And then came book #3: Real-Time Relationships—The Logic of Love
Stefan Molyneux had already written On Truth: The Tyranny of Illusion. (Your “illusion” is that you love your parents and the “truth” is that your childhood was a prison.) He followed that up with Universally Preferable Behavior, a Rational Proof of Secular Ethics. (It didn’t.)
At the time of this writing, little critical attention has been paid to On Truth. It remains, however, a primary recruiting tool for FDR. I’d speculate that nearly everyone who has defooed has read it. For many of them, it was their first serious contact with Molyneux philosophy.
Universally Preferable Behavior (UPB), however, has been heavily reviewed and much of the prevailing sentiment has been collected in the five-part series on this site. The result? The book is universally praised by FDR members; universally dismissed by non-members. The work began as an attempt by Molyneux to apply his curious binary logic in an attempt to prove (atheist) libertarian ethics in general and ended as a semi-successful model for evaluating the internal consistency of any moral proposition. There are plenty of those already, however, and UPB doesn’t appear to offer anything superior.
Nevertheless, Molyneux dove right into Book #3—an attempt to apply that same logical approach to love itself. Real-Time Relationships (RTR) claims to show you how to build a deep and long-lasting intimacy with the people you care about.
Is that even possible—to reduce an affaire de coeur to Molyneux’s binary logic? Most of his followers seemed to think so, and many have taken on the strange language patterns suggested by the book.
For example, if someone writes a completely preposterous post on any other forum, he or she can expect to receive a reply such as “What you just wrote was BS!”
Not so on the Molyneux forum. There, the proper RTR response is. “I was annoyed and irritated by your post.” The original poster is then expected to be curious and empathetic and try to understand that annoyance. Working together in a non-confrontational, open, honest, and vulnerable way, the two members can help each other arrive to a new awareness…
…that what the original guy wrote was BS.
It has been on my to-do list for some time to write a review/analysis of both On Truth and Real-Time Relationships. But then in January 2010 something completely unexpected happened. A remarkable conversation regarding RTR took place on the FDR forum in which one of the most significant participants was a long-time FDR supporter.
The conversation brought to light many of the reasons why RTR was (another) failed exercise in logic by Molyneux. I don’t think I could write a better critique. But what was equally fascinating was the community behavior during the conversation. It was a side of FDR rarely seen in public.
And by the time that conversation had ended, several days later, nothing more needed to be said about RTR.
I wrote an article about the event that I called Allison’s Last Card.