In continuing to present full transcripts of all the presentations at the International Conference on Men’s Issues 2014, here we bring you the controversial Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio. His was the sixth and final presentation from Day 2, Saturday, June 28, 2014 and, while controversial, was considered by many to be quite funny (which may not be apparent from just reading the transcript). Our thanks once again to Rick Westlake for doing the bulk of the work of this transcription. —DE
(Attila Vinczer:) He is a philosopher, an author, a speaker, and a host of Freedomain Radio. He is a strong advocate for non-violent parenting. He has authored eight books, and his essays have been widely published on libertarian sites such as LewRockwell.com. Freedomain Radio has produced over 1,500 videos and 2,700 podcasts. Jeffrey Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute described Molyneux as one of the single most influential libertarian thinkers of our times. Freedomain Radio was a top 10 finalist in the 2007 and 2008 Podcast Awards in the Education category.
Stefan has interviewed Noam Chomsky, Zeitgeist founder Peter Joseph, psychological development and addiction specialist Gabor Maté, developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik, child psychologist Peter Gray, Socratic journalist Jan Helfeld, Harvard economics lecturer and Cato Institute fellow Jeffrey Miron, and intellectual-property attorney Stephan Kinsella. His videos and podcasts have been downloaded more than 65 million times.
Stefan spent 15 years as a software developer, manager, and entrepreneur. Now a full-time parent and philosopher, Stefan speaks regularly at conferences all over the globe. He has appeared on numerous TV shows, including ReasonTV, the Peter Schiff Show, the Corbett Report, and Adam vs. The Man. Please put your hands together for Stefan Molyneux.
(Applause. Stefan Molyneux takes the podium.)
It’s kind of late in the day; how’s everyone doing? We may need to move around a little, get the blood flowing a little … You guys can hear me? I’d like to move around a bit because that messes up the camera-people …
Thanks, everyone, for coming out. You guys can hear me okay? Yeah?
I was upstairs and somebody asked me today, “Are you a Men’s Rights Activist?” Which is something I’d actually not really thought about before. What popped into my head was, it’s like going to a doctor and saying, “Do you treat cholera?” We take on all illnesses here, if you’re a doctor. If you’re a philosopher, your enemy is Evil. A lot of philosophers don’t like to talk about it, but it is the case that your enemy is Evil if you’re a philosopher. And there is Evil, of course, in what the Men’s Rights Movement is trying to expose and oppose. So I guess you could say, as a doctor treats cholera, I am a Men’s Rights Activist.
Now, Evil is one slippery bastard, which is why it’s still here. You know, it goes through the ductwork; it’s like Ripley, in Aliens, you know. It crawls up your leg. It’s in your jam. It’s everywhere. And the real challenge of Evil is that you can’t ever really fight it—because the moment everyone recognizes something as Evil, it’s done! The great challenge is in the definitions of Evil and the communication of those definitions, which is what I’m going to talk about today. And by the way, I know it’s been a long afternoon of listening—hands up, throw words out, ask questions, let’s make this a dialogue; otherwise, I might as well be on YouTube, right? Where I look even younger … try me in “Tu foi a mi,” when I’m 28.
So the challenge is always in the definition. How many people here are like, “Yay, slavery!” … All right, those T-shirts are not going to sell. Write them off … Now, why are we not “Yay, slavery”? For a lot of time, people were. For a long time, people were. In the middle of the 19th century, in the South, only two people in a hundred were pro-slavery. Now, you can’t find anybody who’s pro-slavery because the definition has been expanded. The definition of humanity has been expanded to include those formerly slaves, including my Irish ancestors. Now, we don’t have a debate about slavery any more. There is slavery still, in the world, but nobody defends it. That is the challenge. The challenge is the definition. Once people understand that something is immoral, they react against it … sorry, I thought you were cutting in; now, we’ll do a duet … So, it’s all about the definitions. Once people see something is Evil, they will act against it, they will reject it. You know, the most dangerous diseases are the ones that fool your immune system into thinking, “Hey! This guy’s a friend, let’s let him multiply.” But you want your immune system to say, “KILL-Die-Die-Die-Die!” to everything that is going to kill-die-die you. I don’t want to be overly technical, I’m not a doctor.
But the definition is everything.
So, when people talk about something like circumcision … doesn’t sound too bad; circumspect, circumnavigate, circumvent—guess it’s kind of a venting, right? But what we don’t do is define it correctly—what’s the correct definition? Genital mutilation. A little tougher to sell. “Would you like your son to be circumcised?” I don’t know, maybe. “Would you like your son to be genitally mutilated?” What is this, the opening of a horror movie? You go for help, I’ll follow the bloody footprints!
The definitions are essential. It is male genital mutilation. It contributes to a wide variety of health problems; do you know, if you’re circumcised, you have—hey—five times the chance of erectile dysfunction as an adult? Thirty percent of men, across the world, have this done to them, far more than it happens to women. It is a third of the skin of the penis that is removed. It contributes to discomfort for women, on the receiving end of sex because, remember, the whole point of the foreskin is so that there’s some give, right; it’s not a broomstick. It contributes massively to expenses, of course. And—do you know what the price is, of an intact man? A couple of hundred bucks. Amazing … so check this out: It used to be that the government covered the costs of circumcision, and then they decided not to. Anybody know what had to happen to circumcision rates? Whew—they dropped by almost half because people are like, “Oh, two hundred bucks? Two hundred bucks? Well, shit—I mean, I’ve got some standards, thank you very much.”
A lifetime of male sexual pleasure, 10% complications arising from this absolutely unnecessary hacking of a human being—no, that doesn’t stir our sympathy, because you see that’s male pleasure! And if we train men to actually enjoy life, they’re bad workhorses! And it was—you know, in the Christian world it was largely, it lay fallow for many hundreds of years; and then in the 19th century … this may come as a shock to most of the members of the audience, but … sometimes men masturbate. All I’m saying is you’re lucky there are cameras on me now. It’s the reason I shoot waist-up at home … I’m itchy! … Kind of true, I guess.
But … and there was this desperate fear that men would enjoy, you know, Alone Time. And so, one of the ways that they wanted to cut that out, I suppose, was by cutting it off, right? This is one of the ways in which men were not supposed to touch themselves. But by reducing sensual pleasure through circumcision, we were supposed to be saved from the evils of self-abuse … I guess there weren’t enough hairy palms to show everyone who was doing it, so they had to find another way.
So in the definitions lies the solution. Once you define something as an illness, once you define something morally as an evil, then people react against it. Right? “Would you like me to save your child from a 1-in-111 chance of having a urinary tract infection?” Do you know that little girls get urinary-tract infections too? Do you know, they actually treat that not by sawing off the labia, but with antibiotics, because little girls live in the 21st century—little boys are medieval. “Well, it doesn’t take in men, so–”
Or, a 1-in-1,437 chance of penile cancer? Which I hear you can also get from watching Nancy Grace, but that’s another statistic … I actually have nothing against Nancy Grace; when I thought of penile cancer—I’m sure that some psychiatrist is going to e-mail us and “I can explain all of that for you.” Or they just give up and say, “Medicate him.” … So, you have a 1-in-1,437 chance of developing penile cancer; you can reduce that slightly if you get circumcised, if you get genitally mutilated.
Anyone know the odds of breast cancer, for a woman? One in eight. One in eight … You know, you line up eight boobs in a row, one of them is going to turn homicidal. …You’ve had those dreams, right? It’s not … I was raised by a German mother, so that’s eight out of eight, but that’s a different story. But we don’t, of course, say to little girls that we’ve got to remove your breasts because …
“Oh, but you see, babies don’t remember it.” Right. And similarly, you’ll all hear feminists say, “Well, if the woman is unconscious when she’s raped, she doesn’t remember it. So, what’s the problem?”
Well, there’s a nice slice for someone to—“Doesn’t matter, does it?” Paul, I’ll be joining your … the out-of-contact club. If you play the next part backwards—
No, it is. And of course, the body does remember; do you know that babies who are circumcised, boys that are circumcised, have elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, six months afterwards. Almost half of circumcisions are done without anesthetic. There was a study that they tried to do circumcisions on boys to test a variety of anesthetics, but they had to stop it because it was inhumane. So—inhumane to study it, no problem to do it. And for most of the remaining ones where there is “anesthetic,” it’s a topical anesthetic. You know, like the kind you use for bug bites and stuff like that? “That’s one bastard of a mosquito, I’ll tell you that.”
So these are the definitions, this is the clarity. Now, I want to make a case, for something here, that will be interesting. And you know again, feedback, comments, all perfectly welcome. I was listening to a Canadian government broadcast we call CBC, and they had a feminist on. So I deployed my airbags, got myself into the de-stress position—actually, that’s just fetal position, sucking my thumb, but I won’t do that here. And it was like, Okay, hit me! Hit me with the crazy! Come on, baby! And I’m telling you, she did not disappoint me.
Not even a bit.
I need a prop for this part … okay. So have you ever heard of something called microaggressions? Now, microaggressions, I thought they were referring to my schoolyard fighting technique, which went something like this … you know, imagine a Tyrannosaurus rex falling over while having an epileptic attack; it’s somewhat similar. But apparently not. Now, microaggressions are when men …
(Call from one of the Honey Badgers: “Rape.”)
I was going to say “fart” because sometimes … Hey, all livestock fart; that’s why we have global warming but anyway … So this is what is called microaggression, according to this feminist. Imagine I’m in a subway—not the shop, a subway car. Okay. No microaggressions yet … wait … wait for it … wait … Hands up when any women feel aggressed-against. Or men … (Scream from audience) Ah! There you go! Now I’ve seen women do this in a skirt, and I feel quite aggressed-against sometimes, especially if they’ve got a lady-garden like a New York pizza-slice. But anyway—so that is microaggression. If you are a man and you apparently sprawl, in a subway, this is microaggression toward a woman. And she feels very sensitive to that, and you probably have heard of the #YesAllWomen hashtag? You know, “A man whistled, a man made appreciative comments about the tight dress I was in”—whatever, right? But that’s just my hashtag, I don’t want the women to say it.
So these are the microaggressions that women experience, and they’re very sensitive to male aggression. Okay, I’m—you know, the best way to defeat idiocy is just to listen to them, and just repeat it back. And so I would like to sort-of-explain something about microaggressions because in the same interview with this feminist, she said, “Well, men are just—you know, they have this aggression, this violence, this aggression, and women can’t do anything about it. The only way to solve this aggression is for men to discuss amongst themselves …” how to close their legs on a subway, how to not impose upon women, reduce the breathing that the ladies talk about …
And then, men can talk about themselves because where does male violence come from? Let’s just assume that there’s male violence. Obviously there is; not all men, but there is male violence. So where does it come from? Well, according to this woman, and this is a pretty common view among feminists, there are—look closely—like dust in the air, like dust in the wind, there are these male-only memes that float around the culture; that are generated by men, with no input from women. They float around the culture, and they go into your ears, or up your nose, and they make you violent. Right? So there are these memes, these ideas, these cultures that men—inhabit men, and makes them violent. And women have NOTHING to do with it, whatsoever, in any way, shape or form; men have to solve it completely on their own.
So, when I was studying … I have a master’s in history, on the history of philosophy. And one of the great writers for clear thinking is Voltaire. I don’t know if you’ve ever read him, but if you haven’t—right after this talk, go read Voltaire. Now there was a tradition that he was part of, in 18th-century France, which was the “blank slate” of human nature. So you know they went over to the New World, they found all of these quote “savages,” right? And they then brought them back to the court. And a lot of people wrote about the view of the French court from a savage who’d never seen it before. And it was one way that they communicated how insane and absurd the monarchy was.
So I like the “blank slate” approach.
Let’s just talk about male violence from a space alien’s perspective. So you’re floating through space, and, “You know, I’ve got to go check out Earth. Mostly harmless, right?” So we’re going to check out Earth. And you go to Earth, and you say, “Wow, there’s quite a bit of violence here. Wars, and predations, and aggressions, and all this, rapes and terrible stuff that occurs. Okay, where does it come from?”
This is where you can throw some stuff in. Where do you think violence comes from? I don’t buy the human-nature argument; I just don’t because the only thing that’s common about human beings is how great we are at adapting, right? I mean, Muslim kids adapt to the Muslim culture. Pennsylvanian kids adapt to Pennsylvania culture. Amish kids adapt to—Saying what is “human nature” is like saying, What is the shape of water? Well, it depends on what you pour it into. It adapts to that, right?
So where do you guys think violence comes from? … Frustration? Last resort of … Powerlessness? Last resort of powerlessness—Whoop! I’m being aggressed-against by this bastard!—What was the other one? Fear?
(From the front row: “I think childhood experiences.”)
Rr-rr-rr-rr … We’ll be coming back to you, young lady.
Okay, so, you would do the research, right? And you would say, Where does violence in human society come from? Well, the research is pretty clear, which means, completely ignored by most of you … Ninety percent of a child’s brain is formed by its experiences in the first four to five years of life. And violence is when the fight-or-flight mechanism is activated early; deep down in the amygdala, the fight-or-flight mechanism kicks up; cortisol, and adrenaline, and all of that, get provoked in a child; and if the child is chronically stimulated with aggression or abandonment, then the child develops a more-violent brain, a brain more prone to violence. Less capacity to inhibit the impulse.
Have you ever had that—you get this surge of anger? You actually have about one-quarter of one second to stop that beast. You’ve got to intercept what’s happening in your brain, and that knowledge of your own capacity for aggression, which I think we all mostly have. Being able to intercept it is something that is modeled by parents treating you respectfully and all that, controlling their own impulses, and so on.
So you’d say, Okay, we’ve got this problem called violence; and we have science, which says where it comes from, which is basically the first couple of years of a child’s life. Well, my next question as the space alien would be … “Okay. If violence comes from childhood, early childhood in particular … why, who is in charge of early childhood?” … Fifty-fifty chance, give me a guess: Yes, it’s the ladies who are in charge of childhood. Now, look, I’m going to give you guys the respect of knowing that you’re over three years old, and to recognize that there are exceptions to everything I’m saying. I’m a stay-at-home dad, so yes, I’m an exception, blah-blah-blah, right? I know that you guys can hear that most Asians are short without saying, “I know a tall Asian”—I understand that. We’re talking in generalities, there are exceptions, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Right?
So—women are in charge, from conception onwards. The women ingest the right food, or not; they smoke, they don’t; drink wine, they don’t—in the gestation. They give birth, and then they choose to keep the child or they—I mean, keep the child around, and they stay home, they breastfeed or they don’t, and so on. Or they put their kids in daycare, where—guess what, there are a lot of women around, right? I worked as an assistant teacher in a daycare for a couple of years, when I was younger, and, yeah, it was quite the boob-fest—I mean, it was just women everywhere. So naturally, just like all kids of single, like, no dad, they just—(Pantomimes grabbing on.)—you know, Father Figure!
So, women stay home with the kids, or they put them in daycare where it’s nothing but women … but then, the children go to school! … Women there, too, right? Ninety-five percent of primary-school teachers are women. Maybe around grade 10 or grade 11, they might run into a man, right—and say, “Are you a woman in drag?” So basically you have an almost-universal control over childhood from women.
I’m beginning to see the whole cannonball of crazy that I got in the face from this woman complaining about male aggression and microaggressions that women have absolutely nothing to do with, can’t do anything to solve, have no responsibility for. Violence is formed in childhood, women control childhoods. And our desperate hope, as moralists, as people who want a better world, is to break the cycle of violence.
We are only ever five years away from an absolute paradise of a planet. From a planet where we’re meeting here for a hoedown, not fighting more corruption and craziness and immorality. Five years—if we can just get people to be nice to their babies for five years straight, that would be it for war, drug abuse, addiction, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases; almost all would be completely eliminated because they all arise from dysfunctional early childhood experiences, which are all run by women.
Okay, so then the feminists would say, “Well, yes, okay, it’s true that—maybe it’s true that women—” Okay, they wouldn’t admit that, sorry, that’s fact-based. I’m just trying to get into the—into that mindset … Texas! Woman-hater—no, no, that’s no good. (Punches himself in the face.) Oooh—take down the patriarchy … But they would say, but the men are bad, right, the women are abandoned by the man, and blah-blah-blah. Okay, well, the space alien went, “Woo-woo,” you know, forehead-thing on. So we’re going to say, Well, if women are saying that the problems in early childhood are men’s fault—“bastards”—well, we’d say okay; as a space alien, I would say, Well, who chooses who? In the dating game. Hands up if you’re a man being asked out on a date on a woman, where she paid.
You? … I need you to take off your pants, sir … She must have seen you in a Speedo and thought, “I need something from the [??] I can step on.” … Okay, so you’d—what happened? Can you tell me the story? … You are the only person, yeah.
(“A dentist met me and she invited me out to dinner, the first time we went out on a date.”)
Was it something like this? “Drill, baby, drill” … There was nothing like that.
(“I’d gotten dressed up to take her to (??) and those were for me … but …)
Okay, so you were asked out by a woman—did she pay?
(“She did, she paid—”)
(“In her home culture, in the Philippines, she never ever would have done that. But she did it.”)
Good for you—anybody else? … Yes, sir! All right. Give us your secrets. How are you a man-whore? Tell me.
(“She was German …”)
She was German? So she must have ordered you out, not asked—“You’ll be required!”—Sorry … “Call me Mistress Panzer!”
(… In hindsight, that time, I see it now that she was trying to assert authority over the relationship … )
We’ve got a … was she from the Philippines, by any chance? The same woman?
So—I mean, it’s 1 or 2%. And studies show that in about 95% of the time, men ask women out, right? Women make themselves look attractive, and again, I’m generalizing, but women will make themselves attractive in hopes the man will ask them out, and they can choose from the waving, grabbing penis-things around—eeny, meeny, miney, mo, right? So this is the goal, right, this is what happens.
Now, have you ever been—once, in my life, I was, a couple of employers wanted to hire me at the same time. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a bidding war? It’s sweet, right? Oh, man, you just wake up like you’re floating on air, you can’t do anything wrong, you don’t need to shower any more because people want you … you don’t have to show up at work in pants any more, I mean—I hear you, brother, I’m there! It’s a beautiful thing, a beautiful thing—you know, phfttttt! Oh, I’m needed, baby … I actually had this once, this was back in the dot-com days, in the nineties; I was in a bidding war, and it got to the point where people were like, “I’ll pay you $150,000 a year for three days work in a week!” And I’m like, No, I’m going to write novels ’cause that’s where the money is!
(Pantomimes exploding head.)
Anyway, if you’re on the receiving end of a bidding war, it’s a pretty sweet place to be; and for the majority of women of attractiveness, personality, or physical whatever, they’re on the receiving end of usually multiple offers, right? And this is always confusing to me when women complain about the men that they have—because, well, you get to test-drive, right? For years! You get to choose from a variety of cars. You get to test-drive cars, for years. You finally pick a car that usually pays you to buy it, and then, you get to drive the car—and then, you say … “This car sucks! … I’m going to make a boat!” You know, you could have just picked a boat to begin with—“No! I’m going to change him! … This dock head’s right there—!”
So, if women choose the man, and get to test-drive the man, and get to marry the man and stay with the man and have children with the man and so on, it’s kind of specious to say, “Well, all the problems in my life arise from this guy.” You see, this is again, space-alien time, right? We’re just trying to really detract ourselves from the minutiae of the propaganda that so often bewilders us, right?
So here we have, just to recap: The problem with human violence is caused in early childhood. Women are in charge of early childhood. Women choose the man with whom they are going to have children. So … how do we break the cycle of violence? Lecturing men is ridiculous. I mean, factually, scientific—lecturing men is ridiculous. There is zero patriarchy for children. Again, give-or-take, right? But this is why, when women are complaining about microaggressions, and women are saying, “Well, we have nothing to do with the cycle of violence, there’s nothing we can do, you men gotta work it out amongst yourselves,” it’s like … ??? We need space invasion just to—you know, Klingons to come down and say, “Here’s the facts—that we see from orbit ’cause you all are confused down here!”
A study was recently done; a psychologist went, and he said, “I’d really like to study verbal aggression within the household.”—Just shake this bottle and open the top. So he went to daycares, and he asked the parents—they were all women, right? I think there was one man. But he asked the parents, “Do you yell at your children?” And they all said, basically, “Yeah. Hell, yeah, right? But they make me.” So what he did, he put little recording devices on them, you know, like he’s some stalked man; he put some recording devices on them, and he said, “Just turn it on, record every day for a week,” and then he got them back.
He also asked them some other questions. And so, there was one man out of many—it was all women, basically. And the women said, “Yeah, I yell at them. I guess I hit my kids maybe 18 times a year.” Whatever, right? So he got the data back—and this is middle class—this is not, like, down in the dregs; this is middle class, you know, comfortable and all that kind of stuff. So this is probably less than it is in reality … Anybody want to guess? Instead of 18 times a year, hitting children, what does anybody want to put a finger on the number as? … (Brief auctioneer’s act) I haven’t had enough coffee to do what those guys do. The White rap of livestock sales … Nine hundred? … It was 932. Nine hundred and thirty-two times a year.
Does anyone want to guess the age ranges of the children? … I can tell you this, it was not 18-year-old sons. It’s one thing to do this. (Pantomimes whacking a toddler.) It’s another thing to do this. (Pantomimes whacking at a much-taller son.) I can remember my mum yelling at me when I was 17, it was like—(Pantomimes lifting someone by the shoulders, putting them aside, and walking away.) “Remember all that food you gave me? It’s coming back!”
Anyone want to guess what the bottom age of the children, that were being hit 932 times a year? … Lower … lower … Seven months.
Seven months of age.
(“What are you teaching anyone? She doesn’t know what’s happening.”)
All it is, is abuse. I mean, even—the upper end was three, three and a half, close to four. Seven months to four years old. These average American women were hitting their children 932 times per year. We also know women hit sons two to three times more than their daughters.
(“Why was that only for women? Did you test against men, for the same—”)
This is just the people who were at the daycare who, the man had access to the psychologist. He’s been on my show, explaining the experiment; you can look at it more. Oh, by the way, Freedomain Radio, not Freedom Radio, although that would be cool.
So, I really want to—I can’t reinforce this enough. I know, super-smart crowd and all that. But I really want you to get the insanity of this. Right, so women saying, “Well, men have to just deal with their weird aggressions; we have nothing to do with it; we don’t know where it comes from, you know—we’re helpless, helpless, I tell you!” … If you’re a little boy, and you’re being hit by a giant woman, over 900 times a year—and probably it’s closer to 1,500 if you average out two or three times: 1,500, 1,750, some point in there. The study also showed that the hits occurred within 30 seconds of a conflict beginning. Not a lot of reasoning going on, right? I mean, that’s not a cop pulling you over, that’s shooting the tires out as you drive past. It’s not any kind of negotiation that’s happening here.
Violence begins in early childhood, as the result of abuse. Women are in charge of early childhood. Women are hitting children 900-plus times a year—after 30 seconds of a conflict beginning. You don’t have to be like a Klingon Sherlock Holmes to crack this case, right? Where does violence come from? And this is why—Let’s go back to our—(Pulls out chair.) So over here, I’d like you to picture billions of women, hitting children hundreds of times a year. Not even counting yelling at them. Not even counting putting them in daycare. Not even counting neglect or abandonment. Not even counting keeping their fathers away. Let’s talk about the hitting, 932 times a year.
That is not talked about. You know what is talked about? (Sits down.) The difference between this—(knees close)—and this (knees wide). Okay … Rape culture. Rape … Okay … Evil. Okay … PATRIARCHY!—Oops, sorry.
But you see how insane this is? You have women pounding the crap out of seven-month-old babies—and all we ever hear about is, “Well, aggression, violence, is just some bizarre male issue that women have nothing to do with!” This is what I mean when I say the space-alien perspective will strip you of friends, will strip you of any opportunity for a civilized discussion with muggles, right? I mean, because … the way society is, and the cases that are put forward by people, is so mad!
So then—again, space-alien time, we’re saying, Well, what’s the solution? The solution to violence, of course, would be a couple of things we had speakers up here talking about … “Let’s have dads around more!” Well, absolutely. Two key things for the development of a child’s empathy—One: A father around. Two: Free play in nature. Anyone know why the second one is? It’s kind of interesting. Can anyone guess? It’ll have to be the older people because the young people—free play in nature is like oblivion in high-rises … Yes, sir?
(“When you have age mixing of children in free play, they in a sense teach one another about the need to please one another because if they don’t, their playmates run away. They have to please within a group.”)
Yeah! Like someone I knew—I grew up broke, in England, and we basically were like, we all hang out, and it’s like, Well, what do you want to do? We had to find something that wins for everyone—that everyone wants to do. You have to sacrifice, you have to defer, and all that. You can’t just impose your will. Everyone’s on their iPads, they’re not negotiating, right?
So, there is a huge correlation between free play in nature, presence of fatherhood, and empathy—which is the most important natural resource in the world, and which is becoming increasingly in short supply. Sociopathy, which is really the absence of empathy, just doubled over the last 15 years. Yes, sir?
(“When you say free play, are you referring to perhaps a different play style with the child, between the two types of—”)
No adults. That’s all it is. Not out there on a soccer field, not out—No structure. Go play, unsupervised, no adults, no structure, none of these. Figure out what you want to do. Go, come home when the street lights come on, right? Stay away from windows and piers.
(“My ex-wife, now, when she would play with the child, it would be very formalized, and nothing free about it, really. Whereas when I played with my kid, it was like free-style—hey, have fun, let’s kick a ball—”)
No. If you’re there, that’s great, that’s part of the empathy. I don’t know the exact reason, maybe we could theorize about it; I don’t know the exact reason why the presence of men is better for empathy. I personally think that it’s because women grow these beasts in their belly, you know, in that part I remember from the movie, they come out through the belly button and kill John Hurt … But I think women are too … so fused with the kids, right? I mean they grow them, and then they breastfeed them, and they’re so fused, that I think the fathers have a little bit … productive space. The closeness and the intimacy is fantastic for the moms and the babies, but the dads have a little bit more space and a bit more room to negotiate.
… Yeah, like the space aliens. Actually, dads are like space aliens—did you get that? Get that out-of context too … And if you’re John Hurt, you’re toast!
(“Do you know if there’s any research on the effects of ‘helicopter parenting’ that many women today are engaging in, on the ability for children to engage in free play?”)
Yeah! I mean, there’s a lot of—it generally provokes passivity, and again, a lack of negotiation. You know, children are much safer than they used to be, out in the world—now. And we have all of these weird ideas, right? Like, if the kids are out playing in the neighborhood, that’s dangerous—No, no, no, no, no. That’s not statistically the way it is. If they’re going to be attacked, it’s going to be somebody in the family; it’s going to be somebody who’s a friend. It’s not going to be some guy in a windowless van, driving.
But we have, you know, “Keep the kids home, and safe! And that way I know where they are!” … Where the moms are hitting them 932 times a year—“I need you to be safe! Don’t go out!” We need to give micro-tasers to kids, or something like that—But yeah, I mean, so the violence is occurring within the home, and, you know …
Violence has been diminishing in a lot of ways; there are some arguments, a variety of arguments, as to why that is. I think some of it has to do with the fact that kids are put in institutions—which is bad in a lot of ways; like, children put into daycare before the age of four, for more than 20 hours a week, experience exactly the same symptoms as maternal abandonment. And so you get this radical attachment disorder that creates instability, neediness, aggression, lack of compliance, and all those kinds of things. But at least in those institutions they’re not getting hit 932 times a year.
No, I think in general, I think for the most—again, US schools are a little different, right? Because I know in US schools, a lot of them, South schools in particular, corporal punishment is still acceptable. I think it’s 18, or something like that, states. But in most daycares, at least not in the ones I worked in, you couldn’t. Not that we were all dying to … But you couldn’t attack the kids that way; so they would be hit a lot less, and that may have had something to do with it. Was there another question?
(“Yes. Being the daughter of a single mom, and just reading about … having worked around single moms, and just reading about what they deal with … they just have so much stress. And I think an important factor in your discussion is just, when you’re a mom, and when you’re around your child all the time—you’re around a small child—it’s just very, very stressful. And … you know, I’ve just done some reading about, there’s articles about single moms and stress, and all that kind of stuff, and they list all the things that can ease the stress in a single mom’s life. And I go on down the list, and read, and read; and not one of them mentions anything about involving the father. And it’s like, why? Because the father is, you know—it takes two to tango, and the father ought to be there. He ought to be, well, responsible.”)
But it doesn’t take two to tango because women choose mates. Again, if there’s rape, that’s a whole—obviously, that’s a different situation and so on. But, so, first of all, this “it takes two to tango”—women still are in the privileged position of choosing from a variety of suitors, in general. That’s first. The second, the “stress” argument bothers me, and you could be correct, but I’ll tell you why it bothers me, and we can certainly open it up to discussion.
There’s no “stress defense” for hitting your wife. One could say, “Boy, she was nagging me—Bam!” … You know, there’s no state-of-mind excuse for male violence, as I’ve talked about on my show many times. The feminists will talk about abuse of power disparities, I mean, unless it’s Bill Clinton. But feminists will talk about abuse of power disparities, like the boss dating the secretary, or the man keeping money away from his stay-at-home wife, because there’s a power disparity there. Of course in reality, and in fact, there’s no greater power disparity than between parent and child. The wife chose to be there; children don’t choose to, don’t choose their families. They’re not there by choice. Wives can leave at any time. Legal … rights, property, independence, shelters. Children cannot leave. So I can’t go with “women are stressed, and therefore …” because there’s no state of mind that excuses male violence, not that I’ve ever heard. And you’ll see this when you look online. Whenever people talk about women’s abuses, they will always, always put in an excuse: “Well, they’re poor; well, they’re stressed; well, they’re juggling work and family; well, they don’t have health and resources; and this and that and the other.” Right? But, again, I’ve never heard that for men hitting anybody.
(“I think what I was really trying to say is, in the literature that I read about, you know, single moms and stress, I think what would really help would be if they just acknowledged that since, you know, man is half of the reason why the child is there, that the father, you know, we’re all—they’re just as interdependent on the fact that they need the father, they need him to be around, and it’s—you have to adopt the mindset of a team-worker! You know …”)
But if they chose a man who’s not around, then they’re still responsible for that choice. Again, I’m not taking men out of the equation completely, right? But the woman is currently the gatekeeper because the woman is the one who suffers a lot more over pregnancy than an irresponsible man.
Now, historically what used to happen, prior to the welfare state, was a woman who got pregnant outside of wedlock—we all know what would happen, right? They would go on a vacation. They would give birth to the child. They would return to the family without the child, and the child would be given up for adoption. Which was in the best interests of the child, statistically, because children who are adopted into two-parent households do just fine. They do just fine, relative to everybody else who’s born there. Statistically, there’s no difference.
But … women who keep the children, as single mothers, harm those children. It’s an incredibly selfish and destructive thing to do. If you don’t have a husband, if you chose the wrong guy, to keep the child is abuse—almost always.
And that’s what used to happen before women could force all men to become beta-male providers through the power of the state. And that’s what should—for the best interests of the child, give it up for adoption! You’ve already proven that you’re irresponsible! You can’t choose the right guy, you can’t keep your legs closed, you can’t use birth control—of which there are 18 different kinds—so maybe parenthood isn’t for you!
I mean—at least, yet. Work on tying the shoes—Yes, sir?
(“So, bringing your talk full circle—”)
No, we’re not done yet, brother. You hold on to those platters!
(“What I’m wondering is, that, I’ve looked for a study like this, and I haven’t seen one, but it certainly makes sense just from observing different countries in the world. I’m wondering, is there any data looking at the amount of violence in a society, particularly male violence, military aggressions, things of that nature, and circumcision rate? It certainly makes sense if you have increased stress hormones in early, you know, shortly after birth. If you have a culture of violence—”)
I know—the problem is that you can’t just separate one variable. Where there is circumcision, there is generally more brutality toward children and more brutality toward boys in particular. So you can’t just look at circumcision and say that’s—it’s not like everything’s the same but circumcision; it’s a symptom of a wider disregard for the thoughts and feelings of men and boys. So—certainly you can—I’ve been reading an audio-book by Lloyd deMause called The Origins of War in Child Abuse, which is available at FreedomainRadio.com, slash free. It’s a free audio book. And he talks about how war comes directly out of, and is directly correlated to, levels of child abuse. So I think—accepting that circumcision is male genital mutilation, it’s certainly going to be part of the fire that burns the world.
Listen—I just had a look at my speech notes, we’re going to have to—I’ve got five more minutes. Uhm … that’s good stuff. Umm—The End!—No, do you guys have any questions? Because I don’t want to miss that part.
(“Hi—I know you said something earlier about, there’s always exceptions. As a licensed daycare provider for 25 years and foster mom for 10, and a loving and non-violent mother … I just want to acknowledge that there are moms that don’t hit children, and there are some excellent daycare providers out there.”)
Absolutely, yeah—I’m married to one. She’s—we’ve never raised our voice, we’ve never punished, we’ve never hit, we’ve never—and she’s a fantastically wonderful child. You know, when you don’t have violence, you get creativity, right; if you don’t have “Well, I’ll hit my kid,” then you have to figure out creative solutions, as you know, right? And that’s a lot more fun, as parents. You know, why are single moms so stressed? Well, if they’re hitting their kids 932 times a year, the relationship sucks—they have no authority, they only have force! That’s a very stressful situation to be in, you’re constantly playing whack-a-mole. Turns out in the study, that the behavior that the moms hit the kids for was resumed in less than 10 minutes. Less than 10—It doesn’t work! All it does is vent the sadism of the mother. —We had a question?—Ah, Taylor.
(“I was curious—”)
You’ve got to do some Barry White for me, man. That’s a beautiful voice.
(“I get that a lot … the sound of rock ’n’ roll.”)
You’re going to make me burp with that bass, man!
(“It’s testosterone … It’s a wonderful day in the Patriarchy. Now, I was curious, with circumcision, is there any data that shows the percentage of circumcisions that are seriously botched to the point of urinary or erectile dysfunction?”)
I do have those numbers—just come to me afterwards. I normally do this with a PowerPoint, but I consider PowerPoint for the weak … Except for everyone else who did PowerPoint … I’ll get to you with those numbers afterwards. But it’s not insignificant, for sure … Yes, sir? You’re next.
(“Stefan, I have a question that … I don’t have any children, but I am—the things that you talk about, about child abuse, really makes sense. I think it’s wrong to, first, any type of spanking, you know. And one other thing I wanted to say, that … I talked to my mom about this, and you know, yeah, I was spanked, but she came to the realization that—just like you did, she chose to be in her situation, I didn’t. And she said that she actually apologized for that. It was just out of nowhere, she just thought of it. I don’t know what—maybe she watched the Freedomain Radio Show, I don’t know. But another thing, I was doing research on this, and if—being a Black man, like myself, I’ll just accept it for what it is: Is it true that, when it comes to race, that when it comes to spanking your children, it’s actually worse in the Black community than other … you know, I mean, I’m not going to just say it can’t be true, but—”)
I think it is true, statistically. I think it is—like, there’s a reason, like when I did this video on Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman— which, basically, I don’t care much about the case, but it was a great way to get a million people to see it as a spanking message … But in there, I included a clip of President Obama, which you may have seen, where he’s talking about, “Hey, remember the good old days, when even if it wasn’t your kid, if you saw them acting up, you hit ’em?” Like, you couldn’t say that—I don’t think you could say that to a White community; but he’s in there, in a Black community, and there is of course a lot more corporal punishment. There’s lots of reasons for that, some sociological, some historical, which I’m not, you know, not going to speak to—but I think a lot of it has to do with the problems of single motherhood as well. Single motherhood is associated with higher rates of child abuse, and of course, much more single motherhood in the Black community than in the White community. And even less in the Asian.
(“So, on the subject of circumcision, feminists often say, ‘My body, my choice.’ At what age do you think someone should be allowed, ‘My body, my choice’?”)
Yeah, I mean, if it’s a spleen that they’re talking about, that’s one thing; but that is a human life in there; I think that should have a say as well. But as far as adults go, I think we already have laws in place for that, where the age of consent for a medical procedure is, I think, 18, or maybe it’s 21 in some places. But yeah—hey, if you want to go hack up your penis when you’re an adult … you know, I—Idiot, but go, you know? Then it is your body, your choice, but you cannot make that choice for newborns. It is symptomatic of the degree to which the idea of simply asking children what they want when they get bigger, and deferring to their choice. For men, it still remains somewhat incomprehensible to a lot of people; like, why would the man have a say? It’s his penis, but it’s our culture.
(“If you alter the Cycle of Violence, how can you have soldiers?”)
Yeah—how are we going to have soldiers, if we don’t brutalize kids? Yeah, there’s a reason why men are hit more times than women because women need to train warriors to protect the tribe from blah-blah-blah, right?
(“It’s essential to the civilization’s system!”)
Well, child abuse and civilization … I think true civilization is not that, right? I mean, we were talking, just in the very beginning, about the extension of human rights, human principles of morality, to formerly ignored groups of society—whether it’s minorities, or women … Well, the last one is kids. The last wave we need to extend ethics is kids. You say spanking—it’s just hitting. It’s kidnapping and hitting because the kid can’t leave. It’s assault. And once we—as Confucius said, the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names, once we identify it for what it is. Then we recoil from it. But whooping, and spanking, and blah-blah-blah—whoop-ass, or whatever it is— it’s all, these aren’t categories of crimes you’d ever associate with adults.
(“The grounding point is, how we’re going to get our warriors—how are we going to get soldiers that are sociopathic enough to go fight out wars? We’ve got to prepare—according to our last speaker, there’s no way around it, we’re going to have wars.”)
Well, they said that about all evil human institutions, prior to their end. Everyone said, ‘This is going to last forever!—Oh, is it gone already? I guess I was in the way, wasn’t I?—Yes, sir?
(“Hang on, I know that circumcision is tied to religious procedure … so would you take that into consideration as well?”)
What do you mean, take that into consideration?
(“Well, in the sense that a lot of them, who are religious, believe that it’s God asking them to do it. So I know this is—”)
Sure! And I know that the Old Testament also commands them to kill homosexuals, unbelievers, witches, apostates, sorcerers, and basically everybody else. Right, and human sacrifice—so you know, to me, the first recorded depiction of circumcision was 2400 BC in Egypt. That’s your first clue that it’s barbaric! It’s 2400 BC! And they say, “Well, you know, that’s tradition.” And it’s like—“Do you have a cell phone? Then you’re willing to upgrade, aren’t you?”
Thank you, everybody, so much!
(Attila Vinczer: “Stefan, can I ask a question?”)
Wait, wait, wait, everybody, sorry—Can I tell you, not for the first time in my life, I was a little premature? I thought he was going to help me out …
(Attila: “Now, let’s get serious. We have Kathleen Wynne, elected as … the newly elected premier of Ontario. She has earmarked one-and-a-half billion dollars to child care, or—daycare. I listened to you about the cause of domestic violence … it really stuck in my head, out of all the things you said, the harm children have by being put into daycare. What can we do to deal with this issue? Because I see it very concerning that we’re going to put 1.5 billion dollars, extra money, into sending these children—I’ve seen them being strung along on ropes—at two years of age—and it’s, it’s, it’s appalling to me.”)
No, but it’s good for the government, right? Because if you get women to go into the workforce, you can tax them. Right? You can’t tax moms. So if you get women to go in the workforce, you can tax two new groups of people, right? You can tax the women who are now working, who formerly were providing childcare; and you can tax the childcare workers, and get them into nice unions that will always vote for bigger government, and blah-blah-blah. So it’s a great investment on the part of the government; just, as usual, it’s at the expense of children. So much of what we do in society, from the national debt to wars to the family court policies, is at the expense of children, for the sake of irresponsible adults. We don’t have a society, as of yet, where the interests of children are put first and foremost. It’s just a Hallmark card we look at, and then throw in the shredder.
But if we were actually to realign our society, and put the interests of children first and foremost, and think about that every time we tried to make a social decision, then we would say, Well, what do children need? Well, they need their moms OR their dads, but, you know, Mom comes with the feeding bag, so it’s usually better for them to be closer. And so, we want moms home with the children! And so we would try to figure out a society which would allow for that.
And I am a big one for … social shaming, social negative consequences, is, to me, the best way society should be organized; and when we get this “Everything Goes and single moms are heroes, everyone’s fine, everyone’s great,”we end up with this multiplicity of rules. There’s an old statement that says, when you get rid of the big rules you don’t end up with no rules, you end up with an infinity of tiny rules. And the big rules are, we should be responsible for our children, we should be responsible about our sexuality, we should have children in a committed pair-bond relationship and we should not have children outside of that, and if we make a mistake—and mistakes happen—then we should give the child to people who can raise it in the best way for the child.
Now everything which furthers that end, to me, would be advantageous to society. But people who are irresponsible always want to escape the consequences of their irresponsibility; that’s what we like to do, and with the government, that gets to be hellishly easy, I think. So I think there’s a variety of policies that could be suggested, but I think that would be first and foremost. “In the Best Interests of the Child” should be a motto tattooed on our hearts, not bullshit said by the government that they’ll never follow.
(Attila: “Before we take our last question, I would like to make a suggestion, an offer. I’d like to work with you to do something about this daycare business, and the one and a half billion dollars—our tax dollars—that shouldn’t be used for that.”)
Well, actually, the bill’s going to go to the kids; they don’t have a billion and a half dollars, they’re just borrowing it, right? “Hey, we get to stuff you into daycare, and stick you with the bill! Right!”
(“Can I make a comment? I stepped out, so I might have missed this. If I’m saying something that you already mentioned, I’m sorry, but—there’s media here, and I’m very involved, not just with the Men’s Rights Movement but with the Intactivist movement. And I think this is important to say, because the American media tends to never really do their research on circumcision, outside what you read in the US from the American Medical Association and groups like that. And that’s where they get their information; of course, the American Medical Association is profit-based, and they make a tremendous amount of money off of circumcision. Recently—what I think media and everyone else here needs to know, is that recently the Council of Europe, which represents—which is even larger than the European Union, it has about twice as many members as nations, and is commissioned specifically to address human rights … they held extensive rebates and reviewed extensive literature on things like the trauma that it causes to children, as well as the loss of sensitivity, and all kinds of things about these so-called ‘benefits’ and all that. And they have voted that it violates the child’s human rights. And in fact, that it isn’t comparable to female circumcision because there’s several different types of female circumcision, one of which is the removal of the clitoral foreskin, which is anatomically equivalent to male circumcision. And the media needs to know that, when you write stories on circumcision, because this—the Council of Europe’s decision was backed by pediatric associations all throughout Scandinavia. The top pediatric medical association in Germany backed them up 100%. And this is not a fringe group that’s out there against circumcision. It’s very real, and something we need to look at.”)
This is, ah … from a moral standpoint, it’s such an easy issue that it takes a massive amount of propaganda to ignore the basic facts. It’s the initiation of the use of force against a helpless and defenseless infant. My argument is basic: Is it healthy flesh? Then leave it alone … Yes?
(“Hi, Stefan, my name’s Janet Bloomfield. I have three children; I have never hit them—ever—once. I actually don’t believe in punishment of any kind; I believe in letting them learn. You want to throw rocks in the air, well … go for it. I was raised by an extremely violent mother, so I had to learn to be a parent. And I found Dr. Sears, on attachment parenting. What do you think of that philosophy?”)
I think that whatever contributes to a closer bond, to an empathetic bond, between parent and child, is the best shield against aggression. Aggression results when you dehumanize whoever it is. If you empathize with that person, you would rather hit yourself than hit them.
(“And I just want to support you in saying that, when there’s no violence, creativity emerges. That’s my kids, all three of them. They’re just fantastic. And I’m constantly getting compliments on how well-behaved they are. And it’s always—it’s sort of—it’s weird: I’m getting congratulated for not beating the fuck out of my kids. Like isn’t that just a basic—shouldn’t people just know that? … My point is, for people that are looking for guidance, for how to be the kind of parent that doesn’t need to resort to screaming and yelling and punishment, Dr. William Sears. He is an absolutely fantastic resource, he publishes books—anyone who’s expecting a baby, look for books by Dr. Sears. They’re a wonderful place to start, I think.”)
So my—yeah, I’ll just finish with one story, then I’ll end. So my daughter is five—I guess, two stories. I bit my tongue the other day; and she looked at me, and she’s—“Ooh, Dad, I felt that in my own tongue.” Which is the implantation of “mirror neurons,” which means that she empathizes with somebody else’s experience to the point where she feels—and it’s like, “Great, my job is mostly done.” Ninety percent of parenting is the first couple of years. And so she has the empathy. I now know I no longer have to worry about her ever being cruel.
The other day we went to a play center, and I don’t know why I don’t have a lot of hair, but last time I was at a play center I was kind of inching my way down the slide, and I hit something metal—and basically it was an air strike of lightning going through my body, and it scared the crap out of me! Almost literally—“Oh, there’s been an accident in the slides—”Anyway, so I didn’t want to do it again. And so, the next time we were at that play center, she said, “Dad, I know you’re scared. I get it, I understand—like when I fell off my scooter, I was scared too; but you remember what I did?” I’m like, Oh, no, not this—You’re five! Get in line! But she said, “I went back, and I did my scooter again, and you encouraged me to do that! Remember?” Hey, I’m an authority, I wouldn’t be an authority if I wanted rules to go two ways—but yes, she made her case, and I ended up going down the slide, and we had a great time. And here, I was coached by my five-year-old that I had to overcome my fears … that’s, you can’t beat that as parenting. I mean, that’s a fantastic experience.
So—I think we’re done here, okay. Thank you, everybody, so much.
(Applause. Stefan Molyneux leaves the stage.)