"Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion."
- bell hooks
In contrast, "imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchal culture continues to insist that domination must be the organizing principle of today's civilization" (116). Only by developing and fostering a "feminist masculinity" can men and women be free of this dominator model. "The core of feminist masculinity is a commitment to gender equality and mutuality as crucial to interbeing and partnership in the creating and sustaining of life. Such a commitment always privileges nonviolent action over violence, peace over war, life over death" (118).
Much of this should sit well with Friends, given a long history of commitment to both peace and gender equality. While by no means perfect in the application of the idea, the Quaker concept that each of us contains within a seed of the divine at its best leads to a deep appreciation of the value of individuals and an abhorrence of silencing, abusing, or putting out the light of another human being.
For hooks and many Friends, though, the market is seen as a vehicle for just such abuse and exploitation. While this could lead to frustration for Quaker Libertarians, it could also present another opportunity for building bridges toward common goals. How so? If we seek a world less reliant on the domination and coercion and instead more "relationally oriented" (117), then we must seek solutions that are based on voluntary action and not state control.
Indiana's Senate Bill 101, otherwise known as the state's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," provides one recent opportunity for discussion along these lines. The law continues to generate strong opinions in the state and around the country. The controversy, and the heated rhetoric around it, can put libertarians in a difficult position that doesn't necessarily align with the loudest voices on either side - neither supporting discrimination nor a greater role for state intervention. But articulating a position that is consistent with Quaker and libertarian positions of peace and equality is as important here as elsewhere.
As David Montgomery explains:
Ironically, people who use government to force associations they approve of (and prohibit those they disapprove of) mistakenly believe they are defending freedom. This is the problem with thinking in terms of group-based rights. There are no gay rights, no black rights, no Jewish rights, no American rights, no feminist rights, no redhead rights. There is only voluntary (and therefore peaceful) association versus involuntary (and therefore forced) association. Every time someone talks about rights in terms of arbitrarily defined groups, it’s a pretext for advocating coercion to impose one’s views by force rather than persuasion.
In other words, however noble our cause, if we use the state to achieve our ends we are employing the means of dominance and coercion, not relationality, not peace, not equality, and not love. We are merely seeking to wield the power of the dominator model for our own ends - for the state is the dominator model writ large. And our relationship with this embodiment of patriarchal values both at home and abroad is anything but healthy. Can we work together toward a different model?
In this, I am inspired by the words of Courtney Hoffman, who made a donation to the owners of Memories Pizza after they received threats of violence in the wake of their public support of SB 101:
"As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean spirited attacks on you and your business. I know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild."