Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Quick Read on Stefan Molyneux

Since David Gordon has seemed to stir up quite a hornet's nest because of his review of the new Stefan Molyneux book, I decided to wander over to the Molyneux site to see what was going on there.

I have to say that Molyneux is quite prolific. He has many, many podcasts and youtube presentations on many, many topics, from parenting to anarchism. After clicking around the podcasts a bit, I began to understand why Walter Block listened to only 10 minutes of one broadcast, before stopping. At least for me ( and I guess for Block), there is something tedious about listening to Molyneux talk on and on.

However, I wanted to get a quick sense of Molyneux's style of thinking and presentation, so I was determined to listen through a full broadcast. He lists a category in his podcasts called Economics. Since I know a thing or two about economics, I wandered over there. The first podcast under this category was titled, "Understanding Stock Market Investment versus Speculation".

Since I know a bit about investment and speculation, I chose this podcast as the one I would force myself to listen to from start to finish.

Here's the sense I got from the podcast: Molyneux seems to be a quick read on topics, is able to discuss topics in a manner that gives the impression that he knows a lot more about topics than he really does, which results in him giving out a lot of bad information that would only be caught by someone that was very familiar with the topic.

In the podcast I listened to (in its entirety), Molyneux discusses an environmental software company he sold to a publicly traded firm that traded on the Alberta Stock Exchange.

Although this isn't the main focus of my critique, it would be interesting to know more about the environmental software company that he sold. I guess it is possible that it was a libertarian environmental software company of some sort, but most environmental companies I am familiar with are either direct beneficiaries of government hand outs or beneficiaries of government regulations that force firms to act in ways that they wouldn't in a free market. So it would be helpful if Molyneux told us the name of the firm he sold, so it could be researched to see just what type of environmental software was actually created and learn more about how the firm generated its revenues.

But this is a side point, my main point about this podcast is that Molyneux sounds knowledgeable in his podcast but really has no idea what he is talking about. For example, he partly titled the podcast "speculation versus investment". However, he gives a completely erroneous definition of what a speculator is and seems to have no understanding of the value of a speculator.

In the podcast, he defines a speculator as someone who is only concerned with short-term swings in stock prices based on action in stock prices, and attributes no value to the role of the speculator.

The first point that needs to be made is that those who are watching stock prices for clues as to direction are more correctly called "technical analysts" or "technical traders". There is nothing that says a technical trader needs to be short-term in view. I often look at 10 year plus charts to get a perspective on possible long-term trends over upcoming years.

Secondly, and Molyneux implies that there is no such thing, many speculators can trade on fundamentals. A commodity speculator in wheat may be basing his trade on what he expects weather conditions to be like and how that will impact wheat prices.

Molyneux goes on further to give the impression that speculators play no important role in markets---and quite possibly a negative role. But this is simply false, speculators provide liquidity to markets and, in the case of the commodities world, provide certainty in price to farmers who want to hedge their crop, before they plant it, with the speculator assuming the risk that the farmers don't want to assume.

Thus, whereas Molyneux portrays the speculator as evil, the speculator in fact plays an important role in market activity.

Molyneux then goes on to remarkably say that Social Security money is invested in the stock market. This is flat out wrong, No money, zero, is invested in the stock market. By saying this, he misses the biggest part of the SS Ponzi scheme, the fact that all money that goes into SS is spent by the government IMMEDIATELY (or dished out to SS "beneficiaries"). SS only puts money in Treasury securities. This money then goes to the Treasury where it is then spent by the government. There is no investment in the stock market made at all---never ever. When the Treasury securities have to be paid back to SS as baby boomers age, the Treasury will either have to try and borrow the money from someone else, tax the public to pay off what is owed to SS or get the Fed to print money to payoff SS. Molyneux misses all this and thus misses some of the most significant problems with SS.

There is much more that Molyneux doesn't get about the stock market, since he seems to want to blame "speculators" and says nothing about the onerous regulations that make it near impossible for a new brokerage firm to start up, or make it near impossible for most firms (unless they are tied in with Silicon Valley connections) to go public--outside of scammers, such as the many that exist on the Alberta exchange--where the firm Molyneux was involved in first traded.

Molyneux closes his comment with a short rant in very generic terms against the state and regulations, but this simply seems to be a tack on, to sucker in less knowledgeable libertarians. In fact, Molyneux has picked up some buzzwords about the financial world, tortured the meaning of sum of those buzzwords, that is all. To anyone knowledgeable about the sector it would be clear very quickly that Molyneux is totally full of shit.

Bottom line: What David Gordon writes about Molyneux's philosophical understanding can also be said about Molyneux's financial understanding. Gordon writes:
Despite the impression I have so far given, Molyneux is by no means stupid: quite the contrary. Therein, I suggest, lies the source of the problems of his book. Because of his facile intelligence, he thinks that he has a talent for philosophical argument and need not undertake the hard labor of learning how such arguments are constructed
I could very easily take Gordon's comment and write:

Despite the impression I have so far given, Molyneux is by no means stupid: quite the contrary. Therein, I suggest, lies the source of the problems of his podcast on finance and investment. Because of his facile intelligence, he thinks that he has a talent for financial argument and need not undertake the hard labor of learning how the financial world really works.

72 comments:

  1. Why not do an interview with him anyway?

    Obviously he's got a lot people following him. If nothing else you might be able to point out his errors and move him in a positive direction, similar to the Gary Johnson interview.

    Also, I find your analysis about how he made his money with his software company to be interesting. It would make for good discussion.

    I find it increasingly difficult myself in my own business to steer completely clear of doing any work for gov't entities because of the degree of fascism in the U.S.

    It's almost like I can't get away from it. Even the work I do for one company, though totally private, some of their work is for private companies getting gov't largesse locally(BMW even).

    But your point is taken. I've always felt like Jeff Berwick is somewhat of a hypocrite too based on my understanding that he made most of his money via retirement homes in Canada, most of which were supported by the Canadian gov't directly or indirectly. (but my understanding could be wrong)

    Regardless, I think there are many interesting questions you can ask Molyneux. I think your producer Rossini was right to suggest you have him on your show.

    If you're really bold you can even ask him why he no longer writes for LRC.

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    1. Like you say: it is pretty hard to survive and not deal in any way with the government. I would not blame an anarchist for taking money from government. I am not even blaming non anarchist for taking money from the government. I blame people for supporting violence against me. For the rest I advise them to take as much money as fast as possible out of Leviathan as possible. The sooner it is bust the better.
      Or in other words:they do not steal people's money, because you get a tax refund. The steal money from tax serfs for their own benefit, not because people ask for unemployment money or retirement homes. I also do not get angry with Greek people because my gvt is giving theirs money. Nor do I get angry with people on welfare because it is my money. I get angry with those who steal it from me and those who support it.

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    2. So who cares if he has people following him? Why play to a crowd of fools?

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  2. Don't go to Molyneux for economics. His understanding of the psychology of manipulation and exploitation and understanding of why people resist truth and reason, is where the good stuff is. Also his views on making your personal life match your proclaimed views is quiet good.
    Molyneux criticized Block on preaching free markets and voluntary interactions, but having a tenure government protected position in university. In other words:you can not hear his arguments over his actions.
    Of course the easy way out for Block is to dismiss Molyneux and in my experience that is the most common reason why people are revolted by Molyneux. Not because he is not knowledgeable or wrong, but because he calls liberty lovers out on conflict of their personal lives with their proclaimed values. It is safe to bash the FED, where you have no influence, while not hitting your kids, changing your career, is something attainable, but still not done by proclaimed freedom lovers.

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    1. Right, but Walter Block has always made the point (in line with Rothbard) that it's OK for libertarian to take money/services from the State as it's like stealing back from a thief. The State straddles and dominates our society as it is, saying one uses one of their monopolies is not an endorsement. It's like saying those traveling on roads in Syria to escape Assad's forces are endorsing Assad by using "his" roads.

      I have nothing against Molyneux, I accept him as part of the broad movement, but I view him - personally - with as much suspicion as I do Alex Jones. I count him as an ally, but I am not a follower of his. It does kinda say a lot that he's now been quietly kicked out of both the Lew Rockwell circle and (somewhat more recently) the Doug Casey - "Casey Research" crew as well.

      One wonders where he'll end up - and get kicked out of - next.

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    2. The pivotal difference is advocating violence and profiting from its booty but eagerly acccepting its abolition. Libertarians come under the latter category. We are open to reclaiming stolen goods out of the state's hands (especially where ownership of them has become indeterminate.) Things get a bit blurry when you throw in monetary inflation, however, but what better way to utilise that money than to buy gold and crush the fiat parasite?

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    3. Peter,

      Do you have expertise in the "psychology of manipulation and exploitation" so that you can say for sure that Molyneux isn't making errors on this topic in the same way he appears to be making errors in philosophy and finance?

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    4. Can I point out something?

      I have heard repeated MANY times from libertarians that it is all right to take from the State because "Walter Block said it's ok". First of all, that is an appeal to authority, not reason. I disagree completely with Walter Block. The argument that the funds stolen by the state are in a "state of nature" is false. They are stolen funds, that need to be returned in a judicious manner to the victims of the predation.

      Murray Rothbard in "The Ethics of Liberty", if you want an appeal to authority, said the same. When property has been stolen, it IS NOT ok to take it, or receive it for services rendered. Instead, it must be returned to its original owner. This would have to be done through some judicial process - not just "well part of the money is mine anyway" - sorry that doesn't cut it.

      It is a very dangerous idea, that faces all of us libertarian, an-capitalist, since there are temptations everywhere to participate in the state. We should not. Robert a full posting of your views on this matter would be good. This is a very important discussion that should be escalated in the libertarian community. To repeat, I think Walter Block is incorrect on this - a flaw that could do serious damage to our movement.

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    5. Anon @ 11:40

      I think you make outstanding points. I'm not as well read as many here, I focus on my business and family and have only been "libertarian" for 6 years so I have a long way to go.

      My comment above about Berwick, some apparent hypocrisy(as highlighted by Wenzel towards Molyneux's software company, probably due Molyneux bashing Block for similar reasons) ,is all very interesting to me as a libertarian "lay person".

      I'm still @ 41 years old developing my own ethics in how I live my life and run my business...so I'll be watching all of you closely in this argument.(I can't do all the reading necessary in a short period of time to even get me partially comfortable with this area)

      I'm going to read all of you and use my rationality to sort it out as best I can.

      Carry on all of you with the discussions!!!

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    6. I have a lot of sympathy for your view, but I think it is unfortunately untenable. The point Walter Block makes is that the state controls, both directly and indirectly, so many functions of society that we would have to martyr ourselves to avoid participating in the state.

      I agree that stolen goods should be returned to who they were stolen from but that is not an option here. I think we should recognize that from a libertarian perspective it is better that the state is using its ill-gotten gains supporting Dr. Block who teaches his students free market economics than if those funds were spent on someone preaching the state worship of Keynesianism.

      If we are being charitable to Walter Block, his argument is that it is alright to deprive the state of funds in any manner provided you aren't using those funds to support the states agenda.

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    7. I also agree that the reason we can steal from state because it steals from us is not only morally correct but also in some cases it would lead to perpetuation of more stealing by the state. For example, take government research funding. Lets say libertarian researchers take NSF grants for doing pro-liberty research. Doing so not only creates a demand for more NSF research i.e. we contribute to reasons why govt will not stop funding research but it also undermines the authority of any arguments the researcher might want to make against govt funding.

      Having said that, imagine the case of a person whose calling is to teach and research. You would tell me they can do so on internet but you really cannot in the way you can do as a professor. Now you try to land a job at a private school but you are not able to get it. What then? Should we tell the guy to leave his dreams, isnt that peer group coercion in a way? Besides all private schools exist and flourish also as a result of govt subsidies for student loans, subsidized land, their not-for-profit status.

      Another example, if a person has always worked for the government and has gotten introduced to the ideas of liberty only now. What is he to do? Leave his job at an older age to fend for himself because the great libertarian community deems it immoral or unethical? Is someone working for a company that received bailouts doing something immoral? We are not responsible for others' actions even govt's, we are only responsible for our own.

      To me the morality of work is to do it with sincerity, detachment ,a feeling of service, love and not try to screw others by your actions. That is all that is needed for morality of work, nothing else.

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    8. Anon 11:40,

      It is not an appeal to authority to make the statement that Block or Rothbard has defended their position thusly. What would be an appeal to authority is to say that one supports a position merely because Block or Rothbard said it. To be honest, I've never seen anybody do that, so I don't know what your gripe is here. What I have seen people do is make the statement that Block or Rothbard said such and such, then they reason why Block or Rothbard said such and such, and conclude with either an agreement or a disagreement. To my knowledge, that requires one to think through the logical implications on their own.

      Also, the argument is that the funds are unowned (what you quote as a state of nature), which is absolutely true. Only individuals can own or have title to any single piece of property, thus any "collective ownership" is invalid. I recommend that you read Hoppe's analysis on public goods to get a better grounding on the transfer of titles to get a better grounding on this topic, because you certainly aren't posing anything here that refutes the Blockian/Rothbardian position. You're essentially saying, "I disagree, but I don't understand why".

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    9. So I take money from a private defense contractor to design/build weapons of war and make profit.(yet know I'm indirectly complicit in helping them to kill people by the state)

      I use some of that profit to support libertarian movements and secretly hope for the abolition of the state and the killing of people.

      Am I a hypocrite and/or unethical?

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    10. Thank you, Joseph. The appeal to authority fallacy has to be one of the most misunderstood logical fallacies out there. A lot of people seem to believe that if you bring up a person of authority while making your point that you have automatically committed this fallacy. It annoys me to no end.

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    11. I am not saying "I disagree, but I don't understand why." I understand quite clearly what I disagree with in Block's analysis. Let's say the executive of whatever the state is at the time, passes a law saying "the state is going to take over all air travel. We're going to nationalize the airlines." That same executive, or one of his minions, then says to you "you can work in our airline administration, pay is $300,000 a year." At no point has the property been put into a state of nature or a "no ownership" position. Ownership and control has transferred from the original owners to the state. The state will call it a collective good, but the fact remains, it has been stolen. Therefore, the only just remedy is to reject the job and argue for the return of the money to its proper owner.

      The argument that some professions are "crowded out" because you have to work for the state in order to do them, does not fly (excuse the pun). It is no excuse to participate in evil, "as long as I can continue to pursue my passion". All our passions should be subordinated to the highest value that we all agree on that of peaceful non-aggression. I'd love to be an astronaut. But I don't HAVE to do it. Everyone can find something else to do in line with a ethical philosophy.

      If you work for the state, then yes, the difficult, but necessary conclusion to be made, is you should leave and do something else. "What about my mortgage, my kid's college, my lifestyle?" Sell your house, lower your kids expectations, live simpler. That's not your money your spending, it's stolen. You are in effect participating in a criminal enterprise. Stop and join the resistance.

      Finally, thank you for enlightening me about the nuances of the proper use of the "appeal to authority fallacies". I am well aware that Walter Block has a reasoned argument behind his statement. I addressed that argument in my original post, and I hope I have further elaborated my thinking here. To the extent that people think that saying "Walter Block says taking money from the state is ok" ENDS the conversation is where I say it is an appeal to authority. I hope, Dan, that I have not further annoyed you by clarifying my point.

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    12. "To the extent that people think that saying "Walter Block says taking money from the state is ok" ENDS the conversation is where I say it is an appeal to authority. I hope, Dan, that I have not further annoyed you by clarifying my point."

      Ok, but nobody made that claim in these comments. What is the point of bringing that up here unless you thought someone was guilty of this fallacy?

      "All our passions should be subordinated to the highest value that we all agree on that of peaceful non-aggression. I'd love to be an astronaut. But I don't HAVE to do it. Everyone can find something else to do in line with a ethical philosophy."

      So I take it that you don't use the government roads. That you also won't go to a hospital that takes government money. That you don't use federal reserve notes. That you won't work in an industry that has regulations that stifle competition.

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    13. Yes, Dan I use government road, because I have no choice, the government owns all the roads. I use federal reserve notes for the same reason. I'd choose a privately run hospital in a second if there were one. What point were you making by this? I would agree in a second for the state to auction off their roads, remove the monopoly from federal reserve notes, and stop giving money to hospitals.

      Despite your straw man argument, we are discussing being employed by the state. There does to a certain extent still exist a career outside of government that people can choose to do. There is still a private sector, so your analogy does not quite prove your point.

      But yes, if we were living in soviet russia where the state employed everyone, then ok, I'm not going to tell someone who's starving to not use a government breadline. That's not the case. I live in DC, I see how these federal government employees live. They are not starving. Far, far from it.

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    14. It's okay to take back money from the state because it is like stealing from a thief. Interesting. I suppose then it is okay to be a government contractor, a lifetime government employee or a banker who gets bailouts.

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    15. Molyneux is a fraud, pure and simple He has stated that the churches and religious leaders are people who use their verbal skill to manipulate people into supporting them so that they do not have to work. I think he gave a very accurate description of himself. It is what is called "projection".

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  3. So this "genius", like any other statist idiot, falls for the tired and long debunked "speculators are evil" line eh? If true then he's just another moron with no thinking cap.

    Next....

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    1. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Molyneux is an anarcho-capitalist aka he isn't a statist. Don't be so ignorant.

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  4. Stephan is a sophist

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    1. YES!!! I have said this on several of his videos. HE is anti-logic. He spreads nothing but sophistry.

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  5. Molyneux has a lot to offer libertarians, and I'm neither an atheist nor an anarcho-capitalist....nor even an American-style libertarian.

    Molyneux' kind of atheism is not far from genuine religion, which is compatible with reason.

    While in my opinion he carries de-fooing too far, he is also correct to focus on introspection and the psychological foundations of violence.

    His argument against speculators is not based on in-depth knowledge but it is directionally correct about some forms of it in the contemporary context.

    Finally, financial industry ideology is not an improvement over financial industry ignorance.

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    1. Molyneux';s form of atheism is that he uses his verbal abilities to manipulate people to support him and place him as an authority over themselves. That is pretty much what he says religion is. He is just changing the name, but the game is the same.

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  6. "His argument against speculators is not based on in-depth knowledge but it is directionally correct about some forms of it in the contemporary context."

    I agree with much of your sentiment except the above quote.

    I can see no "directionally correct" aspect of bashing speculators.

    Assuming you believe in free markets, speculators are exceptionally important.

    The help find the true value of assets more quickly via working to find mistakes in the market and placing bets with their own money to do so. Not only do they help with asset valuation they help root our fraud.

    The are vilified heroes and when they are wrong they pay dearly, just like those on the other side of any given transaction.


    All that being said, the libertarian movement in general is making a mistake by excommunicating each other because of disagreements. They should be ongoing sources of discussion instead of division...with a focus on commonalities.

    I hope Wenzel changes his mind about an interview with Molyneux. I think it would be fascinating.

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  7. Gee I really like your extensive knowledge. Could you get me the latest net worth of my State, Michigan? I am looking for my local County Net Worth, and Community College Net individual worth also. I really hope you can get this for me because you have your economic facts down cold, and I am not trained at all in the markets having flunked economics 101 on the first attempt.
    I hope we have some extra funds in those accounts too.

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    1. "This book establishes two very important principles
      1. Private ownership of land is privilege granted by society and not a birthright.
      2. The Creation of money is a sovereign function that belongs to the government and not a Corporate Banking function that belongs to a privileged few.

      Until the people take control of their Common Rights, they will be wage-slaves to the Oligarch of Wealth."

      Interesting book to review, that. How does "society" grant what individuals cannot? I'd love to hear that from the author.

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    2. He is telling people to buy "bit-coins" a total fiat currency that is also vulnerable to an EMP terrorist attack. Gee. an enemy at wartime would love to be able to press a button and totally wipe out a nations economy. That would be possible with a bit-coin economy.

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  8. To defoo or not to defoo, that is the question.

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    1. Te problem with Molyneux is that he is defoocating all over youtube

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  9. @Anonymous

    You conflated my nuanced statement with "bashing all speculators".

    I don't bash all speculation. Speculation is too broad a term to describe as one thing.

    And a correct analysis of financialization and what is wrong with certain forms of speculation, even as they are symptomatic of underlying structural problems with the economy, and why noticing and correcting that (in so far as anyone can) is compatible with libertarianism (if you need to justify it in those terms), and how it can be changed without regulation but with redesign and redefinition is too long a task for a blog comment, would require much cooler temperaments than are supplied here, and take more breath and patience than I am currently willing to muster for something that doesn't profit me.

    I think you can start with Mandelbrot and Taleb, though.
    I'd rather read Ramana Maharshi just now.
    I'm just a dumb gal and don't even have a short tight skirt to make up for it.

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    1. So we're "ok" if I change my statement to "bashing some speculators"? I can live with that.

      I didn't mean to appear hostile or anything btw, sorry if I came across that way.

      Btw, why does it seem everyone is always recommending that people read this book or that on a myriad of topics?

      Seriously, who has the time to take everyone's recommendations and read thousands of books instead of just trying to make or discuss one point with some brevity?

      lol, oh well. Everyone here is clearly better at finding time to read a bunch of stuff than me. It's obviously one of my failings.

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  10. "...it would be clear very quickly that Molyneux is totally full of shit."

    That's exactly why I like you, Bob. You don't pull any punches and you tell it how you see it. I too thought that Gordon's last paragraph was a great summary of Molyneux's grasp of philosophy, but my own grasp of philosophy proper isn't nearly as robust as David's, so I didn't want to push the point.

    There are a lot of people in this movement that are great at getting people into the movement, and I think that this is where Molyneux falls. Yes, he will make some completely false statements and lead some people astray on certain issues, but if people are willing to listen to him then I think that they may be willing to go some steps further (to move in any direction, one must take the first step). With that said, one would hope that people would then move on to better thinkers. Some do, some don't. But, that's with anything.

    I certainly don't think that he has an ulterior motive like a Bill Still or those Zeitgeist (aka Venus Project) people, I think that he genuinely believes that he is a philosopher. IOW, I think that if shown that he is in error on a particular matter that he would change his view. That's all I can ask for from anybody involved in the movement. I am certainly not always correct, and I continue to learn and change my views every day.

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  11. THANK YOU.. and to Dr. Gordon, too... for these comments on Molyneux.
    I hope to see many more people coming forward to expose this puffed-up man with the "facile intelligence". Love it!

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  12. Stefan has written a rebuttal to Gordon's article, but judging from the comments above, I doubt that anyone's interested in that sort of thing http://board.freedomainradio.com/forums/p/35935/277862.aspx#277862

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    1. To suggest that's the case based on the above comments is simply wrong.

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    2. "but judging from the comments above, I doubt that anyone's interested in that sort of thing"

      Oh, bullshit!

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  13. damn, I should have known that "not being a robot" is not enough for posting a comment on this site

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  14. I was somewhat interested in Molyneux's take on libertarianism but not enough to buy his book. I could forgive his non-technical use of term "speculator." He define his term, and that's sufficient even if the term is non-standard. But believing that social security funds are invested in the stock market is absolutely unforgiveable for someone commenting on such things in a public forum such as his. I've encountered this kind of error in dinner table-type conversations, but someone purporting to be informed and purporting to be informing the public should certainly be held to a higher standard than that.

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    1. FYI.. ALL of his books are free. You also might want to look into when he made those statements. From what I have heard, he has come a long way from his original writings and understanding of the issues. But no, he isn't someone that you go to if you want to learn about economics.

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  15. @robb

    He's no worse in that respect than many others.
    You think Wenzel and Block don't talk out of their a**** sometimes?
    He's just unusual in being a bit politer than most libertarians...
    who seem to have missed out on that thing called socialization.

    Maybe it was all the prepper stuff...you know, scrabbling for turnips behind the family yurt, in between fending off cotton-mouths from that swampland they were trying to sell...

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    1. He's politer and is more into socialization than the rest of us libertarians?

      The man is trying to get kids to ditch their parents. No wonder he is a poser as a more polite and social person.

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    2. To ditch abusive parents. Makes sense to me.

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    3. Except that he explicitly says that virtually all parents are abusive. And if that makes sense to you, you're why democracy is a bad idea.

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    4. As a non-abusive yet defood parent I beg to differ

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    5. To lend some credence to what unger said, here's Molyneux's writing about it. He's never disclaimed this view since he wrote the piece and several of his still-released podcasts reinforce the ideas and contain him actually pushing people to accept "what they already know" about their parents.

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  16. Since Molyneux is Canadian, perhaps he doesn't know what happens to Social Security payments.

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    1. Then why does he talk about it in detail as if he does?

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  17. This line of comments does not spell good news, in my view, of the future of our movement. I agree that some things that Stefan says do not make sense. But what good do insults do? He makes very clear in his podcasts that he is open to better arguments. Don't get upset, just lay out the arguments for him. "Kicking" him out of libertarian circles or trying to question his motives is simply infighting.

    Note on Defoo: He makes this quite clear. If you are being abused by your parents, either physically, emotionally, or mentally, then try to talk to them. If that fails then seek therapy. If that fails, then do not endure abusive relationships, simply leave.

    Sounds like a libertarian philosophy to me...

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    1. Ah, yes. And here's some more libertarian philosophy, eh? I quote:

      "Of all the relationships in your life, your relationship with your parents and siblings is by far the most likely to be completely screwed up. Not only that, but you also have absolutely no power to improve these relationships.
      Harsh? Not at all. Merely logical.
      When raising children, parents have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. Why should children obey them? Because parents are right? Hell no – ask parents why they hold their beliefs, they don’t have a clue. How could they? The last competent philosopher was probably John Locke, over three hundred years ago. The general social stream of ideas is just muck and confusion, designed by evil people to baffle and paralyze any good souls that accidentally emerge from the sick swamps of modern thought.
      Average parents can no more reinvent morality from scratch than they can build a Space Shuttle in their backyards. Still, they have to get their children to obey them – how do they do it?
      Oh, the usual suspects. Guilt, shame, withdrawal, criticism, bribery, bullying, manipulation – the usual crap that has passed for parenting throughout history. Guilt, shame and bullying always rush to fill the void when logical morality loses favour, because children must be taught, and if no carrots are to be found, sticks will always just have to do.
      So face it: your parents were bullies, or weak curriers of favour, or manipulative emotional infants themselves. You have no respect for them, for respect requires courage, and courage requires logical morality. You do not love them, since love demands virtue, and manipulating children into blind obedience is not at all virtuous. There are only a few possible responses to modern parents:
      - Contempt- Indifference- Boredom- Hatred- Empty conformity
      These are usually mixed into an over-stimulating frappe of conflicting emotions, leaving family gatherings fraught with tension, alienation, dissociation and emptiness.
      You are told to repair things with your parents, but that is an impossible task – a complete waste of time that will also make you crazy. Since they hurt you when you were young, you cannot fix the relationship. To make the point with an extreme example, if you are raped by a man, you cannot cure him of his desire to rape. Maybe someone else can, but you cannot. Since your parents bullied or bribed you into blind obedience, you cannot help them become better people. Maybe someone else can. A therapist perhaps. But not you. You have no hope, since their guilt about how they treated you will always muck up any attempt at honest communication.
      And really, it is impossible to forgive someone who has bullied a child. Forgiveness is for repairable events, like being distracted or breaking a vase. A bad childhood cannot be repaired or returned intact. Where restitution is impossible, forgiveness is impossible. Don’t even try.
      Does this sound too radical? Do you think it extreme for me to say that almost all parents are horribly bad? Perhaps it is. However, if you look at the state of the world – the general blindness and the slow death of our liberties – the challenge you take on by disagreeing with me is this: if it’s not the parents, what is it?
      Either the world is not sick, or parents are. Because, as my wife says, it all starts with the family. If you want to perform the greatest service for political liberty, all you have to do is turf all of your unsatisfying relationships. Parents, siblings, spouse, it doesn’t matter."

      Delete
    2. That quote you gave describes perfectly myself and at least 5 friends of mine. They have all told me the same thing, although in less words.

      You make no argument against what he says and Provide no evidence that he is wrong.

      Delete
    3. Why is the onus on us to provide evidence against Molyneux's assertions? I agree with the principle of dissociating with abusive parents. Genuinely abusive ones. What's his definition of "abusive"?

      Delete
    4. However you define "abusive", I think the main point is to "turf all of your unsatisfying relationships." It is up to you to define "unsatisfying" for yourself. Molyneux believes that just because someone is a parent, sibling, or other family member, it doesn't automatically follow that one should continue a relationship with them based on this sole fact alone. You should consider whether the relationship is satisfying to you. I don't believe Molyneux is trying to encourage anyone from leaving their family, but rather I think he is trying to discourage people from believing that they are obliged to never cut that relationship off. I'm not sure if I'm right, but perhaps this will help you answer your own question.

      Delete
  18. I have always held that Molyneux is economically illiterate. I think he's even kind of decided that understanding economics deeply is spurious, since he can always just make a moral argument. This is the exact same problem I have with Ayn Rand.

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  19. What I'd love to know is where Molyneux gets his money to keep broadcasting. He was hellbent against Ron Paul because he insisted that you can't work within the political system. He constantly screws around with the ideas of libertarianism, mostly making little sense.

    Again, I suspect he's just a CIA hireling designed to screw up libertarian thinking. And he's succeeded, to some extent: A surprising number of half-baked libertarians think he's the cat's meow.

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  20. 1. "Screw up libertarian thinking"

    That presumes you know already what is libertarian or not, which is instinct and belief, but not reason.

    2.
    "hell-bent against Ron Paul"
    Why should support or opposition to Paul be the touchstone of someone's libertarianism?

    3.
    "I suspect he's just a CIA hireling"

    And I have begun suspecting Ron Paul of something similar at a higher level.

    But even so, how does it go to the ideas he (or Paul) advocates?

    4. Defooing - I think it's extreme, but it's also true the nuclear family is an institution in trouble....

    if the levels of pedophilia, physical and emotional abuse, divorce, marital problems, addictions, societal violence etc. are taken into account.

    Personally, I take the opposite tack to SM, but I am glad to hear Wenzel is going to give him a chance to speak.

    He doesn't have to be right on everything to be worth listening to

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    Replies
    1. 1. Molyneux makes little sense, yet he somehow has the funds to keep broadcasting. He's the new Wm. F. Buckley Jr.

      2. Ron Paul, though his campaign was infiltrated, has turned on countless millions to libertarian thinking and led the way against the Fed. Unlike his opportunistic son, Ron has never endorsed Romney. Drat if I know why the central bankers/CIA would've done that.

      3. Just where does Molyneux get his funding? There are far more competent libertarian intellectuals who'd like to know.

      4. Hopefully Wenzel can expose Molyneux, just like he exposed the fraud Gary Johnson, even if the conspirators who run the LP put him up, just like they put up Bob Barr in 2008 (who endorsed Newt Gingrich in 2012).

      Delete
    2. Stef gets his funding from voluntary donations. He is a stay at home dad and his wife earns the major take home pay to support the family.

      Delete
    3. I very much doubt that. That's just what Molyneux pretends.

      He's the new William F. Buckley Jr., assigned to destroy libertarianism just as Buckley destroyed conservatism.

      Delete
  21. Stef, in his argument about how government artificially stimulates the stock market, might have mistaken Social Security for Retirement Accounts (lots of which actually do invest in the stock market).

    I suggest you contact Stef directly and give him your feedback so that he may learn more about it, even be interviewed by Stef to set the record 100% straight. The man will listen to you -- so I highly suggest there is no need for snark.

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  22. Wenzel:

    "Molyneux goes on further to give the impression that speculators play no important role in markets---and quite possibly a negative role. But this is simply false, speculators provide liquidity to markets and, in the case of the commodities world, provide certainty in price to farmers who want to hedge their crop, before they plant it, with the speculator assuming the risk that the farmers don't want to assume."

    The notion that speculators are beneficial because they "provide liquidity to markets" is absurd. The liquidity itself isn't a benefit. If it were, then inflation would be a benefit.

    No, the main benefit of speculators is that they provide INFORMATION. When the quality of information is improved, then liquidity increases as a byproduct. The stock exchange's liquidity is not beneficial because the Fed flushes it with cash, but because it provides information (and chance to make real profits). The liquidity itself isn't a benefit.

    Congrats Wenzel, for someone who hilariously considers himself such an authority on investing that he goes out of his way to criticize a PHILOSOPHER on it, only to make a buffoon out of himself in the process, has made my day of laughter.

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    Replies
    1. 1.You obviously aren't aware that there are two definitions for liquidity. The "liquidity" provided by the Fed is adding money to the economy, which causes inflation. "Liquidity" provided by speculators does not add money to the entire economy and thus does not cause inflation.

      2. Price signals can occur because of market activity, but many speculators don't have any information to add, they add "liquidity" which provides others easy in and out access.

      3. Folks Mr. "Please" is another Molyneux cult follower who will say anything to defend his leader, even when he doesn't know what he is talking about, just like his leader.

      Delete
    2. "Price signals can occur because of market activity, but many speculators don't have any information to add"

      The profit-and-loss experience of speculators IS information. They don't always "add" information in advance, in the sense that they know more than anyone else about what a particular speculation is going to do. If that were true, then speculators would never lose.

      But regardless of whether they gain or lose, their experience, once it occurs, becomes a data point that supplies information going forward in time.

      Delete
    3. This is totally absurd. I buy stock X, how would you even know in most cases if I made or lost money?

      You have no clue.

      Delete
  23. This dude is a troll! Diminishments, implicit insults and character assassinations throughout the article. Anyone who says that someone is "full of shit" is not interested in the truth!! DONT ENGAGE. Talk to people on the board instead, http://board.freedomainradio.com/forums/t/35967.aspx?PageIndex=4

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  24. To the author who was wondering, I think one of the companies Stefan worked for was called Caribou software, not sure if that is the one he sold or not.

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  25. Ran across this site

    www.molyneuxrevealed.com

    Seems like Molyneux's views on economics or secular ethics are the least of his failings.

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  26. Hey, thanks for promising to tell Molyneux you would give him an interview on one of his books, but instead, only talk about economics, knowing it is your specialty, not his.

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  27. When reading this article + comments I do not end up with the impression that Stef is the idiot. Mostly you people with comments that he works for the CIA and stuff like that. Jesus.......He makes errors in his thinking and weird leaps of logic but overall he makes sense. I don't think he deserves this treatment to be honest. I have decided to support him with a monthly donation starting from next pay day. I've enjoy listening to his podcasts for years now.
    And Walter Block is the one who thinks it's ok to leave babies in the cold to starve and freeze to death because they don't have rights to their parents food and protection.

    ReplyDelete