Author Topic: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?  (Read 17817 times)

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QuestEon

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Is Stefan Molyneux's Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?

After a tragedy, some serious questions.

Read the article here.


« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 05:33:39 PM by QuestEon »
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Hajnal

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2012, 06:48:53 PM »
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Wow! I love this article. I am shaking :o

First of all, thank you for taking the time to write it and for treating the content with such care, as is necessary with a thing like this. I think you did well.

Quote
Pop psychologist and recovery-movement darling John Bradshaw (from whom Molyneux appears to have “borrowed” many of his own psychology theories) advocates creating a “Family of Choice” to fill that need. Molyneux has never seriously counseled his followers on creating such a system. Perhaps that is because Molyneux himself appears to be perfectly content with only a wife, child, and the admiration of his followers. Perhaps it is because he realizes that any overt attempt to evolve the Freedomain Radio “community” into a Family of Choice for its members will tend to confirm the cult accusations that already surround it. Or perhaps Molyneux is like the progenitors of the many single-parent families straining the US welfare system—happy to “father” his new defooers but not willing to take responsibility!

Yes, as far as I can/could tell it seems there's not enough unity in FDR for people to find a real safe haven there. There's no guaranteed replacement family waiting.

This lack of a new Family of Choice has been an original problem of mine back in the times of being really into FDR. There is a good chance that, had I successfully found a new stable FOC, I would have stayed forever, whether the ideas are truly rational or not. It might have fulfilled many needs. Just speculation... It might have created a very sustainable cult! :P

But...there would have to be a sort of forgiveness-policy in place between those of the FOC (like there is in many religions!) because too much intolerance/holding grudges would make it impossible to create sustainable bonds. However, such a tendency towards forgiveness of one's own chosen "kin" would be inconsistent with the way, for example, parents are treated...so that would require some real mental gymnastics right there, not that it is impossible to rationalize...

Without a utopia to become part of, many true believers probably become quite disappointed, as I have...and disappear like many others.

I guess that seems like a weird idea...hope I made sense.

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Another possibility to keep in mind about "Sam" is that FDR considers soldiers "killbots" and "murderers" (and for anyone remotely associated with the military, the guilt by association applies). To be part of the military is unforgivable. The first thing on my mind was, maybe Sam killed himself because he became convinced that as a soldier he was irrevocably evil -- too lost to be saved -- and the only solution would be to kill himself. Of course, without a view into his mind it is impossible to tell, so that is more speculation for you. But during my time in FDR, I have thought of soldiers and some parents this way. People who have made the worst mistakes ever, unable to be saved from their corruption.

--------------------------

Quote
Is it possible for someone to become completely enrolled in the philosophy of the community, to absorb its podcasts, defoo everyone, and yet still be so isolated that no one is aware when a tragedy such as this occurs?

Yes, I think it might be. With the transient nature of the forums and the distance of the Internet, a member can easily distance his/herself from the community and it would be seen as merely: "that person disappeared" just like many others, or simply moved on to live happily ever after. But unless someone really finds out...what actually happens can remain a mystery. Therefore, there are people we may have never seen or heard of, and we have almost no idea how FDR has affected them, and what has happened to their lives as a result.

Quote
Or—my darker thought—is the entire incident being kept off the forum simply because it might be bad for business?

And yes, well, it might be more like: FDR has no incentive to look into it.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 07:17:02 PM by Black Swan »

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 07:27:00 PM »
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Such an excellent article! Seriously, one of my favourites of yours :)

I saw one little error with it though.

Quote
At FDR, separation from both parents is actually an impersonal solution recommended to all (see this article as well) even if you claim “but my parents were nice,” the separation is often achieved by “fogging” or even lying to the family

Firstly, "fogging" is always something they are victims of. They see fogging as a defence mechanism of the narcissist. The second part you may be right about, but I wasn't sure what you were referring to when you said "lying to the family", as the general idea is that you're honest with your parents, and then you leave them once you realise that they will not change from their evil ways in favour of your shiny (bald) new world-view.

Am thinking though that lying in order to escape the family would be a justifiable approach though, considering they're dangerous evil-doers who may well need to be manipulated to be escaped from.
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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 07:51:39 PM »
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I just wanted to add that when I first heard this story, I immediately thought of how I would have interpreted this event if I was still part of the community.

There is an idea that I had heard a fair bit in FDR. It was the idea (like Black Swan said) that one can get to a place where they have simply done too much evil. This was known as having done something for which no restitution could be made. Based on this logic, if a soldier had killed somebody at war, then he had essentially murdered his own soul.

So, when I heard this, I could imagine the very same thought go through Stef's head. The idea that this man was essentially beyond saving. Even more so, that he was already dead.

For this reason, and to make everything and anything fit with their world-view, I can imagine that they would have seen this death as an inevitable cost of engaging in war.

What I would ask my past self now though is this, 'if his soul were dead, what drove him to kill himself? Did he not still strive for happiness?'

A deranged response I hear back, 'it was a last act of his dying true self. A final act to show others the cost of committing irrevocable evil.'
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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2012, 05:59:35 AM »
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First of all, thank you for taking the time to write it and for treating the content with such care, as is necessary with a thing like this. I think you did well.


My sentiments exactly.

QuestEon

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2012, 04:43:53 PM »
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First of all, thank you for taking the time to write it and for treating the content with such care, as is necessary with a thing like this. I think you did well.


My sentiments exactly.

Thank you for that! It was my #1 concern.
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QuestEon

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 05:11:06 PM »
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Such an excellent article! Seriously, one of my favourites of yours :)

I saw one little error with it though.

Quote
At FDR, separation from both parents is actually an impersonal solution recommended to all (see this article as well) even if you claim “but my parents were nice,” the separation is often achieved by “fogging” or even lying to the family

Firstly, "fogging" is always something they are victims of. They see fogging as a defence mechanism of the narcissist. The second part you may be right about, but I wasn't sure what you were referring to when you said "lying to the family", as the general idea is that you're honest with your parents, and then you leave them once you realise that they will not change from their evil ways in favour of your shiny (bald) new world-view.

Am thinking though that lying in order to escape the family would be a justifiable approach though, considering they're dangerous evil-doers who may well need to be manipulated to be escaped from.

Thank you for the kind words!

The article was hard to write because I wanted a concise overview of the dangerous problems with Molyneux's family psychology (and there are so many problems that it's hard to do!). So I wound up covering the before, during, and after problems of defooing in a single sentence. I could do an article on each of those stages.

So, I think what you're encountering here can be better described as writing clumsiness on my part than errors. Which I guess is just as bad, now that I think of it.

Some notes...

I think Molyneux just likes the word "fogging." Yes, you are absolutely correct that he uses it to describe what parents will do when you have "the talk" (i.e., the RTR talk in which they are supposed to confess to a whole list of abuses and then immediately convert to an anarchocapitalist world-view guided by UPB secular ethics or, failing that, be written off as wholly evil.)

However, he has also guided his followers on how to "fog" the parents back when telling them they are moving out. Or, if fogging doesn't work, just lie. There is one podcast that amuses me. Even though Molyneux says he doesn't actually tell people to defoo and they should get therapy beforehand, he gives the woman in this podcast encouragement to defoo, suggests that her mother will actually be glad she did, and when he brings up therapy, it's only as part of a lie!

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64:04  "And there's no big drama if you do decide you don't want to see her anymore. We've got examples of this on the board. It doesn't have to be a big drama, because there'll be enough drama that she'll be happy to see the back of you for awhile, if you're honest.

You say 'I'm going to take a bit of a break, I'm going to work on my own issues, I'm going to'...give her whatever she needs--'I'm the one who's totally at fault, I'm going to go into therapy so I can better' whatever.  And that buys you a couple of months. And you can see how you feel."


------------------------

That's the only time therapy is mentioned in the entire podcast! As part of a lie he wants her to tell her mother. And you'd think it all sounds reasonable.  Just take a break, right? The truth is this lie is something the patient is telling both the mother and herself. Because Stef knows. She can go back in a few months if she feels miserable without her mother, but Stef knows that won't happen...

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65:09 "If you're like, 'I'm really sad, I miss her so much, which....is not going to happen...ha ha, right?'"

------------------------

Heck, why would she even want to see a therapist now? Stef has already worked it all out.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 10:02:59 PM by QuestEon »
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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 06:12:29 PM »
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I stand corrected! Although I've heard A LOT of podcasts, I never heard that one.. Seems all pretty uniform of course.  And is in line with his philosophy of, "only be virtuous to those who deserve it".

Thanks for your reply, QE :)
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Hajnal

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 09:10:17 PM »
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I think I remember that podcast. That would be a good one to use in an article. A real firecracker, it would be!

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2012, 06:10:33 PM »
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Speaking of podcasts, there was one (I don't remember the number) in which Stef said essentially that if some people realized what they had done, the only possible result would be suicide.

This is because, as shown in a large number of his podcasts, psychology is so utterly deterministic and, though it's a product of evolution, is NOT like every other thing produced by evolution very messy and hard to figure out because it has no designed purpose at all.

And Stef knows that simple design of human psychology which was produced by evolution: somehow, magically and against what would seem to make sense and all historical evidence, people evolved to have parts of their personality that really, really, really want to be good and moral anarchists who just happen, by nature, to agree with Stef's ideas.

If they can no longer be mostly perfectly unstained members of that group (which miraculously happens to have a lot of people at FDR, wouldn't you know?), what's the point of life?

As we know from Stef, there is no meaning of life and if you're asking what it is, you're just unhappy. Also, in the same time, place, and sense, there is a meaning of life and it's to be a morally unstained anarchist. Without that, you might as well be dead.

In a very few places, he says that the only thing that will give your life meaning after doing something so impure is working to fight against statism in all its forms. And what a relief. Stef, speaking ex cathedra, has kindly provided a solution for those listeners who couldn't have figured that out on their own and were anxiously awaiting his pronouncement of the solution to the quandary.

Hajnal

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2012, 01:38:18 PM »
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Speaking of podcasts, there was one (I don't remember the number) in which Stef said essentially that if some people realized what they had done, the only possible result would be suicide.

OH! I remember that one!

I love reading your satire -- it is well-sourced. I recognize the references. It's like Christmas lights going on in my head! xD Perhaps at some point we can provide links to the podcasts you're referring to...if we can ever be arsed of course. xP

imercury

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2012, 03:58:21 PM »
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I'm not even sure how you can equate Stefan's teachings with being responsible. Suicide is the end of a long time of crying out for help. Most people try to get help from family and friends first, a lifetime pursuit for some before the feelings of helplessness sap the will to live. In today's economy what Stefan offers is priceless and offers many techniques to deal with a life of abuse and neglect. Stefan himself recommends therapy often  to his audience. If I were to take him up on this recommendation. Then the psychiatrist prescribes a anti depressant that allows me to act on my suicidal ideation who's fault is it that I commit suicide ? 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 04:07:59 PM by imercury »

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2012, 04:48:20 PM »
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I'm not even sure how you can equate Stefan's teachings with being responsible. Suicide is the end of a long time of crying out for help. Most people try to get help from family and friends first, a lifetime pursuit for some before the feelings of helplessness sap the will to live. In today's economy what Stefan offers is priceless and offers many techniques to deal with a life of abuse and neglect. Stefan himself recommends therapy often  to his audience. If I were to take him up on this recommendation. Then the psychiatrist prescribes a anti depressant that allows me to act on my suicidal ideation who's fault is it that I commit suicide ? 
Hello imercury and welcome

I agree with you that suicide can be the end of a long time of crying out for help, and every person who that person cries out to, has a chance to save them, or to push them over the brink.

What Stefan offers is a one size fits all solution, if it works for some that's great, but it can't possibly work for everyone. The problem in my mind is his absolute certainty that he is right. That everyone had abusive childhoods whether they think so or not. That defooing is always the solution.

I have listened to podcasts in which he greatly enhances people's negative emotions tells them they were used and abused by their parents, he heightens their feelings of self pity, all very dangerous stuff imo.

QuestEon

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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2012, 01:17:02 PM »
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Hiya, imercury!  Thanks for joining!

I'm not even sure how you can equate Stefan's teachings with being responsible.

My article is only asking the question. It doesn't claim Molyneux and his wife are responsible--it only asks hard questions for those who automatically assume they aren't.

Quote from: imercury
Suicide is the end of a long time of crying out for help. Most people try to get help from family and friends first, a lifetime pursuit for some before the feelings of helplessness sap the will to live.

You probably didn't intend it this way, but it sounds like there are some very Molyneuvian implications in that sentence--i.e., someone spends a lifetime crying out within (or because of the abuse of) his/her indifferent family until he/she reaches the breaking point and ends it all.

Most people enter a suicidal phase, or give in to suicidal ideation, for a short period of time and it is often triggered by some event. They do "cry out," but often in ways that are undetected by those who are unaware of the warning signs. Many people who commit suicide don't even tell their therapists they are planning to do so.

The number 1 cause of suicide is undiagnosed mental illness, followed by drug addiction. According to one medical Web site:

"Although the reasons why people commit suicide are multifaceted and complex, life circumstances that may immediately precede someone committing suicide include the time period of at least a week after discharge from a psychiatric hospital or a sudden change in how the person appears to feel (for example, much worse or much better). Examples of possible triggers (precipitants) for suicide are real or imagined losses, like the breakup of a romantic relationship, moving, loss (especially if by suicide) of a friend, loss of freedom, or loss of other privileges."

It is entirely possible to explain "Sam's" suicide this way: A troubled young man met a charismatic guru who convinced him to reject and separate from his entire support system. Things got worse, not better, and--following several precipitating events (such as those suggested above)--he ended his life.

Those are basically the facts as we know them. We don't know how "Sam" was troubled; i.e., whether or not he was suffering from clinical depression. Still, the above scenario is entirely consistent with the profile of a suicide. The only thing we don't know for certain is the extent to which Molyneux's amateur psychology contributed to "Sam's" depression, beyond separating him from his support system (which, in itself, could be a significant contributing factor).

Clearly, the "alternative" support system offered by FDR is pretty slim stuff, considering that no FDR member to this day has expressed sadness at (or even acknowledged, for that matter) "Sam's" passing.

Quote from: imercury
In today's economy what Stefan offers is priceless and offers many techniques to deal with a life of abuse and neglect.

There is no evidence beyond Mr. Molyneux's claims that his "techniques" have any value at all. Even his own members have fully exposed the logical flaws in his books such as "Real Time Relationships--The Logic of Love."

Quote from: imercury
Stefan himself recommends therapy often  to his audience.

Yes,  but only after they have been in the FDR environment long enough to convince themselves that they have been abuse victims, through a consistent stream of books ("On Truth" and the above-mentioned RTR), podcasts, forum conversations, and skypes.)

I'm given to understand that most of the time, Molyneux's followers instinctively hold back from fully mentioning the FDR community to their therapists. Why?

I challenge anyone going into FDR-inspired therapy to take the following with them to the therapist. Start the session with this:  The one thing you’ll never hear in a therapist’s office. You may argue with the tone of what I've written but it is entirely factually correct.

By the way, the public mantra that "Molyneux suggests seeing a therapist before you defoo" began only after Barbara Weed publicly exposed the group. Before that (and still today behind the scenes) Molyneux didn't need a therapist to know that you are an abuse victim who needs to defoo. There is significant enough evidence to demonstrate that, and I have done so.

Quote from: imercury
If I were to take him up on this recommendation. Then the psychiatrist prescribes a anti depressant that allows me to act on my suicidal ideation who's fault is it that I commit suicide ?

There's a premise hidden in this question that I always pounce on these days. It is an implicit suggestion that Molyneux's claims and a psychiatrist's prescription have equal merit. They do not.

Molyneux has absolutely no recognizable expertise in mental health issues. Despite constantly referring to the scientific method, he has not conducted a single scientifically valid study to support any of his claims. If the three of us were having a conversation, I would give exactly the same weight to your opinions as I would to his. He has no more authority regarding mental health than you, me, or anyone on this (or his) forums--and in some cases considerably less. He's just a guy who went to therapy once and read a couple books. Oh, and he has a wife with barely more than a B.S. in Psychology who is apparently both the author of the anti-family (their words, not mine) stance of FDR and the owner of a family counseling clinic.

So I do say without qualification that Molyneux's theories and claims--which he delivers as if he were a learned authority--can be very dangerous. And yes--although I am not claiming that it happened in "Sam's" case--it is easy to see how they could factor into the triggering event for a suicide.

There is no way to compare that to the suicide of a patient under a psychiatrist's care. Even if the psychiatrist in question is inept, he/she is relying on clinical research. That seems to carry a bit more weight with me than the persuasive rhetoric one learns as a member of the York University debate team.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 02:28:12 PM by QuestEon »
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Re: Is Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio responsible for a suicide?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2012, 04:30:23 PM »
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I'm not even sure how you can equate Stefan's teachings with being responsible. Suicide is the end of a long time of crying out for help. Most people try to get help from family and friends first, a lifetime pursuit for some before the feelings of helplessness sap the will to live.
How do you know that (a question that Stefan advertises as a good one)? Do you have anecdotes (which can merely show that your claim might apply to some number of people, but not necessarily any sizeable proportion of people) or do you also have statistics (which are required to back a claim about a proportion like your claim about "most" people who are suicidal)? I really doubt that you base your claim on any statistical evidence, so I'd welcome your evidence to the contrary.
In today's economy what Stefan offers is priceless and offers many techniques to deal with a life of abuse and neglect. Stefan himself recommends therapy often  to his audience. If I were to take him up on this recommendation. Then the psychiatrist prescribes a anti depressant that allows me to act on my suicidal ideation who's fault is it that I commit suicide ? 

As far as I've seen, Stefan's advice does help some number (again, not any sizeable proportion; a lot of supporters eventually stop supporting and leave), but I don't recall much praise for him except from people praising him long before they'd gotten the results promised. What advice he'd given them must be right and it makes so much sense and so on (much like your post here)...not much praise about consistent long-term results amongst a sizeable enough proportion that you could attribute it to the advice rather than randomness.

As far as statistics go, you'll note that, while he plays up his business analysis experience and talks about how even pizza delivery places give surveys and that Ron Paul supporters don't when they make claims about Paul's effectiveness, he doesn't give surveys to people asking about how effectively he performs his main jobs, which are advice giving and antiviolence messages. It seems like a striking omission. And statistics and even long term anecdotal results are missing from your post as well.

I don't ask this rhetorically, but how can a man who proclaims Science! so much not know that this sort of thing is a regular requirement in scientific claims? How can he not advise his followers on the difference between anecdotes and statistical results? Does he think science is done by grand theorizing followed by wonderful confirmatory anecdotes of situations that adhere to the theories and that's it?