Note: I was promoting this essay on Twitter, and was about to publish it, when I was banned without warning.It’s nothard to understand why powerful people might not want you to read what I wrote below.
There are times when it behooves a philosopher to lay out his case carefully and in great detail, summoning from first principles all the syllogisms and evidence that build a solid case.
This is not one of those times.
If you want to know more about the detailed reasoning behind the beliefs outlined below, I recommend my free books and podcasts at www.freedomain.com.
Philosophy is the greatest intellectual discipline in the realm of human thought.
Philosophy can teach you about the nature of reality, the nature of knowledge, the nature of truth – but you can explore these various disciplines through biology, physics, geology, or any other natural science.
Philosophy’s core discipline is ethics, since that is the one area of study that no other discipline can effectively address.
I am now going to tell you all of the major beliefs that I have developed over almost 40 years of studying, practicing and teaching philosophy.
I have written this essay in part to push back against the various narratives being spread about me – that I am a cult leader, a white supremacist, a eugenicist, and so on.
Let us get started with the facts.
Objective reality exists, and we receive information about it through the evidence of our senses. Reality is rational, and thus any ideas we have that claim to be “true” must pass the tests of reason and evidence. Evidence is always superior to ideas that describe reality, since ideas can only be considered “true” if they accurately describe reality.
Virtue is Universally Preferable Behavior.
We own ourselves and we own the effects of our actions. From self-ownership, we derive property rights – the first being the protection of our own bodies. Morality must be universal, since it can be imposed upon others, unlike aesthetics. A woman has the right to decide against having sex, and she has the right to use force to defend that right. A man has the right to keep the fruits of his labor, and he has the right to use force to defend his property, just as he has the right to defend his body.
Property rights, the right of self-defense, and the non-aggression principle form the foundations of rational morality. My theory of ethics – universally preferable behavior – condemns rape, theft, assault and murder.
Philosophy does not recognize geography, costumes, or mere beliefs as characteristics that can alter the nature of reality. The laws of physics do not change from one country to the next, or from one costume to another.
The same applies to laws of morality. You cannot morally initiate the use of force – no matter how many law books say that you can, or how many people believe that you should, or what costume you may be wearing.
Slavery was a universal human institution, finally recognized as immoral and banished throughout most of the world in the 19th century.
The same applies to the state. People calling themselves the “government” claim the moral right to initiate force against others.
They do not possess this right, any more than slave owners had the right to own other human beings.
A moral society is a stateless society, just as a moral society is a slave-less society.
The major human races diverged tens of thousands of years ago, and had to adapt to very different environments – from brutal Siberian winters to the lush dangers of the tropics.
These varied environments posed unique challenges to our evolution, and gave each race its particular characteristics. Some people refer to these as “strengths” and “weaknesses,” but I strongly oppose such judgments.
Evolutionarily speaking, the words “strengths” and “weaknesses” are mostly meaningless – especially when talking about different environments. All creatures strive their best to adapt to their local environments.
I do not believe that any race is “superior” or “inferior.” I accept the biological facts that some racial differences exist, because philosophy teaches us to accept facts – even if they make us uncomfortable. (The virtue of intellectual courage is only required when contemplating uncomfortable facts.)
Philosophy also teaches us to avoid judging individuals by group averages – although women may be shorter than men in general, you can never prejudge any individual woman as being shorter than the average man.
I would love nothing more than to live in a world where we treated people as individuals – Martin Luther King’s dream of judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin – but there is a growing group of people who claim that all differences in outcomes for various groups result from (usually white/male) bigotry, and that is an unjust and incorrect claim.
Although there are many talented Chinese basketball players, we would not expect the majority of professional players to be Chinese, for various historical, cultural, and physical reasons.
Average tested IQ levels vary among different ethnicities – again, we must never judge individuals by group averages, but group averages nonetheless exist, and play at least a part in social and economic outcomes.
I have always believed – and taught – that human beings can only resolve conflicts via reason and evidence. We can only meet and find peace in reality – not in ideology or fantasy or wish fulfillment or rage or, strangely enough, in the racial prejudice that results from denying average group differences.
I talk about these issues because I wish to help de-escalate increasing ethnic tensions and hostility, so we can have a reasonable conversation about these issues without coming to open violence, which will be our inevitable destination if these conversations continue to be suppressed.
I believe in equality before the law and reject any and all laws based on race. No race should “rule” or dominate any other race.
Eugenics is a government program that uses force to control people’s reproductive choices and is utterly immoral.
I am not an “ethno-nationalist” but an advocate for a stateless society. In a truly free society, people can live however they choose, as long as they do not initiate the use of force. The violence required to create an “ethno-state” would be a monstrous violation of the non-aggression principle, and should be utterly condemned.
Men and Women
Women and men have faced different evolutionary pressures – just as in the case of race, this does not make either men or women “superior” or “inferior.” Women have evolved based upon the preferences that men have for mates, just as men have evolved based upon the preferences of women. We are the shadows cast by the sexual choices of our combined histories.
I oppose ideologies that strive to pit women against men – for most of human history, we were all mostly just struggling to survive. All beliefs that undermine our capacity to fall in love, pair-bond, and raise families are anti-life and ultimately a nihilistic dead-end.
Women faced particular burdens throughout history – as did men. Women suffered through childbirth and were economically dependent; men suffered through dangerous hunting and war, and their genes died out if they were rejected by women.
We have more liberty and wealth now to pursue our love for each other – it is particularly tragic that, at such a time, sophists are trying to turn us against each other, often with great success. Men and women complement each other, and need each other for the unique characteristics they bring to a relationship.
Naturally, I oppose all morals and laws that create unjust advantages for either men or women.
The moral ban on the initiation of the use of force applies first and foremost from parents to children.
Children are unique in society in that they do not choose their family. Adult relationships are mostly voluntary: husbands choose wives, people choose jobs, and you can leave the country of your birth.
Children should be treated with the highest moral standards because they have the least choice in society.
Hitting children violates the non-aggression principle, as does circumcision and confinement. Verbal abuse can easily turn into a form of torture, harming the trapped child’s personality.
When they grow up, adult children are not morally obligated to continue spending time with relentlessly abusive parents.
The logic of this is simple.
If it is considered immoral for adult children to reject the unchosen relationship with their parents, then it must be far more immoral for anyone to reject the relationships they chose – yet we usually applaud people who leave abusive marriages.
We accept that it is usually a good thing for people to leave an abusive relationship that they voluntarily chose to enter. How can it be a bad thing to leave an abusive relationship you never chose in the first place?
When people choose to raise a child, they are required to provide quality parenting. If they are persistently abusive, adult children are no more required to spend time with them than you are required to continue to eat at a restaurant that serves unpleasant and dangerous food.
Human beings are not mere “atoms,” since no atom is alive, yet humans are alive. An “emergent property” called “life” exists – just as an emergent property called “free will” exists. No atom in the human brain has free will, yet our minds do.
“Free will” is our ability to compare proposed actions to ideal standards such as science or morality or abstract truth.
Arguing against free will requires that abstract truth be a standard to which we should choose to adhere. It is a self-defeating argument.
Of course, not all of the above are self-contained arguments, but they are brief sketches of what I believe, and what I’ve argued for during my many years as a public intellectual.
There are those who hate these arguments and, rather than engage with them, simply smear and attack me.
I don’t expect this brief article to change their minds, but for those of you who are curious about what I believe – and why – I hope that these intellectual flares shot above the roiling smoke of hysterical attacks will guide your curiosity to the most fertile delta of the human mind: philosophical thought.
More people than you imagine are waiting here for you to join us.
After promoting this essay on Twitter, I was banned – as I have been recently from a variety of other platforms.
I was on Twitter for over a decade, on YouTube for over 14 years, and these accounts were deleted without strikes, warnings or communications.
I have always worked hard to create a middle ground where people can meet to discuss reason and evidence. Society – and in particular politics – has become increasingly polarized over the past few years.
I’m sad about these developments, but I have always counselled accepting reality, and would not want to fail at following my own good advice.
De-platforming is not a debate, not a negotiation – de-platforming is not an argument.
The greatest immediate good I have achieved is reminding people how to apply philosophy to their daily lives, through my call-in show.
I will continue that.
I also love creating presentations that remind people of the powerful lessons of science, philosophy and history.
I will continue that.
I have been asked countless times to write a book on parenting.
I will, I promise.
I am retiring from political commentary. Although I’m sure there is still great value to be had in political conversations, I am going to spend my energies elsewhere.