For the past few weeks, the statist forces have been essentially dumbfounded by the incredibly meager opposition to the “Violence Against Women Act” by certain members of the GOP. Response ranged from the typical “war on women” garbage to some “scattered showers of journalism” by the Atlantic, which offered a somewhat unbiased (the closest we’re going to get at least) review of the principal objections involved (mainly political minutiae regarding mandatory-arrest politics and issues of jurisdiction for crimes committed on Indian reservations). The standard weak-sauce argument of “government is undoubtedly noble and of pure intentions, simply inefficient and counterproductive in this one particular matter.”
As you may have guessed, my objection to the “Violence Against Women Act” is of a different sort entirely. You see, I oppose women’s’ rights. I also oppose gay rights. I oppose rights for minorities and rights for the poor. I oppose worker’s rights, transgender rights, criminal’s rights, victim’s rights, veteran’s rights, and furry rights (especially furry rights). There is only one type of rights I recognize, and that is individual rights. The natural rights we all receive as a virtue of our humanity. Rights which all people have, and which are the exact same for every individual, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious preference, occupation, class, or whatever else.
At one point, I was naive enough to believe that this was a completely politically correct opinion to hold. This is what we’re supposed to believe, right? That everyone should be treated equal. Except no, not really. Government forces are constantly looking to erode individual rights. By classifying us into groups and emphasizing the rights of various groups, power hungry statists in both parties are seeking to both divide us and collectivize us at the same time.
How is this possible, you ask? Simple. First of all, government pits various groupings against each other, presenting the issue of rights the same way mercantilists (and most socialists) present the issue of economics, as a zero-sum game. Women’s rights are presented as in direct conflict with men’s rights. Gay rights are presented as in direct conflict with religious rights. For one group to gain, another must lose. This of course, is a false choice, but it serves to rile us up and encourages us to take sides against each other, typically in the form of political parties (vote for the guy with the D if you’re gay, vote for the guy with the R if you’re Christian, because the other guys want to take away our rights!)
At the same time, this concept conditions us to think of ourselves not as individuals, but as members of a collective. This point here is somewhat relevant to Austrian Economics, which points out that groups of people are ephemeral. Only individuals truly matter, because ultimately, only individuals act. A group is nothing more than a collection of individuals. Wrongs (whether the perpetrator is the government, or other individuals) are not perpetrated against impossibly large groups of people, but against individuals. As such, every individual deserves recourse for whatever wrongs may have been committed against them, regardless of their standing or membership in any particular group. Blacks and whites and Asians all have the same rights, and are all entitled to the exact same protections of those rights and compensation for having those rights violated.
This, of course, is why any law that distinguishes among groups, and not individuals, is morally reprehensible. This includes hate crime legislation, affirmative action and any type of racial quotas, and of course, the violence against women act. Why should women have special recourse in the event of crimes committed against them that men do not have? Why should they be assigned extra resources that men are denied? All individuals should be treated equally under the law, period. Any attempt to enshrine in the law different treatment of different individuals based on their standing within certain groups is an appeal to collectivism, and a cheap political stunt designed to pit us against each other and distract from the fact that the state is repressing all of us and violating the individual rights of everyone. Such measures should be loudly and vocally protested, regardless of what the law is named and how unpopular such a stand may be.