Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Love is not having to say, "I own you."

Because today is the birthday of Susan B. Anthony, one day following the celebration of love that marks Valentine's Day I will use this occasion to inform some ignorance and blindness.

Women are offended by being treated as property because we know perfectly well that men think of us so – and that the law acts to reinforce that viewpoint. It was a viewpoint that offended Susan B. and it still offends today.

Vedran Vuk, at whose article this is aimed, may be a savvy economist of the Austrian persuasion but he has failed to understand what his girlfriend knew all too well. In his article posted today on today he cheerfully continued the same obtusely offensive line that women hear all too often. Women are, of course, expected to hold their tempers; men may engage in righteous indignation.

The clash between our inherent rights and law treat women as commodities instead of securing to them the rights with which nature endowed them. The latter is the basis of America's Mission Statement. The former is how things really are.

Rhetoric vs. Reality; Privileges vs. Rights: The Bush administration, and indeed all of our interactions with politics, have fully informed us of the very real differences between the two.

Bush asserts his inherent 'right' to executive privileges that include wire tapping and suddenly the protests and noise level rises. But, Baby, you asked for it.

Rights precede government. The point of the mission statement enunciated in the Declaration of Independence was that each of us possessed those rights and government, if it is to act in accordance to that truth, may not change, withhold or modify those rights. Each of us is sovereign in fact.

That was the understanding throughout the period when women were sweating blood to produce the capital that kept the Revolution going. Men were free to fight because, as in the earlier case of John Peter Zenger, wives, mothers,sisters, and daughters kept the gears of commerce moving and food on the table and in the pot out in the encampment.

Abigail Adams expected women to be secured in their rights; so did most women then living. It was not to be. Commodifying women was too profitable for those in power to give up.

So government moved in, placing the foundations for the conversion of rights that has come back to bite men in the ass today. Through that means has government converted to themselves the power to decide who has rights and who does not. So instead of lives secured from the predatory power of government men now are beginning to experience some tiny sense of what women have faced for 230 years in an America that sold the idea of independence (a costly venture in large part capitalized through the work of women) and delivered the foundation for the conversion of rights, preceding government, to privileges, meted out by government.

Women continued to fight.

In 1953 married women in California were finally given the right to control their own paychecks. Women have sweated and paid for every tiny increase in their right to act autonomously, something men take for granted. How would a man feel is his wife could walk in and pick up his paycheck? How did married women feel when the State asserted through the State contract of 'marriage' that their husbands could, by right, rape them?

But Vedran thought his sweetie should glow with happiness to be treated as property? He is lucky she only smacked him once.

It might be pleasurable to be treated as a cherished race horse - for a while. But the fact, lying in the future securely disguised by the paeans of praise ringing in equine ears and the lavishing of oats, green grass and pats, is that as soon as the horse stops fulfilling the fantasies of the owner the horse, property, and having no rights, is dog food. That is the model of 'love' enunciated by Vadran.

The fact is women today, after 230 years of struggle and work, still are not secured to their rights under the Constitution and will not be until the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified.

If by “love” men mean that they assert that women should regard being “loved” for however short a period, as being as good or better than the recognition of their rights then I suggest that the other tenet in the Declaration of Independence, the one about Revolution, is in order. We have been more than patient.

Austrian economics is a theoretical model that assumes each individual has the right to free exchange. It cannot work if the market, which includes all human action and not just monetary exchanges, prevents some groups of people from registering in that market the full constellation of the values they choose, negotiating compensation by the same means.

Let the market decide is meaningless if the laws imposed by men prevent women from full participation. Using legislation to limit and mandate human action is a form of slavery. No real Austrian should approve.

Get all your laws off my body – and Happy 186th Birthday to Susan, a woman who understood the issues of freedom from her bones out past her skin. We will not see her like again.

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