All posts by Laurie Rice

Writer. Objectivist. Feminist. Cowgirl.

Fool

“I must learn to love the fool in me — the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of my human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my Fool.”

~Theodore Isaac Rubin

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Control of Pregnancy Means Control of Women

How involved should government be in women’s pregnancies? A case from Wisconsin speaks powerfully about the dangers of personhood policy.

Early in 2014, 29-year-old Wisconsin woman Tamara Loertscher left her job, leaving her without the health insurance she needed to treat a thyroid condition. During her unemployment Loertscher sometimes self-medicated with marijuana and methamphetamine, a stimulant, for depression and pain.

Months later, in July, Loertscher suspected she had become pregnant by her long term boyfriend. She discontinued all substance use.

Then she went to the Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on August 1. She was seeking care for her depression and thyroid condition, to confirm herpregnancy, and to ask questions about the health of a fetus she intended to carry to term. She disclosed her medical history, including previous substance use, so health providers might offer the best information about her health and the fitness of her pregnancy. A urine test confirmedpregnancy as well as drug use.

Tamara Loertscher’s visit to the Wisconsin clinic then took a dark turn.

Continue reading Control of Pregnancy Means Control of Women

Google’s Pony Express & An Objectivist Theory Of Video Games

Around midnight on April 14th, 1860, the rider on the first westbound run of the Pony Express clattered into San Francisco, California, on his horse. The mail he carried had been borne at a gallop across the desert of the American West. He was the last rider in a ten-day relay that began in St. Joseph, Missouri. Ultimately, the journey of the Pony Express would continue criss-crossing the country for eighteen months, transmitting messages about the gold rush in California, Lincoln’s inauguration, and the Civil War.

The Pony Express company conceded to the transcontinental telegraph in 1861, losing the government mail contract the company’s founders had sought. But it had forever heightened expectations of speed in letter delivery, and, of course, had gained a place in the American imagination.

155 years have passed since that day, and there was no better celebration of the Pony Express’s memory than Google’s instantly iconic doodle last week. And there was no better entity to do it: The Pony Express’s founders sought to compartmentalize and distribute a 1900 mile pilgrimage across America in order to speed up communication. Google now compresses massive amounts of data and connects billions of people in order to put a world of information at our fingertips.

Continue reading Google’s Pony Express & An Objectivist Theory Of Video Games

Ayn Rand, the Movies, and the Idea of America

This article was originally published at FEE.org.

Ayn Rand’s monograph “Textbook of Americanism,” now published on FEE.org, is virtually unknown. Written during a decisive turning point in history, it was delivered by Rand personally to FEE’s founder Leonard Read in 1946. The monograph represents Rand’s desire to draw stark lines between an emerging postwar collectivism and the individualism she believed built America. She joined others in pointing out that collectivism had wrought the horrors the world had just endured.

“Textbook of Americanism” also represents her worldview as it came to be shaped by her childhood experiences with communism, her early love of film as a means of artistic expression, and her perceptions about the future of freedom.

As a young student in Russia at the dawn of the Bolshevik takeover, at a small theater for silent films, Rand caught her first glimpse of the New York skyline. The silhouette burned in her mind, a symbol of creative passion and unbounded achievement, outlining the edges of her growing philosophy of individualism.

Continue reading Ayn Rand, the Movies, and the Idea of America

Bitcoin and the Ayn Rand Imagination

This article was originally published at The Atlas Society.

The Atlas Shrugged movie is now accepting Bitcoin to join their web forum, called Galt’s Gulch Online. Limited content is available for free to all visitors of Galt’s Gulch Online, but premium content, such as the new Atlas Shrugged Part 3 teaser trailer, is available only to “producers” who pay a fee. And that fee can now be paid in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a digital money sweeping the world and offering some degree of freedom from government currencies. It imitates the scarcity of a material currency (e.g. gold) by means of an algorithm, which places a limit on the amount of bitcoin that can be “mined” from its source by those who maintain the transaction ledger. As Rob Wile puts it, “It’s like a giant interactive spreadsheet everyone has access to and updates.”  Continue reading Bitcoin and the Ayn Rand Imagination

Why The Government Shouldn’t Regulate Photoshopping

 

A recent post by the show Julie Mastrine responded to a post by Miss Representation’s account on Facebook. Miss Representation is a documentary about the portrayal of women in media. It’s a valuable film with many insights, but it falls into the error that much of liberal feminism does, which is to call on government regulation as a solution. Their Facebook post was a link to Change.org, petitioning the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “to develop a regulatory framework for ads that materially change the faces and bodies of the people in them, in order to reduce the damage this type of advertising does to our children.”

I responded with a few comments, and many other libertarian feminists did as well.

laurie rice photoshopping

laurie rice photoshopping 2

Julie Mastrine did a longer write up on her own blog, with screenshots of my comments and others.

 

Julie Mastrine

Women’s representation in media matters. Study after study   has linked narrow beauty standards with low self-esteem, eating disorders, and general body-hatred among women. Women are tired of seeing themselves portrayed in a narrow way — light-skinned, thin, blonde, blue-eyed, big boobs, etc. But is government legislation the solution to create more representative media images? Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.34.44 PM

That’s the question raised by a newChange.org petition, which asks people to sign in support of The Truth in Advertising Act, or H.R.4341. The act is not very detailed, but in short, it would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a regulatory framework to reduce the use of altered photos in advertising and “to submit to Congress a report on the use, in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products, of images that have been altered to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted.”

This legislation…

View original post 466 more words

approaching anarchy

I’m really drawn to the individualist, market, and existentialist descriptions on this fantastic chart I found. Evolving from a starting point of classical liberal — basically I intellectually inherited minarchy as a default of Rand’s Objectivism, and hadn’t questioned it much until more recently.

Now I mostly just hold on to a vague minarchist position out of

  1. lingering skepticism about the development of gang warfare and “a market of force,”
  2. wide-eyed, beagle-like trust in the power of written laws to manifest justice,
  3. general reluctance to change my mind too easily, and
  4. the fun of annoying anarchists.

types of anarchism

 

Contraception and Free-Market Feminism

For a while, Youtube aired a commercial for Plan B, and it inspired me whenever I saw it. “No one is going to get in my way,” one actress says decisively—“No one,” “No one,” “No one,” comes the chorus of women, each one more emphatic. At first, it might seem overly righteous for a subtext which basically suggests, “the condom broke.” But the commercial is actually the market’s bold stance against a long history of regulation surrounding contraception.

The women in the commercial are voices ringing out above one of the world’s loudest shouting matches, speaking to issues of sexuality, women’s reproductive freedom, healthcare, personal responsibility, and capitalism. Both the right and the left are harmful to women’s reproductive freedom, but most harmful is government power, itself. Liberal feminists still haven’t figured out the problem or its solution, free-market capitalism.

Continue reading Contraception and Free-Market Feminism

Privacy concerns for women getting abortions in Louisiana

Privacy concerns for women merely getting abortion *medication* (the pills typically given for early-stage abortions) — while abortion is supposedly still legal. If you’re a woman trying to have a procedure so couched in shame and social stigma, it’s even more intimidating to know that your name will be recorded.

“Louisiana state Rep. Katrina Jackson’s bill, in addition to keeping a state database of people who have had medication abortions, would require physicians who perform the procedure to obtain hospital admitting privileges.”

This is how pro-life politicians and activists bypass the difficulty of making abortion illegal; by simply regulating clinics into non-functionality.
Also, Jackson proposed changing the language for the first trimester from “six to 14 weeks” to “up to 14 weeks,” honing the scope of government force ever closer to a woman’s sexual act itself.

http://www.salon.com/2014/03/10/louisiana_lawmakers_want_to_keep_a_state_database_of_people_who_have_abortions/?utm_source=nar.al&utm_medium=urlshortener&utm_campaign=FB

Sexism against female entrepreneurs

A recent article at Feministing.com highlights a study showing that female entrepreneurs pitching an idea are less successful with investors than men pitching the same idea.

Maya Dusenbery says:

“You’d think folks in the venture capitalist and entrepreneurial communities–who presumably have far more faith in the invisible hand’s ability to identify and invest in the best ideas than an anti-capitalist like me does–would be seriously concerned by research like this that suggests gender bias is throwing such a major wrench in their visions of a perfect capitalist meritocracy. I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions they’re working on to address this.”

As an advocate of free-market capitalism, here are the solutions I suggest:

1. Advocate for libertarian feminism, combining the sound principles of free market philosophy with a mission to culturally construct a fully human femininity, and to correct for distortions of sexual identity against merit. (Similarly, advocate for libertarian social justice generally, correcting for distortions of all sexual identities and racial identities)

2. Create market corrections such as private “affirmative action.” If it becomes clear that value is being left on the table by not investing in female entrepreneurs, that becomes an opportunity for certain investors to make a profit by focusing exclusively on female entrepreneurs.

3. Make investors and venture capitalists aware of their potential biases with articles such as this one in Feministing. Thank you, Maya! — Truly, you and articles like these are part of the solution. Investors might correct for a certain amount of discrimination just by being more conscientious. CEOs might also integrate correction for this problem into their business’ mission statement, employee training, and other forums. It could be as simple as a reminder: “Be aware of sex discrimination. Don’t miss out on a great idea!”

4. Private civic institutions, “watch dog” groups, or any kind of voluntary groups for women entrepreneurs to join together and exchange information about which investors are promising and which ones show discriminatory behavior toward women. Develop lists of criteria; let journalists name good guys and bad guys. Much like the LGBT community identifies businesses which are friendly to their community as customers and employees.
(One of my favorites is Capitalist Chicks.)

Finally, this isn’t a solution, but an attempt to turn the question on its head: consider that if there is a cultural distortion about masculinity and authority, how much worse off female entrepreneurs would be in an economy controlled by political power, where authority is the “coin of the realm” instead of the dollar.

For more commentary on this issue, see my article Feminism and the Future.