I posted on Facebook about a new book, The Essential Women of Liberty [website; pdf] which includes 10 profiles including that of Deirdre McCloskey, formerly Donald. The editor, Aeon Skoble, a former friend, has now defriended me as have some other longtime friends/acquaintances. Oh well. Their loss. I’m not backing down.
In case Facebook censors the post, I am reproducing it below:
I wonder what other prominent and notable women of liberty were edged out of this list of 10 “essential” “women” of liberty by the inclusion of D.N. McCloskey. Jesus Christ.
For example, to leave Wendy McElroy off–she is such a pioneer! And there are many other possible candidates– I mean, I dunno, how about… Bettina Bien Greaves, Voltairyne de Claire, Mary Ruwart, Marty Zupan, Linda Tannehill… many others. Or even Virginia Postrel herself, who wrote the Foreword.
Interesting comments from Postrel about why “women” are included in this book:
“Some of these writers emphasize empiricism, others theory. Addressing why the West grew rich, one has written a three-volume history informed by literature, culture, and massive amounts of data. Another developed the metaphor of mechanical energy to argue for the freedom of creative individuals. One blamed the Great Depression on contractionary monetary policy, another on Americans “declining resilience” in the face of hardship.
Why put such a heterogeneous group in the same volume? The obvious answer is that THEY ARE WOMEN. They are not the norm for scholars or public intellectuals or, for most of history, thinking human beings. However dissimilar their work may be, they seem to belong together. Anna Schwartz’s data-rich monetary economics may appear to have little in common with Ayn Rand’s popular novels, but their differences are overwhelmed by the SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF GENDER.
It is no accident that there are more journalists here than professors. Since the eighteenth century, commercial publishing has been more open to women writers—and their readers—than universities have been to female students or scholars.”
One wonders if McCloskey, who changed names at 56, had those difficulties.
Or: “For all its practical disadvantages, there is something intellectually liberating about being an outsider. If you don’t belong, you are free to think in fresh categories.”
Was McCloskey–Donald until age 56–such an “outsider”? Hmm.
Select Comments (that FB is apparently censoring):
Don’t appreciate the public second-guessing and implicit hostility, nor the anti-trans bigotry. But since you asked, we couldn’t possibly include every woman who has made any conceivable contribution to liberty. Resources, as perhaps you’ve heard, are scarce.