Skip to comments.Libertarian Think Tank Let Boss Sexually Harass Workers
Posted on 02/09/2018 11:15:59 AM PST by nickcarraway
Libertarians hate coercion. To the extent that the anarcho-capitalist right justifies its worldview in moral terms, it is through an appeal to the obscenity of brute force. The problem with the welfare state, according to many libertarians, is not that it redistributes resources from rich to poor but that it accomplishes this by threatening wealthy tax dodgers with imprisonment. Individual liberty is sacrosanct, and just social policies are those that do not violate a persons will through a threat of state aggression.
The logical flaws of this nonaggression principle are myriad. But most spring from the libertarians insistence on applying it arbitrarily, to suit his movements political goals: Property rights cannot exist unless the state threatens violence against those who would flout them but libertarians believe property rights are good (even when they derive from historic acts of coercion like, for example, slavery), and so the enforcement of property rights is not coercion.
More broadly, libertarians fail to grapple with the reality that, for most individuals in an advanced society, the most coercive force in day-to-day life isnt the state, but the boss. And while its true that it is easier to leave an employer than a nation, the former still isnt easy. At the bottom of the economic ladder, the alternative to accepting the arbitrary dictates of an abusive manager can be accepting an empty stomach. On the higher rungs, failure to tolerate coercion at the office might not cost a professional basic nutrition, but it can imperil her most deeply held ambitions. As the #MeToo movement has amply demonstrated, private institutions and actors can exercise immense coercive power over individuals, with devastating and widespread consequences.
But libertarians worry far more about the liberty of the boss than that of the worker. And so the libertarian Cato Institute has vigorously opposed attempts to curb coercion in the workplace through regulation or unionization and published a book encouraging female workers to pursue non-adversarial alternatives to reporting [sexual] harassment to corporate or legal authorities.
Heres how the nonaggression principle was applied within Catos hallowed halls:
Three former employees of the famed Cato Institute say they were sexually harassed by Ed Crane, the 73-year-old co-founder and president emeritus of the think tank and one of the most recognizable figures in the libertarian movement.
One former employee said Crane asked her to take off her bra. Another said he compared her breasts to pornographic images on his computer. A third said he sent her an email on breast augmentation. Crane also settled an additional sexual harassment claim by a former employee in 2012, her lawyer confirmed to POLITICO The events described to POLITICO, which have never publicly been reported, began at least 20 years ago and continued until Cranes 2012 departure.
The story goes on to describe these incidents in harrowing detail, while making it abundantly clear that they werent aberrant improprieties, but characteristic of the environment that female staffers were forced to accept, if they wished to maintain their place at one of the libertarian movements premier institutions.
A Cato executive, who has since left the institute and did not respond to messages, gathered several young female employees together and suggested they stage a choreographed song-and-dance number for Cranes birthday, the former researcher said.
The former employees say that Cato under Crane was a freewheeling culture, in which some other men followed his lead in making inappropriate comments. During the workday, Crane would sometimes drink vodka mixed with Crystal Light, according to three former employees. And especially when Crane had been drinking, he made comments about womens bodies and clothing both in front of them and behind their backs.
Whenever a new crop of interns arrived, which happened three times a year, Cato would distribute headshots and short bios of the interns to staff. The handout was colloquially known by some men around the office as The Menu, according to two former Cato employees.
Cato insists that it has a pretty explicit policy against sexual harassment and a robust complaint process for employees, which includes an anti-retaliation policy. And the working atmosphere at the think tank has reportedly improved since Cranes departure.
The cause of Cranes decades-long misbehavior was not his think-tanks ideology. Conduct like his has, of course, proven pervasive in liberal institutions, from NPR to the New Republic. But the fact that such harassment is so thoroughly bipartisan and trans-ideological is part of why libertarianisms refusal to grapple with the reality of workplace coercion or accept the legitimacy of those remedies most likely to mitigate it is so deeply misguided.
More broadly, libertarians fail to grapple with the reality that, for most individuals in an advanced society, the most coercive force in day-to-day life isnt the state, but the boss.
Yikes. I looked at that site and felt like I’d wandered by mistake into some stranger’s bedroom.
This is an intellectually lazy article. False arguments and straw men set up and supposedly defeated by far fetched logic; all based on wrong/false arguments proclaimed by lazy thinking author.
It’s a Women’s fashion chain here in The South...............
Equating the enforcement of property rights to theft or murder is bizarre, but completely leftist.
Live cannot exist without property. Life can easily exist without murder or theft.
It is a complete alternate image of reality, where the basic premises of existence are false.
It is one large deceit.
The cause of Cranes decades-long misbehavior was not his think-tanks ideology
... completely refutes his using Crane to attack libertarianism as a whole.
People are tied to their jobs in a serf like manner in many ways, including “golden handcuffs.”
Cato, ain’t he the one what got his soft pink hands nailed to the door of the Senate?
The article illustrates the hazard of trying to think like someone alien to your nature, failing, and then soap-boxing your newly acquired ignorance.
“... would sometimes drink vodka mixed with Crystal Light” = Christini.
You’ll come to realize the difference between metaphor and fact when the bullet meets the bone.
‘libertarians believe property rights are good (even when they derive from historic acts of coercion like, for example, slavery’
While no fan of the Libertarians nearly anarchist attitude about Liberty, much of the rest of the author’s critique is ignorant, uninformed and simply in error about many of the desired or expected results of what Libertarian’s do believe.
There is no greater coercion in human existence than the law.
The founders understood the evil about it - coercion at the legalized point of gun - and considered it a necessary evil but one that must have its powers limited. They were neither purist “Libertarians” nor ignorant socialists.
Thanks nickcarraway. The myriad logical errors in this hit piece from New Snark magazine reveal the existence of -- and this is so shocking -- a political agenda!
New York Magazine is ok with government raping your wallet.
I’ve done some research into anarcho-capitalism out of interest, and I learned that the way their intellectuals frame the NAP derives ultimately from a human being existing in their own body, and therefore being able to claim private property by original appropriation or contract.
That being said, I don’t see how slavery is possible under that system. Corporate mercenary armies, brothels, depends... not slaves though; a person cannot take over another sentient person without violating the NAP, just exploit them through a contract they sign.
Whenever there is a Republican I cannot vote for in a general election, I do not vote Libertarian either. Often because of the lack of candidates from conservative third parties, I have to sit out the general election..
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