America's Future Foundation had a Valentine's Day themed forum on "diving in or steering clear" tonight. A member of the audience pointed out that the Catholic Church has been encouraging people to have sex with other Catholics for thousands of years. Center/right think tanks have several socials a month where you can meet desirable members of the desired gender. And yet, two libertarian women debated this proposition in a panel tonight.
Whether by accident or on purpose, the two people arguing for romance with other activists were males and the two arguing against it were females. Here are the salient points I can recall:
1. Even if you meet an activist from a different workplace at a social like AFF, they might become a coworker. There are a lot of mergers, cross-think tank pollination, and changing jobs in DC.
2. Other women you work with might become enemies if they know you have slept with an ex or are dating someone they are simultaneously dating.
3. Philosophical purity is boring; disagreement makes conversations more interesting.
4. Dating is a numbers game, and there are a lot more men outside of the movement than in the movement.
5. There are more men than women in the center-right movement, which sounds good until you've had the experience of "rabid wolves" and "eager beavers" pouncing on you at the happy hour. A more even balance is actually preferable.
6. It's distracting to you and your coworkers if you're dating someone at the same think tank.
7. You and your romantic partner become seen as a couple rather than as individuals.
8. You miss out on networking opportunities at networking events if you are mainly making sure your date is happy.
9. Gossip is bearable in the relationship but becomes quite painful post-breakup.
10. If you date older men in the movement they have huge egos and if you break up with them, they become angry and accuse you of giving them mono (a joke that fell flat).
11. By dating out of the movement, you help to spread the word.
12. By dating out of the movement, you'll hear about different meet ups, events, activities than you would hear about with someone on the same email lists as you.
1. Obviously, you share common political beliefs, and you're more likely to share underlying values, than some random person.
2. Dating is tough. Why would you want to restrict yourself from dating any pool of people?
3. You can mitigate damage from gossip and rough break ups by being professional at work and mature/honest with your dates.
4. You have one less thing to argue about. One of the speakers mentioned an argument in the car with a significant other while picking up Karl Rove from the airport. According to him, the S.O. glared at him as if she was contemplating a car wreck for the future of the country.
5. How about spreading the word from libertarians to conservatives, or vice versa? We'll understand each other better.
6. Best case scenario - soul mate. Worst case scenario - water cooler gossip. The ratio of benefit to cost seems favorable. [Of course, worst case scenario is really sexual harassment or some other career damage.]
In the rebuttal, one of the women mentioned that consequences are much worse for females. Women can be seen as social climbers if they date within the movement, whereas men give each other high fives and say "atta boy!" if they date a superior. Men are also much more forgiving of men who have dated/slept with the same woman than women who have slept with the same men.
I thought it was odd that conservatives and libertarians were seen as obviously part of the same movement. I thought the differences were serious enough that they would not see each other as family.
In the last question, a man said that at CPAC, a woman took down his email to add him to an organization's email list. She not only added him but sent a friendly email. One of the female speakers called that "an indicator of interest."
A man in the audience blurted out "Atta Boy!"