Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Little Engine That Couldn't

One of the mosquitoes flying around the libertarian movement, making annoying buzzing noises, is an odd outfit run by Stefan Molyneux. Molyneux considers himself something of a guru, perhaps even a messiah, who seems intent on building a personal cult around himself and his bizarre theories. I've listened to the man and his logic is sincerely sophmoric, his historical foundations are virtually, and his psychological theories are actually destructive. He is a messiah in search of a cult to follow him—the L. Ron Hubbard of extremist libertarianism.

This does not mean libertarianism per se is extreme. That really depends on the temperament of the individual. But it does mean that his theories are rather extreme, irrationally grounded, and sound more like religious dogma than logical conclusions.

One of his major claims is that his site is the largest philosophical discussion on the net. Not even close. Actually it fails on two counts. First, what he spews out is hardly coherent philosophy. It's more corny, amateurish narcissism than anything else. But, even if we stretch philosophy so broad as to include his discussions, he is pretty low on the totem pole when it comes to readers. The above shows traffic ratings comparing Molyneux to two genuinely libertarian sites—the Cato Institute and Reason magazine. If you look at the very bottom of the graph you will periodically see a very tiny blue line. That blue line is Molyneux's website on its better days. Meanwhile note that Cato and Reason are hovering well above his scarce appearances on the scale.

The most thorough site taking on this clay-footed messiah is FDR Liberated, which exposes the cultish wackiness of Molyneux. You can find that at You might want to start with this series.