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Eleven questions with Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux is the founder of freedomainradio.com which is the largest and most popular philosophy show on the web.  I find the show consistently interesting and well thought out.  Stefan and others got me from Minarchy to Voluntaryism in about six weeks of listening to the show.  He also has some really good ideas on child-rearing and how this links in with our political future.  It’s worth subscribing to his youtube channel and his website is here.  Stefan was kind enough to answer the eleven questions.

www.freedomainradio.com

1. Who was the greatest political leader in the Western world?

Bigfoot.

2. If you could change, introduce or abolish one law, what would it be?

Abolish taxation.

3. What advice would you give to a sixteen year-old today?

Get ready for the fight of your life.

4. Who do you most admire?

My wife and daughter.

5. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of your country?

I am optimistic that the concept ‘country’ has no future.

6. If you think voting for establishment parties changes little or nothing, what is the one thing we can do as individuals to cause real change?

Parent peacefully.

7. When will we finally say good-bye to the state?

When we stop attacking each other for asking rational questions.

8. Should free people have the right to keep and bear arms openly or covertly without government permission, sanction or registration?

There should be no such thing as government permission, since the government to a violation of permission to begin with.

9. What annoys you most about current politics?

People’s interest in it.

10. Gold standard or fiat currency and interest rate control?

Voluntarism. Let the market decide.

11. Do we have an obligation to help the poor?

It depends whether or not they have chosen poverty. Monks and artists don’t need charity.

17 Comments

  1. RAB says:

    Sorry SAot, but if those are the questions, no wonder you’ve just got back 7 out of 11 fatuous or pointless answers.

  2. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    RAB, which are the four you think are non-fatuous?

  3. NickM says:

    I think they are all fatuous. And some are just incredible bollocks. Actually absolute best bollocks. Monks do require charity. They beg for God’s sake! artists don’t. They are either good and sell stuff and make more than you or I or they ain’t and starve in gutters. That’s not charity anyway. A government grant (or in the case of sex artists a Hugh Grant) is not charity because charity is freely given. If I am taxed to support the arts it isn’t charity. If you can’t get that right then God help us! I mean if you see a “starving artist” on the street and you wanna give he or she a coupla quid then fine. Charity is not an obligation – it is a free decision.

    Enforced charitable donations are theft. I know because I have temped and sometimes I was potless and was forced to give a quid even if that meant no lunch for Nick. You have to though otherwise the moo in HR considers you anti-social and if that job is the only thing keeping the wolf from the door… Of course as a temp no fucker ponies up a red cent when it’s your birthday.

  4. Julie near Chicago says:

    Molyneux suffers from the same condition as most of the Professional Libertarians that I know of in America: the swelled head.

    Walter Williams is a Real Human Person. I suspect that Walter Block hasn’t entirely lost his claim to be a member of our species either.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of SAoT’s questions–anyone who has seriously explored libertarian philosophies (even if only the one in his head) could probably write a book, or at least a chapter, on any of the questions, if he could be bothered to take it seriously.

    Of course, Nick and I could be all wrong, Mr. Molyneux just havin’ a little fun at our expense. And re-reading it, in a little better humour than I was the first time, I don’t take it so seriously. Still, I’ve heard the guy on UT (YouTube), and he sounds like another self-satisfied P.L., just like most of the ones at Cato, Reason, yadayadayada.

    If he doesn’t have the time, or doesn’t care to participate for whatever reason, he could have the manners to decline courteously.

    By the way–it’s only relatively recently that most artists (visual artists) have been able to support themselves by direct marketing. Famously, art-making has been supported by a patron. So we-the-people are now in the enviable position of being Patrons of the Arts–whether we like it or not. Right on, Nick!

  5. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    Okay what I was hoping to do was introduce some original content onto the blog rather than just make it commentary. This for example is what sets Guido apart from so many others. You are of course all free to take issue with the questions but if you could suggest better ones it would be helpful. Original content may boost traffic and thus give our views a wider airing, otherwise we just end up talking to ourselves.

    I am not looking for long responses because the blog format isn’t suited to essays in my opinion, also I am asking people to do this for free.

    We can disagree in a civil manner, the whole point is to provoke debate, perhaps we can say “I disagree because” rather than treading dangerously close to the ad hominem. I won’t censor of course but consider for yourself if you sound more balanced (and therefore persuasive) by saying “the proposition is wrong because” or asserting something to be bollocks. Your choice as always.

  6. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    @ Julie ~ I suspect the Bigfoot thing was to suggest looking for a great political leader is like looking for Bigfoot. A pointless exercise because neither exists despite what many people hope to find or believe.

    At least, without putting words in his mouth, that was my take.

  7. Lynne says:

    What is obvious to me is that Molyneux doesn’t have any answers, only meaningless one-liners.

  8. Mr Ecks says:

    From his videos Stephan seems to be a good sort whose views are highly Libertarian. He has a tendancy to self-depreciating humour and I don’t know if he was asked for brief replys or not. He is also a very hard worker who is on everywhere he can–radio/tv/Inet/his own show/conferences-trying to spread the message of freedom as widely as he can. He may have given brief replies for time reasons. He also produces lots of Youtube type videos. Some of them ramble a bit but some are wonderfully precise and factual explorations of topical issues. His recent youtubes about gun control, violence in America and economics (“There will be no Recovery”) are concise and excellent presentations of fact and statistics that would benefit everybody to look at.
    Not everything about him is good:I don’t care for his talking of “Philosophy” as if it were a concrete thing, nor do I care for his mordant atheism or some of the rambling he tends to about childhood trauma. Their is nothing wrong with his ideas about child-rearing but he can tend to drone on about them. All in all he is an asset to the cause of freedom and I think we should cut him a little slack here.

  9. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    @ Lynne ~ In fairness, I think you have to see this format for what it is. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive take on his views, just a taster. Click the link and you will see he goes into great detail on a number of topics.

  10. Lynne says:

    Point taken, SaoT. I’ll check it out.

  11. Sam Duncan says:

    Very good point @11:11, SAOT. These “n-Questions” things are never exactly in-depth interviews. If they bring attention to the interviewees – I’d never heard of Molyneux before – or CCIZ through them linking back here, then I say stick at it.

  12. Julie near Chicago says:

    Sam, “They bring attention to the interviewees”–yes, just so. One would think the interviewees would be interested in presenting themselves in a good light, rather than the sort who enjoy bashing those who disagree with them.

    My objection is not to S.M.’s (very) brief answers. It’s to the discourtesy–like swatting away an obnoxious fly.

    As to his brevity, my point (again) was that SAoT asked good questions. I just wanted to clarify that the ANSWERS were not so hot; and not because they are one-liners (or one-worders). The questions are substantial.

  13. RAB says:

    Sorry Julie (and SAoT) but I don’t think the questions were much cop either, and the replies were positively flippant.

    4. Who do you most admire?

    Oh come on, so vague as to be meaningless. I could tell you B B King, Roy Harper or Maggie and Ronnie, would you be any more enlightened?

    What is the point of this? To cull favour with major Libertarian figures? I appreciate you are trying to ” introduce some original content” Single Acts, but I’m unsure this has achieved it. We’ll see what your inbox produces from others that you’ve sent this questionable questionnaire to.

  14. Paul Marks says:

    Actually the answers were philosophically consistent with a 100% voluntarist (and pure voluntarism is anachocapitalism) stance.

    For example, such people reject politics on principle – so saying “Bigfoot” in response to a question about what politician they most admire, is saying “mythical – I do not admire any of them”.

    The man was just saying what he believed.

    And the answers were quite informative – for example his optimism that he would see the end of countries and so on.

    I do not share his beliefs – but he expressed them clearly, and they are consistent.

  15. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    “Oh come on, so vague as to be meaningless. I could tell you B B King, Roy Harper or Maggie and Ronnie, would you be any more enlightened?”

    Personally speaking, I think I would. If you said Maggie or Ronnie it would suggest to me that you were fundamentally someone who sees the right administration as both achieveable and capable of solving problems etc

    If you said Roy Harper then (after google to find out who he is) I would suspect you were a Brit of a certain age who isn’t obsessed by politics (as this is fundamentally a political quiz) etc. Some respondents may go into more detail.

    For example, I really admire Soichiro Honda. His life story is one of almost fanatical self-belief and refusal to be beaten despite the mocking of his peers, the wartime military government snatching all resources, the non-availibility of more or less anything in Japan post war, capital shortages, earthquakes, american bombing of his manufacturing etc An absolute hero in my eyes. This probably gives you a fair take on my outlook.

    There’s no great psychological research gone into to the questions, it is pop-culture stuff. Anyway, I’ll post the next set of answers and if things are as negative as the comment section has largely been, discontinue the idea.

  16. Paul Marks says:

    I also admire Mr Soichiro Honda.

  17. bloke in spain says:

    “…but if you could suggest better ones it would be helpful.”

    The question I would ask of all who profess to be libertarians. OK. Heard you talk the talk. But will you walk the walk. What have you done, are doing, intend doing to further libertarianism. And sorry. Lip flapping doesn’t score.

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