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...

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