December 30, 2013

Splitting Molyneux

Yesterday I was again dumbfounded watching a video made by Stefan Molyneux. I can't help feeling that there is something very wrong with this person. He made one of his "the truth about" videos which could easily also be replaced by the title "the trash about" because what again followed next was a total trashing of the person in question. Since Stefan Molyneux does that quite frequently I'm wondering, and I'm by no means alone in this regard, if there is something pathological about this self acclaimed philosopher.

In this video Molyneux starts with asking for donations which should make it somewhat obvious that he's also running a business. Personally, I find it somewhat flabbergasting why someone would donate money to him. That aside. Next he warns about hero worshipping which is a little ironic coming from a guy who quite clearly wants a fan base. He remarks that he gets 3 million views a month on his channel and that a 50 cent donation per show is a fair price. People viewing him as an expert of some sorts is advantageous for his business endeavors. Still, you really shouldn't hero worship.

Then he aims his sights at Mahatma Gandhi. Supposedly others asked to do a review of him which apparently Molyneux is happy to oblige. Gandhi is of course largely viewed positively as a father of a nation. A revolutionary pacifist who preached non violence. He's viewed as a spiritual man, as an icon. Stefan Molyneux however, manages to produce the exact opposite which is quite fascinating for analyzing his character. The switch to a highly negative conclusion, the search for negative associations in order to trash and smear speaks volumes about Molyneux himself.

Around the 9 minute mark Molyneux delivers his first blow. The intro revolves around Gandhi's personal life and how he preached abstinence yet then he remarks that Gandhi had (sexual) relationships with under aged women more or less framing him as a pedophile and hypocrite. I have no idea what his source is since mainstream media such as Wikipedia doesn't mention this. The character assassination however has commenced.

Around 15 minutes in Molyneux turns to history. Before the British colonized India the country had fallen to slave economics, more or less softening the dictatorial rule of the British who brought a higher standard of civilization. He mentions that in a nation of millions there were only 70.000 British troops at any given time and that many Indians collaborated. I find this fascinating since Molyneux insinuates that if the Indians would have formed a cohesive rebellion and expelled the British by their sheer numbers they could have done so easily. Yet when Nelson Mandela picked up arms and started a rebellion in his own country against the racist apartheid regime Molyneux labels him as a terrorist. This clearly shows the hypocrisy of Molyneux, the premeditation and setting the standard where it suits you.

23:45, Gandhi was a racist. When a young Gandhi was in the British colonial army in South Africa apparently he spoke in derogatory fashion about the Zulu people in South Africa which is a bit peculiar since Indian people also have a darker skin tone if I'm not mistaken. Again Molyneux doesn't list a source and this isn't a mainstream fact. A Google search doesn't reveal any scholarly sources. There is a book written by a G.B. Singh who makes these allegations but who turns out not to be a Hindu but a Sikh. Is there political and religious rivalry here?
34:45 Gandhi is a murderer of Zulu's. This is what Molyneux claims. The British Army clashed with the South Africans and people died. I have no doubt people died during violent conflicts in South Africa but does that prove Gandhi is a murderer? Molyneux himself quickly backs down and states next that Gandhi participated in those military actions which reveals that he has no evidence that Gandhi pulled the trigger himself as a soldier. Yet he doesn't retract the murder allegation in full.

Then 37:35. He states: 'Gandhi was no philosopher.' Then another follow up of character assassination: 'Gandhi was a witch doctor with regards to science.' Well, Gandhi never took up studies in science and as a Hindu he would have been brought up in that religion. An American or European would most likely be brought up as a Christian in that time period. Enormous shortsightedness on the part of Molyneux. Again there's also a great deal of hypocrisy involved here because if you would emphasize using science and technology in full for the betterment of humanity Molyneux would categorize that as 'Marxism with robots.'
Finally at the 38:25 mark Molyneux mentions that Gandhi allowed his wife to die by refusing to administer penicillin. This is actually the only example he lists that is documented to some degree although the article also mentions that his wife said that 'it was her time go.' Was there one last request on the part of his wife? I don't know the exact circumstances of her death, does Molyneux?

What this video amounts up to is just a deliberate methodology of character assassination and this isn't the only one by far. If you visit Stefan Molyneux's YouTube channel you'll find many videos with the title 'the truth about .....' and what follows next is a highly critical, one sided examination and ultimately condemnation of the person the video deals with. What basically happens here? Molyneux shows no reluctance of accepting the title of philosopher but is he really worthy of such a distinction? What really happens here is that Molyneux elevates himself as some sort of philosopher by trashing and downgrading others. That isn't the hallmark of a philosopher, that's the hallmark of a pathological narcissist.

What is a narcissist? (From Wikipedia.) Some people diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are characterized by unwarranted feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behavior. They have a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy.
Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR include;
* Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments.
* Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others.
* Envies others and believes others envy him/her.
* Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence.
* Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others.
* Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior.
* Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic.

At first glance, does Stefan Molyneux begin to qualify for said features? Well, yes! Look at a number of his videos or podcasts. He's no where near the level of Gandhi or Mandela but he downgrades them like if they were punk kids in his neighborhood. Molyneux never led nationwide rebellions against oppressors yet the air of authority he ventilates suggests he is of a higher category. He was never a member of a people that had to deal with colonist overlords yet he pretends that these same people who sought freedom and respect for their basic human rights could have done so without any form of violence and if you're very close to achieving such a thing as Gandhi did then he still manages to put you away as a common criminal. What Molyneux does isn't normal. It's pathological.

I'm not the first to notice this by far. Others such as the website have detected the absolute condemnations as well. One dominant feature of a narcissist is called "splitting" in psychology. It's an all or nothing type of thinking. An individual's actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground. This is basically what Molyneux does. Remember, he makes Gandhi and Mandela as 'all bad.' In the final analysis there's no middle ground. His views on economics follow an identical path. Molyneux is a libertarian, he thinks the government is force and coercion while the free market is voluntary and beneficial to all. Again no middle ground.

I'm no psychologist. I'm not qualified to make a professional judgement regarding the mind and mentality of Stefan Molyneux. I do hold the opinion that he's a pathological narcissist. Seeing that Molyneux has a huge fan base and that he basically makes a living of donations from his fans maybe we can work something out. If Molyneux puts up a donate button to be evaluated by a registered clinical psychologist I would be happy to donate. You know, splitting the difference...

December 28, 2013

"Koch Brothers Exposed"

Koch Brothers Exposed is a hard-hitting investigation of the 1% at its very worst. This full-length documentary film on Charles and David Koch—two of the world's richest and most powerful men—is the latest from acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed, Rethink Afghanistan). The billionaire brothers bankroll a vast network of organizations that work to undermine the interests of the 99% on issues ranging from Social Security to the environment to civil rights. This film uncovers the Kochs' corruption—and points the way to how Americans can reclaim their democracy.

What can you do to fight back? Get the film. Host a screening. Tell your friends. Get the Koch brothers out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

10 Shocking Facts on the Kochs

1. Koch Industries, which the brothers own, is one of the top ten polluters in the United States -- which perhaps explains why the Kochs have given $60 million to climate denial groups between 1997 and 2010.

2. The Kochs are the oil and gas industry's biggest donors to the congressional committee with oversight of the hazardous Keystone XL oil pipeline. They and their employees gave more than $300,000 to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2010 alone.

3. From 1998-2008, Koch-controlled foundations gave more than $196 million to organizations that favor polices that would financially enrich the two brothers. In addition, Koch Industries spent $50 million on lobbying and some $8 million in PAC contributions.

4. The Koch fortune has its origins in engineering contracts with Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union.

5. The Kochs are suing to take over the Cato Institute, which has accused the Kochs of attempting to destroy the group's identity as an independent, libertarian think and align it more closely with a partisan agenda.

6. A Huffington Post source who was at a three-day retreat of conservative billionaires said the Koch brothers pledged to donate $60 million to defeat President Obama in 2012 and produce pledges of $40 million more from others at the retreat.

7. Since 2000, the Kochs have collected almost $100 million in government contracts, mostly from the Department of Defense.

8. Koch Industries has an annual production capacity of 2.2 billion pounds of the carcinogen formaldehyde. The company has worked to keep it from being classified as a carcinogen even though David Koch is a prostate cancer survivor.

9. The Koch brothers' combined fortune of roughly $50 billion is exceeded only by that of Bill Gates in the United States.

10. The Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs accused Koch Oil of scheming to steal $31 million of crude oil from Native Americans. Although the company claimed it was accidental, a former executive in this operation said Charles Koch had known about it and had responded to the overages by saying, "I want my fair share, and that's all of it."

December 16, 2013

Zeitgeist Pope

After 2000 years someone else sees the light.

December 15, 2013

Stefan Molyneux: Narcissist?

This sunday morning I was again dumbfounded by a video Stefan Molyneux put up on his YouTube channel. Actor Paul Walker who died a couple of weeks ago in a horrific car accident got a kind of eulogy by the aforementioned person. While it may seem natural that some people comment on Paul Walker's passing and within that framework I of course mean his family, friends and colleagues who worked with him oddly enough Molyneux nowhere near belongs in that category. So why does he has the urge to comment on Paul Walker's life?

It gets even more absurd. While the first 4 minutes in the video above are focused on praising Paul Walker's accomplishments as a human being and have a sense of spirituality combined with the warning of the temptations that making a lot of money can bring to a person (which is ironic since Molyneux is a free market fundamentalist) Stefan remarks at 4:36 in the video: "don't mean to dump on the dead," but this is exactly what he does next. What follows next is really a type of condemnation. Molyneux has to mention that Paul Walker dated not one but two 16 year old girls as an adult. More or less condemning him of pedophilia.

Why this sudden change in direction? Why make such remarks at this time when Paul Walker's family and friends are still grieving? Why would Stefan Molyneux do such a thing? Actually, this isn't an isolated incident. After Nelson Mandela's passing he felt the same urge to make a video critique which I personally responded to in this blog. On the day of this writing Nelson Mandela was laid to rest but again that didn't stop Molyneux to make scathing comments and condemn Mandela as a communist and terrorist.

Personally, I was raised not to speak ill about the recently departed. That has a deeper meaning. You give the people who mourn time to heal and regain their composure in life. Apparently such notions are completely lost on a 47 year old male whose real objective is seemingly to gather more attention to himself. If you ask me I would categorize that as pathological. Why else would Stefan Molyneux make 'eulogy' videos as an outsider that basically lack any empathy for those that deeply cared for the person? Isn't that just narcissism?

Garden Bounty 3

Another success story from the garden. Pumpkin. Never tried that plant before so everything was new to me. Of course I read up on the plant on the internet but in reality the learning curve is much more extensive. Awesome plant though in many ways. I had a small bag of seeds so I started with 2 seeds and both came out in late April, beginning of May. It was still unusually cold around that time so it wasn't until late May that I put both plants in the ground. One went next to a compost bin the other in the corner of my garden in the picture above. The plant does require lots of fertilizer. What I didn't really foresee is that the plant can get huge. 5-6 meters easily. I also mistakenly thought the fruit itself would stay close to the ground and roots, not so. On both plants the pumpkin developed 3-4 meters from the roots. In the picture above I discovered that a huge pumpkin had grown within the hedge of my neighbor's.

The shot above is from the other plant that had grown over my fence and into the park. The plant makes many (male and female) flowers that require pollination by bees. You can just make out that there are 2 pumpkins developing but one didn't make it. It's also recommended to only grow one pumpkin as the plant can direct all its energy towards that one. It took months for the pumpkin to really grow to size and it was really well into autumn before they started to ripe. The end result however was spectacular. I gave both pumpkins to my sister in law who knows how to prepare them for different meals. At first I thought they smelled a bit funny that's why they also became a gift but it's not bad to eat. Right now I'm really a bit smitten with the plant and I intend to grow them again next year. It does require some looking after with fertile ground but the roots go so deep that watering isn't much of an issue in moderate climates. Great plant.

December 12, 2013

The Truth About Stefan Molyneux

The truth about Stefan Molyneux is that he is a right wing market extremist and a borderline psychopath. Thought I'd give you my conclusion in the very first sentence. Last week Nelson Mandela passed away and within days Molyneux came out with the video above. It's filled with condemnation of Mandela's life. A typical right wing smear tactic is to start about anything left wing or progressive and immediately associate it with a death toll. Stefan here does no different. Right of the bat he mentions that Nelson Mandela was a communist and a terrorist. I was raised with an understanding that it's not polite to speak ill of the recently departed. Apparently Molyneux has no such reservations which speaks volumes about his character.

Lets examine some of the claims Molyneux makes. Did Mandela take up violence? Yes. Was he associated with a communist group? Yes. It's all very well documented. Nelson Mandela took up arms after the Sharpeville Massacre. The only political movement willing to assist was, yes, left wing. Not so strange actually since the white South African government was of course right wing and conservative in the early 1960s. What were his options at the time? Could Mandela have joined the right wing apartheid regime and have his human rights respected by being a good capitalist and obedient black man? Would the racist government officials have said: 'we will give you a pass Mandela?' Of course such finer details are completely lost on Molyneux.

Let me rant on. While non-violent resistance is of course recommended and should be employed first is it totally outlandish to think that the South African black man was also entitled to self defense? I mean, they were regarded as second rate human beings and when they protested a bunch of them were killed in their own land. Aren't they entitled to defend their lives? Let me present another theoretical scenario. If in the United States some rampant group of African Americans or Latinos goes on a killing spree and murder dozens of white people, how long do you think it will take for the white people to take up arms and defend themselves? How long would it take for the bullets to start flying? With some 300 millions firearms privately owned in the U.S. a violent reaction would only be a matter of time. Yet when a South African black man resists Molyneux here quickly labels them as terrorist.

As mentioned previously, generalize and lumping everything together is favorite right wing smear tactic. Molyneux also makes the connection between Nazi Germany and socialism, probably to boost up the 'left body count.' I've seen others do it too while most scholars of course agree that the National Socialists during World War 2 were in fact right wing fascists. It's difficult to understand for some but a group can label themselves as something but in reality be far from that description. You can have 1 or 2 elements of socialism while the other 8-9 out of 10 are not. Fascism is described as the merging of state and corporations with a national identity. Even Hitler was supported by an industrial elite. The biggest give away? If Nazi Germany was left wing and socialist, why would they fight with left wing Soviet Union? Again, such things are completely lost on Stefan Molyneux.

Did people die in the Soviet Union? Yes, nobody is disputing that. Lenin and Stalin were dictators who   quickly perverted the higher ideals of Marx. Not so strange since both men were robbing banks even before they got into power. Do criminals make good politicians? Generally they don't. Mao and Pol Pot were also probably full blown psychopaths, but did all left wing governments produce immense death tolls? No, far from it. In western Europe many left wing parties have taken up positions in government while never regressing in to dictatorships. In South America the people in Venezuela and Ecuador democratically re-elected their socialist leaders. Things are not black and white.
But wait. Did right wing political groups kill people? Were there right wing dictatorships in history that eliminated their opposition through violence and murder? Yes... Pinochet comes to mind. Videla of Argentina. Noriega of Panama until he stopped playing ball with the U.S. The Contras in Nicaragua. The Shah of Iran who was installed after a right wing C.I.A. sponsored coup when democratically elected social-democrat Mossaddegh was overthrown. Molyneux doesn't even remotely contemplate such matters because that doesn't help his right wing cause.

How was the U.S. and Canada, home of Molyneux, founded? Basically all the land was stolen from their original owners, the Native Americans. In 1890 they did a headcount, only 250.000 Native Americans remained where once millions roamed across the continent. Most of them killed by disease and bullets. How about the African slaves that help build the U.S? Does Molyneux keep a body count there in those cases? No he doesn't.

People like Stefan Molyneux are basically con artists. They reason and pick those things that work in their favor and basically ignore or deny those things that don't help their self interest. Molyneux is an advocate of the Austrian school of economics and Libertarianism. Basically they are conservatives on meth and steroids who mindlessly blame the state for any failings of free market capitalism. So when atrocities are committed by right wing governments they just blame the construct of a state and pretend that their free market which is still based on money and profit will magically create a peaceful society. Pure bullshit. When the bottom line is money and profit you'll always have people bending or breaking the rules. People like Stefan Molyneux want to hand over democracy to private unaccountable dictators in the market place just because they want to make more money. Human needs and human rights, did Stefan Molyneux make a case for that in the video? Did Nelson Mandela in his life?

Stefan Molyneux - Reductionist Snake Oil Salesman

Watch closely how market fundamentalist Stefan Molyneux reasons and how he generalizes small economic textbook examples to the real world. Trade is voluntary but if you don't want to trade you can go live in the woods according to this great 'philosopher.' What's also hilarious is that Molyneux turns into a drama queen after Peter Joseph labels his ideas as truncated and simplistic and claims he engaged in an ad hominem attack. Molyneux himself had no problem labeling Peter's work as 'retarded,' 'for bong smoking hippies' and 'marxism with robots' in previous videos. All ad hominem attacks. It shows what kind of disingenuous con artist Molyneux really is.

December 11, 2013

Stefan Molyneux: Con Artist Or Pathological Bullshitter?

After seeing Stefan Molyneux's latest hatchet job on Nelson Mandela I think it's time that this borderline psychopath gets more attention in the blogosphere. Watch this video by Peter Joseph which is a culmination after a debate he had with Molyneux. The latter just about manages to twist, distort, smear the other person's position in every way possible. So the question arises, is Stefan Molyneux a deliberate con artist or pathological bullshitter? My take is that he's both.

Midwinter Sunset

December 10, 2013

Will Work For Free

Fine documentary that clearly shows what's already technically possible today in commerce. The question arises; 'do we really still need the market?'