Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Stefan Molyneux Interview

Below is my interview with Stefan Molyneux. It is the longest interview I have conducted to date for the Robert Wenzel Show and yet I feel compelled to add more commentary to this show than to any other show I have completed.

As I note during the interview, I consider Molyneux a great communicator and this is a reason his views must be examined carefully. His eloquent communication style has apparently resulted in his developing something of a strong following. Yet, outside of his communication style, it is difficult to understand why he is enjoying such a following. For what he communicates tends to be confusing and contradictory.

Much of this interview consists of an examination of a recent podcast he completed on the subject of economics and the looming economic collapse. With regard to another commentary I made about Molyneux, some have critiqued in the comments to the post my focus on Molyneux's views on economics. They have stated that Molyenux's strength is not economics. But this is precisely my point. If Molyneux's strength is not economics, why does he continue to make error filled podcasts on the topic? The most recent being earlier this month.

I would like to point out that during my interview, Molyneux, in a fairly jovial manner, on many points states he agrees with me, but in stating he agrees with me he is contradicting the very statements that I am questioning him about, where he says the exact opposite elsewhere.

For example, at one point during the interview, he says he does not have a problem with speculation, but in an earlier podcast, he attacks speculators.

During his podcast and during the interview, he states that what could occur in the United States is the same as what occurred in Japan, where more money is printed and we could end up with "QE99", but nothing of the sort is going on in Japan. There has been no significant growth in Japanese money supply for decades.


During the interview, I point this out to him and state that his view that the United States may go into a Japanese style decades of slow growth economy is very unlikely, since the debt pressures in the U.S. are different and are likely to lead to the Federal Reserve becoming an aggressive printer of money or, alternatively, a massive default on debt will have to occur. During the interview, Molyneux says he agrees with me that this "crisis scenario" is most likely, but this is the opposite of what he said in his podcast. At another point, he says of Japan versus the U.S., "I agree with you that there are many differences.' But again, this is the exact opposite , of what he said in his podcast.

During the interview, Molyneux and I have a debate over "profit", where it appears that Molyneux doesn't understand the difference between profit and interest. Indeed, as you will hear, he attempts to want to create an average of profit, something I strongly object to. It is possible that I did not make my point clear concerning Molyneux's error. If so, here is the great economist Ludwig von Mises making the point very clearly:
... it is absurd to speak of a "rate of profit" or an "average rate of profit." Profit is not related to or dependent on the amount of capital employed by the entrepreneur. Capital does not "beget" profit. Profit and loss are entirely determined by the success or failure of the entrepreneur to adjust production to the demand of the consumers. There is nothing "normal" in profits and there can never be an "equilibrium" with regard to them. Profit and loss are, on the contrary, always a phenomenon of a deviation from "normalcy," of changes unforeseen by the majority, and of a "disequilibrium."
Finally, I must point out that on several occasions, I did not raise other errors that I believe Molyneux made the show. As I said, this interview was by far the longest I have ever conducted and it is simply impossible to touch on all of the errors without causing the the interview to stretch to absurd lengths. Among the erroneous points Molyneux made, which I did not raise, but I feel obligated to point out here, Molyneux states that the Austrian School of Economics is in favor of property rights. This is technically an error.  ASE is a science and thus value free. Thus, ASE,  as a science, is not in favor of anything. It can explain why a society that respects property rights will likely have a higher standard of living, but it does not pronounce that this should be such a goal. It is beyond the realm of economic science proper. For someone who touts himself to be a philosopher, I find this error baffling.

Molyneux also states that Ayn Rand in "Atlas Shrugged" forecast an economic collapse decades ago that has never occurred.  First, I do not consider Rand, by any stretch, an economist. Second, "Atlas Shrugged" was a novel about producers versus takers, and nowhere near a forecast about economic collapse. In her novel, Rand was pointing out what would occur if producers suddenly stopped producing and the takers were left to fend for themselves. I bit my tongue here because I wanted to raise other errors that Molyneux made, but to point to Rand's novel as a failure of a forecast is the height of confusion that I trust even beginners in the study of economics and philosophy will be able to detect.

Molyneux also went on an odd rant about religion, which, if I would have challenged, would have perhaps extended the interview another five hours. Suffice to say, I found Molyneux's linking religion with war because they have both existed side by side and that thus religion must be rejected, as an unusual argument. One could also point out that advancing science has existed side by side with war. Should we thus in Molyneux style reject science for the same reason?

In the interview, I also question Molyneux about his defooing technique, which is a method whereby Molyneux advises that  some young adults separate from their parents. I am not familiar enough to comment accurately on what Molyneux has done in promoting defooing. Molyneux states in the interview that such defooing should only be done under the guidance of a mental health professional. From some internet sites, the impression I have received is that defooing has been encouraged by Molyneux without such mental health professionals. I leave if for others to do the investigative work here.

However, I would like to add that there is nothing wrong with a young adult, when he is ready, to move on from beyond the house he was brought up under. A young adult should do this when he is ready to do so. However, defooing, with a total cut off from family, seems to  be an odd step.

It's curious that during an interview with Jeffrey Tucker that Molyneux condemns Bill Clinton for taking advantage of Monica Lewinsky. He specifically notes the age gap between Clinton and Lewinsky and the power position the president was in relative to Lewinsky. How is this different from the age gap between Molyneux and those Molyneux is advising on his radio show to defoo? Further, Molyneux is also coming from a position of power, as a philosopher, author and radio show host. There is nothing wrong with encouraging youth to explore and consider various alternative views of the world, but to advise youth to cut off some views (such as that of their parents) is worse than asking for a blow job.

My interview with Molyneux ends with his turning the tables and asking me a couple of questions. At first I was going to leave this exchange on the editors cutting floor, but Molyneux is indeed a skilled communicator and the questions are interesting so I left them in.

That said, I continue to believe that David Gordon had it pretty much correct about Molyneux, when he wrote that Molyneux has a facile intelligence.

My take is that because Molyneux is such a quick study and because of his excellent communication skills, he gives the impression that he knows much more than he really does. He knows how to throw out there the libertarian buzzwords that will catch those who aren't listening carefully, but his conclusions are often very misleading, when not completely wrong. However, I do not advise you to defoo from Molyneux, but to merely judge the quality of his analysis for yourself:





Here's the podcast version:





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And here is the direct link to the audio.


91 comments:

  1. Hi Bob, I'm listening to your interview right now and have a question about something you said about Japan. You said they're in the early stages of heading along the path that US is in the advanced stages of (high interest rates, massive inflation, etc).

    I've heard economists (wish I could remember the names but I heard them on either Schiff, Jim Puplava, or King World News) say that the Japanese people have pretty much burned through their savings at this point and could be the next (or one of the next) big dominoes to fall.

    I'm admittedly a novice at economics (though I'm trying to learn) but that sounds inconsistent with your point (that they're in the "early stages"). Any comment on that?

    -Kevin K

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  2. Just finished listening. I definitely was confused at certain points (e.g. the discussion on profits) but I get the impression that Bob knows Austrian economics in a lot more detail and so, technically speaking, Molyneux was probably incorrect.

    Bob, not sure if maybe you can have a follow-up podcast to teach some of the concepts that were talked about. I think you mentioned that, according to ASE, profits are seen as a "one time event" and the rest was a return on capital. As someone interested but not yet well-schooled in ASE (though I'm trying!), I didn't understand the distinction. I'm not sure SM did either. My feeling is that led to a lot of the confusion between you and him.

    -Kevin K

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    1. I think the point that Wenzel was trying to make is that Molyneux IS CONFUSED about profits, although he was willing to spout off for some time on his erroneous view.

      If you go to the link Wenzel provides in this post, where he quotes Mises, it provides in great detail what profit is and how Molyneux's attempt to average it is ludicrous.

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    2. I think it goes beyond Wenzel's understanding of economics. His point to Molyneux with regard to doing entrepreneurship versus understanding the theory of entrepreneurship should be right up Molyneux's ally, since it is a philosophical point and Wenzel just blew Molyneux up on that point.

      Molyneux's point with regard to "Atlas Shrugged" that in it Rand forecast an economic crash is further proof of Molyneux's very limited true knowledge versus his very skilled ability at communicating half-truths. Wenzel did an excellent job of drawing this out also.

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  3. I do not care how many Molyneux fans I offend..... This interview proves without a doubt that Stephan is a gnat which needs to be swatted. Thanks, Bob.

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    1. No... YOU'RE a gnat that needs to be swatted.

      Stefan is great. I've learned a lot about the philosophy of freedom from him. He's absolutely helped me refine my thinking about the ethics of anarchism more than ANY Austrian economist.

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    2. Personally, I don't listen to a lot of Molyneux but I wouldn't go as far as to say he is a gnat that needs to be swatted. I think he does a good job of bringing people into the liberty movement and bringing some minarchists to ancaps. I just think that it is not only justifiable to criticize other libertarians when we believe they are incorrect but it is also very beneficial. It helps laypeople, like myself, to hear these disagreements discussed because it furthers my knowledge on some of the more nuanced points of libertarian and Austrian theory. Stephan is anti-state, anti-war, and pro free market so he is pretty fantastic in my book, but I think it is to the benefit of all when Gordon or Wenzel call him out when they think he is wrong.

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    3. "No you?", Anon1? If you're committed to philosophy (as your comment seems to indicated), then you might wish to consider whether you've committed a logical fallacy here. I think that you have (possibly "tu quoque" or "poisoning the well", not that I'm an expert). You might also learn something interesting if you ask yourself why you're having such an emotional response to an online comment.

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  4. I don't care at all for Molyneux; but Wensel comes across in this interview (and in others) as an insufferable pedant.

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    1. Yeah, he's a bit pugnacious but it works, and Stefan thoroughly enjoyed himself.

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  5. He's very good. I have a totally different mind-set from his so I expect that I would disagree with him on a whole variety of issues, but I think he handled Wenzel's challanges extremely well. Unfortunately, Wenzel continues his nit-picking and dogmatism which I find irritating. For example, there is a basic definition of profit in economics and accounting and Molyneaux used the term in that standard way. Criticizing him for not using it in accordance with the strict and idiosyncratic Austrian analysis is not a valid criticism. On the contrary, it just introduces a side-issue that diverts the conversation away from whatever point Molyneaux was intending to make.

    Likewise, claiming that a certain statement made off the cuff in a podcast, "left the impression that" is also not valid. All conversation is subject to misinterpretation. You cannot expect the clarity that you would from a carefully crafted essay. So it is reasonable, perhaps, to ask for clarification, but not reasonable to criticize in advance of that.

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    1. Wenzel started the interview off by asking Molyneux what were his influences in economics. Molyneux specifically referenced Mises, therefore it is not out of bounds to reference Mises on profit. Who was Wenzel supposed to reference Keynes? Wenzel went on to ask Molyneux if definitions were important, Molyneus said, "yes". So if they were talking in the Misesian context which is where Molyneux said he was influenced, what exactly is wrong with discussing it in that context? This wasn't a discussion about debits and credits and accounting, which shows confusion by you and Molyneux as to what profit is in an economic sense.

      If a podcast from beginning to end attacks money going into the stock market, that is not off the cuff, that is the impression given in the podcast, but, hey, I may be wrong and you are free to send some or all of your money to Molyneux.

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    2. I definitely felt like some parts of this podcast perfectly fit your explanation. It was somewhat of a frustrating interview. It was between 2 people w/ inverse strengths. Molyneux is a good speaker but is sort what I'll call a "economic hobbyist" (though I'm pretty sure he admits that, which is to his credit). Wenzel is a serious economist but isn't necessarily the best communicator.

      Occasionally, however, Wenzel does have his moments of greatness (e.g. that explanation of being an entrepreneur doesn't mean you understand what makes it all really work) and that's why I really like his podcast. That and also the fact that he does hold the interviewee's feet to the fire. We have a dearth of that style of interviewing out there (off the top of my head, I can only think of Peter Schiff) but I think it's an important one. In fact, I think it's very important these days because we need to break out of the "Keynesian paradigm" plus really understand free market economics. If the collapse does happen, having a knowledgeable citizenry will help focus on rebuilding the country the proper way.

      -Kevin K

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  6. Wow that was hard to listen to. Why would someone listen to an academic nitpick, berate, and lecture for an hour?

    Mr. Wenzel is a fine economic commentator, but I think his communication and social skills make him a lousy interviewer. The vitriol is absurd and unmerited. Why attack the guy's childhood, his "facile intelligence", say that this guy knows nothing at all, and take all kinds of other swipes at someone who agrees with you on 99% of the issues out there?

    There is nothing wrong with libertarians sharpening their rhetorical and debate skills with one another; constructive criticism can be useful. Hardball questioning can be needed sometimes, but not going for the other guy's throat for the whole hour. It's exhausting.

    Mr. Wenzel makes no effort to construct something, only to tear him down and show to all of his fans how Molyneux is an idiot. He spends no time discussing similarities or common ground, only debating and seeking out differences. Mr. Wenzel is now the posterboy of the time-honored libertarian tradition of in-fighting; burning bridges over non-differences and shouting down others over official dogma. He makes enemies whereas he should be making allies. It is people like Mr. Wenzel who have ensured that the liberty movement can never go mainstream, that libertarians will be destined to arguing with each other in obscure corners of the Internet as the world descends into tyranny.

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    1. And yet EPJ continues to grow and the libertarian movement continues to expand like never before in these past 5 or 6 years.

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    2. Correlation doesn't imply causation.

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    3. I didn't say correlation implies causation. I just pointed out that it is stupid to say people like Wenzel ensure the libertarian movement will fail considering he has been successful in expanding his base of followers and the libertarian movement is seeing better growth than ever. I'm not saying that Wenzel is responsible for the expansion of the liberty movement, although I think he helps in that regard. I'm saying he clearly isn't hurting the cause or dooming the movement. It was just a stupid comment from Michael that a lot of other sensitive libertarians like to make in the comments on this site.

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    4. "And yet EPJ continues to grow and the libertarian movement continues to expand like never before in these past 5 or 6 years."

      Michael said people like Wenzel ensure the liberty movement can never go mainstream.

      Your claim does not contradict Michael's.

      Despite the current growth, it does not follow that there will not be a limit to growth somewhere along the way because of overzealous nitpicking and in-fighting between groups of legitimate libertarians.

      The growth you are currently seeing may have a limit because it is a FACTION that is growing, while this faction may eventually still be limited because the rest will join other factions. How is the movement benefiting from factions that are growing but which will not join up into a BIG movement because they are too busy nitpicking the small disagreements between themselves?

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    5. I know what he claimed and I didn't say my claim contradicted his. I said I thought his comment was stupid because of the continuing growth we see in Wenzel's status in the movement and by the overall growth we have seen lately. It is weird to say that people like Wenzel are dooming the movement at a time when there is nothing to back up that claim. I keep hearing some of you say, "It's because of people like X that libertarianism will never get anywhere." But all that is ever based off of is this fear that if we spend time arguing with each other or arguing with each other in the "wrong" way, that we are hurting ourselves. I never see anyone put any weight behind these kind of statements by showing exactly how it is hurting our movement. In fact, all the evidence points to this as being inaccurate. Whether we look at pro-IP vs. anti-IP, free banking vs. 100% banking, evictionism vs. pro-abortion, minarchist vs ancap, Cato vs. MI, Reason vs. LRC, and on and on, these fights have been going on for years and the whole time the liberty movement kept growing.

      "The growth you are currently seeing may have a limit because it is a FACTION that is growing, while this faction may eventually still be limited because the rest will join other factions. How is the movement benefiting from factions that are growing but which will not join up into a BIG movement because they are too busy nitpicking the small disagreements between themselves?"

      What do you mean by "won't join into a BIG movement"? Both Molyneux and Wenzel are part of the same movement. Both are libertarians and ancaps. Them disagreeing on some issues doesn't change anything. It's as if people like you are scared that if people realize that libertarians don't always agree with each other or even like each other then they will not give the message a chance. In fact, a lot of people do think we always agree with each other and they call us a cult because of it. I think if anything we need more of these kind of podcasts to show people that we don't just accept a libertarians word as gospel and sometimes we disagree or even dislike other libertarians. We are not a bunch of automatons following our leaders. Learn how to deal with it.

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  7. What a waste of the first 40 minutes! You two went into academic minutia and silly straw men arguments. Bob comes across as a pedantic, knit picker and attack dog for Gary North by drilling arguments before finding commonalities first or at least understanding Stefan's take.

    For crying out loud, libertarians need as many bright minds under our tent as possible. Let's stop these child-like libertarian "purity" tests and try to educate each other...especially those who think that organized religion and belief in the unbelievable aligns with anarcho-capitalism.

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  8. Bob, you do good work, but you really did a terrible job in this interview.

    You falsely accused Stefan of:
    - being anti-family (wrong)
    - being anti-stock market (wrong)
    - being anti-finance (wrong)

    You really made it clear that you have an agenda, some kind of ulterior motive, where you're trying to defame or discredit your guests.

    The interview has diminishing returns as you descend into splitting hairs over details that are not even relevant to the discussion.

    I honestly don't think this interview had a productive outcome.

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    1. "Deep down I do not believe that there are any really good parents out there - the same way that I do not believe there were any really good doctors in the 10th century."

      Stefan thinks all parents are abusive. That's anti-family if you ask me.

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    2. "Stefan thinks all parents are abusive. That's anti-family if you ask me."

      No, that's anti-bad parenting.

      If someone says society is sick, it doesn't mean someone is anti-society. It simply means he thinks society needs to change.
      So stop with the straw man.

      And there is plenty of logical reason, especially for libertarians, to believe that a large majority of parents do not raise their kids in a healthy way. How else do you explain that the large majority has such faith in the state?
      They are taught obedience and "respect" for authority (parents, God, teachers, the state) from early on; not independent, critical thinking.

      Not to mention the amount of physical or psychological abuse; emotional blackmail; having kids when you're not economically fit to give them a happy life etc.

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    3. If you read this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_discipline, you will find that parental authority has become less totalitarian and corporal punishment has even been outlawed in Europe. Why then has the government of Europe grown increasingly *more* authoritarian? Where are all the European libertarians?

      If you say that society is sick in every instance except in theory then I still say you are anti-society. I can imagine a government that isn't sick, I am still anti-government.

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    4. "If you read this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_discipline, you will find that parental authority has become less totalitarian and corporal punishment has even been outlawed in Europe."

      Did i just talk about physical punishment?
      I am including emotional or psychological punishment, the neutering of free minds, having children while being in a state of poverty and other examples of parents making self-serving decisions at the expense of children's welfare.


      "Why then has the government of Europe grown increasingly *more* authoritarian? Where are all the European libertarians?"

      Your conflation of different things is ridiculous.
      First of all, the outlawing of corporal punishment is a fairly new thing, the effects of which could not be seen immediately anyway. The claim that such a ban would somehow show a more free Europe is nonsense.
      Second of all, it is not even close to being the only factor.
      Third, Europe has a deeply statist tradition. It is far more leftist than America. Your suggestion that a recent ban on corporal punishment by parents would have a big impact on a deeply culturally ingrained statism is absurd.
      And it even begs the question if Europe is becoming more authoritarian over the last century. Do you see a Stalinist regime covering the whole of Eastern Europe? Do you see fascists in Italy, Germany and Spain?
      Europe is far LESS authoritarian now than it's been in the past.
      But let's accept your premise for argument sake: it is getting *more* authoritarian. Why? Because of the non-physical abuse of children by parents. By making them believe the state is their daddy. That they have no responsibility. That they are "owed". That they need not think independently and to do so is wrong and that rejecting the state is immoral, and using emotional blackmail (think of the poor) to hammer it in. In short, by turning them into voluntary slaves to authority and neutering their minds.


      "If you say that society is sick in every instance except in theory then I still say you are anti-society."

      What you 'say' about my opinion is irrelevant. The only question is whether your conclusions have merit based on the argument presented, and they DON'T.
      Since libertarians hold that force is immoral, and since there is NO society that is not predicated on legalized force, all societies are sick.
      That doesn't make me anti-society. That makes me anti-force, and calling for society to be changed to a voluntary one.
      It's not my problem if you cannot rationally separate two different concepts.


      "I can imagine a government that isn't sick, I am still anti-government."

      Government itself is a sickness, as it is based on immorality and aggression.

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    5. "Bob, you do good work, but you really did a terrible job in this interview.

      You falsely accused Stefan of:
      - being anti-family (wrong)
      - being anti-stock market (wrong)
      - being anti-finance (wrong)

      You really made it clear that you have an agenda, some kind of ulterior motive, where you're trying to defame or discredit your guests.

      The interview has diminishing returns as you descend into splitting hairs over details that are not even relevant to the discussion.

      I honestly don't think this interview had a productive outcome."

      Well said. Bob sounds like Stefan stole his girlfriend or did something personal to piss him off. Let it go Bob, you come off a little too bitchy even when your right.

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  9. Robert, please smoke a joint (or eat a cannabis brownie) before your interviews. Whatever it takes to relax and be warmer, more personable. A lot of what you nit-pick would be smoothed out and chalked up to technicality or misunderstanding. As it is, you take every little thing so personally, as though your guest's smallest misstatement or misunderstanding of Austrian teaching is an imminent threat to free-market capitalism. Just relax, man. Let your guest feel comfortable. It's hard to listen when I'm cringing all the way through the interview.

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  10. Long before I was a libertarian and knew of Stefan Molyneux, I had to do what he refers to as "defoo" in my early 20's. (more than 16 years ago)

    My father is/was dramatically abusive physically & intellectually/emotionally. There were many other issues as well, the biggest one being his continued drug use(both prescription and illicit).

    Because my mother and father divorced when I was fairly young I only had to eliminate him from my life.

    Like most that explore libertarianism when Ron Paul came on the scene, I stumbled across Molyneux.

    He is very well spoken and I do believe intelligent regardless of those calling him facile(really, you can defend that use of word all day long but I'd suggest you might be guilt of the very same thing by labeling him with it).

    But therein lies my "rub" with him. I find some of his work compelling, but I always kept my distance from him because of what seems to be a cavalier approach to this "defooing" business and an all knowing approach he seems to take on suggesting this remedy to some of his followers.

    I can tell you that my own process of eliminating my father from my life is the most difficult thing I've ever done.(and I own a business and have four young kids)

    It's a decision that wasn't taken lightly, I spent years in therapy in my early 20's coming to terms with my situation and when I finally decided it took another 3 years for the emotional wound of cutting him out of my life to heal.

    I've never regretted the decision, but saying it was difficult is an understatement. That Molyneux takes this as his personal mission troubles me because he is not the one dealing with the ramifications of pushing some of those followers into doing the same thing.

    I'm not even going to suggest some of them shouldn't do it, but what I am going to suggest is that to take the position of "convincing" them to do it is crossing a line that should not be crossed. He is not having to bear the responsibility for it on any substantive level.

    A decision like that should be "owned" by the people doing it...even if you are a "concerned" party the line between "convincing" them and simply pointing out something-like just because someone is biologically connected to you doesn't give them to right to abuse you-is a very FINE one.

    I can tell you based on some of my observations of his treatment of these matters he seems overly aggressive and not taking enough care to remain neutral. (probably due to his own childhood)

    Do I think he's truly concerned? Yes. Do I think he's misguided(when it comes to defooing)? Yes.

    Does he have a good intellect and contribute to libertarianism?
    Yes.

    It's a difficult world is which we live. We all do our best to get along, sometimes it's not very elegant.

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  11. While earlier commenters are worried about libertarian in-fighting, they miss the point that the slime of tyranny sneaks in through the cracks.

    Bob exposes the cracks better than anyone I've listened to. If an illusion exists in the libertarian movement, he's there with his sledgehammer.

    Libertarianism will not succeed with half-measures and costly errors. These are things that hold it back....not some non-issue of "in-fighting".

    We need to get to the truth as quickly and efficiently as possible. And we need enough people to see it.

    Bob is (in my opinion) one of the leaders in bringing this about....both on EPJ & his podcasts.

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    1. Except that unlike many, Molyneux actually refuses in any way to compromise to any tyranny whatsoever.
      Where others are willing to compromise to voting for politicians who espouse minarchism (Ron Paul, Gary Johnson), Molyneux refuses for both moral and practical reasons.

      Where other libertarians, ancaps included, say "Okay, let's vote for this guy", Molyneux says "screw that. His salary is paid with taxes; all the failures of his agenda if elected will be attributed to libertarianism; and he STILL ultimately believes in the state."

      So don't try to make it appear as if Molyneux's libertarian credentials are just an "illusion". He's not Rand Paul for christ's sakes.

      If you believe in Ron Paul as some sort of big icon as a lot do, then Molyneux's radicalism is stronger than yours.

      Criticize him for good reasons, but if people are now going to doubt the credentials of a pure anti-politician, anti-voting, anti-state voluntarist radical like Molyneux, then IN-FIGHTING is *exactly* what this is.

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    2. Anti-Politician, Anti-Voting, Anti-State....that's all well & good. He seems like a very nice guy too...fantastic!

      But what Wenzel did with this interview, and the accompanying commentary, is show that Molyneux speaks without knowing what he's talking about.

      And not just once.

      Molyneux is very witty, but also could be very dangerous because of his communication skills. Gordon & Wenzel have brought this to light beautifully.

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    3. Shifting the goal posts of your complaints, are we?

      I have explained his credentials of being an anarcho-capitalist are rock solid, yet you insist in his communication skills making him "dangerous".

      So now we can conclude that anyone that is not an expert should shut up, or be branded "dangerous" by his fellow libertarians for knowing how to communicate eloquently.

      Do you still not see the idiocy of your argument and what it means for the entire libertarian movement?

      Hey, here's an idea: Robert Wenzel should pick off every single libertarian on Youtube that talks about economics without being an expert, one by one, with a hostile interview. That'll show those damn statists.

      Like i said, it's IN-FIGHTING.

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    4. I didn't shift anything...If anything, I'm merely chasing around your strawmen. I did not say that anyone that is not an expert should shut up, or be branded dangerous. Molyneux need not shut up at all...He doesn't even have to talk slower! Wenzel and Gordon have shown that Molyneux speaks about things he doesn't know (as if he does). When a person like this reaches enough influence, it could be dangerous. There's no reason to "show those damn statists" anything. Hell with the statists! It's libertarians that are learning who has the chops and who doesn't. Once again, both Gordon & Wenzel have shed an important light

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  12. He doesn't seem to comprehend Ayn Rand's work or her philosophy of Objectivism. It's like he's on his way there, but doesn't know enough about her work to get to the glory. Ayn Rand stated many times that laissez faire capitalism was the only political / economic system for a free people (a people who have a limited government that protects the rights of each individual citizen in regards to their life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness). We have NEVER had a completely free market as of yet! That is what is needed from both the philosophical perspective and an economic perspective - which von Mises covers completely! We don't need a NEW philosophy or economic theory. We just need to follow the great ones we have already been given! Great interview Robert.

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    1. What on Earth are you talking about?
      Do you even know any of Molyneux's work? Or are you merely making interpretations from this one interview?

      You seem to be unaware that Molyneux, much like many of us, have left Ayn Rand long behind us as a government-loving minarchist. Someone who wraps her contradictory defense of government up in philosophical mumbo jumbo.

      He KNOWS there has never been a free market yet, and he knows why. It's because of the state.

      If you know so little about him as to think he is not "there yet" in understanding Ayn Rand or the free market, may i suggest you don't depend on one interview by a hostile Wenzel for your impression, and actually find out what Molyneux really believes?
      Start with this one:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbp6umQT58A

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  13. I thought the interview was very good. I can understand why some people were cringing as they listened, but I think the disagreements need to be discussed or our movement becomes too stale and cult like.

    I would love to hear you interview Robert Murphy about some of the disagreements you two have had in the past. Especially, on your disagreement over savings. I think there is a lot us listeners could get out of listening to you guys debate. I find Murphy to be one of the true brilliant economists in the liberty movement and when you two disagree I get a lot bet understanding of some of the finer points in Austrian economic theory.

    Another guest that I think would be fantastic to hear you discuss disagreements with is Stephan Kinsella. When you've disagreed with Murphy I've felt that both of you made good points and it's been tough for me to decide who was right, although I'm leaning heavily towards Murphy regarding savings. But I totally disagree with you on IP rights. I think it would be fascinating to hear both of you together. I'm not sure how it would turn out because it might get a little prickly between you two but it would be fun to listen to.

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  14. Excellent job, Robert. You had Stefan pinned down on "average profits" and I learned something new. Thanks!

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    1. I disagree. This part of the discussion was an unfortunate waste of time because SM's statement on historical/observed average profits "left RW with the impression" that there was a future/predictable average profit that companies tend to make. If SM were making that point, I think that RW's criticism would be fair. But, RW's "impressionism" led him astray.

      Overall, it was entertaining to see how long it would take for one person to figure out what the other person was actually saying. I look forward to the second interview/drinking game.

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    2. But he was making that point. Molyneux was saying that we should expect profits to be low because competition will drive profits lower. Wenzel was saying Molyneux was confusing profits with interest payments. Profits are completely random based on adjustments to the market, and are essentially "one-time events". That's why even talking about an average is silly. They are heterogeneous events.

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    3. Let me elaborate. There is no reason to come up with an average if you are not going to use it to predict other than simple curiosity. Molyneux was trying to make a point with averages, he wasn't stating those facts for the fun of it.

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  15. I have listened to about the first half, and so far I am disappointed. It is like hearing Wenzel interview Mother Theresa about baseball. So, okay, Molyneux is not an Austrian economic expert like you are. If that is all you wanted to prove, why interview him? Or just ask as the first question, "Are you an expert in Austrian Economics, like me?" "Uhhh, No." "Aha!"

    I'm sorry that Stefan blogs about economics, since he seems to still be learning about the definitions, and Regression Theory, and things like that. Maybe your interview with him will motivate him to spend more time in economic education.

    Meanwhile: boredom. Even if you know (or think you know) everything about Anarcho-Capitalism, having you ask Stefan about that and hearing him talk about it would have been much more interesting and entertaining.

    That seems to be a theme in your interviews: latch on to some side issues of some person's work, and prove him wrong about it. Good for your ego, but not very compelling.

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    1. When did Mother Teresa ever blog about baseball? If she did don't you think it would be appropriate to have her on ESPN?

      Molyneux is podcasting about economics. If he doesn't understand the topic why is he doing so? Especially, When it appears he is spreading nothing but inaccuracies on the topic. Are we not supposed to call out these inaccuracies by the Sainted Molyneux? Are we just supposed to over look them?

      Since when have "profit" and economic collapse become side issues? Understanding of these topics will be at the center of what drives America, indeed the world, in coming years.

      Molyneux also seemed to be weak on philosophy. Wenzel knocked him out with his baseless claim that because he was an entrepreneur he necessarily understands the theory of entrepreneurship. That was a philosophical fail as was Molyneux's attempt to categorize "Atlas Shrugged" as a book making economic forecasts, when in fact it was in Molyneux's camp, that is a book about philosophy.

      Philosophy or economics, Wenzel exposed Molyneux as a false teacher. He appears to know little about either.

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    2. I think you are getting my point. If Mother Theresa did talk about baseball, and was invited on ESPN, I would not tune in to watch her, even if she brought her trained monkey who plays accordion.

      I don't want to hear obvious amateurs talk about things that are not in their area of expertise. I guess you could say that I would regard her as a "false teacher" about baseball.

      Good interviews/podcasts are made of this: talk to someone about what they know best. Not what you know best.

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    3. And just what are you credentials so that we should listen to you? If you are nothing more than a scholar in journalism and debate, by your own logic I ask you to stop posting to this post.

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  16. I'm on the fence about leaving EPJ because of this type of nonsense, and I'm not even a big Moleneux fan. I've just heard him host the Peter Schiff Show a few times. Its not a contest of who's the best libertarian, Wenzel. Get over your insecurities.

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    1. I think you should leave EPJ. Yes, defoo yourself from EPJ. Listen only to Molyneux,

      Delete
  17. It should be noted that Wenzel's critics are not rushing to defend Molyneux's erroneous statements, but rather charging that Wenzel is "nitpicking", when Wenzel is calling Molyneux on them.

    That's a very tough place from which to defend Molyneux, that, when Wenzel tries to set the record straight on the nature of profit and the type of financial crisis that may be ahead, this is called "nitpicking". Good luck with trying to survive in that fox hole.

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  18. First, I'm not a Stefan follower. I don't find his arguments on religion to be persuasive.

    Second, Stefan started this out by saying that 90% of disagreements are because of definitions. Your profit debate is one of these instances. 99% of people who talk about corporate profits are talking about a number on an income statement, which can obviously be averaged for some set of companies. That's all Stefan was talking about. You seem to want to come up with a different definition of profit and then criticize other people's statements based on your own definitions of words.

    Third, Stefan didn't go off on a religion rant. You circled back to an insignificant not-anti-religious side-comment he made and asked him about it and then probed the subject! While talking about economics he said that he appreciates the protestant principle of thrift, and then way later you come back and ask him about his religious upbringing, if he's agnostic, why he became atheist, etc. If you didn't want to talk about it you shouldn't have asked him so many questions about it!

    Fourth, he wasn't arguing that religion was false because Christians were on both sides in WWII. He was saying that as a young man that's what got him thinking about it. He was describing his personal development, not an argument.

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    1. Yes, you are absolutely correct. We should be discussing accounting definitions at an economic site, and not economic definitions.

      You are so correct that I think you should defoo yourself immediately from Wenzel's site and spend your time with Molyneux, where profit can be averaged, where a Japanese style lost decade of deflation can also be simultaneously a hyper-inflation. Where family is always bad, except when he is asked directly about it.

      Yes, go there quickly, Go.

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    2. Nelson Rockefeller would be proud of you. We should purge the "extremists"! Death to molyneux! Lets start a new world order of nothing but the pure libertarian race!

      Because if someone disagrees with you, you must shun them comrade.

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    3. I have a better idea. Instead, people should make an effort to use the same definitions when talking to each other -- for instance, by either adopting the other's definition, or asking the other to adopt one's own and restate a previously described argument in terms of that definition. To just take someone's words using definition A of a term as being applicable to definition B, even when doing so completely changes the meaning of the entire argument, is pure fallacy.

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  19. Okay. Molyneux is not an austrian economics expert. We didn't need this interview to know that. I know Wenzel is an expert and a pretty good one at that (I pay for EPJ daily alert). But do you see radical communists debating mild socialists all the time to prove who is more radical? instead, the more radical ones understand that there is a role to be played by everyone (even the less effective ones are completely capable of advancing the ideas of liberty and austrian economics by doing what they do best). Division of labor anyone? Ricardo's law ring a bell? Didn't Mises talk about it in the first part of human action? Why do we need purists purging the less capable? Shouldn't we, instead be exchanging ideas and resources so that everyone gets to their best level? Not many people here want to become professional economists like murphy or wenzel. But we love austrian economics, try to spread it's ideas, libertarianism and it's virtues. It seems Doug casey said if best. Libertarians are great at theory. But they will not get anywhere because they don't have any practical skills that are needed to build a movement or a business (most of them anyway). Even if you disagree with my analysis, just see how many people here reacted adversely not to the veracity of wenzel's arguments but to his enmity towards someone who agrees with 90% of what we all believe. Atleast treat him as a useful ally. If you want to build a movement or a business, the moment you start thinking your consumer's opinions are worthless are when you start your descent.

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  20. I liked the interview, but hit a bit too many side issues along the way. I especially liked Wenzel's setting the record straight on profits versus interest . . . or almost straight.

    Wenzel was right to say that profits are transient, impermanent, and unpredictable, and that this is because of entrepreneurs recognizing and acting upon opportunities to better adjust the structure of prices and production to consumer preferences. These profits are separate from interest, which is the earnings attributable to the degree of time-preference exhibited by the entrepreneur in question. One can see, then, that profits (or losses) and interest are both the manifested results of the operation of two different functions embodied in one person (or a group of persons) . . . these are the capitalistic (which generates the earning of interest through a lower time-preference) and the entrepreneurial (which generates profits and losses through recognition of and action upon perceived opportunities) functions.

    However, Wenzel said that interest is a return on capital. According to Austrian theory, this is bunk. Interest is solely derived from time-preference, viz., the fact that, ceteris paribus, a man prefers a present good to a future good (though I do have some further reading to do on this subject, as I believe Robert Murphy doesn't support a pure time preference-based theory of interest). It is NOT a return on capital. To see my point, consider a farmer who buys a tractor . . . he buys it at a price that is less than what he can sell the harvest of his fields for in the future. The difference between the two is interest. Mainstream economists therefore conclude that interest must be a return on capital, since capital makes the productivity of the farmer's labor and land go up. But think about it. The farmer pays the initial acquisition price for the tractor BECAUSE it's more productive, so this cannot account for the phenomenon of interest. The question then becomes, why is the price of the tractor less than the prices at which the farmer can sell his output? As noted above, this is because of interest, which is derived from time-preference.

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    1. I think you are misunderstanding Wenzel's use of the term "return on capital". It seems to mean he is using it to mean the interest rate.

      Rothbard uses it to mean this here (Or he is reporting that Say is using it thus way, without objection):

      "Part of the profits accruing to the capitalist-entrepreneur will be the standard return on capital. But apart from that, Say declared, there will be a return to the 'peculiar character' of the entrepreneur."

      And it can also be found used in this sense in the Mises Review:

      "Knight famously argued that profit depends on uncertainty: the entrepreneur cannot calculate in advance the chances his investment will be successful. By "profit" he of course meant a return that exceeds the rate of return on capital, i.e., the rate of interest."

      That capital earns a return can not be disputed, you seem to want to remove this return from being called "interest". Yet that seems to be the way Wenzel, Say, Rothbard and Knight are using the term.,

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    2. https://mises.org/daily/1263/Why-Do-Capitalists-Earn-Interest-Income

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    3. What does this link have anything to do with the discussion? There is no mention, as in zero, of "return on capital"---in the article. I repeat he Knightian sense of the term "return on capital" is the interest rate.

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    4. The naive productivity theory, to which the article devotes considerable space, is the theory that equivocates the interest rate with "return on capital." Also, yes, the Knightian interest rate is the "return on capital," but this is not the Austrian view. The Austrian and Knightian views differ with regard to the cause of interest. Knightians view interest as derived from the productivity of capital, hence they call it a "return on capital." Austrians, on the other hand, view interest as derived from time-preference.

      Here is Mises, in Human Action, in support of my postion:

      "The fundamental fallacy implied in all the productivity and use approaches to the problem of interest was that they traced back the phenomenon of interest to these productive services rendered by the factors of production. However, the serviceableness of the factors of production determines the prices paid for them, not interest. These prices exhaust the whole difference between the productivity of a process aided by a definite factor's cooperation and that of a process lacking this cooperation. The difference between the sum of the prices of the complementary factors of production and the products which emerges even in the absence of changes in the market data concerned, is an outcome of the higher valuation of present goods as compared with future goods. As production goes on, the factors of production are transformed or ripen into present goods of a higher value. This increment is the source of specific proceeds flowing into the hands of the owners of the factors of production, of originary interest.

      The owners of the material factors of production--as distinct from the pure entrepreneurs of the imaginary construction of an integration of catallactic functions--harvest two catallactically different items: the prices paid for the productive cooperation of the factors they control on the one hand and interest on the other hand. These [p. 526] two things must not be confused. It is not permissible to refer, in the explanation of interest, to the services rendered by the factors of production in the turning out of products."

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    5. JL your argument is completely bizarre. You continue to quote sources that aren't even using the phrase "return on capital".

      You continue to force the issue that I (and Wenzel) are talking about some type of productivity return on capital, when we have said no such thing.

      Finally, the only one who has actually quoted others using the term "return on capital" is me and I show, Knight Rothbard and JB Say using the term in the manner Wenzel does.

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    6. The phrase "return on capital" when talking about interest is bizarre if you adhere to the Austrian view of the theory of interest. Interest is not a return to capital. Interest is a return to the sacrifice of present want-satisfaction over future want-satisfaction. The phrase "return on capital" implies that interest is a specific return to capital . . . this is simply NOT the case. Interest is not attributable in ANY way to capital.

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    7. Do you have a certificate of deposit? What is the return on that? Or are you going to play some word game and claim you receive no return on your CD?

      If you are not happy with the sense that Wenzel, Rothbard, Say and the Mises Review use the phrase "return on capital" to mean the interest rate.

      Here's Salerno, Turgot and Wicksell using the phrase to mean interest rate:

      Furthermore, as Turgot continually reiterates, in calculating the prospective profitability of a
      given enterprise, all entrepreneurs count as costs, in addition to their money expenditures on the
      factors of production, the foregone money revenue based on the rate of return on capital investment,
      or, in Wicksellian terminology, "the natural rate of interest" which can be earned in alternative branches
      of production. Turgot recognizes, moreover, that, in the long run, the natural rate of interest on
      investment in various processes of production and the rate of interest on loans "preserve a kind of
      equilibrium."

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    8. A certificate of deposit is a CREDIT instrument, viz., it is the vehicle by which savers can relinquish control over a specific quantity of present goods in exchange for a larger quantity of future goods, the difference being interest, and due to time-preference.

      Here's Rothbard, in Man, Economy, and State, explaining why interest is a return to time, not capital:

      "Each capital-goods factor must be produced and must continue to be produced in the ERE [evenly rotating economy]. Since this is so, we see that the cap­ital-goods factor, though obtaining its DMVP [discounted marginal value product], does not earn it net, for its owner, in turn, must pay money to the factors that produce it. Ultimately, only land, labor, and time factors earn net incomes."

      To be sure, capital investment provides a mechanism by which a person can earn interest, but this is only because production requires the COMBINATION of various factors of production to yield output. Hence, land, labor, capital, and time must be combined to produce. Since the factors of production that produced the capital goods in the first place are paid the full value of their product minus that part accruing to the time elapsed during the interval between production and consumption, it is not the source of interest, as has been indicated in my preceding comments.

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  21. I enjoyed the interview. I had never heard Stefan Molyneux before, and I thought he came across very well. He took the heat, didn't back down, was gracious about it all, and didn't take it too personally. I did feel that Wenzel could have handled his valid criticisms with more tact, considering the respectfulness of the guest and his willingness to debate. Unlike the jackass (Robert Shapiro) last week who hung up as soon as he couldn't take the heat, Stefan seemed to revel in the lively debate. I thought that Wenzel made amends at the end when he thanked Stefan for handling tough questions, etc. I suspect that most guests would shy away from coming on the show because they don't want their heads bitten off, but I really must give props to Molyneux for taking it like a champ. He does seem genuinely interested in getting to the truth, and that is a wonderful attitude to have. I like RWs interview style of calling people out, but in this case, because Stefan Molyneux seems like a "friendly", he may have been able to sort out the confusion with a less abrasive style. Good stuff, keep 'em comin'!

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  22. I fear it is time the "C" word, as in "cult", must be brought up with regard to Molyneux's followers.

    First, we have all this talk about defooing. Then, I am completely astounded as to those who leap to the defense of Molyneux here, but fail to do so on the grounds that Wenzel was incorrect in any of the points he makes about Moyneux arguments. I believe this is so because Wenzel is correct in the points he makes. Dismissing Wenzel's points as "nitpicking" when what was being discussed was some of the most important economic topics of this generation, is downright right scary. It is a further sign of cult like behavior. Yes, yes, protect Molyneux even as he is shown to be wrong on matters small and large. This is all indication of cult actions to me.

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    1. "First, we have all this talk about defooing."

      Yes, we have all this talk about "defooing".
      So what? Is there an argument coming that proves how it is logically, factually or morally wrong?
      Or is merely the mentioning of the word supposed to be some kind of self-evident 'counter-argument'?


      "Then, I am completely astounded as to those who leap to the defense of Molyneux here, but fail to do so on the grounds that Wenzel was incorrect in any of the points he makes about Moyneux arguments."

      Millions of people are 'wrong' about economics. He chose a voluntarist to burn down. People question what is behind that.


      "I believe this is so because Wenzel is correct in the points he makes."

      Wrong.
      The veracity of Wenzel's points is simply not the issue.
      He could opt to invite a 1.000 libertarians who aren't experts on economics and proceed to destroy them, and he'd be factually correct. The question is why he would do that if he supports the libertarian ideal and the growth of the libertarian movement. THAT is the issue.


      "Yes, yes, protect Molyneux even as he is shown to be wrong on matters small and large. This is all indication of cult actions to me."

      Ad hominem.
      You have no clue if people who find problems with Wenzel's approach have no criticisms of Molyneux of their own.
      I personally do have a number of them (for one, his overly antagonistic approach to religious people), but prefer not to shout them from the rooftops as it serves no one but the statists who want to take more of my freedoms away.

      I have no doubt that roughly the same people here who criticize Wenzel, would criticize Molyneux if it was Molyneux using this approach toward Wenzel.
      It is not "cult action" to defend Molyneux. But a complaint against a counter-productive form of in-fighting between two legit libertarians.

      Here is some speculation of my own:
      If i didn't know any better, i'd say Wenzel is acting like Walter Block's personal hitman. Ever since Block mentioned Molyneux's name, Wenzel has been 'gunning' for Molyneux.
      At least unlike Block, Wenzel knows what the hell he is talking about.

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    2. "The veracity of Wenzel's points is simply not the issue.
      He could opt to invite a 1.000 libertarians who aren't experts on economics and proceed to destroy them, and he'd be factually correct. The question is why he would do that if he supports the libertarian ideal and the growth of the libertarian movement. THAT is the issue."

      If Wenzel is factually correct then I hope he does go out and destroy their incorrect ideas. I would hope that all libertarians are searching for the truth and want to know when they are mistaken.

      You seem so terrified for people to know that libertarians don't agree on everything. You say,

      "I personally do have a number of them (for one, his overly antagonistic approach to religious people), but prefer not to shout them from the rooftops as it serves no one but the statists who want to take more of my freedoms away."

      How does Wenzel and Molyneux not agreeing on some issues and arguing about it help the statists? By your logic, you shouldn't be saying negative things about Wenzel in these comments because it only helps the statists.

      It's perfectly fine if you don't like Wenzel's interview style. There are plenty of different libertarian voices to listen to. But please stop acting like calling out people you disagree with, even other libertarians, is somehow destructive to the movement. Or if you feel you must constantly say this then at least back up the accusation with some facts instead of just asserting it as if it is a fact.

      I actually would like to see more of these type of interviews. I think there would be a big market for a show that had big weights in the libertarian movement arguing with each other about differences in their views. Since no other school of thought likes to debate us we might as well debate ourselves. Debates force us to improve our arguments or change our opinion. Plus, they are very entertaining. It would've been amazing if Rothbard and Hayek had debated each other and put it on tape so we could all listen to it today. I hope Wenzel ignores you, which I think he will, and continues to have shows like these. We need more debates to listen to so we can improve our knowledge of the issues and improve the way we present our ideas to others.

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  23. I think it should be obvious at this point that Wenzel is a non-conformist who doesn't like it when other people join his "exclusive" club of libertarianism. He's not interested in promoting and expanding the movement, only in alienating those who he thinks don't belong.

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  24. When did an honest, lively debate turn into "infighting"? Bunch of collectivists.

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    1. Apparently you don't know the difference between collectivism, and trying to get like-minded people to voluntarily work together for a common goal rather than getting in a bitch-fight that serves no one but statists.

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  25. I don't think Wenzel is open enough to take all this in, and is intimidated, evidenced by his attack on Stefan's communicatiins style as being "all there is to it", irrelevant to the logic and content. You have to put it in the context of a stateless scenario, and realize how destructive governments weilding force, a complelty different paradigm. His review (above) seems childish and closed minded.

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  26. Harold in MarylandJuly 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    I think Wenzel is knit-picking for much of this interview. Wenzel AND Molyneux are both assets to the liberty movement. Libertarians need to improve at building coalitions, rather than tearing them down.

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  27. Robert's definition of profit is not the generally used definition. He is referring to the very technical term as used by Mises which defines profit as subjective and only determined by the individual. He thinks it is really important that Stefan refer to the 3-5% number as interest rather than profit. Stefan is using the normal use of the word which is tied to the monetary calculation of revenues over expenses. Both are correct as long as the context is understood.

    Essentially this is much ado about nothing. I would criticize Robert for unfairly expecting a philosopher to use the economic jargon.

    Japan debt seems to climb steeply while the monetary base dropped sharply and then remains steady. Robert fails to recognize this fact. When debt is increasing, the government is spending it. That is the malinvestment which must be eventually be corrected.

    It would have been nice if either of these guys recognized what the real argument was about during the majority of this show which was around definitions NOT anything of substance. If you don't like someone's use of a word, then use plain language and say so. Don't dance around it for an hour.

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    1. Molyneaux said near the beginning of the interview that his economic influences were Mises and the Austrians. And, contrary to your assertion, the issue of profit/interest is an issue of substance and one that is very important. It facilitates understanding of the source, or cause, of interest (time-preference) as distint from that of the source, or cause, of profits (foresight and seizing of opportunities heretofore unseen by others). It is crucial to the understanding of economics and the free market.

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    2. On top of what Jeffrey said, which I agree completely with, you are also missing the importance of the differences expressed over Japan.

      "Japan debt seems to climb steeply while the monetary base dropped sharply and then remains steady. Robert fails to recognize this fact. When debt is increasing, the government is spending it. That is the malinvestment which must be eventually be corrected."

      Robert Wenzel knows full well that the debt climbed steeply in Japan. But if we are going to use ABCT to talk about Japan it has to be centered over what the central bank is doing. Government spending does not cause the business cycle. It can cause disruptions to industries they are intervening in but you won't see systematic malinvestments like you will when you have major central bank money printing going on. This is the distinction that needs to be made if you want to compare Japan and the US.

      Japan has distorted their markets through government intervention and caused stagnation but their central bank has remained less involved. The BOJ may end up becoming more interventionist as the governments meddling continues to weaken their economy and they struggle to finance their enormous debt, but they haven't gone wild like the Fed thus far.

      The US, on the other hand, has seen enormous expansions of both government and central bank interventions. The Fed has tripled the monetary base and been much more inflationist than the BOJ. They have set up a situation where if they don't continue to expand the money supply at greater and greater levels then we will eventually have an enormous crash of the economy. But if they keep printing at greater and greater levels then we will have run away inflation. The only sensible solution would be to repudiate the governments debt, repeal legal tender laws, end minimum wage laws, end unemployment insurance, repeal the income tax, end the wars, end the TSA, etc. etc. which would mitigate the pain that the Fed and government have forced on us. Of course, they will never go for that solution.

      It is important for people to understand why the US and Japan situations are different so that they don't come under the belief that we can continue down the same path for decades like Japan has been able to do.

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  28. I think this interview is fantastic with good points on both ends. We have stuff on

    -Risk transfer, extractionism, crony capitalism -> malinvestment
    -Japan vs US comparison of economies
    -Definition of profit
    -Stock market
    -Central banks

    I think Wenzel is really good in this as he puts Molyneux on the spot in numerous cases to clarify his views completely.

    With regards to Wenzel as a host, I feel like he can be theatric. If someone's missing the grand point, simply point that out and put them on the spot. I want meat in these shows, not fluff.

    The only topic that I didn't see resolved nicely was the discussion on profit. Until I read Wenzel's post-commentary, I had no idea what EITHER of the speakers were talking about.

    I don't see why in-fighting is necessary here. This interview was very enlightening. Both Wenzel and Molyneux were awesome. If I have to take a stand, I do think Wenzel was right in raising the alarms for Molyneux to explain himself. In all topics besides corporate profits, I think the issues were resolved.

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  29. Stefan: "as a philosopher I try to work from first principles..so respect for property rights is foundational, the nonagression principle...and these of course have an effect on economics...that goes in line with the Austrian school which views violations of property rights fairly bad."

    Brilliant interpretation: "Among the erroneous points Molyneux made, which I did not raise, but I feel obligated to point out here, Molyneux states that the Austrian School of Economics is in favor of property rights. This is technically an error. ASE is a science and thus value free. Thus, ASE, as a science, is not in favor of anything. It can explain why a society that respects property rights will likely have a higher standard of living, but it does not pronounce that this should be such a goal. It is beyond the realm of economic science proper. For someone who touts himself to be a philosopher, I find this error baffling." (not)

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  30. Robert was obviously trying to put Stefan's views in as bad a light as possible (e.g. being anti-family, being anti-stock market). It's sad that one of the more enjoyable economic writers was desperately trying to make his capable guest look stupid, throwing in the regression theorem out of nowhere for God's sakes. It must have been disappointing for Robert to hear Stefan arrive at the conventional definition of 'malinvestment' after his having defined it in a weird 'moral' sense.

    As for comparing the US' problem with Japan, the difference is degree of credit expansion in relation to savings, but ABCT is applicable to either situation.

    And was there really a need to discuss the difference between interest and entrepreneurial returns? Stefan just said "profit" without specifying the temporal or entrepreneurial aspects.

    I think Robert and Stefan have cool sites, but this attempt to discredit Stefan, as begun by David Gordon, is just pathetic. And Robert knows in his heart he came out the loser in the podcast, hence his lengthy explanations above.

    It wasn't that long ago that Robert pointed out how Krugman continued bashing Ron Paul after their debate in which he had lost. This isn't too different.

    I hope he didn't do the same thing with the Spanish beauty!

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    Replies
    1. Well, this is easy. You pretty much misunderstood the entire interview, start to finish.

      Your defooing is not complete, please return to the Molyneux defooing podcast room.

      Delete
    2. "Your defooing is not complete, please return to the Molyneux defooing podcast room."

      Where is your argument?

      This is not different than saying to a woman who was abused by her husband:

      "Your divorce is not complete, please return to the divorcing podcast room"

      Stef is not the first one or the only one to talking about defooing. Nearly every competent therapist advocates for getting rid of toxic parents out of your life if you want to be happy.

      Peaceful parenting is the ultimate revolution.

      Delete
    3. That's really strange. It seems Molyneux disagrees in a particularly interesting blog post by him.

      He starts talking about psychology by mentioning that the Jews screwed it up and apparently would think that a compliant Nazi was alright:

      "The answer is, in my view, because mental health has always been defined in social terms – a combination of sustained relationships and productive work. In other words, a popular Auschwitz guard with a long marriage is the very definition of mental health. Moral considerations do not form the basis of mental heath – a compliant Nazi is considered more ‘healthy’ than an outcast one. This form of ‘social ethics’ is largely due to the Jewish influence over psychology. It would be hard for a Jew to say that individual morality is more important than social acceptance, since to be ‘Jewish’ is to automatically place the authority of the group over the conscience of the individual – just as Christians, socialists, Muslims and soldiers do."

      Which is, by the way, quite an indictment of the Catholics over at the Mises Institute. Since Molyneux proclaims himself to be something of an empiricist and he's talking about what they supposedly do, apparently they're nonexistent hypocrites or something. Then he says:

      "This problem of ‘social approval’ is a cancer right at the root of modern psychology. ‘Solitariness’ is always considered sick. Therapists generally consider that a patient who is terminating a multitude of long-term relationships is acting in an impulsive and self-destructive manner. In particular, breaking off relationships with family members is considered only a last resort, usually reserved for physically abusive parents or spouses. Everything else is supposed to be ‘worked out."

      Strange that he would think the opposite of what you do when his wife is a psychologist. Is your evidence about psychologists better than his?

      Delete
  31. Finally got around to listening to this podcast... I agree that it was very hard to listen to. Wenzel appeared to just be trying to argue precise (and in some cases obscure) definitions, while at the same time missing the greater point Stefan was attempting to make.

    For example, Molyneux made the point that by the government driving more money into the stock market (through inflation, tax-free 401(k) accounts, etc.) it causes distortions in the market, while Wenzel was saying this was not true. However, when you consider the fact that (as mentioned in the Peter Schiff interview) the government regulators only deem certain investments to be "safe" and acceptable, the additional money in the stock market IS actually being directed towards things the government wants! (I recall my 401(k) in 2007 being loaded up with domestic and foreign real-estate investments, before it proceeded to lose half its value!)

    Also, Wenzel tries to use Mises' definitions to point to Molyneux being wrong in certain cases, but then defines economic "intervention" as only being done by the central bank. This is also false. Mises wrote a whole book called Interventionism that was not just about central bank actions, but government as well.

    Someone should interview Wenzel and nitpick everything he said during this interview.

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  32. Huge fan of EPJ and include in my daily readings including also lewrockwell.com, etc. and had never heard of Molyneux.

    My take it also that Wenzel was nitpicking on items that were quite frankly boring. It's fine to argue, but it would have been sufficient to point out the Misesean definition correctly and they asked to move on. I would have like to hear more about his experiences with building the liberty movement.

    Also the site really should have a podcast link permanently on the home page.

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  33. So, Saturday we're listening to Freedomain Radio podcasts on the way to the zoo, my daughter who is six enjoys listening she asks for us to air play (select) FDR casts to her room at bedtime. We've learned first hand that kids, because they are so incredibly free intellectually pristine, just get things that some/many adults can't "see" without a mental hull scraping. This has been the case anyway with our family and friends.

    Sofia's comment, "I think Robert Wenzel is very rude" Six years old. We all had a wonderful and productive conversation orbiting around this Wenzel/Molyneux exchange.

    This interview is the reason why I'm on this board right now.

    I don't think I'm saying anything new. I was kind of shell shocked after that exchange; the familiar, predictable, courageous, witty, and insightful Wenzel road I'd been traveling on for quite a while now just made a blind dog-leg turn into a dung bog. My feeling is Wenzel has no idea how unprofessional and frankly in my opinion, rather incoherent he came off. It seemed to me Wenzel was packing this huge agenda whose wheels started coming off rather early in the exchange and instead of hitting another car head on Stefan skillfully kind of opened his skullcap so we could take a rather scary peak inside.

    It was also rather interesting to see the Lew Rockwell triage shortly after. Based only on his publicly available life, for me, Lew Rockwell is one of America's top 5 individuals in the so called truth movement. Rockwell is priceless to people everywhere. So, Wenzel's human capital for folks in the Rockwell league, I propose, run's broader than the EPJ production for sure. I think it's important to know the nature of that capital; capital valuable enough that Mises provides cover for such an obvious take down attempt blunder.

    Could it be Molyneux is a perceived threat to Wenzel and his Mises status, as it is? I think very likely. My god, the stupidity of fighting for yardage as the final pieces of C4 have been strapped to the stadium columns. My god Wenzel, think for a moment of the gains that might come from joining with a guy like Molyneux; the h*ll with the minutia man, it doesn't mean the thing, not a thing as long as you both understand state = democide - period.

    Molyneux is doing good. I believe he's a very good man who's working like a dog to help people one by one. You made a mistake, a big one. Make a public apology, and then see if you can create some awesome synergies together. It will happen if you try.

    This interview was pretty important to me on many levels because I experienced from Molyneux a patience, tollerance, and skill that I would very much like to be able to call on instead of some very old and not very productive habits that I would like to loose.



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    Replies
    1. I am glad you have such an insightful and knowledgeable six year old. She is hereby invited to be a guest on my show so that she can enlighten us all. Please set up the details with Robert Wenzel Show executive producer Chris Rossini.

      Delete
  34. Wenzel is by far one of the worst interviewers I have ever heard. He is rude, condescending, and constantly belittling his guests over trivial matters.

    Robert, grow the f*** up.

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  35. Replies
    1. Yes but "defooing" is certainly not the central theme to what Stefan discusses. I've heard hundreds of hours of Stefan and hadn't even heard of defoo until I saw comments from all the anti-Stefan weirdos probably guilty of abusing their own children so are now attacking Stefan.

      Delete
    2. I've been speaking English for a few decades now, and I've noticed that when people talk about what a group of people is "probably" guilty of, it's an idiom that means that the speaker doesn't have a shred of real evidence they could mention that would support such a huge claim about an entire group.

      Speaking of what Stefan considers central, he's very clear in podcast 589 (starting at 19:29):

      "And so defooing is a very core part of achieving freedom. It is the ultimate secession. It's the ultimate emancipation. For bad parents, I mean everyone knows that, right?"

      In case it's unclear which parents are bad, he clarifies in a blog post:

      "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. If you can do that, you can speak honestly about freedom.

      If you can’t, well, then you have no right to complain about the government. You can’t ask people to give up their illusions about remote political tyrannies if you can’t escape your own domestic tyrants."


      To answer the question, nearly all parents aren't just bad. They're horribly bad.

      And if you don't defoo them, you have no right to complain about the government.

      The greatest service to political liberty is what? According to Stefan, "turfing" your merely unsatisfying relationships. I wonder if horribly bad parenting that nearly everyone has supposedly experienced counts as an unsatisfying relationship. I'll leave that to you.

      Delete
    3. When I said those people railing against Stefan for his "defoo" stuff are probably guilty of child abuse themselves, well, you tell me why they would take something like that and blow it way out of proportion? What are their real motivations? Is it because they are hardcore statists and hate Stefan for tirelessly waking people up all over the world to the immorality of the state and to the concept of peaceful parenting? Or is it because they are or were tyrants in their homes and abused their children and now their kids don't want to see them? Hey, whether you thought you were doing the right thing or not, when you abuse people don't be so shocked when the day arrives that you're all alone. I have a family member that is a narcissist and all of his children have figured this out after years of abuse and totally keep their distance from him now. And yet, this family member will go to his grave defending his actions. Why? Because he is a NARCISSIST and narcissists totally lack the capacity to truly care for others! This is a very sad situation but thats what happen when you abuse your children and they finally wake up as adults and realize they no longer have to be around it.


      If an individual wants to get healthy then the motivation to "disconnect" from toxic food, drink, drugs, toxic occupations, and toxic relationships has been around waaaay before Stefan showed up. In fact, it is known as survival, so you weirdos need to get over it and look within to the real reasons you are on this campaign. Seriously, why don't you people who hate Stefan put energy into something positive like the awareness of how child abuse is at the root of all kinds of societal problems? Why not spread the concept of peaceful parenting and a free and stateless society instead of assassinating the character of a very decent man?

      Delete
  36. no one is under any obligation to listen to this dude. that it clear. but ppl do. bc it helps them. all this politics stuff, who cares? most ppl dont care, as well as they shouldnt. what is UPhuh? who cares? what they do care about is "why did i get so mad when my dad yelled at me, i just blanked and started yelling back and i dont know what i said". thats what ppl want to know, and amid this political stuff, ITS THERE! a possible reason why your family life may suck ass. it is definitely something to consider as you pursue a healthy emotional state.

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  37. "During his podcast and during the interview, he states that what could occur in the United States is the same as what occurred in Japan, where more money is printed and we could end up with "QE99", but nothing of the sort is going on in Japan."

    Japanese central bank doubles money supply
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/apr/04/japan-bank-money-supply-inflation-deflation

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  38. Japanese central bank doubles money supply
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/apr/04/japan-bank-money-supply-inflation-deflation

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