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Highest Reputation Content

#350905 Stefan's lack of integrity with Chomsky interview

Posted by Stefan Molyneux on 02 January 2014 - 03:26 AM

Thanks for the feedback, it might be premature to accuse me of lacking integrity without understanding the purpose and limitations of the conversation. My knowledge of Chomsky is almost exclusively limited to his criticisms of US foreign policy, and international war crimes in general, which I share and enthusiastically endorse. I also appreciate his approach to the universalization of ethics, which I also share. I understand that he is an anarchist, which means that he prefers a stateless society, with all of the attendant social experimentation that will inevitably result. I have never heard him advocate the initiation of force to achieve his ideal society; once there is no government, 1000 flowers will surely bloom!


I had a little over 20 minutes, which is not enough for any kind of substantial debate, and also, I had asked for an interview, rather than a debate, which is very important. If you ask someone for a debate, they must spend a lot more time preparing, and actually debating, which would have probably resulted in not having access to him at all. I don't like to ask for an interview, and then spring a debate on someone who is largely unprepared for my perspective, I consider that quite impolite, and certainly don't like it when that kind of ambushing is done to me.


I am certainly interested in reaching out to left-leaning anarchists and libertarians, just as I am to right-wing libertarians who remain statists, and I haven't noticed a lot of people criticizing me for having minarchist libertarians on my show, without criticizing them for supporting the state.


I would really like for those interested in Chomsky's views to get interested in this podcast, I think it would be really helpful for them to hear the argument for anarcho capitalism.


I hope that helps at least explain my thinking on the matter, I don't think that I have lacked courage or directness when engaged in a debate, but that was not the format of my conversation with Dr. Chomsky.

  • 16

#350622 Physical Exercise and Its Benefits

Posted by Lians on 30 December 2013 - 11:35 AM

Physical Exercise and Its Benefits
1. Introduction
I know you've all heard this before: "Exercise is good for you!" How many of you know exactly why that is? For people who don't exercise, this article is intended to be a brief introduction to exercising and why it matters. Those who already exercise may know a lot of the information I'm about to present, but having a general overview often gives birth to new insight. I've also tried to bring as much scientific research to this topic as I could. The amateur guy on the internet disclaimer still applies to what you're about read.
One of the goals of irrational and violent hierarchies like religion is to disconnect you from your body. You aren't allowed to trust your body if faith in imaginary entities is to be sustained. I'm sure this isn't the first time you've heard about this idea since Stef often brings it up in his podcasts. What better way to alleviate this particular side-effect of irrational upbringing than to start moving. Physical exercise can be the perfect complement to philosophy and self-knowledge, and I hope I can convince you of that.
2. Brief History
Until two hundred years ago, most people had to exercise through everyday work. Washing your clothes by hand, without detergent, can be a workout in itself. You couldn't afford to lead a sedentary lifestyle unless you were a part of the ruling class. The Ancient Greeks were probably the first to put physical fitness on a pedestal with their principle of a healthy mind in a healthy body. This principle is attributed to Thales, the philosopher who's also credited for the know thyself maxim.
The Greeks considered gymnastics, alongside music, to be vital in the development of every human being. "Exercise for the body and music for the soul," was a popular saying back in those days. The median lifespan of your average Greek was around 70 (if he wasn't killed in war), and exercise was one of the most popular prescriptions for health and wellbeing. The Greek ideal of physical fitness inspired the ancient world to exercise, and the idea was later rekindled during the Renaissance in Europe.
A lot of the famous Greek thinkers were athletes in their youth. Correlation is certainly not causation but a disproportionately large number of the great thinkers of antiquity came from Ancient Greece. I wouldn't dismiss the Greek love of physical fitness as a contributing factor.
References and Further Reading:
3. Muscle Physiology
I'll start with a very short overview of how muscles work. First, you need to know a little bit about the human nervous system. It's comprised of two major parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord, and the PNS is divided into the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system (ANS) and the somatic (voluntary) nervous system. For the purposes of this topic, I'll focus only on the ANS.
In the spirit of subdivision, the ANS is further divided into the sympathetic (SNS; fight or flight), parasympathetic (PSNS; rest or digest) and enteric nervous systems. Physical movement is facilitated by the SNS. From an evolutionary standpoint, not dying took precedence over everything else, so the SNS is wired to override the other two systems when the brain deems it necessary. There's no time for rest when a predator wants to snack on you.
The muscles that are involved in movement are attached to our skeleton with tendons and are called, not surprisingly, skeletal muscles. The human musculoskeletal system is mechanically supported by large interweaving networks of fibrous collagen tissue called fascia. Muscles are comprised of muscle fibres. These fibres are often classified as Type I (slow twitch), Type IIa (fast twitch), Type IIx (super fast twitch) and hybrid. The nervous system is connected to the muscular system through neuromuscular junctions, where motor neurons control the contraction of muscle fibres. Multiple motor neurons often work together to contract a single muscle. The primary source of energy for physical activity comes from the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates, so proper diet and breathing are very important for optimal physical activity.
When your brain wants to activate a muscle, it sends an electrochemical signal down the spinal cord and through the sympathetic nervous system. This signal eventually reaches a motor neuron, which in turn contracts the muscle fibres that are connected to it. Since the amplitude of these signals (action potentials) is constant, the contractile force of a muscle fibre is proportional to the signal's frequency (it's frequency-modulated). Overall, muscle strength and size increases depend on hypertrophy (you exercise the muscle) and neuromuscular adaptations (your CMS becomes better at handling the stress generated by your movement).
The nervous system adapts to a particular type of motion through repetitive training, and different types of athletes have different nervous system behaviour based on their genetic make-up and exercise routine. For example, long distance runners can activate motor neurons connected to well developed slow-twitch muscles for energy efficient movement, while sprinters rely on their powerful fast-twitch muscles for speed. In general, muscle training is a matter of finding the right balance between endurance (small force output over a long period of time), strength (maximum force output over a short period of time) and speed (moderate force output over a very short period of time). The number and location of activated motor neurons is also very important for optimal performance.
References and Further Reading:
4. Stress
Stress, the physiological reaction to a fight-flight-freeze (FFF) SNS response, stimulates the production of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol hormones, which prepare the body for action. Stress is generally divided into two categories: eustress (good) and distress (bad). The difference between these categories lies in the type of stress response (fight, flight or freeze) and the way the released hormones are appropriated.
Here's a brief overview of the function of these stress hormones. Adrenaline and noradrenaline bind to receptors on the heart and heart vessels, increasing heart rate, muscle contraction and respiration. Your body's now primed for action, but it still requires energy. Cortisol provides this energy by binding to receptors on the fat cells, liver and pancreas. It inhibits unnecessary (according to the brain) functions like digestion, immune response and reproduction, while pumping out glucose to power the muscular system. 
Eustress is associated with a fight-or-flight response and has numerous health benefits. Physical exercise is a good example of eustress. All the generated energy is put into action and hormone production normalizes when the stimuli are no longer present. I'll go into a more detailed overview of all the positive effects of this state a bit later.
Distress is the bad guy in this story. It's triggered when your amygdala enters a prolonged freeze feedback loop. Something is causing you anxiety, but you don't know what that is or you can't act on it. You have to remain vigilant. Tests with animals have shown that random stimuli, unlike consistently good or bad stimuli, cause long-term health damage. The animal's freeze state is constantly on because it has no idea what dangers lie out there. It can't fight or run away from the unknown and it's severely distressed.
Physiologically, stress hormones keep building up in your system, generating muscle tension and energy that aren't put to use. Since there's no physical release of the FFF state, cortisol levels continue building up in your bloodstream and wreak havoc on your mind and body.
Due to our rapid technological and social development, the more primitive fear and pain centres in our brain haven't had the time to catch up through evolution. Even an offensive comment from a colleague can trigger an FFF response, which our rational faculties will try to inhibit. We perceive that we're in danger, but we can't act on it. If you've watched the Bomb in the Brain series, you already know that a traumatic childhood further contributes to this unhealthy dynamic, setting you up for a lifetime of health issues.
Physical exercise will not resolve the underlying causes of distress, but it will alleviate the associated negative side-effects by burning through the excess of stress hormones in your body. This factor alone is enough to consider incorporating regular exercise into your daily or weekly regimen.
Finding the motivation to exercise in a distressed condition, while difficult, is a matter of practice. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Avoid distractions like music so you can concentrate on the problem that's stressing you out. In my experience, thinking proactively about the problem (focusing on what you can control in the situation) while exercising provides the best of both worlds - you can better concentrate on finding a solution and you stay healthy in the process. Work on self-knowledge can be incredibly taxing on the body in terms of distress. It's also very difficult to apply your knowledge of philosophy when your body is in an FFF state. Don't try to suppress the stress response with exercise. Manage it! While I prefer the dual benefit of the health and stress relief that physical exercise provides, it's just one of many available approaches (massage, aromatherapy and so forth). Choose whatever works for you!
References and Further Reading:
5. Fatigue
So what happens during prolonged exposure to stress? Well, there's only so much your central nervous system can handle. Sending and coordinating signals to your muscular and cardiovascular systems will eventually cause your CMS to fatigue. Even if you can handle more stress physiologically, your brain considers it dangerous to continue reacting to the FFF stimuli. Chronic distress and excessive eustress can put a lot of strain on your CMS. They may even cause it to break down. This phenomenon, when caused by excessive eustress, is known as overtraining. Chronic distress can develop into mild or even severe chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Essentially, the SNS goes rogue and overwhelms the PSNS, bringing about a constant FFF state. The PSNS is now unable to heal the body from the damage created by prolonged physical arousal. Recovery is very slow, and in the case of CFS, extremely difficult. Overtraining and CFS symptoms include fatigue, concentration issues, muscle and joint pain, constant headaches, stomach pain, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, depression, irritability, panic attacks and excessive sweating. PTSD and symptoms of CFS were observed in the entire population of Gulf War veterans. Needless to say, soldiers experience severe levels of distress.
Here's where it gets worse. A lot of the PTSD and CFS symptoms are the same, so there might be a lot of misdiagnosed trauma. What're more, if you're suffering from a mild form of CFS as a result of child abuse, you may not be aware of the symptoms because you don't have a standard for comparison. It's how you've felt your whole life. Athletes who overtrain and soldiers with CFS are acutely aware of the symptoms because the differences in their health are very obvious. Someone who's grown up with this issue may consider it normal.
Treatments for CFS include talk therapy and graded exercise therapy. Hang on, this is interesting! People exercise to cure fatigue? As it turns out, exercise reduces fatigue by strengthening and improving the efficiency of the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
If you have a heightened FFF response that interferes with the healing functions of your PSNS as a result of childhood trauma, you may receive a lot of additional benefits from physical exercise.
References and Further Reading:
6. Health Effects
You may already be familiar with the numerous health benefits of exercising, but I'll briefly cover them in case you need a refresher.
The benefits of exercising on the cardiovascular system are well-known and thoroughly researched. There's no better way to prevent cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and heart failure. Exercise will also improve your blood circulation, strength and endurance. A stronger heart burns through more calories which will result in greater weight loss.
Regular exercise can really beef up your brain as well. It will improve the overall efficiency of your entire nervous system. It also facilitates the production of new neurons in the hippocampal area of the brain through a process called neurogenesis. The hippocampus is our learning and memory centre, so physically active people will experience improved learning ability, concentration and an increase in short-term and long-term memory capacity and retention. Neurogenesis is particularly important for older people because the brain starts to lose nerve tissue at around the age of 30. Through regular exercise, you can work towards preventing diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Exercising can increase bone density, making your skeleton frame a lot tougher. This is important because chronic distress can result in more brittle bones and even osteoporosis.
Finally, one of the more unintuitive benefits is an overall reduction in fatigue. If you're chronically tired you may want to consider a gradual increase in your physical activity to alleviate the problem. Jumping into an intense workout program will only result in additional fatigue, so make sure you pace yourself appropriately.
References and Further Reading:


7. Priming
Priming seems to be a pretty controversial topic in the realms of psychology. There are indications of a dual correlation between emotions and physical movement. In other words, emotions can influence physical behaviour, and in turn, physical behaviour can influence emotions. For example, feeling happy may cause you to contract the muscles on your face in a smile, and smiling while feeling unhappy may improve your happiness. There's no conclusive evidence about the degree to which this is the case, but it's important to consider the possibility.
It's a well-known fact that emotions are associated with the activation of particular muscle groups. People can often identify an emotion by its effect on their body (fear is the best example of this). Even if the reverse - emotions being influenced by movement - isn't true, physical movement may still trigger emotional memory and cause you to re-experience a particular event that is associated with the type of motion that you're performing (body memory hypothesis).
Priming and body memory, while not strongly established, are worthwhile considerations for those of who work on self-knowledge. Changing the way we move may give us additional insight into our inner worlds. I've seen top athletes freeze on the dance floor. They were perfectly capable of performing the movements but were afraid of the associated feelings that often come up when we dance: "I can't relax when I dance even when I'm all by myself."
References and Further Reading:
8. Exercise Approaches
This part will only consist of my personal opinions, so take it for what it's worth. To establish at least some credibility, I was a competitive athlete for many years and have been very physically active since I was around 4 years old. I've got a minimum of three years of experience with martial arts, sprinting, football, basketball,volleyball and even Latin dancing. I've played other sports for shorter periods of time.
Physical exercise is no substitute for self-knowledge, but it can certainly complement it. If you're not particularly active, committing to an exercise regimen will be a long-term project as you may not see significant benefits even until the first year. There are lots of exercise programs that will offer you an instant six-pack and a permanent injury. Stay away from them because they're designed for people who want short-term value over long-term sustainability. The economics of hidden costs!
You can either research exercise techniques on your own or find an experienced coach. The goal is to have a program that fits your needs. Luckily, there's lots of information on the internet. Make sure your regimen fits in with your other activities as well. This, alongside habit, is the key to long-term commitment. Ideally, with slight modifications, you want your program to continue supporting you many years into the future. Don't get discouraged if you have to stop for a while. It's perfectly normal. The idea of the Aristotelian mean applies quite well in this case. You're not aiming for a perfect (What a terrible word!) track record, so keep your mind on the long-term goal and make your effort proportional to it.
If you've never exercised before, make sure you correct your posture by resolving muscle imbalances and build your core strength through bodyweight and light dumbbell training. You can do all this in the comfort of your room, so social anxiety won't be an issue. Don't forget to include lots of stretching before and after exercise! Once you have a solid foundation, you can move on to weight lifting or sports. Focus on proper form (how you move) over performance (how much force you can generate) if you want to stay healthy in the long run.
Finally, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to go for a team sport. Unless you've got control over who you play with, it's not a bad idea to avoid full-contact sports like rugby, football, basketball etc. because they attract a lot of aggressive people who want to channel their dysfunction into physical dominance. Even experienced players can get seriously injured by aggressive amateurs. Nowadays, volleyball is my sport of choice. It gives you a full-body workout while keeping you away from dangerous opponents. It's quite popular, so it's not hard to find people to play with.



9. Conclusion
This was certainly a long way of saying the following: Take care of your bodies, folks! I hope I managed to convince some of you to start doing that. An exercise regimen can certainly make its way into your New Year's resolution! In case you've never exercised, use the information presented here as a starting point for your own research. I'd be happy to address any questions or criticisms. If I've made an error, please let me know!

  • 16

#362374 FoO art theme

Posted by Saarl on 14 April 2014 - 05:14 AM

Hello fellow members of the board!


I didn't know where to place the topic, so here it is.

I've just started working on FoO series in a visual form, anyone who is interested in using the art for their own projects - feel free to go to dA and download the image. I'll be posting more as soon as I get it done.


Here's a link: http://saarl.deviant...lery:Saarl&qo=0





  • 14

#343960 Bitcoin: Getting Started

Posted by Wesley on 03 November 2013 - 05:34 PM

Bitcoin: Getting Started


What is Bitcoin?


Bitcoin is a decentralized digital cryptocurrency. Please review this video:




For anyone looking for a more advanced overview, here is the Khan Academy Bitcoin Course Playlist:




Bitcoin Terms:


Address (Public Address): These are the parts of the Blockchain which denote where the bitcoins are. Anyone can generate an address and begin receiving bitcoins. The address can be made public in order to receive bitcoins.


Bitcoin, BTC: The Cryptographic bits of data that can be exchanged as a payment system. Bitcoins are divisible a theoretical infinite number of times. There are several names for these divisions including BitCents (BTC x 10-2), mBTC (BTC x 10-3), uBTC (BTC x 10-6) and Satoshi (BTC x 10-9).


Block Chain: This is the P2P transaction ledger for Bitcoin. All transactions are stored on the ledger and on every computer connected to the bitcoin network. Older transactions are compressed for efficiency, however it still can take some time to update when a computer has been off for a while.


Confirmation: It is possible that bitcoins could be sent fraudulently (through double spends, etc). However, the system is constantly being audited by miners. If a transaction is successful, then it will start acquiring confirmations. It is considered to be guaranteed correct if it has acquired 6 confirmations.  You may decide how many confirmations you wish to wait for. Increasing your fee will prioritize the transaction to the miners and will make transactions get confirmed faster. If you do not care how long the transaction takes, you can send the transaction fee free. A significant fee to make the transaction occur quickly is still very small.


Difficulty: Bitcions are mathematically released and the difficulty it is to get bitcions is constantly adjusted in order to regulate the release of coins. If coins are being released too fast (more people start mining as BTC price rises) then the difficulty will increase making mining less profitable.

Double Spend: A user will try to send bitcoins to 2 addresses simultaneously. The software thinks it has enough coin for both transactions when in reality it does not. Thus, the user is attempting to multiply his purchasing power. This is why miners are auditing the system in order to prevent such fraud.


Hash Rate: The rate at which a miner’s (or the bitcoin network) calculates problems for auditing and verifying the blockchain. At the time of writing this, the bitcion network’s hash rate is 4,000,000 Gh/s which means that it performs 4 million billion calculations a second.


Key (Private Key): This is what allows you to send the bitcoins in an address. If you lose your private key, you can look at bitcoins in a wallet but you will not be able to send them. Public Addresses can be generated from Private Keys, but Private Keys cannot be figured out from Public Addresses.


Mining/Miners: Miners use mining equipment to audit the bitcoin system. They are rewarded with bitcoins as they are being released into the network on a regular, planned basis. Once all bitcoins are released, mining will still continue but will survive on the transaction fees.


Mixing: There may be a time where you wish to send coins in a way that is anonymous. A mixing service will allow you to send coins into a pool where your coins get sent somewhere unrelated to the recipient of the coins. The recipient will then get coins from someone else who sent them to the pool. Current fees are around 1%


P2P: Peer-to-peer system where there is no central location where the data is stored. It is on everyone’s computer and is shared between users. This means there is no central system you have to go through and shutting down one node will change nothing about the system as a whole.


Signature: If one wishes to make known that an address belongs to them, they can transmit a digital signature to the network. This will cause you to lose anonymity.


Taint: If coins are sent from one address to another, the system “remembers” where the coins have been. This is called taint. Tainted coins can be mixed and sent to a new address if desired. Taint can potentially lead to linking addresses, but because of mixing it makes it impossible to trace.


Wallet: This is the collection of addresses that you own is said to be stored in a wallet. If you use the standard software, the file that stores your addresses is wallet.dat.


Can Bitcion be Hacked?


The Bitcoin Math itself cannot be hacked unless you took the power of the sun and converted it into computing power for a couple million years. This is theoretically possible, but practically impossible.




The weakness in bitcoin is not the math. There are a few ways in which bitcoin has vulnerabilities.


The 51% attack:


If there was a situation in which someone can get enough computing power in order to overcome the entire bitcoin system (own 51% of it) then their miners could approve the transactions they want to the detriment of actual valid transactions. The longer bitcoin goes on and the more popular it gets, the more impossible it is for this to happen. Currently, it would take a few super computers to overcome the system and is quickly becoming nearly impossible.




The main thing you want to be concerned about is YOUR security. The weakness in bitcoin is not the math of bitcoin, but you not having good protection of your private keys. If you store your private keys in a wallet.dat file on your computer, then I will not try to hack bitcoin. I will hack your computer and copy that file. Thus, precautions must be taken.


How Can I Get an Address/Wallet?


Computer Client (Think Checking Account)


There are several ways to get an address/wallet. If you are just going to dip into the bitcoin network and want an easy way to send small amounts of coin, then the best method is to use one of the many programs available for bitcoin wallets.




The Bitcoin-Qt is the backbone of the network and the main base client if you want to start.


Armory Client is a feature-rich client that I currently use. It allows paper back-ups and many other things.


Encrypting a Wallet:


If you want to add one step up to your protection, both of those clients allow you to encrypt your wallet by using a passphrase. Make sure the passphrase is complicated. An easy passphrase just creates a vulnerability. You can get a good enough encryption in order to make it pretty secure to store some coins.


Backing Up a Wallet:


You can copy a wallet.dat file onto a thumb drive, cd, or even write your private key on a piece of paper. In case of a hard drive failure, you do not want to lose your coins.


Cold Wallets (Think Savings Account):


In order to take away the vulnerabilities to your computer, then you can print out an only paper wallet. You can use the public address to send coins into the wallet and only import the private key at some point in the future when you wish to spend those coins. Some especially paranoid (or they just have a loooot of bitcoins) people will buy a computer that has never touched the internet in order to generate the address and then destroy the computer.


For a full description as to how to generate a good paper wallet, read this link:




If you want to generate some paper wallets, you can go here (be sure to move your mouse around as it helps make the address generation more random):




There are many other cold storage options (and you can come up with your own) but here are some examples that are out there.








Many more are probably in use that people do not wish to share.


How Do I Get Bitcoins?




There are many exchanges available. If you wish to look at the list:




Coinbase has been used and is trusted by a few FDR users. 


*Update: Since making this thread, I have created an account at Coinbase and would highly recommend them for purchasing bitcoins.


*Update #2: MMD also has used Coinbase and set up an FDR affiliate link. By using this link to create an account and purchasing at least $100 worth of bitcoin, Coinbase will give FDR $5 worth of bitcoin. A great way for you to get bitcoin and indirectly send a little tip for some of the work Stef and Mike have been doing around bitcoin lately.


This link is now the FDR affiliate link:




One of the easiest ways to get bitcoins is to use LocalBitcoins.com (https://localbitcoins.com/).  LocalBitcoins allows you to meet up with people (at a public place to prevent theft) and trade BTC for money.  Make sure to wait for confirmations before leaving a local bitcoin exchange unless you trust the other person [high rating] (and make sure you give a transaction fee to the network so that this happens in a reasonable amount of time.) If you have any worries at all in a local exchange, do not buy and just check the next person on the list. Bad feelings can easily let you just abort the exchange at any time.


Besides exchanging money, there are other options.


Faucet Sites:


These sites pay you to look at ads or watch videos. I run them sometimes in the background when I’m going to be on the internet all day anyway. You will not make a lot of money on this (a couple cents an hour maybe?) However, if you are just looking for a small amount to tip people with or just a free way to dip in, then faucet sites may be for you.

I have used bitvisitor.com in the past.




Create an address and put it in your signature in forums or on your website. When you produce content people enjoy, they may send you a tip.




Accept payment for goods or services in bitcoin. Especially if you think prices will go up (or bitcoin just has fewer fees) you can provide discounts for customers who pay in bitcoin.




I would HIGHLY recommend against this until you have spent a lot of time on bitcointalk.org and know what you are doing with mining. Mining can lose you money if you get the wrong equipment. However, some people (especially where power is free or very cheap) are able to make money mining for bitcoins.


Of course there are probably many other ways to earn BTC, but these are the basics.


Can I Accept Bitcoins Without Having to Hold the Bitcions?


Bitpay (https://bitpay.com/) and other bitcoin payment providers allow people to accept bitcoins and get a check for the value of bitcoins at the end of the day. This allows people to accept bitcoins as payment, but not worry about potential fluctuations in price in the bitcoin market.


How Can I Send Bitcoins?


If you have the coins on a cold wallet, import them into a client. Select “send bitcoins” or the equivalent. Make sure the transaction fee is set where you want it to be. Paste/Type the public address of where you would like them sent. Paste/Type the amount. DOUBLE CHECK THE AMOUNT AND ADDRESS!!! There are no chargebacks with bitcoin and someone may keep excess coins that are sent if they choose to. If you send to the wrong address, then it is most likely that that person will keep them (or they will never be seen again if you somehow really messed up). There are checks in the system to correct toward real addresses; however, double checking should always be performed. Send the coins.


What Can I Buy with Bitcoins?


A list has somewhat been compiled here:




However, there are probably many, many more who are not on that list and accept bitcoin. 


An open-source map of bitcoin-friendly businesses has been started here:




Even if you do not end up getting bitcoin, but enjoy the idea it would be awesome if you supported bitcoin-friendly buinesses in your area with fiat dollars as well as with bitcoin if you wish.


Where Can I Learn More?
















And many more...



At this point I will take a break and ask for feedback. I probably made mistakes, so I would be happy to hear corrections.


Do you have a question I didn’t answer? I will answer it below and if I think enough people will have the same question, I will edit this post so that others do not have that question at the end.


If you want more information on a topic, I may have some sources or can create another post about it.


Thanks for reading!

  • 13

#346813 We're doing it! We're unschooling! Congratulate me!

Posted by tasmlab on 25 November 2013 - 09:55 PM

HI friends,


My wife and I have finally decided to homeschool our kids!  It's been a long analysis and we're finally on board.  Starting on Dec 10 my eight year old daughter and five year old son will not be going to school anymore and hopefully my two year old never sees one.


I absolutely FEASTED on John Taylor Gatto's "Dumbing us down" and "Weapons of Mass Instruction".  They were great.   Highly recommended.  I also read Ron Paul's "The School Revolution".


Oh, and I've listened to about 800 FDR podcasts too.


I can't believe how long it took me to get my head around this.  I've been a libertarian for 15 years and it still took a lot of mulling and study.  I guess that's how powerful my own public schooling was.


Anyways, I'm really excited.  Thanks for reading!

  • 12

#361396 Evil and the Man: Ethics Versus Empirical History

Posted by Stefan Molyneux on 06 April 2014 - 05:16 PM

[Word Doc Attached]


The relationship between personal integrity and moral theorizing has always been challenging, and is arguably the most essential problem for modern philosophy to unravel and resolve.


Incorrect moral theories can be justly viewed as the greatest viruses to ever attack the human species – theories such as communism, fascism and other forms of totalitarian socialism – as well as generic nationalism – have caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of human beings in the 20th century alone. It is hard to think of any biological virus with a similar death count, except perhaps the black death of the early Middle Ages, which spread through the extreme and unsanitary poverty which resulted from the catastrophic moral and economic theories of monarchy and feudalism.


I have argued for many years that first we look to the man, and then we look to his theories. As a result, I have been endlessly accused of committing the logical fallacies of ad hominem and tu quoque. The ad hominem fallacy is an attempt to discredit a theory by attacking the theoretician, i.e. “Your argument is invalid because you are ugly.” Tu quoque is the fallacy of rejecting a moral theory due to the hypocrisy of the moralist. If a slave owner argues that slavery is immoral, we cannot reject the immorality of slavery because the moralist owns slaves.


However, while it is a fallacy to reject a moral theory due to the moral hypocrisies of the theorist, there are two components to rejecting a theory. The first is to prove that the theory is necessarily and universally false, and the second is to reject the competence of the theorist.


There are three arguments which support examining the moralist prior to examining his or her moral theories; the first is practical, and almost universally understood and practiced, while the second is logical, and not well understood as yet. The third will be examined at the end of this article.


The importance of the relationship between personal integrity and moral theorizing cannot be overstated. If we could have rationally excluded from the philosophical discourse of mankind the number of moralists who were themselves deeply immoral, we would have saved the world from, at a bare minimum, Communism and Nazism, whose death count rose above 100 million innocent people. Evil ethicists are the holocaust of humanity; if philosophy can be the instant sunlight to their endless vampirism, it could save more lives than all the doctors who have ever lived.



The Practical Objection  

A history of irrationality does not logically preclude a future of rationality – however, that is almost never how we make our decisions – individually, institutionally, or as societies.


If you are an indifferent undergraduate student, eking out marks in the mid-60% range, and then you apply for a graduate degree, you will be rejected by any mainstream university. You can rationally protest that a history of bad marks does not necessarily mean a future of bad marks, and you will be quite correct, but you will still be denied entrance. The university will reject you for two reasons; one obvious, and one more sophisticated.


The obvious reason is the well-established principle that by far the best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior. If you want to know how a man will act tomorrow, examine how he acted in the past. True, it cannot be established beyond a shadow of a doubt that a history of poor scholarship proves a future of equally poor scholarship, but it is the best indicator. Spaces in graduate programs are limited, and all who try but fail to secure graduate degrees waste scarce resources; therefore those resources should go to those with the greatest chance of success. An old, lame horse could theoretically win the Kentucky Derby, but would you bet on it?


The more sophisticated reason for rejecting the indifferent undergraduate applicant is that completing a graduate degree – and I say this from experience – requires planning, consistency, intelligence, foresight, negotiation and a basket full of other related skills. If, as an undergraduate, you get bad marks, it could be because you lack the intelligence to do better. If you lack the intelligence to do well in an undergraduate program, you will do even worse in a graduate program, where the demands for intelligence are higher. A man who cannot lift 50 pounds cannot lift 150 pounds.


If you possess the necessary intelligence to do well as an undergraduate, but lack the ability to plan, then you will do even worse in a graduate program, where planning requirements are even more stringent. A man who cannot plan a 10 page essay cannot plan a 100 page thesis.


We could go through all the other requirements for success in a graduate program, and compare them to your success in an undergraduate program, and understand that either you lack these skills and abilities, in which case you will fail, or you possess them, but lack foresight, planning, a work ethic, commitment, or any of the wide variety of other skills necessary for success, in which case you will also fail.


Still, from a purely logical standpoint, you could make the case that while relevant past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior, it is not ironclad proof. While this argument will still not get you into a graduate program, it remains logically sound.


So what?


In countless areas, we sensibly reject people based upon prior personal habits or characteristics. A rational man does not date thieves; a sensible woman does not date a serial wife beater; a cautious investor does not hand his money over to a known cheat; I do not order goods from eBay merchants with terrible reputations, and so on. An examination of prior behavior helps keep us safe, although we cannot rationally prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that future behavior will match prior behavior. A rock thrown off a cliff will certainly fall to the ground; an immoral man can theoretically reform himself and find virtue.


One consistent strategy of inconsistent moralists is to create massive and generally incomprehensible tomes, and then demand that any who wish to reject their theories must first become an expert in their thoughts (as an added bonus, if they wrote in the critics non-native tongue, the critic must also learn that language as well.)


In this essay, I will argue that there is a far easier and more immediate way to reject the philosophical and moral propositions of any and all thinkers. It has to do with an examination of personal hypocrisy, but does not fall prey to either the ad hominem or tu quoque fallacies.


This is an essential task – if there was a rational way to reject the moral propositions of immoral people, this would be an incalculable boon to mankind. If we could first look to the man, rather than to his argument, then a bare skimming of his life history can be sufficient to avoid a detailed analysis of his moral propositions. It is easier to read a bullet point outline of Karl Marx’s personal life, say, then slog your way through the three mammoth volumes of “Capital” in the original 19th-century German.


If the diet section of your local bookstore has 100 books, and 99 of them have a morbidly obese author on the cover, it would be massively efficient to be able to reject the diets of the fat authors, and pick out the one lean and healthy writer.


This is not an unprecedented approach, and should not be surprising or foreign to us.


If your sister tells you she wants to date a man who brags about putting his last 15 girlfriends in the hospital with broken bones, what would you say? Assuming you are not a similar sadist, you would strongly urge her to avoid such a violent monster. If she is a petty logician, she might argue that we cannot say for absolute certain that he will be as violent in his future as he was in his past, and she will be technically correct.


She will also end up in the hospital with broken bones. Logically correct, but emotionally and physically shattered.


If a financial advisor wants your business, and you find out that he has cheated all his prior clients out of their life savings, will that affect your decision to put him in charge of your money? Of course it will – although you cannot prove as a rational certainty that you will be his next victim.


It is not just a person’s history that is relevant, but his attitude towards that history as well. If your potential financial advisor has not only cheated all his prior clients, but writes a blog detailing how happy it makes him to cheat people, laughing at all the ridiculous suckers that he has productively separated from their money, and his glee and delight in selecting his next victim, then “high probability” rises to “virtual certainty.”


It remains theoretically possible that such a man might miraculously find some sort of conscience after you give him all of your money to manage, or he could be struck by some brain illness that prevents him from executing his nefarious plans, or he could get hit by a bus, or any other such accident – but outside of random happenstance, a man with a history of immorality who openly delights in that immorality, will without a doubt be immoral in the future. To argue otherwise is to destroy any kind of rational cause and effect between thought and action.


We apply this reasoning again and again in society as a whole as well – a violent criminal who continues to revel in his past crimes, and delights in plotting new ones, should never be released from prison, and in fact rarely is. Remorse is the key to release.


A woman who was hit as a child is statistically far more likely to hit her own children, but this is not a certainty. However, a woman who was hit as a child, and who praises her parents for hitting her, and insists that hitting children is parental excellence – and that not hitting children is destructive and abusive – is certain to hit her own children (again, excluding random happenstance, such as an alligator chewing off all her limbs, at which point she will doubtless resort to headbutting them.)


Online marketplaces such as eBay rely on reputation systems, which allow potential purchasers to view reports of the past behavior of various merchants. A merchant with a spotless ten-year record is almost certain to ship you whatever you pay for; his past integrity provides the best proof of a successful transaction in the present. Merchants who cheated all prior customers are almost certain to cheat you, which is why no one buys from them.


There remains a difference, however, between practicing virtue and proclaiming virtue.


Deciding to cut down on my sugar intake does not make me a nutritionist; deciding against spanking my children does not make me a moralist. I might cut down on my sugar because it is too expensive, or because I’m concerned about cavities – I might decide against spanking my children because it hurts my hand, or because my children are getting larger and stronger.


An honest eBay merchant might in fact prefer that his competition is dishonest, since that would drive more business to his own store. Practicing a virtue is not the same as theoretically and universally proclaiming it as an abstract moral theory.


This essay is written to provide the ammunition to expose false moralists; therefore we are not primarily concerned with those who practice virtue, but with those who proclaim virtue.


To reiterate, moral hypocrisy on the part of the moralizer does not automatically disprove his moral theories.


A dishonest financial advisor may publicly speak about honor and virtue in financial dealings – his dishonesty does not disprove the value of honor and virtue. A counterfeiter’s fake money does not disprove the value of real money – rather, it affirms and relies on the value of real money.


A man who beats his wife may write many books on the virtue of nonviolent communication – the fact that he beats his wife does not invalidate the virtue of nonviolent communication.


However, that is not the end of our capacity to analyze the moral theories of immoral people.


If we can find an ironclad – i.e., not empirical, but analytical – argument which allows us to reject the moral theories of immoral people, we can literally save not just millions of hours of analysis, but millions of lives as well.


Not a bad way to spend an hour or so.



The Analytical Rejection  

Imagine that, in a loud bar, someone asks me for the name of a country that borders on Greece, but I hear him asking for the name of a flightless bird that Americans eat on Thanksgiving.


I reply, of course, “Turkey.”


Am I correct?


There are two ways of answering that – one is to focus on the conclusion, the other is to focus on the methodology. If I focus on the conclusion, then I have used the right word, and my answer is correct.


In the same way, if I only speak English, but somehow end up on a Japanese game show, and the host asks me a question, and I make some fake Japanese sounding syllables, and those syllables happen to be the correct answer, am I right?


A parrot can be trained to say “64.” If a man asks the parrot what two to the sixth power is, does the parrot’s response mean that it understands mathematics?


Of course not.


Suppose I am playing golf for the first time, and I miraculously sink a hole in one. If I never hit a golf ball again, am I the best golfer in history?


You could argue that I am, since I have the most perfect score possible throughout my entire career. However, I should not hold my breath for my entrance into the golfing Hall of Fame, or for lucrative endorsement deals, because my success does not arise from practice and consistent results, but rather from a freak accident and an avoidance of retesting my abilities.


My daughter likes to doodle and make up pretend letters and words – if, in one of her scribblings, she writes by accident “E=MC2” should I shout with joy and immediately label her a physicist? Of course not, I should smile at the odd coincidence, and accept that the random sometimes looks like the planned. Once every million years, the wind might carve the tops of sand dunes into the same equation; this does not mean that the wind should be granted a degree in physics.


If we imagine that the truth is in the answer, then these accidents are “true.”


If, however, we accept that the truth is in the methodology, then these accidents do not result in “truth.” They are not “false” either; they are just random or accidental. If I look at my daughter’s accidentally scribbled “equation," can I assign it a value of true or false?


I cannot.


That would be like suing a tree that fell on my car for the willful destruction of my property.


Accidents have no truth value; they are outside the realm of truth or falsehood or morality or immorality, they remain mere coincidence or happenstance with no philosophical content whatsoever. They are, in the memorable phrase of Richard Dawkins, “not even wrong.”


If one day, an ancient fragment of text is unearthed that proclaims that “Freedomain Radio will be the most popular philosophy show in the world,” that would be a fascinating coincidence, but it would neither be a true nor a false statement, since it is a mere statement without methodology. Since the work is not shown, the truth cannot be present.


When we are children, we are constantly told to “show our work.” Writing a number that matches the answer in a math problem is not enough, we must show how we arrived at our conclusion, or we are marked down.


In science or mathematics, it is not enough to say that you have solved a problem, you must also show how you have solved the problem, or it remains impossible for other people to evaluate your expertise.


Reproducibility is also essential to the scientific method, which is another reason why it is so important to show your work. If you claim that you have produced fusion in a jar, other scientists must be able to reproduce your findings, or they are automatically considered invalid. If other scientists cannot reproduce your experiments, that does not mean that your theory is false, it simply means that it is unproven, invalid, not in conformity to the scientific method. Again, it is “not even wrong.”


An ancient religion may have as one of its tenets the belief that the world is a sphere. This belief, since it is the result of divine revelation, and not scientific or mathematical investigation, is invalid, even though science will later prove that the world is in fact a sphere.


The conclusion alone can never be correct, only the methodology can be correct.


This is a very tricky argument to understand, but it is absolutely essential.


A man in the ancient world who dreams that the world is a sphere is not correct, even though the world is in fact a sphere, because a dream is not a valid methodology for discovering rational truths about the world.


Truth, in other words, has nothing to do with the conclusion, and everything to do with the methodology.


One cannot be “accidentally correct,” any more than one can accidentally be the best golfer in history. The moment that a consistent methodology is bypassed, the conclusions are automatically invalidated.


If I openly state that I am diametrically opposed to the scientific method, I cannot be a scientist – even if, after endless pages of random scribblings, I accidentally write the equivalent of some valuable equation.


Monkeys tapping away on endless keyboards will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare; this does not mean that infinite monkeying is the artistic equivalent of the greatest poet in the English language, because what they produce is accidental, while what Shakespeare produced was purposeful.


In other words, the words “right,” “valid,” “correct,” “true” and so on all refer to the validity of the methodology, rather than the validity of the conclusion, or the answer.



Methodology versus Conclusion  

The word “correct,” refers to the validity of the methodology, rather than the answer provided. A correct methodology is a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement for truth. If you follow a valid methodology, your conclusions may be valid – if you do not, they are never valid.


In science, this means using the scientific method – a “valid” conclusion is one arrived at through the use of the scientific method, which is then validated by logical consistency, empirical tests, reproducibility, and so on.


This does not mean that the conclusion is absolutely and permanently correct, of course – scientific theories are overturned and superseded all the time, as measurement accuracy improves, new information arises, or better theories are developed.


Any answers which were not developed using the scientific method are automatically invalid – which really means beyond or outside testability. “Invalid" refers to the incorrect or absent methodology, rather than any specific answer.


If I tell you that my mathematical theory is correct because the answer is “4,” but I refuse to tell you any of the equations, propositions or methodology which produces the number “4,” am I correct? To pretend to evaluate that is to insult the word “correct.”


Answers can never be evaluated in the absence of rational, empirical and consistent methodologies. No conclusion, no answer, no proposition requires rational review or rebuttal if the methodology is either incorrect or absent. As the old saying goes, “that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”


If a man states – either implicitly or explicitly – that he rejects consistent methodologies, then his conclusions can be rejected as invalid without further examination. They cannot possibly be true, since truth results from a consistent methodology, and accidental “truths” are invalid by definition.


Sophists generally operate by stating emotionally pleasing or provocative conclusions, and refusing to show the consistent methodology that produced them. Rational thinkers are so often drawn into examining, evaluating and rebutting these statements, which is an unnecessary and even counterproductive waste of time and energy. These attempts not only promote the perceived value of sophistry, but insult the critical necessity for a consistent methodology in philosophical thought. Great thinkers should spend their time more wisely; philosophers have better things to do than fence with bumper stickers.



Consistency and Integrity  

If I say that spanking children is immoral, but I spank my own child, this of course does not disprove the proposition that spanking children is immoral, but it does prove something equally important in many ways.


If a scientist says that all gases expand when heated, except his own personal emissions, then he has involved himself in an immediate self-contradiction, and shown that he either does not understand the principle of universality, or is rejecting it for some nefarious purpose.


The moment someone claims that his proposition is universal, and then breaks that universality, he can no longer claim that his proposition is universal - or that he even understands the concept of “universality.” The scientist who says that all gases expand when heated, except for argon in Philadelphia during a full moon, can no longer say that all gases expand when heated, or must reject the exception he is creating for argon in Philadelphia during a full moon. If he does not even notice that he is both proposing and repudiating universality simultaneously, he is either a complete fool or a dangerous manipulator.


I have made the case elsewhere that moral propositions require and enforce Universally Preferable Behavior. A moralist who acts in opposition to his moral propositions is implicitly rejecting the fundamental requirement of universality.


A doctor who smokes, and says that smoking is bad for everyone except himself, makes the same error.


This is worth stating again: since moral propositions require universality, any moralist who rejects universality – either explicitly or implicitly – by acting in a manner counter to his propositions – has by definition rejected universality.


Thus, the moment a moralist rejects universality, he cannot be a moralist – any more than a scientist who rejects the scientific method can be a scientist, or a mathematician who rejects mathematical principles can be a mathematician, or a philosopher who rejects logic can be a philosopher.


We do not need to evaluate the claims of a man who says that he is a scientist, but also openly states that he rejects the scientific method, because his rejection of the scientific method, as shown above, reveals that none of his conclusions can be valid or true, since truth exists only in the methodology, never in the conclusions.


In other words, we do not need to disprove the propositions of a man who rejects reason and evidence, since his rejection of reason and evidence means that none of his propositions can ever be valid; nothing accidental can ever be true.


How do we know that a moralist rejects universality?


One approach we can take is to examine his theories, and look for a consistent methodology – in other words, the moment that we find emotionally significant conclusions, without reasoning from first principles, we can reject the entire philosophy. Philosophy, like science and mathematics, requires consistency; the moment that a significant inconsistency is revealed – and is rejected, suppressed or ignored by the thinker – we can reject the philosophy as a whole.


This does not mean that perfect consistency is required, or that no errors can occur in a philosophy – or in a philosopher – but blatant and obvious inconsistencies or absences of rational methodologies are enough to discard the school of thought as a whole.


Philosophy-breaking errors must be fundamental to the field of study, or to the central propositions of the philosophy; disputes over statistics or syntax do not count.


A nutritionist who eats a candy bar once in a while can still be a nutritionist, but a nutritionist who eats only candy bars cannot.


A mother who values nonviolent communication, and yells at her son, is not necessarily a hypocrite, providing that she recognizes the deviance from her values, apologizes, does her best to figure out why she ended up yelling, and works hard to avoiding yelling again. Again, this does not mean that if she yells twice, she is automatically a hypocrite, as long as she continues to work diligently toward the goal of consistently achieving her values of nonviolent communication, and is open about her failings.


However, a parent who claims to value nonviolent communication, and constantly yells at her son, and only yells louder when her hypocrisy is pointed out, and blames her son for making him yell at her, and never admits fault, is about as obvious a hypocrite as can be imagined.


Correctness is in the methodology, and virtue is also in the methodology of pursuing virtue, just as health is in the methodology of pursuing health.


As long as people are open and honest about their moral deficiencies, and work conscientiously to correct them, virtue is achieved in the process of pursuing virtue. A dieter who eats cheesecake in a moment of weakness is still a dieter, as long as she throws out the remaining cheesecake and buys no more. A dieter who keeps eating cheesecake is no longer a dieter.


An anti-spanker who keeps spanking his child cannot possibly be a moralist, since she loudly proclaims a moral theory, which requires significant intelligence, and therefore her hypocrisy cannot result from a lack of intelligence. If a man proposes a moral theory, he is automatically accepting the value of consistency and universality – that is the basic power of morality. A man who proposes a scientific theory is automatically accepting the value of consistency and universality, as well as empiricism, which really is the foundation of the scientific method. We observe, and then we theorize about that which in general we cannot observe, at least as yet.


If a man lacks the intelligence to understand the concept of universality, then he will never propose a moral theory, which requires an understanding of the concept of universality. He may say that he does not like being hit, a preference he would share with apes, dogs and fish, but he will not say that hitting is morally wrong, since that requires universality, which he does not understand. The moment that he says hitting is morally wrong, he reveals an understanding of universality, and can no longer be considered too stupid to understand it. I cannot hold a complex conversation in Japanese, and then deny that I speak Japanese.


Thus all moralists reveal – again, either explicitly or implicitly – a deep understanding of universality.


If a moralist consistently acts against his own moral propositions, he is both affirming and denying the value of universality. Moral propositions require universality, but he denies that universality by creating – and usually hiding – exceptions for his own actions.


Once a scientist has created and maintained a personal exception for his general rule of physics (“I can fly!”), he has broken the methodology of universality, which is necessary for any scientific theory and thus he is no longer a scientist, and his theories do not need further examination.


Once a moralist has created and maintained a personal exception to his general moral rule, he has broken the methodology of universality, which is necessary for any moral theory – and thus he is no longer a moralist, and his theories do not require any further examination.


If a man says that no parent should spank, and then spanks his own children, he is both affirming and denying the value of universality; he acts in opposition to his theory. In science, empiricism trumps theory; in ethics, a man is judged by how he acts, rather than what he says. Actions reveal what words obscure.


Einstein was an abusive husband; however, his scientific theories did not involve the ethics of human relationships, and so must be evaluated relative to the scientific method.


A moral hypocrite rejects consistency, which means that he rejects any rational methodology in the formulation and enactment of his moral theories.


As we have discussed above, we can reject without investigation anyone who fails to apply a rational methodology to his arguments. Personal hypocrisy – particularly in the realm of morality – reveals a rejection of universality, which means a rejection of any rational methodology in the formulation of the moral theory.


Since truth or validity is only in the methodology, and not in the conclusion, we do not need to examine the arguments of anyone who rejects a rational methodology, since their conclusions can never be true, or valid, or correct, or right – or, in the realm of morality in particular, moral.



Honesty and Morality  

If a moralist consistently acts in opposition to his own moral standards, then he is either honest about his immoral actions, or he is not. I have yet to hear of a well-known moralist who openly and proactively revealed his own hypocrisy; the universal tactic seems to be to hide one’s own immorality.


If a moralist publicly reveals his own hypocrisy, he openly reveals that he is evil by his own definition. If a moralist reveals himself as evil, why would one examine his ethical pronouncements? He might as well say, “I am an evil, untrustworthy liar, let me instruct you on truth and virtue!” What madness it would be to listen!


A man who defines himself as evil cannot by definition be trusted; since lying is generally a lesser form of evil, one cannot trust anything he says. Would you consent to be operated on by a surgeon who openly stated his desire to kill you?


This is why moralists hide their own moral transgressions; they know that they lose all power and credibility if their immoralities are revealed.


If a moralist hides his own immorality, he has revealed himself as a liar about the most important aspects of life; virtue, goodness and honesty. If a moralist compounds his own immorality with the immorality of lying about it, covering it up, then he is not to be trusted in any way, shape or form.


If a scientist openly states that he is falsifying his data, who would bother to examine his work?


When a moralist lies about his own immoralities, he is acting in a far more egregious and immoral fashion.


Really, that’s all you need to know about his “moral” theories.


Throw away the books, look to the man, and save mankind.



Honesty and Improvement  

When a moralist makes a moral argument, he is attempting to improve the ethics of mankind.


Making a moral argument contains within it the implicit premise that immorality results from a lack of information, understanding, statistics or wisdom – which are provided in the moral argument provided by the moralist.


In other words, to make a moral argument is to assume that people’s moral stature can be elevated through the ideas or arguments contained within that moral argument.


The moralist making the argument must by definition be in possession of superior information, since he is generating and making the argument about what goodness is, and why or how to be good.


A moral proposition thus assumes that moral excellence is improved by information, which is contained within the proposition. If moral excellence is improved by information, and the moralist has enough good information to generate a moral proposition, then the moralist must by definition have achieved greater moral excellence than those he lectures.


If you stop your car and ask me for directions, and I confidently give you those directions, we must assume that my knowledge about the directions in question is superior to yours. You lack information, I possess information, and thus can transfer it to you.


If a man provides information to improve the moral excellence of others, then the clear assumption is that being in possession of this information improves moral excellence.


If, however, the moralist is immoral, despite being in possession of the information he provides the others, then being in possession of this information does not improve moral excellence.


To go one step further, if the moralist is downright evil, despite being in possession of the information he provides to others, then being in possession of this information is associated with destroying moral excellence, and becoming evil.


Perhaps, you may say, the moralist does not follow the advice that he provides to others, just as a fat man with an excellent diet plan may recommend a diet that he does not himself follow.


If this is true, then the information that the moralist possesses does improve moral excellence, but the moralist does not wish to improve moral excellence, at least in himself.


For a moralist to not wish to improve moral excellence is a contradiction in terms – a moralist by definition is someone who wishes to improve moral excellence, just as a teacher is by definition someone who wishes to improve knowledge and skills, and a doctor is someone who wishes to improve or maintain health, and a nutritionist to someone who wishes to improve diet, and so on.


If I say that I am a teacher who wishes to destroy knowledge in others, then I cannot be a teacher.


If I say that I am a moralist, but do not wish to improve moral excellence, then I am not moralist.


If I say that I am a moralist, but wish to improve the moral excellence of others, but not myself, then I have broken universality, and can no longer claim to be a moralist, as discussed above.


In this way, we know that a moralist who practices immorality can never be taken seriously, and should in fact be avoided at all costs, both as a person, and a theoretician.



Immorality and Mimicry  

Those who imitate a value cannot claim to be ignorant of the utility of that value. If I am a counterfeiter, my main goal is to produce money that mimics as closely as possible the legitimate money in circulation.


A counterfeiter cannot claim to have no idea of the value of money, since he attempts to artificially create that value by imitating valid money as closely as he can – in fact, the imitation is driven solely by the counterfeiter’s knowledge of the value of money.


A counterfeiter who wishes to remain both profitable and out of prison has two main goals – the first is to avoid any methodology that easily separates real money from fake money – a counterfeit detection machine, say – and the second is to make sure that counterfeit bills only ever go out of his wallet, never back into it.


If a cell-phone based counterfeit detection machine (CDM) is invented, which sets off an alarm any time someone attempts to use fake money, the counterfeiter will very quickly go out of business. Thus it is in the interest of the counterfeiter to prevent these CDM’s from coming into existence.


In this essay, I am attempting to provide mankind a highly portable counterfeit detection machine in the realm of morality – i.e., that the arguments of a moralist may be universally and rationally dismissed if he consistently practices immorality, and in particular if he hides that immorality in any way.


Counterfeiters both support and reject universality – they support the universal value of money, which they attempt to prey on by mimicking its value through their own shoddy creations – and they reject universality, in that they are very happy to spend counterfeit money, but very unhappy to receive it.


In the same way, counterfeit moralists are very happy to lecture others on moral universals, but are always very unhappy when those universals are applied to their own lives.


Counterfeiters hate and fear counterfeit detection machines; anyone who gets very upset with this essay is almost certainly a sham moralist, and a highly dangerous person, and a fundamental enemy of mankind.



Explicit Versus Implicit Hypocrisy  

Let us take the case of Karl Marx. Marx railed against the evils of exploiting workers, but refused to pay his maid a penny for decades, and then got her pregnant, and refused to acknowledge or pay for his own son, who remained – likely as a result – a member of the working class, a welder, and prominent in the welders’ union.


Marx spent decades actively striving to hide his paternity, since he feared the loss of his moral prestige if it were found out. (There are countless examples of Marx’s exploitation of just about everyone he came in contact with, but we will just focus on this example for the moment.)


If Marx had openly and publicly declared his unwillingness to pay his maid, and openly affirmed his own fathering of a working-class son – and his refusal to pay for him – then he would have openly declared his contempt for the concept of universality, and thus utterly undermined his own ethical propositions.


If the exploitation of workers is evil, then Marx was evil. An evil moralist breaks universality, and certainly cannot be trusted, since he has openly declared himself as evil.


As the historian Paul Johnson has noted, Marx was unable to find a single example of any worker who was never paid a penny by his or her employer, except in his own household – which means that Marx was a far more egregious exploiter then the capitalist bourgeoisie that he condemned. Also, in the Communist Manifesto, Marx railed against the sexual exploitation of workers by employers – if he had openly revealed his sexual exploitation of his own unpaid worker, his manifesto would have become a tortured psychological case of repression, projection and displaced shame, and a piece of bad moral comedy, rather than a tragically influential work.


However, by hiding his own immoralities – especially according to his own values – Marx revealed that he perfectly understood the value of consistency in moral theories and actions. In other words, he knew that, if his own immoralities were revealed, his moral theories would have taken a possibly mortal blow.


Thus, Marx cannot claim to not understand the power and value of universality in moral propositions – his act of hiding his own egregious moral violations perfectly shows his understanding of the power and value of universality.


Marx also cannot claim the excuse of occasional deviation from moral ideals – the dieter who eats a piece of cheesecake in the middle of the night, or the peaceful parent who yells once every two years – since his financial and sexual exploitations lasted for decades, and his denial of paternity and legal and financial responsibility for his son lasted until his death, and was actively hidden by Marx, Engels and their followers.


A man who claims a moral ideal, and consistently acts against that moral ideal, and hides his own hypocrisy, obviously does not value or follow universality in any empirical or practical sense whatsoever.


A man whose theories rely on universality, but through his actions reveals that he does not value or follow universality, may be rejected without further examination. His moral theories can never be true, since he rejects the only methodology – reason and evidence – that can establish truth or falsehood.


Again, the equivalent is a man whose theories rely on the scientific method, but who does not value or follow the scientific method – such a man’s theories can never be true, since he has rejected the only methodology – the scientific method – that can establish the validity or invalidity of a scientific theory.


Arguing that we can examine the truth of a conclusion without examining the methodology that produced it is like arguing that we can examine the truth of ownership without examining any prior events or circumstances. There is no way to logically establish the ownership of a bicycle by looking at a man riding it. He might be the legitimate owner of the bicycle, or he might have just stolen it, or he might be renting it, or he might be taking it for a test ride, or he might be bicycling in his sleep, or any of another thousand possibilities. A man playing with a child might be the father, he might be an uncle, a friend, a sinister stranger, or a cuckolded husband who merely believes that he is the father.


We cannot determine the truth of the statement, “employers exploit workers,” without examining the methodology which produced the statement. If the man producing the statement rejects rational methodologies – either explicitly or implicitly – the statement is invalid, even if it can be later logically proven that employers do exploit workers. If the moralist exploits his own workers, then he cannot claim that it is a universal evil - unless he is willing to admit that he is evil - and therefore he immediately loses the value of universality, and therefore cannot be a moralist. A man who proposes a moral theory while empirically disproving that moral theory through his own hypocritical actions, must be automatically dismissed. Nothing he says can ever be true, even if a few things he said may eventually be proven through a rational and consistent methodology.


Philosophy starts with empiricism, since if matter did not behave in a consistent and predictable manner, reason – not to mention science, or life itself – would never have come into being. In the same way, an examination of moral theories must start with an examination of the moralizer, to determine whether any rational analysis of his propositions is even possible.


We do not bring science to the imaginary physics of our nightly dreams; we do not bring biology to the painted “aliens” of Star Trek; we do not bring geology to the fantastical lands of Middle Earth, because they are the products of whimsy and entertaining imaginations.


A man demanding a Nobel Prize in science for his random scribbles can be dismissed without examination – in the same way, a moralist who consistently practices moral inconsistency can be dismissed without examination, since he has proven his contempt for consistency, which is a necessary – but not sufficient – requirement for any valid moral theory.


Thus proving moral inconsistencies in the life of a moralist is sufficient cause to reject his arguments as a whole – and this rejection does not fall prey to either the ad hominem and tu quoque fallacies. The argument can be summarized thus:


1.      Arguments can be true if they follow a consistent methodology; there is no such thing as “accidental validity.”

2.      Any argument proposed by a man can be rejected as invalid if he does not follow or understand a consistent methodology.

3.      Ethical arguments require universality.

4.      Any ethical argument proposed by an ethicist can be rejected if the ethicist does not understand or follow the requirement of universality.

5.      An ethicist who consistently acts in contradiction to his stated moral theories shows that he does not understand or follow the requirement of universality.

6.      Since this ethicist does not follow or understand the requirement of universality, none of his arguments or conclusions can be valid, since the concept of “validity” only applies to the methodology, not the conclusion.

7.      Such a person can no longer be called an ethicist, since he has shown by his actions that does not understand or follow the requirements of ethical arguments.


The analogy in science would be:


1.      Arguments can be true if they follow a consistent methodology; there is no such thing as “accidental validity.”

2.      Any argument proposed by a man can be rejected as invalid if he does not follow or understand a consistent methodology.

3.      Scientific arguments require conformity with the scientific method.

4.      Any scientific argument proposed by a scientist can be rejected if the scientist does not understand or follow the scientific method.

5.      A scientist who consistently acts in contradiction to the scientific method shows that he does not understand or follow the requirements of science.

6.      Since this scientist does not follow or understand the requirement of science, none of his arguments or conclusions can be valid, since the concept of “validity” only applies to the methodology, not the conclusion.

7.      Such a person can no longer be called a “scientist,” since he does not understand or follow the requirements of science.





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#337420 Rubbing the Forehead

Posted by Wesley on 20 August 2013 - 06:46 PM

I am here to address a very serious question that should affect FDR listeners everywhere. Everyone knows about the Budai by which, according to folklore, you rub his belly and will be blessed with wealth, good luck, and prosperity.
The Budai is a conflation of several gods, but the idea is that he is a happy fat man that has his plenty, and thus rubbing his belling give you the luck to achieve the similar.






Thus, the question is, what happens when you rub the Big Chatty Forehead? Stef is a champion of empathy and rationality and obviously gets his power from his monstrously large cranium. Thus, what blessing would one receive by rubbing the legendary forehead? If so, should we begin shipping Stefan busts to put outside of businesses and restaurants for people to rub? Has anyone rubbed his forehead and noticed any differences? This could be how we can really change the world!




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#350507 I haven't watched a Stef video in six months.

Posted by ThatAtheistPlace on 28 December 2013 - 11:16 PM

1) Denial: Whatever, everything I know can't possibly be bullshit

2) Anger: Why in the hell did everyone feed me this bullshit?!

3) Bargaining: Perhaps I can still maintain some sort of relationship with the bullshitters

4) Depression: Why can't I unlearn this and just swallow the bullshit?!

5) Acceptance: Fuck the bullshit.

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#355910 Anyone thankful for FDR for helping them discover the Zeitgeist movement?

Posted by Kevin Beal on 16 February 2014 - 04:02 AM

I was really into TZM when it came about shortly after Z: addendum. I really loved the idea of not having to work, and being that I was chronically depressed and multiple years unemployed, I talked about it with everyone I knew and argued the merits that I had imagined. I read up on all the Venus Project stuff, got interested in futurism and innovative materials and debated with people online.


It was soon after that I found this show and decided that I was going to be much happier becoming someone who could support themselves doing what they love. So I worked my ass off to learn how to provide value to potential employers, and to learn social skills like negotiation and the real-time relationship. I got a great job and now I feel a sense of mastery over my life and have the emotional and practical resources necessary to achieve my goals.


I now feel a great reticence toward those people who tell me that I can get something for nothing. That's how politicians are appealing to people: "simply check a box and you have achieved a moral victory!"


Life is tough, and in many ways, that's what can make it fulfilling. It would be a shame if those difficulties that we disown are just the kinds of difficulties that would make us stronger.


/end scene

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#349454 Did Stefan Molyneux Watch the Light Bulb Documentary before debating with SCG...

Posted by MMD on 18 December 2013 - 03:47 PM

Life is short. Spend your time wisely folks. 

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#341201 Peter Joseph is not happy with Stef

Posted by Stefan Molyneux on 10 October 2013 - 04:21 PM

This thread title is two words too long

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#340873 Peter Joseph on Stefan Molyneux: "The Art of Nonsense"

Posted by nathanm on 07 October 2013 - 07:11 PM

I wouldn't waste any more time on Peter Joseph. He's a clown. Stef's analysis was very keen; the ZM/VP consists of frustrated children acting out (which seems to be endemic to Leftist movements).

In other words, one's propensity to expend ancillary chronological assets upon Mr. Joseph would be inherently squandered if one considers the aforesaid intrinsic jester nature of the man as shown in the irrefutably axiomatic digital muniment.

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#339921 Peter Joseph debate

Posted by nathanm on 27 September 2013 - 04:33 PM

Structural violence:



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#336982 Volunteer Help Request: Audiobook Timestamps

Posted by Wesley on 12 August 2013 - 11:17 PM

1:17 Forward

10:19 Ground Rules

17:02 A Modest Suggestion...

19:07 Introduction

22:21 The "Null Zone"

26:44 The Casualties

30:01 "Middle Truths"

34:58 "Middle Truths" and Exploitation

41:22 Effective Parasitism

43:46 Part 1: Theory

          A Framework for Ethics

46:35 Objective Truth

49:45 Truth and Objective Reality

51:41 Accuracy and Consistency

55:06 The Existence of "Truth"

56:26 Empiricism verses Rationality

57:52 Internal Consistency

1:01:26 Ethics

1:04:09 The Discipline of Theoretical Ethics

1:08:48 Self-Defeating Arguments

1:11:19 Preferences

1:13:13 Preferences and Existence

1:15:12 Preferences and Arguments

1:16:13 Preferences and Universality

1:18:42 Arguments and Universality

1:26:11 Universally Preferable Behavior

1:28:53 UPB and Validity

1:37:35 UPB: Five Proofs

1:59:12 UPB: Ethics or Aesthetics

2:01:19 Irrationality

2:02:04 Lying

2:03:16 Murder

2:03:33 Requirements for Ethics

2:05:29 Choice

2:07:06 Avoidance

2:10:39 Ethics, Aesthetics and Avoidability

2:14:04 Initiation

2:16:30 The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)

2:19:52 Lifeboat Scenarios

2:21:45 Gray Areas

2:23:32 Shades of Gray

2:25:24 Universality Exceptions

2:27:58 The Purpose - and the Dangers

2:29:22 The Beast

2:32:49 Propaganda

2:37:55 Part 2: Application

             Ethical Categories


And at this point I needed to take a break. Maybe someone else will finish this up before I get back to it.

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#359699 In defense of spanking children ...

Posted by Wuzzums on 23 March 2014 - 10:17 AM

Enough to create within the child a standard of evil to which the child can compare his experiences later in life. That is, extrapolating from a decent spanking (one which causes no lasting physical damage) the child can experience empathy with others who experience a much worse evil.

To "know" anything at all, it must be compared to a standard. To experience empathy, one must have some knowledge of that with which one empathizes. 


I do not need to get raped in order to feel sympathy for rape victims in the same way a doctor does not need to get shot in order to treat a gunshot wound.

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#359132 The truth about voting: FDR meme

Posted by Josh H on 19 March 2014 - 09:53 AM

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#358599 My first ''Against me'' conversation

Posted by Yeravos on 15 March 2014 - 05:45 AM

I did it. I had the conversation for the first time in my life. ''Do you support the use of violence against me if I decide to disagree?'' After 3 hours, with a lot of distracting topics (who'd build the roads and such), to finally have him say ''Yes, I value your friendship more then my ideas of state''. Words cannot describe how uncomfortable that conversation was. A few times, I thought that this was it. This is where I will end this relationship. Damn.

But it seems to have ended on a pillar of security.

It was really uncomfortable and scary. But so worth it.

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#351332 Democracy in FDR

Posted by JamesP on 06 January 2014 - 04:27 AM

The reputation system is not a tool for determining the truth value of a post.  It is a way for the invested community to provide feedback on the content of users' posts.

Long-term users have by and large expressed their approval of this system, which was newly installed in the middle of 2013.  The only tool prior to the upgrade of the board was a ban.  Now, we have reputation and the ability for users to ignore other users' posts in addition to the standard admin tools.


This lowers the need for admins, which is a great thing as the board community grows.  It is also much easier on the admins if the community is the one to say, "We don't care for what this person is saying."


The concept of reputation is also very much in keeping with the concept of a free society.  It helps tell you if the person that is posting is considered by others to post good/helpful posts, or bad/unhelpful posts.


Lastly, I have not yet observed massive downvotes on posters which make good arguments but contravene some accepted conclusion.  In this, I think you have jumped to a conclusion.  I may not say it enough, but if anyone thinks that a person is being downvoted unfairly, please let me or MMD know.  So far, I have only heard from one person who thought so and my judgment was that it was fair.

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#349623 Want a Free FDR Sticker?!

Posted by Carl Bartelt on 19 December 2013 - 07:48 PM

I got myself one of those fancy vinyl cutters and made up an FDR sticker for my car.


If you're okay with giving an address to an internet stranger** I'll be happy to send you one for free as long as you put it in a highly visible area and not just on the mirror in your bedroom or something.  Just send me a PM with your info and I'll get it out to ya.



**for what an internet stranger's word is worth, I promise I won't keep track of any addresses or anything.


Options: (please indicate your choices in your request)


I can make these small (4"W x 5"H) or as big as (11.5"W x 14H) and anywhere in between.


I also have other colors available. They are (somewhat dark) Blue, a lighter Sky Blue, Black, Green, Yellow, Red, and a brass/gold metallic kinda color.





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#347734 My Mother Is Going To Kill Me

Posted by Stephen C on 04 December 2013 - 03:24 PM

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