Statist Dating

Statist Dating
By Stefan Molyneux

So this afternoon, when my son comes home from school, he’s carrying a cat-cage. He throws his books on the kitchen table and flashes me a smile, heading to the fridge.

“Hey son,” I ask, “Where’d you get the cat?”

“Oh” he says, opening the fridge door, “it’s my date’s.”

“Your date’s?”

He takes a swig of milk. “Yeah. For the prom tomorrow.”

“Ohhh-k. Why do you have her cat?”

“Uhh, well, for insurance.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Well I’m not sure she’s going to show.”

“What happened? What did she say when you asked her?”

He rolled his eyes. “Oh, she’s all: it’s sooo totally inappropriate. She wasn’t into.”

I shook my head slightly, trying to make sense of my son. “So – you… took her cat? Because she said no?”

“Uh, Dad, no, what do you think I am, crazy?”

“Uhhh, no… But you do have her cat.”

“Well sure! She said she didn’t want to go to the prom with me, and I told her that she did, but she just didn’t know it yet, and that going to the prom with me was the right thing to do, and so I would have to make her do it if she didn’t want to.”

“What? What kind of… Where on earth did you learn that that was a good idea?”

“From my political science class.”

“Your political… What? How on earth does that make sense?” I took a deep breath. “Step me through it.”

He smiles. “Sure! So my political science teacher tells us we choose the government, and then the government gets to tell us what to do. Right?”

“Yeah, that’s the theory I guess…”

“So I asked her: hey, what if we don’t like what the government tells us to do? She says, well, we have to obey the government anyway, but we can protest, or vote for someone else in a few years or whatever. And then I said: what if the government orders us to do something we really disagree with – can we say no? She says, not really, you have to obey the government. Why? I ask. She says: because you have chosen the government. But if we have chosen the government, why would it need to force us to do things? It’s like– if I go to a store to buy an iPod, and say to the guy, I really want this iPod, here’s my money, and he pulls out a gun and says: you totally have to buy this iPod, or I’m going to shoot you.” He shakes his head. “What kind of sense would that make? If I want to buy the iPod, no one has to force me to buy it. If I don’t want to buy the iPod, isn’t it kind of wrong to force me to buy it? Am I wrong, Dad?”

I sigh. Sometimes I wish my son didn’t have to learn these lessons. “No, son, you’re not wrong.”

He smiles. “So then I said that governments, then, must be always forcing people to do what they don’t want to do, or I guess stop them from doing what they do want to do. And she says that people want to do the wrong things, but that government makes them do the right things. So I asked her how people who want to do the wrong things can vote for people who will force them to do the right things? I mean, if you know enough to say to someone: force me to be good – and here’s my list of good things – then surely you’re good enough already, and don’t need to be forced. And only bad people would want that job anyway!” He shakes his head. “Then she gets really angry and just says that people have to be forced to do the right thing, that there are a lot of bad people in the world, and we need governments to protect us, and so we have to obey, because the government is trying to help us, and basically it knows best. So I say: then it’s OK to force people to do stuff even if they don’t want to. She says yes, as long as you have their best interests at heart. I started to ask her how you could possibly know that, but she cut me off and said we had to move on, and that all the other kids were bored, which I don’t think was the case, ’cause they were all pretty wide-eyed by then.”

I nod slowly. “Right. Sooo… The cat?”

My son hops up on a stool. “Right, right! So, I want a date for the prom, and I ask someone in my poly-sci class, but she’s all ‘nooo, that’s soooo inappropriate,’ but I really want her to come, ’cause I have her best interests at heart, so I tell her that she has to come to the prom with me, because there are lots of bad dates out there, and it’s my duty to protect her. She says that she doesn’t need protection. I say sorry, that’s not really an option. She tells me to get lost. I say that if you don’t want to obey me, there will be consequences. She gets really mad and tells me to stop threatening her. I say I am not threatening her, I am just governing her, and if she doesn’t obey me, I’ll be forced to take her cat. She calls me a little creep and storms off.”

“So… that’s her cat?”

“Yeah, it’s easy to find out where people live. And it was an outdoor cat, so I didn’t have to break in or anything.”

I sigh. “So when can I expect a call from the girl’s parents?”

He blinks in confusion. “Parents? Why would her parents call? She’s, like, ancient.”

“Ancient? You’re in grade 9!”


“So how old is this girl?”

He pokes his finger into the cat cage. “Hi there!” He glances at me. “Oh she’s not a girl, dad. She’s a woman.”


The phone rings. Numbly, I pick it up. Before I can say anything, a shrieking female voice hits my ear like an icepick.

“This is Mrs. Staten, your son’s political science teacher, what on earth is going on, and where the hell is my cat?”

Stefan Molynuex, is the host of Freedomain Radio (, the most popular philosophy site on the Internet, and a "Top 10" Finalist in the 2007-2010 Podcast Awards.

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May 2024

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