So…I was thinking about banning lately.
Especially when it’s a response to naughty behavior on Stefan Molyneux’s FreeDomain Radio forum. He says he uses “dinner party rules” on his forum.
In other words, it’s his dinner party and you’re invited! But if you offend the host you’ve gotta go.
All of that sounds great unless you discover too late that the host is a little—shall we say—eccentric? For example, quite a few people have discovered that “offensive” behavior at FDR seems to include pointing out a mistake that the host has made in his logic, especially if it’s in one of his self-published books.
I guess he really hates that.
Which, by the way, is something I’ve never understood. It’s not like you have to scream “Stop the presses!” when you’ve screwed up something in your self-published .PDF book. You just go into your word processor, fix the screw-up, save a new .PDF and finito! Heck, I spend about 93% of my time on this site fixing my own screw-ups. Maybe it’s a little harder when you’ve based your entire book on the logic that someone has just blown up, I suppose.
Anyway, back to the party and those offensive guests. The ones with all their…logic.
I’ve already documented tons of examples on this site. Remember bake? She led a genteel charge that exposed Real-Time Relationships, The Logic of Love for the flawed work that it was. She was shown to the door. After the offended host booted her out, he tried to convince the remaining guests that she had psychological problems.
After you see something like that happen enough times, you start to see a pattern emerge. Sometimes, if you’ve been very offensive (which I think means “accurate in your analysis”) Molyneux will make an entire podcast about you.
A podcast that you can’t respond to because you’ve been banned.
Anyway, I was thinking about all this when I ran across this interesting Web site. It was written by a non-professional about narcissism. One of the things she points out is that the average six-year old can be a textbook narcissist. The point is, if you can understand how a six-year old thinks, you’ll understand what it’s like to live under the dominion of a grown-up narcissist.
I did not know that.
Wait…am I trying to say that Molyneux is a narcissist? No, I am not. I’m just saying that the following essay is a freakishly interesting observation about the dynamics of a group dominated by a narcissist. I’m sure it’s completely unrelated. Take it for what it’s worth.
It’s A Good Life
An artistic view of the world as ordered by a six-year-old is presented in the well-known short story, “It’s A Good Life,” by Jerome Bixby. This story was dramatized for television on “The Twilight Zone” in 1961, screenplay by Rod Serling, and a somewhat different version of the story was used in the film, “Twilight Zone,” in 1983. Here’s the story used on television:
Anthony Fremont is a six-year-old with extraordinary powers to control the little town where he lives by simply wishing away people and things that anger or bore him. He has isolated the town by banishing electricity and cars. Other than his powerful wishing, Anthony has the mind and imagination of a typical little boy. He amuses himself with his special ability by giving a gopher three heads and then wishing the animal dead when the game becomes boring.
The people in Peaksville have to smile all the time, think happy thoughts, and say happy things, because that’s what Anthony commands and, if they disobey, he can wish them into a cornfield or change them into grotesque versions of themselves.
Anthony dislikes singing and punished Aunt Amy for thoughtlessly singing in his presence. Anthony asks his father why no children come to play with him. Mr. Fremont reminds Anthony that when the Fredericks boy came over, Anthony had wished the other boy away into the cornfield after they’d finished playing. He wishes a dog into the cornfield for barking.
Anthony’s parents have invited several people to their house for a surprise birthday party for one of their friends, Dan Hollis.
Anthony makes everyone watch what he, like lots of other little boys, wishes to see on television — dinosaurs fighting. Dan Hollis’s wife gives him a record for his birthday, but Anthony won’t permit him to play it. Dan grumbles angrily and then begins singing “Happy Birthday.” Anthony tries to intimidate Dan by staring at him. Dan suggests that Anthony should be distracted and then killed, but nobody moves to help Dan. Anthony points his finger at Dan and screams “You’re a bad man! You’re a very bad man!” and turns Dan into a jack-in-the-box and then sends him to the cornfield. Everyone turns away in horror except Anthony’s father, who begs Anthony to wish him into the cornfield. Anthony complies.
A few minutes later, Anthony wishes for snow, though this will kill half the crops, not to mention those he’s banished to the cornfield. The adults smile nervously and tell him that he’s a good boy, hoping that Anthony’s terrible power won’t be turned upon themselves.
Comment: Substitute a big person for the arbitrarily vindictive little boy and this story also gives a general idea of how groups, including families, work when they are dominated by narcissists. But bear in mind that there’s a necessary requirement for such a reign of terror to continue: the isolation of a captive audience. One of the ways tyrannical narcissists isolate their captives is by telling them that they must keep secret what goes on inside or face dreadful punishment, because they’re so special that no one outside the group is capable of understanding them—and, of course, the longer members stay inside “Peaksville” the less likely they will be understood by outsiders, so isolated specialness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Can we learn anything about FDR from this? You tell me. It’s pretty interesting, though.
Did you notice that Anthony has two choices with people he doesn’t like? He either banishes them or he changes them into “grotesque versions of themselves.” It’s hard not to compare that to the way Molyneux disfigures his critics by “proving” that they are motivated by some psychological problem (which he typically invents) and dismisses them (usually as “haters”) based on those grounds.
As a result, someone like bake can show up on the site one day innocently asking a question about logical problems in Real-Time Relationships and be labeled as a “troubled person acting out” a few days later, after she has been wished into the cornfield.
So…ready to join the party?
P.S. Here’s a video capture of the ending to the original Twilight Zone episode. SPOILER ALERT! Um, like I said—it’s the ending.