The new year caught QuestEon in a sentimental (if not mawkish) mood, the sure side effects of annual reflection combined with a couple of frosty 40s. My thoughts were brought on by two things.

First, Stefan Molyneux’s surprising veiled condemnation of most of his FreeDomain Radio members in his Why We Are Different podcast (FDR 1551).

In that podcast, we learn (as I discussed in Circling Bastards) that those who merely join the FDR forum but are unable to fully commit to FDR teachings (i.e., defoo their families) are prevented from doing so because they are abusive people, which has given them brain damage.

I am not making this up.

Second, during the course of writing FDR Liberated, I’ve encountered several people who either came within a hair’s breadth of or actually did sever all ties with their family and friends—only to leave FDR later to rejoin them.

Their stories are nearly always instructive and touching.

They discovered, after fully experiencing the “FDR community,” that they had kicked the wrong people to the wrong curb, so to speak. In the end, the FDR relationship was making them unhappy and reconciling with former friends and families made them happier.

Some even told me that trying to answer the questions I raise on this site was the beginning of their journey out. If they hadn’t told me that, I probably would have moved on to some other project a long time ago!

Of course, my takeway is completely unscientific and my experiences are with a small number of people. Maybe the majority of community members who have defooed their family and friends truly are deliriously happy.

However, I have been able to see some of the differences in the families react vs. FDR. For example, when families are kicked to the curb, they do not make podcasts condemning the defooers.

They wait. They keep their faith that the one who left will someday see them clearly again. And they hope.

And the ones who kicked them to the curb do not have to beg for a second chance and a forgiveness that seems to be granted merely by whim, as do those who are asked to leave Molyneux’s “dinner party” (as he calls it). So far, their families seem to accept them back unconditionally and are simply grateful for the opportunity to reunite.

Most important, leaving FDR didn’t seem to dim their passion for liberty or their quest for ethics, it only seemed to strengthen it. It is as if, to them, FDR was a rite of passage.

True happiness lay somewhere beyond—after ultimately kicking the final, least satisfying relationship out of their lives, FDR itself.

Here’s looking forward to 2010, a year of better relationships (and, hopefully, much better alcohol).