Stefan Molyneux

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Not to be confused with Stephen Molyneux.
Stefan Molyneux
Stefan Molyneux 2014-02-10.jpg
Stefan Molyneux in 2014
Born Stefan Basil Molyneux
(1966-09-24) September 24, 1966 (age 50)
Athlone, Ireland
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater B.A., McGill University
M.A., University of Toronto
Occupation Public speaker, host of Freedomain Radio, Podcast

Stefan Basil Molyneux (/stəˈfæn ˈmɒlnjuː/; born September 24, 1966) is an Irish-born Canadian blogger/vlogger. Molyneux usually speaks on topics including anarcho-capitalism, race and intelligence, atheism, politics, secular ethics, right-libertarianism, cryptocurrencies, and familial relationships. He is a self-published author and podcaster, and has spoken at libertarian conferences. Molyneux formerly worked in the software industry. The Freedomain Radio internet community which he leads has frequently been described as a cult.[1][2][3]


Molyneux was born in Ireland and raised mainly in London before moving to Canada at age 11.[4] Molyneux attended the Glendon College of York University, where he was an actor at Theatre Glendon[5] and a member of the Debating Society.[6] He then attended the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal.[4][7] Molyneux received a B.A. in History from McGill University in 1991 and an M.A. in History from University of Toronto in 1993.[7][2] According to Molyneux his mother was Jewish and born in Berlin in 1937.[8]


In early 1995, he and his brother Hugh founded Caribou Systems Corporation, a Toronto-based provider of environmental database software. Stefan was the computer expert for the company. The company was sold in 2000.[7][9]

In 2005, Molyneux began a podcast called Freedomain Radio (FDR).[10] He uses the same name for the website on which he distributes his own writings, hosts podcast archives, and provides an Internet forum for FDR listeners. Molyneux also produces videos and commentary on current events, and he presents a weekly call-in show on which listeners can ask questions or discuss personal issues.[2] Molyneux funds his efforts by soliciting direct payment from listeners and viewers.[11]


Stateless society[edit]

Molyneux theorizes that the pursuit of virtue in our personal lives could bring about a stateless society that abhors the initiation of force (see non-aggression principle). In addition, the free market (see anarcho-capitalism), polycentric legal systems and private "dispute resolution organizations" (DROs) could be empowered to find new and more peaceful ways of adjudicating common law infractions and contractual disputes.[12]

In 2012, libertarian philosopher David Gordon gave a critical examination of Molyneux's 2007 Universally Preferable Behaviour: A Rational Proof for Secular Ethics in The Mises Review, stating, "He fails, and fails miserably. His arguments are often preposterously bad."[13] Gordon would reply again to Molyneux's own response to the criticisms.[14]

Family of origin relationships (FOO)[edit]

Molyneux refers to the family that people are born into as their "family of origin" or "FOO". Molyneux suggests that the family of origin relationships may not necessarily be desirable and in some circumstances may even be detrimental and thus for those individuals having suffered abusive childhood relationships it would be advantageous for them to sever such involuntary relationships as adults, or "deFOO".[15] In this way, he views all adult relationships as being voluntary and discretionary rather than obligatory. According to a 2008 article in The Guardian, both Molyneux and his wife have deFOOed.[15]

A Voice for Men[edit]

Molyneux was a panelist at a 2014 Detroit conference held by the men's rights movement and manosphere organization, A Voice for Men. According to Jessica Roy of Time magazine, Molyneux argued that violence in the world is the result of how women treat their children, and that "If we could just get people to be nice to their babies for five years straight, that would be it for war, drug abuse, addiction, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, ... Almost all would be completely eliminated, because they all arise from dysfunctional early childhood experiences, which are all run by women."[16]

Cult accusations[edit]

According to Steven Hassan, a licensed mental health counselor with experience on cults, "Partly what's going on with the people on the Internet who are indoctrinated, they spend lots of hours on the computer. Videos can have them up all night for several nights in a row. Molyneux knows how to talk like he knows what he's talking about—despite very, very little academic research. He cites this and cites that, and presents it as the whole truth. It dismantles people's sense of self and replaces it with his sense of confidence about how to fix the world."[1]

In 2009, Tu Thanh Ha wrote that Molyneux was called the leader of a "therapy cult" following Freedomain Radio (FDR) community member Tom Bell breaking off all contact with his family.[2] In April 2008, Bell had called in to the show asking about his veganism and his feeling of disgust towards people that eat meat.[17] Molyneux suggested that this disgust could have come from witnessing an authority figure who was cruel to animals.[17] Bell responded by describing memories of his father being verbally and physically cruel to the family cat, causing him to feel intimidated by the father, and then described his emotional detachment toward his mother and the rest of his family.[17]

The following month, Bell left a note stating he no longer wanted contact and left home. It was reported that, of the estimated 50,000 users of the website, about 20 FDR members had also "deFOOed" (disassociate from family of origin), and that many parents chose not to speak to the media in an effort to avoid alienating their children further.[17] A representative of the British Cult Information Centre said they were following FDR, and noted that one sign of cults was that they cut people off from their families. Molyneux responded by saying that "If I advised a wife to leave an abusive husband, there would not be articles about how I am a cult leader."[17]

In 2012, the College of Psychologists of Ontario found Molyneux's spouse, a licensed psychologist who cut off contact with her parents, "guilty of professional misconduct" because she used Molyneux's podcast, "to counsel people to emulate her and sever ties with their families"–to "deFOO".[18] A disciplinary panel sanctioned his wife requiring peer mentoring and cessation of activities with Stefan Molyneux's podcast in any professional aspect. Other sanctions and penalties were given as well, agreed to by his wife.[19]

Molyneux and FOO were the subject of an investigative documentary by Channel 5 in the United Kingdom, which aired on August 20, 2015.[3][20]



  1. ^ a b Collins, Ben (February 5, 2016). Meet the 'Cult' Leader Stumping for Donald Trump. The Daily Beast. Retrieved: October 12, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Ha, Tu Thanh (December 12, 2008). "How a cyberphilosopher convinced followers to cut off family". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Trapped In A Cult?". Channel 5. 2015-08-20. Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  4. ^ a b "Author Stefan Molyneux To Russia, with love". The Mississauga News. Mississauga, Ontario. June 1, 2003. p. Arts & Entertainment: 15. ISSN 0834-6585. OCLC 290997481. Retrieved June 18, 2014 – via NewsBank (Access World News). Molyneux is an Irish-born author who grew up in England and Africa before coming to Canada 25 years ago. 
  5. ^ Johnson, Phil (February 23, 1988). "Horrors! Dracula's at Glendon College". Toronto Star, The. Ontario, Canada. p. Neighbors: N17. Retrieved June 18, 2014 – via NewsBank (Access World News). 
  6. ^ da Costa, Cathy (February 8, 1988). "World Champions at Glendon" (PDF). Pro Tem. York University/Glendon College. p. 4. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c Burg, Robert (May 26, 1997). "Their software keeps tabs on site data". Toronto Star, The. Ontario, Canada. p. Business: D1. Retrieved June 18, 2014 – via NewsBank (Access World News). 
  8. ^ The True Costs of War: Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio speaks at the University of Toronto—YouTube video. Content at 0:57.
  9. ^ "Blue292 acquires Caribou Systems" (Press release). Durham, NC: Blue292. January 28, 2002. Archived from the original on August 2, 2003. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Freedomain Radio – Home". Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  11. ^ Horsager, David (2012). The Trust Edge: How top leaders gain faster results, deeper relationships, and a stronger bottom line. New York: Free Press. pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-1-4767-1137-9. OCLC 820783989. 
  12. ^ Molyneux, Stefan (October 24, 2005). "The Stateless Society An Examination of Alternatives". Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  13. ^ "The Molyneux Problem | Mises Daily". 2012-07-04. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  14. ^ "Mr. Molyneux Responds; Mises Daily". 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  15. ^ a b Hilpern, Kate (November 15, 2008). "You will never see me again". The Guardian. Retrieved January 7, 2009. 
  16. ^ Roy, Jessica (July 2, 2014). "What I Learned as a Woman at a Men's-Rights Conference". Time. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Whipple, Tom (January 10, 2009). "The mother and son torn apart by web 'cult' that destroys families". The Times. London, England. pp. News: 34, 35. Retrieved July 8, 2014 – via NewsBank (Access World News). 
  18. ^ Canada (2012-11-01). "Therapist who told podcast listeners to shun their families reprimanded – The Globe and Mail". Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  19. ^ "CPO – Member Search". 
  20. ^ Daisy Wyatt (2015-08-20). "Trapped In A Cult? – TV review: Disappointing Channel 5 shock-doc fails to come up to scratch | Reviews | Culture". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-11-18. 

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