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Stefan Molyneux

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alimentarius Posted: Fri, Dec 18 2009 8:28 PM

Anyone familiar with the anarcocapitalist Stefan Molyneux? Is he worth reading or not?

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What else have you read?

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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Hazlitt and Block.

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What have you learned from them? I think Molyneux is pretty much a waste of time too.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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alimentarius:

Anyone familiar with the anarcocapitalist Stefan Molyneux? Is he worth reading or not?

I think you would get something out of reading Molyneux.  He's one of the best at debating for ancap IMO.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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abskebabs replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 9:17 PM

E. R. Olovetto:

I think Molyneux is pretty much a waste of time too.

I take some of what he says with a pinch of salt, though overall I think he's pretty good. This has mostly been from watching his video blog however. What is it that bothers you about him?

"When the King is far the people are happy."  Chinese proverb

For Alexander Zinoviev and the free market there is a shared delight:

"Where there are problems there is life."

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John Ess replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 9:18 PM

His books are excellent and thoughtful, whether I agree or not in some areas.  Though his schtick is podcasts, rather than writing articles or books for the most part.

From what I can tell, most get a taste of his work through his podcasts (some of which are put into a youtube format as well).

Might want to check the stefbot channel on youtube.  http://www.youtube.com/user/stefbot

Decide for yourself.  He takes a bit of a philosophical/personal development approach to life rather than political/economics (though he does those as well).  This turns some people off who are into other, mostly purely academic or religious type, things.  But attracts like-minded people -- myself included -- who are sympathetic to his optimistic , rationalist, and happiness-based philosophy.

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Conza88 replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 9:39 PM

alimentarius:

Hazlitt and Block.

Hazlitt wasn't an ancap, but that's a good start.

I think Molyneux, takes up the slack in an area where there is definitely a need for a libertarian / ancap perspective on things (personal relations) etc. He does a great service.

Some of his opinions on Ron Paul and strategy I find very short sighted, other than that - go for the podcasts... get on itunes, and then easily select what you want to listen to.

 

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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I listen to his podcasts every night. While I don't agree with his views on how to deal with relationships (in the family, with friends, with spouses/significant others. He basically says to stay away from anyone you perceive as immoral, I think...), I love his podcasts.

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan
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William replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 10:00 PM

He is a highly controversial figure, you are best off watching a couple podcasts that look of interest to you and decide yourself.

"I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am unique. Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about me is unique" Max Stirner
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Qlubsoda replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 10:01 PM

Here's the bad about him laid out..

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=89

I think his early stuff is quite good, but the more he digresses into psychology the less I like him. My experience with his website is that the podcasts are becoming more and more group therapy and less about ancap. I find his psychoanalysis more voodoo than it is scientific. He may be good on economics, but it didn't take him long to develop a system of pop-psychological pap to focus on. Also, him and his followers are a little too ferocious toward criticism, and really the whole idea of cutting friends and family out of your life seems a little too rash and cultish for my tastes. 

his opus, universally preferable behavior isn't prescriptive at all. I find it confused. You'll find more about that on the "fdr liberated" link.



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abskebabs:

E. R. Olovetto:

I think Molyneux is pretty much a waste of time too.

I take some of what he says with a pinch of salt, though overall I think he's pretty good. This has mostly been from watching his video blog however. What is it that bothers you about him?

I never watched his videos and didn't realize he runs the FDR I had heard about. Actually, I had him mixed up with Edward Feser or somebody I think. OK, Molyneux might not be half as bad, but I will kind of hold to what I said. A quick google search turned up some nutjob stuff about him being a nutjob (I think this relates to the therapy stuff Qlubsoda and others mentioned.), and it seems that he had written a bunch of articles on Lew's site but he isn't even listed as a writer now....?

I really want to say that I don't care, but because I end up, for god knows what reason writing about similar things, I might look into him a bit. I think that he had released a few free books that I had read a year back. Really though, I care about something that YOU had written about around a month ago absekebabs, and what I am working on now.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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abskebabs replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 10:31 PM

E. R. Olovetto:

Really though, I care about something that YOU had written about around a month ago absekebabs, and what I am working on now.

I can't think of anything I've written on this forum that's been that significant; maybe I'm being a bit hard on myself... Please could you enlighten me on what you're referring to?

"When the King is far the people are happy."  Chinese proverb

For Alexander Zinoviev and the free market there is a shared delight:

"Where there are problems there is life."

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John Ess replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 10:39 PM

Yeah, there is controversy over the psychological aspect.  There was a flood of "liberated minds" kids in here the last time he was mentioned.  One threatened to beat me up for defending Molyneux... another (Conrad, who is another former lewrockwell contributor) was quoted on his own forum telling a Jewish gentleman that he was a kike who deserved to go to Auschwitz.  But that's another story for another time.

Also, I do not see what is controversial with breaking with people who are immoral; which is the heart of voluntarism.   This is something that seems to be common sense.  But I suspect you mean the aspect of Real-Time Relationships in confronting rather than running from relationships.  Which I suspect most people don't understand; perhaps they never read it.  Seemed like sensible stuff to me.  Though the book is rather long, I don't have much trouble reading something like that.

 

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The stuff attacking Stef always seemed over the top, but it's not necessary to get into the psychological stuff to get a grasp on his excellent style and approach to ancap argumentation.

@Ess, let me know if anyone makes threats like that again and I will clean it up.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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I really like alot of Molyneux's stuff, particularly in the realm of personal relationships. I like his books and videos the best even though I don't really like UPB. He also has great ideas about anarchy although I actually disagree greatly in the area that he has spent most time writing about, that of the DRO, I think that they will play a far lesser role than he claims. I also don't actually enjoy is podcasts that much, it just seems to me that he goes on epic sized tangents with each of them but  I haven't listened to many so.....

Overall I like his stuff and I think that he is an important contributer to the voluntyrist movment and his is a quality viewpoint to subscribe to.... And the freedomain chatroom rocks.

Sure, listen to his stuff if you don't want to read it, what have you got to lose? They're enjoyable to listen to at least.

"Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it." -Thus Spake Zarathustra
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John Ess replied on Sat, Dec 19 2009 12:00 AM

He works under the "free" economic model.  Wherein people get content from him for free and contribute in donations; this is an experiment as well as a business model in reciprocation.  In backing up talk about market principles with action. This causes many more hardcore followers to subsidize what other people get free.  People join in when they find that the content they hear is worth contributing money to.  When people appreciate the work, they reciprocate according to the principles of subjective value espoused by market economics. When they no longer receive anything of value worth money, they quit giving money.  So that the signals can be sent to what needs to be provided instead.

What seems to be controversial is that he doesn't work within the popular academic paradigm.  Which is much is easier to make money and of course provides a cool distance from costumers.

Defoo seems to be a small part of his work.  Which is one result of a specific process rather than simply a disavowal unto itself; more specifically what he refers to as Real-Time Relationships.  Which is simply telling people the truth as the necessary part of building a real relationship to someone.  Much of RTR deals with romantic relationships and friendships, but the principles remain the same.  It stresses the voluntarism of all relationships.  If people no longer feel a reciprocation in relationships, they should feel free to disengage.  That seems to be the point.  It's not about morality or libertarianism, really, but being more happy and honest.

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Seph replied on Sat, Dec 19 2009 8:23 AM

While I certainly disagree with a lot of what Stefan has to say, I think it would be foolish to dismiss him as a hack, or a money grabber. 

Take what you can use from this clearly genuine and intelligent man, and dismiss what you can't. 

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Qlubsoda replied on Sat, Dec 19 2009 2:08 PM

John Ess:

Yeah, there is controversy over the psychological aspect.  There was a flood of "liberated minds" kids in here the last time he was mentioned.  One threatened to beat me up for defending Molyneux

links?

I haven't looked through the site that much, but what I do remember were the pages on the person who earnestly picked apart UPB and what stef's reaction to that was. I encourage anyone to argue a point with him. The passive-aggressiveness is palpable.

 

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Qlubsoda replied on Sat, Dec 19 2009 2:11 PM

Seph:

While I certainly disagree with a lot of what Stefan has to say, I think it would be foolish to dismiss him as a hack, or a money grabber.

Take what you can use from this clearly genuine and intelligent man, and dismiss what you can't.

 

 I agree.Despite his flaws he still has a lot of good things to say.

 

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Qlubsoda:
I haven't looked through the site that much, but what I do remember were the pages on the person who earnestly picked apart UPB and what stef's reaction to that was.

Link?

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Qlubsoda replied on Sat, Dec 19 2009 3:25 PM

trulib:

Link?

 

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=147 Sorry, I thought it was less hidden on the site than it is.

 

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Thanks for that.  That is a fascinating article.

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Blueline976:
He basically says to stay away from anyone you perceive as immoral

That wouldn't leave me left with many friends...

Are there other authors that are better at ancap than Molyneux?

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Seph replied on Sun, Dec 20 2009 4:21 AM

Qlubsoda:

trulib:

Link?

 

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=147 Sorry, I thought it was less hidden on the site than it is.

 

 

Any site which entirely devotes itself to useless infighting and attacking others (who have done more to further than an-cap cause than they likely ever will) is not a site I'm willing to take credibly. 

Not trying to defend Molyneux per se, just pointing out that sites like this do absolutely nothing for the cause of freedom, nor even attempt to. 

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Merlin replied on Sun, Dec 20 2009 5:17 AM

"How (not) to achieve freedom" (http://freedomainradio.com/Books/HowNottoAchieveFreedom.aspx  ) alone qualifies him as a worthwhile author, whether one agrees or not. If it were not for that book I’d be in politics now. Saved my life and I can’t recommend it enough. 

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
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abskebabs:

E. R. Olovetto:

Really though, I care about something that YOU had written about around a month ago absekebabs, and what I am working on now.

I can't think of anything I've written on this forum that's been that significant; maybe I'm being a bit hard on myself... Please could you enlighten me on what you're referring to?

this

It isn't terribly insightful and is a bit incoherent at times, but you showed some understanding that I found admirable. It isn't easy to condense multiple essays into single sentences, and the one which I think we could learn most from exploring is:

In this sense, we may consider mathematics and praxeology to have a curious parallel relationship with regard to the disciplines of physics and history respectively.

Anyhow, regarding Molyneux, I made a mistake. I didn't really know who I was talking about at all. Some of his stuff was sensible, but I am not that interested.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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abskebabs replied on Sun, Dec 20 2009 8:45 AM

Interesting, I think you have a point I do need to improve my writing style, a paper I recently wrote on economic calculation seems especially error-ridden now; in any case the things I write on forums rarely tend to be the forte of my writing.

 

I think the same insight can also be gained from a careful reading of Hoppe, though I do disagree with the appropriateness of some of his analogies; Mises on the other hand tends to avoid those errors. Indeed, I'm probably not even original on this insight, you may find it very interesting to read the following, especially "Physicist Dave's" responses:

 

http://commentlog.org/bid/4408/Feynman-Rothbard-and-the-Science-of-Economics

 

Additionally, there is a caveat worth mentioning. The reason I think praxeology can be partly considered a synthetic a priori discipline, is that its most universal aspects like the concept of action and uniformity of logic with which this concept is analysed and applied by other actors is something assumed in all scientific and human endeavour, and despite the epistemological problems associated with it; no one would doubt its pragmatic expediancy (Mises points this out also with regard to the epistemological procedures and assumptions of the natural sciences) with regard to analysing human behaviour since teleological analysis of purposeful action is something we apply and see "works" every day without even thinking. in this regard it is different to mathematics.

 

However, all other statements and corrollaries it utillises that do not soley rest on the consideration of the concept of action, require empirical verification and I don't feel it is correct to characterise them as synthetic a priori, though this is not too difficult to establish the accuracy of these analytic assumptions, and in this regard the empirical notions are more "conceptual" than anything else. For instance, when considering the hemispheric motion and spin of the Earth, a physicist does not need to get out a measuring tape to realise that its treatment as a particle is unsuitable, even though such a procedure is clearly suitable for analysing the Earth's motion around the Sun. Similarly a praxeologist does not need to count up all the gold in the world to realise its suitable treatment as a scarce means in his considerations.

 

Also, I do apologise if I've "hijacked" this thread with this mini-discussion.

"When the King is far the people are happy."  Chinese proverb

For Alexander Zinoviev and the free market there is a shared delight:

"Where there are problems there is life."

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I enjoy certain aspects of his talks, but there are other things that I do not like so much. As an example, he is in favor of IP, though he does release all of his works for free. In one of his podcasts about IP he said that the Internet would not exist without the state, a claim that I do not feel is justified.

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QuestEon replied on Wed, Dec 30 2009 12:14 AM

Seph:
Any site which entirely devotes itself to useless infighting and attacking others (who have done more to further than an-cap cause than they likely ever will) is not a site I'm willing to take credibly. 

Not trying to defend Molyneux per se, just pointing out that sites like this do absolutely nothing for the cause of freedom, nor even attempt to. 

(Just saw my URL turn up in the Google.  Hi, folks!)

Seph, I know that Molyneux can be a controversial topic. I wish I had a good, succinct reason for why I created www.fdrliberated.com, but I don't. But I can tell you for sure that it wasn't for useless infighting or attacking others. I take great pains as I write entries and even as I re-read them months later to edit out unfounded claims or language that I think is disrespectful. I quote Molyneux extensively, since his own words make all of my points better than me.

I think Molyneux is a brilliant, fascinating guy. I give him a lot of credit for starting me down the freedom path and who can set a price on that?

However, I also think he's made a destructive commitment to a connection that he believes exists between psychology and philosophy. In the crudest terms, he believes that if you're not an ancap, it's because you were abused by your parents. Actually, he believes that nearly everyone's parents are/were "horribly bad." (I link to his essay regarding that below.)  I am deeply, deeply troubled by his focus on "defooing," the role he plays in encouraging the practice, and the age group he targets. (Again, article below.) 

The article I wrote regarding "Liberating Minds" (that Qlubsoda kindly linked to) is quite old, not particularly relevant, and probably should be deleted at some point. (Qlub, I'm sorry that the menu system on my site is obtuse. I'm trying to use someone's WordPress blog theme to create a regular site menu instead of a blog. I'm a mess.)

If you are at all interested...

My short description of what Molyneux and FDR is, is here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=106

The only reasons I've every been able to come up with for creating fdrliberated are here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=276

The back-and-forth between Molyneux, Shahar, and others during the creation of UPB is a five-part article (Sorry about the length.)  Qlub linked to Part 2.  The entire series starts here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=34

Most important, to me, are the two articles on the foundation of FDR and the psychology/philosophy connection.  The first, about the ideological foundation of FDR, is here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=1060

The second, which demonstrates that FDR is an idea developed by Molyneux and his wife to inculcate young people into his ideology is here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=862

Some of this stuff can raise some incendiary reactions but in the end it is only my opinion; however, it is also why I make a very earnest attempt at reason and evidence. As a public figure, Molyneux's ideas are fair game for public scrutiny. Still, he believes deeply he is doing good and FDR is his livelihood. I always try to keep that in mind.

In my experience, the ones who do best with Molyneux and FDR are those who selectively add what they like about FDR to their own philosophy. The ones who go "all in," defoo everyone, and rarely venture away from the FDR "community" seem to have lives that have become--at least to me--more, rather than less, complicated by the philosophies of FDR.

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scineram replied on Wed, Dec 30 2009 6:22 AM

He is a charlatan.

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I have been reading Mises.org for 9 years, and can say Stefan Molyneux is one of the best libertarian we have today.  When I read an outstanding article or listen to great podcast, I save it to my disk, in case I cannot access it on the web later.  I have a folder devoted to Freedomain Radio. Stefan is well worth reading.

To get started, I recommend watching the following videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P772Eb63qIY (True News 13 - Statism is Dead - Part 3 - The Matrix)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igbBItLemsM (True News 5: The Truth About Voting)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SH7jeWpmhI (Joe Stack and the IRS - The Impact of Error)

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alimentarius:
Anyone familiar with the anarcocapitalist Stefan Molyneux?

Stick out tongue

Made me think all Libertarians were like him!  That's why it took me another year or so to try looking into the theory again.  Stick with LewRockwell.com, or some Rothbard, if you want some Libertarians that will cause you to think, rather than laugh.

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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I am a great fan of Rothbard, Mises and Bastiat.  I visit mises.org almost everyday, and also visit LewRockwell.com frequently.  Stefan Molyneux really bring freedom ideas, such as the concept of Human Farming and  voting is begging.

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Daniel: Morin:
uch as the concept of Human Farming and  voting is begging.

Not familiar with human farming, but I'd say the anti-voting crap is a deal-breaker in and of itself.  Of course voting is begging, because we are the slaves of the state.  Pretending that isn't the case doesn't help anybody.

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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Orthogonal replied on Fri, Feb 26 2010 12:07 PM

This is a good video from Stef where he lays out the "human farming" concept.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P772Eb63qIY

 

Edit: Looks like Danial above had this video linked already.

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A fan of Porcupine Tree recommending Stefan Molyneaux.  How appropriate.

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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I tried posting on FDR forum a bit and was viciously attacked for any little disagreement on any subject just like Qlubsoda said.  (Not unlike particular cases here.)  The forum is like a church.

I like the therapy aspect of his program more than anything.  Despite his unseemly promotion of professional psychotherapy, his program flies in the face of what the profession stands for.  He just doesn't realize it, I guess.

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Merlin replied on Fri, Feb 26 2010 1:53 PM

Caley McKibbin:
I tried posting on FDR forum a bit and was viciously attacked for any little disagreement on any subject just like Qlubsoda said.  (Not unlike particular cases here.)  The forum is like a church.

That is true, Molineux has a very bad (and richly deserved) reputation as a forum manager. But that doesn’t mean that his personal work is totally to be flushed away.

 

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
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John Ess replied on Fri, Feb 26 2010 2:42 PM

QuestEon:

Seph:
Any site which entirely devotes itself to useless infighting and attacking others (who have done more to further than an-cap cause than they likely ever will) is not a site I'm willing to take credibly. 

Not trying to defend Molyneux per se, just pointing out that sites like this do absolutely nothing for the cause of freedom, nor even attempt to. 

(Just saw my URL turn up in the Google.  Hi, folks!)

Seph, I know that Molyneux can be a controversial topic. I wish I had a good, succinct reason for why I created www.fdrliberated.com, but I don't. But I can tell you for sure that it wasn't for useless infighting or attacking others. I take great pains as I write entries and even as I re-read them months later to edit out unfounded claims or language that I think is disrespectful. I quote Molyneux extensively, since his own words make all of my points better than me.

I think Molyneux is a brilliant, fascinating guy. I give him a lot of credit for starting me down the freedom path and who can set a price on that?

However, I also think he's made a destructive commitment to a connection that he believes exists between psychology and philosophy. In the crudest terms, he believes that if you're not an ancap, it's because you were abused by your parents. Actually, he believes that nearly everyone's parents are/were "horribly bad." (I link to his essay regarding that below.)  I am deeply, deeply troubled by his focus on "defooing," the role he plays in encouraging the practice, and the age group he targets. (Again, article below.) 

The article I wrote regarding "Liberating Minds" (that Qlubsoda kindly linked to) is quite old, not particularly relevant, and probably should be deleted at some point. (Qlub, I'm sorry that the menu system on my site is obtuse. I'm trying to use someone's WordPress blog theme to create a regular site menu instead of a blog. I'm a mess.)

If you are at all interested...

My short description of what Molyneux and FDR is, is here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=106

The only reasons I've every been able to come up with for creating fdrliberated are here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=276

The back-and-forth between Molyneux, Shahar, and others during the creation of UPB is a five-part article (Sorry about the length.)  Qlub linked to Part 2.  The entire series starts here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=34

Most important, to me, are the two articles on the foundation of FDR and the psychology/philosophy connection.  The first, about the ideological foundation of FDR, is here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=1060

The second, which demonstrates that FDR is an idea developed by Molyneux and his wife to inculcate young people into his ideology is here:

http://www.fdrliberated.com/?p=862

Some of this stuff can raise some incendiary reactions but in the end it is only my opinion; however, it is also why I make a very earnest attempt at reason and evidence. As a public figure, Molyneux's ideas are fair game for public scrutiny. Still, he believes deeply he is doing good and FDR is his livelihood. I always try to keep that in mind.

In my experience, the ones who do best with Molyneux and FDR are those who selectively add what they like about FDR to their own philosophy. The ones who go "all in," defoo everyone, and rarely venture away from the FDR "community" seem to have lives that have become--at least to me--more, rather than less, complicated by the philosophies of FDR.

This site is frankly stalker-y and spooky.

"I can't stop thinking about Molyneux's wife."  Yikes.

I wonder why you'd be adverse to therapy... maybe you need to defoo from Molyneux most of all... haha.

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