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Gender-Neutral Language, Reverse Racism, and Law Review Strategies

In 1997 I published an article, “A Libertarian Theory of Punishment and Rights,” in the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. First, notice the title–it has “libertarian” in it. I have never been shy about my libertarian views, but knew that this might cause problems with a mainstream law review. So I submitted it as “A Theory of Punishment and Rights”. I had been through the law review process a few times for earlier articles, so I figured once the piece was accepted, near the end of the editing stage when I was dealing with the grunts, I could simply tell them to change the title at the last minute, and they would be making so many little changes this would not raise red flags. That strategy worked.

Also, I used masculine pronouns etc. but they tried to strip it all down to gender-neutral–changing “he” to “them” etc. I resisted and they caved, but for this sentence, ” It is impossible for him[27] to coherently and intelligibly assert…,” they added footnote 27, which read: “It is the general policy of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review to use gender-neutral language. The author, however, has chosen not to conform to this policy.”


My other law journal story, The Enlightened Bar and Re: The Enlightened Bar (reprinted below) concerns an article of mine I submitted to the Texas Bar Journal. It was accepted, but the letter of acceptance informed me it could take up to a year to publish it–unless I was a minority, in which case they could scoot it to the head of the line. I was offended and withdrew it, published it (quicker) in another journal.

Re: The Enlightened Bar

Posted by Stephan Kinsella on April 13, 2005 01:14 PM

A while back I posted about political correctness infesting the Texas Bar. I noted there that back in 1993 I submitted an article entitled “Oilfield Indemnity and ‘Separate Insurance’ Provisions in the Wake of Getty Oil” to the Texas Bar Journal, which is distributed to tens of thousands of Texas attorneys. I got a letter back saying my article had been accepted for publication, but that it might take over a year to publish it–but “If you are a member of a recognized minority group, your article may be published in accordance with the affirmative action plan for legal article.” I.e., if I proved I was black or Hispanic, they would publish it within a couple months. In other words, if you’re white, you get moved to the back of the bus. I was so offended by the rudeness that I withdrew my article and published it elsewhere (the Texas Oil & Gas Law Journal).

I could not find the original correspondence when I made the referenced post, but I have just found the exchange.

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