Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian blogger, essayist, author, philosopher and host of the Freedomain Radio series of podcasts on political philosophy, atheism, personal and relationship issues, and related topics. He is an anarcho-capitalist and atheist. He has written numerous articles and smaller essays which have been published on libertarian websites including LewRockwell.com, antiwar.com, and Strike The Root, and has recorded numerous podcasts and videos, and self-published several books. Molyneux holds a B.A. in History from McGill University and an M.A. in history from University of Toronto. The following is his podcast entitled "There Will Be No Economic Recovery. Prepare Yourself Accordingly."


All in all, an excellent example of how a well-educated person can have a fine command of (certain) facts and figures, yet be unable to see the wider picture due to ideological blinders. This guy definitely does not have the whole banana though, from his thousands of podcasts with "The Truth About..." in the titles, one suspects that he thinks he does. Allow me to explain what is going on in this video.

I have no argument with the facts and figures he cites, as he clearly knows his stuff in that regard. As he says, savings have cratered, good jobs have been replaced with low-paying service sector jobs, wealth inequality has skyrocketed, and social mobility all but disappeared. However, his libertarian ideology colours his analysis to the point of hobbling it: everything is the fault of inefficient Big Government and the evil socialists who suffuse it, with no blame to be found in the psychopathic capitalists of the private sector, and their capture of the regulatory and legislative institutions that are supposed to keep them in line.

Thus, the disappearance of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is blamed entirely on environmental regulations and unions driving up costs, such that the jobs all disappeared to China ... something he bafflingly puts down to U.S. protectionism ... when it is clear that the real reason those jobs disappeared had more to do with the lowering of trade barriers, such that the capitalists were able to relocate their factories to China without penalty. Actual protectionism would have made this impossible simply by putting tariffs in place such that imported goods made with slave labour would have a harder time competing with locally-made goods produced by well-paid union workers under more environmentally friendly conditions. That this route was not taken was not an inevitable result written into the laws of nature, but a very deliberate policy decision made by a socioeconomic elite that wanted to bust the unions. I wonder how he accounts for the more-or-less indisputable fact that the U.S. enjoyed its most prosperous period precisely during that time in which union membership was at an historical high?

Similarly, he focuses a lot of attention on the 'cancerous' growth of social programs at the expense of the 'productive' private sector, yet somehow never mentions the vast military expenditures that account for over 1/4 of the 2013 budget. Perhaps this is only to expected for a capitalist cheerleader, as the military is an integral part of global capitalism. Similarly, he discusses 'unfunded liabilities' such as social security and pensions, a favourite hobgoblin of the libertarian right, without ever acknowledging that the reason those 'liabilities' are 'unfunded' is that the government kept dipping into the social security kitty in order to fund other programs, such as defense, or corporate and capital gains tax cuts. Speaking of tax cuts, again, funny how he doesn't mention that taxes on the rich are at historically low levels.
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Stefan Molyneaux: missing the big picture

Libertarians often refer to themselves as 'anarcho-capitalists' (indeed he specifically refers to himself as 'anarchist' at one point), which contains a grain of truth. Like anarchists, they dislike the state, and are in favour of maximal personal freedom for all humans. Unlike anarchists, however, they don't acknowledge that humans are fundamentally social beings, and that healthy humans require healthy societies, just as healthy societies require healthy humans. I tend to think of libertarians as anarchists who have not yet developed a social conscience ... you might call it 'anarchism for psychopaths'.

Libertarianism is certainly a right-wing ideology, and they tend to vote GOP, but there are big differences between libertarians and conventional right-wingers ... there's actually a lot of common ground between libertarians and much of the left. Both sides agree that the drug war should be called off. Furthermore, libertarians tend to share the left's skepticism of fundamentalist Christianity. The defining difference is that anarchists don't limit their analysis of the negative impact of coercion to the state, but also include the tyranny of the workplace, acknowledging that capitalism is by its very nature deeply coercive ('work or starve', basically), and that contracts entered into under such conditions are less than consensual. Libertarians are typically silent on this issue, and this silence speaks volumes about the movement's underlying motivation: far from an effort at developing a genuine, comprehensive moral, political, and economic philosophy that serves the needs of all inhabitants of our pale blue dot, it is simply a paramoralistic apologia for existing social and economic relationships, aimed at preserving and extending the wealth and power of the lucky or ruthless few at the expense of the exploited many by cloaking their exploitation in the raiment of reason and natural justice.

Mr. Molyneux is almost certainly correct in his dire predictions of imminent economic collapse in North America, and in the USA especially. When this does happen, one only hopes that the explanation he favours - that it is all the fault of efforts to dull the sharp edges of capitalism, rather than the purified greed of the capitalists of Wall Street and Bay Street - will be soundly rejected by a populace that has been used and abused for decades in the name of profit. Otherwise, in the ensuing political panic, libertarians might easily step into the ideological void and introduce a political economy that will see the majority of the population reduced to serfdom.