Corey Robin makes a nice point, linking up conservertarian defenses of the Virginia mandatory rape law with von Mises’s sexism.
Admittedly, McArdle and Cowen are making somewhat different arguments, and yet they’re both strongly rooted in this ignoble tradition. McArdle just straightforwardly thinks that this particular imposition of medieval sexual mores with the force of law is a good thing, and seems untroubled by the fact this 90-proof nanny statism contradicts arguments she’s used to oppose state regulation that actually addresses collective action problems or private power imbalances. The point of Cowen’s argument seems not so much to defend the reprehensible Virginia bill as to make a (really dumb) argument about how bad consumer regulation is. But the fact that he’s not necessarily supporting mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds with his howlingly inapposite analogy hardly gets Cowen of the hook. It takes a pretty striking and callous indifference to the dignity and security of women to equate requirements that the terms of loans be transparent to consumers with requirements that women be forcibly penetrated if they want to obtain an abortion.
In addition, Roy’s weekly roundup finds yet more evidence that a willful inability to understand the concept of consent is central to the contemporary Republican worldview.
Update [djw]: This seems as good a time as any to recall the a very special moment two years ago when libertarian blogger Bryan Caplan hilariously argued that a women in the United States were freer in 1880 than in 2010.