Hillary Clinton is the first woman to head a major-party presidential ticket. Which is an occasion to recall Tonie Nathan, the woman who ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party's 1972 ticket. University of Southern California philosopher John Hospers ran for president and the duo, despite only being on the ballot in two states and drawing fewer than 5,000 votes, earned an electoral vote when a "faithless elector" from Virginia tossed one their way (that elector, Roger McBride, would later run for president on the LP ticket as well).
Nathan, a journalist from Oregon, went on to create the Association of Libertarian Feminists (ALF) in 1973, which seeks to:
- encourage women to become economically self-sufficient
- encourage women to be psychologically independent
- publicize and promote realistic attitudes toward female competence achievement, and potential
- oppose the abridgement of individual rights by any government on the basis of gender
- work toward changing sexist attitudes and behavior exhibited by individuals
- provide a libertarian alternative to those aspects of the women's movement that foster political dependence and collectivism
From her founding statement of the organization:
The first members included men, as well as women. I felt an organization was needed to offer an alternative to other women's groups. It seemed to me that many women who felt unjustly treated by many of our present inequitable laws were being used by leftists and socialists for political purposes. It seemed important to counter this outside the Libertarian Party.
It seemed that many women were seeking a political system that could guarantee their complete economic security and it seemed they were looking for a husband-father substitute. But women who have been subjected to authoritarian restrictions by males ought to realize that Marxist Socialism is simply another form of the male-female power struggle. Male domination or state domination–neither should be tolerated. Neither help women to become free and independent. The following statement was released to the press after our first ALF meeting in Eugene.
There is today a terrible tendency to apply political solutions to what are really psychological and educational problems. The current cry for affirmative action programs is an example of this.
Libertarian feminists resent and reject all legislation which attempts to provide us with special treatment by the law.
We also resent and reject legislation which attempts to "equalize" our social or economic position. Frankly, we don't think there is anyone else in the world quite like us and we object to political attempts to rob us of our uniqueness. However, recognizing that bigotry and unjust legal discrimination do exist presently, we support the efforts of all concerned individuals to change this situation by non-coercive means.
Politically, of course, a person has the right to be a bigot and the state ought take no notice of this flaw. However, more often than not, the state itself promotes bigotry and sponsors legislation which results in unfair discrimination against certain classes of citizens.
We hope the Association of Libertarian Feminists can help correct that situation while recognizing, at the same time, that education is the best long-lasting solution for eliminating prejudice and injustice.
For more on Nathan and ALF, go here.