This post is about three questions. The first question is pretty easy to answer (for me, at least). However, it was damn hard for Stefan Molyneux of FreeDomain Radio.
We’ll get to all of that in a minute.
Question #1 is going to lead us to Question #2. That one will be really hard to answer.
But not as hard to answer as the corkscrew of Question #3. In fact, answering that one will be almost impossible if you’re a devout True Believer in the FreeDomain Radio “community.”
Ready for the challenge?
I wrote about Question #1 in the article Prying Them Loose. Here it is:
“Does Stef advocate dissociating from statists and theists?”
Molyneux himself took a crack at answering it and this is his reply:
I do think that it is important to talk to a statist patiently and with curiosity, and help him to understand that when he wishes to use government to achieve his ends, he is advocating the initiation of force against you.
In the same way, a Christian or Jew or Muslim all worship the morals in a holy book that commands death to unbelievers, promotes slavery and rape and other heinous crimes.
If people are willing to reject the use of violence in dealing with others, I think that is wonderful!
I don’t think that it is particularly honorable to remain ‘friends’ with someone who is unwilling to renounce the use of violence against you, but that is everyone’s decision to make of course…
OK, hold it right there. Every time someone answers a simple “yes or no” question with a convoluted response that includes neither the word “yes” nor “no,” two little antennae rise up out of the back of my head and start signaling the mothership.
There’s just something here that’s not right.
Most of the time, it means the respondent doesn’t want you to know the real answer.
In this case, I’ll say something in Molyneux’s favor. He actually does give you the answer. There is a “yes” or “no” hidden in there but it’s almost as if he’s OK if you don’t get it.
Call me crazy, but it’s almost as if his principles are telling him to say one thing but his sense of self-preservation is jamming the frequency. That is purely speculation on my part, though.
Anyway, let’s look at his argument in plain language:
- All statists and/or theists personally advocate violence against you.
- Before dissociating from them, you should talk to them with patience and curiosity.
- If they are willing to reject violence against you after your talk, that’s wonderful.
- But based on argument #1, that means they must reject statism and theism.
- If they refuse to reject those beliefs, and you remain friends with them, you are dishonorable.
You see, Stefan Molyneux’s actual answer to the Question #1 is one word: Yes.
Yes, Stefan Molyneux does advocate dissociating from statists and theists. When you put his argument in plain language, absolutely no other interpretation is possible. That’s the black-and-white, bottom line, when-all-is-said-and-done truth.
But there’s something about his answer that puts us on the path toward Question #2. If the actual answer to this simple yes-or-no question is yes, why did Molyneux feel the need to throw up a word cloud instead? Why did he feel the need to obscure his meaning, to twist and hide the truth behind the words?
Is he ashamed of his true beliefs? Or is he waiting until you’re far enough into “the community” to accept them without question—far enough in to leave your parents, family, and friends on the basis of this argument alone?
No? Well then what is it, then, that prevents him from simply saying “yes,” right now, when that is clearly his answer?
Especially…especially when the philosopher we’re talking about prides himself on first principles, essential truths, and virtue—all the stuff that is supposed to be the very foundation of Stefan Molyneux’s philosophy.
How could such a philosopher consider using slippery rhetoric so you won’t see what he truly believes ?
Which all leads to Question #2:
When a man uses words willfully to hide his true meaning and fundamental beliefs—isn’t that simply a variation of lying and manipulation—exactly the behavior Stefan Molyneux claims to abhor?
And if that’s true, (leading into Question #3)…
Given all that—if even the simplest question results in this kind of response, how trustworthy is Stefan Molyneux?
Answer that honestly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if everything suddenly does become black-and-white.