Parents, Beware Of Your Power Lest You Abuse It

Parents, Beware Of Your Power Lest You Abuse It

In the professional world, we are appalled when employers abuse their power. For example, we feel it is extremely inappropriate for employers to make romantic advances on their employees. This is because the employee would be afraid to say no, since the possibility of getting fired would be in the back of his/her mind. 

As we can see, employers have to act with more respect due to the reality of this power disparity. They have to be extra careful so as to not abuse their power. The greater the power disparity, the more respectful and careful the person of power must be.

The way I see it, there is no greater power disparity than in the parent-child relationship. Children depend on their parents in every way possible. They are completely defenseless and, unlike employees, they do not have the capacity to leave. That's why I believe children deserve the most respect and compassion we could give them. Just like in the employer/employee situation, it is extremely important for parents to be careful that they don't abuse their power. Unfortunately most people do the opposite.

Most parents believe it is perfectly okay to mold their children into whatever they want them to be. They implement many tactics that often run against the child's own wishes and they disrespect the child's autonomy. This causes many problems for the child in the long-run.

Parental abuse of power is not always as clear as inflicting physical pain. It can include more subtle things such as enforcing your beliefs onto them. Even more than the employer who makes a romantic advance, it is not fair to do these things to kids because they have an immense pressure to conform to your wishes.

We need to understand that kids are afraid to say no to you because they depend on you. 

Kids need to be reassured that you wont take away their freedom for being their authentic selves. This is where the importance of unconditional love comes in. Most people say they love their children no matter what, but they have a rather flexible definition of love, which renders the word meaningless. 

Just look at how we treat our children when they do something we disapprove of: we invoke guilt and fear, we threaten them, we neglect them, we inflict physical and emotional pain, we lie to them by saying "Santa won't bring presents this year" etc. To truly love a person you must first respect them, and those type of actions clearly show a lack of respect.

By abusing your power, you are raising a person who will continue to be a submissive people-pleaser and therefore become an easy target for abusive people. Either that or you will create a person who will use their own power as an opportunity to be abusive. I can't even tell what's worse. 

Most people think disrespecting their child's autonomy is the only way to raise them right. Well, I'm here to say that it doesn't have to be that way. Not only do non-abusive methods exist, but implementing them will give you much better results.

Check Your Rationality Before You Wreck Your Morality

Check Your Rationality Before You Wreck Your Morality

Intuitively, we understand that if we can get the same results with either violence or non-violence, then the method of non-violence is infinitely more moral. To clarify, here are some examples of goals and how they can be met with and without violence:

  1. Getting a girl -  I can kidnap one and trap her in a well Buffalo Bill style, OR I can make myself appealing, ask her out, and allow her to voluntarily choose to be with me.
  2. Getting a kid to do chores - I can threaten to hit him if he doesn't do it, OR I can negotiate or make a game out of it to help him want to do it.
  3. Bettering the education system - I can take money from people against their will and subsidize public schools, OR I can work for, create or support companies like Praxis, which make education cheaper and more efficient.

Notice that the peaceful solutions require more work and creativity. On the other hand, violence is an easy, one-size-fits-all type of tool. It simply doesn't require much critical thought, work or patience.

Do you want something done but you're too lazy, incompetent and/or sadistic? Well, have I got the perfect solution for you: violence.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say that corporal punishment is absolutely necessary for this or that when they haven't even read a single book on peaceful parenting. 

The lack of research is even more egregious when it comes to people advocating for government force. That's because people get their belief in government through social osmosis instead of through critical thought. Even people who don't care at all about politics are absolutely, 100% sure that society would collapse without government coercion. It's almost as if they were taught by schools run by governments. Oh, wait.

It really bothers me that most people argue for corporal punishment and institutionalized violence as if they've personally ruled out every voluntary option. It bothers me even more that those people are usually the same ones who claim to care about people. 

About 70% of the U.S. population still endorses corporal punishment and the love for government coercion is as popular as the love for hamburgers. Do you think all of those people thoroughly examined their options before reaching those conclusions? Especially when I consider how little critical thought is promoted in schools, I doubt it.  

The fact is, most people reach for the sword way too quickly. I attribute this to laziness, incompetency, and/or sadism. I mean, just think of the three violent scenarios I gave and see what applies with what. It's actually a fun thought experiment. 

Whatever the reason is, I don't think it's an excuse. If people support violent solutions when they didn't even look for voluntary alternatives, I think they are being immoral. So, here's my general rule that everyone who does not want to be immoral must follow: 

If you haven't properly searched for peaceful solutions, your default position should NOT be that a violent one is necessary. 

(Of course, this is provided that you have the time to assess your options - I'm not suggesting, if a crazy guy ran at you with a knife, that you stop and think of every course of action before shooting him)

Doing merely some research is not enough. To do this properly, I recommend that you thoroughly test all proposed peaceful solutions. I know, it sounds like hard work, but you should be happy to have a high tolerance before resorting to violence. If you don't have that then I'm afraid you may have a bad case of authoritarianism.

Notice how, with this moral rule, it is easy to not do the wrong thing. It is just as simple as not advocating for or committing violence when you don't know enough. You can literally do this in your sleep! 

If you're a person who has supported or committed violence without satisfying this rule, you probably want to demand that I show you a peaceful solution before you let go of your belief in the violent one. While I could probably point you to a non-violent alternative to some situations, the truth is that I shouldn't have to. 

That's because the burden of proof is not on me, but rather on the people that claim that the ONLY way to get something done is through force. It's not up to the girl to prove to me why I shouldn't kidnap her. If I belt a child to get him to do chores, it is not up to him to justify why I shouldn't have done it. The same goes with me demanding forced redistribution of wealth. I'm the aggressor, so why should the victims carry the burden? Sadly this simple truth of who should carry the burden of proof has been tragically ignored.

Okay, now that you know these things, there really is no excuse. Like I said, all you have to do is drop your support of violence until you do the proper research. That is, if you don't want to be immoral. Luckily for you, there are people out there that have devoted their whole lives to finding peaceful alternatives. Every resource imaginable is easily accessible to us by the power of the internet. So, go out there and explore. Once you let go of the limiting idea that violence is necessary, you might be surprised by all the possibilities. 

To make it easier for you, below are some useful resources that will help you discover peaceful alternatives having to do with parenting and socioeconomics. 

If you're looking for tips on how to get a girl voluntarily for a change, first of all I've had no success there so you're asking the wrong guy and second of all, there's probably no hope for you at this point if you're looking for reasons not to kidnap one. 

On Parenting

On Socioeconomics

  • Freedom! by Adam Kokesh. A fine (and free) book introducing voluntaryism.
  • pressingthebutton.com. A site that keeps an ever expanding list of alternatives to governments that already exist
  • FEE.org. It has great articles which illuminate all the good that comes out of free markets and the bad things that come out of government.

Some Thoughts On Immigration And Stefan Molyneux

I want to air my thoughts on something that's been bothering me. It has to do with this tweet (and many others like it) by Stefan.

I find that kind of tweet to be unprincipled and manipulative. The argument behind it is this: "If DACA didn't get passed, that child would have never been molested, therefore DACA is bad." While the premise is true, it is not a good reason in and of itself to criminalize people who qualify as DACA recipients. For starters, the alleged molester would have probably done that crime elsewhere, but let's ignore that.

Let's say Bob is stopped and caught holding a stash of weed but the cop lets him go because marijuana was just legalized. Later that day, Bob murders someone. Now, wouldn't it be manipulative if I use this story to convince/scare people into supporting drug laws? And what if I showed you a correlation of people who smoke weed and commit crimes? Would I then be justified in criminalizing stoners? 

I think it would be wrong for me to do that. Even if weed was illegal, I think you should cheer that the cop didn't enforce such a backwards law. While it's tragic that a person got murdered, it is illogical to dwell on the things that could have coincidentally prevented it. 

Now let me clarify that I'm not fully supporting the abolishment of all immigration laws. I'm actually still making up my mind on that. I'm just using that counterexample to show that that particular argument is an invalid one. There may be good arguments for deportation of dreamers but that is not one.

I also want to express my disappointment that Stefan is pushing that type of sophistry. Either Stefan knows this flaw in his argument or he doesn't care because he wants to push an agenda. Knowing how smart he is I'm willing to bet on the latter.

And this is not the only type of argument in which he should know better. He has also argued against immigration for the reason that it would lower wages. That is the exact same argument for minimum wage which I know he is against. Those two arguments ignore the fact that companies will simply take their jobs overseas if they can't get low enough wages here, causing even more unemployment.

Another occation that really bothered me was when he dismissed a person on twitter by pointing out the lack of followers that the person had. These kind of low blows feel out of character compared to the way he used to be. At least I don't remember him being that way.

I've been listening to Stefan since 2011. He taught me almost everything I know in philosophy, which is why this change from him has really bothered me. 

I know he's just trying to win by any means necessary. Maybe he's justified in doing all of that because it gets him more power to do what he thinks is good. Because trolling and making flawed but catchy arguments attracts a bigger audience, and a bigger audience means bigger influence. I'm not so sure if that influence is a good thing though. Currently I'm more inclined to say that he is doing his audience a disservice by manipulating them with logical fallacies and passing it off as philosophy.

NBA > NFL

NBA > NFL

There are many reasons why I always liked basketball. One big reason is that it has a low barrier for getting involved: all you need is a ball and a hoop, plus you can play alone or with as many people as you want.

One less obvious, but I think more important, reason is because it cultivates individualism. Every player is empowered to change the course of a game. This power is not dictated by what position one plays. In football we clearly see that it is the quarterback who has the most power to affect the game. In this way, individual merit matters a lot less, because you can be the best kicker in the world and you will hardly get credit for a win compared to the quarterback. 

Basketball also cultivates individualism because it's a lot easier to identify each player along with his emotions. As an audience member, this lets you further appreciate the player as a person rather than as a pawn in a game. This is very different from covering him with so much gear and putting him far in the middle of a gigantic stadium, where it's hard to distinguish him from others let alone see what he is feeling. 

Also, I don't have the hard evidence to back it up right now, but it seems that the NFL is more strict with how the players can express themselves. How often do you see NFL players wearing ridiculous clothes compared to NBA players? 

To put it simply, it seems to me that the NBA is marketed a lot better than the NFL. They know individualism is what sells. 

So it will come to no surprise to me if there comes a day when the NBA surpasses the NFL as the most popular American sport. 

Stepping Onto The World Stage, Me

Stepping Onto The World Stage, Me

So It’s been about a year since I’ve set up this blog of mine and I’ve yet to post anything.

The main reason of why I’ve struggled to put anything on here is because I have severe anxiety. Basically I’m afraid to put my thoughts and feelings into the world and potentially being judged for them. There is a lot to say as to why I feel this way, which will have to be a topic for a future post.

So why do I want to publicly write about my thoughts and feelings if I am afraid of doing so?

Well, precisely because I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I want to finally feel free to express my true self (though first I have to do some digging to see who my true self is). I think confronting it in the form of a public blog is a great way to work towards that goal. Even if no one sees my writing, as a person with constant self-censorship in his system, this is a big step for me.

Besides that, there are so many benefits to writing a blog. Benefits which include:

  • Putting my thoughts out will allow people that think alike to find me, thus creating the kind of relationships I want to create. This might also weed out the kind of people I don’t want in my life.
  • Developing writing skills and creativity
  • Finding my voice / learning about myself
  • Documenting my progress in life
  • Building a good habit
  • Gaining confidence in myself

So obviously there are many benefits, but just for the purpose of analysis I’ll list my potential hindrances:

  • I could say the “wrong” thing and be crucified by the internet Justine Sacco style
  • Since I plan on being personal and honest, I will be more vulnerable
  • My beliefs will be out in the open and I may be ostracized by groups that dislike them, including potential employers

That’s all I can think of right now though I’m sure there are more.

Anyway, I understand that this is a double-edged sword. After thinking about this long and hard, I am confident that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Besides, I think that privacy is dead in this age and this blog is at least a way to control my “image.”