Peaceful Parenting Interview - Transcript


0:00 - Introduction to Stefan Molyneux
1:06 - The Power Disparities in Parenting
4:58 - The Justification for Peaceful Parenting
8:09 - Examining Parenting from a Philosophical Perspective
11:30 - Transitioning from Spanking to Verbal Abuse
12:56 - Impact of Parent's Immaturity on Children
18:20 - Teaching Children Empathy and Negotiation
20:21 - Children's Quick Understanding of Moral Lessons
21:50 - The Foundational Principle of Unconditional Love
29:35 - Foundation of Morals: Impact of National Debt
33:25 - Peaceful Parenting Benefits: Society and Government
36:58 - Impact of Spirituality: Child and Adult Development
44:25 - Past Societal Morals: Hope for the Future
48:15 - Universal Morality: Applicability in Society

Long Summary

Ryan warmly welcomes Stefan Molyneux to the show, commending his decade of impactful work. The conversation begins by delving into Stefan's forthcoming book on peaceful parenting, focusing on the power dynamics between parents and children, a core aspect of moral philosophy often overlooked historically. Stefan sheds light on the dearth of philosophical discourse around parenting, underlining the crucial role of moral guidance in child-rearing. He elaborates on the three key pillars of peaceful parenting: theory, practice, and the incorporation of biological, psychological, and scientific truths.

Transitioning to societal shifts in parenting methodologies, the dialogue touches on the evolution from physical to verbal abuse, with a spotlight on the detrimental impact of the latter. They dissect broader societal issues affecting children, such as fear-based educational messaging and the lack of positive male role models. Stefan challenges the conventional belief that physical discipline instills respect and resilience in children, asserting that verbal abuse and external societal pressures wield more influence over behavioral outcomes.

Prompted by Ryan regarding the transmission of unresolved parental issues to children, Stefan navigates through the concept of the Jungian shadow self and underscores the significance of self-reflection within parent-child relationships. He emphasizes the imperative for parents to confront their imperfections and take ownership of their actions prior to attributing blame to their offspring. Stefan underscores the importance of cultivating empathy and moral reasoning in children from a young age to nurture positive behavior and emotional intelligence.

The discussion culminates in a profound exploration of peaceful parenting, dissecting societal impacts, philosophical foundations, and practical child-rearing techniques. Stefan's insights challenge traditional parenting norms, offering a holistic perspective on fostering respectful, resilient, and self-aware individuals through compassionate and mindful parental approaches. Stefan reflects on the pivotal role of imparting empathy and negotiation skills to children, illustrating with personal anecdotes related to his daughter's development. He stresses the value of respecting others' perspectives, modeling behaviors, and instilling foundational ethics like honesty and respect in children.

Addressing the principle of unconditional love in parenting, Stefan acknowledges its potency within the family unit while underscoring the necessity of equipping children with practical life skills for navigating a world where unconditional love may not prevail. He accentuates the significance of nurturing children's empathy and negotiation abilities to excel in relationships beyond the confines of familial bonds. The conversation then explores the complexities of upholding moral principles in parenting amidst societal challenges and conflicting values.

Stefan and Ryan engage in a dialogue around the interplay between teaching children ethical values and contending with societal influences that may contradict these values. They draw on personal anecdotes and societal dynamics to underscore the intricate balance parents must strike in imparting ethical principles to their children amidst external pressures. The conversation delves into philosophical musings on parenting, societal norms, and the delicate equilibrium between personal values and external forces shaping parental decisions.

As the conversation progresses, Stefan delves into the detrimental impact of political power and coercion on society, critiquing the prevalent notion that violence and coercion are prerequisites for child-rearing and education. He advocates ardently for peaceful parenting as a remedy to societal dysfunctions, positing that raising children peacefully could substantially diminish issues like criminality, promiscuity, and substance abuse, thereby fostering societal prosperity. Stefan also reflects on the role of spirituality and organized religion in human development, emphasizing the necessity for ethics to be rooted in rational, secular principles rather than purely religious tenets. Delving into the societal implications of science and capitalism, he contends that skepticism towards religion has contributed to a diminishing belief in moral frameworks. Stefan stresses the imperative of grounding ethics independently of religious affiliations to uphold universal moral standards.

The discourse shifts towards examining historical paradigms of peaceful societies and the rarity of genuinely voluntary and harmonious communities amidst prevalent violence, coercion, and slavery in past eras. Stefan underscores the universal essence of morals and advocates for individual moral codes aligning with broader societal ethics. He argues that adopting peaceful parenting practices has the potential to recalibrate societal expectations, fostering a culture characterized by peace and voluntary interactions rather than coercion and violence.

Expressing skepticism towards linguistic and regulatory measures to curb political corruption, Stefan advocates for a pivot towards peaceful parenting practices as a transformative strategy to diminish society's reliance on political authority. He posits that infusing peace and rationality within families could culminate in a more harmonious and logical society, free from fear-based governance tactics employed by political leaders. Stefan concludes by underscoring the necessity of embracing peaceful parenting as an alternative approach to collectively address contemporary societal challenges.


[0:00] Introduction to Stefan Molyneux

[0:00] It is an honor to welcome to our show today an individual whose work I've actually been following for over 10 years. I found his insights and critical thinking thought process pretty engaging. I have to say, watching how he thinks, observing how he comes to conclusions have been pretty powerful. Please welcome to our show, Stefan Molyneux. Website is free to Stefan, welcome to our show.

[0:26] Thank you. Great to be here. I appreciate the invitation. Thank you.

[0:30] And when I first met you two weeks ago, you were talking about how you have a new book coming out about parenting. We talked about some things that people do today that are very different. Can you please share with our audience your perspective on parenting and why peaceful parenting is something that really does have a profound, powerful, positive impact on kids compared to the traditional method of parenting where, I guess, you have to dodge shoes and books and everything. else that could be coming your way.

[1:00] Well, I suppose everyone can get comfortable because this is my favorite topic in the world, so I will try to keep it brief. I'll fail.

[1:06] The Power Disparities in Parenting

[1:06] I will absolutely fail, but I will do my best to try and keep it brief. So the basic argument is that philosophy is focused on moral philosophy, and moral philosophy is focused in particular on disparities of power. So we understand that a corrupt cop is worse than a corrupt security A corrupt security guard is worse than a corrupt crossing guard, and a corrupt judge or political official is worse of all because when they become corrupt, they have so much power to inflict negative consequences on people. So, since philosophy is interested in both morality and power disparities, well, what is the relationship that has the biggest power disparity in the world? And everyone thinks, I don't know, like a king to a peasant or an ayatollah to a street sweeper or something like that. That's not the case. the biggest power disparities in the world occur in the home, in the household, and it is between parents and children. Children do not choose to be born into a family, they do not choose their parents, and almost always.

[2:15] They cannot choose to leave. Now, when you think of philosophy for, let's say, the pre-Socratic, so 3,000 years, we've had at least written down 3,000 years of philosophy. It's probably gone on a lot longer than that. And philosophy focusing on morals and ethics, in particular, with disparities of power, philosophers, moral philosophers, have never specifically addressed the family in any kind of detail. Aristotle touched on it briefly. Ayn Rand touched on it briefly.

[2:46] John Locke was against corporal punishment, and you could say that Rousseau talked quite a bit about it, but then he put his children into a state orphanage that almost certainly killed them, so he was not particularly credible. So why has there not been a deep philosophical moral analysis of parenting? It's really quite frustrating, because it's where most of us perform our greatest moral instruction. I mean, I will nag friends occasionally about had virtue. But as a parent, what I do is I talk to my daughter about virtue and morality and so on. And this is the case for all parents. All parents say, this is good, this is bad, this is right, this is wrong. Now, they do so without the feedback of the experts. They do this without feedback from philosophers. And that's really, really frustrating. So when you think of the multi-thousand year history of philosophy and the fact that parents desperately need moral guidance because they are morally guiding their children. And since philosophy is really interested in morality, objectivity, and power disparities, the fact that philosophers have not deeply examined childhood is virtually incomprehensible. And it's something I've been talking about for close to 20 years in my philosophy show. And I have graduate training in the field of philosophy and my graduate master's thesis on the history of philosophy. So I know a little bit about what I'm talking about. And I'm particularly good at reasoning from first principles, just a complete whiteboard.

[4:13] And so we have these crazy standards in society where we say, my gosh, it is just absolutely terrible for one adult to hit another. Boy, you couldn't come up with much worse than, you know, assaulting someone else. And yet, in most places in the world, hitting children is considered acceptable. Nobody has ever explained why you hit a child who hits another child saying don't hit children. It makes no sense whatsoever. Children have no property rights. Their property gets confiscated and taken away. way, children are confined to their rooms, even in the timeout situation, they're confined to sitting on a stair, and nobody has ever been able to explain how this is morally justifiable. Because where you have a bigger power disparity, you normally have the highest moral standards. In this case, it hasn't really happened. And society is desperate for good parenting.

[4:58] The Justification for Peaceful Parenting

[4:58] And we know that because when you look at every popular television series that involves parents and children the parents are peaceful parents they reason they don't hit uh they don't confine they don't scream insults they don't intimidate they don't abuse they're just nice reasonable people but was it family ties they even had a talking stick somebody had to hold the stick in order to be heard and yeah so everyone knows what peaceful parenting is they're yearning for it but there has not been a rigorous philosophical justification from the ground up for it so i spent uh since last summer, researching and writing peaceful parenting.

[5:33] And it's divided into three parts. There's the theory, which is what rights do children objectively have and what morality should infuse and inform the parent-child relationship. That's number one. Number two is it's fine to have the theory, but what about the practice? How do you deal with this parenting scenario and this parenting scenario? And I have coached, I don't even know how many parents over the last 20 years who call in with parenting questions. So I've just about heard it all. And I've got good solutions for all of that. And then there's the proof, right? So there's the theory, which is the rational proof. There's the practice, which is how to implement it. And then there's the biological, psychological, and scientific truth, proof for why peaceful parenting is important. What happens if you're not a peaceful parent? What happens to your child's brain?

[6:18] What happens to their medulla? What happens to their neofrontal cortex? What happens to their risks of drug abuse and criminality and promiscuity and smoking and eating badly? What happens to the risks of obesity and so on? And all of these risks go sky high. Severe child abuse can reduce up to 20 years from someone's lifespan. It's in many ways even worse than smoking or some forms of drug addiction. So, I wanted to make an absolutely airtight case. So the theory is solid. Here's how to do it. And if you have any doubts as to why the proof of the negative effects of harming children is, I mean, irrefutable. So I needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. I needed to have a criminal standard of proof in a sense because I am accusing immorality.

[7:05] Although, you know, it's hard to say people are immoral before they know. But I'm accusing people of some immorality that's significant. significant and if they continue to hurt and abuse their children even with this knowledge then they go from people who are ignorant to people who are actively evil so it's a criminal case i'm making it has to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt not a civil case which is just a preponderance of evidence so the work is out for donors at and i'm allowing people to share it as much as they want we've got the book we've got i've finished the audio book and there's also an ai interface so you can ask questions of the peaceful parenting philosophy that's not just the book but many other things that i've written and talked about with regards to peaceful parenting so it's a multi-language resource 70 plus languages that people can ask and answer questions in so i've you know i'm very close to revealing this to the whole world so far it's just for donors although they shared it with a lot of people who found it very helpful and i just want it to be a seminal work that that changes the course of human history nothing too ambitious you understand nothing too crazy but that's awesome yeah that really is the goal so So that's the general overview of what I've been up to.

[8:09] Examining Parenting from a Philosophical Perspective

[8:09] Well, I love that you are putting this out and that you're taking a look at parenting from a philosophical perspective, because it hasn't been done before, long overdue. I talked to some parents today. I said, well, you know, years ago, you know, when kids were getting hit, I guess the kids were more, they say that, well, kids were more respectful years ago. And today they're not respectful. And today they get trophies for everything. And I think they're trying to tie in the fact that kids were hit or kids were given tough love that somehow has made them more well-adjusted for adults. From your perspective, when you look at your peaceful parenting, how can children grasp the lessons of being respectful, grasp the lessons of being resilient, and also have a sense of self-worth for overcoming tribulations? By the way of a peaceful parent compared to a parent who just thinks, well, you know, if I yell at them, they're going to adapt and they're just going to adapt and become stronger that particular way.

[9:13] That's a great question. And I do hear this objection and people do, of course, say, oh, kids are so coddled these days and they don't have any toughness and so on. But as a society in general, we've switched from physical abuse to verbal abuse. And in many ways, that's even worse. Physical abuse is, you know, you get your bruises and it's painful and it's unpleasant, but you heal and you move on and it's kind of clearly wrong, you know, for parents to beat up on their kids. But verbal abuse is really, really insidious. It kind of gets into your brain like a worm and kind of works away at the base of your personality.

[9:45] And these days, of course, if you look at what's going on in the educational system, there's all of the end of the world. Global warming is going to drown us all. Apocalypse, which takes away children's happiness. There is, particularly for Christians, there is a hatred of their history. There is, oh, all of your ancestors were colonizers and evil, and you stole the land, and you're just terrible human beings, and there's that whole level of things. There's a lot of racial animosity that's being taught in the world, particularly towards white people.

[10:14] And so what's happened is, and of course, the men, the boys, the boys in the school are considered very toxic and negative, and, well, boys aren't just like girls, and therefore they're broken and need to be fixed and drugged, and there's all of this impatience. We have no fathers in the home. I mean, how on earth is a boy supposed to grow to be a man easily, or at least with too much difficulty, without a father in the home? We have kept men away from little kids in government schools or in daycares. And I worked in a daycare for many years. I was the only guy, of course. And so we have taken male role models away. And a lot of kids from like boys from single mother households, they don't even meet any adult authority figure until they're in like grade seven or grade eight, like they're 12, 13, 14 years old. So I think we've really messed with what helps kids grow the most. And we, of course, we say to the little girls, well, you see, there's this giant evil patriarchy that runs the world and is just out to get you and everybody hates you and all the men just want to pay you less and this is all nonsense and it's incredibly destructive. So you've taken away, I mean, when I was a kid, you got caned in school, like you actually would get caned when I was in boarding school. So that's all gone and that's for the betterment, but unfortunately, it's been replaced by some really, really toxic things.

[11:30] Transitioning from Spanking to Verbal Abuse

[11:31] A verbal abuse that is causing a lot of despair and and drugging like straight up drugging of kids without a huge amount of scientific proof and i don't know giving next door to speed drugs to kids because they can't concentrate in the most boring environment known to man doesn't seem to be particularly beneficial and the unfettered internet stuff you know children are now getting exposed to hardcore pornography at the age of 10 and and up and some even earlier so we've got a lot of messes and saying, well, it's just less spanking is not the answer because the spanking is absolutely bad. I mean, I did interviews with Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff probably close to, I don't know, 14 or 15 years ago, and she did a meta-analysis, which is a sort of overarching umbrella analysis of all of the studies to do with spanking and with maybe only one or two possibly neutral exceptions out of the dozens and dozens of studies that she did, that she reviewed on spanking, they were all negative. They all produced negative behavior. You get short-term compliance and long-term resistance and hostility because it breaks the bond. And of course, we wouldn't say, well, you know, my wife, she brought the dinner to the table and it was just cold and it wasn't exactly what I wanted, so I hit her.

[12:46] Like, we would never, if your wife does something wrong, even if your wife does something, quote, bad, like she totals the car or she has an affair, you still don't get a hitter, right? So we say for adults, well, that's unthinkable.

[12:56] Impact of Parent's Immaturity on Children

[12:57] But then, really, that's only because the wife can leave and the kids can't. So people can't really handle power very well. And so without morality, power tends to be pretty abusive.

[13:08] And, you know, think of governments without court systems or bills of rights or constitutions, they tend to be pretty bad. And parents without moral guidance tend to be just exercising power. And the kids can't leave, and they are helpless, and they are dependent. And And that seems to summon the beast in a lot of people. So, yeah, I wouldn't say the spanking is the big variable because kids are going through so much propaganda and self-hating verbal abuse that I think that's pretty much the key as to why kids are kind of messed up these days.

[13:40] Thank you for your answer. And when everything happened with COVID, I was so just disgusted to see how children were abused and how parents pushed on their irrational fear on their children. And it just made me absolutely sick. and when it comes to maturity you know and every person goes to their life they have shadow aspects of who they are if a parent has not engaged with their shadow self try to heal it do they naturally pass on those qualities that struggle to their children subconsciously through their mannerisms is that something else that the child will have to take on as a tribulation in addition to a parent who is not yet fully matured to adulthood.

[14:32] That's deep, brother. That's very deep. I like it. So we're talking about sort of the Jungian shadow self. I mean, very few people are more dangerous than those who deny their capacity for evil. And we all have the capacity to be mean and nasty and petty and vicious and so on. And the problem is if you deny your own capacity for evil, then all immorality in your relationships must come from others. It must. It must come from others. So if you say, well, you know, I as a parent can't do wrong, then if your children are acting badly, it has to be 100% on them. And the case I make in the book is a very rational and patient case. And the book is, you know, it's quite stern, but it's not too ferocious. The first couple of drafts were when I decided to shave down those edges and douse some of the flames. But if my daughter is acting badly.

[15:24] The first place I need to look is myself. I mean, if I'm teaching her how to speak and she's getting the words wrong, do I just yell at her? Like, no, I'm teaching her how to speak. I'm teaching her how to read. And so if she's getting things wrong, it's on the teacher, not on the student. The teacher has to be self-critical first and foremost before blaming the student. So if you say, well, I can never do any wrong, then when bad things happen or negative things happen or problematic things happen in your relationship with your kids, You're just going to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and it's really not. I mean, children can perform. This has been well studied. Children can perform moral reasoning at 18 months of age. And I actually did a show way back in the day where I taught basic ethics to my daughter when she was two and a half. And yeah, I mean, she's a little smarter than your average bear, but it's pretty easy to get. And teaching empathy to children is very important because empathy is like 12 or 13 complex parts of the brain all wired up to get the mirror neuron so you can feel how other people feel. And I actually had this question yesterday in a show. Somebody was like, well, I was at the park with my daughter and she really, really wanted to get on the swing, but there was another kid on the swing. And so she's like, dad, get that kid off the swing. And I want to have the swing and I want to do the swing, right? And like, how do you handle that? And I actually had that situation with my daughter when she was very little.

[16:48] And so you say, well, okay, let's be be patient and let's wait and so on, right? And she's like, no, no, no, I really want the swing. I really want the swing. It's like, well, you know, just give her a chance. And anyway, so I went to play with her elsewhere, right?

[17:00] And then eventually, of course, the kid got off the swing and my daughter got off the swing. And I said, now, if another kid came along and wanted the swing.

[17:06] What would you say? She said, no, it's mine. It's like, ah, you see? So that's what the girl who had the swing before you was feeling as well, right? So her need switched from wanting the swing, wanting the other girl to give up the swing to when she was in the swing now, she didn't want to give up the swing. And so understanding that sort of basic connection when you are saying, I want the swing, well, the other person, the other kid doesn't want to give up the swing. And then when you get in the swing, you become that other kid who doesn't want to give up the swing. So that's just a basic empathy and teaching kids how to negotiate and to see things from somebody else's point of view. Or when my daughter would want candy, she comes by that, honestly, I have a ferocious a sweet tooth so when my daughter would want candy she'd say oh i really really want this candy and i'd be like yeah man me too oh i could eat this whole row like pac-man i could eat this whole row and uh and and the second row too and i tell you i could tear the whole bag of candy i could eat it on the drive home and still want more and so instead of saying well you're not going to get any candy or but you shouldn't have that feeling it's like yeah me too i love candy as well and And that way you're sharing in her desire. You're saying it's perfectly natural. And you're also modeling.

[18:20] Teaching Children Empathy and Negotiation

[18:20] Getting the candy. So this is all very helpful and useful stuff to parent with. And kids don't want stuff as much as they want to feel heard and understood and recognized. And if you, you know, empathize with what your kids want, you know, my daughter would want a particular stuffed animal.

[18:37] And instead of saying, oh, you have so many stuffed animals, why do you need another one? Stop being so greedy. It's ridiculous. Look, I mean, like, look at your shelf. It's full of stuffed animals. Be like, yeah, it is really cute. I like this one. And this, I would take home the a whole armful of them, you know, and after we had those conversations, we'd just kind of leave and she'd forget about wanting it because her feeling, her desire had been recognized and empathized with and I had shared my own thoughts and feelings about it and that tends to be a lot more productive. So, yeah, you can teach kids a lot about ethics. Like, kids lie. All kids lie. We all experiment with lying. That's a perfectly natural thing. I mean, lying is 90% of nature, right? They're all just hiding and sliming and laying their eggs and stealing stuff and And so my daughter would lie when she was little, and I would say, well, I make promises to you, right? Like if I say, I promise after I'm finished lunch, we'll go to the park, right? And how would you like it if I said that, and you look forward to the park, and then afterwards, I just said, no, I was just lying, we're not going to the park. Oh, I'd be so upset, I'd be mad. I was like, yeah, absolutely. Because when I make a promise, you feel good. And then if you can't trust my promises, then you feel bad, right? And so it's the same for me, right? We're both people. I mean, I'm older. I'm not a different species.

[19:53] And so if you don't want me.

[19:56] To lie to you, you know, it's kind of important not to lie to me as well, because I feel as bad when you lie to me as you would feel if I lied to you. And so just these sort of basic things to reciprocity and negotiation and helping kids understand the other person's point of view. It's, I mean, I hate to say, I hate to say it's not that complicated, but it's really not. I mean, it's really not. What to me is really hard is yelling and hitting and slamming them down on the stairs.

[20:21] Children's Quick Understanding of Moral Lessons

[20:22] And it's like, that seems like a lot of work as opposed to just, yeah, I understand your feelings and i share them and you know and and then you're teaching kids that feelings don't have to translate into action and uh they they get this stuff very very quickly and it's not just my daughter i mean i've i've been around a bunch of kids uh over the course of my life relatives and friends and so on and i've had a number of conversations a large number of conversations about this kind of stuff with kids and it doesn't really matter where they come from and it doesn't really matter uh what their circumstances are and everyone the kids all get it right away and and it doesn't have to be repeated too often. They get it. You know, if my daughter were to keep lying, it'd be like, okay, so we just don't tell the truth. Like now you can't trust anything because I'm not going to keep telling the truth if you keep lying, right? Because I'm not going to have higher standards than you. And I know that sounds kind of aggressive, but it's just a fact, right?

[21:10] I mean, if I order something online and they send it to me, I'll pay for it. But if they don't send it to me, I won't pay for it, right? So it has to be reciprocal. And you're saying, well, I'm not going to tell the truth if you think it's fine to lie. Now, she didn't really go that far, but it's, you know, something that you can say so that they can understand then what it's like to be on the receiving end of a lie, and that basic empathy of do unto others as you would have them do unto you is not that hard to teach. You just don't teach it by screaming and hitting. Don't teach anything other than fear and compliance.

[21:42] I appreciate your answer. And what you said about you can do it without violence and also the fact that I guess kids at 18 months already have empathy.

[21:50] The Foundational Principle of Unconditional Love

[21:51] And if we're looking at children right now and talking about a moral code, is there one particular principle that a person should adhere to where all the good foundations can come from with their decisions? I'll give you one thing that I do with my child is I always try to adhere to the principle of unconditional love. So whether I'm happy or sad or just pleased with my child, I always want to keep in mind unconditional love. Like, you know, am I showing unconditional love? Does he have to behave a certain way for it? Am I going to accept him for who he is? Whether he has a variety of emotions and that, I try to say the answer is no, I want to love him no matter what, no matter who he is. Is so that's just how i go about things but is there any foundational principle that parents can look to and say look if i accept this one principle all the other decisions that i make because i accept this one principle will more than likely be done in a peaceful manner i will most likely be on the right path and not on a path of violence and not on a path that of emotional destruction of my child right.

[23:00] It's a great question i mean.

[23:02] There are sort.

[23:02] Of three general principles and they're mostly interrelated. The first is what's called the non-aggression principle. So don't initiate the use of force, right? So if your kid is hitting you, you can use force to restrain the child, like a sort of quote self-defense thing, right? Again, your child shouldn't be hitting you unless they've been exposed to violence in some fashion or another, but let's say they do. So don't initiate the use of force. You can use mild force to protect yourself with kids, but you don't initiate the use of force. That's called the non-aggression principle. That's number one. Number two is tell the truth, right? Tell the truth, so be honest. You have to model what your children, whatever you expect your children to do morally, you have to model to them consistently first.

[23:44] And if you want your children to learn the language, you don't invent a different word for tree every time you point at a tree, because then they're not going to learn language. So you need to consistently model the behavior that you want in your children.

[23:55] And they'll pick it up as surely as a shadow blocks the light from a statue. You so uh to tell the truth don't initiate the use of force and respect property and teaching children to respect property is really really important you don't grab toys from other kids right because you obviously don't like it when people grab your toys and so don't you know give give kids stuff it's their stuff uh and and non-violence of course in your interactions is another form of property rights like you don't use violence you don't steal you don't control because when you intimidate a child or you threaten a child or you hit a child you're um in a sense taking over that child's body you're not allowing them to have self-ownership so yeah tell the truth don't initiate force and respect property i mean it's the same thing we have in adult society right don't initiate force means don't don't assault uh tell the truth particularly in important moral matters has to do with thou shalt not bear false witness from christianity and of course you know in inner court thou shalt tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth and we generally have a uh respect for honesty in society so yeah i mean and respect property don't steal right so it's the same thing don't initiate force don't take people's property and tell the truth uh these are things that are good in society and they're good with parenting as well now the issue of unconditional love i think is really really interesting so i think what you're doing with your son is really really good for within the family but But one of the challenges.

[25:24] I'm sorry, how old is your son again? I'm sorry, you mentioned this before, but.

[25:27] He's four.

[25:27] He's four, okay. So beautiful, you know, immerse him in the simmering, bubbling paternity juice of bottomless love. That's wonderful. But I would say, though, that you're going to have to build skills within your son to do with out in the world. Now, of course, he's 14 years away from being an adult. So, you know, but over time, he's going to have to go out into a world where nobody really cares about his needs at all, right? I mean, outside of friends and family, right? He's going to go out there and he's going to want to get a job. And, you know, I need a job is not enough for somebody to give you a job. Like, you have to have mutual benefit. He's going to want to ask a girl out, and his desire to have her go out with him is not any kind of demand that she actually do it, right? So he's going to have to figure out how to negotiate with people.

[26:17] Who aren't you and aren't bathing him in unconditional love. So the unconditional love is great for within the family, gives him a good foundation, but he is also, and I'm not saying you're not teaching him this, but over time, he's going to need to learn the kind of empathy and negotiation skills to look for win-win situations, where there's no unconditional love in the relationship at all, like with employers, with women, with people he meets, people on a sports team, you know, like he joins some pickup league of volleyball or something. There's not going to be any unconditional love. it's going to be like do a good job please if you don't mind and so um the unconditional love thing is great and it's wonderful for when they're young and it's very powerful within the family but you are also going to have to build skills over time for him to go out into the cold harsh world where people he's just another face of the crowd and he's got to provide some real value, outside of the unconditional love stuff that's for within the family if that makes sense.

[27:14] I definitely want to work on it and one thing i'm gonna i'd say i'm challenged with him is that you'd mention okay well you teach children don't steal don't initiate violence don't uh you know property rights and then you look at what is the foundation of government government.

[27:32] Violates all those principles it steals it kills it you know it property rights and what has it happened you don't give it consent it just it's some magic that it happens so i'm wondering just uh looking at that alone raising your child in a society where this benevolent being called the ruling class exists how can you teach your children good moral values while you have at the same time as overbearing, nefarious, an institute hovering over and trying to intrude all aspects of their lives. Not only that, but you have various people in society, groups in society, they're always infringing upon you. I mean, one of the worst things I had experienced during the whole thing with COVID is I was walking in stores with them. I did not have the mask on. Everyone else did. We were like the people that were doing our own thing. and most of society kind of went along with all this stuff so i guess this is a two-part question is how do you parent successfully with when you have people that are willing to infringe upon you through government and how do you parent successfully if large segments of the population do not carry the same moral values that you do or don't hesitate for a second to infringe upon you and your family.

[28:53] Yeah, I mean, I don't know. Do you remember how old you were? I remember where I was when I first found out about the national debt. Do you remember that at all from when you were a kid?

[29:03] No, I was 16. And at that time, it was kind of nothing. It was like, you know, it's heading towards 500 billion or something. Really, that's a low number, a billion or something.

[29:15] Yeah, I remember, it's not a competition, but I was, I think I was probably maybe 12 or 13. And a friend of my brother's was telling me about the national debt. And I was like, wait, what? I'm, I'm born into, I think back then it was like $100,000 of debt.

[29:35] Foundation of Morals: Impact of National Debt

[29:35] If you count the national debt, plus the unfunded liabilities, which in the States is, I think, closing on $200 trillion, plus the, you know, is it $40 trillion now, or whatever it is, the national debt.

[29:48] So, I remember learning about that, and it's like, wait, but society claims to really care about its children. Children. So if society really claims like the whole point of this whole school system, the whole point of everything, oh, we just love our children, the children are our future and children are everything to us. And it's like, okay, so if that's true, then why would there be a national debt? Like, I can't say that I claim to love my child while secretly taking out endless credit cards in her name and racking up, you know, $100,000 in debt, which she's going going to be buried with when she turns 18. Like, you would not call that good parenting from an individual. And philosophy, of course, recognizes only individuals, that there are individuals making that choice. And so, I remember saying to this friend of my brother's, and I said, well, why doesn't someone run for office to get rid of the national debt? Because that's not good for the kids, and everybody says they care about their kids. And I see people, you know, they take their kids to the doctors, they take their kids to the dentist, they seem to be upset if their kids are doing badly in school so they really do care about their kids so why doesn't someone run for office, on the platform of eliminating the national debt now he was I guess I was 12 he was like I don't know 14 or 15 so he didn't really have.

[31:12] Answer to that but i think we all know like in even with someone like even with a wild card like trump and the race nobody talked about the national debt nobody talks about paying off the national debt it's not even part of the conversation like it's just not going to happen and it's possible you know i'm sorry it's.

[31:28] Impossible compounding interest you can't pay it off if they pay it off the whole thing will collapse.

[31:32] Well i think i mean i think one of the ideas behind trump was if trump can liberate the economy to the point where we get that massive increases in productivity, then maybe we can grow our way out of this thing. But then COVID came along and wrecked the economy and, you know, 40% of all the US dollars in circulation ever have been printed in the last couple of years. So unfortunately, that plan did not quite pan out. But I just remember that. I remember thinking like, okay, so how can society both care about its children and sell them off to foreign banksters for political profit in the here and now? Like, how is that possible? And I asked a few adults, and you just get this thousand-yard stare like, I don't know, kid, but there's a great sports ball game on TV, so I'm going to have to move to another room. And so I think that there is that basic reality. Now, the question is, of course, why do people, why are people so enamored of political power? This is one of the most fundamental questions, And this really, of course, came out with COVID, where you seem to get every turbo Karen known to man screaming at everyone about masks and distancing and the social distancing stuff. That was all made up. I mean, it was some kid's science fair that was completely unverified at all. It's all mostly nonsense, but dangerous nonsense.

[32:54] And so why do people, why are they so enamored of political power? Well, I think it's because we say that violence is required to raise children. And violence is required. We certainly say that coercion is required to educate children because, you know, schools are paid for with debt and taxes, which are coercive. And so we say, well, the raising of children, the education of children, all requires coercion. So coercion must be a good. It must be the good. How could it not be?

[33:25] Peaceful Parenting Benefits: Society and Government

[33:26] And so if people think that childhood requires violence that the ordering the order the audit and structural needs of society all have to rest on violence then when they get older how are they going to say well maybe we can have a society that doesn't rest entirely on violence like maybe we could because they they then would have to say well if violence is bad for society then why would it be good for children and that i think is really tough so my argument has been you know i started of the show 19 years ago, my argument has been.

[33:56] That if we raise children peacefully, well, first of all, a lot of the dysfunctions that we think we need government for will mostly evaporate. And I'm not kidding about that. I know it sounds utopian, but the science is very clear. So if you raise children peacefully, you get almost no criminality, right? Criminals come from abusive households. You get very little promiscuity. In fact, girls who are raised peacefully even menstruate later. They start menstruating later Because their bodies are not preparing for, you know, spray and pray, you know, rabbit-selected battle reproduction. They've actually become more reasoned and better able to defer gratification sexually. So promiscuity goes down. Criminality goes down. And not by a little bit, like enormously, like 90 plus percent. and drug abuse, drug addiction goes down, which means criminality also goes down, which means that dysfunction goes down. And of course, all the people who would have been single mothers and who would have been criminals and would have been drug addicts and so on, they actually work productively in the economy and therefore, you know, our wealth goes up enormously. And so a lot of the things that we think we need government for are dysfunctions caused by violence against children. And so, if we spread peaceful parenting, then at some point the government won't have much to sell us, because like, we have to keep you safe! It's like, from what? There's almost no criminality.

[35:26] Well, we have to make sure that the single mothers are taken care of. It's like, yeah, but if you raise children peacefully, promiscuity and single motherhood goes down enormously.

[35:36] And you can sort of come up with just about any issue that's going, well, there are all these drug addicts and, well, no, no, drug addiction. Drug addiction is a form of self-medication for people who are miserable as a result of child abuse. They don't take drugs to feel good, they just take drugs to feel normal. Like if you have a headache and you take an Advil or an aspirin, you're not trying to get high, you're just trying to not have a headache, right? So if we peacefully parent, then a lot of the boogeymen that the government uses to frighten us into compliance will all evaporate, because it just won't be there. And then if you don't have these things around to frighten the population and you don't have all of this instability and and danger and so on then people were like so what do we you know what do we need all this political power for if we don't really need to be protected from anything and people are functioning and and wealth is going up and of course there will be some people who will still be problematic but the society will be so wealthy they can easily be taken care of with charity. So it's not so much how do you teach kids about political power, it's that if you teach kids peacefully, the drive and urge to control others, the fear of the danger of others will begin to diminish and hopefully we can ease our way out of this paradigm that we need to run just about everything in society on brute force.

[36:58] Impact of Spirituality: Child and Adult Development

[36:58] Thank you and she's like right now we're in the midst of a peak collectivism and it's the individualism individual thoughts and ideas that seem to be diminished they want to push this aside, stefan i had a question about the impact of having some form of spirituality in your life how then how that impacts adults and children psychologically speaking how it impacts them, i had i would briefly spoke i touched upon that i am a former catholic i grew up catholic, and then i left i just did not agree with a lot of the uh the principles that were in there although i i wanted to say that i want to treat people good i want to express unconditional love whenever whenever possible but the paradigm the the values that were in there i felt that at least from my perspective and the religion was very like a lot of it was fear-based okay you're not doing this because you're afraid to because you will go to hell if you do this or that and uh the path that i'm on the spiritual path i'm on i mean i i do things because why not why not do something beautiful and why not do it for the sake of doing it so from your perspective how does spirituality or organized religion have an impact on a child's development as well as adults development as well as fostering any kind of sense of community for um towns and nations i.

[38:20] Like the uh the giant questions. Huge. Love them. Thank you. This is my meat and drink. So, I also grew up as a staunch Christian, and the problem that I saw in society was that if our morals come from God, then you can eliminate morals by not believing in God. This is what we're going through in society at the moment. As science has advanced, God has retreated. Now, I'm talking about real science, not this pseudo-scientific mystery cult known as government-funded science, like the actual real, genuine science, the scientific method. And science and the free market have unquestionably provided the greatest benefits to mankind that have ever existed, if you sort of look at the sort of virtual flat line of human progress and then over the last 200 years, 225 years. I mean, since the enclosure movement in England in particular in the late 18th century, we've just had this massive explosion of wealth. Now, that did not come from God, that did not come from religion, that did not come from the Bible. It came from science and the free market and the general engineering and medical advances that came out of the excess wealth and objective methodology that capitalism and science represent.

[39:43] So, I think people have said in their hearts, well, you know, the church was in, religion has been in charge of humanity in one form or another for 150,000 years. Superstition, spirituality, religion, whatever you, mysticism has been in charge. And it was only after science and capitalism came along that we really really progressed now that has given people a lot of skepticism and you can say of course that science is the study of the mind of god and you can say that capitalism is just thou shalt not steal writ large and i get all of that but nonetheless when religion diminished and science and the free market it began to displace it.

[40:23] Humanity, by any metric you can think of, did immeasurably better. And so that made people quite skeptical towards religion. And then as their skepticism towards religion grew, their belief in morality faded. Because if morality comes from God, you can wave away ethics by no longer believing in God. I don't like that. I think as a philosopher, it has to be that there's a case for ethics that exists independent of the gulags of the government, and the ghosts of god there has to be a way of proving morality so that you can't disbelieve in it and i've got a whole the peaceful parenting book will be free and the i have a free book on ethics called universally preferable behavior a rational proof of secular ethics and the argument is, it doesn't like if you don't believe in God if you want the government to throw guns at everyone who disagrees with it then you're.

[41:25] You have a challenge in that the four bans in all rational moral systems, a ban on rape, theft, assault, and murder, can be proven from first principles rationally through philosophy. They are indisputable. I came up with this theory like 17 or 18 years ago. I've debated it live. I've debated it online. I've had endless written arguments. It is absolutely unassailable, the proof for secular ethics so if you say be good but you can only be good if you believe in god.

[42:01] Then people have a big incentive to no longer believe in god because then you say well i don't believe in hell i don't believe in divine punishment and then it becomes when this is what nietzsche was talking about in the 19th century it becomes a darwinian will to power A war of all against all. And then lying and big, big lies, propaganda and threats and so on, they all become justified. We saw this during COVID. There were so many big lies that are coming out now, finally. There are so many big lies that were told over the COVID era, and there's no reckoning, there's no guilt, there's no... Because, you know, hey, I lied, and I made a fortune, and I got lots of power, and I frightened people, and so on. So why wouldn't you do that? If there's no God, then you do what you can get away with.

[42:46] And in particular, if bad people have control over the major organs of justice in society, then they can get away with anything. Thing and so we're sort of seeing this play out that if you don't have god all is permitted and the only thing that is bad is not winning and so whatever if you have to lie to acquire resources then what's wrong there's no no problem with lying nature's full of as i mentioned nature is full of deception i mean camouflage is a form of deception no i'm not me i'm the tree right i mean the the chameleons are changing the colors the form of deception the lion pretends to be just the grass, you know, creeping up slowly, and the shark has also its camouflage, so you can't see it looking up and you can't see it looking down.

[43:32] So, deception and falsehood and misdirection and trickery, they're all, I mean, even the rabbit running away from the wolf is like, I'm going this way, just kidding, I'm going this way, just kidding, I'm going this way, right? It's all misdirection and deception to win and to lose. And we're in that situation now where a lot of people have lost their faith, not just in God, but in virtue and ethics itself, and then ethics just becomes a tool that you use to dominate others with no intention of being virtuous yourself, and that's a pretty bad situation for society as a whole. So that's been a lot of the work that I've done, is to prove ethics beyond the capacity of anyone to disbelieve, unless they want to throw reason and objectivity out the window completely, in which case they're just a rank relativist and subjectivist, in which case they're out of the, moral discussion if that makes sense.

[44:25] Past Societal Morals: Hope for the Future

[44:25] Make total sense and i wonder if this what we're going through right now is a cycle i know and if you look at other previous societies what do you think would have been some of the most moral societies throughout history what was the foundation for those morals and have you ever seen a society kind of be founded on the principle just pure voluntarism just decided like okay you know what we will not uh know initiating any violence i do wonder if the um if the greatest society is yet to be formed i tend to to look at the societies that have gone through mass tribulations and see what has emerged before that and it seems like in the midst of a total uh period where people are going through a lot of hardship together that they kind of form bonds and maybe they grow stronger society i don't know where we are i feel like we're in the dark ages right now it's going to get really bad before something gets better but it could be wrong or maybe this is the the way humanity is kind of devolving and this is what we're going to look at definitely put your perspective back to you have hope for the future and also come back to the question is are there any peaceful societies that you've explored throughout history and why they were so moral yeah.

[45:30] I mean that the the best society is yet to come i actually have a whole novel on my website called the future which is 500 years from now what does society look like uh in the best and ideal case and and it's a description of a purely voluntary society so no there's been no societies uh prior to the modern world, and including the modern world, that's founded on peace and property rights. Because, I mean, all societies pretty much prior to a couple of hundred years ago were slave, rape, and pillage societies. So, I mean, 40% of the Roman Empire was straight up slaves. So that's certainly not a peaceful society. And conscription in the Roman Empire was like 20 years and you had very little chance of making it back alive. And if you didn't want to be conscripted, they'd just kill you. So that's war slavery. It's just about the worst of all. So no, there are no peaceful societies. But if you want to look at a peaceful society, look at your phone book.

[46:29] Look at your contacts. I mean, I assume you don't lock people in the basement when you want to hang out with them. So if you want to look at what a voluntary society looks like, look at your friends, look at those around you who you choose voluntarily to spend time with. That is, I call it utopia, like Y-O-U, like utopia. You don't want to kidnap people to have them come to your dinner party. You don't want to be kidnapped to go to other people's dinner parties. You want for mutually beneficial interactions and exchanges. Exchanges, you want peace and voluntarism in your world. And if somebody, you know, if somebody said, oh man, I just spent a long weekend with Bob up for the cottage. Oh, how did that come about? Well, he chloroformed me. He put a burlap sack over my head and I woke up chained to the radiator in his cottage. You'd say, well, that's just appalling. Like, he kidnapped you. For heaven's sakes, call the police and get Bob arrested because that's just terrible. And so, we would would be absolutely appalled. Or if somebody said, oh yeah, I just got off the phone with the police because a barb cloned my credit cards and ran up $50,000 worth of debt in my name, you'd say, my gosh, that's absolutely appalling. And yet we have the national debt, right? So what you would find appalling in your personal life.

[47:48] We should find appalling everywhere, because people are people and principles are universal. And the purpose of reason and evidence and moral philosophy is the same as the purpose of physics. We don't say that physics is different in Philadelphia as opposed to Kabul, as opposed to Minnesota, as opposed to the North Pole. The physics are the same. It's universal. And morals are universal. And if you would be appalled at something in your private life, then we should be appalled about that anywhere in society.

[48:15] Universal Morality: Applicability in Society

[48:15] And it doesn't matter what costume people are wearing and it doesn't matter what titles they give themselves or whether they're wearing a funny hat like a crown or a tea kettle or a tea cozy it doesn't doesn't matter the morals are morals and they're universal and so yeah i wouldn't say that there have been free societies i mean in the past even america was founded on you know a tax revolt and then what was it in pennsylvania george washington was writing three percent sorry yeah the whiskey tax right i mean he was writing down with 10 000 troops to behead anyone who didn't want to pay the whiskey tax and And, you know, within 80 years of the founding of America, the Constitution was largely in shreds under Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. So, you know, it's tough.

[48:55] It's tough. And it really comes down to if you grow up with peace, then you will expect a society that's peaceful and violence will be jarring to you. If you grow up with violence, then you're going to expect a society that's violence and peace will be jarring to you. And that is the goal because people have been trying for as long as there have been people to restrain the power of political authority with words right there's an old it was a roman general i think he says stop quoting words to men with swords and the idea that we can use pieces of paper and language and words which are no there's no magic spell there's no that we We can use that to restrain and contain those sociopaths with bloodlust for endless violence.

[49:41] It's a fantasy. And so we can't solve the problem of political corruption with words, right? So what do we have to do? Well, we have to raise children peacefully so that we end up with fewer boogeymen for the politicians to scare us with. And people will look at politics and say, well, boy, that's totally different from my life. And, you know, I'm very appreciative of having peace and reason in my family. Therefore, we should probably have that in society or at least give it a try, because Lord knows we've tried everything else. And this is where we've ended up.

[50:17] Stefan Molyneux, I want to thank you so much for being with us today. I loved your answers and sharing a lot of wonderful insight. Learn more about Stefan by going to and we'll also post links to his site and for his book. And again, if you want to become a patron for his site, we'll post a link there as well. Stefan, it was an honor to meet you and to talk with you after all these years. Thank you so much.

[50:40] I appreciate the conversation. Thank you for giving me access to your audience, and you had some fantastic questions. Thank you.

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