Smugness and Stefan Molyneux

During the 2016 election, I made a smug fly-by assessment of Stefan Molyneux's political position and called it 'Anarcho-Statism.' It wouldn't take too much keenness on any reader's part to suppose what was actually the case: that they were reading the quip of an admirer troubled by his target's level of consistency.

What I failed to do, ultimately, was to recognize the very consistency in Molyneux's ability to change his mind in accordance with the information he has and his further interpretation of events.

I feel that his various shifts in attitude over the years, as well as my shifts in attitude about his shifts in attitude, leave room for a bigger question: is it possible, under democracy, to ever hold one political position? I've often criticized democracy on the simple grounds that there is no absolute natural law which determines that the majority is always right when making decisions for themselves and others. Furthermore, democracy's tenuous nature doesn't necessarily ensure that the majority is always going to be the same majority. For those who want to argue that the majority didn't win this last election, fine, call it the consensus representation of the country or something. The numbers aren't the point. People making decisions for people they don't know is the point. Under democracy, those people making decisions for you are always changing.

To turn Islam into a scapegoat is to miss the point. To chant that the west is the best is to miss the point. So there are Muslim countries that mutilate female genitalia. What about the U.S.? We cut male genitalia and then give paltry excuses for it; statements which amount to saying that it's worth doing because foreskin is so preternaturally hard to wash properly. If that justifies mutiliation, then why don't we just cut all of our asses, noses and ears off? The point would be to cut nothing off and to prevent people who want to cut more and more parts off from making decisions for those who don't want to cut parts off.

'Not all Muslims,' people will say. Of course not. The identity of the person is hardly the point. The issue is not personal. It's just as moronic and a waste of energy to make videos about how horrible Islam or any other religion is, or any other race or country, for that matter. To say that one culture is better than another leads to the same kind of meta-culture colonialist narrative which then ironically imports more people it thinks it's better than for self gain. This attitude is just as much of a form of weak self-defeat as those who make international decisions based on how little their decisions will offend people.

I commend people like Molyneux for making the issue one of highest principle, rather than spending inordinate amounts of time trying to prove the evil of another culture. I feel that what one might mistake for such in his work is always paired with agency: there are always choices to be made and things to be done--choices that amount to very little harm. Let's make the choices which cause the least harm. Raise the standard of preferable behavior. It is only natural that he focus on people who happen to be in the west cutting off more parts than others. Were that not a problem, he'd still be decrying the parts that are still being cut off here within the bounds of western consensus.

My only point of contention is that the destabilization of the west seems to be the goal of western powers, which would be a much bigger issue than voting, unless of course the voting was a landslide, thus making it easier to see any manipulation of the democratic system that might take place in such a case, but that's perhaps an issue for another post.