A self-proclaimed “philosopher,” libertarian Stefan Molyneux has grown an impressive following with more than 638,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.
Born in Ireland, the Canadian podcaster left the technology industry in 2006 to focus on his podcast called “Freedomain Radio.” Originally billed as a show on philosophy, the podcast covers a vast range of topics from politics to personal relationships. The Freedomain Radio website claims it is “the largest and most popular philosophical show in the world.”
An opponent of political correctness, Molyneux supported Trump during the 2016 presidential election (even though Molyneux is a Canadian). As an atheist, he often discusses a “rational basis” for morality. While he’s not a traditional conservative, Molyneux is neither a fundamentalist libertarian or strict anarchocapitalist, and his show appeals to many conservatives as well as more socially liberal libertarians.
A sampling of show titles includes:
“The Death of Canada. Prepare Yourself Accordingly.”
“Why Feelings Are Not Arguments”
“How They Sabotaged Western Civilization”
“Help! I’m Dating a Social Justice Warrior!”
Funded entirely by listeners, Molyneux’s shows come in a variety of formats. Some are solo talks, often with Molyneux appearing in front of a stark white background. In other shows, Molyneux interviews special guests or answers questions from callers.
Molyneux is a highly controversial figure. While his fans appreciate his “thinking” approach to controversial issues, critics might call him “pretentious” at best and dangerous at worst.
Molyneux prides himself at looking at facts “objectively,” and he is not afraid to ruffle feathers by disagreeing with politically correct sacred cows. Everything is a target, including feminism and Islam.
“Molyneux has a group of very ardent fans, even though he is only questionably an ancap [anarcho-capitalists] at this point, and is hated by a large portion of them: he defends cops, is a “racial realist”, says weird red pill things about women, and is a hawk on Mid East relations,” exclaims a negative biography of Molyneux on the RationalWiki, a site by skeptics. “He presents a crank magnetism chimera of men’s rights crybaby, white rights crybaby and some sort of fedora-lover’s Glenn Beck (or a thinking man’s RooshV) who is known for mistreating his guests.”
The left hates Molyneux, in part because he is effective. The Daily Beast published an article likening him to a cult leader. Part of the problem? During the election, Molyneux published a video about “untruths” about Donald Trump that worked to sway Democrats.
“We’re going to go through a list of untruths about Donald Trump, just so you can get a fair assessment of the man’s character and avoid the sensationalistic nonsense and get to the man’s actual positions and policies – which are well worth an examination, and certainly not above criticism,” Molyneux said in his video.
The accusations of Molyneux being a cult leader stem from his recommendations to listeners to disconnect from abusive family members. Some listeners have, indeed, disconnected from family members, some of whom have spoken to the media about it.
“I don’t know where Tom is,” one parent told The Daily Beast. “I don’t have the money to get a cult expert, either. I don’t think Tom would listen to anybody else, even if I did. All I can do is wait and try and get the message out to people that Molyneux is doing horrible things, and that it’s a cult.”
In response to the cult charges, Molyneux told the Globe & Mail in 2008, “I’m sure a few marriages broke up because of feminism. It doesn’t make feminism a cult.”
Joe Rogan grilled Molyneux about the accusations on his own podcast in 2014. In an online discussion about the interview, a Reddit user pointed out that Molyneux recommends that people see a therapist prior to disconnecting from family.
“It seems like Stefan has been doing on average 9 hours of talking a week for like 7 years. So obviously anyone could cherry pick examples to paint him as bad or a ‘cult leader.’” he said. “I could do that with Joe Rogan right now if I really wanted to. Take something he said out of context like ‘we’re just all monkeys’ and then say that Joe thinks all his listeners are just dumb animals.”
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