Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Not Evil: What the Devil😈, As Debt Collector, Really Symbolizes

Stuart K. Hayashi

Chernabog from Disney's Fantasia, drawn by Stuart K. Hayashi on September 30, 2015.

First off, BOO!👻art wishes you a Happy Hayshiween!

Non Serviam!
Although philosophic Romanticism arose, in many respects, as a backlash to the pro-rationality trends of the Enlightenment, there were some poets and writers, especially those in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s circle, who showed interest in ideas from both the Enlightenment and Romanticism (philosophic Romanticism and artistic Romanticism alike). One of the writers in that nexus was Lord Byron. Since the eighteenth century, led by the likes of Lord Byron, there have been some intellectuals who have written of the Devil😈 — or at least his earlier form, the angelic Lucifer👼 — as a sort of symbol of rebellion against the heavy-handedness of Yahweh (that is, the heavy-handedness of traditional organized Christianity).

As a priest says it in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man,

Lucifer, we are told, was a son of the morning, a radiant and mighty angel; and yet he fell. What his sin was we cannot say. Theologians consider it was the sin of pride, the sinful thought conceived in an instant: non serviam. I will not serve. That instant was his ruin. He offended the majesty of God by the sinful thought of one instant and God cast him out of heaven into hell for ever.

While there is much in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals of which I do not approve, I can hardly fault Alinsky’s acknowledgement from the first edition, which read:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.

Alinsky removed that epigraph from later editions, which is a shame — that epigraph was the only truly wise part. Such a rebellion on Lucifer’s part becomes more sympathetic in light of how Yahweh has long been depicted in Western culture: as someone who demands, more than anything, unquestioning devotion and obedience, outranking anyone and everything, including familial love, with Jesus announcing,

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [Matthew 10. 34–37.]

Jesus’s insistence that your prioritize him — oh, sorry, capital-H Him😑 — over your own child is not unlike that of a twenty-first century cult leader. The same applies to Abraham passing Yahweh’s test when demonstrating his commitment to killing his own son Isaac if that was as Yahweh commanded. That sort of manipulativeness on Yahweh’s part is a symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The totalitarian aspect is further amplified by the idea of Yahweh constantly monitoring, surveilling everyone, affording them no privacy. That is the difference between totalitarianism and mere authoritarianism — whereas the authoritarian can override everything you do, the totalitarian even goes as far as policing what you think and how you feel. If merely to look upon a woman lustfully is a for a man to sin against God, then God is policing that man’s heart and his mind.

Big Brother ain’t got nothin’ on the Heavenly Father!

Still, it is often said that Lucifer did not want to overthrow Yahweh for the sake of establishing a free republic in Heaven. Being far from the ancient equivalent of John Adams or Thomas Jefferson, this character was more like a typical leader of a military coup: trying to overthrow the dictator just to seize the throne for himself. And, upon his being banished, John Milton has Lucifer surmise in Paradise Lost, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

Well, I don’t want to reign over anyone else. Therefore, my policy is:

Better to reign over my own life on Earth — and no one else’s — than to serve in Heaven. I might not be a Lucifer, but I am a STUcifer.

I can agree with what James Joyce quoted Lucifer saying, “Non serviam!” I will not serve.

But I want to explore yet another aspect of the legend of the Devil. Popularized by the poetry of Christopher Marlowe and Goethe, there is the depiction of the Devil as a businessman who cares deeply about contractual commitments. He will grant wishes to Doctor Faustus and other suckers in exchange for their immortal souls. For a long time, I thought this was just another facet of the “businessmen are evil” cliché that is at least as old as the Old Testament. Robert C. Wright provides an interesting explanation for what circumstances might have contributed to motivating such Old Testament prophets as Amos and Isaiah to express revulsion at merchants and their profit-seeking. But now I think there is another aspect to the myth of the Devil as a creditor collecting the debt due to him, and this other aspect isn’t necessarily villainous.

Who — or What — Always Remembers You?
This occurred to me because of an unlikely source. Ub Iwerks is most famous for designing Mickey Mouse for Walt Disney, but many of his old animations — both his collaborations with Disney and his solo projects alike — were decidedly creepy rather than cute. A case in point was his “Balloon Land.” Anyhow, as an homage to Iwerks, some people created an extremely difficult and frustrating video game called Cuphead.  The game’s titular protagonist looks like Mickey Mouse but, as his name suggests, he has a teacup for a head. In the story that sets up the game, Cuphead and his brother Mugman go to the Devil’s casino. Emotionally caught up in a winning streak at the craps table, Cuphead bets everything, putting up his own soul and his brother’s as collateral. When Cuphead loses, the Devil tells him that instead of handing over their souls immediately, the two brothers can go after many deadbeats who have skipped out on turning over the souls they owe. Throughout the game, the brothers battle against the other debtors in order to retrieve their souls. The Devil, of course, ends up being the “final boss” for them to confront.

What got me thinking about the symbolism were two songs on YouTube made by fans of the game.

The first one goes,

The Devil’s gonna getcha
Collect your debt tonight
The Devil’s gonna getcha
Your soul will soon be mine

The other says,

The Devil always
gets what he’s due
Oh, oh
the Devil always
remembers you

Then it hit me. What does it mean to “make a deal with the Devil”? Someone cuts corners ethically to gain some immediate gratification while choosing not to consider the longer-term adverse ramifications of it. When that person’s choices catch up to him, it is said that this is “the Devil collecting on the debt.” That is, “the Devil collecting the debt” is a metaphor for how someone might try to avoid facing reality but cannot ultimately avoid the consequences of reality.

This is also the theme of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko’s comic book The Avenging World — someone might try to wish away the repercussions of his actions, but reality will “avenge” itself on him.

For the Devil to “collect the debt” is for the debtor to be held accountable for shortsighted, whim-driven, or unethical choices. . The TV series Lucifer hinted at this when the titular Lucifer Morningstar declares, “I punish the guilty,” but that’s not exactly it: people facing the ramifications of their choices is not about a conscious entity choosing to exercise retribution against them for violation of some rules; having to face reality is simply about logical cause-and-effect. As seventeenth-century laissez-faire theorist Pierre de Bouisguilbert put it, “qu’à laisser faire la nature, comme partout ailleurs” — let nature take its course here, as it does everywhere else (translation from French by Laure Olmedo). The Devil collecting the debt means that eventually we must all face reality. The lyrics to the aforementioned song could be thought of as meaning,

Logical Consequence
always gets what it’s due
Oh, oh
Logical Consequence
always remembers you

That is facing reality and logic. And when you face logic and reality, you learn and grow more enlightened — fitting for a bringer of light, luminous Lucifer. Far from being evil, the Devil collecting the debt is the symbol of . . . justice.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Stefan Molyneux Does Condone Violence Against People for Their Opinions (Being Democrat), By His Own Definition

Stuart K. Hayashi

On October 28, 2018, I published a blog post about how alt-right podcaster Stefan Molyneux whitewashed the Holocaust. He told an immigrant caller on the podcast that the Nazis were merely defending Germany against “Jewish-led communism,” and that what Nazis did to Jews was an “overreaction” to this “Jewish-led communism.” The idea behind Molyneux’s comment was that in the conflict between Nazis and Jews, it was the Jews who started it, but, in their self-defense against “Jewish-led communism,” the Nazis just went too far when they rounded up six million Jews into death camps, starved them, enslaved them, and then murdered them.

The day before I uploaded my blog post on Molyneux’s attempted minimization of the horrors of the Holocaust,  an unhinged alt-righter went to a Pittsburgh synagogue and murdered the people there. That atrocity was not what reminded me of  Molyneux’s antisemitism; that was a tragic coincidence. But on same day on which I posted about Molyneux’s whitewashing of the Holocaust as an “overreaction” to “Jewish-led communism,” Molyneux uploaded a bizarre video purporting to address the Pittsburgh shooting rampage. In that video, Molyneux claimed sympathy toward Jews, but did not exhibit that as much as he demonstrated a desire to continue scoring “political points” against his usual targets.

 The first half of the video contains a very awkward tirade disparaging Jews who marry gentiles, with Molyneux calling such marrying a “dilution” of the purity of the Jewish community and “a silent Holocaust.” Then he stresses very vehemently that he cannot be an anti-Semite because he thinks he was ideologically influenced by such Jews as Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, David Friedman, Ayn Rand, and anarchist Walter Block. Nowhere in this video does Molyneux acknowledge his own stereotyping of Jews as communists. He conducts the whole video as if he never said that.

Here I want to comment on something else from the video, as it merits its own discussion. Near the end of the video, he says something especially interesting — interesting because the words themselves are very true and yet ring hollow when coming from Molyneux, as they contradict what has been the consistent message of his podcast from at least as early as 2016. He says tearfully,
If you disagree with people’s ideas, make better arguments. Reason better. Study harder. Learn how to speak more eloquently. Compel the attention of the world with the power of your rhetoric and the force of your analysis. That’s called civilization, and that’s all we’ve got between us and the well-armed beasts we can descend to like that. [*Snaps fingers*.] You disagree with a religion? Argue against its premises. Argue against its arguments. You don’t go into a church, a mosque, or a synagogue and gun people down in cold blood. Arguments are the civilized handshake of mental interaction. Arguments are all we have. The alternative to arguments is war.

The words themselves are very true. And, for someone unacquainted with Molyneux’s past —including his very recent past — his voice cracking and his eyes watering must make his statement seem powerful. I would be emotionally moved by this if only the words came from someone whose actions over the past two years had lived up to them. But someone who has regularly listened to Molyneux’s podcast for the past two years has received a very different message — usually implicit, but sometimes explicit. That message is that Molyneux does indeed condone the use of violent force against people primarily on the basis that they disagree with his opinions on politics or religion. In a video from December of 2015, he very specifically told one caller onto his podcast that if his neighbors disagree with Molyneux’s political opinions, those neighbors are not worth saving from a mass shooting (that will be the final topic of this blog post before the conclusion section).

Here is a video montage containing everything from Molyneux that I have quoted in this very blog post you are reading, starting from “If you disagree with people’s ideas...”

This video is 9 minutes, 40 seconds long.

Stefan Molyneux For Deporting Those Who Disagree With Him Politically (They Sympathize With the U.S. Democratic Party)
First, I want to remind the reader that for the past two years, Molyneux has consistently stated that the majority of immigrants from Central America or North Africa disagreeing with his right-wing politics is sufficient reason to support legislation that blocks their entry into the West, meaning Europe and the English-speaking countries. I understand that most people don’t psychologically classify the enforcement of such legislation to be violence, especially not violence comparable to a mass shooting. But as I shall show below, Molyneux himself has publicly stated that he considers legislation and law enforcement to be forms of potentially lethal violence, and that Molyneux himself has publicly stated that he recognizes his own advocacy of immigration restriction to be a form of potentially lethal violence that he wants for the State to threaten against aspiring immigrants.

In the January 9, 2016 episode of the podcast, FreeDomain Radio podcast 3174, Molyneux made this statement about how there should be laws blocking immigrants from Central America and North Africa on the basis of these people disagreeing with him ideologically.
When there wasn’t massive migration of millions of Muslims on the march — and Islam is not exactly gentle toward its children, to put it as mildly as possible — and importation of Central- and South American cultures, which are also quite harsh on children, to put it mildly, that has shifted the time frame a little bit [how much time Molyneux believes he has to save the world with his ideology], in fact it has shifted the time frame a lot, because there are more people coming in who are harsh on children than I can possibly convince to be less harsh on their children. [ . . . ]

Of course, the solution isn’t going to come through politics directly, but since I require, or insist upon, the necessity of child-friendly people to get to a free society, if there are child-hostile cultures pouring into, let’s just say, America — I don’t live in America, but let’s just say that for the sake of argument, since he’s [Donald Trump] not running for prime minister of Canada — so if the path to a free society requires child-friendly parents, and if there are pouring into America hundreds and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of child-unfriendly or child-hostile cultures, then if Donald Trump can put a stop to that [by stopping immigrants at the point of the federal agents’ guns], that buys some time to convince people closer to the child-friendly paradigm to change their behavior so that a more peaceful society can come about.

Recall that in the 28 October 2018 video, Molyneux states that instead of applying force against people with whom you disagree, you should talk with them and persuade rationally. But in this 9 January 2016 podcast, Molyneux states that he cannot realistically be expected to change the minds of so many immigrants who disagree with him, and therefore that process has to be bypassed, replaced with governmental action against these immigrants.

At the 17 minute, 58 second mark of his video “Are Libertarians Wrong About Immigration?”, Molyneux states clearly that he thinks Latino immigrants side with the Democratic Party, and that this is a good enough reason to justify distrusting Latino immigrants in general:
You have Obamacare because of immigration, not for any other reason. Because of immigration. Mitt Romney would have won that [2012 presidential] election if not for immigration. In other words, if ethnic demographics had remained the same in the late 2000s as it was in 1980, he would have won by as big a landslide as [Ronald] Reagan. So you got Barack Obama because of immigration and, as a result, Barack Obama is cranking up immigration. Half of the immigrants to America over the past eight years have been Muslims. I have not seen a single Muslim at a libertarian convention. It would be shocking to see a single Muslim at a libertarian convention.

Yes, When Molyneux Says the Federal Government Should Deport Poor Nonwhite Immigrants for Being Democrat, He Says He Acknowledges That There’s the Risk of Lethal Force Against the Immigrants
It is clear that Stefan Molyneux wants the federal government to stop immigration from North Africa and Central America based on such people having ideas — political and religious ideas — with which Molyneux disagrees. However, someone wishing to have a charitable interpretation might counter that Molyneux does not recognize that the federal government’s immigration restrictions are enforced at the point of federal agents’ rifles. Someone wishing to have a charitable interpretation of Molyneux might say that she does not acknowledge that the enforcement of federal immigration laws against peaceful poor immigrants counts as the use of violence. After all, the vast majority of times that I point out that laws are ultimately enforced at gunpoint — and that laws micromanaging someone’s peaceful behavior amount to the violent threats against a peaceful person — most Americans respond with incredulity. They say that someone has to be crazy to interpret laws that way, especially immigration laws.

However, Molyneux is not like those people. From the years 2006 to 2010, before he switched to the promotion of white nationalism as the main topic on his podcast, he gained a popular following on the internet by pointing out that governmental action, by its nature, is backed by the threat of violence. In the very same video as the one I quoted directly above, where Molyneux says that Latino immigrants ideologically agreeing with Obamacare is a valid reason for having federal agents block them from entering the USA, he acknowledges that this is the threat of violent force against people for their mere political opinions. From the 21 minute, 33 second mark:
People say to me as you say: “Well, it’s the initiation of [violent] force [by the State] to have [immigrant] people not live in the country.” It is. It IS. And it is to prevent a greater initiation of force, because if they come into the country, then, statistically, they are going to cause a greater initiation of force by massive consumption of the welfare state and dedication to a [political] party [Democrats] that is itself dedicated to expanding government to the Nth degree, which is the leftists. [Emphases Molyneux’s.]

We see that Stefan Molyneux does agree that it is only through threatening violence against the noncompliant that a government can enforce its laws. But does Stefan Molyneux recognize that if this happens, the government agents may have to draw their guns, and that lethal force might be used? He has publicly acknowledge this as well. That is indicated in the video “Does Angela Merkel Want to Destroy Germany?”, starting at the 1 hour, 0 minutes, 4 seconds mark:

Molyneux: “So the only way to have prevented this migrant crisis [in Europe] would have been to enforce the laws. To enforce the laws. And what would that have looked like? I ask you that seriously. What would have happened if they had enforced the laws not allowing the migrants in?” [ . . . ] 

Molyneux: [*now at the 1 hour, 1 minute, 55 second mark*] “You already have laws. The [law] books didn’t march down to the beach [where the Syrian refugees were landing] and do anything.”

Caller: “Enforcement of the laws.”

Molyneux: “Which means what?”

Caller: “Which means having people [Europeans] turn the boats back, physically.”

Molyneux: “And how do they do that?”

[*The caller hems and haws on this for 37 seconds, to Molyneux’s visible frustration and annoyance, until he finally tells her what he is getting at.*]

Molyneux: [*now at the 1 hour, 2 minutes, 48 seconds mark*] “So the guns would have had to come out. See, all you’re talking about is, and again, you know, I respect and love you for it honestly, but what you’re talking about is everything but what it is, which is the guns would have had to come out, and people might have to get shot, because that’s what laws are. Laws are ‘comply or die.’ And it’s every single law on the books: ‘Comply or die.’ Comply, or we’re going to escalate violence against you until you either do comply or you’re dead, because if you resist the escalation of State force that is designed to ensure your compliance. If you don’t pay your taxes and you ignore the letters and you ignore the court dates, and eventually the police are going to have to come to your house to take it away, and if you defend yourself, they’re going to shoot you. The guns have to come out. And again, this is something — the gun in the room — I’ve been talking about it for a decade, and people don’t want to see the violence of the State. They do not want to see the guns come out because they are so dependent on it.”

The same applies to immigration. If I invite an Ecuadorian to lodge on my land, and then the Ecuadorian to tries to cross the border into the USA without a visa, armed federal agents will try to apprehend him, even though the Ecuadorian did nothing violent, breaking the law only by not having a visa. And if that Ecuadorian resists, that can escalate to point where lethal force is used.

As I have written about Mexican immigration before, it is the case that from 2010 to 2016 (under the Obama administration, long before the Trump administration) the Border Patrol killed Sergio Hernandez Guereca and thirty-two other persons who were trying to cross the border. James Tomsheck, the chief of internal affairs at U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) was fired by the federal government. The Obama administration said the reason for this is that Tomsheck lazily refrained from investigating those casualties. Tomsheck replied to NPR that the real reason for his termination was that he did investigate the first twenty-eight shootings in that time period and then reported that at least seven of these were under troubling circumstances that merited further investigation. On May 23, 2018, Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a nineteen-year-old from Guatemala, was killed in Rio Bravo, Texas, by a border agent. She was apparently part of a throng of undocumented border-crossers using blunt objects to fight off the border agents (here and here).

To review, Molyneux has stated that the prospect of immigrants from Central America and North Africa holding political opinions he abhors —especially if they encourage voting for Democrats — is a good enough reason to support federal agents blocking them from entering the West. And he has also stated that “for a decade,” he has explained that “every single law on the books” (again, those are his exact words) are “comply or die.” The conclusion to this syllogism is that Molyneux does condone the government using force against someone for trying to be in the USA while having political opinions Molyneux dislikes, and Molyneux is fully cognizant that such government force can escalate into something lethal.

Molyneux Telling a Caller That Americans Don’t Deserve to Be Saved From a Mass Shooting If They Politically Disagree With Molyneux (Dec. 6, 2015)
This also reminds me of a conversation Molyneux had uploaded onto YouTube on December 6, 2015, about which I have previously written here. As of my writing this October 29, 2018 blog entry, the official copy of the video that Molyneux uploaded onto his own official YouTube channel has mysteriously — and, for Molyneux, conveniently — disappeared from the official channel.

The upload in question should be around here on the YouTube channel, but it is gone.

But here, and embedded right below, is a pertinent excerpt from it.

The caller, who identifies himself as “Nick,” is a man living in the Bay Area, south of San Francisco. He initially complains that all of his neighbors are very left-wing and politically correct, and that they do not like his idea that it is his right to own a gun for self-defense.  He calls it the “liberal soup.” He tells Molyneux, however, that he fears that a mass shooter might target people in his neighbor and, in such a case, it would be best for him to have a gun to defend his neighbors. Molyneux’s reply was chilling. This is of special pertinence because the hypothetical mass shooter that this December 2016 caller imagined is not unlike the real-life madman who engaged in the mass shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue. This is the exchange:
Caller: “I mean I do understand that me dying from a terrorist attack is just as likely the Chinese coming in and invading the [California] coast, which probably is not going to happen. I doubt it will happen in my lifetime. But I just cannot shake that feeling that if this situation arises where I am somewhere where I should not be hearing gunshots, and I hear them, I cannot be the one who runs away. I can’t.” 

Molyneux: “Why?” 

Caller: “Because that’s what pussies do; damn it! Real American men who are armed and ready and trained are not pussies, OK? We’ve done a lot to make sure.”

Molyneux (laughs derisively): “OK, OK. I get it. I get it, G. I. Joe. But let me give you a push back here. See if this makes any sense, all right? [*pause*] WHO are you gonna be saving?” [Emphasis Molyneux’s.]

Caller: ‘My fellow Americans. That’s who I’m going to be saving, whether I agree with them or not.”

Molyneux: “You told me you’re in liberal soup land [this is the California Bay area].”

Caller: “Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to die, because they—”

Molyneux (smiling): “You’re not killing them.”

Caller: “I know.”

Molyneux: “You’re not killing them. Are you going to go and risk your life to save a bunch of socialists [he means California Democrats] who are going to hug their killers if they get half a chance?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Molyneux: “Why? Don't you have any pride in your [Caucasian] genes, in your life, in your future, in your children-to-be?”

Caller (sighs): “They’re Americans and that's what you have to do as a real American. You have to stand up if—”

Molyneux (interrupts): “You don’t have to do it. Don’t give me this appeal as if it’s a philosophical argument. Make your case.”

Caller: “Look, it’s as simple as the fact that without people who are willing to stand up to evil in communities around the world, we won’t be a nation anymore.”

Molyneux: “I get that, but can you stand up to evil when you’re six foot under the ground? The conflict is not you throwing yourself in front of some fat government worker who’s going to bleed you dry of pension money all she can get. That’s not the courage you need to fight evil. [ . . . ] What you need to do is talk with people and confront people and speak truth to power. That’s how you fight evil. It’s not you taking a bullet for somebody who’d have you thrown in jail for following your own conscience. [Again, this is California they're talking about]. For some statist!”

Caller (groans)

Molyneux: “I’ve gotta re-orient you. [ . . . ] But the chilling reality is that you could seriously risk your life, get shot, get killed, get wounded, be put in a wheelchair for your life, get your balls shot off and be unable to bear children, to save a bunch of people who will then vote to take away your gun — that’s my issue — or vote to increase your taxes. I get the big blob of goo in your brain called ‘America,’ but America is not chock full of people like you anymore.” [Emphasis Molyneux’s.]

Caller (sighs in agreement): “Yeah, I guess so. It didn’t use to be this way. Shit; I remember when I was a kid it wasn’t this way.”

Molyneux: “Oh, my God, in America in the 1950s and the 1960s when it was still — what? — 90-plus-percent white, kids could take guns to school for target practice at recess. Nobody cared.”

If you want to hear the exchange, it is, as of this writing update (12 November 2018), still available on Stefan Molyneux’s official website. It is FreeDomain Radio Podcast #3144, and the title on the official page is “The State of Modern Science – Call In Show.” The conversation begins at the 0:25:30 mark, and it is available on SoundCloud.
Screen shot 1 of 2 of this disturbing podcast on SoundCloud, screen shot taken 12 November 2018 (click for enlargement of image).
Screen shot 2 of 2, of this disturbing podcast on SoundCloud, screen shot taken on 12 November 2018 (click for enlargement of image).

Again, so that you can hear it for yourself, here is that exchange:

Molyneux has stated that he wants the governments of Europe and the English-speaking countries to obstruct immigration from Central America and Africa based on people from these regions having political opinions different from his. And among the political opinions he has classified as anathema are support for the U.S. Democratic Party. And he has also stated that he recognizes that such immigration laws are enforced with potentially lethal force against anyone trying to cross the border without a visa, including nonviolent border-crossers.

The logical conclusions to deduce is that, contrary to Molyneux’s parting words in his “Pittsburgh Massacre” video, he has indeed regularly recommended, for the past couple of years, the use of violence against people primarily for their having ideological and political opinions different from his own, regardless of their not having actually engaged in violence. For him, a prospect that an immigrant might one day [as a naturalized citizen] vote a specific way is justification enough for Molyneux to recommend force against that immigrant — force that Molyneux has admitted might escalate into lethal action. And in December of 2015, when one caller discussed the possibility of one day finding himself a witness to a shooting rampage — describing something similar to the shooting rampage at the Pittsburgh synagogue — Molyneux told that caller that he should not be concerned with saving the lives of potential shooting victims who were Democrats, as those Democrats disagree with Molyneux politically.

By his own definition of potentially lethal force, Stefan Molyneux has indeed publicly expressed approval for the use of potentially lethal force against people on account of their disagreeing with him on politics and religion.

This video is 9 minutes, 40 seconds long.

NOVEMBER 12, 2018 Corrections and Changes: Prior to 12 November 2018, I erroneously said in this post that the podcast in which Molyneux denied any sympathy for mass shooting victims who disagreed with his politics was from December 2016; the podcast was from December 2015. On 12 November 2018, I made that correction, and also added the information that that podcast is still available both on Molyneux’s official website and on SoundCloud, including the links and the pertinent screen shots. On this day, I also added the screen shot to indicate where the “Death of Terrorism” YouTube upload would have been on Molyneux’s YouTube page if that upload were not rendered unavailable for YouTube.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Stefan Molyneux Whitewashes the Holocaust As an ‘Overreaction’ to ‘Jewish-Led Communism’

Stuart K. Hayashi

Stefan Molyneux is an alt-right podcaster whose YouTube account, as of this writing, boasts over 870,000 subscribers. I have previously written of how he copies and specifically cites, by name, Kevin MacDonald — co-host to David Duke’s white supremacist podcast — in propagating conspiracy theories about Jews in general, specifically that a Jewish cabal has a long history of trying to undermine the United States and the rest of the West, first by founding the communist movement, and later by debating in favor of liberalizing immigration into the West from Africa and Central America. (The latter phenomenon of which David Duke, Kevin MacDonald, and Stefan Molyneux have all publicly condemned as necessarily bad.) But Molyneux’s propagandizing for racism was and is even worse than I understood.

Stefan Molyneux: Even More Antisemitic Than You Knew
The journalist Cathy Young directed me to her September 6, 2018 twitter conversation with Brandon Bahret.  In that exchange, Bahret called attention to another aspect of Molyneux’s anti-Semitism in Molyneux’s video “Migratory Patterns of Predatory Immigrants,” FreeDomain Radio podcast 3220 (given the alternate title, on the FDR website, “Migratory Patterns of Predatory Scientists”). For that episode, the caller into the show was a scientist from India taking residence in Germany. Because the caller initially thought of himself as sympathetic to Molyneux’s nationalism, he criticized Germans in general for fearing a resurgence of nationalism in their country, lest the horrors of the Nazi regime be repeated.

The caller says, “In Germany, it’s like the people . . .they . . . kind of . . . In Germany [ . . . ] people are kind of, like, after historically they had some bad kind of politics [Naziism], they always try to be good, so that they just never want to show them, like, [we] be proud Germany, [and say,] ‘We Germans are the highest in . . .’ blah blah blah and everything in this kind of...”

Molyneux then interrupts with a defense of antisemitism in 1920s and ‘30s Germany — a move that is shocking even for Molyneux.

At the 4 minute, 44 second mark, Molyneux tells the caller,

The [1920s and ‘30s] Germans were in danger of being taken over by what they perceived as Jewish-led communism. And Jewish-led communism had wiped out tens of millions of white Christians in Russia, and they [Germans] were afraid of the same thing, and there was this wild overreaction [the Holocaust], and all this kind of stuff. So I just ran over that briefly with that stuff. [*No pause between that, and this next thought:*] But with regards to immigration as a whole,  I mean there’s this interesting question to ask if you’re in someone else’s country — and I’d like to get your answer to this. There’s an interesting question to ask if you’re in someone else’s country, which is to say, “How would I sell me being in this country, to the natives?” [Boldface added. —S.H.]
For the remaining duration of the video, Molyneux berates the caller for being an immigrant and receiving tax funding from a Western government.

Hear Molyneux Himself Say All This in This Video Montage

This video is 4 minutes, 17 seconds long.

From Stefan Molyneux’s Own Mouth: Molyneux Agreeing With the Nazis That They Were Only Defending Themselves From “Jewish-Led Communists” Who Started the Fight
Someone might want to be charitable and insist that Stefan Molyneux is merely talking about the Nazis’ delusion that Jews in general were communists, and that he does not agree with the Nazi delusion that Jews and communism deserve to be associated strongly with one another. But that’s not the case. In two other videos — uploaded months away from this one — Molyneux expresses agreement with the accusation.

In “The Truth About Immigration: What They Won’t Tell You,” at the 23 minute, 38 second mark, Molyneux proclaims,

Communism doesn’t particularly come from the Greek, Roman, Western, Enlightenment tradition; it generally comes from Jewish tradition. Certainly, of course, the founders of communism were Jews. Jews were less than two percent of the Russian population but were more than fifty percent of the leaders of the Communist Party, and, of course, a lot of them were in charge of concentration camps and so on, later on under the Soviet regime.

Molyneux’s claim that “more than fifty percent” of the leaders of the Communist Party in Russia were Jewish isn’t even accurate. A free-marketer named Jacob Levy pointed out to me that, out of the 19 members of the Central Committee elected by the Ninth Congress of the Russian Communist Party from April 1920 to March 1921, only 4 were Jewish. That is less than a quarter of them. There is a whole Wikipedia entry on how this same insinuation that Molyneux propagates, which has been around for a century, amounts to an old “antisemitic canard.” University of Warsaw philosophy professor Stanislaw Krajewski points out,

Most Jews were never communist or pro-communist and most communists were never Jewish. Various minorities were over-represented among the communists. This was, by the way, a paradox because communists believed they represented the working masses, the national majority. 
Most Jews did not support communism. Even in post-war Poland when the choice for Jews was limited (this is also true of Hungary) the majority of Jews were not pro-communist and they mostly left Poland.

Whose Side Is Molyneux on, Regarding World War II? Not the Holocaust’s Victims, Apparently
Molyneux also spread the same antisemitic innuendo in an oral back-and-forth in the video “Criticism: Are Libertarians Wrong About Immigration?”  This time, the call comes from a self-described libertarian who, at the time of the video’s recording, sounded as if he was still overall a fan of Molyneux’s but who took exception with Molyneux’s preaching that there must be more armed federal agents obstructing, at gunpoint, immigration into the USA and the rest of the West from the poor countries. In defending immigration, the caller brings up the incident of Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis being denied safe harbor in the USA during the Holocaust. To the caller, that was a case study in the perils of denying entry to refugees in general.

This is how it plays out, starting at the 56 minute, 40 second mark:

* Molyneux: “If you shut down immigration, it would be a breather, and it would be far less taxes, and it might give white people more of an incentive to breed, rather than not have kids because they’re paying for everyone else’s.” 

* Caller: “I mean, like, during the Holocaust, you know for instance, the Jews who were fleeing Nazi Germany were on the boat to Ellis Island, and FDR [President Franklin D. Roosevelt] sent them back, where they were killed. I mean I think that was pretty horrific, you know. The consequence of not having that immigration was that these people died and got killed. Right? So—

* Molyneux: [*Shrugs; unmoved*.] “[*Blandly*.] Yeah, so it’s really bad what Hitler did.” 

* Caller: “Right.  But FDR could have helped by allowing the Jews to have a safe haven, right?” [ . . . ]

* Molyneux: [*To deny thatMolyneux rambles on*.] 

* Molyneux: [*This is now at the 58 minute, 40 second mark.*] “[Point] Number Two is that a lot of Jews in Europe in the 1930s were communist. Oh, by God, were there a lot of communists, and a lot of the communists were Jews. Maybe they [U.S. immigration authorities during World War II] couldn’t vet them [Jews on the MS St. Louis seeking refuge in the USA]. Maybe they [the Jews fleeing Hitler] didn’t have papers. Maybe they [U.S. immigration officials] were concerned that Hitler was fighting, right, it was Naziism versus Bolshevism, right? The communists and Nazis were fighting tooth and nail in the streets in Germany.

And, of course, a lot of Jews, as I’ve talked about before, a lot of Jews were instrumental in the founding of communism, in the spread of communism. Jews were — what? — two percent of the Russian population but forty percent of the communists, and so on. And so, there were a lot of Jews who were instrumental in the founding of communism. [Italics are emphases from Molyneux; emphases by me are in boldface.  —S.H.]

“This was a very strong anticommunist time in America, and communists were infiltrating the U.S. government considerably. I mean, this ‘McCarthyism’ hysteria, and so on? There was real foundation for it [widespread fear of immigrant communists infiltrating the USA]. There were hundreds of Soviet spies all riddled throughout the U.S. government, particularly in the State Department, particularly in the embassies out in China, which is one of the reasons why massive segments of the world population were lost to communism in China, ‘cause there were huge riddles of communists throughout the place.

“So I don’t know the history, but I think that would be a bit of a security concern [*sarcasm in Molyneux’s tone, implying that the words are an understatement of the dangers from Jewish immigrants*]. So [*shrugs*] you’d have to ask FDR if you could, but I don’t know [*smug smile*], maybe the factors exist [justifying denial of the Jews aboard the MS St. Louis into the USA] and maybe they don’t, but there were some [valid national] security concerns about [Jewish] intellectuals fleeing Germany, because a lot of them weren’t, like, freedom fighters who didn’t like Naziism. A lot of them were like, ‘Damn, we didn’t win with communism. We communists didn’t win, so let’s go flee to America.’ [*Sarcastic again*:] Well, I don’t know that you want a bunch of communists coming into America. You know, it didn’t do America a lot of good during the Cold War.” [Italics are emphases from Molyneux; emphases by me are in boldface.

When Stefan Molyneux said that Nazis thought that Jews in general were communist, it is the case that he has publicly voiced agreement with that belief on other occasions in relatively close proximity, time-wise. He proclaims that Germans in the 1920s and ‘30s were correct to be afraid of Jews in general for this reason, and that the Nazis were merely retaliating, in self-defense, against the “Jewish-led” communists whom Molyneux presumes to be the party that incited the mutual hostilities between Nazis and Jews. As for the brutalization and extermination of six million Jews in concentration camps, all that Molyneux could say of it was that it was an “overreaction” on the Nazis’ part. With that out of the way, Molyneux quickly moved on to his routine derogation against nonwhites from the developing countries.

UPDATE from October 29, 2018
The day before I first uploaded this blog post, an assailant went on a shooting rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue. It was horrible, but that is not what initially motivated me to write out this blog post; I planned the blog post independently of that. On October 28, 2018, the same day I uploaded this blog post, Stefan Molyneux uploaded onto YouTube a video he titled “The Truth About the Pittsburgh Massacre,” where, after everything he has said over the past decade, he feigns sympathy for Jews. He spends time in the video’s first half on a tirade where he laments that when Jews marry gentiles, that is a “dilution” of purity and a “silent Holocaust.” From the 25:00 to 28:00 mark, he says he was influenced by Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, David Friedman, Murray Rothbard, and Walter Block — all Jewish — so he doesn’t spread bigoted attitudes about Jews. He hasn’t retracted his comments from 2016 where he said blocking immigration from Jews 79 years ago was a morally proper measure to counter “Jewish-led communism.” In this video, he talks as if he never said any of that.

At the end, he says something interesting: that he absolutely condemns the thought of anyone using violence against other people for disagreeing with his opinions on politics or religion. I find that interesting as, for the past couple of years, Molyneux has argued publicly that violent force should be used against particular ethnic groups for the reason that most people from those ethnic groups disagree with Molyneux about politics and religion. That Molyneux has indeed publicly advocated violent force against such people, and for such reasons, is something for which I provide evidence in this follow-up blog post.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Bound to the ‘Social Contract’ Under Duress

Stuart K. Hayashi

Every time you point out that an ordinance or statute in the West is unjust, someone counters by invoking the theory of the Social Contract as posited by Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In this fable, the default for human beings was a perfect freedom that proved untenable, as it was a lawlessness where everyone was a wandering recluse free to murder others but also at risk of being murdered oneself. According to this fable, this problem was solved when people came together to form the first-ever government in which they relinquished their perfect anarchic freedom for the sake of gaining much-needed security.

To Thomas Hobbes, you “renounceth” your absolute lawless freedom in exchange for the “security” the States provides. Immanuel Kant writes that it was a praiseworthy event in history when people agreed on “giving up their savage lawless freedom...and yielding to the coercion of public laws.” Then the Hobbesian Social Contract Theory proclaims that simply by being born and participating in this Society, you implicitly sign a Social Contract promising you will pay taxes at gunpoint and obey every single foolish ordinance or statute that overrides one’s personal liberty and private property rights.

The implicit signing of the Social Contract, says Rousseau, amounts to “the total alienation of each associate, together with all his rights, to the whole community...” Yes, this allegedly consensual “alienation” of perfect liberty is “without reserve, the union is as perfect as it can be...” That is because the “constant will of all the members of the State is the general will...” And thus he summarizes, “The citizen gives his consent to all the laws, including those which are passed in spite of his opposition, and even those which punish him when he dares to break any of them.”

To translate, if you engage in any sort of civil disobedience, you initiated the breach of the Social Contract. As with any initiation of a contract breach, this breach in the Social Contract is an initiation of the use of force. Hence, concludes this rationalization, when the State sends armed men to punish you, the State is not initiating the use of force upon you, but merely exercising retaliatory force against the true instigator of the contract breach.

In this vein, Immanuel Kant propounds, “Resistance on the part of the people to the supreme legislative power of the state is in no case legitimate. ... There is no right of sedition and still less of rebellion belonging to the people. ... It is the duty of the people to bear any abuse of the supreme power, even though it should be considered unbearable.”

 That is far from a new idea; it is in the Bible:
...The [governmental] authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the [governmental] authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in [governmental] authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the [governmental] authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. [Romans 13. 1–7.]

The nineteenth-century French philosopher Auguste Comte, who coined the word altruism to characterize “Positivism” — his name for the socially collectivist political system he wished to impose — invokes an especially severe variant of the Hobbesian/Rousseauian Social Contract in advocating his vision for every community. In his interpretation, since birth you benefit from the actions of other people, which therefore indentures you to pay back “Society” as a collective whole, and your submission to the State on everything is simply payback for the benefits you reaped since vacating your mother’s womb.

Positivism only recognizes duties, duties of all to all. . . . We are born under a load of obligations of every kind, to our predecessors, to our successors, to our contemporaries. After our birth these obligations increase or accumulate, for it is some time before we can return any service. . . . However great our efforts, the longest life, well employed, will never enable us to pay back more than a scarcely perceptible part of what we received. And yet only to our condition of complete payment could we be authorized to require reciprocity of services. Rights, then, in the case of man, are as absurd as they are immoral.

Comte’s writing on this topic are illuminating in that Comte makes explicit a premise that most Hobbesians only leave implied: the implicit belief that you sign the Hobbesian Social Contract in the very act of being born.

Disturbingly, Rousseau goes as far as citing this Social Contract doctrine to advocate governmental suppression of the freedom of thought and expression: “As the law is the declaration of the general will, the censorship is the declaration of the public judgment: public opinion is the form of law which the censor administers... This judgment, therefore, is what must be regulated. . . .  The censorship upholds morality by preventing opinion from growing corrupt, by preserving its rectitude by means of wise applications, and sometimes even by fixing it when it is still uncertain.” This example demonstrates that invocations of the Social Contract, being nebulous and nonobjective, can easily be employed to rationalize just about any violent encroachment by the State.

Finally, Hobbesians proclaim that this is indeed a consensual arrangement as, if you do not like it, you can easily leave the USA or any other First-World country and relinquish citizenship, with impunity. That you remain in the United States, they purport, demonstrates your implicit offering of consent to governmental regulations in the USA over your peaceful personal conduct and your nonviolent business dealings. To wit, simply by not leaving the USA, you sign the Social Contract authorizing U.S. governmental regulations over what you may or may not do peaceably. As Rousseau put it, “When the State is instituted, residence constitutes consent; to dwell within its territory is to submit to the Sovereign.”

This is a favorite philosophic basis whereby apologists for expansive government power rationalize governmental encroachments on peaceful activities. It is such rhetoric that inspires Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., when he denounces laissez-faire individualists for “selling the delusional notion that taxation and regulation represent the evisceration of some essential American principle. They wax eloquent about what great things the free market and the free American could do if government would just get off their backs.” Instead, Pitts preaches, such laissez-faire individualists should concede that “government is not our enemy. Government is the imperfect embodiment of our common will.” Note that the “common will” to which Pitts alludes is the same as Rousseau’s “general will.”

This sort of thinking is also why, when reporter John Stossel pointed out to political filmmaker Michael Moore that the State collects taxes at gunpoint, Moore replied, “No, it doesn’t, actually. The government is of, by, and for the people. The people elect the government, and the people determine whether or not they’ll allow the government to collect taxes from them.”

I shall explain how this Social Contract narrative is wrong, point by point, trying to make each point — compared to my usual lengthiness — relatively brief.

1 of 8. No, Man’s Natural State Wasn’t Statelessness
If the essential trait of “government” is that it is a party within a society that exercises a near-monopoly on the use of force, wielding such force to enforce its will or its rules — as defined by Max Weber — then a primitive version of “government” is older than our species Homo sapiens sapiens.

This arrangement manifests itself in great apes living today — bonobos are not as fanatical about it as chimps are, but it is visible even in groups of bonobos living together. A smaller party within the larger social group of great apes has dominance. One alpha male and some trusted associates are able to impose their will on the other apes in that grouping; they have the first pick over sexual partners, and the dominant male can even determine how much meat other apes receive after a hunt: a primitive form of political patronage. It is plausible that our ancestors, preceding Homo sapiens sapiens, had a similar social hierarchy. If “government” is a smaller party within the society exercising a near-monopoly on violence to impose its will and rules, then the ancestors of Homo sapiens sapiens had at least a makeshift form of government.

It was never the case that anarchy was the default, with the most primitive form of “government” coming about as a consciously organized contrivance to remedy that anarchy. Nor was solitude the default for humans.

And the first-ever formalized governments for our species maintained their power by imposing themselves upon their subjects against the subjects’ consent. Herbert Spencer observes that people surrendered to rule by the first formalized governments “unconditionally; and...when the ruler afforded protection” to any subject of his “it was because he resented the attempt” by rival governments “to exercise over one of his subjects a power similar to his own...”

The default for Homo sapiens sapiens was to have a society and a government, and our choice is not whether or not to have a government, but what sort of model of government we shall adopt or maintain. Moreover, the presence of social interaction and governmental action were always prerequisites to the institution of any and every contract. Hence, society and government themselves could not have been the consequence of some grand, primary contract.

2 of 8. War-of-All-Against-All As the Opposite of Freedom: There Is No Liberty/Security Trade-Off
As John Locke and Thomas Jefferson pointed out, a condition of lawlessness in which everyone can murder anyone else is not perfect freedom, but the perfect absence of freedom. A constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State in which anyone can do anything that is peaceful, and in which the State takes action only against the initiation of the use of force, is the condition that maximizes liberty. Indeed, it is Perfect Liberty.

As Locke explicates, to replace a lawless War-of-All-Against-All with a constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State would be “to preserve and enlarge freedom... ...where there is no law, there is no freedom: for liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law:...freedom is...a liberty for every dispose, and order as he lists, his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property,...not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.”

After all, how could anyone be free if any random person could come and “domineer over him?” And contrary to those who invoke Hobbesian Social Contract Theory, there is no dichotomy between liberty and security. Liberty happens to be the most important form of security: security against the initiation of the use of force. Hence, Jefferson reminds us, “...the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we give up any natural right.”

3 of 8. The Purpose of Real Contracts Is to Protect Private Property Rights, But Hobbesians Invoke Their Fake Contract to Rationalize the Violation of Those Same Private Property Rights
Those who cite Hobbes and Rousseau are those who say that living in society means you signed a Social Contract ceding authority over your private property and contracts to the State. As Rousseau himself articulates it,

Each member of the community gives himself to it, at the moment of its foundation, just as he is, with all the resources at his command, including the goods he possesses. the forces of the city are incomparably greater than those of an individual, public possession is also, in fact, stronger and more irrevocable, without being any more legitimate... For the State, in relation to its members, is master of all their goods by the social contract, which, within the State, is the basis of all rights...  ...the right which each individual has to his own estate is always subordinate to the right which the community has over all... [Emphasis added.]

That argument is self-contradictory. The purpose of legitimate contracts is to protect your private property rights. Suppose you say you will give me object X in exchange for me paying you $10,000 a month later. You give me object X and, a month later, I skip out on paying you. You would consent to parting with object X only under the condition I pay you the $10,000 eventually; hence, I obtained object X from you against your consent. That is why for me to renege on my agreement with you is, in practice, to steal from you.

Hence the purpose of a written contract is protect private property rights, and yet the invokers of the Hobbesian Social Contract proclaim that there is this supreme contract which is more important than your private property rights — and which properly overrides them, thereby authorizing governmental confiscation of your belongings, in the form of compulsory taxation, and authorizing government regulation to veto and overrule what you may peaceably do with your own private property.

Rousseau anticipates my reply from above, and he thereupon offers this illogical counterargument: “...the possessors, being regarded as depositaries of the public good...have, by a cession which benefits both the public and still more themselves, acquired, so to speak, all that they gave up.” Rousseau’s argument is that by transferring final authority over their belongings to the State, peaceful individuals are having their belongings protected from extortionists, and, therefore, the property owners have lost nothing: they are merely giving their own property back to themselves.

If Rousseau were correct, then the transaction would be superfluous: the property owners would retain their private property just as much by not relinquishing any control over it to the State. Moreover, if this were purely beneficial to property owners and voluntary, then the State would not exercise any violence-backed laws to compel its own control over — or seizure of — private citizens’ belongings: the citizens would turn over this control to the State without being motivated to avoid the threat of any statutory penalties upon those who decline to relinquish that control. Yet Rousseau preposterously asserts that you gain control over your private property by relenting control over that same private property at the point of the government’s guns.

An outlook far more rational than that of Hobbes and Rousseau comes from George Mason, a U.S. Founding Father. Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, after which the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights modeled itself, acknowledges “all men...have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact [compact’ meaning contract], deprive or divest their...enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety” (emphasis added). As I stated earlier, the extent to which you are in a constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State is the extent to which you have relinquished no liberty or rights at all.

4 of 8. By Becoming Something Other Than a Night Watchman State, the Government Instigates the Breach in the Supposed Social Contract?
John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence are often considered to be in the tradition of Social Contract Theory. Thomas Paine argues in that tradition when, in Common Sense, he writes that every man “finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property” to the State “to furnish means for the protection of the rest,” and resulting in most people “consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number” of representatives. “Here then is the origin and rise of government...” James Madison, father of the U.S. Constitution, is also in that tradition when he avows that “all power in just [and; it was an ampersand] free Govts is derived from compact,” a compact here meaning a contract.

Another writer said to be in this tradition — one preceding Locke and Paine and Jefferson — is John Milton, more famous for Paradise Lost, with his work from 1660 A.D., The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth. Even W. Rhys Roberts’s English translation of Aristotle’s Rhetoric states “the law itself as a whole is a contract...” Despite their being placed in the category of “Social Contract theorists” with Hobbes and Rousseau, there is an important aspect of the arguments from Milton, Locke, Jefferson, Paine, and Madison that actually subverts the message of Hobbesian Social Contract Theory.

Again, Hobbesian Social Contract Theory states that simply by being born and participating in Society, you consent to an implicit contract relenting to obey every ordinance and statute, no matter how asinine any of them are. This means that if you engage in any civil disobedience, you are the troublemaker who initiated the use of force that is contract breach, and, by sending armed men after you, the oppressive State is merely retaliating. As we saw earlier, Immanuel Kant delivered this same argument.

Whatever praise they may have had for Hobbes, it is the case that Milton, Locke, and Jefferson contradict the Hobbesian argument. They say that they only entered the Social Contract on the understanding that the government ruling them would be a constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State that allowed for anything that is peaceful and which punished only the initiation of the use of force. Thomas Jefferson expresses that the one proper model of government understands, “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him...” (emphasis Jefferson’s). 

According to the Milton-Locke-Jefferson interpretation, it is the case that when the State goes beyond the function of a Night Watchman State and then micromanages the private property and private dealings of peaceful people, it is the State itself that instigated the breach in the Social Contract. On that interpretation, it is rebellion against the State that is justified retaliation.

Preceding these thinkers, Aristotle observes, “We do not regard ourselves as bound to observe a bad law which it was a mistake ever to pass...” John Milton cites this same Aristotle’s Politics in proclaiming that as State officials have historically “abus’d thir power, and governments grew larger,” the civilians were correct in “deposing thir tyrants...”

John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government makes plain that when the government becomes something other than a constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State, taxing civilians severely and micromanaging their private property, the officials in charge have “put themselves into a state of war with the people,” and, by reneging on their contractual commitment to liberty, these officials “forfeit the power people had put into their hands...” On those grounds, civilians are “thereupon absolved from any farther obedience” to the government. And we know the argument of the Declaration of Independence.

But, of course, it is silly to try to determine if the Milton-Locke-Jefferson side is more correct than the Hobbes-Rousseau side, because they are arguing over a document that does not exist and never existed, the U.S. Constitution not meeting the criteria for a contract and therefore being an important legal document that is not a contract. They are arguing over the attributes of a figment of the imagination — and a vaguely described one at that. Herbert Spencer is blunter than the rest: “Before submitting to legislative control on the strength of an agreement alleged to have been made by our forefathers, we ought surely to have some proof that such agreement was made. But no proof is given. ...there never was such a contract.”

5 of 8. The Social Contract As Void, Not Because There Is No Written Copy of It, But Because You Are Bound to It Before Its Terms Are Made Clear to You
This brings me to a common libertarian rebuttal against Hobbesian Social Contract Theory, a rebuttal I find inadequate. Citing nineteenth-century anarchist Lysander Spooner, many libertarians quip that they dare the Hobbesians to show them their signature on a copy of the Social Contract — the implication being that since they did not put their pen to the bottom line of any such formal document, they cannot legitimately be bound to it by force of law.

The premise of this quip is that a contract must be written out to be a valid contract to which participants must be bound. I consider that retort inadequate, as common law properly recognizes that a contract does not have to be written out to be a valid contract that courts can rightfully enforce. There are oral contracts, and they are rightfully binding even if the parties rely merely on their memories as they argue over it in small-claims court. There are common-law marriages and other estoppel contracts in which a contractual arrangement is implied by participants’ reciprocal actions, not verbalized promises.

However, these unwritten contracts still possess an important attribute lacking in the supposed Hobbesian Social Contract: any valid contract — even an implied one — must make its terms clearly accessible to a participant prior to the deal being sealed. Moreover, once these terms were presented, every participant of the contract had the opportunity to reject the arrangement prior to the arrangement's execution. And yet any and every government will enforce its laws upon you absent of your being informed of any of the provisions of a Social Contract from which the government ostensibly derives its legitimacy. Hence, if your government derives its powers from a Social Contract, then that contract is forced upon you under duress — which actually voids and invalidates that contract as rightfully enforceable.

Note that your ostensible signing of the Social Contract is often invoked by Hobbesians when they proclaim that the Social Contract rightfully authorizes the government to micromanage and overrule the contractual terms you have negotiated with your employees concerning financial compensation and working conditions. That is, Hobbesians cite an imaginary and fake contract as superseding and legitimately vetoing the enforceability of actual contracts you have negotiated.

6 of 8. If a Man Would Have the State Violently Enforce His “Social Contract” As It Would a Real Contract, His “Social Contract” Should First Have to Meet the Criteria Required of a Real Contract
At this point, the Hobbesians can reply, You misunderstand. It is true that a normal business contract must meet particular criteria to be valid and enforceable, but the Social Contract need not meet those requirements, because we never said it was a literal contract. We simply call it a contract as a metaphor or analogy to help people understand the reciprocal relationship between a government and its citizens. The Social Contract is still what legitimizes our government regulations over your body and belongings, though.

The proper rejoinder to that is: “You say that if I violate your Hobbesian Social Contract, the State is right to send armed men after me, just as a State would properly do if a court found that I had breached an actual contract. If you admit that your Social Contract is not a real contract, then you should likewise admit that it’s not as legitimate to try to enforce it with armed government agents as a real contract is.”

7 of 8. Mere “Residence" in a Country "Constitutes Consent” to Its Alleged Social Contract?  
A final point must be made about this fake contract. Again, Rousseau asserts that mere “residence” in a region “constitutes consent; to dwell within its territory is to submit” contractually to every new ordinance or statute it may impose in the future. Following from that premise, Hobbesians assert, The Social Contract is not imposed on you under duress, because, through your actions, you do demonstrate that you implicitly consent to it. That action is: remaining in the country. You could leave this country and relinquish citizenship easily — and with impunity — and yet you do not. From this, we can only conclude that your remaining in this country is your implicit signing of the unwritten Social Contract.

That argument is entirely false, because it is not true that you can easily abandon your citizenship and leave the country with impunity. Most countries require that if you renounce your citizenship, you must pay an exit fee. And, if you do not, you remain legally liable for future taxes that country’s government wishes to claim from you. For many First-World countries, the exit fee is equivalent to hundreds of dollarsin the case of the United Kingdom, it is the equivalent of over 340 U.S. dollars. For the United States, it is $2,350, and you must show that you were in compliance with the IRS during your final five years as a U.S. citizen. To leave and renounce citizenship — thereby avoiding future tax liabilities — you still have to pay that final ransom under duress.

As you do not have the option to leave the country and renounce citizenship freely, but still have a gun pointed at you if you do not cough up the final ransom, it is the case that if your government’s authority relies upon the existence of a contract, that contract was imposed on you under duress after all. And that, again, would nullify the legitimacy of that contract.

Incidentally, it is theoretically possible for you to be “stateless” — to renounce your citizenship with one country and not gain citizenship from another. In that circumstance, you will need a visa — a permission slip from the State to remain in the country where you dwell. Should you refrain from obtaining either citizenship or a visa, the country shall deport you at gunpoint to another country, and this second country, in turn, shall deport you at gunpoint as well to yet another nation, and on and on. Hence, to be “stateless” is still to have governments exacting their violence-backed authority upon you.

8 of 8. You Cannot, in a Vacuum, Consent Before-the-Fact to a Night Watchman State; The Night Watchman State Is the One Model for Society That Cares in the First Place Whether You Offer Consent to, or Withhold Consent From, Anything at All
I am not an anarchist. I do not agree with Lysander Spooner that you must consent, before-the-fact, to the existence of a constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State for it to be justified in using retaliatory force against you after you mug someone. No, Spooner’s notion is just another spin on Social Contract Theory. As I said before, a constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State’s rightful authority does not hinge on the existence of any Social Contract. Anarchy is not even an option — if all the world’s government’s collapsed tomorrow, then some party would rise up to attempt to monopolize force over a region, and that party would become a makeshift government. Thus, the choice is not whether to have a government, but what sort of government we shall have. And the sort of government conducive to human flourishing is the constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State.

To say a government derives just powers from “the consent of the governed” makes sense in but one context: a just government cares about the consent of those it governs, meaning that in your everyday affairs it properly distinguishes consensual action from coercive initiations of the use of force, and uses its violent authority only against parties that initiated the violent coercion.

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, I added the section about Auguste Comte and the quotation from him.