was excellent. It argues for value pluralism. Our understanding of justice is a hodgepodge of multiple considerations, such as equality, need, desert, and reciprocation. Good judgment comes in understanding where and how these different kinds of reasons apply and why.

I'm finishing my tour of libertarianism (really classical liberalism) with Deirdre McCloskey's Bourgeois Equality. Though I do plan to read Jacob Levy's Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom when it appears in paperback.

I don't have anything too coherent planned for a new reading project. Gaus turned me onto some new thinkers I want to check out: Helene Landemore and Scott Page. With current events firmly in mind, I want to read more history and history-based accounts of civilization and political stability. And I also want to devote some energy to reading books that have been sitting on my shelf for a long time collecting dust.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Feminism update, libertarianism preview

I've started off 2016, according to plan, with a lot of feminism. I've been trying to be faithful with writing some kind of review of each book, whether it's a full-on blog post, a Goodreads review, or even a facebook status. The links are to those items, not to like, amazon pages.
  1. Women in Western Political Thought - Susan Moller Okin
  2. Feminine and Feminist Ethics - Rosemarie Tong
  3. Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men - Anne Fausto-Sterling
  4. Justice, Gender, and the Family - Susan Moller Okin (see also this facebook post)
  5. Situating the Self: Gender, Community, and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics - Seyla Benhabib
  6. Sex and Social Justice - Martha Nussbaum (See also this blog post on objectification).
This is in addition to the feminist works I read last year (Mill's Subjection of Women and Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, by bell hooks).

Benhabib's book ended up being a lot more about discourse ethics than feminism specifically, but I'm glad I read it. Feminism plays into discourse ethics by way of the necessity of including diverse perspectives in dialogue. Myths of Gender seemed very good, but I couldn't think of much to say about it. It's the kind of thing that unfortunately probably needs to be updated once every decade or so. And this has been done, both by Fausto-Sterling in newer books and by other feminist scientists. Okin's schtick of analyzing Western canonical philosophers through the feminist lens is pretty rewarding. I highly recommend Tong's book as an introduction to feminist ethics. My favorite book by far has been Nussbaum's book, which is a kind of harmonization of liberalism and feminism through a neo-Aristotelian approach. It also just includes great treatments of important figures in feminism, both good and bad (Andrea Dworkin and Christina Hoff Sommers, for example) and tricky topics (objectification, sex work, colonialism). I reckon I'm about 60% finished with this project. Here are the next books on deck:
  1. Women, Culture, and Development: A Study of Human Capabilities - Martha Nussbaum and Jonathan Glover (eds.)
  2. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing - Miranda Fricker
  3. Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women - Susan Moller Okin (ed.)
  4. A Vindication of the Rights of Whores - Gail Pheterson (ed.)
  5. Economics for Humans - Julie A Nelson
And this list may expand with new ideas or contract with fatigue. I'll almost certainly take a break after Women, Culture and Development in order to gobble up Deirdre McCloskey's thrilling conclusion to the Bourgeois Trilogy which came in the mail this week.

But I'm already looking forward to my next reading project, which is a deep dive into academic libertarianism. I've come a long way from my youthful Rand-influenced anarchism. Usually I feel more post-libertarian than libertarian, and have lately been calling myself just plain ol' "liberal" more and more. In part because of this, I want to read some classics I missed and read what some of libertarianism's best exponents have to offer. I'm thinking these:

  1. Anarchy, State, and Utopia - Robert Nozick
  2. Liberty and Nature: an Aristotelian Defense of Liberal Order - Doug Rasmussen and Doug Den Uyl
  3. Elements of Justice - David Schmidtz
  4. Liberalism Beyond Justice: Citizens, Society, and the Boundaries of Political Theory - John Tomasi
  5. Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom - Jacob Levy
  6. Persons, Rights, and the Moral Community - Loren Lomasky
  7. Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms - Vernon Smith
  8. Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism - Chris Matthew Sciabarra
  9. The Tyranny of the Ideal: Justice in a Diverse Society - Jerry Gaus
  10. Jason Brennan's and Bas van der Vossen's book on cosmopolitan justice.
Any suggestions welcome, for either good feminism or good libertarianism.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Books of 2015

I'm pretty proud of the reading I managed in 2015. I started the year finishing up my self-led course on virtue ethics (more on that in this post). I also honored my new year's resolution to read more substantive fiction this year (a resolution inspired in part by my interest in virtue ethics, incidentally). In addition to those below, I've got less than 100 pages to go in War and Peace, and I'll finish it by year's end barring hell, high water, and such.

Biggest surprise of the year: Structure of Scientific Revolutions was awesome, and made me realize I am apparently quite partial to postmodernism, at least as I currently understand it, and in what is probably one of its milder forms.

Socialism after Hayek was another delightful discovery. "Hayekian socialism" as a topic was just bound to be interesting, but I had no idea Burczak also appealed to the capabilities approach. This was fortuitous to find right after that little thing I wrote earlier this year.

Biggest disappointment was probably Burdened Virtues, which I expected to love based on my commitment to both feminism and virtue ethics. That said it was still interesting, and I don't regret reading it. Okay I take that back. The biggest disappointment of the year was Michel Foucault, which was so disappointing that I actually blocked it from my mind. I think I gave it one star on Goodreads.

Peace, Love, & Liberty, (Tom Palmer (ed.))
The Morality of Happiness (Julia Annas)
The State of the Art (Iain M Banks)
The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K Le Guin)
Bourgeois Dignity (Deirdre McCloskey)
Burdened Virtues (Lisa Tessman)
Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)
Practical Intelligence and the Virtues (Daniel C Russell)
Socialism After Hayek (Theodore Burczak)
Cordelia's Honor (Lois McMaster Bujold)
feminist theory: from margin to center (bell hooks)
On Liberty (John Stuart Mill)
The Subjection of Women (John Stuart Mill)
The History of Sexuality, Part 1 (Michel Foucault)
The Cambridge Companion to Virtue Ethics (Daniel C Russell (ed.))
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Thomas Kuhn)
War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy, tentative)

Great list, right? Well, one thing that bites is I basically sacrificed all my reading of the Economist. I regret this and I'm resolving not to let that happen again next year. I'll probably read many fewer books next year because I want to get back in the Economist's good graces. Consider that a resolution.

Another resolution: read more sci-fi/fantasy! A few months ago I took one of those online quizzes that ask you what sci-fi/fantasy books you've read. Almost all my friends blew me out of the water. I consider speculative fiction to be part of my identity, so this made me feel like a bit of an impostor. I want to read at least five books next year. Probably going to start with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, then read some more Bujold.

Otherwise, I plan to read a bit of feminism and a bit of libertarianism. Susan Moller Okin, Elizabeth Anderson, and Seyla Benhabib are all on the list. And it seems like a few of the libertarian public intellectuals I stalk have books coming out in 2016 (although maybe I'm being optimistic here). And there are some classics like Nozick I feel I should get to at some point.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Continuing self-education update

I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm about 15 pages out from finishing my year-or-so-long self-led course on virtue ethics. This, along with a few scattered papers here and there (okay mostly Nussbaum) was my syllabus:
  • The Bourgeois Virtues, by Deirdre McCloskey
    • The impetus for the whole project
  • After Virtue, by Alasdair MacIntyre
    • Offers the side benefit of being part of the conservative intellectual canon
    • Basically I think he fails in his effort to smash modern ethics and begs a big question in my mind
  • Virtues and Vices, by Philippa Foot
    • Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives was a pretty interesting essay.
  • Natural Goodness, by Philippa Foot
  • On Virtue Ethics, by Rosalind Hursthouse
    • The best book length introduction to VE I've read
  • The Morality of Happiness, by Julia Annas
    • Walkthrough of the debates about ethics in the ancient world, and a very good source for understanding eudaimonistic virtue ethics
    • Damn, the ancient Greeks were really smart!
  • Burdened Virtues, by Lisa Tessman
    • Pretty interesting discussion about how conditions of oppression can stifle virtue, but I thought the book really needed a discussion of phronesis and the unity of virtue.
  • Practical Intelligence and the Virtues, by Daniel Russell
    • Probably my favorite of the set, but also the hardest. I'm glad I read it last.
Clearly, I'm missing a lot of books. I haven't even read Annas's Intelligent Virtue. And I want to read more MacIntyre ... but I have to stop somewhere and start reading other things again. I have a blog post half written about why I like virtue ethics so much, but I've been too lazy to finish it. Basically, it's an organic theory that is flexible enough to describe our extremely complex and open-ended moral world. Eudaimonistic theories of VE at least have the advantage of remembering that morality has a purpose beyond just facilitating social cooperation: it should describe a robust, broadly construed conception of human happiness (or, even better, flourishing). It's holistic, taking as its concern the whole character, rather than limiting its scope to actions-in-the-vacuum, and only those actions that affect other people. And I think VE is just descriptively closer to how actual people deal with actual ethical life. We do learn our morals from stories read to us at our mother's knee that describe admirable character traits and good reasons for acting; we learn from moral instruction by role models; and we learn from long years in the school of hard knocks. Maybe some day I'll elaborate with a proper blog post.

Anyway, now that I'm temporarily done with virtue ethics, I have to decide what to read next. The very first thing I'm gonna read is Socialism After Hayek, by Theodore Burczak. I've long been really curious to learn more about Marxism/socialism, but I'd like to do so from a source that isn't obviously insane (I know, not very charitable). From what I understand, this book is written by a proper socialist, but one who explicitly acknowledges that, yeah, the socialists just flat out lost the socialist calculation debate. Maybe afterward if I feel like it I can delve deeper. I hear Gramsci was good?

After that, what? I'm interested in learning more about Kant, but I don't want to read Kant himself, because it's common knowledge Kant is hard as hell to read and fuck that, this isn't my day job. Any Kantians or Kant-knowledgeable folks out there have a good suggestions?

To be honest I'm also interested in going back to my libertarian roots. I've never gotten around to reading some of the classics, like Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia or JS Mill's On Liberty. Never read Herbert Spencer either, and it seems like he's mentioned everywhere. Then there's also a whole bunch of libertarian works on the near horizon I'm pretty excited about. Kuznicki has a book coming out about the nature of government. Zwolinski and Tomasi have their intellectual history of libertarianism coming out (which will doubtlessly expand my reading list). Brennan and van der Vossen have a book on global justice coming, something of especial interest to me given my interest in cosmopolitanism and open borders. And of course, Deirdre McCloskey's thrilling conclusion to her Bourgeois trilogy is coming out next year ...

I feel like I'm a shoddy libertarian because I haven't read some classics, but I haven't read any classics of feminist thought, apart from like, the first third of Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman and a couple essays by Voltairine de Cleyre. Feminism has become increasingly important to me in recent years, so I should probably do something about this. Second Sex is staring at me from my shelf.

Then there are the odds and ends. I'm sort of interested in Charles Murray's Coming Apart, Nassim Taleb's Antifragile, and the Singular Universe and the Reality of Time, by Roberto Unger and Lee Smolin.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Burdened Virtues

In Burdened Virtues: Virtue Ethics for Liberatory Struggles, Lisa Tessman's basic thesis is that conditions of oppression obstruct the development of certain virtues on the one hand and, on the other hand, require cultivation of "burdened virtues" that act counter to the agent's own flourishing. Consider, for example, anger at injustice. Anger at an unjust act is appropriate and obviously necessary if we want to advance justice. But for, say, an oppressed minority, injustice occurs not in discrete actions from time to time but rather in a pervasive pattern of social life. Constant rage to match the patterns of injustice cripples an individual's chance at flourishing. Anger in a state of powerlessness further increases the possibility that that anger will find outlets at inappropriate targets, like one's comrades or loved ones.

Another example is loyalty, a characteristic especially important to cultivate in political resistance movements. But loyalty can pull in multiple directions, and often does in cases of individuals belonging to more than one disfavored group. Tessman gives the example of black feminists facing charges of treason when they turn their feminist critiques onto black culture. Racial deconstructionists, who seek to abandon the concept of race altogether as invalid and harmful, are likewise condemned for abandoning their racial communities (and further charged with doing so for selfish reasons).

One of the more fascinating discussions within the book is of the impact conditions of oppression have on privileged persons, those individuals who would seem to benefit from the system. To the casual observer, of course, members of dominant classes benefit from a system where the cards are stacked in their favor to varying degrees and in varying ways. They can use their advantages to go on to lead flourishing lives. But of course, knowingly benefiting from unfair privilege and doing nothing to correct this state of affairs is clearly vicious. Moreover, ignorance is not bliss. It's incumbent upon every moral actor to try to understand the injustices around them. The outward appearance (and indeed, inward feeling) of virtue and flourishing among privileged persons may be illusory when their understanding of who falls within their spheres of ethical concern is blinkered.

The book is valuable, especially for students and activists of feminist and racial politics, providing a useful alternative framework for understanding character under oppression. And the concept of burdened virtues is a fruitful contribution to virtue ethics under adverse conditions, extending Rosalind Hursthouse's ideas of moral remainders and moral damage. 

I do have one big complaint. The burdening of the virtues that Tessman discusses are examples of virtues in conflict, pulling against one another. She mentions from time to time toward the end the need for balancing between virtues. But the whole project cries out for a detailed discussion of the unity of the virtues, a central concept within many theories of virtue. Conditions of oppression surely exacerbate conflicts between virtues, but even in everyday moral affairs among individuals of equal social advantage there will inevitably be situations where different virtues demand different responses. It's an advantage of virtue ethics that virtues can pull against one another without breaking the whole enterprise. Understanding how to respond (how to act as well as how to feel) with virtues in tension is often presented as a kind of skill of moral living, learned by attentive practice and moral reflection and honed over decades of moral life. This practice and reflection is our old friend phronesis, the virtue of practical moral wisdom that unites the rest of the virtues into some kind of organic whole. But there's no mention of either phronesis or the unity of the virtues in the index.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hayekian feminism: a challenge to libertarians

It's an understatement to note that libertarians (who are often male) are frequently hostile to feminism, and especially to the concepts of male privilege and rape culture. A typical libertarian response I've seen to these ideas is that they unfairly put men in a defensive posture. The male libertarian who doesn't just automatically dismiss the idea that men have systematic advantages over women will often protest that he shouldn't have to apologize or feel guilty for the advantages he happens to have. But this is an uncharitable interpretation. Feminism asks not that men flagellate themselves with guilt, but to acknowledge their systemic advantages as a first step to addressing the root causes of the problems of patriarchy. Mention of rape culture provokes the response that not all men are sexual assailants, and they shouldn't be treated as such. Of course, not all men engage in violence, but not all men have to for a culture to exist and for its effects to be felt widely.

Charles Johnson's "Women and the Invisible Fist" describes the mechanism of this last point in terms libertarians can appreciate. His argument is that rape culture, or the patriarchy if you prefer, can be usefully understood as a spontaneous order, à la Hayek. The spontaneous order that libertarians typically extol is a thing of beauty: individuals, acting on their own initiatives, with their own limited information, for their own ends, create in aggregate a pattern of economic productivity and exchange capable of satisfying the needs and desires of millions of people, all without a central authority running the show.

This is all accomplished on the basis of dispersed, consensual interactions. But spontaneous order can just as well arise from dispersed, coercive or violent interactions. The obvious example of this is biological evolution itself, the original inspiration for Hayek's thinking about spontaneous order. Nature is famously red in tooth and claw, with nearly every innovation dearly bought at the cost of some predator starving to death or some prey being eaten alive. Order can just as well emerge out of dispersed, violent human relations, without conscious design. But Johnson can say this better than I can (emphasis in original):
But nothing conceptually requires that emergent orders need be benign orders. If widely distributed forms of intelligence, knowledge, virtue, or prudence can add up, through many individual self-interested actions, into a benign undesigned order, then there's no reason why widely distributed forms of ignorance, prejudice, folly or vice might not add up, through many individual self-interested actions, into an unintended, malign order. So might widely-distributed, micro-level practices of violence; since libertarians are centrally concerned with individual freedom from violence and coercion, the possibility our threefold distinction raises of an emergent but non-consensual order must surely give us pause.*
[Susan Brownmiller's] hypothesis that stranger-rapists serve a Myrmidon function for male supremacy, with benefits that redound not only to practicing rapists but to all men, is best understood as arguing that the pervasive fact of rape, and the threat that its pervasiveness inflicts on all women, produces a spontaneous (emergent) but coercive order, in which non-consensual micro-scale actions inflicted by unrelated, anonymous stranger rapists, end up reinforcing a macro-scale pattern of male dominance over women, and the cultural and institutional superstructure of patriarchy. 
Feminists highlight the far-reaching significance of the everyday fact that the threat of rape constrains women's range of free action. These constraints operate through felt danger and through explicit warnings: don't walk alone; not after dark; not in that neighborhood; don't go to that party; not dressed like that; watch what you drink; watch what kind of "signals" you give off. Paternalistic double-binds often narrow the range to a vanishing point: don't leave a late-night event without a man to walk you back; don't leave with a man, unless you intend to invite him in--or you'll "give him the wrong idea," and who knows what could happen then? Women are warned about the dangers of crowded public spaces like subways, parties, or concerts while simultaneously being warned about the dangers of empty, secluded or private spaces like parking garages, alleys, empty country or a man's house or car. The double-binds construct both public space and private space, being either alone or accompanied, as pervaded with a lesser or greater degree of danger; ultimately the only space constructed as "safe" is male-protected space. And the reliability of male protection closely linked to personal connections with men, within a limited set of very specific, structured relations--usually either paternal authority, marital protection, or heterosexual availability. 
[...] The desire to protect others from violence is, in itself, a personal virtue, not a social problem. But the danger is how tempting and easy--and how corrupting--it is for men to take the psychological step of going from an attitude human solidarity [sic] to a fantasy of male rescue, of coming to see themselves as defined by their identity as a Protector in contrast to frail womanhood, and of coming to see women as uniquely dependent by nature--rather than uniquely threatened due to the chosen actions of other men. And to go even further, to try to make sure that women seek and depend on and stay within the scope of a man's "protection," whether or not they really want it--by using intimidating and restrictive warnings, by harassing women--blamed as foolish or wanton--who step outside the dependence of that "protection" or the stiflingly close boundaries of those "safety tips." That kind of imposed dependence can just as easily become frustrating and confining for women, and that kind of power can just as easily become corrupting and exploitative in men, as any other form of structural dependence and power can. Libertarians and anarchists who so readily see this dynamic when it comes to government police and military protection of a disarmed populace, shouldn't have any trouble seeing it, if they are willing to see it, when it comes to male protection of women.
Do read the whole thing. I think it's the most brilliant thing I've read all year. And for an example of rape culture at work, read this recent Rolling Stones article on UVA (possibly triggering recounts of rape). 

The challenge to libertarians resistant to feminism is to take this quite libertarian argument seriously. If libertarians genuinely seek a world in which voluntary relations are the norm and coercion is minimized, then they should seek to understand systemic coercion. To do this they must grapple with feminism in good faith.

*The three-fold distinction mentioned is consensual versus coercive, polycentric or participatory versus directive, and emergent versus consciously designed order. I'll leave the detailed explanation of these terms to the text.