Should We Give Up On Stefan Molyneux? It’s Up To You – Opting Out

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John Hudak from the Fakertarians Facebook page recently went on Dave Smith’s Part of the Problem after the page called Smith out for going on Stefan Molyneux’s podcast and calling him “great” in a social media post. Smith, taking exception to the implication that he was a “fake libertarian”, invited Hudak on the show to clarify exactly why he was called out.

Both of these guys do great work. They differ on little ideologically – only the border issue seems to be a sticking point. They both gave their reasons as to why Molyneux should occupy a certain tier of acceptability. Smith looks at the broader influence of Molyneux, whilst Hudak can’t get past Molyneux’s recent obsession with race that culminates in clearly race-baiting content.

Both of these guys make convincing cases why Molyneux should or should not be jettisoned.

Despite this, I don’t think there’s an objective universal standard for which you can make the case for when you should stop going on someone’s podcast. There are standards, but they are subjective, and probably appeal to something deeper than rationality, the same values that inform the things we’re passionate about.

The differences basically boil down to the fact that Molyneux’s content bothers Hudak more than it does Smith. Like me, Hudak finds Molyneux’s race-baiting distasteful. Smith says he would not post such content, but he doesn’t find the content offensive enough to stop him from talking with an influential figure.

I agree with John Hudak – I think it’s a mistake to go on Molyneux’s podcast, and call him “great.” I think Tom Woods should stop inviting him on to his podcast. But this isn’t because I believe I have found an airtight case as to why Molyneux is a white nationalist – I just don’t like him since he’s been banging on about race and why everything is women’s fault.

His fans will probably say “that’s not an argument.” Correct: I’m not making an argument. I’m just letting everyone know that I don’t like Molyneux and won’t have anything to do with him. This is a direct statement of my subjective standards, to which I don’t expect anyone else to adhere.

I think it’s a bad idea to associate with Molyneux, but I am not prepared to say that this position is the only one you can take. Clearly, many people I respect and revere think differently, and that’s fine. 

Everyone has their own standards. If we accept that, we don’t have to deploy the mental gymnastics required to defend them as a universal barometer. It seems Smith understands this when he’s asked if he would have the same position on Richard Spencer or Chris Cantwell. He says, paraphrasing, “No, I guess there’s my standard.” He doesn’t feel the need to make the case why Spencer and Cantwell are a no, and Molyneux is a yes. I agree, he doesn’t.

Notice here that I’m not making the opposite mistake of death by association – that anybody who ever talks or has talked to Molyneux is probably a white nationalist and should be shunned. This kind of position is unsustainable, as evidenced by the fact that those kinds of people who do think Dave Smith, Tom Woods and Murray Rothbard should be put in the sin bin for associating with bad boys have no problem at all with Ronald Reagan, the explicit racist and tyrant.

I don’t believe John Hudak and Fakertarians are guilty of this. They are merely expressing their concerns. They’re not the hall monitors. I’m just making a case for an outlook that might relieve the stress of wrangling over whether this person or that person should be shunned or not. As far as your own personal decisions go, you don’t need a universal standard.

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James Smith

Writer and film-maker from the United Kingdom. Digital nomad. Author of 'The Shy Guy's Guide to Travelling'.