Locals Questions Answered Jan 1 2024

Brief Summary
In this episode, we explore the capacity for evil and the role of moral conscience in free will. We discuss the subjective nature of evil, the importance of objective ethics, and the evolutionary aspects of cruelty. We question extreme sacrifices, advocate for rational ethics, and encourage listeners to challenge inherited beliefs. Happy New Year and thank you for your support!

Exploring evil, moral conscience, and free will. Subjective nature of evil, objective ethics, evolutionary cruelty. Challenging beliefs, advocating rational ethics. Happy New Year and thanks for your support!

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Hi Stef, Is it accurate to say that there are some evils I don't have the free will to commit. By this, I mean that I would probably break or lose my sanity before I found myself comitting grave evils. If for example, I was ordered to torture orphans or commit some form of infanticide, I'd probably go insane before doing so. Therefore, I am not free to commit grave evils or mortal sins because I would break before doing so. Does having a strong moral conscience mean that you lose the free will to commit evil? On a deeper level, what is a moral conscience and does its capacity to guide your behaviour validate or invalidate your free will?

Dear Stef you have repeatedly spoken about the whirlpool of madness and dysfunction that boys of single moms face, my question is why you Stef did not fall into mental decay and a failed life, how did you beat the odds Stef, is it because of your great inborn natural social skills combined with your genetic high intelligence or some other reason? My own mom was like a schizophrenic, some members of my extended family were diagnosed with this condition whether my mom had a legitimate mental illness or not I personally did not beat the odds because I was very introverted and had no social skills so I was bullied in high school and had an overall miserable childhood. As an adult my life is much better but I am doing much worse then the average man my age. Of course I’m not saying every boy of a single mom is destined to be a failure, I don’t have to explain the tall woman fallacy to you Stef, nevertheless being the son of a single mom there were significant odds you faced Stef yet you managed to overcome them which begs the question Stef - why?

0:00:12 The Illusion of Immunity to Committing Evil
0:02:01 Virtue: Letting Others Define or Choosing Your Own Path
0:13:44 Survival and Planning Skills in Harsh Conditions
0:17:25 Our Capacity for Cruelty and Hypocrisy
0:19:41 Confronting the Reality of Indifference and Choices
0:24:09 The Evolutionary Basis of Tough Decisions
0:27:39 Recognizing the Dark Side: Survival Practicality vs. Moral Sensitivity
0:29:02 The Illusion of Virtue Signaling
0:29:56 Triage in extreme situations and historical examples of survival
0:34:46 The concept of free will and personal choices
0:37:08 Seeking an Alternative to Adult Life
0:38:33 The search for a mentor and rejecting traditional lifestyles
0:43:15 The hypocrisy of sacrifice and lack of sacrifices by adults
0:49:45 Society's Lack of Credibility due to Hypocrisy
0:51:44 The Lie of Morality and Hypocrisy
0:55:20 Avoiding Cynicism and Embracing the Possibility of Nobility
0:59:43 The Meaning of Critical Thinking: Questioning Everything
1:00:45 Navigating the Opposite Compass: Questioning Authority and Assumptions
1:05:55 Philosophy and Empiricism: Scrapping the Board and Starting Again
1:09:26 Certainty vs. Uncertainty: The Battle for Truth
1:13:20 Frustration with philosophers' lack of focus on child abuse

Long Summary
In this insightful episode, I delve into the intriguing topic of the capacity for committing evil and the role of moral conscience in determining free will. The exploration begins with a listener's question about the relationship between having a strong moral conscience and the ability to commit evil actions. I highlight the subjective nature of evil, as individuals who commit wrongdoing often believe they are acting in accordance with their own twisted sense of what is good. Drawing from history, I examine how certain acts, such as infanticide, were once perceived as necessary for survival in different societies.

Moving forward, I emphasize that our conscience is a luxury granted by civilization and a product of evolution. While it is essential in guiding us towards ethical behavior, I stress the importance of objective ethics to safeguard against the manipulation of morality to justify evil acts.

Fascinated by the evolutionary aspects of cruelty, I discuss how in times of crisis, societies often prioritize the protection of women and children. I raise the thought-provoking question of whether we would be tempted to act cruelly towards a child if we knew they would grow up to commit horrific acts. To contextualize this, I explore the concept of infanticide, its occurrence in the animal kingdom, and its historical prevalence among humans.

Continuing the insightful conversation, I examine how our daily actions can have life-or-death consequences for others. I challenge the notion that humans are universally incapable of cruelty and underscore the need for honest self-reflection to recognize the impact our choices have on others. In doing so, I question extreme sacrifices and the impracticality of living in poverty to aid others, asserting that evolution would not have allowed us to survive and flourish with such an approach.

While I acknowledge and appreciate moral sensitivity and conscience, I caution against claiming absolute moral superiority, highlighting how individuals can be influenced to make choices with negative consequences, even if their intentions are well-meaning. Drawing from personal experiences, I recount the lack of moral guidance I encountered growing up and the hypocritical and abusive nature witnessed among the adults in my life. These encounters fueled my passion for philosophy and the development of a rational system of ethics.

Inviting critical thinking, I stress the importance of questioning authority figures who perpetuate falsehoods. Sharing my exploration of anarcho-capitalism as a means to address the identification of evil in society, particularly in relation to child abuse, I advocate for building beliefs based on reason and evidence. I encourage listeners to challenge the beliefs they were taught as children and develop their own understandings of morality.

With the episode drawing to a close, I extend warm wishes for a Happy New Year to all listeners and express gratitude for their support. I invite them to consider further engagement through donations or joining our community.

evil, moral conscience, free will, subjective, objective ethics, cruelty, extreme sacrifices, rational ethics, challenge, inherited beliefs


[0:01] Hey everybody, happy new year. It's Stef. We are out, finally got a little bit of snow, and we're out here in the Canadian hinterlands to answer your questions.
The Illusion of Immunity to Committing Evil

[0:12] Hi Steph, is it accurate to say that there are some evils I don't have the free will to commit?
By this I mean that I would probably break or lose my sanity before I found myself committing grave evils.
If, for example, I was ordered to torture orphans or commit some form of infanticide, I'd probably go insane before doing so.
Therefore, I'm not free to commit great evils or mortal sins because I would break before doing so.
Does having a strong moral conscience mean that you lose the free will to commit evil?
On a deeper level, what is a moral conscience and does its capacity to guide your behavior validate or invalidate your free will?
Well, you know, man, I appreciate your optimism about your capacity to resist evil.
I think that's a very powerful statement. Um, honestly, given what I know about history, it strikes me as wildly overconfident and, uh, could be wrong, of course, but I don't think that, uh, there's a form of humble bragging here.
Like I'm just too virtuous to commit any kind of evil.
But I think the first thing I would say is I think that that misrepresents the nature of, of evil.
Of course, the nature of evil, or people who do quote evil, they don't think they're doing evil at all.

[1:30] They don't think they're doing evil at all.

[1:34] There was a certain form of religious fanatic in the past who would convert heathen and then cut their throats right away, so that they wouldn't have the opportunity to revert to their heathenish ways and forego the true religion or whatever you'd want to call it, right?
So, of course, under the certain circumstance, they were considered to be doing great good.
Virtue: Letting Others Define or Choosing Your Own Path

[2:01] Most people have a destination called virtue, of course, right?
And they let other people define what that virtue is or the path to that virtue.
Right? So most people, they just have a GPS thing. Like, you know, you have a GPS and you say, you just push the button that says, go home, right?
It says, go home, right? Well, so most people have a GPS button called virtue.
And they let other people define the path to that virtue.
A UPB, of course, is all about not letting other people define the path to virtue so that you can actually be virtuous, rather than just be programmed into doing evil by other people calling evil good, right?
With a particular framework…

[2:57] Nice hat, nice hat. So with a particular framework, almost anything can be defined as virtuous, right?
Given a particular framework, almost anything can be defined as virtuous.
If you are in the sort of pragmatic or utilitarian or subjectivist or relativistic mindset, then almost anything can be defined as virtue.

[3:22] Which is why evildoers strive so hard to keep objective ethics or rational ethics out of the human conversation, which is why UPB, if accepted and implemented, will be the greatest gift that humanity has ever received.
I say that without a single trace of hyperbole, because what UPB does is it rescues the definition of morality from subjectivists and sophists, which is to say the same category of human being.

[3:50] So, UPB allows for the definition of and path towards virtue you to be objectively defined.
And because it is objectively defined, it can no longer be manipulated into making evil seem good, and thus programming people to follow evil commandments.
So, you say infanticide, right?
You say infanticide would drive you mad, right?
Well, I'm not sure which species you evolved from, but human beings have always had to have the capacity for infanticide.
I'm talking not morally, evolutionarily speaking, right? Morals are a pretty new invention.
So throughout most of human history, human beings evolved to have the capacity for infanticide.
And infanticide was usually around two particular requirements or what were perceived to be necessities. One, I guess, was more of a real necessity, which is if for some reason…

[4:59] You don't have enough food for everyone, then you will reserve your food for, particular segments of society, right?
We all sort of understand this aspect of human evolution, which is the mother, a human mother, I'm sure it's just true for just about every animal, but a human mother will say, okay, I don't have enough food for all my kids, so who do you give your food to if you don't have enough enough food for everyone who do you give your food to well obviously you give your food to the older children because you have already invested more into them than a newborn all right so those who had no capacity for cruelty or necessity towards offspring probably didn't make it quite as well and of course we can regret this and we can say it's harsh and horrible, and it certainly is, but that's evolution, right?

[6:03] The sort of conscience, our conscience is to some degree a luxury of civilization, which is why we want to maintain civilization, so we get to keep our conscience for as much and as long as possible, right?
So, let's get the right height here for this thing, so it's a bit more stable.

[6:20] So you see, of course, infanticide all the time in the animal kingdom.
Them you see stalks the mother stalk will take the runt of the litter out of the nest and toss it overboard right toss it out of the nest so it dies infanticide of course as i talked about in my speeches in australia back five years ago almost six or five years ago and plus now five and a half years ago in 2018 i talked about in some primitive societies infanticide rates can can be like 40 percent and we can say well that's terrible and of course it is but it is just a capacity of uh of evolution we all know women and children first right women and children first during any particular situation of emergency because uh females um are necessary and and you know for reproduction obviously as are men but women are slightly more important to that that equation, and women tend to be a little weaker physically and so on, right?
And children, of course. So women and children first, and the men are more expendable because it takes fewer men to repopulate a society that's gone through a crisis than that.
So, cruelty is evolutionarily baked into our DNA, our DNA, right? And…

[7:43] If you knew, let's say, I mean, you can create sort of any kind of scenario in your head.
If you knew that, let's say, Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer or some, you know, horrifying mass murderer, some serial killer and so on.
If you knew for sure that this person, this baby was going to grow up to murder, you know, 30 people or 15 people or whatever, or start a war that killed millions.
If you knew that ahead of time or you'd been convinced of that ahead of time, would you not at all be tempted to cruelty towards a child in order to prevent such great evil now of course this knowledge is impossible i'm not justifying anything but if you were convinced of this then you would do so like if let's say you're very religious and And whatever it was that was enough to convince you that you had received a message from God.

[8:45] Some message from God that said, you have to steal from this guy.
Let's sort of make it as easy as possible.
You have to steal from this guy because he's going to kill.
He's going to kill. So, you've got a neighbor and you get a message from God that you accept as a message from God saying, you have to go and steal the gun from your neighbor's house because he's going to use it tomorrow to shoot his wife.

[9:19] Well, you would probably do that, right? If you accepted it, as I mean, people do a lot of stuff when they accept certain ideas or arguments or perspectives or actions as a message from God. They do a lot of stuff.
And we've kind of evolved that way. Now, of course, the other aspect of infanticide, which we see all the time in the animal kingdom, of course, I've talked about this before with lions, and of course, none of this is moral justification.
It's just an observation of how we evolve.
But, you know, if a male lion gets killed and he's got cubs with the female lion and the female lion then wants to pair bond with the new male lion, the new male lion will kill the offspring of the previous male lion, right? The dead male lion, the Mufasa or whatever, right?
The male lion, the new male lion will kill the offspring because he doesn't want to invest his precious, scarce and dangerous resources into genetics that aren't half his, right? So we understand all of that.
So of course, a lot of times, and you can see this in the Bible with Herod and so on, a lot of times if you are concerned about rivals, then you will commit infanticide. Like throughout history, this was not uncommon at all.
If you conquer a new territory, you would kill the men, you would enslave the women, and you would probably kill at least the male offspring.

[10:43] And there's, of course, countless examples of this kind of thing occurring throughout history.

[10:52] So, I mean, to say that you would go completely mad before you would commit an evil is, it's interesting.
I mean, certainly that's not the case with most people. Like you and I may say, well, we have a very strong and strict conscience.
I don't know what animal that is. Could be turkeys.

[11:18] Somebody will tell me, if you can hear. Human beings have evolved with the capacity for great cruelty, right?
So, of course, we can think of, like, think of Siberia, right?
So, Siberia, which is where a lot of the East Asians, like the Japanese, Chinese, and so on, they evolved out of Siberia.
Now, one of the ways, at least, this is sort of a general theory.
It's a little bit windy. I don't want to get wind noise on the mic, so I'll go back.
So, one of the theories is sort of the winter people, right?
That one of the things that drives particularly sharper forms of social intelligence and planning is the problem of winter.
So those who plan for winter survive winter and those who don't plan for winter don't survive winter.
Now, if you are in a situation where you only have enough food and just about enough food for your own family over the course of the winter, and of course remember, assuming that your wife is of childbearing age, you also have to account for the possibility that your wife might get pregnant and therefore need, additional calories over the course of the winter or something like that somebody.

[12:41] Somebody might get injured and therefore have a calorie requirement that they also can't repay with any kind of labor so you have to have an access for the vagaries and dangers and oddities and fertility of nature.
So if you have enough food, plus, I don't know, 10% or 20% for accidents or pregnancies and so on, if you have enough food for the winter, and your neighbor doesn't, your neighbor is going to come banging on your door, right?
We understand this, right? Your neighbor is going to come banging on your door and…
Your neighbor is going to beg for food. He's going to be holding up his hungry children. His wife is going to be begging for food.
And what do you do? What do you do?
Look, to be honest, it's an evolutionary absolute that those without the capacity to harden their hearts did not survive.
Survival and Planning Skills in Harsh Conditions

[13:44] Pathological altruism was not healthy for long-term survival.
So the reason why people ended up with sharper planning skills and social or practical intelligence, when you have a cold winter that you can do something about, I'm not sort of talking about the Arctic, is because they hardened their hearts and they said to their neighbors, well, first they would say to their neighbors, make sure you plan for winter.
But if their neighbors didn't plan for their winter, grasshopper in the end, right? If their neighbors didn't plan for winter, then you had to, and I write about this in my novel, you should really check it out, called The Future, Roman Hans' speech.
So you've got your neighbors banging on your door and they're desperate for your food.
But if you give them food, your family survival is threatened. Right?

[14:41] So you have to slam your door in their face.
And of course, because they're desperate for food and they know you have food, they might attack you.
They might attack your house or your cave or your hut or your wherever, right? Your family.
And you have to fight back. And the people who are your neighbors and maybe even your friends and maybe even your hunting and drinking buddies, is you have to fight them off.

[15:12] In order for your family to survive.
Brutal facts of nature. So, I mean, this is why we need ethics, right?
Because we have within us great capacities for, you say cruelty, but is survival cruelty?
I don't know. It's hard to say because it's an apples and oranges comparison, right?
I think if you have more than enough food and your neighbor loses his food source in the middle of winter through no fault of his own, maybe there's some fire or something like this, an accident or whatever.
If you have enough food for him and you care about him as a neighbor or a friend and you don't give him your food, well, that's kind of cruel, right?
But if it's like either your kids starve or my kids starve, like you just got to get to this mindset because it's within all of us.
If it's your kids starve or my kids starve, like, I'm sorry, but I'm choosing my kids, right?
And you all know this, right? Everybody knows this, that if you…
Yeah, record outdoor walk. Why not? I mean.

[16:25] If there is…
If there are two kids drowning in the lake and one kid is yours and one kid isn't yours, you're saving your kid.
Of course you are, you know, and I understand that and I would expect every parent to do the same and I would find it utterly bizarre if a parent didn't do that, Pathological altruism is a hallmark of decadence and Mouse Utopia end of civilization fiat currency debt nonsense, right?
It's sort of pathological altruism so.

[17:07] The idea that you say, well, I have no capacity for cruelty within me, is to say that you were fashioned out of clay by some god of virtue that had nothing to do with human evolution.
We're all capable of cruelty.
Our Capacity for Cruelty and Hypocrisy

[17:25] We're all capable of cruelty. And to be honest, I mean, you and I and everyone who's listening to this or watching this, we could absolutely take people into our homes who were currently without shelter. We could do that.
We could, as Jesus said, right, we could sell everything we own and give our money to the poor. We could do that too.

[17:55] We could, every extraneous expense we could convert into providing hot meals for the poor, or every square foot of space that we have in our apartments, condos, houses, or mansions, we could convert to living spaces for others.
And, I mean, whether you want to confront it or not, it's a simple fact of reality that the fact that we don't do this, assuming you haven't done this, and I know that you haven't because you have a computer and internet access, and all of that could go to the poor to help them, them, whether it's the poor in your own country or anywhere in the world, people are starving to death because you have a cell phone, right?
Well, let's be frank, right? Let's be honest about the situation.
You choose a cell phone over saving someone's life, because if you took the money that you spent on a cell phone and you gave it to the poor or to some charity that, you know, legitimately and genuinely did take care of the poor and so on.
If you did all of that, people would live. So you've chosen a cell phone over people living.
As have I. I'm just not lying to myself about it.
Right? I'm sorry to be so frank, but it's 2024. We can afford to be honest with each other.

[19:21] The $7 you spend on some pumpkin spice latte Latte could be the difference between life and death for some starving person somewhere in the world.
So you choose your latte over someone's life. Right?
Confronting the Reality of Indifference and Choices

[19:41] And we're all honest about this, aren't we? We're all factual about this.
I'll give you another example.
There's somewhere in the world is someone who's desperate for your kidney, right?
And you're a match, right? Let's just say, I know it's unlikely, but you know, somewhere in the world, someone's desperate for your kidney and they're going to die if you don't give them your kidney.
Or they need, they're blind. They need an eye donor.
You have two eyes that work. you can get by with one but you keep both of your eyes so you get better vision at the expense of them being able to see it all right now i get that this is passive and what you what you mentioned was you know active cruelty or whatever it is right but there's this funny thing where where people don't want to admit this stuff right they don't want to admit this stuff yeah you choose a a cell phone, over 10 people living.
It's kind of tortuous for people in a way, right?

[20:42] It's kind of tortuous for people in a way.
But it is a fact, right? I mean, hey, I give to charity and I help out the poor and I do all these things. That's fine.
But I recognize that I could always do more and me not doing more is costing people lives, of course.

[21:11] So, the idea that, like, everything that you do over the course of your day is taking food and medicine and shelter out of the hungry, the sick, and the homeless, right?
Every year you buy a muffin, you fill up gas in your car, you have a car, right? You, whatever, right?
Every hobby you have, like, so the idea that we're not capable of indifference to suffering, and look, you kind of have to. I mean, you've got to stay sane and you've got to have a life and you've got to have some resources for yourself.
So I'm not saying that any of this is bad, but it is a fact nonetheless.
And it's the kind of fact we need to look at and confront within ourselves so that we're not prone to manipulation, right?

[22:00] So someone says to you, well, do you know that through your indifference, someone is going to die? Yep.
I mean, that's an indisputable fact of reality. That you and I are choosing particular purchases over people's lives.
I chose to go out with my family for New Year's Eve last night, and we had a lot of fun.
We danced, we ate, we went to an arcade. It was just a blast.
And I could have taken that money and I could have given it to charity which could probably would have saved some people's lives, I mean I recognize and I accept that within myself I don't feel bad about it I mean I do a lot for the world, and these are basic simple facts of reality that we need to confront, I do a lot for the world I've sacrificed a lot for the world to make the world a better place.
And I'm not going to do everything. I'm not going to live in a cardboard box, so that a hundred other people get food.
You can say that's mean, cold, cruel, or whatever. But first of all, I mean, that kind of sacrifice is not UPV compliant.

[23:25] Because everyone who gets my charity is a little less hungry than someone else.
They should give that charity to them and it just goes on and on, right? Right, so it's not UPB, not a UPB requirement and so on.
So I just got to tell you, I find it mildly annoying when you say, I am completely, I mean, basically, I'm incapable of indifference, coldness, cruelty, or so on.
It's like, then you evolved on some other planet where there was no such thing as want or evolution.
Do you think we got to the top of the evolutionary food chain by being incapable of cruelty?
The Evolutionary Basis of Tough Decisions

[24:09] Do you think that our ancestors, your and my ancestors whose DNA we have inherited, that they were incapable of making tough decisions about who got food and if some kid wasn't making it and food was really scarce, of they were just incapable of leaving that kid behind?
Do you think that's how evolution works? Do you think that we ended up with the most magnificent organ, the most complicated magnificent organ in the universe, the human brain, because we had no capacity to make tough decisions or to be capable of, I think what you would call, and I understand why you would call it that, great cruelty.
Well, if your neighbor doesn't have enough food, but you do for the winter.

[25:01] And you let him in, everyone dies. Right?
If you let your neighbor in, over the course of the winter and you give them access to your neighbor's family, you give them access to your food source, everyone dies.
Nobody makes it through such a break, right? Everybody dies.
So slamming the door on your neighbor and attacking him if he attacks you to get your food and fighting him off is the only way for the maximum number of people to survive.
If you keep your food your family lives. If you let your neighbors in, everybody dies.
And we can all think of particular situations or circumstances in this case.
I mean, I remember thinking about this, the book Alive, that was about, what is it, Chilean soccer film, a soccer team or something, and they made it into a movie.
And I read this when I was, I don't know, seven or eight years old or something like that.
Not a very appropriate book to give to a 7 or 8 year old or to give access to but what the heck I was a free range reader so in this story the plane crashed in the Andes.

[26:20] And I don't know like two dozen people survived the crash and I think like 17 or so of them ended up surviving to the point where they were able to be rescued 74 days after the crash but they had to resort to cannibalism.

[26:36] And you can say, well, I would never resort to cannibalism. Well, talk to me after you've been crashed in the Andes for two months. And there's no food.
So, when your ancestors were capable of great harshness, let's say harshness, right?
Your ancestors were capable of great harshness, and that's why you live, that's why you're alive, that's why you draw breath, that's why you have the brain and body, intellect and conscience that you have.
Your conscience rests on billions of years of harshness, cruelty, horrible decisions, right?

[27:14] Horrible decisions. it's a drought and I don't have enough water for all my kids, so I'm going to let the baby go thirsty. Cross my fingers the rain will come.
I mean, that's just the reality of where we came from.
And I appreciate your moral sensitivity and I appreciate your conscience.
I really do. I really do. And I think it's great that you have it.
Recognizing the Dark Side: Survival Practicality vs. Moral Sensitivity

[27:39] But to me, I've got to be honest, I think there's a little something pompous and self-serving about that.
And you've got to recognize that you have, we can call it a dark side, but you have a survival practical side.
You know, human beings were down to 10,000 souls after the last ice age, and we got our way back from that.
And we didn't do that by being incapable of tough calls, tough choices, tough decisions.
Now, of course, we live in a situation or a society where we have the luxury of hyper-tender consciences because we have money printing and debt and all of this sorts of nonsense.
So we are able to drug ourselves into thinking that there are no tough decisions that need to be made.
Right there's no either or right this is a great Dr.
Sowell said there are no solutions there are only trade-offs so it has been forever and a day since human beings have been asked to make sacrifices right if you supported some foreign war in the past you'd have to volunteer for it you have to go fight or at least you'd have to accept the fact that you're.
The Illusion of Virtue Signaling

[29:02] Your taxes would be doubled, right? You'd have all of that going on, right?
But now it's like, just put a flag in your bio and say slogans of this, that, and the other. It doesn't matter.
It's all virtue signaling because there are no tough choices.
So you're saying you have such a good conscience that you are incapable of doing wrong.
Well, that's to say that you would never ever be programmed into thinking that bad was good, and it's a salient foundational aspect of human nature that just about everyone can be programmed into believing that bad is good, right?
I mean, if the pandemic hasn't taught you that, I don't know what to tell you, because that's far more empirical evidence than me as a mere debater or arguer or philosopher could ever ever provide.
Triage in extreme situations and historical examples of survival

[29:56] So, you know, I mean, surgeons do this all the time, right?
The triage thing, right? You work in the ER and some horrible train crash comes in and you got to figure out who's going to live and who's going to die.
Now, again, I know you're talking about something different, but people didn't infanticide in the past for funds, right?
They infanticided because because they wanted to survive, and this was the way they believed that they could do it.
And, you know, it's hard to argue in certain situations of extremity that that would be the case. That wouldn't be the case.
So, now, some people do choose to die rather than do wrong.
Right? They do choose to die rather than do wrong.
Certainly, that is a thing, and that can be very powerful. but it was not really a thing for most of history, right?
So you might say, as a young man being drafted into a war, you might say, I will not shoot the enemy.
I will not shoot this other soldier who's done nothing to me, right? This was Muhammad Ali's argument about the Vietnam War, right?
The Vietnamese, the Viet Cong didn't do anything for me, didn't do anything to me, right?
Didn't harm me in any particular way. So…

[31:19] You may say that, and you may say, I will not go and shoot a foreign soldier who's done nothing personally to me, right? That's becoming a murderer, whatever you would say.
And, you know, there were certainly people throughout evolution who did that.
It's just that they got killed, right? They just get murdered, right?
I mean, why did people go over the trenches in the First World War, right?
Why did they go into no man's land knowing that there was barbed wire landmines, shells, there was mustard gas? ass?
Well, because if they didn't go over the wire and charge on the enemy, if they didn't go into no man's land out of the trench and charge the enemy, they'd just get shot.
They'd get shot for disobeying a direct order. And, you know, some people did, but those people generally didn't pass along their genes.

[32:07] You know, you and I are the product of everyone who survived to reproductive age.
And you can say, A, I won't do wrong.
I would rather die than do wrong. Okay, so let's say you have five kids and you'd rather die than do wrong. What happens to your kids?
Well, they're probably not going to make it.
Either they die because you're not there to provide them resources, or they die because they're shunned by society because they're the kids of a traitor or a deserter or somebody who disobeyed direct orders, whatever you would say, right?
Somebody who didn't fight when they were supposed to and they'd be shamed and right son of a coward and right so probably wouldn't probably wouldn't make it or at least there'd be a higher likelihood that they didn't make it so.

[32:56] We are alive and it's not an argument from morality it's just an argument from practical facts right that you and i are alive and have the brains that we have because our ancestors did did things that we would consider unspeakable.
Our ancestors did things that we would consider unspeakable.
I mean, I know my own family, in 1066, came over in the Battle of Hastings under William the Conqueror, which is why I'm in Ireland, or came from Ireland with a French name.
Yeah, my ancestors came over and, I don't know, were part of an army that invaded, right?
I'm sure unspeakable cruelties and horrors and tortures and monstrosities were done on both sides, but they were the initiating force, right?

[33:46] They did things that would shock the conscience and therefore i have the gift of life now this doesn't justify anything in the past i'm just simply pointing out a practical fact, um if you have a good enough conscience you don't want to do bad things like i don't sit there and fight the urge to cheat on my wife or beat my daughter like that's not it i don't i don't have that urge i don't have that desire or that goal i mean there's times where i do need moral courage for sure, and I think we're all aware of the kind of stuff that's happened over the course of the show that makes sense about that, but, does that mean I'm not free to do those things? Of course I'm free to do them.
Of course I'm free to do them. I don't want to do them.
I don't want to do them. Like I now have been exercising for well over 40 years.
Am I free to not exercise? Yep.
Will I ever stop exercising? Probably not. At least not without some external usually medical reason. So, yeah.
The concept of free will and personal choices

[34:46] Does that mean I don't have free will? No.
I have free will. Nobody's forcing me to exercise. Nobody's forcing me to remain loyal to my wife.
Nobody's forcing me to reason with my child rather than hit her.
I'm not being forced to do any of that. Perfectly free to choose it.
I don't want to do those things, though, as a result of virtue.

[35:14] So, I hope that helps. Let me get… Sorry, long answer, I know, but…

[35:21] If you're not comfortable with your capacity for cruelty, you're very easy to manipulate into cruelty. All right.
Dear staff, you have repeatedly spoken about the whirlpool of madness and dysfunction that boys of single moms face. Not all, of course.
My question is why you, Steph, did not fall into mental decay and a failed life.
How did you beat the odds, Steph?
Is it because of your great inborn natural social skills combined with your genetic high intelligence or some other reason?
My own mom was like a schizophrenic. Some members of my extended family were diagnosed with this condition, whether my mom had a legitimate mental illness or not.
I personally did not beat the odds because I was very introverted and had no social skills.
So I was bullied in high school and had an overall miserable childhood. Sorry about that.
As an adult, my life is much better, but I'm doing much worse than the average man my age.
Of course, I'm not saying every boy of a single mom is destined to be a failure.
I don't have to explain the tall woman fallacy to you, Steph.
Nevertheless, being the son of a single mom, there were significant odds you faced, Steph, yet you managed to overcome them, which begs the question, Steph, why?
Well, that is a big question. That is a big-ass question.
And, of course, since I got the question, I've been mulling it over. Mulling it over.

[36:45] Isn't that a kind of soup or something? So, you know, how did I do it?
Did I have natural inborn social skills?
I was pretty shy as a kid, so I would not say that I had natural inborn social skills.
Seeking an Alternative to Adult Life

[37:08] I will certainly say that I did not want a life like any of the adults around me, maybe one exception.
But I did not want the life of any particular adults around me.
And without that, as a model, you kind of have to be creative, right?
You have to be inventive. You have to figure out your own values, right?
If you don't want, let's say that you look at 50 houses that you might buy, right?
You look at 50 houses that you might buy, and you don't want any of the houses.
There's none of the houses that, none of the houses you look at online, none of the houses you see in person, none of the houses that you experience, you don't want. You just don't want them. Well, what do you have to do?
Well, you have to build your own house, right? You have to build your own house.
There's really no, unless you want to go completely homeless, which isn't really an option.
Maybe I just say that because it's cult, but you, if you don't want what is, is, you have to create what could be out of what is, you have to create what is not, but can be.
So I didn't want that. I didn't want my father's life.
I didn't want my mother's life. I didn't want the lives of any of the teachers I had.
I didn't want the priest's life, the priests that I knew. I just didn't want any of their lives.
The search for a mentor and rejecting traditional lifestyles

[38:33] So what do you do what do you do if you don't want the lives of any adults around you well you can't be mentored right which means you can't take somebody else's life and make it your own, right you can't do that i mean let's say i remember the the principal or the headmaster the headmaster of the boarding school that i was at.

[39:00] He was sort of a traditional aristocratic old-school high forehead a strong-jawed old-school a British guy right I didn't want that life it seemed to me very tense very self-contained contained very restrained it had no particular passion or whatever passion there was bottled up in that kind of personality always seem to come out in a straight fiery jet of laser-like cruelty towards others.
Everybody has to make sacrifices, right? And so that's a line from The Piano.
It's an old Jane Campion film with Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel's immensely Roblox buttocks.
But if everybody, we all have to make sacrifices.
That seemed kind of lame.
And so I didn't like on the British side of course the sort of famous for this cold strict reason without a passion right, and that is a duty and and I regret that I have but one life to give for my country subsuming yourself into in a book like warrior a cube of, self-distraction for the sake of.

[40:26] Honeybee survival like the survival of the hive that didn't seem to me particularly noble because, it was far too open to being exploited right as soon as you say well i'm a slave to the powers that be and i will do anything to ensure the survival of the group then you are going to be.

[40:46] Exploited so that didn't seem to me particularly great plus you know they were violent against against kids.
And I remember very clearly, we had a very cold and cruel nurse ratchet style of matron.

[40:58] And I once had to go for, I don't know, some cut or something like that.
And I remember, there was no TV that I could get access to.
But I do remember the TV playing in the nurse's office, and there was some war, some tank was breaking down a wall.
And I'm like, okay, so this is what what these people are doing is they're kind of cold and cruel to kids and they're running down, walls with tanks right so that's not you know not particularly noble not particularly great nothing that i would consider to be um something that i wanted to inhabit or become or move towards or something like that right so i couldn't find i couldn't find a mentor i mean none of the teachers that I had were people that I could really admire I just couldn't find anybody that I'm like oh yeah well this person's great they're gonna you know they're they're gonna teach me how to live they're gonna give me a template I can move towards right so I didn't want my dad's life because he was just kind of cold and aggressive and tense and occasionally hostile and emotionally completely completely inaccessible.
And I thought, God, what a wretched life that would be.

[42:18] I didn't like the life of duty to others, duty to the power structure, duty to authorities, because, it's just, it's way too easy to just rip people off when you get them to follow you for the sake of no advantage. But sacrifice, sacrifice.
Everybody who teaches you about sacrifice Sacrifice is using the word to bump into your shoulder so they can steal your wallet, right?
Sacrifice, this is an old Ayn Rand thing, right? Everybody who talks about sacrifice is hoping to cash in and probably will.
Everybody who talks about sacrifice is probably on the receiving end of their sacrifice.
So that's no good either. Because it's hypocritical. It's a lie.
Right? Because, I mean, when I was in boarding school and other sort of types of British education, it was more true in England than in Canada but everybody talked about sacrifice but what were they sacrificing for me?
The hypocrisy of sacrifice and lack of sacrifices by adults

[43:15] They weren't sacrificing anything for me.

[43:20] I was expected to do all the sacrificing, and nobody else. I mean, all the kids were supposed to be doing the sacrificing.
What did the adults sacrifice?
I mean, they just yelled at and hit kids, and I didn't sacrifice anything.
So it just struck me as really nonsensical. Nonsensical.
That was sort of my big standard as a kid. Does it make sense in my gut?
I wasn't really a big reasoning guy back then, but I did have a sort of, well, I just, does it make sense in my gut?
And this concept of sacrifice just didn't make any sense in my gut.

[43:59] Because I didn't see it around, right? I didn't see it around.
So, for instance, if you say, well, you have to sacrifice for the good of others, right, which was a big thing.
I was sort of thinking about, like, well, why didn't I believe any of this stuff?
Sort of thinking about it back now.
And so people would say, well, you have to sacrifice for the good of others, you know. Steph, sacrifice is important, right? Take one for the team.

[44:24] Well, my mother was, as you know, very violent and harmful and destructive and crazy.
And nobody sacrificed their comfort to confront her.
Like not one person, not one teacher, even the teachers who knew that I was suffering a lot at home. and nobody sacrificed anything.
None of the teachers and none of the boarding school teachers.
Like, I remember having one extremely lonely Christmas where I was at boarding school with, I don't know, one Indian kid and a couple of other kids whose families didn't want them over Christmas.
I assume my mom was off trying to bag some guy.
And I was, I don't know, six or seven years old.
I was with one hyper-depressed teacher who was stuck back with the kids where they had no place to go and we just ate our sad little sandwiches in the corner of the cafeteria played a couple of listless games and tried to get to bed really early because it was pretty sad right now i mean i shouldn't laugh but i also remember when i was 14 in 1980 my mom was also off um trying to get some guy to commit to her, I assume, and I ended up at a friend of mine's place, the friend who later died in a horrific motorcycle crash in his late teens or early twenties.

[45:49] And he and his mother, it was just two people in the family, they didn't celebrate New Year's.
So I remember having a little portable radio and trying to stay awake in a dark little room in 1980.

[46:06] Trying to stay awake so that I could at least ring in the new decade. I made it.
I made it, but it was pretty sad. It was pretty sad. So I just didn't want any life. I didn't want any life like that.

[46:20] Like, you know, my aunts and uncles and my father, all of the, I didn't really know the German side that well, but I spent quite some time with the Irish side of my family, and, you know, they took me to church, and, of course, I was in church and in the choir in boarding school, and my aunts and uncles claimed to be Christians and to be virtuous and to be moral and they really knew what evil was, right?
Because they would tell you all the time, this is bad, this is wrong, this is immoral, this is evil, it's a bad child and you get punished and you didn't follow the rules.
And also, they were like, we know everything there is to know about evil Because we are so confident in our ability to identify evil that we will cane children. We will beat children.
We will yell at children. We will withhold food from children.
We are that confident in our ability to know what evil is that we will hit children.
Boy, that's confidence, man. That's real confidence, boy.

[47:38] So, of course, the most evil person that I knew as a child was my mother.
And all of these Christians, you know, I remember the priest in my boarding school saying, and God threw Satan into a deep pond and put up a big sign saying, no fishing.
And he told us all about evil and immorality and disobedience to God and Jesus and sin and hell and punishment.
And, I mean, they were really big on, boy, if there's one thing that this religion is supposed to do, if there's one thing that this religion does, is it tells you how to identify evil and punish it, or at least not give it your full enthusiastic support.
Boy, evil, that's a thing we're just fantastic at. Identify evil and punish it.
Confront it. that just as you must, young Molyneux, confront the evil in yourself.

[48:33] Right, right. So then, I saw this happening over and over and over again, dozens and dozens and dozens of times over the course of my life. It was wild. It was wild.
I saw this happening over and over again. All these people, and this was not just true of just of the Christians, but, boy, you know, those teachers in school, even the secular schools, right, the non-specifically religious schools, like the government schools, schools.
Boy, they also were so good at identifying evil.
Boy, you know, if you disobeyed, if you talked in class, you didn't do your homework, boy, you were just wrong and immoral, and man, you had to be punished.

[49:09] You know, when I climbed over a fence to get a ball, boy, I got caned, and you know, like, boy, they just, you are doing the, you're a bad boy, and you're going to be punished, right?
Oh, wow, so you guys are fantastic at identifying identifying evil and punishing it and confronting it.
So then, of course what happened was dozens and dozens and dozens of times over the course of my early to mid childhood, People would smile and chat with my mom.
I mean, my God. My God, it was incredible.
Society's Lack of Credibility due to Hypocrisy

[49:45] I mean, literally, it was like, for me, society had as much credibility as you go to some doctor who claims to be an expert in the early detection of cancer, and he's got a giant tumor coming out of his neck.
Right? It's like, well, wait a minute.
If you're really good at detecting cancer, shouldn't you notice that you got a giant tumor coming out of your neck?
No tumor, right? That would be crazy, right? The fat guy with the diet book, the chain smoker telling you how to quit smoking.
Or, you know, you go to some dermatologist who says he has a surefire cure for acne and he's got massive acne pizza face, right?
You'd have no credibility, right?
So this was it for me. And I think this, it's not just a me thing.
I think this is instinctual for most kids that if you're raised by an evil, violent parent, and nobody in your community confronts that parent, then you know that all their talk of being able to accurately identify and confront evil is absolute bullshit.
It's a total con job. And this is one of the reasons why I was so driven to work in philosophy and come up with a rational system of ethics, because I'm just tired, I'm sick and tired of the con job of of society saying, we know everything there is to know about identifying and confronting evil, and then glad-handing all the child abusers in the vicinity.

[51:13] They say, oh, well, but they didn't know she was a child abuser.
It's like, no, they knew she was crazy. They knew.
Certainly my father's side of the family knew, because they went through the divorce and all that. They knew she was crazy. They knew she was violent.
So they knew. They just never asked me.
Well, why didn't they ask me? Because they didn't want to know how badly I was doing.
They didn't want to know how much violence I was experiencing.
Because they didn't want to have the difficulty or challenge of confronting evil. So.
The Lie of Morality and Hypocrisy

[51:44] All of that was just a lie. It was a self-serving lie.
Morality when I was growing up, and this is true just about everywhere in the world, of course, morality when I was growing up was just a made-up excuse to pat yourself on the back and hit kids.
It's just a major bunch of fairy tales that allow you to pretend you're the good guy while being the bad guy.
It's like, oh, so you'll hit children, but you won't confront my mother.
Well, aren't you the fucking moral cowards of the universe?
What heroes. grows so you'll hit a six-year-old kid but you won't confront a woman who weighs all of a hundred pounds because she might be mean hitting children yes confronting child abusers no okay well then it's all just a lie it's all just an absolute complete and total and ridiculous lie so no i I didn't want to be like anyone because I just couldn't stomach it.
Like it was repulsive and revolting me to me.
I just didn't want to be like anyone when I was growing up.

[52:54] Now that's tough, man. It's tough. It's like saying, well, I don't want to speak anyone's language. I'm going to invent a new language and try and teach everyone else in the future.
In the future when there's an internet, right? right?
But, and I'm not even going to, I'm not even going to remotely claim that it was any kind of particular virtue. I just had so much integrity.
I just couldn't stomach, I couldn't stand the idea of turning into any adult around me.

[53:22] And, I mean, there was one exception of the guy that I knew who had, he was a dad and he had a, he had a good family, he was a good dad, but even he would never talk about or confront anything to to do with the abuse that I was experiencing, even though this family knew me from the age of 11 or 12 onwards.
So, you know, there were some positive aspects to him as a dad and a patriarch or whatever you want to call it, but it was never anywhere close enough to actually do the right thing, right?
To actually live the values. I mean, if you're going to punish children but not confront adults, you're just a fucking bully. You're just a coward and a bully.
Well, we'll hit children, but we're not going to confront frail German women who are abusing their children.
Honestly, it's repulsive.

[54:13] And the sick moral charade of virtue that was paraded around me as a kid was just like a pantomime of horrors for me.
It was like living in a zombie movie where the zombies have tuxedos and know how to do the Macarena, right?
Like they have all the trappings of a vaguely civilized society but they're like it was hell it was hell I'm in hell hell is empty and all the devils are here right, So, I didn't obviously want to be like my mother, I didn't want to be like my father, I didn't want to be like the priests or the teachers or my friend's parents or anything like that. I also didn't want to be like my friends.
In particular, after we sort of got into our early to mid-teens, which is where some of the real moral choices, I mean, before that, it's all just like, let's go play hide and go seek, let's go play war, let's go play soccer, and it's just a bunch of fun stuff.
But when you get into early to mid-teens, you start to define yourself, not just in terms of like companionship and fun buddy kid stuff, but also in terms of, you know, your morals and your worldview and all of that.
And I didn't want to be like my friends.
Avoiding Cynicism and Embracing the Possibility of Nobility

[55:20] I didn't want to be cynical and helpless and helpless and have this false superiority of thinking that everybody else is an idiot.
Now, of course, I've just said, I get this, I get that brain, the demon, the daemon tickling in my head, right, the conscience which says, well, Steph, what do you mean you didn't want to be like your friends who were cynical and who had this false superiority by thinking everyone else was inferior when, in fact, you are saying that everyone else was hypocritical and cowardly and a bully and would only beat children, not confront child abusers?
Well but that was empirically true that was empirically true i'm thinking that everyone who has optimism hope virtues or values is a programmed and idiotic fool that is not.

[56:08] That is not something that you want in your head right that is not a positive thing to be happening in your society in your world in your thoughts in your virtues in your values so it's a little little different when I sort of have empirical evidence of people saying, no, no, no, though we're going to just hit children, we're not ever going to confront child abusers.
That's a little different from, well, quite diametrically opposite in many ways from people who say everyone who has a coherent, cohesive worldview or strives towards virtue, reason, integrity, or empiricism is a naive fool who doesn't accept the chaotic nature of the universe.
That's a whole different kind of kettle of fish. So while I am very sensitive to the charges of hypocrisy and, you know, I'm constantly on the lookout for it myself, I think I can dodge that particular accusation.
Of course, maybe I'm mistaken about that and you can see something that I don't or something like that, in which case, you know, let me know below and I'll refine my arguments.
But yeah, I didn't want to be like that. I didn't want to be…

[57:09] Like just an empty-headed, testosterone-laced woman chaser. I didn't want to be, you know, drinking guy.
I didn't want to be weed guy. I didn't want to be any of that stuff.
I didn't want to give up on the possibility of nobility, right?
And the people were so ignoble in my childhood.
I think it's even worse now, but the people were so ignoble in my childhood that, I mean, the only thing they defined as nobility was obsequience and slavish servitude to endless moral hypocrites, right?
I mean, that's, I really, really wanted to retain the possibility of nobility because nobility is kind of what makes life worthwhile.
I know, I should probably define my terms.
Nobility is the reaching for the definition and propagation of reaching for a universal positive moral goal that can be achieved by every reasonable person.

[58:21] And it was just not there when I was growing up.
Everybody talked about morals and ethics and virtue and good and evil and punishment and yet only hit children, They never, ever confronted child abuses And it wasn't just my mother Like, they never confronted anyone Right? And…
I mean, I've done it. It's not so bad. What's everyone so scared of?
Well, I assume it's because they themselves are child abusers because they only punish children.
They never confronted child abusers, which made them child abusers themselves.
And once you can convince people to do evil, evil people are safe.
That's why evil people so often want to get you to do evil so that they themselves will be safe.
Because once the evil is in you, you can't confront it in them because that would mean admitting to your culpability and complicity with that evil yourself.
And people don't want to do that.
You don't want to do that. I get that. I understand.
Still cowardly, but I get it. So, I just didn't want anyone's life.
Oh, gross. Yuck. Now, there's a certain amount of nihilism in all of that, which is okay. Well, I don't want anyone's life.
But I don't know what life to have. Well, then along came philosophy.
The Meaning of Critical Thinking: Questioning Everything

[59:43] Which gave me the chance to think critically, right? Somebody was asking what was on an ax the other day. What does it even mean to think critically?
Well, to think critically means that you accept the very real possibility, in fact, the outright probability, that just about everything you've ever been told is the complete and total opposite of the truth.
Isn't that what critical thinking is?
Is start, I basically, I start with the assumption that I have for decades and decades and decades.
I start with the assumption that everything I was ever told when I was younger was the complete and total opposite of the truth.
That was, that's my standing and working assumption.
Everything I was told about truth, reason, virtue, society, punishment, good, evil, sacrifice, everything that I was ever told was the complete opposite of the truth.
Navigating the Opposite Compass: Questioning Authority and Assumptions

[1:00:45] With that assumption, well, I've done pretty well.
I've done pretty well. I've done pretty well. So, yeah, everything that everyone in authority tells me, I just assume is the complete opposite of the truth.
If you invert it, you are probably going, it's like having a kind of compass that does the opposite.
Like it's the opposite compass. North is south, east is west, and so on, right?
So, you can totally navigate by the opposite compass as long as you know it's the opposite compass, right?
So, oh yeah, I just heard something there.

[1:01:25] Yeah, we'll probably make it home. So with philosophy, I got the basic idea, to believe nothing and build everything from scratch.

[1:01:42] Believe nothing, build everything from scratch, from things which are incontrovertible, you know, evidence of the senses, reality of the mind, you know, I think therefore I am. Like, you have to scrub everything.
Everything you've been told is the opposite of the truth, except what I'm telling you. Well, I'm not telling you, I'm proving, breaking the case, right?
So everything you've been told is the opposite of the truth because everything you've been told has been dominated by people who want to exploit you.
And people who want to exploit you will tell you the opposite of the truth at all times because if they were honest they wouldn't be able to exploit you any more than a con man who says hey i want to rip you off and steal your life savings well he's not going to be able to do that so everybody who wants to exploit you has to teach you the opposite of the truth as truth and then you are enslaved to them right now Now, when I first got into philosophy, and I came in through The Fountainhead, and then Atlas Shrugged, and then Aristotle, and then I was reading the Socratic Dialogues, and I read a lot of Nietzsche.
And so once I got into that, I'm like, okay, so if everything that I've been told is a lie, which totally fit in with my basic belief that everyone who had authority over me was a complete moral hypocrite who was trying to…
I mean, it's one thing to be a moral hypocrite, that's fine, insofar as it doesn't directly harm an entire generation.

[1:03:10] But to be a moral hypocrite and then claim to morally instruct children, that's really, that's really, it's one thing to cough up smallpox on a camping trip alone.
It's another thing to go to a children's hospital and cough up smallpox into the ventilation shaft. That's a totally different matter, right?
One harms you, the other harms everyone. one. So.

[1:03:32] That was a big issue. So, given that I had no respect for anybody in authority, I feared them, of course, because they had the power to inflict great harm, but I had no respect for anyone in authority, because they wouldn't confront my mother.
So, that very basic empirical fact, that nobody who claimed to be able to detect evil and confront it and punish evil even noticed that my mother was an evil person who beat children, and it wasn't just the beatings, there was a bunch of other stuff too, but so nobody um nobody had any moral credibility with me of course if society had been like wow we're really good at detecting evil uh your mom seems pretty bad we got to confront her and talk to her and try and find a way to solve and fix this situation or at least we're going to ask you if you're suffering anything at home um so yeah nobody in authority had any authority.

[1:04:23] With me or credibility with me so i didn't want their lives i didn't want to be cynical right because none of my friends believed anything about anything that anyone said in authority like none of my friends believed anything that anyone in authority ever said but they went to nihilism and i wanted to preserve the capacity for nobility right so because otherwise why bother and i didn't want to become like the people i despise that's one of the fundamental things one of the reasons why you despise people is so you don't become them right like one of the reasons that rotten food tastes bad is you don't eat it right so if you just buy something you don't want to become it.

[1:05:02] So i started into philosophy and i read so much in philosophy and had so many confusing perspectives that i'm like it i gotta i gotta you ever have this thing where you just gotta wipe the board clean and start again i used to have this with code i used to have this with coding right that your it's called spaghetti code it just runs all over the place and it works but but it's tough to maintain and tough to upgrade and it's tough to train new people on the code.
So, you know, every now and then, I just start again.
This code's getting too complicated. Now I know what I'm supposed to be doing.
I would just scrap it and start again.
Or I would get something to work in a very inefficient manner and then I would just spend a long time trying to make it efficient by loading data sets into memory and things like that.
Philosophy and Empiricism: Scrapping the Board and Starting Again

[1:05:55] So, I didn't respect anyone in authority, and philosophy had a methodology, like I accept reason and evidence, but no clear answers.
And I felt kind of pissed at that, because I thought, well, geez, what if all the philosophers are bullshit artists too? It's a very distinct possibility.
But I couldn't let go of the reason and evidence.
And maybe that had to do with working physical jobs where you couldn't just ditch empiricism or you'd die.
Maybe that had something to do with being really into sports because sports are very empirical.
You can't fake it. Oh, look how pretty.
I don't know if you can see that sunset, but it's a very nice, beautiful world. I hope you enjoy it.
So I just couldn't let go of the reason and evidence. and of course also one of the things that I really despised.

[1:06:50] Was superstition and mysticism because my mother was very superstitious and very mystical so I thought well that way madness lies, and I accept that the Christianity that I was inculcated in or was indoctrinated in to some degree because it wasn't much of a Q&A period with that stuff but I accepted that it was not mystical and it was not superstition, but Christianity had not solved the problem of actually identifying evil in your environment, right?
I mean, they could identify evil in children and beat evil in children and disobedient children and bad children, they could do all of that stuff but that's just an exercise in power, because if you're only going to find and punish evil in the helpless independent children around you then you're not much of a hunter, are you?
Right? I'm not much of a boxer if I only beat up toddlers.
So, the fact that it doesn't take a lot of moral courage to beat children you have legal and practical authority and control over, right?
So, it was not very noble that the only evildoers that the adults around me could find to punish were helpless, independent children who had no capacity for self-protection or independence.
So, nothing particularly noble about that, to put it mildly. So…

[1:08:12] So, from my mother, I recoiled from mysticism and superstition.
From religion, well, it had failed to solve the problem of identifying and confronting evil.
It only identified and confronted evil in children, which is really terrible.
Really terrible. It was just a bully. That's all it is, just bullying. It was just bullying.
And I think it remains so to this day, if not even more so at this point.
So, and then I got into philosophy, and I was like, okay, validates the evidence of the census, I'm down with that.
Reason is the only way to organize your thoughts and have any kind of consistency.
So I substituted human authority for the authority of a methodology, which is really the birth of the scientific method.
UPB is the birth of the scientific method for ethics. ethics, but when you, what do they say, science, all science is founded on skepticism of authority, skepticism of experts.
So I'm like, okay, well, all the people who claim to be moral experts in my society can't identify outright evil right in front of them, and in fact, are committing great evils themselves.
Certainty vs. Uncertainty: The Battle for Truth

[1:09:26] So that's not it. Philosophers are telling me lots of complicated and convoluted things and you know they have these really cool insights like Nietzsche is really cool with his insights and so on so they have all these great insights and really interesting observations and so on but it's not a um not it's not an incontrovertible answer I mean I very much remember when puzzling over the problem of free will reading the psychology of self-esteem when Nathaniel Brandon goes into free will and I was reading it like I was looking up an answer and I I was reading the answer and I'm like, ah, I just, I can't stand uncertainty. I can't stand uncertainty.

[1:10:10] Because if you are uncertain, the bad guys win, right?
The bad guys win. Because the bad guys are certain, absolutely certain.
I mean, everybody around me who abused children, hit children, yelled at children, punished children, they were absolutely certain they were correct. But they weren't right. Right.
So, I'm absolutely, I know for certain that certainty beats uncertainty every time.
And all philosophy was doing was creating some levels of doubt within my mind.
The metaphysics of objectivism, the epistemology of objectivism, nature of reality, nature of knowledge, I'm down with that.
But, but, but, the idea that, like the end of Atlas Shrugged, is, well, we're just going to rewrite the Constitution so that it works this time.
It's like, Even when I read that, I was like, really? That's it?

[1:11:03] That's all you've got is editing? That's all you've got is, we're going to, you know, fix some language? That's it?
And then magically the government is virtuous forevermore?
So that wasn't much of an answer either. But I didn't come up, it was actually myself.
I came up with, obviously anarcho-capitalism was around long before, But I discovered it independently on my own, which is, you know, more the result of not reading enough rather than any particular brilliance on my part.
But that was sort of the beginning of all of this journey with my writing and publishing on, the State of Society, and examination of alternatives.
Now, so I was like…

[1:11:48] I can't let certainty be the singular abode of hypocritical, moral, corrupt, and immoral people.
Like evil people. You can't just let evil be the only certainty in this world, because then the world will simply gravitate more and more towards evil.

[1:12:09] So I need to find a way to have certainty about virtue, you and to be able to identify immorality in a way that is personal and actionable because it's very easy to identify immorality in the abstract you know and and talk about it in the abstract because then you don't harm the interest of any particular individual evildoer right so i really really wanted to make sure that um i could correct all that which was so horrible and horrifying when I was a boy, which was, if I can't identify, if I have a philosophy or an approach to philosophy that can't identify the evils of child abuse, which is by far the most prevalent evil in the world, right?
By far the most prevalent evil, and the fact that philosophers have done almost no work on child abuse is just appalling.
And it's just a contemptible appalling cowardly horrible horrifying repulsive repugnant ridiculous and evil in its own way so given that everybody ignored child abuse when i was a kid.
Frustration with philosophers' lack of focus on child abuse

[1:13:20] I of course deep down in my gut was like well okay if i'm going to work in philosophy, um then i'm really going to need to figure out this whole child abuse thing because that's kind of the root of a lot of immorality and it's by far the most prevalent evil in the world, So, of course, you know, you read all of these philosophers and they talk about all these windy, abstract, Nicomachean ethics and the symposium and, you know, master and slave morality.
It's like, you're all going to ever talk about child abuse?
You're all ever going to talk about the harm that's done to children's brains through abuse? Ever? Is this ever a possibility? Is this ever going to happen?
Is this ever going to be a thing?
Nope. Okay, well, fine, I'll do it. Jesus, I'll do it.
I'll fulfill the biblical commandment that whatever you do to the least among you, so do you also do to Jesus.
Oh, geez, sounds like a machine gun. It's just a woodpecker.
So, yeah, I was like, okay, fine, I'll do it. You know, I'll do that thing, which apparently nobody ever wants to do because everybody wants to talk about, the virtues of two souls separated at birth merging in some abstract platonic universe.
It's like, can we stop people from beating their children?
Is that a thing, or are we just going to talk about the nobility of the citizen in the abstract city-state realm?
Oh, God, it's so repulsive.
So, yeah, I think there was just that impatience and…

[1:14:46] Just a, I mean, I guess it's a kind of will, but it's just really honoring the experience of myself as a child.
And just because a problem has remained unsolved doesn't mean that the problem is unsolvable, right?
And I wanted to retain nobility. I didn't want anyone's life that I was growing up being raised by.
I respected reason and evidence and wanted to have the most practical approach to philosophy that solved the greatest agonies of my childhood, which is everyone claiming to be moral.
Well, no one could actually identify child abusers.
So I don't know if that's particularly reproducible, but I did want to sort of give you the reality behind my approach to things.
And I did have to learn how to talk to people more. I did have to learn to relax.
So theater school, I think, helped a lot with that.
But I did have to learn how to be a little bit more convivial.
And of course, I've become a little bit more aspirational, I think, over the years, a little bit less condemnatory, for better or for worse.
And you just kind of mellow out a little.
So, I mean, none of that touches the fundamental arguments behind what I'm saying, but there's been a little bit more of a change in my approach over time.

[1:16:02] And so I hope that helps. helps. I mean, that's my particular journey.
But if you stay with philosophy, assuming that everything you've been told by people in authority when you're a child is the opposite of the truth, and build from scratch according to reason and evidence, boy, you literally can't go wrong.
And it is, in fact, the only way you can possibly go right. All right.
Once again, Happy New Year. to help out the show. to join a great community I hope you will sign up you get two months free if you sign up for a year i only have to pay for 10.
So i hope i hope that you will check that out it's like five bucks a month and uh it really helps me more than i can possibly say so thanks everyone lots of love I'll talk to you soon.

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