Category Archives: Uncategorized

What the Data Reveal About Whether ‘Bossy’ Matters

Recently, Beyonce joined the banbossy.com campaign intended to empower young girls aspiring to become leaders while raising awareness about the obstacles they will have to overcome in order to achieve their goals.

The campaign and its reactions two important questions. First, do women actually still face any unjust barriers? Second, if indeed they do, is the appropriate response to address the systematic bias directly, or focus on empowering women? In other words, women are always going to face adversity, but learning to cope with such adversity develops stronger female leadership in the long run. Therefore, there is no need to do anything except encourage them to be tough and persistent.

To address the first, question, let’s look at the data. In “Gender and the evaluation of leaders: A meta-analysis,” the authors concluded that female supervisors are perceived less favorably than male supervisors, especially when female supervisors use “stereotypically masculine styles.” This effect was greater for women “in male-dominated roles and when evaluators were men.”

As one might imagine, these perceptions seem to have an impact on the relative effectiveness of female supervisors. For example, Eagly et al. (1995) found that male and female supervisors were equally effective according to the aggregate data. However, they also found that women had a more difficult time in roles that were typically seen as more masculine while being more successful than men in roles that were seen as more feminine.

The data also shows how women had a more difficult time in male-dominated fields. Taken together, the two meta-analyses suggest that female supervisors face social barriers based in gender. It’s interesting to think about how these variances in perception might reinforce gendered choices, subtly incentivizing women to stay in the roles people think of as feminine.

What’s worse is Ritter and Yoder (2004) found that gender stereotypes overall encourage people to prefer male leadership. This is true even in heterosexual relationships with more dominant females and less dominant males, when tasks were “masculine-typed or neutral,”, thus decreasing women’s chances of taking on leadership roles. (Click here for more evidence of leadership gender bias against women.)

In summary, there is evidence in the literature which supports the Ban Bossy claim that systematic biases persist against female leadership, especially when it comes to leadership styles and tasks that are traditionally seen as more masculine and in male-dominated fields. This bias also does not appear to just be a phenomenon of the work place.

For the second question, it should be obvious that there are benefits to a focus on female ‘empowerment,’ as opposed to female victimhood. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. In order to be fully empowered, women (and people in general) need to recognize, and know how to cope with and combat adversity.

Another important part of empowerment also comes from social support systems that acknowledge their struggles and provide support. Sometimes that support is emotional and moral support. People need to know that others have their back and that prejudiced behavior applied against them is not okay. It helps when they are confident that others, especially their friends and other coworkers, are willing to stand up for them. Therefore, it seems that as a part of a social support system, we are all obligated to our female friends and associates to provide the support that they need.

Banbossy.com provides a kind of social support intended to empower girls. Whether you believe it is empowering or not, that’s the purpose.

Even if you disagree that a part of empowerment involves peers standing up for their friends and associates in open opposition to gendered social barriers, you should be opposed to such barriers as a matter of justice.

Systematic biases create and reinforce social barriers on morally arbitrary grounds. Assuming we value equality in the sense that all individuals have equal moral worth and rights, then prejudices on the basis of sex, gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. are morally wrong as they cultivate attitudes that promote actions that disrespect people’s moral worth as equal individuals. Acting on those prejudices is also morally wrong and unjust. As a matter of justice, we should oppose such attitudes and actions. That does not mean we are permitted to use force to restrain or silence the prejudiced, but it does mean we have a duty to oppose them whenever their prejudices are manifest.

In conclusion, we, as a moral community, have a duty to empower and support each other. This means we should recognize the immorality of gender-based discrimination and the attitudes which disincentivize women from leadership roles, and inform others of this view. This empowerment also entails a commitment to provide support when needed. We should also resist gendered biases as a matter of moral duty and justice even if we believe female empowerment does not entail resistance.

Fortunately, things are getting better. Women are taking on more leadership roles (and succeeding!) than ever before and that is partially thanks to female empowerment and social support.

I would admonish libertarians to take more of an active stance in support of women on this and other issues. The progressive left is growing and if we surrender the moral high ground and allow them to hold a monopoly on it, they will continue to grow with less resistance on that front than there could otherwise be. The reality is that Hillary Clinton is likely to run in 2016 with a platform that includes many ‘women’s issues’. We have a great opportunity to change the discussion in our favor and help prevent the progressives from continuing to make further encroachments on individual liberty. I hope we take advantage of that opportunity.

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Chet Lake holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Arizona State University. He likes to draw upon insights from psychology, sociology and other relevant fields of inquiry in his analysis of various political, economic and social issues. His other interests include philosophy, science, exercise, hanging out with friends, movies and spending quality time with loved ones.

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Will Florida’s Money Laundering Laws Apply to Bitcoin?

Lawyers for the two men recently arrested in Miami for engaging in “too-large” bitcoin transactions are claiming that the men’s actions were legal because state law covers only money issued by the US or another country.

Many in the bitcoin community are hopeful that this argument is persuasive, seeing money laundering laws as an attempt to regulate thoughtcrime in finance. Others also argue that citizens do not currently owe the state of Florida any kind of explanation for why they want to buy or sell bitcoin.

Sting operation

In what may be the first instance of citizens being charged under state law for buying or selling bitcoin, Pascal Reid, 29, and Michell Abner Espinoza, 30, were charged on 6th February with money laundering and engaging in an unlicensed money-servicing business.

The two were contacted by undercover officers who were looking to exchange $30,000 dollars each for bitcoin, an amount that violates the state’s money laundering laws.

Those laws makes exchanges above $10,000 illegal without offering information to the government. The state also forbids frequent unlicensed transactions of more than $300 but less than $20,000 in any 12-month period.

However, Reid’s attorney, Ron Lowy, argues that “the language of the Florida statutes excludes and was never intended to cover bitcoins.”

It appears that, despite this, undercover police officers were conducting stings which were aimed at netting “individuals engaged in high volume bitcoin activity,” according to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Contrasting views

The prosecutor’s office claims that “bitcoins are often seen as a perfect means of laundering dirty money or for buying and selling illegal goods, such as drugs or stolen credit card information.”

Bitcoin is far from an ideal, or even particularly popular, method for laundering money, however.

Katherine Mangu-Ward noted for online magazine Slate: “About $8 billion worth of transactions were conducted in bitcoin from October 2012 to October 2013. During 2012, Bank of America processes $244.4 trillion in wire transfers and PayPal processed $145 billion.”

She summed up:

“The bitcoin haystack just isn’t big enough or messy enough to be a useful place to launder money right now. A better option: cash-heavy businesses, such as casinos or – yes – laundromats.”

“High level international cybercriminals have not by-and-large gravitated to peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin,”said Secret Service Special Agent Edward Lowery. Adding:

“Instead, they prefer ‘centralized digital currency’ that is based somewhere with looser regulations and lazier enforcement.”

A spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office told Bloomberg in a recent email correspondence, “As prosecutors, we relish the opportunity to help define the law regarding this potentially important field.”

Considering that money laundering laws are mostly uselessunevenly applied and very costly to comply with, many hope that Florida will not define the laws as applying to bitcoin.

This post originally appeared at Coindesk.

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Checking My Hot Lady Privilege Before I Ban Bossy

Well, between FEE, Stossel, and the ban bossy campaign, it appears the libertarian world is in a full-blown privilege discussion. I kind of hate that this is like, my deal. What some people know me for. Because everyone is right about the fact that it generally sounds hostile and dismissive to say “check your privilege” to someone who doesn’t already regularly do so.

But sometimes it takes something a little more intense than, “Hey, there’s oppression that exists and is a big deal and you’re probably not super aware of it or concerned with it right now because you’re not really a victim of it due to identity factors such as your sex, gender, education or orientation but other people are super concerned with these oppressions, and part of the reason they’re not listening to your ideas about ways to end these kinds of oppressions is that you don’t seem particularly concerned about oppression that’s not your own,” to get a conversation started.

And I still think that THAT is a conversation worth having. So if I need to be “privilege girl” to help make it happen, awesome. If I had a better way to do it, I would have done it that way. But the sad reality is that I’m just not that smart. Or maybe I’m lazy. Definitely I’m lazy.

Soooo. Beyond the legit criticisms of the phrase, I think many people tend to misunderstand the idea. Many people think that acknowledging privilege means putting people in privilege hierarchies, based on their identities. I can see how this could be offensive to, well, everyone. But I think that’s a misreading of the phrase and hides an important truth. We are all privileged. And we are all oppressed.

It’s very difficult to hold two conflicting ideas in your head at the same time. But let’s try, and we’ll use me as an example. Because this is my blog. And I love me. And because the same misunderstanding is marring the discussion of Ban Bossy.

Let’s talk about the fact that I’m a fairly young and fairly conventionally attractive female who’s doing okay in a fun career for a second. I want to make two points, which seem to conflict, but don’t.

First, to my knowledge, these aspects of my identity have helped me far, far more times and in more ways than they have hurt me.

Second, sexism is still real.

So, the advantages here are many. I suspect I got my first job in part because my boss’ boss thought it would be easier for her, a young woman, to manage another young woman.

I know I get invited to speak at conferences, my short-lived YouTube show got more viewers, my articles get more views, my blog gets more traffic, my Twitter gets more followers, my Facebook gets more friends, all at least in part because I’m a young, pretty lady. I’m marketing ideas here, and it’s hard to do that if no one is paying attention. I’ve had an easier time than most in getting eyeballs on my work in part due to factors mostly outside of my control.

But, that isn’t to say that women aren’t discriminated against as well.

I will likely never know which mentors didn’t choose me, which clubs I wasn’t invited to, which people discounted my opinions because I’m a carrier of a vagina. Or maybe even because they figured (and I’ve been told as such) that my work isn’t good and only gets attention due to how I look.

I do know that as Sheryl Sandberg points out in Lean In, the data shows that women must choose between success and likability in a way that men don’t. Other studies have shown that hiring managers discriminate against women in their childbearing years because they don’t want to lose them. Other studies have shown that women feel pressure to be responsible for the majority of childcare and household duties, disincentivizing their working the long hours necessary to really succeed in a full-time job.

For me, this wasn’t ever much of a problem because I didn’t see likability, childrearing or keeping a nice home as in my wheelhouse anyway. And certainly if I wasn’t hired no one ever told me it was due to discrimination. But if I check my childless, dirty, asshole privilege, I realize that just because I succeeded despite that discrimination, and just because other women CAN too, doesn’t mean it isn’t real and it isn’t a problem.

Because the truth is that being a woman is both a blessing and a curse. And, that it’s not the same for me as it is for other women. I can feel like sexist perception problems never held me back, and they can still be real problems for other women.

And if it’s true that in general, women are held to different standards for likability, or discriminated against in employment, it would follow that that would discourage them from leading and succeeding. I desire for women to have every opportunity and advantage to lead, both for them, and for the world which will benefit from their unencumbered contributions.

So whether I feel like I have succeeded despite my gender, or because of it, has no bearing on whether or not barriers to other women’s success like the likability gap or employment discrimination exist. Again, most people will never know where and when they’ve not had opportunities due to factors outside their control.

In short, I can be genuinely grateful for every advantage, every privilege I have, and they are many. And I can still understand that sexism exists, and I can advocate for a world in which generally speaking, it is no disadvantage in any way to be a woman.

How do we get there? I think becoming aware of things like the likability gap or an impulse toward hiring discrimination or gendered expectations in our own minds is the first step. We must first recognize the problem. Then, let’s work to get better, and teach others to do the same. Let’s all reset our expectations of women, so they are neither incentivized nor disincentivized to work hard or lead outside the home. It’s not going to be easy. There’s only so much we can do, but it’s worth it.

Because this, to me, is freedom. I want to live in a world where arbitrary factors like identity don’t keep people from opportunities to add value. I think sexism is an abhorrent thing, and worthy of voluntary response. But I don’t need to think of myself as a victim to advocate for it.

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Cathy Goes to Berlin for ESFLC and to Spend Some Bitcoin

I wasn’t sure I’d make it to Berlin for ESFLC. Certainly not on time.

As I posted to Facebook, it began on Monday when I woke up at 11 am because my alarm didn’t go off. I arrived at work two hours late. Then my boss reminds me that my flight to Berlin is today, not tomorrow. So I dash home to hurriedly pack for a 7-day international trip and dash off to Reagan. Except Reagan isn’t an international airport. My flight leaves from Dulles. So I metro to Rosslyn and call an Uber. Who gets lost, makes me wait for 10 minutes, then cancels. So I hail a cab. I’m on track to miss my flight because I’m a space cadet, and then I get a notice. My flight has been delayed. Hallelujah! For 5 hours. I was $30 into fare from Rosslyn when I found out. But thank God Dulles has free wifi and I always have crap-ton of work to do!

So, Berlin. This is my first and only European city. There is graffiti absolutely everywhere. None of it makes any sense. Well, two things did. There was an anarchy A on the train about the size of my fist. And someone wrote the word “sex” on a wall. I generally associate this with overall lawlessness, but as my host mother Maria explained, there are “high levels of social trust” here. It’s unusual to be robbed, for instance.

Every young person speaks excellent English. Most are more than happy to help me.

Word to the wise: Get cash from the ATM, not money changers. There, and buying train tickets, the flag for English is British. Fuck you, Germany, the US is now the world’s foremost imperial power.

The sound I heard most often while walking was a bicycle bell. Because I could not wrap my head around the fact that half the sidewalk is a bike lane, even though I was reminded every 7 minutes by a pissed off pedaling German.

Having established my conspicuous lack of common sense and practical ability to take care of basic shit in the first paragraph, you’ll understand my hesitation at wandering alone around a strange city in a strange country on a strange continent. Especially without cell service, as I didn’t set myself up for it before I left. Are you beginning to see a pattern re: my shit not being together?

The venturing out was to find the bitcoin neighborhood.

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Finding transit selfie!

I’d sincerely hoped that finding the general area would lead me to the correct places of business. A neon blinking Bitcoin-accepted-here sign would have been super clutch. Instead, I internetsed a few choices places over a chocolate chip cookie and water I had to pay for (wth, Germany?)

This led me to two closed bars. So I found a bar with wifi and asked for a wheat beer. I can’t imagine why I asked in English when I know the German. The pretty young barkeep was like, “What?” “Hefeveizen.” Ya!

So I finally found two places which sold things I wanted (namely food and beer) and took bitcoin for them. Both were closed. So I chilled out and Facebooked til one opened. Sadly, I was felled by a lack of a bitcoin wallet on my phone and an inability to download one over the wifi. But, I got some pix!

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The beer I would have bought with bitcoin

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Wise words in Room 77

One of the things I’m most struck by is how are just kind of cities, even in Europe. I imagine back in the day things varied more. But less so now with international travel and commerce commonplace. Berlin if anything had a small city feel, as it’s really spread out, with a low population density and no high rises.

Stereotypes: the service at a really nice bavarian restaurant indeed was pretty terrible. Not really rude, just neglectful and to-the-point. People really do take their dogs everywhere. Ladies are much more dressed down here than in America’s East Coast. More so too than in the American northwest, but I’m overall less familiar. Spike heels are incredibly uncommon on the street. Heels are chunky, Clark’s-style. But most women are in flat ankle-high leather boots of some fashion. Lucky for me that’s exactly what I brought.

I had wondered how most everyone I talked to about going to Europe for the first time had been and didn’t act like it was a big deal to go. Keep in mind I just talked to people who live in D.C. At this point, I think going to Europe is like group sex. It’s a way bigger deal before you do it than afterward.

Spend Thursday with Moriah at the East Side Gallery. Here is my whole Flickr photoset from the trip so far.

Tomorrow is the start of ESFLC!

Why I Mine Bitcoin

There are many articles lately declaring Bitcoin’s demise, most presenting as evidence the collapse of Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange.  This is far from the truth, as the exchanges are just a small part of the Bitcoin ecosystem.

The free market to me is nothing more than a decentralized peer-to-peer network, individuals engaging of their own free will to cooperate with each other, which is also, essentially, Bitcoin.

I googled Bitcoin and came across Bitcoin.org, where I encountered Satoshi Nakamoto’s White Paper, which describes setting up a peer-to-peer network to solve the issue of “double spending” problem through the creation of the Bitcoin protocol.

Cryptocurrencies will not replace fiat currencies as some people fear, and they don’t need to in order for Bitcoin to function.  Bitcoin has many applications and it will change how we interact with each other for the better.

I mine with a small 5G ASIC miner connected to a raspberry pi.  I have no delusions that I will get rich off such a small operation and at the current difficultly and Bitcoin price it will take over a year to recuperate the money spent, and for me that is okay. I am not the most tech savvy person, probably more savvy than most but still a far cry from a computer/tech guru.  So why on Earth would someone such as myself get into mining Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies?

A great question!  I have always enjoyed economics, legal history, and politics proven by my Bachelors degree in History.  Over the years I have read Austrian School economic giants such as Hayek and Mises. I have also read Keynes and contemporary economists from the Keynesian school.

Bitcoin has many applications and it can change how we interact with each other.  I don’t think all fiat currencies will disappear (which I think some people are afraid of) or that they need to in order for Bitcoin to function.  And with the standardization of the Bitcoin protocol and its emphasis on finality of transactions, the future behavior of participants will lean towards more conscious purchasing and honest business interactions.

Financial market manipulation though poorly understood derivative trading, among other things, continues to throw the global economy into disarray.  And the major players in this manipulation — who both assumed and encouraged taking great risk — are still up and running after their positions failed, by receiving enormous bailouts.  While the homeowners were kicked to the curb with their property resold to negate the loses incurred by those financial institutions.  Seeing how third-party financial institutions and central banks operate, I see the benefit of having an asset class not based on a central governing body.  For me that is Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

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Michael Warner is a father of 2, social media marketing strategist, and jazz aficionado! Can be reached on twitter: @mikerwarner, mikerwarner@gmail.com, or www.linkedin.com/in/michaelrwarner

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The Bougie Case for Economic Freedom to Help the Poor

Via @JimPethokoukis retweeting @m_clem, I found Dr. Deirdre McCloskey’s insanely good paper The Great Enrichment Came and Comes from Ethics and Rhetoric.

There are several things I love about it. First, in it, McCloskey somehow manages to advocate expressly for what some might call privileges and others rights for the bourgeois by making the case for the poorest of the poor. This is, to my mind the best case to be made. What are property rights and why do they matter except that they *help people*? And preferably those who most need it.

Second, McCloskey makes a difficult-to-argue-against case for absolute optimism about the future of the poor and rich alike.

Third, I love McCloskey’s critique of the word “capitalism.”

It begins, “The word has led people astray. It should be replaced with the non-snappy but accurate ‘market-tested improvement and supply.’”

Mostly, though, it’s just fucking beautiful. She takes you on a journey through economic history in a fun, lively, engaging way. Give it a read.

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What is Patriarchy? Avens O’Brien

Avens O’Brien is a young libertarian feminist. I know her through ubermench Judd Weiss (taker of the photo above). She does this thing where she writes really eloquent, well-thought-out responses to people who ask questions in my Facebook post threads.

Below is one such response, which I wanted to post to the blog so more people read it. Enjoy.

Avens:

I find the term patriarchy to be unhelpful in conversations about American power dynamics.

The concept, to me, is that in a very recent past, in a very generalized way, power was predominately held by men, not women. In the state, in the home, in the public sphere. This power was in the ability to control their financial situation, making decisions *for* the women in their lives, and their ability to more easily achieve a level of autonomy due to the state’s recognition of their achievements and assets as their own.

This power allowed them more recognition, more legal rights and more social flexibility — if your marriage sucked, and you wanted a divorce, a woman pretty much needed to find a new man to take care of her because she didn’t have the independent social and legal ability to go on her own, whereas a man did not have the same dependence in his role that he would need to determine that factor in his choice to leave his marriage, for example.

I think access to voting rights, stronger acknowledgement of property rights (in the 1970s my mother was turned away from a bank she was trying to open an account at, because she didn’t have a father or husband to co-sign), and both legal and social dynamics have given women much more power, and in many cases, more power than men in many arenas.

So on the whole, I don’t find patriarchy to be a legal issue to be dealing with. And it’s been removed from many of our social/cultural expectations.

I still see evidence that men think sexual experience has some sort of devaluing aspect for women, and there are still people who believe being raped is a woman’s fault for what she was wearing or that “sluts” had it coming anyway.

The only battle front I really see in a patriarchy discussion may possibly be in the idea that the larger generalized sphere still seems to be intimidated by and aggressive against women having sexual strength. That by being “gatekeepers” of sex, we lessen our “power” when we allow sex to occur, and we lose some sort of value when we are raped or participate in casual sex. This is not rooted in any sort of logic *except* one where a woman has little value except a sexual one or to please men. That is a slowly dying last ditch symptom of what used to be a much larger, more relevant thing called “patriarchy” in America.

I don’t think patriarchy is useful in an encompassing discussion of feminism, because I think it puts people on the defensive, it does a disservice to the recent progress made on male-female power dynamics, and the only relevance I see is in some people still attempting to make women ashamed or protective of their own sexuality.

I prefer to move on to specific instances, terms that are more easily definable and relevant to the aspects we still need improvement upon. So, this is probably the closest I’ve ever come to defending the use of term patriarchy or using it myself, and I don’t like it.

Moving onto: yay girl owns her sexuality and boo on those who don’t like it!

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That Time I Was On Stossel

At ISFLC 2014, I joined Julie Borowski on Stossel to discuss how best to market libertarianism. I was incredibly nervous. It was my first television appearance! But overall it was a wonderful time and I’m so grateful to have been invited on the show.

Here’s our segment. Decent recording via a very kind, DVR-owning friend.

Here’s the entire episode:

And a few actions shots, courtesy of Gage Skidmore:

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The hell is going on with my ear?

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Cheek-to-eye ratio makes big smile and vision incompatible.

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