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Author Topic: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?  (Read 24816 times)

dysurian

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #60 on: December 16, 2007, 10:17 AM NHFT »

Yes, indeedy, Stef has hooked me with Freedomain Radio. I've listened to about 350 of the podcasts so far and read a good number of his articles and both of his philosophy books (On Truth: The Tyrrany of Illusion and Universally Preferable Behavior: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics). I like his arguments because they're not his arguments. He is very clear when he's working out a theory for discussion, and when he's putting forward something he considers a logical proof. When something is a logical proof, it stands on its own no matter who says it. The philosophy major inside me appreciates the logical bits enormously. If you're self-taught on philosophy, you have no idea of the confusion that can be caused by a liberal arts "education" in philosophy. The professors all taught about logic and rationality beautifully, but then we went through the history of philosophy (most of which is irrational) and never bothered to concentrate on any sort of logical conclusions. After all, as educators, they're incentivized to provide us with confusion, not conclusions.

Stefan Molyneux's philosophy is interested in real conclusions, real answers, and effective action. I hear a lot of people talking about how his philosophy is a lofty ideal, and how it's all well and good, but striving for perfection leads to inaction. I can say with certainty that this is untrue. It did take a lot of time and listening, and I feel for those who don't like Stef's rambling podcasts (I happen to enjoy it, and am fortunate to be able to listen to podcasts while I work). I'd be completely willing to put together the "short course" of what I've heard so far, or I'd suggest just skipping around. I've watched the 4-video youtube series on Ron Paul, and particularly appreciated the third one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z-fhCFkISM. It's aimed at answering questions like, "If Ron Paul won't bring me freedom, what will?"
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Lex

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #61 on: December 16, 2007, 09:10 PM NHFT »

While I disagree with Stefan on self-defense and politics I would like to point out that I really enjoyed his discussion of parenting, all three parts:

Parenting Part 1 Credibility: http://www.freedomainradioshows.com/Traffic_Jams/FDR_196_Parenting_Part_1_Credibility.mp3
Parenting Part 2 Authority: http://www.freedomainradioshows.com/Traffic_Jams/FDR_197_Parenting_Part_2_Authority.mp3
Parenting Part 3 Communication: http://www.freedomainradioshows.com/Traffic_Jams/FDR_198_Parenting_Part_3_Communication.mp3
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Eli

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #62 on: December 18, 2007, 01:42 PM NHFT »

I've listened now to 'several' podacasts, watched several vidcasts, and read several articles.  I'm impressed when he sitcks to logical proofs.  I'm not impressed when he talks about self defense.  I wasn't impressed by his overwrought strawman argument against Ron Paul.  As a podcaster I'm impressed by how prolific he is.... 900+ eps is a mighty fucking opus.  I have suggested him to others.  I think there is fodder for debate in his work, especially when he gets to means and methods.   But I think it is the self defense issue that really sticks in the craw for most folks arguing on this list.  I feel like many of the anarchist here believe in a lofty ideal of self defense but are squeamish.  Perhaps they've never had to defend themselves, or they chose not to and feel guilty (that was my impression of Stefan), but I think we might all benefit from a discussion about what self defense is, what means can be used etc. 

I know I listened to one of Stefan's podcasts, talking about self defense and his abusive mother, and how he couldn't defend himself, and then when he was older and more capable felt he shouldn't defend himself.  I think he is a little emotionally crippled there and it colors his philosophy in a way that makes it often distasteful to me.  The truth of the matter is most 10 or 12 year old boys could defend against their mothers but don't out of a sense of obligation and fear... I think, and I've never discussed it here but on the FTL board it is a riotous debate, the rights of a child come in here.  A child is also sovereign if equipped with sufficient reason to act responsibly.  Don't know where I'm going with this.

Anyway.  Have to fill my zune with something.  I look forward to hearing more of what he has to say.
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dysurian

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #63 on: December 18, 2007, 02:58 PM NHFT »

I've listened now to 'several' podacasts, watched several vidcasts, and read several articles.  I'm impressed when he sitcks to logical proofs.  I'm not impressed when he talks about self defense.  I wasn't impressed by his overwrought strawman argument against Ron Paul.  As a podcaster I'm impressed by how prolific he is.... 900+ eps is a mighty fucking opus.  I have suggested him to others.  I think there is fodder for debate in his work, especially when he gets to means and methods.   But I think it is the self defense issue that really sticks in the craw for most folks arguing on this list.  I feel like many of the anarchist here believe in a lofty ideal of self defense but are squeamish.  Perhaps they've never had to defend themselves, or they chose not to and feel guilty (that was my impression of Stefan), but I think we might all benefit from a discussion about what self defense is, what means can be used etc. 

I know I listened to one of Stefan's podcasts, talking about self defense and his abusive mother, and how he couldn't defend himself, and then when he was older and more capable felt he shouldn't defend himself.  I think he is a little emotionally crippled there and it colors his philosophy in a way that makes it often distasteful to me.  The truth of the matter is most 10 or 12 year old boys could defend against their mothers but don't out of a sense of obligation and fear... I think, and I've never discussed it here but on the FTL board it is a riotous debate, the rights of a child come in here.  A child is also sovereign if equipped with sufficient reason to act responsibly.  Don't know where I'm going with this.

Anyway.  Have to fill my zune with something.  I look forward to hearing more of what he has to say.

Stef's initial stuff on self-defense is pretty dismissive. He says it is a tiny, tiny issue for a free society. Later on (and I believe in his book "Universally Preferable Behavior") he addresses it to some extent. I haven't listened to the whole series...what are the views of self-defense with which folks are taking issue? I know he doesn't out-and-out refuse the legitimacy of self-defense, but maybe he's said some weird things about it that I just haven't heard yet?

Also, to address the child thing: He has mentioned a few times that when he was a teenager and bigger than his mom, that he told her to stop hitting him or he'd hit her back (which led to her calling the police, interestingly enough).
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Eli

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #64 on: December 18, 2007, 03:13 PM NHFT »

The podcast Lex cited in particular was the one that put me off.  He basically says "Yes self defense is valid, but no I'd never defend myself."   To me any one who wouldn't defend themselves is not someone who values themselves enough for me to value their opinion.  It also seems he doesn't really value self defense. Connotatively he seems willing to accept it 'for the sake of argument.'  He seems to be a pacifist, which, to me is a crippling and bankrupt philosophy, but having grown up with it I am extra cynical about it.
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TackleTheWorld

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2007, 03:24 PM NHFT »

Have you ever had to fend off a lethal attack, Eli?
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Eli

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2007, 04:00 PM NHFT »

I've had to fend off people with lethal intent.  A black belt allowed me to do it without serious injury to any party.


That and the timely intervention of others.
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Eli

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2007, 04:05 PM NHFT »

You can learn some interesting things in public school.
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Faber

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2007, 06:17 PM NHFT »

The podcast Lex cited in particular was the one that put me off.  He basically says "Yes self defense is valid, but no I'd never defend myself."   To me any one who wouldn't defend themselves is not someone who values themselves enough for me to value their opinion.  It also seems he doesn't really value self defense. Connotatively he seems willing to accept it 'for the sake of argument.'  He seems to be a pacifist, which, to me is a crippling and bankrupt philosophy, but having grown up with it I am extra cynical about it.

I'd agree -- if pacifism was his philosophy.  But as you've noted, it's not.  I may be incorporating things beyond that particular podcast here (including the book where he lays out his moral framework, Universally Preferable Behavior).  He thinks it is better and more efficient and wise to avoid and defuse conflicts than to fight them.  And in the philosophy, there's a lot about avoiding troublesome people, which is where most of the threats come from (I have a friend who said that that's part of what they mentioned in one of his martial arts classes, is that true?).  Just pick up a newspaper in Manchester, and most of the reports of violence are related to feuds or gangs or conflicts, rather than random violence.  But of course, as he does a better job of emphasizing in the future podcasts and book, he wouldn't hesitate to use force if that's what it would take to defend himself or his wife (which may or may not be me, if you've been following the thread ;) ).  Still, he'd rather hand over his wallet than use force to protect himself, as a matter of personal preference.

I share your cynicism about totally pacifistic philosophies, too.  I think they tend to be very self-hating at a base level, and I wouldn't subscribe to a philosophy that denied self-defense as a moral option.
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dysurian

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #69 on: December 18, 2007, 07:07 PM NHFT »

The podcast Lex cited in particular was the one that put me off.  He basically says "Yes self defense is valid, but no I'd never defend myself."   To me any one who wouldn't defend themselves is not someone who values themselves enough for me to value their opinion.  It also seems he doesn't really value self defense. Connotatively he seems willing to accept it 'for the sake of argument.'  He seems to be a pacifist, which, to me is a crippling and bankrupt philosophy, but having grown up with it I am extra cynical about it.

I'd agree -- if pacifism was his philosophy.  But as you've noted, it's not.  I may be incorporating things beyond that particular podcast here (including the book where he lays out his moral framework, Universally Preferable Behavior).  He thinks it is better and more efficient and wise to avoid and defuse conflicts than to fight them.  And in the philosophy, there's a lot about avoiding troublesome people, which is where most of the threats come from (I have a friend who said that that's part of what they mentioned in one of his martial arts classes, is that true?).  Just pick up a newspaper in Manchester, and most of the reports of violence are related to feuds or gangs or conflicts, rather than random violence.  But of course, as he does a better job of emphasizing in the future podcasts and book, he wouldn't hesitate to use force if that's what it would take to defend himself or his wife (which may or may not be me, if you've been following the thread ;) ).  Still, he'd rather hand over his wallet than use force to protect himself, as a matter of personal preference.

I share your cynicism about totally pacifistic philosophies, too.  I think they tend to be very self-hating at a base level, and I wouldn't subscribe to a philosophy that denied self-defense as a moral option.

I'm glad someone else can verify my understanding of his ethics book, and can verify that more recent podcasts are clearer on self-defense. I wasn't particularly concerned about him basically not addressing it for the most part, because it logically follows from his ethical theory of UPB that forceful self-defense is not morally wrong. I agree, advocating pure pacifism for everyone is a scary scary thing.
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Eli

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #70 on: December 19, 2007, 09:02 AM NHFT »

I'm glad to know that Stefan's commentary on self defense becomes less distasteful.  Like I said I look forward to listening to more and have only listened to several.   It's just listening, especially to the traffic jam one, I got the creepy sensation that the next step in his moral philosophy was gonna be pacifism, like the oh so many times I saw this rhetorical switch and bait at church.  Made me uncomfortable in his tones and connotations, rather than in the substance of his argument.
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Eli

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #71 on: December 19, 2007, 09:04 AM NHFT »

I've been thinking about picking up UPB but 30 bucks is a pretty high price point.  Lulu is a real boondoggle.
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Faber

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #72 on: December 19, 2007, 09:27 AM NHFT »

I think UPB is $22, and his novel (an absolute tome, The God of Atheists) is upwards of $30.  But maybe when you factor in shipping, it ends up closer to $30 for UPB.  I downloaded the PDF for $15 or so (and no shipping) and read it off the computer; it's 200 pages, but it goes a lot quicker than most of the stuff I end up reading.  I hear he's got it in audiobook format as well, but I hear his voice in my head enough as it is.
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Eli

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #73 on: December 19, 2007, 10:17 AM NHFT »

Yeah.   I buy a lot of books in PDF format.  I think 15 buck would be the most I've ever paid.  Thats the full cost of a market trade size paperback in a book store.  I'm sure I'll break down eventually but sheesh.
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Eli

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Re: Has Stefan Molyneux hooked you?
« Reply #74 on: December 19, 2007, 10:24 AM NHFT »

I certainly agree about the value of avoiding conflict when you can.  In fact in my dojo we were told to give up our wallets rather than fighting a mugger.  But we don't live in a world of chosen voluntary associations.  We live in a world were we are thrust together with people by our employers, the government and mall planners (I've been threatened with violence in situations from all three of those sources).  WE do not (at least here in Baltimore) live in a world were one can expect to never be threatened with violence.  Just recently my wife and I were harrassed in the parkinglot of the local theatre.  By somone I literally had to hold off while my wife got into the car.  When I listen to Stefan it is like he lives in a whole different world.  Well he does live in canada?
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