Anti-Semitism, Censorship, and Taking One for the Team

I should be cooking dinner right now. But instead of standing in the kitchen, I am sitting at the computer, wearing shoes of all things! The nerve of some women! Right? (That’s an inside joke, but see what I just did there?)

A comment on my Amish Mushroom Soup post is too good to sit on. Let us embark on another Daily Dig:

Our story starts this morning at 11:46 AM PDT (December 3). Conrad at Liberating Minds has gotten an email from his forum host. Apparently (and I have no way of knowing this for sure) Stefan Molyneux, or someone impersonating him, has started “litigation” (it doesn’t appear to be a lawsuit or take place in any court) and has asked for the Liberating Minds forum to be deleted, on the grounds of being slanderous, vulgar, obscene, and threatening. The filer of the complaint links to the page at Freedomain Radio in which Molyneux listed all those quotes from Liberating Minds (the page I linked to already, so you probably read it). I always forget the difference between libel and slander, although I’m sure that the insults have flowed pretty liberally both ways (although with fewer cuss words from FDR than from LiMi). Vulgar and Obscene is just a fact of life, I think, and I haven’t seen any threats come out of LiMi in the threads I’ve read related to the Guardian article and the FDR discussion board. I can understand if Molyneux feels threatened, but I don’t think feelings necessarily match up to someone else’s behavior. Anyway, he plays the anti-semitism card again, this time really making it official. I didn’t think much about the anti-Semitism in the Big Statement, because frankly I didn’t close read it, but the LiMi crowd has been joking about it for a while now. They do have at least one Jewish person in their ranks, so I suppose that makes it OK. I learned that from watching a mishmash of Chapelle’s Show and the Daily Show, and thus have my finger on the pulse of urban culture.

The LiMi crowd isn’t particularly worried about it, although if they were as instigative as I am someone would try to contact the Globe & Mail newspaper and send them the link. There’s been talk of another interview/article about Molyneux coming out. He had a photo session and everything, and I don’t know when the story is supposed to run, but this would be an interesting aspect to add. If it’s actually Molyneux who submitted the complaint. The complaint itself is worded to appear to come from him, but I don’t know how any journalist would be able to tell for sure. A letter to the editor after the story runs might be another good idea. Maybe both!

On Anti-Semitism
I dunno. I believe in anti-Semitism and I believe it is widespread. I don’t know if all accusations of anti-Semitism are valid, and I don’t know how serious it actually is to have the label of anti-Semitic thrown at you. Is it a charge that always sticks or is it a charge tinged with hysteria?

Leaving the computer to finally investigate the source of and eliminate this nasty smell that has been bugging me all day. Returning to say that I think it might be the icky dirty laundry with some dishrags in it, and that either Oxyclean is overhyped or I suck at it because soaking a pair of baby pants for more than an hour did not lift the chocolate milk stains from the fabric.

I am wondering right now if it is anti-Semitic to employ the charge of anti-Semitism just as a means of mudslinging. It certainly isn’t respectful to Jewish people to objectify them as permanent victims and to use their plight as a means of promoting your own stance in an argument–especially when the argument isn’t about Jewish people at all. That’s my rhetorical musing about it. Now I will bring it specifically to Molyneux. Why would he level the charge of anti-Semitism against anyone? I know that the Semitic people are diverse and technically defined historically by geography and language, but in modern, customary usage, “anti-Semitism” means “anti-Jew.” And Jew as a religion first–not just as a culture. Molyneux despises religious people. He thinks people who believe in God are crazy and evil (short version), and although he doesn’t explicitly (anymore, or in writing) say that you shouldn’t associate with friends or relatives who are religious, he says that to do so is weak, inconsistent, and undignified if you also follow his principles to truth and justice. He won’t hold it against you, but you are committing a form of self-abuse (and not the fun kind). There are many, many podcasts and discussion threads about this topic. So his charge of anti-Semitism isn’t something he even feels strongly about personally. He doesn’t care. He’s as anti-Semitic himself as he is anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, anti-Buddhist, and anti-Wicca. This brings me to the Why? part of our program.

Why? Why level charges against someone when you aren’t angry about them and if you deny the validity of the reason that anti-Semitism exists anyway? It’s calculated and insincere, and it’s an example of just tossing crap at Conrad and Liberating Minds just to see if something sticks. Plus “anti-Semitism” is the kind of search term that gets results. It is a way of drawing attention to yourself (and believe you me that I’ll be including the term as a tag for this blog post, partly because I am writing about it and partly for the ratings). It’s a ploy, and it’s a cop-out ploy, too. It’s offensive in its slapdashedness and its superficiality. It’s also like crying wolf.

On Censorship
Is trying to have someone’s website deleted out of spite censorship? I have trouble with that term. It certainly feels like censorship, but it’s one private person complaining to the private hosting service about activities happening because of a third private person. I don’t know if squabbles have the same political oomph that actual censorship has, but if the hosting service decides to delete the forum to appease the complainer then I would say it’s censorship. I don’t really know what the terms of the contract were, so I don’t know if Liberating Minds is out of line or not. It’s very interesting to me that the guy (if it’s the guy) who runs the site Freedomain Radio with a very tight post content acceptability policy and a reputation for deleting and banning would ask for rivals to be silenced. Even if it is affecting his livelihood, you’d think the private free market of information exchange would be something to be preserved. It’s one of the pillars of the voluntarist anarchocapitalist system that is supposedly the primary goal of Freedomain Radio’s efforts. The best ideas win, right? (Ha! Did it again!) Isn’t this a model of two businessmen going head to head over the same customer base? It doesn’t speak well when one of the businessmen decides to employ the techniques of the terrorcrats when convenient. It doesn’t teach a very good object lesson, and it undermines the points the ancaps are always making about how the free market is the best arbitrator of conflict–possibly suggesting that no one really expects voluntary anarchocapitalism to work in real life and that it’s just something to talk about.

I am sure something is hugely flawed with my metaphor and that I’ll hear about it. It’s OK. I can take it. I think all the voluntarist ancap metaphors are flawed, too, so it’s tit for tit. (Is that the expression?) Meanwhile, here is a crude segue to my final point:

On Taking One for the Team
Poor Johny! We hardly knew ya, until your account was deleted and your thread deleted and we can’t access your history to properly eulogize you.

At 1:38 PM PDT, Deep Purple on Liberating Minds wishes aloud that someone could post a link to this deleting tactic on the FDR discussion board. No one participating in the discussion could, really, because they’ve all been IP banned or had their accounts deleted, and FDR is still not allowing new users to join.

At some point between 3:03 PM PDT and 3:30 PM PDT, Johny started a thread at FDR called “Mr. Molyneux Tries to Have Liberating Minds Deleted?” That thread activity still shows up now (it’s 5:45 PM) because it’s in the activity log, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Clicking on the username reveals that the account has been deleted. I don’t know when it was deleted, but it appears between the activity report immediately after Jessen starts the “Sydney Photography” thread (3:03) and immediately before Molyneux replies to the “Sydney Photograph” thread (3:30). There is a screenshot of it online here, if you want more tangible proof (thank you again, Deep Purple). They are lovely photos. Not lovely enough to make me put Sydney above Norway on my Travel list, but that has nothing to do with Sydney and everything to do with the Northern Lights and fjords.

I regret now not getting to know Johny when I had the chance. But he was there, and I saw him, and so long as this blog remains online, he shall be remembered. May you fly with the raptors, Friend.

/Daily Dig

UPDATE: The smell was a dishrag, but it was hiding under a pan in the sink, so the mixed colors and fabrics desperation load I ran in the wash was all for naught. At least I’ve identified the smell. I’m sure I can scare up some more dirty clothes. I know there are two iffy towels in the Yosemite bathroom. I know you all were worried.

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Comments

  • Patience  On December 3, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Here is johny’s post:

    12-03-2008 3:11 PM

    johny

    Joined on 09-16-2008
    Posts 0
    Mr. Molyneux tries to have Liberating Minds Deleted?
    Reply Contact
    Posted by Conrad on Limi:

    I received this in my e-mail today:

    Hello,

    You have received a litigation.

    We ask you to answer it within 14 days, in order to have the point of view of each party and to take a decision if needed.

    For more details and to answer it, log in your administration panel (Module / support).

    You will find enclosed the message of the litigation.

    ————————————–
    Litigation title : Slanderous, vulgar, obscene, threatening

    Description : I have compiled a partial list of abuses towards myself, Jews and my listeners here:

    http://freedomainradio.com/liberating_minds.html

    This is beyond slander. Please delete this monstrous forum.

    From Me:

    How is this promoting libertarian or anarcho capitalist values by trying to get another site deleated just because they don’t like what you say? Mr. Molyneux if this was from you then i say shame on you for trying to stop the free flow of ideas on the internet, just as the ideas about the family you espouse are controversial to many people, so the views espoused on Limi about you are controversial to you. You would not enjoy it if Barbara Weed tried to file litigation against you, that is what you are doing toward Limi sir. It is my opinion that two separate internet sites which have a controversy can exist without need for these kinds of attacks against there right to exist!

    Page 1 of 1 (1 items)

  • Karen  On December 4, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    So this has taken a decided Turk 182 twist. The question now is Who’s Johny?

    So if Johny comes forward, I’ll give him (or her) a kiss. Think that’s enough of a lure? It would be a very good kiss.

  • Pat  On December 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Karen,

    Liberating minds is obsessed with fdr,, Please examine the fdr board to see how much criticism there is of LIMI.. Not much…

    They have been attacking fdr for 18 months now, quite beligerently.. Some criticism is made of Limi and all of a sudden fdr is being irrational and unfair.. Conrad expressed these words, not fdr Molyneux whatever.. You are taking a huge leap in deciding there was some sort of accusation made.. People will make their own minds up, right or wrong.. I am sure Conrad is not anti semetic. However it is somewhat foolish of him to make comments public such as he did, joke or otherwise, IMO.

    Im somewhat bemused by your thoughts..

  • Karen  On December 6, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Pat,

    I am not sure what your phrase “some sort of accusation made” refers to. Are you referring to the Molyneux statement at the freedomain.com site or the business with the Liberating Minds forum host? And are we talking about the accusation of anti-Semitism or the accusation of making a complaint? I also don’t know what public comments you are referring to–the ones copied in the Molyneux article or the Conrad’s comments about the forum hosting complaint.

    I am bemused by your thoughts, too. I will be happy to clarify mine if you are more specific about yours.

    I agree that Liberating Minds is obsessed right now with Freedomain Radio, but this is an exciting time to be watching that board. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may and all that. Why not be a part of the conversation now, when it is actually part of a larger conversation (ie, the mainstream media attention)? Besides, The Eighth Law of FDR Physics states that if no one mentions that FDR is a cult once a week, it will turn into a cult. No one wants to see that happen.

  • Conrad  On December 7, 2008 at 3:41 am

    Pat,

    would you say that Stef’s recent actions have not changed your opinion of him?

  • Pat  On December 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Karen,

    I am not sure what your phrase “some sort of accusation made” refers to

    Fair point, agreed, that sentence was poorly constructed, my apologies. I guess what I meant to say was, that you seem to infer that Stefan deliberatly went out of his way to paint the host as anti semetic.. He only used the same words that the host used himself with no embelishment at all..

    Now I can agree that a joke is a joke, however poorly constructed. But you can’t blame Stefan using these words against him when he has created a site that has made all manner of personal attacks upon him, including his wife and the fdr community as a whole for some 18 months now.

    I have no idea about the forum complaint. But one would assume that most web providers have some sort of code of conduct for the sites they host. So a reminder of the contract they signed is well within the NAC principle. Please bear in mind that this site has been aggressing against fdr for some time now, with little or no response.

    I’m also unclear why you think deleting threads on his own property is seen as censorship?.. Ancap principles clearly allow for anyone to censor what they like on their own property.. They do this at their own peril of course, market wise. But if its seen as undue criticism ar deliberate stirring, I think most people can understand.. Censorship is only an issue these days when govts attempt it. But they are a violent monopoly enforcing their censorship on everyone elses property.. There is nothing violent about removing poster boards that are personally deflamatory to you from your own property.. The distinction is quite clear imo..

  • Karen  On December 8, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    OK. The censorship part I wrote about was in reference to the request to the Liberating Minds forum host to close down the forum altogether, not about any threads or posts that have been deleted at Freedomain Radio or Liberating Minds. It’s one thing to refuse to allow certain kinds of language on a board that you own (that’s moderation), but to me it’s quite another to silence another board entirely. It is a very different matter. I realize, too, that if Liberating Minds is shut down by the provider it will be the provider’s act, but to play the Anti-Semitic card for this express purpose (especially when anti-semitism, real or imagined, has nothing to do with the beef) is ugly and censorious. The Internet is a wild and wooly place, and people set up boards to badmouth celebrities all over the place. It’s not the nicest aspect of humanity on display, but it’s free speech. Calling names and making accusations and engaging in smear campaigns is allowed.

    As for whether or not the Molyneux article with all those quotes is an example of going out of one’s way to portray someone as anti-semitic, well, context matters. Pulling isolated quotes out of context is cherry-picking information to make a point. The very presence of the thread is probably not the finest moment of any of its participants, but just making jokes–even ethnic ones–within a community for the benefit of the community isn’t anti-semitism. It’s just profoundly tasteless.

    I reject the description of the activities and behavior of the Liberating Minds members as “aggressing against” Molyneux. They’ve just been noisy and rude, and sometimes they make good points. Insults aren’t aggression. Forum trolling isn’t aggression. I don’t blame Molyneux for getting tired of it, but I do blame him for twisting information and for crossing the line by naming people and perhaps calling for the deletion of their community.

  • Pat  On December 8, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Conrad,

    Not really, I mean you have to admit that there is something of the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ in all this.. The moment a percieved attack is launched by fdr upon limi, is the time its ditractors accuses fdr of being unfair..

    You know as well as I do there is nothing in the NAC principle to dissuade this kind of action on fdr’s part.. I’m quite certain Stef never wanted this, but limi pushed him into a corner with all its unwarrented negative effects.

    I am quite certain that the comments raised in Stefans bulliten could be taken out of context. But given the insults that the limi board have leveled upon fdr as a whole, it can hardly be seen as unjust..

    I have to say Conrad that on the whole I walk away from my enemies for peace of mind. But I am willing to confront them on a rational level that shows respect for both parties. But when that respect is only one sided one can start to appear conciliatory towards their aggressor..

    On a personal note I have had nothing but civil debate with you, but I cannot see any real alternative being offered at limi. So I am somewhat baffled by what limi is for, if not a place for enabling some (not all) abusive parents and disgruntled ex fdr’ers..

    My comments are not meant to be harsh or deliberatly hurtful and they are not just meant as a defense of Stef or fdr, but more as a salute to philoophy and first principles.

    Anyway, much rgds

  • Pat  On December 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Karen,

    “but just making jokes–even ethnic ones–within a community for the benefit of the community isn’t anti-semitism. It’s just profoundly tasteless.”

    Totally agree, but as you point out completely tasteless and given my few board interactions with some of them, quite surprising too.. The internet is for life these days and people would be best served remembering that.

    “Pulling isolated quotes out of context is cherry-picking information to make a point.”

    Trouble is, where does he start? He admitted that he avoided the insults about his wife. I can see how easy it is to accuse him of cherry picking, but given the sheer level of vitriol written there, somewhat difficult to put into context entirely.

    “I reject the description of the activities and behaviour of the Liberating Minds members as “aggressing against” Molyneux.”

    I conclude that if a board was set up insulting you and your husband/partner you too would feel aggressed upon., And if the main perpetrator gave himself away in an email or other board interaction, you would see no harm in using their own words against them. Especially when they have been using yours in Ad Hom in perceived isolation.

    “I do blame him for twisting information and for crossing the line by naming people and perhaps calling for the deletion of their community.”

    I’m not sure a deletion was called for. If anything it was probably a quiet reminder about provider policy, which given the insults levelled at fdr, not a surprising tactic. on stefs part (if at all).

  • Karen  On December 8, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Pat,

    Do we have different definitions for what “called for” means? When I hear you say, “I’m not sure a deletion was called for,” I think that I agree, because to me that phrase means “I’m not sure a call for deletion was warranted.” I think you are saying that you aren’t sure that anyone called for a deletion–is that the case?

    This is why I think Molyneux, or someone acting as him, has asked the forum host to delete the entire forum. I am getting it from Conrad, who started a thread about it at Liberating Minds. The thread is called “Stef tries to have LM deleted” and you can link to it here. In the first post of the thread, Conrad posts what is purportedly a complaint about Liberating Minds and a request to shut the whole board down.

    If Conrad is not lying, this is what the complaint said:

    Litigation title : Slanderous, vulgar, obscene, threatening

    Description : I have compiled a partial list of abuses towards myself, Jews and my listeners here:

    http://freedomainradio.com/liberating_minds.html

    This is beyond slander. Please delete this monstrous forum.

    “Please delete” is a call for deletion, if accurate. Is it on Molyneux’s part or is someone impersonating him? I don’t know. Conrad thinks it is Molyneux; Conrad may have more information. I am only going by what he has written, but no one approached Conrad with a private, quiet reminder about provider policy.

    I will not argue about the presence of vitriol on the Liberating Minds forum. I will point out that there is an equal amount of vitriol at Freedomain Radio, about lots of different people, and it is just as pointed and hysterical at times. Vitriol is in general unpleasant. Tasteless will follow you around online in unexpected ways, and is not generally the best strategy for communication. I talked about that in an earlier post that I forget the name of and to which I am too lazy to link.

    As for “aggressed upon” or “aggressing against”… I disagree that making insults on a separate board is an act of aggression. I don’t know what to say about the trolls, but anyone used to be able to sign up for an account at FDR. It was a public space. You could sign up and start posting. Trolls were sent packing immediately, but their behavior was no different from non-trolls. It was just the content of what they said that was objectionable, and they were dealt with. Hacking the network now would be aggressive, but I don’t think anyone has done that.

  • Pat  On December 8, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Karen,

    Well I’m not sure what I am meant to think about this.

    “This is beyond slander. Please delete this monstrous forum.”

    As dramatic as Stef can be at times, I’m not sure he would approach the forum host in such a manner. I know most people will say that is subjective. But having been around a lot of people and as a manager of employees myself, my judgement would say that at best this is perhaps an immature fdr’er.

    “I will point out that there is an equal amount of vitriol at Freedomain Radio, about lots of different people, and it is just as pointed and hysterical at times.”

    Can you please point it out to me karen, because as far as I’ve seen its been about very sensitive intimate issues.

    “As for “aggressed upon” or “aggressing against”… I disagree that making insults on a separate board is an act of aggression.”

    Well I guess I could come round for dinner at yours and insult your food then? (which I wouldnt of course).. :)

    “Trolls were sent packing immediately, but their behaviour was no different from non-trolls.”

    I’m really not sure what you mean by this? In what context is a non troll like a troll?

    Rgds

  • Karen  On December 8, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Trolls and Non-Trolls sign up and post. That is the similar behavior. Not everyone who turns into a troll intends to be, and I do believe people often make a first post at discussion boards because they really do disagree or finding shocking something they read there and are compelled to speak up. Holding their contrary point is just a personality trait some people have. But signing up and posting is an ordinary behavior. That’s the context.

    Your coming to my house to insult my dinner isn’t a good comparison, because I was referring to the insults the people at Liberating Minds were making while at Liberating Minds. It’s more akin to eating at my house, and then starting a blog about how bad of a cook I am. That is just mean. It’s not aggressive. And it’s possible that I am a terrible cook.

    As for FDR vitriol: The podcasts I’ve heard are crazy vitriolic, but we were talking about vitriol on the boards:
    The Guardian Article–How to Escape a “Controversial Online Community” (The last response at the bottom of the first page kicks it off.)

    DeFoo Letter to My Mother and Stepfather

    “Why I Never Married…” (the worst of it is on pages 3 & 4)
    (SIDE NOTE: The guys who say horrible things to the woman are chastised, but the guy who says horrible things about the other guys is banned. Nice.)

    Parent’s Side of the Equation
    (This is a gem. Molyneux outs another person, by name and by email! I guess that’s a favorite MO. I’m sure it predates his current privacy policy on his feedback page.)

    Stef Claims to Know Others Better than They Know Themselves (This is confusing to jump into because the original post and subsequent comments by that poster have been deleted, but I think the original remarks were included in a quote on the first page.)

    People who vote, Christians, parents… these people are all targets of vitriol. The shared deFoo letters are full of vitriol. I’ll concede that the language used on FDR is of a decidedly higher quality than at Liberating Minds. The words are much more carefully chosen and the sentences clearly thought-out, but it is angry all the same. Maybe with good reason, but the vitriol is there (even when it is not pointed and hysterical).

  • Conrad  On December 9, 2008 at 5:10 am

    Pat,

    I think I know the full names of about a dozen people on FDR who have since stopped using their full names. Applying UPB for a moment, you would then not see anything wrong in my creating articles about each of these people with quotes from themselves, from Stefan (either taken out of context or not even that), linking to e.g. The Guardian article and possibly if it ever appears and if it is critical of Stefan the Globe&Mail article, titling the whole thing ‘[Full name] is a member of a controversial cult’, then publishing that article online, linking to it in various places and sending it to their employers, clients etc.

    To be sure, I won’t do that because I think it is immoral, but I given what you wrote above it seems that you cannot object to such a step.

    Also, can you say more about what you mean by ‘enabling some abusive parents’?

    I would also add that the insults and personal attacks came first from Stefan himself, in his ‘Family and the state’ (I think) podcasts and especially in his first Premium podcast. I don’t think you would be able to find ny personal insults or attacks coming from me in the direction of Stefan before that

    Finally, why do you think Stefan lied in his BBC interview (he said he didnt tell Tom to leave his family, whereas he said in the podcast ‘your father is the devil and your mother created you for the devil’ and ‘that’s why I tell people: if your parents are evil, ditch them’

  • Conrad  On December 9, 2008 at 5:55 am

    also, in the podcast with Tom Stef himself uses such terms as ‘son of a bitch’, ‘devil’, ‘assholes’, ‘bullshit’, so Stef’s saying he does not allow such language on the board is at least a bit hypocritical

    although on the FDR boards the insults etc. tend to be very passive-aggressive or couched in pseudo-psychological language. One guy however supposedly was banned because he suggested it might not be such a good idea to cheer people on who had dreams about murdering their parents (supposedly happened in the chatroom, but I don’t have any evidence other than the guy’s word)

    also, in the podcast with Tom Stefan makes the comparison between Tom’s situation and a rape, how the rape victim doesnt think ‘oh, what a nasty childhood my rapist must have had’, no she jabs him in the eye and gets away, or even better, just gets away.
    Is this then a call for violence on Stefan’s part, a threat to Tom’s parents, an encouragement of violence against them? I’m sure it could be contrued as such if one wanted to

  • Danny Shahar  On December 9, 2008 at 6:37 am

    Pat, it might also be worth noting that the “Hypocrite Counterattack” is an incredibly ineffective defense against a claim of immorality. It may well be that some of the individuals participating on the Liberating Minds forum are in a poor position to be objecting to Stefan’s behavior, but that doesn’t make Stefan’s actions okay. If Stefan is doing the same thing as they are, and they’re being jerks, then Stefan’s being a jerk too. Think of it this way: If they were to realize, “Oh jeez…I guess I was being a jerk; maybe I was unfair to Stefan,” they would immediately see that Stefan had unfairly attacked them, and say, “Oh wait. Stefan really was a jerk after all!”

    None of that is to say that there’s no way for you to try to argue on Stefan’s behalf. Some of your points are not of the form discussed here, and so I don’t mean to dismiss all of your claims with this comment. I’m only pointing out that your counterarguments should aim to prove that “Stefan’s actions were acceptable,” and not “But the Liberating Minds folks’ actions were unacceptable.” The latter element in your comments just isn’t productive.

  • Pat  On December 9, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Conrad,

    “To be sure, I won’t do that because I think it is immoral, but I given what you wrote above it seems that you cannot object to such a step.”

    You are free to do what you wish, of course. However I would point out that limi has been hurling abuse at stef & his wife for some time now in relative immunity and very publically. So to speak, his character has already been denigrated by an anonymous board for which the host gave his name away on another board via their own board. In which case there is such a thing as self defence. People (mainly statists) treat that board as some sort of objective criticism of fdr, which clearly it isn’t, given the content and some of its users. (abusive parents, as I will discuss later)

    Rather than use Ad Homs he has clearly decided to use the hosts own words. If they can be seen as out of context that is hardly Stefs fault, but the fault of their author. UPB is quite clear about the NAP, so in this regard he is merely facing his ditractors with their own words.

    I do wish the whole unpleasantness would disappear frankly. But if limi will insist on promoting fdr as a cult, which is at best hurtful to its thoughtful members, but primarily makes the whole freedom movement look like a pack of tools.

    I avoid most other boards now, because one mention of fdr or its principles and whoosh an avalanche of stagnating Ad Homs appear (from the usual crowd). Other than a couple of skype calls with fdr critics (not limi) it has been only here that I have had polite disagreement. Everywhere else the trolls of limi appear. So its kind of rich to say that limi hasn’t been promoting hatred of fdr or stef, because in my experience its apparent everywhere I go.( I appreciate that maybe subjective as I can never be sure who it)

    “I would also add that the insults and personal attacks came first from Stefan himself, in his ‘Family and the state’ ”

    Was he talking about your family directly? If you get so wound up by a podcast, you switch it off surly? You don’t then proceed to create a board that throws Ad Homs about the podcaster.

    “Also, can you say more about what you mean by ‘enabling some abusive parents’?”

    Barbara Weed is clearly a clever woman. She is high up in the directorships of a local authority. She is not remotely interested in limis (or fdr’s) anarchist leanings. She is clearly showing herself up (as she did in the Guardian using Toms real name and pictures). This is the sign of a woman that cares little for her sons feelings, than to humiliate him in the public arena. She has not taken ONE step back in this debate to consider for a moment that she had any hand in Toms disquiet about his family. No she has found her answer in limi for whom have enabled her to absolve herself of all responsibility personally and blame it on a cult instead. I mean read the article again Conrad, its full of self serving pity. Its nothing short of manipulation and guile on her part and believe me she’s pulling your strings dude. I should know I have to work with these statist twits every day, they continually use personal politcs as a way to step over people. This may happen in the private sector, but at least it has the leveller of profit margins unlike govt. As much as my own mother has many faults I cannot see her for one moment, deciding to print my name in a newspaper and humiliate me in such a manner. Partly (or mainly) because she knows that in an inverted way she merely humiliates herself alone.

    “also, in the podcast with Tom Stefan makes the comparison between Tom’s situation and a rape, how the rape victim doesn’t think ‘oh, what a nasty childhood my rapist must have had’, no she jabs him in the eye and gets away, or even better, just gets away. Is this then a call for violence on Stefan’s part, a threat to Tom’s parents, an encouragement of violence against them? I’m sure it could be construed as such if one wanted to”

    This is a ludicrous analogy and one that’s giving the suggestion that Tom is too immature to understand. We discussed this before in an earlier thread, he is more than capable of making his own rational decisions. What you are saying is purely subjective and has no understanding of Toms history/feelings.

    You see its alright for Barbara to whine on about being a poor bereft mother. Most people will contend that children are unfeeling at best, stupid at worst, that it is their poor virtuous parents that shoulder all the burden of their whimsical children and not the other way round. Bad parents rely on this myth as the succour punch to their children’s complaints.

    Much rgds

  • Pat  On December 9, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Conrad,

    Sorry that last but one paragraph was poorly constructed.

    The analogy that Stef uses (re rape) is not an incitement to violence. Rather it is an acknowledgement of the egregious behaviour of the parent..

    You know as well as I do that Stef has never suggested such behaviour from his listeners..

  • Pat  On December 9, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Danny,

    “Think of it this way: If they were to realize, “Oh jeez…I guess I was being a jerk; maybe I was unfair to Stefan,” they would immediately see that Stefan had unfairly attacked them, and say, “Oh wait. Stefan really was a jerk after all!”

    That’s assuming that he used ad homs, which he didn’t Danny. Its only others that have read a lot more into the use of limi’s comments etc..

    So whom are we accusing of immorality? Stef, limi or both? If you judge Stefs behaviour as immoral then you must agree that limi’s behaviour has been immoral?

    This is erroneous at best, as talk of morality just brings even more myths to the table. I point you to the NAP principle…

    I think you can safely assume that the criticism Stef has levelled at limi is his last. (at least on his board)

  • Danny Shahar  On December 9, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    An attack does not have to be an ad hominem to be unfair. In fact, most attacks are not arguments, and therefore cannot be guilty of ad hominem. For example, “You are a jerk!” is not an argument; it’s an atomic statement. There is no logical fallacy that can be attributed to it. But if it’s made about a person who is not a jerk, and it’s made in a way that genuinely does create the impression that the person is a jerk, then I would venture that it’s unfair.

    At this point, I haven’t accused anyone of immorality. I was only pointing out that the structure of your counterargument was ineffective. That’s why I recommended an alternative way for you to argue your points that could stand a more reasonable chance of success. If you’re defending Stefan, then the way to do it is not to point out how awful other people are. You should be arguing that Stefan is not awful.

    As for your point about myths associated with morality and the Non-Aggression Principle, I’m not sure I know what you’re trying to say; you’ll have to elaborate a little bit. (Also, the “P” in “NAP” stands for “Principle,” so “NAP principle” is redundant…sorry to nitpick, but I figured you might want to be aware.)

  • Conrad  On December 9, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Conrad,

    “To be sure, I won’t do that because I think it is immoral, but I given what you wrote above it seems that you cannot object to such a step.”

    You are free to do what you wish,’
    I understand that of course, but would you consider it more or less immoral than what Stef did? below you make an argument from initiation it seems. see for more about that below

    ‘ of course. However I would point out that limi has been hurling abuse at stef & his wife for some time now in relative immunity and very publically. So to speak, his character has already been denigrated by an anonymous board for which the host gave his name away on another board’

    in a private Google Group (although my name can also be found through my LRC articles, but Stef said he got it from a forum which was a private e-mail group)
    he also cited from a private e-mail message, something that is in violation of his privacy rules

    ‘ via their own board. In which case there is such a thing as self defence.’

    So when Stef did I think 3 podcasts about me, two of which were public and one was accessible only to subscribers. In the latter one btw he gave away confidential information (he did not directly link that to me because he talked about 3 people, but anybody following the boards could know that the information in question was about me) and in all of which he insulted me and attacked my character.

    So according to the principles you use here would allow me to insult him in return, no? So I don’t think the chronology you describe here is accurate and when it is corrected your principles actually ‘absolve’ me and ‘condemn’ Stefan.

    Btw, a former poster on LM described his experience when Stef did a podcast about him thusly:

    ‘Interesting, infuriating, laughable, humiliating, sickening…

    I wrote a few paragraphs benignly probing Stefan’s ideas, only to find myself being dragged through the mud with my hands tied behind my back. Watching as someone knowingly, unrestrainedly and maliciously misrepresents you is utterly exasperating to say the least – but I’m sure you know that already.

    Stefan loves to talk of the power disparity in relationships. Well, how about the disparity between the host of the show, and an anonymous board member. The former broadcasts his side of the story to an audience of thousands; the latter, if lucky, can count his audience on two hands. It’s like trying to bring down Fox News by standing on a street corner with a picket sign.’

    ‘People (mainly statists) treat that board as some sort of objective criticism of fdr, which clearly it isn’t, given the content and some of its users. (abusive parents, as I will discuss later)’
    Well, 99% of people are statists. And I think the great majority of people posting on LM are anarcho-capitalists just like on FDR, so I don’t quite understand what your points is re statists.

    Also, i don’t think you know what people on LM have said or not said to reporters, so I don’t think it’s possible to determine whether the stuff that reporters end up using is accurate, objective information 9e.g. through references to podcasts) and what is heavily biased or slanderous. i think it is also presumptuous to think that reporters are so gullible or malicious that they would simply trust people on LM whatever they say. i think the legal department of their organisations would also object to that.
    it may very well be that the more research the reporters themselves do the more critical they become of FDR and Stefan. I don’t know this and neither do you.

    ‘Rather than use Ad Homs he has clearly decided to use the hosts own words. If they can be seen as out of context that is hardly Stefs fault, but the fault of their author.’
    I don;’t think you can be serious here. The great majority of people who would see a quote like the one involving Jews and who don’t know the context would think the person making the quote is anti-semitic. And likely the great majpority of people who then learn about the context would no longer think that. Stef knows this of course and it is no wonder that he did not include an actual reference to the thread in question. I mean, I can understand he would make a screenshot as well cuz otherwise we could just change the text in the thread, but the choice not to include a link, or take screenshots of the entire thread seemed quite deliberately deceptive. And just to be sure, the second post in that thread literally states what the thread is about so Stef’s feigned ignorance about the intentions of the thread is just that, feigned.

    There are 18,000+ posts on LM: why do you think Stef decided to quote so liberally from that one specific thread if not to consciously mislead? (he of course also quoted from other threads)

    ‘UPB is quite clear about the NAP, so in this regard he is merely facing his ditractors with their own words’
    see above re initiation words and re context.

    if somebody had done something similar with Stefan’s words, do you think you would not have objected?

    ‘I do wish the whole unpleasantness would disappear frankly. But if limi will insist on promoting fdr as a cult, which is at best hurtful to its thoughtful members, but primarily makes the whole freedom movement look like a pack of tools.’
    Well, in my opinion it is exactly the reverse: if FDR comes to represent the freedom movement then I don’t think this will do the cause a lot of good
    Moreover, I and others don’t call FDR a cult or cult-like as an insult, but instead as an apt characterisation of what FDR has become. There are dozens of pages on LM analyzing with the help of research done about cults to what extent FDR is a cult. it is not an empty insult, it is a judgement based on research. Obviously FDR is not like Jonestown or some other extreme form of cult, there is no violence or sexual abuse for example. but things like Jonestown are the extremes and organizations/movements can be properly called cults even if they are not that extremist.

    Still, we could be entirely wrong about the characterization. the best way to ‘settle’ the question is to ask real cult experts to investigate. if they conclude that FDR does not at least have strong cult-like characteristics, then I stand corrected and will issue a public apology in which i retract all my words. Would you be willing to make a similar commitment?

    In any case, what criterion would have to be fulfilled for you to say FDR is a cult? what are your criteria for this label?

    ‘I avoid most other boards now, because one mention of fdr or its principles and whoosh an avalanche of stagnating Ad Homs appear (from the usual crowd). Other than a couple of skype calls with fdr critics (not limi) it has been only here that I have had polite disagreement. Everywhere else the trolls of limi appear. So its kind of rich to say that limi hasn’t been promoting hatred of fdr or stef, because in my experience its apparent everywhere I go.( I appreciate that maybe subjective as I can never be sure who it)’
    Well, that’s something that bugs me a bit: I only know of QuestEon, Danny and Dylboz as LM’ers who post on other boards. I have no idea who these other people attacking FDR are and I thoroughly dislike people associating the abusive criticism of these people with LM. One exception is Free Radical with his grotesque (although at times admittedly funny) ancap board. but it is no wonder that he hardly posts on LM and that I have had quite a few confrontations with him about FDR.

    ‘“I would also add that the insults and personal attacks came first from Stefan himself, in his ‘Family and the state’ ”

    Was he talking about your family directly?’
    I assume you suspect me to say ‘no’ here, but ‘yes’, he did indeed.

    ‘ If you get so wound up by a podcast, you switch it off surly? You don’t then proceed to create a board that throws Ad Homs about the podcaster.’
    this was discussed above, no?

    ‘“Also, can you say more about what you mean by ‘enabling some abusive parents’?”

    Barbara Weed is clearly a clever woman. She is high up in the directorships of a local authority. She is not remotely interested in limis (or fdr’s) anarchist leanings.’
    I’m not sure what you mean by this. is that a decisive criterion for involvement?

    ‘ She is clearly showing herself up (as she did in the Guardian using Toms real name and pictures). This is the sign of a woman that cares little for her sons feelings, than to humiliate him in the public arena. She has not taken ONE step back in this debate to consider for a moment that she had any hand in Toms disquiet about his family. No she has found her answer in limi for whom have enabled her to absolve herself of all responsibility personally and blame it on a cult instead.’
    have you read the threads about and with parents of FDR’ers? I think people on LM have tried to find a delicate balance in those because we don’t know to what extent these parents were abusive or to what extent Molyneux’ emotional manipulation is responsible for their children’s emotions and actions. We don’t have the information and we have always made that clear exactly not to blindly take the side of parents.

    ‘I mean read the article again Conrad, its full of self serving pity. Its nothing short of manipulation and guile on her part and believe me she’s pulling your strings dude. I should know I have to work with these statist twits every day, they continually use personal politcs as a way to step over people.’
    That might be, but it would help if you could give concrete examples
    To be sure, i have expressed some concerns to Barbara about some things and she has responded in sensible ways.

    ‘This may happen in the private sector, but at least it has the leveller of profit margins unlike govt. As much as my own mother has many faults I cannot see her for one moment, deciding to print my name in a newspaper and humiliate me in such a manner. Partly (or mainly) because she knows that in an inverted way she merely humiliates herself alone.’
    that was one of the things I expressed concerns about, the use of Tom’s name and I asked Barbara to ask The Guardian to delete or change Tom’s name (I also sent an e-mail to the jezebel website who had Tom’s name as the title of a page, and they happily deleted the name. None of the FDR’ers thought of doing this btw, at least to my knowledge). As you likely know, tyhe name in the article was not Tom’s real last name.
    Still, I am uncomfortable with the personal information in the article, but can also see that there was no other way for an article like this to be written. And the article may have helped raising awareness re FDR and thus may have prevented others from being subject to Stefan’s manipulations (and sadly, also from the good things he has to offer psychology-wise. That to me is the real tragedy; FDR could have been fan-tas-tic, but somewhere along the way Stef took a wrong turn and now it is what it is and that’s not so good). but I don’ty know what the proper trade-off is here between the bad effects of the personal info and the possible good effects of awareness
    but all in all, I think you do have a point in your remark here and i am not entirely confident about my current position

    ‘“also, in the podcast with Tom Stefan makes the comparison between Tom’s situation and a rape, how the rape victim doesn’t think ‘oh, what a nasty childhood my rapist must have had’, no she jabs him in the eye and gets away, or even better, just gets away. Is this then a call for violence on Stefan’s part, a threat to Tom’s parents, an encouragement of violence against them? I’m sure it could be construed as such if one wanted to”

    This is a ludicrous analogy and one that’s giving the suggestion that Tom is too immature to understand.’
    but you said before that dropping the context is the responsibility of the original writer/poster/sayer. So without saying anything about whether or not Tom took it seriously (cuz for this point this is not the question) we can take Stefan’s words in isolation and people may very well percxeive it as a threat, no matter how silly that in the actual context would be.

    ‘ We discussed this before in an earlier thread, he is more than capable of making his own rational decisions. What you are saying is purely subjective and has no understanding of Toms history/feelings.’
    I think you thoroughly underestimate to what extent very intelligent and sympathetic people can be emotionally manipulated. And i think FDR’ers have set up a strawman here: nobody is saying that Tom is some dumb kid who doesnt know what he thinks or feels. Everybody thinks he is very intelligent and mature. The point is that even such people, and in some senses exactly such people can be easily emotionally manipuilated. i remember this to a somewhat l;esser extent from my own FDR experience.
    this too we can settle quite easily: we can ask psychologists whether this is possible or not. if they say no, then i will admit I am wrong and publicly apologize. Again, would you make a similar commitment? i truly think this is the best way to get an outsider perspective on these matters, send the podcast to a bunch of psychologists and see what they think.

    have you listened to the podcast with Tom?

    ‘You see its alright for Barbara to whine on about being a poor bereft mother. Most people will contend that children are unfeeling at best, stupid at worst,’
    what? they do?

    ‘that it is their poor virtuous parents that shoulder all the burden of their whimsical children and not the other way round. Bad parents rely on this myth as the succour punch to their children’s complaints.’
    sorry, but would need more evidence for the prevalence of this myth.

    best wishes and pardon my at times grumpiness

    Bartholomeus Bezetsky (I’m trying on a new identity. here’s to hoping it sticks)

  • Conrad  On December 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    one more thing: you said that Stef clearly won the ‘debate’ on the BBC. Does it bother you that Stef lied about the essential element of that discussion?

Trackbacks

  • By The defining of Liberating Minds « on June 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    […] ————————– FLASH! (12/03): Stefan Molyneux, clearly shaken by the continued discussion on Liberating Minds of the activities of the FreeDomainRadio community and the possible role he played in the family breakup of Barbara Weed and her son Tom, appealed to the site’s host (Forumotion) to entirely delete Liberating Minds. (As usual, Karen offers some thoughtful insights in her article “Anti-Semitism, Censorship, and Taking One for the Team“) […]

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