BBC Radio Three Counties–The Long-Awaited Molyneux Interview

Because I am stats whore, I was thrilled to see that the visit counter to my blog has shot off the scale. I’ve now had more hits than ever before–a lifetime best! I’m very thankful to the members (read: QuestEon) over at Liberating Minds who plugged this blog in a dedicated thread. They even called me witty. I’m sure I don’t deserve the attention, and now I am sure I am going to be hamming it up for the crowd, especially if I represent the blogosphere.

Pshaw.

So, I found and listened (after some stupid RealPlayer 10.5 idiocy on my part) to not only the interview Stefan Molyneux gave to BBC Radio Three Counties: Breakfast but also the interview that Barbara Weed, the mother from the article in The Guardian, gave on the same program the morning before. The following link is to the BBC radio program archive, and you can listen to both programs today, but I think they only have shows archived there for a week. You’d click on “Thursday” for the Weed interview and “Friday” for the Molyneux interview. You have to have RealPlayer installed if you are outside of the UK (and maybe if you are inside, I don’t know). You can also download the Molyneux interview (not the Barbara one the day before) from iTunes–it’s Podcast #1212 from the Freedomain Radio, Volume 4 series–or from the Freedomain Radio archives. Yes, the 1,212th show Molyneux has recorded since November 19, 2005. That’s 1,213 podcasts recorded in 731 days at a rate of 1.66 a day!

Following is a rough transcript that I made as I was listening to both interviews. It’s not perfect, and because I couldn’t scroll backwards there are words and a few phrases that I missed, but those are mostly indicated with brackets and question marks.

Transcript #1:
BBC Radio Three Counties
Thursday, November 20, 2008
“Breakfast” with Stephen Rhodes
An Interview with Barbara Weed
(starts around 16:50:44)

RHODES:
How worried are you about what your kids get up to on the Internet? Tom Weed, a teenager who’s in the middle of his A levels has decided to shun his family. This is after getting involved with a controversial online community. Apparently this website convinces people that they should cut off any family ties at all . Tom’s mom, Barbara, is on. Hello, Barbara.

BARBARA:
Good morning.

RHODES:
This is pretty serious stuff.

BARBARA:
It is. Could I just clarify one thing, though?

RHODES
Please.

BARBARA:
His surname is not Weed. That’s my surname, not his.

RHODES:
Not his. OK. Well, we should just call him Tom, then. He is your son.

BARBARA:
Thank you.

RHODES:
OK. And now, when did, uh, I mean, what was going on? How did he get involved in this website?

BARBARA:
I think he probably came across a podcast by the person that runs the site, Stefan Molyneux. On, um, philosophy or possibly politics, but Tom had been studying philosophical ideas at school and exploring the idea of ethics, critical thinking, and he spent a lot of time in his room on his computer and he came across podcasts of Molyneux. By September last year he’d actually joined the website as a member and was downloading podcasts regularly and all I could hear coming from his room was this voice, this disembodied voice. And he talked about getting advice from somebody on the Internet and that didn’t sound right because counselors in England charge money and I couldn’t understand why a professional counselor…

And he said, but this guy’s OK, you know, he’s written books. I’ve seen them. You know, they’ve been published. And he was really impressed that had published books on the Internet was giving him advice. And it didn’t occur to me that it was a website, that I should have been worried.

RHODES:
Did you see a change in his behavior around that time?

BARBARA:
To be honest, it’s hard to tell with teenagers because they’re, they’re in that strange period where they’re turning from a caterpillar into a butterfly. Turning from a young child to a teenager to suddenly…

RHODES:
Yeah, you get a lot of behaviorial change around that time anyway.

BARBARA:
You do. I mean, I have two other sons, um, and it just seemed like a phase he’s going through and at some point he would be this lovely young man who would be great company. Um, and I’m sure he is. He’s just not at home anymore being a young man that’s great company.

RHODES:
So how did you find out that he was deciding to leave home?

BARBARA:
Uh, a couple of months after he’d joined the website, he, suddenly one night he blurted out, “You realize that when I leave, I’m never coming back and you’ll never see me again.” And that seemed such a bizarre thing to say, and I thought that when he moves to university he won’t move back home. That seemed fine. Perfectly natural for somebody to go through that and take off and fly and get on with their new life. But afterwards I found out that that night he’d posted on the website in a discussion thread something about when you show your escape plans to the prison guards, and he was talking about parents as prison guards and about himself as being held prisoner. And the whole thing was so twisted and warped that I didn’t see that, I had no idea until at last he’d gone and I started looking for .

RHODES:
You say you heard voices coming from his room. Were you not curious, given that this had now become a topic of conversation in the house to actually listen to what this person was saying? To your son?

BARBARA:
Perhaps I should have done that, and I wish I had now, but I had no reason to suspect that somebody was trying to brainwash him and brainwash other young people. And with my teenage sons, I respected their personal space. I haven’t barged into their rooms. We knock when we go into each other’s rooms as a common courtesy, if it’s their bedroom, and I didn’t want to intrude on what he was doing. And it didn’t occur to me that I should have been worried about it.

RHODES:
How many children have you got, by the way?

BARBARA:
I have three sons.

RHODES:
And where does Tom come in the lineup?

BARBARA:
Tom’s the youngest. The other two had already gone to university by then.

RHODES:
So he wasn’t discussing this with his brothers.

BARBARA:
No, no he wasn’t.

RHODES:
And how much notice did you get of his actual leaving date and time?

BARBARA:
No notice at all. I came home from work one afternoon and found a note on the door, saying…

RHODES:
And you had no expectation that Tom was going to disappear.

BARBARA:
No, no. He’d started to seem happier himself, since that one instance in November.

RHODES:
ANd he left when?

BARBARA:
He left in May, in the middle of A levels.

RHODES:
As far as his A levels were concerned, how was he doing at those, do you know?

BARBARA:
He had been working very hard, he had been revising very hard. He’s a very organized person, and so he write out his exam time table, and unusually for a teenager. You wouldn’t have to be reminding him all the time to go and do his homework, go and do his revisions because he was already doing it. And he was already doing it and at the same time listening to MOlyneux’s podcasts. That he was revising, you know, he was getting himself organized, getting himself up in the morning, , and taking himself to school, would always be on time. And it all seemed to be going so well, really.

RHODES:
So quite methodical in the way he led his life.

BARBARA:
Yes.

RHODES
Have you heard from him since he left?

BARBARA:
No, he won’t talk to anybody in the family.

RHODES
Does anybody know where he is?

BARBARA:
I believe he’s at Sheffield University because that was his university of choice and he got the right A level grades to so I think that’s where he is now.

RHODES:
Does he not need your help or support? For that?

BARBARA:
No, because from what I found in his room, he had already made inquiries and realized that he could get a grant as an independent student, so he wouldn’t be relying on donations from his, his student loans from his parents.

RHODES:
Have you spoken to the man who runs the website?

BARBARA:
No, and I don’t want to. He’s a professional actor. He does performances and podcasts all the time. I’m not a debater. I’m just an ordinary person. He would run me and me–I know that.

RHODES:
I’m going to be speaking to him on tomorrow’s program. Is there anything you would have me put to him?

BARBARA:
I knew that You’d be speaking to him at some point and I was concerned that you might be throwing me in with him now but I’m glad to hear that he’s not.

RHODES:
No, I wouldn’t, we wouldn’t do that to you. And if we were going to do that we would suggest it before and if you didn’t wish to take part in such a discussion we would certainly not spring that one on you, that’s not the way we operate. But what would you have me say to him tomorrow? What would be the one message from you, Barbara?

BARBARA:
What I’m thinking is “Give me back the son that you have. Give me back the love [??] that he [??].” He’s obviously not going to do that.

I just wish he’d stop obsessing over parents being evil and corrupt and stop twisting people’s minds and stop telling them that the way to personal freedom is to rid yourself of these people.

RHODES:
Barbara, I shall put that to him when I speak to him tomorrow morning. Can I thank you very much for joining me on the program today.

BARBARA:
Thank you very much.
(ends around 16:58:45)

Transcript #2:
BBC Radio Three Counties
Friday, November 21, 2008
“Breakfast” with Stephen Rhodes
An Interview with Stefan Molyneux
(starts around 16:06:00)


This interview makes several references to a telephone call/Freedomain Radio Show that included a conversation with Tom and Stefan Molyneux. You can hear the phone call in the Freedomain Radio archives, or you can download Podcast #1037 from iTunes. It’s part of the Freedomain Radio Volume 4 series. It’s the Sunday Call-In Show from April 13, 2008.

RHODES:
Now, an eighteen-year-old is not talking to his family anymore. Pfft! I’ve had my kids say that to me on occasions; they’re still talking. So nothing unusual about that, but on yesterday’s program, we heard from a mum who said that her eighteen-year-old son had decided never to speak to his family again and leave home, all due to a particular website. His name is Tom, his mum’s name is Barbara, and she’s blaming it on the <> website. The website convinces people, apparently, that they should cut off all family ties. Now, this is her message to the man who runs it:

BARBARA (Recorded):
I just wish he’d stop obsessing over parents being evil and corrupt and stop twisting people’s minds and stop telling them that the way to personal freedom is to rid yourself of these people.

RHODES:
Well, the man who apparently said that is Stefan Molyneux. Good morning to you, Stefan. Hello? Oh. Good morning, Stefan!

MOLYNEUX:
Good morning!

RHODES:
Right, you couldn’t hear me. Sorry. I think we had a technical fault there which meant that you weren’t able to hear Barbara’s message, which was that, uh, she wished you would stop in a sense meddling in family affairs and suggesting that parents are the evil ones.

MOLYNEUX:
I can certainly understand why she would have that perspective and I certainly do sympathize with the that the situation with her son and me has caused her, but I think that when someone asks for help, I think that if you do have the capacity to offer some useful information and insights… To me, it’s like being, you know, you’re walking down the sidewalk and someone falls down, you try and help them up. So if she feels that it’s meddling for me to listen sympathetically and to talk–

RHODES:
No, she feels it’s meddling on your part to suggest to any youngsters that they should cut off all family ties. And her son, eh, she tells me, got that message from your website. That that’s what he should do.

MOLYNEUX:
Well, that’s, uh, that’s a matter of public record, that the conversation that I had with the fellow is available on the website. I said that he was, uh, you know, obviously this is a voluntary–all relationships are voluntary you become an adult. You can get divorced from a marriage, you can break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. If you find that your family relations are not able to be positive for you then you have that choice. That’s not something I’m making up. It’s a fact of life.

Now, I do say that people should try and work things out with their family if they’re having those kinds of problems, but …

RHODES:
Are you telling me that you would never suggest to somebody like Tom that he should turn his back on his family? You would never suggest that he– that he should do that?

MOLYNEUX:
In the conversation that I had with Tom, I simply reminded him that the relationship was optional and I said, “You can stay, you can go, but it is a choice that you should make.”

RHODES:
So at no stage would you have suggested that he should go?

Just told him he had a choice?

MOLYNEUX:
I said to him that he … And what would it mean? If some guy in Canada who does a philosophy–

RHODES:
No, no, but I’m just asking you whether or not you ever suggested to Tom that he should go and turn his back on his family and cease all communication with them. Did you suggest that at all?

MOLYNEUX:
No.

RHODES:
You did not.

MOLYNEUX:
No.

RHODES:
Why do you think Tom’s mother believes that’s the case?

MOLYNEUX:
Let me be even more clear: That the book that he read of mine called Real Time Relationships, I suggest that if you’re having problems with your family that it’s advice to sit down and tell them how you think and what you feel and what your experience of the family is and talk over these things with them, so… And that’s the book that he referenced in our conversation.

RHODES:
Barbara tells me that she found Tom was becoming more insular and spending time in his room and he could her–she could hear your voice coming over the Internet. She wasn’t aware of what those conversations were. And then she gets a note from him saying he’s gone and he’s not coming back.

MOLYNEUX:
That’s not what she said in The Guardian, though. Right? I mean, what she said in The Guardian was that she tried for quite some time to negotiate back and forth. He wasn’t just beamed up by some, you know, alien thing on the Internet. There were family, you know, issues which were–I don’t have to go into here–but they’re all, you know, that she’s down the violence that he experienced at the hands of his father, and she’s said in The Guardian that she went and negotiated with him, and tried to work out the relationship with him, and it didn’t work, so…–

RHODES:
OK. Unfortunately, due to a technical fault at the beginning of this, you weren’t able to hear what our other listeners could hear and that was her plea. Now, just have a listen to this if you would, because I told her I was talking to you on today’s program and asked her what she would like to put to you. Have a listen if you would, please:

BARBARA (RECORDED):
“I just wish he’d stop obsessing over parents being evil and corrupt and stop twisting people’s minds and stop telling them that the way to personal freedom is to rid yourself of these people.”

RHODES:
Stefan?

MOLYNEUX:
Yes.

I heard what she said. She said that I am somehow telling that they should rid themselves of their families to be free… Did I hear that right?

RHODES:
Yes.

MOLYNEUX:
Well, that’s nonsense.

I, uh, I’m having a baby in four weeks… well, not be, but my wife… so, I hear that [???] personal individuation, that happiness, that independence, is to be gained through spurning family, uh, no! Of course it’s nonsense. I’m sure that it’s easier for her to get mad at me than to talk about the real pain that her son was talking about in the conversation that he had with me.

RHODES:
Would you email Tom and tell him what you’ve just told me now?

You’re having a child yourself, you would never ask a child to turn their back on their family. Would you email Tom and tell him that?

MOLYNEUX:
First of all, what would it matter even if I did say that? What would it matter?

RHODES:
It would matter enormously to his family, to him. It would mean the world possibly to Tom if you were a great influence to hia life. It would matter enormously for him to have the support of his family than to cut himself off from his family.

MOLYNEUX:
So if the thesis that the only problem in his family is a philosopher from Canada?

RHODES:
I’m saying that according to Barbara a philosopher from Canada–namely yourself–that you have an enormous influence on this young man and that as a result of that influence, she is telling me that he has turned his back on his family. Now, if there is some confusion, would you email Tom and tell him that that is one thing that you would never suggest to him?

MOLYNEUX:
No. What I will do is I will say to you and I’m sure if Tom hears this to his listeners… So what I will say

RHODES:
Tom I gathered is in Sheffield, well away from the area of this program, unfortunately.

MOLYNEUX:
Well, I’m sure that he will hear about it; unfortunately, it has become a bit of a thing.

RHODES:
Yeah.

MOLYNEUX:
But what I will say is that when Tom was talking to me and, and very emotionally, very passionately, and and tearfully talking to me about the physical terror that he lived in in his household, that his father would smash up a room, would smash windows, physically terrorized him for years. If this family thinks that a short conversation I had with him, where I showed strong sympathy for the abuse that he has suffered, if the family thinks that this is my fault that the family is in crisis, they need to think again.

RHODES:
If that were not the case, if his father had not done those things, and I have no idea and I am not suggesting that what you’re saying is the case, I do not know that to be the case. If that is not–

MOLYNEUX:
Barbara has said that is the case.

RHODES:
Yeah, but I’m just saying

MOLYNEUX:
said that the father had violent mood swings.

RHODES:
Right.

Is there any value in Tom maintaining a relationship with his mother?

MOLYNEUX:
I can’t make that decision.

RHODES:
I know. I’m asking you, Do you believe that there will be any value in Tom maintaining a relationship with his mother?

MOLYNEUX:
I can’t make that determination. I mean, how could I? [??] my family. I can say that it is very bad to physically terrorize a child.

RHODES:
I would agree with you absolutely. Absolutely. No question about that at all.

MOLYNEUX:
Obviously, if, I mean… Picture this, right? If I were running a show and some woman called up and said my husband has been physically terrorizing me for years and I said you’re free to leave that relationship or stay, it’s up to you, but I think it’s absolutely terrible what he’s done to you, that would not be a controversial statement, would you agree?

RHODES:
I would agree. Stefan Molyneux, thank you very much for joining me on the program this morning. Much appreciated.

MOLYNEUX:
Thank you very much.
(ends around 16:15:27)

So that’s the scoop! Sorry about the ugly formatting, missed words, and typos. A girl does what she can.

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Comments

  • Dylboz  On November 21, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Stefan Molyneux is a liar.

    How about this, “if I said to you, your mother was corrupt and married to an abusive man, a man so abusive, I shall call him ‘the devil’ and that she became pregnant and had you as a sacrifice, as an offering up to ‘the devil’ who is a ‘sick son-of-a-bitch’ that would be a pretty controversial statement, wouldn’t it?”

    Well, he did in fact say those things, in that very podcast. Toms father was called the devil, a sick son-of-a-bitch and Tom was told by un-Holy Moly that Barbara had him as a sacrifice, offered up to “the devil” himself. It is all there, listen to it if you can stomach the bastard.

  • QuestEon  On November 22, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I listened to the interview as well but your transcriptions was very useful! I put a few notes about it on my blog. I’m starting to like this blogging thing. Does it pay much?

  • Pat  On November 22, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Come on admit it.. Molyneux pulverised Barbara’s argument..

    How is it perverse to tell someone that they can remove themselves from abusive people?.. This isn’t just about families, its about anyone who is abusive.

    And Sonia, if you had actually bothered to debate him on FDR, rather than hurl straw men at him. It might have made for an interesting argument, given your background.. Instead you decided, like so many others to just do a hit & run job on his site..

  • Conrad  On November 22, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Hey Pat,

    I think that at least in some sense you are right re the pulverizing. But I also think that was the case because of the way Stef framed the issue. of course everybody (/a lot of people/some people) agrees that we can remove ourselves from abusive people. If Barbara’s point was that that is not true and Molyneux’ point was that it is, then yeah Molyneux wins the debate hands down. But I don’t think that is what the true discussion is about. And i think Stef manipulated quite a bit in the interview and in the podcast.And this is not only unethical but also dangerous: if one is experiencing very strong emotions and a figure of authority tells you that your mother created you as a sacrificial lamb for your father, if you tell him that you mean less than nothing to them, if in the same breath you mention Gulags, rape and so on, then you are not helping the other to explore these emotions, but instead are busy framing them.

    See below for some copy-pasting

    Stef in the BBC interview:

    Quote:
    RHODES:
    Are you telling me that you would never suggest to somebody like Tom that he should turn his back on his family? You would never suggest that he– that he should do that?

    MOLYNEUX:
    In the conversation that I had with Tom, I simply reminded him that the relationship was optional and I said, “You can stay, you can go, but it is a choice that you should make.”

    RHODES:
    So at no stage would you have suggested that he should go?

    Just told him he had a choice?

    MOLYNEUX:
    I said to him that he … And what would it mean? If some guy in Canada who does a philosophy–

    RHODES:
    No, no, but I’m just asking you whether or not you ever suggested to Tom that he should go and turn his back on his family and cease all communication with them. Did you suggest that at all?

    MOLYNEUX:
    No.

    RHODES:
    You did not.

    MOLYNEUX:
    No.

    —————————–
    Stef in the podcast:

    Quote:
    you don’t have to empathize with these people [Tom’s parents] at all, you understand. In fact, I think it would not be healthy to do so. I mean, i don’t have to sit there and think about my torturer’s bad childhood, right? I just gotta jab him in the eyes and get the hell out if I can, right? Or just get out if I can, without jabbing anyone, even better, right? Right, I mean, the woman being raped doesnt lie back and say ‘wow, this guy had a really bad childhood’ No, she tries to get away, right?

    Then Tom talks a bit about the practical difficulties in trying to get out, about being in a house burning down and you can’t get out. Stef downplays these practical difficulties

    ‘so you can. I’m not saying that you should, right? but let’s deal with the reality of the situation, that if the house were burning down one could get out, right? You may choose not to, you may choose to stay, but you are (not?) stuck, you are not chained. Your feet aren’t sunk in concrete, right? You could leave and you could share a room with someone, right?’

    Stef talks about how he lived with other people when he was young. Stef talks more about the possiblities and then says

    ‘Your parents want you to not think of those possiblities, but aren’t you a little sick and tired of obeying the crazy ass-holes?’

    Tom talks about how his heart is racing now. and Stef says

    ‘Cuz you know what, the house is burning down, right? I mean in terms of your mental health, in terms of your happiness, in terms of your future, it’s a toxic environment. The house is burning down. That metaphor didnt come into your mind for no reason.’

    Then Tom says more about how his situation is untenable now that he knows the truth.
    —————————-

  • Conrad  On November 22, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    and I agree with you at least in part about Sonia’s debating style on FDR. it was unproductive, and not very rich in substantiated accusations. It was more a first formulation of emotions and thoughts she has, but not a detailed argument. (sorry Sonia)

  • Conrad  On November 22, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    sorry for cluttering, but in the second sentence of my first point I meant ‘should be free to remove ourselves from abusive people and often this is a healthy thing to do’ where I said ‘can’.

  • Dinger  On November 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I won’t speak for any other case where Molyneux has offered advice to teens to leave their families, but why aren’t we talking more about the facts instead of hurling insults and accusations?

    Barbara’s mother admits that Tom’s father is abusive! He shouts, breaks things and has rage issues. Listen to Tom on the original podcast. He is obviously a well balanced intelligent young man (as his mother admits). I’m sure the last thing he would do is leave a home where he feels happy and healthy. Barbara only mentions Tom’s yelling that she would never see him again. What must she have said to receive such a response from such a rational young man??? Is Tom a liar??? He was obviously damaged by his family situation, so he decided to leave. Barbara obviously enabled abuse. If she didn’t realize this is what she was doing, and truly doesn’t realize how much pain she has caused Tom, then I do feel some bit of sympathy for her.

  • Karen  On November 22, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I would like someone to define “abusive” here; it’s getting thrown around and it’s being used pretty broadly, beyond the generally understood definition. Then I need to ask two questions:

    First–Does everyone agree that Tom’s father shouts, breaks things, and has rage issues?

    Second–Does everyone agree that people who shout, break things, and have rage issues are abusive?

    I haven’t studied abuse very seriously, and I never suffered abuse, but it seems to me that to be abuse it has to be directed at you. Living with a person with a temper is no fun. But how that person uses the temper or what happens to trigger that temper? Is the person shouting at you because you made too much noise wearing your shoes on the hardwood floor? Or is the person shouting because he’s a big baby who breaks his own toys, and no one in the house takes him seriously?

    The direction and source of the temper is far more pertinent here than the behaviors. I get from some people (I’m obviously reading both boards) that Tom’s dad threw his fits in his office; I’m getting from other people that Tom’s dad stormed around the house, unleashing his rage on whoever or whatever crossed his path, and that Tom’s mother hid herself from this rage by throwing her own children at him as a defense.

  • QuestEon  On November 22, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    And so it goes round and round. People from FDR, when caught on these issues, want to talk about everything except the point. The point is not whether we think Tom’s dad is/is not abusive. The point has nothing to do with Tom’s family or anyone else’s.

    The point is how in the world does Molyneux have the authority/insight to give the extreme advice he does based on a phone call? How can Molyneux, without a shred of training in family counseling, position himself as Tom’s advisor on dealing with his family issues?

    The Guardian article, the BBC interview, my blog, etc., are about one thing and one thing only, and that is Molyneux–Molyneux’s alleged expertise and authority. Everything else is completely immaterial unless and until we can answer the questions about Molyneux.

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Sonia,

    I quote you from the forums, because I assume you’ve been IP banned. I have paraphrased, so no flaming me about missing points

    http://freedomainradio.com/board/forums/p/17902/144390.aspx#144390

    “My judgment is based on what is available on this site and your role in inciting young adults to cut ties with their families.”

    You clearly haven’t checked the material on his site at all.. As it was clear you are being led by your emotions on this.. But that’s fine, we all need to air our initial thoughts at times..

    Molyneuxs response was:

    “Well, perhaps you can tell me where I have said that the only path to freedom is through cutting ties with one’s family of origin? I would very much like to correct such an egregious misstatement. I am also confused as to why I would applaud those who do manage to improve relations with their parents.”

    Your retort was:

    “1. Facts speak for themselves. Parents have lost children to your cult and you know it and everybody knows it by now.”

    How many Sonia? In my estimation around 20 people have defooed thus far from this site and many of them were 25/30+.. Very much the capable adult.

    2. ”I am also confused as to why I would applaud those who do manage to improve relations with their parents.” You are a real cult personality because your followers are fiercely protective of you, of a person who claim to be free and independant and thinking for others.”

    This is just plain rude and completely avoids the question he put to you

    “And I finish my answer with a question: why is that you help young adults in the process of their emancipation ? Normal young adults who don’t have psychological vulnerability don’t need help in this process.”

    Rude again. And again

    How on earth did you imagine that hurling hurtful insults at a community within their own community wouldn’t get you banned? Calling people cultists or weak minded is extraordinarily badly thought out for an intelligent women such as yourself. And as for Tom, well he hasn’t been on the site since his Defoo, so the accusation that Molyneux persuaded him through cult of personality, just doesn’t wash..

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 2:15 am

    Conrad,

    Thank you for your pleasent response

    I am not sure how Molyneux had the ability to frame the interview, I mean the guy was pretty negative from the getgo and certainly forcing him into a corner.

    I agree that he often uses very strong language to describe situations, but if the shoe fits why not wear it? And I agree that people can hang off every word he says at times.. But thinkers and intellectuals have always had this problem.

    Of course Barbara will say there was no abuse, she has no incentive to do otherwise.. She is using the poor helpless mother tact, which is quite shameful really, as this only goes to compound Toms feelings..

    Now many of you may not agree with the defoo process, that is your prerogative and I certainly wouldn’t call you on it either.. We are all liberty seekers here (not sure about Sonia mind).. But as a man of 40 having removed abusive people from my life, including parents. I can definitely attest to an enhanced well being.

    But calling people weak minded, cultists, sick and nut jobs (not you Conrad), is just plain hurtful and unnecessary.. The liberty movement as a whole has enough enemies on the outside to warrant less from the inside..

    Peace

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Questeon

    In fairness your opinion is as lopsided as anyone’s here

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 3:19 am

    hey Pat,

    thanks for your response.

    re the framing: I think he tried to frame the interview by 1) mentioning the ‘physical abuse Tom suffered at the hands of his father’. This is highly suggestive of Tom actually being hit etc. by his father which as far as we know was not the case. (though near the end of the interview he takes away some of the ambiguity by mentioning smashing of rooms, of windows, rather than physically abusing Tom himself, though he still leaves this possible association open by mentioning ‘physically terrorized’), 2) making the debate about whether or not one should have the option to leave in the case of physical abuse, rather than about his role in leading Tom to a certain view of his parents (‘the devil’, ‘created him for the devil’, ‘Gulag’, ‘rape’ etc.)

    the problem with the latter imo is that itis often very unclear whether, as you say, ‘the shoe fits’. And in emotional states people can be very vulnerable to suggestion and manipulation such as the kind that Stef imo practiced.

    I wonder what Stef’s feelings are when he thinks about having a real, trained psychotherapist review his work, for example the conversation with Tom. I think (but have no way to prove this or to back it up much further) that the thought of doing that makes Stef very uncomfortable because he knows that his methods (the framing, suggesting, manipulating) are problematic

    i think Barbara has fully admitted to the fits of rage of Tom’s father and nobody has mentioned any other abuse, so I don’t think your comment about incentives applies here

    One of the very good things about Stef’s work is exactly that he emphasizes the different ways in which children can be made to suffer from actions of their parents, and that in such cases is sympathy is primarily with the child. i think that is very healthy and helpful for such children, it gives them a better idea (I know it did for me) of their experiences, how wrong the behavior of their parents was and how it could be different. But Stef goes far beyond that imo when he describes Tom’s father as ‘the devil’ and says of his mother that she created him for this monster, and that Tom means less than nothing to them, and so on. All without any evidence.

    Sonia made an excellent remark on LM: therapists need to have empathy, but not sympathy. Sympathy is a form of identification, whereas empathy is the ability and willngness to out oneself in the other;s shoies while maintaining one’s own position.

    And to be sure, I think a lot of FDR’ers (also in the ‘inner core’ with imo a handful of exceptions) are intelligent, sensitive, friendly, sympathetic, perceptive and introspective people who have learned a lot of good things from Stefan (as I have). But I also think that they have a fundamental blind spot re some problematic or bad aspects of FDR and Stefan and this clouds/taints (parts of) their thinking, judgement, character and behavior. And yeah, on LM I and others often also make fun of their actions (and at times even of them). That is not always nice.

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Karen,

    yes re your first question
    no re the second

    “I haven’t studied abuse very seriously, and I never suffered abuse, but it seems to me that to be abuse it has to be directed at you. Living with a person with a temper is no fun. But how that person uses the temper or what happens to trigger that temper? Is the person shouting at you because you made too much noise wearing your shoes on the hardwood floor? Or is the person shouting because he’s a big baby who breaks his own toys, and no one in the house takes him seriously?

    The direction and source of the temper is far more pertinent here than the behaviors.”
    I very much agree that all such factors are important to take into consideration when assessong the situation as a whole.

    ” I get from some people (I’m obviously reading both boards) that Tom’s dad threw his fits in his office; I’m getting from other people that Tom’s dad stormed around the house, unleashing his rage on whoever or whatever crossed his path, and that Tom’s mother hid herself from this rage by throwing her own children at him as a defense.”
    The former is true (he also did this in the presence of Tom), the second as far as we all know not: there was never any physical abuse dirceted at Tom (or even the cats). I think he did yell at both Tom and the cats, not entirely sure, but the ohysical violence concerned objects, not people or pets.

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 3:28 am

    Sonia,

    point taken re being able to back up the accusations.

    I don’t have access to FDR here at work, but I will get back to you later today when I do have access and can read your posts again.

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Conrad,

    You make some interesting points regarding Stefs methods. I myself have felt a certain reticence towards him in the past.. It certainly gets up close and personal and that can be intimidating at times. But I always keep the perspective that this is voluntary, so I stay because clearly I am getting some benefit from it. As the son of a christian I am very aware of peoples manipulation and was very much a nihilist in the past, as a means to compensate for such ludicrous beliefs.

    As for Tom being manipulated, which is a tact that Sonia is using also. I do feel that to be a somewhat disingenuous simplification, as Tom has not been on the site much after he defooed and after all at what point do you say that someone is capable of dissecting personal criticism? I mean it took me a while to see through the brutality of my own childhood. Once the recollection of the beatings and the belittlement came back to me, I too was in tears. Although this was a private affair in my own lounge and not on a call in. Of course I am being subjective with that last statement, but how do we know what Tom felt? He isn’t on fdr or with his parents. I can only assume that he is at Uni enjoying himself.

    …”I wonder what Stef’s feelings are when he thinks about having a real, trained psychotherapist review his work”…

    Well the fact that he has been through 2 years of therapy himself and his wife is a trained psychologist with her own practice. He numbers therapists as his friends etc. Ok, I know, you’ll ask have I met these people (no) and his wife is going to be supportive whatever. Indeed that perhaps someones individual therapy bears little resemblance to that of a trained therapists knowledge. But even through these sessions he always advises that you seek therapy, in fact he almost insists on it.

    I would suggest to you that being physical isn’t the only form of abuse, that indeed it can be associated with shouting, ostracism and belittling also. Almost all therapists agree that childhood experience is the bedrock to your future as an adult.

    The challenging thing about fdr is the distinct lack of critcism there is on Stefs books, UPB and RTR. I for one find the arguments most compelling, but I sstruggle to find a decent retort to them intellectually. For the most part people criticise stef the personality. However if you know of any constructive challenge to his thesis I would be obliged to read.

    As anarchists we should be joined at the hip against the iniquities of the state. If some of us anarchists choose to remove people from our lives for our own sanity then we should be allowed to do so in peace, without people being disrepectful to us (not you, at least not here :)). People dont make these decisions lightly. As I ponted out to Sonia in an earlier post, I only know of about 20 cases on a site that has thousands of listerners. We can only come to the correct assumption via heartfelt honesty with ourselves and loved ones.

    I dont expect you to agree with me, indeed I completely respect your thoughts, even if I conclude that you are wrong. I do know however, that we probably agree on a whole lot more than we disagree on… Rgds

  • QuestEon  On November 23, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Hi, Pat

    I thought about your comment about my “opinion is as lopsided as anyone’s here,” and I feel uncomfortable being dismissed in that way. I expend a lot of effort to ensure that I don’t engage in ad hominems, or conjecture, or fabrication. There’s probably no hiding that I have an opinion, but–at least on my blog–I write, edit, and re-write until I’m sure everything I say is factually supported. My challenge has always been: don’t take my word for it–get an hour with a legitimate therapist, play him Tom’s podcast (or any podcast therapy Molyneux has provided to any member), and have him critique Molyneux’s ability and motives. I’ll defer to that therapist’s opinion.

    For example, in an earlier post, you said this: “I agree that he often uses very strong language to describe situations, but if the shoe fits why not wear it? And I agree that people can hang off every word he says at times.. But thinkers and intellectuals have always had this problem.”

    In this case, how does anyone know the shoe fits (or that it was a shoe at all)? I promise you (opinion, yes, but I promise!), if Tom had gone to a legitimate therapist with a concern about animal cruelty, there is no way in the world that within 20 minutes the therapist would be lathered into a rage about an evil father. The emotional accusations Molyneux made, which I factually list on my blog, were not a result of things that Tom said but an expanding series of Molyeux’s own conjectures. To complete the cliche, I think Molyneux made the shoe while he was talking to Tom and shoved it onto his foot.

    The part you said about thinkers and intellectuals always having the problem of people hanging off every word…well, let’s look at that. Because this particular session begins and ends with Tom telling Molyneux he loves him. Tom is calling Molyneux for insight into his own psyche–to help understand why he detests cruelty to animals. This isn’t simply any thinker or intellectual–this is a man who has a personal and authoritative relationship with Tom. And not only that, one who both believe is qualified to go tinkering around in Tom’s psyche. That’s just not quite the same as being influenced by some intellectual’s book.

    About Molyneux’s qualifications; I think they are slim. He touts having two years of therapy, but that’s irrelevant or less. I don’t know the quality of the therapist he had. I don’t know if the therapist himself or herself would say he/she made much progress. But above all that–to use an analogy–I don’t know if getting chemotherapy myself would necessarily qualify me to treat cancer in others. I’m not sure how much credibility Christina-by-association gives him, either.

    If I have one, over-riding opinion–at least on the Guardian article and the BBC interview that followed (and now Molyneux’s podcast 1214)–is that Molyneux takes a consistent tactic in all. The tactic is to berate Tom’s mother as an insentive attack dog, decry this public humiliation of Tom, and minimize his own role as a simple philosopher in Canada who happens to run a Web site. But the tactic doesn’t hold water because of the manner in which Molyneux consistently pushes Tom into the center of discussion. Ignoring the simple Web site argument, the larger argument is this: if Molyneux were honestly, truly, fully concerned about Tom’s humiliation. If he had true sympathy and wanted to do everything he could to minimize Tom’s public humiliation, then he wouldn’t publicy discuss him or his family matters at all. My opinion, and it is my opinion, is that we’re seeing crocodile tears.

    Finally, you were talking about those who call “people weak minded, cultists, sick and nut jobs.” I hope you didn’t mean me. Again, I do try to avoid personal attacks. I think I have good reason to believe that FDR is a cult. I’ve had people disagree with me on that point, but never anyone who has objectively read a book by a cult expert and has learned how they operate. Knowing now what I have learned about cults–I realize that it has nothing to do with weak-mindedness. In fact, the people who typically join cults are very intelligent. They are searching for something (whereas the truly weak-minded are more or less complacent with things as they are!) It is not the type of mind you have that is important, it is the point of vulnerability you are in your life. Anyone in the middle of a radical life change, especially where potential lonliness is involved–divorce, job transfer, etc.–is at an emotionally vulnerable time and a potential cult target. It is no accident that Molyneux targets his outreach toward people in their late teens and early twenties. Again, I don’t believe there is a conscious part of Molyneux’s mind saying, “I am building a cult and therefore these are the people I must target…” I believe that Molyneux has no intention or desire to be manipulative in any way. He is a true believer, along with everyone else.

    By the way, I’m not sure how much more patience Karen may have for this conversation here. If you’d like to talk further, I hope you’ll consider coming over to Liberating Minds. That’s where I usually hang out.

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Sonia,

    you are evading,,

    If you do not wish to discuss your lack of debate that is fine. Just refrain from insulting people with no knowledge or curiosity about what they are saying..

    Courtesy and mutual respect go a long way to having a healthy debate..

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 10:31 am

    QuestEon,

    Apologies if my posting was somewhat flippant..

    re – The insults – I wasn’t referring to you..

    I have indeed considered all these fears myself.. I spent an inordinate amount of time reading the books and talking with my therapist.. I am not bound by Molyneux, if he demanded anything of me I would immediately question it.. I’m not even bound by the community, neither is Tom by the looks of it.

    I cant say it enough times Tom doesn’t frequent fdr at the moment, so your thoughts concerning Molyneux’s influence is mere conjecture. You clearly see this as your corner piece for criticising Molyneux. But we will just have to politely disagree with each other on this one.

    As to his qualifications, He has an MA in History and well I personally have a degree in fine art. However a lack of degree didn’t stop Francis Bacon from becoming a great painter and me as a mediocre one at best. Why are we falling onto statist qualifications as the only source of knowledge? I think that Christina would reign him in, as she has her own career to be concerned about and if he was inappropriately abusing listeners she would step in.

    As to Molyneux discussing Tom, well that is tricky eh? I mean he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. People are clearly going to ask, as they have done.

    What I really want is a refutation of his ideas, but no one can make one. So indeed I am suspicious of people’s criticisms of Molyneux. Yes he may well have all manner of faults, like us all and indeed perhaps doesn’t even live up to his own ideals. I really couldn’t tell you, I’ve never met him apart from a brief conversation on the phone. But he has been warm, courteous and most affable on the whole.

    You admit yourself that Molyneux has no idea he is creating a cult. You infer that I must have been vulnerable, therefore by definition you describe me as a unwitting cultist, for which, sorry, I find offensive.. I could say that you are seemingly obsessed with what you perceive as fdr’s failings.. But I concur that your work is both rigorous and intellectually honest.

    But wouldn’t you agree that the state is perhaps the worst cult of all, next to religion? And has done more harm to people than any Molyneux call in show ever could?..

    Kind Rgds

    P.S. If Karen would like to bring this thread to a close, I will be more than happy to have polite exchange at your blog

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Sonia,

    Clearly you are a most obstinate women

    Apologies Karen, but she is clearly showing scant regard to my points

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Dear Sonia,

    below a brief analysis of your posts on FDR. To be sure, I am not at all defending Stefan in this analysis, I am just saying that you don’t provide enough evidence or arguments to back up your claims. i appreciate your passion, but without careful argumentation it won’t do much good FDR-wise.

    ”All I can say to Tom is this: if you really want to become a free man and define yourself from the inside and not with the help of frauds like Molyneux and his online community, go and hug your mother and try to settle with her and your family whatever griefs you had and still have against them. This is the only way to a free adulthood. ”

    these are very strong statements that I for one find implausible. That need not mean anything if you can back them up with evidence. But you know very little about Tom’s situation and about the possiblities for good things coming out of your approach in this case. Also, you would need to provide evidence that would warrant this kind of general statement.

    “Don’t let people manipulate you.”

    You would have to provide evidence or make a good case for Stefan’s manipulation of Tom. I am not saying that is impossible, but you need to actually do it.

    “As human beings we should feel responsibility toward others, especially when these others are young adults in identity crisis and vulnerable. What Mr. Molyneux does is to feel opportunity at every vulnerability, opportunity to profit from the vulnerabilities of the people who are seeking a way to their emancipation in a dificult personal context (sometimes pathological). This is called predation.”

    These are very strong accusations and you would need to back them up with evidence or otherwise make a good case for them. If you don’t do that then it is no wonder that this comes across as just an attempt at insulting or as a very strong expression of personal feelings.

    To my knowledge, Mr Molyneux does not hold a degree in Philosophy. Philosophy is not just words, Philosophy is rigourous thinking combined with an ethical methodology,”

    Okay, but you don’t display that rigorous thinking in this post and so it is easy for them to attack you on this.

    “ Mr. Molyneux has neither, he doesn’t even have doubt.”

    also a strong statement that you would need to substantiate

    “ Philosophy could not exist without doubt.”

    well, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on this one

    “My judgement is based on what is available on this site and your role in inciting young adults to cut ties with their families.”

    Again, you need to provide actual evidence for this, references to statements in podcasts or threads or books, descriptions of events that illustrate this, etc. But you don’t do that.

    “And on this I have little doubt.
    If your goal is to set people free from unwanted relationships so why call your enterprise defoo (foo for ‘family of origin’). The very name of this whole mascarade suggests that in order to emancipate, young adult should choose another family than their family of origin. “

    I get your point re the term and I think it is a good observation that it can be interpreted that way, but you need to provide evidence for your statement that the term suggests (or, to prove a somewhat different but much related point) that it simply is the case that Stefan holds that ‘in order to emancipate, young adult should choose another family than their family of origin.’

    “This is not emancipation, this is subjugation. True emancipation is when young adults are able to define themselves differently from their families, not against, and definitely not in another family like your virtual one. Self defining is not true when it is set against something or someone, it is not true either when it is directed from the outside like you do. It should be only a personal matter done with personal resources and conducted in a positive spirit, not in a spirit of self victimisation.”

    i think there are quite a few valuable points in this, but it is in itself not a substantiated argument critiquing Stefanl. You would for example have to show that Stefan encourages self victimisation (and i think there is significant evidence for this, but you don’t give it in your post), that true emancipation cannot be had by people defining themselves in another family like ‘Stef’s virtual one’, etc.

    “You are not helping these young adults who defoo, you are robbing them of their true adulthood and emancipation which is the most creative process in an entire adult life.
    So, yes, I have little doubt about what you do.”

    But you don’t give evidence for your claim. It seems that you imply that either the Guardian article or the podcast is evidence enough already, but then it would help if you picked out those parts that you think substantiate your point and invite discussion about them.
    But your style is very confrontational and I don’t think it is a surprise that people then dismiss you and your points this way, especially since you don’t provide evidence.

    Stefan writes: “Well, perhaps you can tell me where I have said that the only path to freedom is through cutting ties with one’s family of origin? I would very much like to correct such an egregious misstatement. I am also confused as to why I would applaud those who do manage to improve relations with their parents.(my emphasis) If you could provide a link or reference to back up your certain knowledge, I would really appreciate your kindness. Thanks!”

    And you respond:
    “My answer is twofold:
    1. Facts speak for themselves. Parents have lost children to your cult and you know it and everybody knows it by now.”

    This is a highly charged statement and even if true what exactly does it prove in terms of Stef’s question?
    Also, you never said that Stef said that the only path to freedom is through cutting ties with one’s family of origin. Those are his words, not yours, so now you feel obliged to defend a statement you never made.

    “2. Followers speak better for you than you do for yourself and the best exampe is that one of them has just corrected is strange statement fo yours: ”I am also confused as to why I would applaud those who do manage to improve relations with their parents.” You are a real cult personality because your followers are fiercely protective of a person who claim to be free and independant.”

    But if that is the best example proving or illustrating your case, then i think the case is not strong. One can be fiercely protective of somebody even when one is free and independent. Moreover, even that still has to be proven, that they are fiercely protective. That single example does not prove it.

    “And I finish my answer with a question: why is that you help young adults in the process of their emancipation ? Normal young adults who don’t have psychological vulnerability don’t need help in this process. “

    Even if that is true, what point exactly do you intend for it to prove or illustrate? And besides that, it is again a very strong statement and you don’t give evidence for it or even arguments at all.

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Sonia,

    I made my points very clearly.. feel free to express your disaproval..

    You were rude and uncurious

    But, given your background I did think you might have something worthwhile to say

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Conrad,
    You make some interesting points regarding Stefs methods. I myself have felt a certain reticence towards him in the past.. It certainly gets up close and personal and that can be intimidating at times.”

    I don’t mind that aspect per se though. In fact, it has helped me quite a bit I think

    “But I always keep the perspective that this is voluntary, so I stay because clearly I am getting some benefit from it. As the son of a christian I am very aware of peoples manipulation and was very much a nihilist in the past, as a means to compensate for such ludicrous beliefs.”
    I agree re its being voluntary in the sense that no coercion is used. But that may not be the whole story. To give an extreme example: suppose somebody is in a codependent relationship with somebody who constantly denigrates, belittles etc. him. Perhaps the person had serious psychological problems caused by biological or family circumstances. And so he is now vulnerable and the other person uses that without coercion. The situation is still voluntary but also unhealthy and possibly immoral. So voluntarism need not be the whole story.

    “As for Tom being manipulated, which is a tact that Sonia is using also. I do feel that to be a somewhat disingenuous simplification, as Tom has not been on the site much after he defooed and after all at what point do you say that someone is capable of dissecting personal criticism?”
    yah, that is a greay area, no clear demarcations that I know of. And it is interesting that Tom has not been around FDR much since his defoo. That may indicate that he has taken an independent decision (although it need not). But the manipulation that i mean is Stef’s framing of the ‘discussion’ in the podcast as I have indicated earlier and at several places. It could be that Tom eventually made an independent decision, but that does not mean that Stef’s behavior in the podcast was not manipulative.

    “I mean it took me a while to see through the brutality of my own childhood. Once the recollection of the beatings and the belittlement came back to me, I too was in tears.”
    I had somewhat similar experiences — though I am of course no cry baby… ;-) — and in this respect Stefan and FDR can be *very* helpful, to help one reconsider one’s childhood, to relive aspects of it and try to make sense of it. What is unhelpful and unhealthy in my opinion is tghe next step that Stefan took in for example the podcast, the framing of the issue, the strong strong words he uses. That is not a helpful way to explore such emotions, I think. If it all comes from tom himself while you are asking open-ended questions then it may be very helpful to let his emotions come, to give him that room, perhaps it’s the first time he ever has had such strong emotions or thought about these matters at all and it may be very helpful to let him experience for example the possible anger that comes up. A different matter is then feeding into that anger, which as I and QuestEon as well, have argued Stefan was doing by for example saying that Tom’s mother created him to sacrifice him to his devil father, or by saying that he means less than nothing to his parents. Those are all completely unsubstantiated statements and he says it with full conviction at a moment where Tom is in a distraught state. That imo is the danger.

    “ Although this was a private affair in my own lounge and not on a call in. Of course I am being subjective with that last statement, but how do we know what Tom felt? He isn’t on fdr or with his parents. I can only assume that he is at Uni enjoying himself.”
    That may be true, but it is not the only or clearly more likely possibility.

    “Well the fact that he has been through 2 years of therapy himself and his wife is a trained psychologist with her own practice. He numbers therapists as his friends etc. Ok, I know, you’ll ask have I met these people (no) “
    i did not even know he has said this

    “and his wife is going to be supportive whatever. Indeed that perhaps someones individual therapy bears little resemblance to that of a trained therapists knowledge. But even through these sessions he always advises that you seek therapy, in fact he almost insists on it.”
    he did not do that with Tom in the podcast I think. And i think, but i am not going to go search for evidence because it is too time-consuming, he didnt do that with some others either. Also, but this is just hearsay, somebody told me that some FDR’ers encourage each other or are encouraged by Stef to not talk about everything that is going on at FDR, because they think it will just be misunderstood as a cult. Moreover, even just such a session, coupled with exposure to hundreds of hours of podcasts and being in a community of very like-minded people can already have as an effect a certain perception and memory (that may not be correct or at least not the only possible one) that people take with them going into therapy. It could be that a therapist sees throguh that and would be able to openly explore the perception though.
    “I would suggest to you that being physical isn’t the only form of abuse, that indeed it can be associated with shouting, ostracism and belittling also.”
    i agree. But that does not mean that tom’s father’s fits of rage, his smashing stuff and yelling at the cat (and I think at least at times at Tom as well) is the whole story. There may have been valuable things in the relationship as well
    i remember that when I was quite into FDR I had a phase in which my feelings about my parents were almost solely very negative, but later I also realized that there are very postitive elements as well and I am happy that i did not defoo and now have a much more independent, healthy relationship with them. Defooing, at least in my case, may have been more like trying to flee from my problems (in general, not just) with my parents, not trying to solve them.

    “Almost all therapists agree that childhood experience is the bedrock to your future as an adult.”
    Could be, although others would argue for a biological basis, and opinions will differ about the way in which childhood experiences are the bedrock and in general there are serious methodological hurdles to overcome before strong statements either way can be made.
    Incidentally, my therapist said that the effects of for example sexual abuse are often very much overstated, that for the majority of children who were sexually abused there are no very serious long-term consequences.
    Now that too is a very strong statement and she did cite some research, but i don’t accept that at face value either. I think it is an open question.

    “The challenging thing about fdr is the distinct lack of critcism there is on Stefs books, UPB and RTR. I for one find the arguments most compelling, but I sstruggle to find a decent retort to them intellectually. For the most part people criticise stef the personality. However if you know of any constructive challenge to his thesis I would be obliged to read.”
    An excellent, very detailed and imo definitive critique of UPB can be found here. http://libertarian-left.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Molyneux%20Project?updated-max=2008-01-01T16%3A10%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=20 And there are several threads on LM where there are good ones as well, especially the one with BlackAcidLizzard here http://liberatingminds.forumotion.com/freedomainradio-f26/upb-show-me-the-error-of-my-understanding-t759.htm. I think i did a pretty good job as LiMi on FdR in questioning Stefan’s very strong statements about the relation between the family and for example political beliefs and practices. Search for ‘LiMi’ on FDR and check the last 10 or 20 posts or so, in that thread. And I don’t think Stefan debated very honorably in that thread, and in a lot of others. I can give you some examples if you are interested.

    “As anarchists we should be joined at the hip against the iniquities of the state. If some of us anarchists choose to remove people from our lives for our own sanity then we should be allowed to do so in peace,”
    i agree

    “ without people being disrepectful to us “
    True as well, although disrespectful behavior can of course not be prevented or punished by force.
    The reason i for example dislike Stef so very much is not that he himself has defooed or given great insights into the idea of ‘no unchosen positive obligations’ and psychology, but because I think he behaves in a fundamentally very dishonest way, and he bullies quite a bit, and he makes grandiose claims for himself, his ideas and FDR that are based on very little (e.g. Re UPB)
    That for me is what makes him a legit object for ridicule and scorn in addition to serious argument.
    The great majority of people on FDR I would absolutely not evaluate in similar terms, but quite a few have behaved in similar manners and to the extent that they do, I have no problems in ridiculing their actions and beliefs.

    “(not you, at least not here :))”
    ha! excellent qualification there ;-)

    “People dont make these decisions lightly. As I ponted out to Sonia in an earlier post, I only know of about 20 cases on a site that has thousands of listerners. “
    That could be, I don’t know the numbers. I think that on LM there have been parents or relatives of at least 10 different people, so that would be half of that number, which seems quite high but which is not impossible.
    But it is not entirely clear to me in what context I should see your point here. Do you mean that Stefan’s influence is less than what i may perceive it to be?

    “We can only come to the correct assumption via heartfelt honesty with ourselves and loved ones.”
    very much agree

    “I dont expect you to agree with me,”
    Oh, I do expect you to completely agree with me, so eh… ;-)

    “ indeed I completely respect your thoughts, even if I conclude that you are wrong. I do know however, that we probably agree on a whole lot more than we disagree on… Rgds”
    Same here and I am much enjoying (/have much enjoyed?) this conversation

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    think my prev attempt failed, possibly because of its lenghtiness, so I is gonna be trying it in two parts

    “Conrad,
    You make some interesting points regarding Stefs methods. I myself have felt a certain reticence towards him in the past.. It certainly gets up close and personal and that can be intimidating at times.”

    I don’t mind that aspect per se though. In fact, it has helped me quite a bit I think

    “But I always keep the perspective that this is voluntary, so I stay because clearly I am getting some benefit from it. As the son of a christian I am very aware of peoples manipulation and was very much a nihilist in the past, as a means to compensate for such ludicrous beliefs.”
    I agree re its being voluntary in the sense that no coercion is used. But that may not be the whole story. To give an extreme example: suppose somebody is in a codependent relationship with somebody who constantly denigrates, belittles etc. him. Perhaps the person had serious psychological problems caused by biological or family circumstances. And so he is now vulnerable and the other person uses that without coercion. The situation is still voluntary but also unhealthy and possibly immoral. So voluntarism need not be the whole story.

    “As for Tom being manipulated, which is a tact that Sonia is using also. I do feel that to be a somewhat disingenuous simplification, as Tom has not been on the site much after he defooed and after all at what point do you say that someone is capable of dissecting personal criticism?”
    yah, that is a greay area, no clear demarcations that I know of. And it is interesting that Tom has not been around FDR much since his defoo. That may indicate that he has taken an independent decision (although it need not). But the manipulation that i mean is Stef’s framing of the ‘discussion’ in the podcast as I have indicated earlier and at several places. It could be that Tom eventually made an independent decision, but that does not mean that Stef’s behavior in the podcast was not manipulative.

    “I mean it took me a while to see through the brutality of my own childhood. Once the recollection of the beatings and the belittlement came back to me, I too was in tears.”
    I had somewhat similar experiences — though I am of course no cry baby… ;-) — and in this respect Stefan and FDR can be *very* helpful, to help one reconsider one’s childhood, to relive aspects of it and try to make sense of it. What is unhelpful and unhealthy in my opinion is tghe next step that Stefan took in for example the podcast, the framing of the issue, the strong strong words he uses. That is not a helpful way to explore such emotions, I think. If it all comes from tom himself while you are asking open-ended questions then it may be very helpful to let his emotions come, to give him that room, perhaps it’s the first time he ever has had such strong emotions or thought about these matters at all and it may be very helpful to let him experience for example the possible anger that comes up. A different matter is then feeding into that anger, which as I and QuestEon as well, have argued Stefan was doing by for example saying that Tom’s mother created him to sacrifice him to his devil father, or by saying that he means less than nothing to his parents. Those are all completely unsubstantiated statements and he says it with full conviction at a moment where Tom is in a distraught state. That imo is the danger.

    “ Although this was a private affair in my own lounge and not on a call in. Of course I am being subjective with that last statement, but how do we know what Tom felt? He isn’t on fdr or with his parents. I can only assume that he is at Uni enjoying himself.”
    That may be true, but it is not the only or clearly more likely possibility.

    “Well the fact that he has been through 2 years of therapy himself and his wife is a trained psychologist with her own practice. He numbers therapists as his friends etc. Ok, I know, you’ll ask have I met these people (no) “
    i did not even know he has said this

    “and his wife is going to be supportive whatever. Indeed that perhaps someones individual therapy bears little resemblance to that of a trained therapists knowledge. But even through these sessions he always advises that you seek therapy, in fact he almost insists on it.”
    he did not do that with Tom in the podcast I think. And i think, but i am not going to go search for evidence because it is too time-consuming, he didnt do that with some others either. Also, but this is just hearsay, somebody told me that some FDR’ers encourage each other or are encouraged by Stef to not talk about everything that is going on at FDR, because they think it will just be misunderstood as a cult. Moreover, even just such a session, coupled with exposure to hundreds of hours of podcasts and being in a community of very like-minded people can already have as an effect a certain perception and memory (that may not be correct or at least not the only possible one) that people take with them going into therapy. It could be that a therapist sees throuh that and would be able to openly explore the perception though.

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    “I would suggest to you that being physical isn’t the only form of abuse, that indeed it can be associated with shouting, ostracism and belittling also.”

    i agree. But that does not mean that tom’s father’s fits of rage, his smashing stuff and yelling at the cat (and I think at least at times at Tom as well) is the whole story. There may have been valuable things in the relationship as well
    i remember that when I was quite into FDR I had a phase in which my feelings about my parents were almost solely very negative, but later I also realized that there are very postitive elements as well and I am happy that i did not defoo and now have a much more independent, healthy relationship with them. Defooing, at least in my case, may have been more like trying to flee from my problems (in general, not just) with my parents, not trying to solve them.

    “Almost all therapists agree that childhood experience is the bedrock to your future as an adult.”

    Could be, although others would argue for a biological basis, and opinions will differ about the way in which childhood experiences are the bedrock and in general there are serious methodological hurdles to overcome before strong statements either way can be made.
    Incidentally, my therapist said that the effects of for example sexual abuse are often very much overstated, that for the majority of children who were sexually abused there are no very serious long-term consequences.
    Now that too is a very strong statement and she did cite some research, but i don’t accept that at face value either. I think it is an open question.

    “The challenging thing about fdr is the distinct lack of critcism there is on Stefs books, UPB and RTR. I for one find the arguments most compelling, but I sstruggle to find a decent retort to them intellectually. For the most part people criticise stef the personality. However if you know of any constructive challenge to his thesis I would be obliged to read.”

    An excellent, very detailed and imo definitive critique of UPB can be found here. http://libertarian-left.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Molyneux%20Project?updated-max=2008-01-01T16%3A10%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=20 And there are several threads on LM where there are good ones as well, especially the one with BlackAcidLizzard here http://liberatingminds.forumotion.com/freedomainradio-f26/upb-show-me-the-error-of-my-understanding-t759.htm. I think i did a pretty good job as LiMi on FdR in questioning Stefan’s very strong statements about the relation between the family and for example political beliefs and practices. Search for ‘LiMi’ on FDR and check the last 10 or 20 posts or so, in that thread. And I don’t think Stefan debated very honorably in that thread, and in a lot of others. I can give you some examples if you are interested.

    “As anarchists we should be joined at the hip against the iniquities of the state. If some of us anarchists choose to remove people from our lives for our own sanity then we should be allowed to do so in peace,”

    i agree

    “ without people being disrepectful to us “

    True as well, although disrespectful behavior can of course not be prevented or punished by force.
    The reason i for example dislike Stef so very much is not that he himself has defooed or given great insights into the idea of ‘no unchosen positive obligations’ and psychology, but because I think he behaves in a fundamentally very dishonest way, and he bullies quite a bit, and he makes grandiose claims for himself, his ideas and FDR that are based on very little (e.g. Re UPB)
    That for me is what makes him a legit object for ridicule and scorn in addition to serious argument.
    The great majority of people on FDR I would absolutely not evaluate in similar terms, but quite a few have behaved in similar manners and to the extent that they do, I have no problems in ridiculing their actions and beliefs.

    “(not you, at least not here :))”

    ha! excellent with the qualifying there

    “People dont make these decisions lightly. As I ponted out to Sonia in an earlier post, I only know of about 20 cases on a site that has thousands of listerners. “

    That could be, I don’t know the numbers. I think that on LM there have been parents or relatives of at least 10 different people, so that would be half of that number, which seems quite high but which is not impossible.
    But it is not entirely clear to me in what context I should see your point here. Do you mean that Stefan’s influence is less than what i may perceive it to be?

    “We can only come to the correct assumption via heartfelt honesty with ourselves and loved ones.”

    very much agree

    “I dont expect you to agree with me,”

    Oh, I do expect you to completely agree with me, so eh… ;-)

    “ indeed I completely respect your thoughts, even if I conclude that you are wrong. I do know however, that we probably agree on a whole lot more than we disagree on… Rgds”

    Same here and I am much enjoying (/have much enjoyed?) this conversation

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    “As to his qualifications, He has an MA in History and well I personally have a degree in fine art. However a lack of degree didn’t stop Francis Bacon from becoming a great painter and me as a mediocre one at best. Why are we falling onto statist qualifications as the only source of knowledge? I think that Christina would reign him in, as she has her own career to be concerned about and if he was inappropriately abusing listeners she would step in.”
    I agree with QuestEon here: if a practicing psychologist listens to Stef’s podcast with Tom and says that there are no problems with what Stef did in it, then I will stand corrected. I don’t think the psychologist *will* say that, but if (s)he does (may be best to have a couple of ’em listen to it) then I was fundamentally wrong. I could go to a psychologist myself and let them listen but then likely my report would not be trusted because I have an obvious bias. But I will happily pay a substantial part of the costs of a session if Stef lets a psychologist listen to it. I just am almost certain that he will not do that because he *knows* what a psychologist would say. But of course I cannot prove any of that.
    Re Christina: i think Stef has said that he alone is responsible for the content of his podcasts and that nothing should be taken as Christina (in her capacity as a psychological associate) endorses it. I don’t think that is wholly true, but at least that is his position. Moreover, I am not sure that Christina will have the objectivity required to make a professional assessment of what Stefan is doing simply because she is married to him and has been with him throughout the whole FDR history.

    “But wouldn’t you agree that the state is perhaps the worst cult of all, next to religion? And has done more harm to people than any Molyneux call in show ever could?.. “
    Absolutely. But that does not mean that therefore Stefan cannot be criticised. In a sense criticising Stef would only be helping him in the enormous task he has set for himself and for FDR, because if the criticism is valid he might use it to improve his work which at least in his own eyes is the best he can do for the world.

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    “I would suggest to you that being physical isn’t the only form of abuse, that indeed it can be associated with shouting, ostracism and belittling also.”
    i agree. But that does not mean that tom’s father’s fits of rage, his smashing stuff and yelling at the cat (and I think at least at times at Tom as well) is the whole story. There may have been valuable things in the relationship as well
    i remember that when I was quite into FDR I had a phase in which my feelings about my parents were almost solely very negative, but later I also realized that there are very postitive elements as well and I am happy that i did not defoo and now have a much more independent, healthy relationship with them. Defooing, at least in my case, may have been more like trying to flee from my problems (in general, not just) with my parents, not trying to solve them.

    “Almost all therapists agree that childhood experience is the bedrock to your future as an adult.”
    Could be, although others would argue for a biological basis, and opinions will differ about the way in which childhood experiences are the bedrock and in general there are serious methodological hurdles to overcome before strong statements either way can be made.
    Incidentally, my therapist said that the effects of for example sexual abuse are often very much overstated, that for the majority of children who were sexually abused there are no very serious long-term consequences.
    Now that too is a very strong statement and she did cite some research, but i don’t accept that at face value either. I think it is an open question.

    “The challenging thing about fdr is the distinct lack of critcism there is on Stefs books, UPB and RTR. I for one find the arguments most compelling, but I sstruggle to find a decent retort to them intellectually. For the most part people criticise stef the personality. However if you know of any constructive challenge to his thesis I would be obliged to read.”
    An excellent, very detailed and imo definitive critique of UPB can be found here. http://libertarian-left.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Molyneux%20Project?updated-max=2008-01-01T16%3A10%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=20 And there are several threads on LM where there are good ones as well, especially the one with BlackAcidLizzard here http://liberatingminds.forumotion.com/freedomainradio-f26/upb-show-me-the-error-of-my-understanding-t759.htm. I think i did a pretty good job as LiMi on FdR in questioning Stefan’s very strong statements about the relation between the family and for example political beliefs and practices. Search for ‘LiMi’ on FDR and check the last 10 or 20 posts or so, in that thread. And I don’t think Stefan debated very honorably in that thread, and in a lot of others. I can give you some examples if you are interested.

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    “As anarchists we should be joined at the hip against the iniquities of the state. If some of us anarchists choose to remove people from our lives for our own sanity then we should be allowed to do so in peace,”
    i agree

    “ without people being disrepectful to us “
    True as well, although disrespectful behavior can of course not be prevented or punished by force.
    The reason i for example dislike Stef so very much is not that he himself has defooed or given great insights into the idea of ‘no unchosen positive obligations’ and psychology, but because I think he behaves in a fundamentally very dishonest way, and he bullies quite a bit, and he makes grandiose claims for himself, his ideas and FDR that are based on very little (e.g. Re UPB)
    That for me is what makes him a legit object for ridicule and scorn in addition to serious argument.
    The great majority of people on FDR I would absolutely not evaluate in similar terms, but quite a few have behaved in similar manners and to the extent that they do, I have no problems in ridiculing their actions and beliefs.

    “(not you, at least not here :))”
    ha! excellent qualification there ;-)

    “People dont make these decisions lightly. As I ponted out to Sonia in an earlier post, I only know of about 20 cases on a site that has thousands of listerners. “
    That could be, I don’t know the numbers. I think that on LM there have been parents or relatives of at least 10 different people, so that would be half of that number, which seems quite high but which is not impossible.
    But it is not entirely clear to me in what context I should see your point here. Do you mean that Stefan’s influence is less than what i may perceive it to be?

    “We can only come to the correct assumption via heartfelt honesty with ourselves and loved ones.”
    very much agree

    “I dont expect you to agree with me,”
    Oh, I do expect you to completely agree with me, so eh… ;-)

    “ indeed I completely respect your thoughts, even if I conclude that you are wrong. I do know however, that we probably agree on a whole lot more than we disagree on… Rgds”
    Same here and I am much enjoying (/have much enjoyed?) this conversation

  • Conrad  On November 23, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Do karen or pat mind if I link to this conversation on LM or copy-paste it? I think it is one of the very few conversations directly between people who disagree on Stefan’s methods, and one of the very very few civil and productive ones.

  • Karen  On November 23, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Be my guest! Link away, copy paste away, post here away, whatever. It’s all good.

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Conrad,

    “ without people being disrepectful to us “
    True as well, although disrespectful behavior can of course not be prevented or punished by force.

    LOL, agreed.. I guess I meant that its preferrable to be respectful.. :-)

    By all means copy and paste it, just ask your members to go easy on me… without force of course.. :-)

  • Pat  On November 23, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Conrad,

    Apologies that I didnt respond to your other question, forgive my tiredness…

    “People dont make these decisions lightly. As I ponted out to Sonia in an earlier post, I only know of about 20 cases on a site that has thousands of listerners. “
    That could be, I don’t know the numbers. I think that on LM there have been parents or relatives of at least 10 different people, so that would be half of that number, which seems quite high but which is not impossible.
    But it is not entirely clear to me in what context I should see your point here. Do you mean that Stefan’s influence is less than what i may perceive it to be?

    Agreed that my knowledge is purely anecdotal.. I cannot know for sure how many have defooed… Indeed i was unaware of Toms defoo too, until the guardian article.. But for sure it is rare compared to the listenership.. imo

  • Johny  On November 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I think the important thing to take from Sonia’s short time at the FDR board before she got IP banned was this freudian slip from Molyneux, ”I am also confused as to why I would applaud those who do manage to improve relations with their parents.”
    I dont really believe in coincidences in language and neither did Freud i think this “accidental” statement from Stefan shows his true feelings toward parents from his own mouth.

  • Pat  On November 27, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Sonia,

    “I am not an anarchist and I think anarchists from the right and left are wrong,”

    So stop trying to befriend anarchists for your own ends on all manner of threads throughout the internet.. Your input is non productive and as you have clearly pointed out to everyone here.. you believe yourself to be way above everyone else..

    Enjoy your ivory tower doll..

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    […] can’t find the audio on the BBC site, both interviews have been transcribed by Karen at her Iconoclast or Malcontent? […]

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