I recently had a discussion with and old friend about a particular video produced by Stefan Molyneux, namely The Truth About Slavery.

I recommended the piece to him as something to watch as “payment” for losing a wager we had loosely made over the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election.

He watched the video and came away with a take strikingly different from my own. Having first watched it, I came away angered about not having known certain history related to slavery, such as the history of slavery in the Islamic world, the history of slavery in the ancient world, and the history of slavery elsewhere and at other different times.

My friend, on the contrary, also came away angered, but for a different reason entirely. He took great issue with Stefan’s use of the terms “slavery,” “white slavery,” and the concept that certain of the Irish in the new world may be considered to have been slaves. The issue seems to have arisen from a reference Stefan cited that is published on a site that also contains articles (by different authors than the one who penned Stefan’s reference) pertaining to 9/11 conspiracy theories. His conclusion appears to be that since Stefan referenced an article on this site, the article about Irish slavery was not a good source, and therefore the veracity of Stefan’s video was cast into doubt and likewise Stefan’s reputation as a historian and philosopher.

My friend’s argument applied directly to the text in question concerned was that Stefan was claiming that slavery was the same thing as indentured servitude which was not in fact what Stefan was doing. He was describing his own conception of slavery and categorizing the different types and comparing them. My friend had his own definition of slavery and was applying it to this piece that in fact has its own different definition of slavery and coming up with nonsensical results. So instead of trying to figure out what he was misunderstanding, he completely dismissed the piece.

Knowing something of my friend’s online history, I think I may have a theory as to his rather drastic repudiation of what to me appear to be a meaningful and coherent collection of facts about the history of slavery that runs contrary to my recieved knowledge from having attended public school in the US. He has spent long months (years ago) in the shitmines of redditmoria 9/11 conspiracy. I think the sight and association (however tenuous) of the 9/11 related posts triggered a fairly deep emotional response originating from long hours arguing with total morons about various 9/11 conspiracy theories. The tragedy of this – to me – is that I have listened to several Freedomainradio shows in which Stefan has painstakingly spent hours walking people down from the ledge of 9/11 conspiracy, alien abduction, belief in psychic powers, and all types of nuttery. Stefan and my friend are on the same side but it is likely that my friend has formed a permanent association between Stefan and nuttery that will be difficult to ever break given that he’d have to listen to more Stefan podcasts, but he won’t, because Stefan’s a nut apparantly.

Leave a Reply