Lifestyle • Politics • Culture
June 11, 2023
Guest contributors: freedomain

A long-lost article...


Libertarianism centers around the nonaggression principle and a respect for property rights, which are derived from the axiom of self-ownership. The nonaggression principle states that it is immoral to initiate the use of force, although proportional and just responses to the initiation of force are acceptable, in the form of self-defense.

Libertarians condemn social institutions which violate the nonaggression principle and property rights. Taxation, national debts, fiat currency, unjust invasions, and the persecution and incarceration of nonviolent citizens through drug laws – all these have been roundly and soundly criticized by libertarians through the decades.

The one thing that all these institutions have in common is that we, as individuals, can do next to nothing to oppose them. Even as a collective movement, not only has libertarianism been unable to shrink the unjust power of the State, but it’s hard to see how the movement has even slowed the rate of its growth.

Libertarianism is fundamentally a moral philosophy with political implications – however, some libertarians have a habit of focusing on the political implications, which cannot be changed by any individual, and avoiding the personal implications of the moral philosophy, which can be put into practice by everyone.

For instance, while countless books have been written analyzing economics from a libertarian or Austrian perspective, very few have been written about how to apply Libertarian morality to parenting. Ayn Rand touched on parenting in a throwaway scene at Galt’s Gulch in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ and Murray Rothbard reaffirmed the right of adult children to leave abusive parents in ‘Kids Lib,’ but I do not know of any major work by a Libertarian or Objectivist focusing on parenting. Nathaniel Branden has touched on the subject in a few articles, but does not mention any particular discipline techniques.

Very few libertarians become bank robbers or Federal Reserve Chairmen (but I repeat myself). By far the most common aggression Libertarians will ever personally use or experience is the disciplining of children. This is a moral question central to our lives as parents, yet it has to my knowledge never been addressed in Libertarian literature.

So – in terms of practical morality, the most essential question for libertarians to discuss is: does spanking violate the nonaggression principle?

The nonaggression principle basically states that it is immoral to initiate the use of aggressive force against another human being. Clearly, spanking is the initiation of force, in that it is not used in self defense, but rather as a form of discipline or punishment for children.

Spanking is hitting a child with the goal of deterring behavior. In order to be effective, spanking must inflict sufficient pain to alter behavior, and so mild swats to a padded bottom cannot be considered spanking. Spanking must result in sufficient physical and emotional pain for the child to fear it as a punishment.

Since spanking is the initiation of force, and cannot be excused under the category of immediate self defense, it would seem to be a violation of the nonaggression principle, and thus immoral – however, there are times when the initiation of force can be considered moral, or at least not immoral, and these have to do with the defense of another person’s well-being.

For instance, if a blind man is walking into a busy street, it can’t be considered evil to stop him from getting creamed by a bus, even if we have to tackle and bruise him to do so. In the same way, if you require an emergency tracheotomy, and cannot give your consent, is not quite the same as being stabbed if a handy surgeon takes a knife to your throat.

Certain actions would seem to be morally appropriate even though they violate the nonaggression principle, just as other actions could be morally appropriate even if they violate property rights, such as the example of a man hanging from a flagpole who kicks in a window and climbs into someone’s apartment rather than fall to his death. Not many of us would argue that the hanging man should respect the apartment dweller’s property rights and fall to create a morally perfect stain on the sidewalk below.

Thus the initiation of force does not violate the nonaggression principle if the following conditions are met:

  • It is an unforeseeable crisis
  • The initiation of force is the only possible remedy
  • The ‘victim’ would almost certainly give his consent in the moment if it were possible
  • The victim gives his consent after the fact

The reason for these standards is fairly simple – morality is universal, and thus is independent of time, and so it is irrelevant whether an aggressive action is approved of before or after the event. Everyone who perpetrates aggressive actions is in a sense gambling on the reaction of the victim, because if the victim likes the aggression, the perpetrator will not face any legal retaliation for his actions.

There are of course situations that can arise where the person initiating aggression ends up misjudging the intentions of another person – if I pull back a drunk staggering towards a cliff edge, he may thank me, or he may be enraged at my prevention of his suicide attempt. Reasonable standards of anticipation should be the rule here. If the vast majority of people would prefer to be pulled back from a cliff edge, it is reasonable to pull someone back – if the man really wants to commit suicide, then he should approach the cliff edge when no one else is around, otherwise his actions could be easily construed as a twisted cry for help.

So, if an aggressive action does not fulfill the four standards outlined above, then it is almost certainly a violation of the nonaggression principle, and therefore immoral.

Let’s look at these one by one, to figure out where spanking lands on the moral spectrum.

An Unforeseeable Crisis

Many parents who spank claim that it is a reasonable reaction to an imminent crisis, such as a child reaching for a pot of boiling water on the stove.

This is not a valid argument, for several reasons.

First, it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure a safe environment for their children, therefore it seems hard to justify hitting a child for the negligence of the parents. Basic childproofing requires that only the back burners be used on the stove, and that the handle be pointed toward the wall, rather than toward the kitchen. In the same way, cupboards, drawers, stairs, electrical outlets and so on should all be protected through child safety devices.

It is hard to imagine any dangerous action a child could take that could never have been anticipated or prevented by the parent, either through patient coaching or childproofing.

Also, any parent who is close enough to a child to hit him for reaching for a pot of boiling water is also close enough to pick up or move the child away in a nonviolent mannerway, which immediately eliminates the danger.


The initiation of force is the only possible remedy

As mentioned above, if a child is in imminent danger, and the parent is close enough to hit, then the parent is close enough to pursue nonviolent remedies to the situation. Furthermore, dangerous situations that are the result of my negligence do not excuse me from the results. If I don’t repair my failing brakes, and this causes me to crash my car into your house, I cannot blame the brakes.

The initiation of force can only be excused in an emergency if it is the only possible remedy – if I’m choking on a fishbone, and the Heimlich maneuver does not work, and the only chance I have for survival is an emergency tracheotomy, so be it. If I have a mild cough at my dinner table, and someone stabs me in the throat, that’s just plain assault.

Since the initiation of force is not the only possible remedy when a child is in a dangerous situation, it does not fulfill this requirement for moral justification.


The ‘victim’ would almost certainly give his consent in the moment if it were possible

Well, first of all, it is possible for the child to give his consent to being spanked, since there is no immediate time pressure for action. A child can certainly express his or her wishes, assuming an appropriate age – but of course spanking is only considered effective if it is thoroughly against the child’s wishes. Therefore spanking also fails this test.


The victim gives his consent after the fact

This one is very tricky, since many children who were spanked grow up into adults who claim that spanking was very effective in eliciting and maintaining good behavior. “My parents spanked me, and I turned out fine!” “My parents spanked me because I was a disobedient child with no discipline, and I became very well behaved and disciplined as a result, and so I am very happy that they did spank me.” “I deserved spanking because I was disobedient.”

This certainly could be considered the victim giving his consent after the fact, but there are some important caveats or restrictions on this.

First of all, it assumes that spanking is not abusive, in that it is only the perspective of the victim that determines the morality of the situation, which is not a valid principle. Many citizens are fine with paying taxes; this does not make taxation moral. There are countless examples of women who had been verbally and/or physically abused by their husbands who stay, and even claim to love their husbands – this does not mean that physical and verbal abuse suddenly become morally acceptable. The Stockholm Syndrome is a well-known psychological phenomenon in which the victim of violence and abuse emotionally bonds with the abusers, and may even fight to defend them from justice.

Secondly, aggression which impairs judgment cannot easily be excused by the victim. To take an extreme example, if a man is forced to submit to a frontal lobotomy, and afterwards, claims to have no moral problem with the operation, we cannot take his word at face value, since his cognitive abilities have been enormously harmed by the procedure he was subjected to.

Also, propaganda dilutes clarity of thought – that is its real purpose of course. A 20-year-old man who was raised in Russia in the 1950s would likely profess great affection for communism and Joseph Stalin, but his perspective was not arrived at through a process of independent, sovereign and free inquiry. Amish children cannot grow up with independent and critical thinking about the Amish religion, and so we must rationally apply an extra layer or two of skepticism to their adult pronouncements about the forms of thought that they were indoctrinated with as children.

Children raised in heavily religious households would also very likely have been subjected to heavy propaganda about physical punishment due to the general conception of the Biblical commandment that to spare the rod is to spoil the child.

Furthermore, since spanking has been scientifically linked to lower IQs, it is mildly analogous to the frontal lobotomy example, in that it can impair cognitive abilities to the point where any judgments about spanking that come from the victims of spanking are at the very least suspect.

Spanking also creates many emotional and social problems, from depression to anxiety to self-destructive rebelliousness to increased aggression towards other children, a decreased capacity to form positive and healthy relationships, and so on.

Thus, since we know that spanking can create irrational bonds with the perpetrators, lowers intelligence, impairs social development, reduces the possibility of positive and healthy relationships, and increases risks of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, it is certainly more difficult to get objective approvals from the victims many years after being spanked. Rather than rely on self-reporting, we must defer to the objective science on the effects of spanking.

This problem is only compounded by the fact that, at least in my experience, very few people who claim to approve of spanking after-the-fact have any knowledge about the negative effects it has likely had on their intellectual, emotional and social development.

I will be much more prone to forgive someone for stealing a cardboard box of mine if I do not know that my wife was using it to store $20,000 worth of our gold. In other words, if I’m not fully apprised of the negative effects of an aggressive action, it is not possible for me to provide an objective judgment of that action.

Thus, the standards of acceptance for spanking would have to be, at a minimum:

  • A reasonably detailed knowledge of the objective effects of spanking on the development of children.
  • A reasonable amount of time in professional therapy to ensure that any irrational attachments have been addressed.
  • A philosophical understanding of the basic fact that personal approval does not equal moral justification.

Common Spanking Defenses

“Kids Can’t/Won’t Listen to Reason”

How do you know your kids won’t listen to reason? If you spank your kids because they won’t listen to reason, you’re not exactly finding out if they can listen to reason in that moment, are you? The science is not in your favor here, since babies can process mathematical odds at 9 months, show empathy at 14 months, and perform basic moral reasoning at 18 months.

This position would have at least some credibility if spanking was preceded by years of failed reasoning attempts – but if the spanking comes first, it becomes a classic self-fulfilling prophesy. Since spanking tends to lower IQ and provoke defiance and evasion, it sure looks like it’s “needed” because kids don’t listen to reason – but that’s like saying I need to spank my kids because they don’t speak Mandarin, when I have never exposed them to Mandarin.

Also, if you believe that your kids can’t listen to reason, are you sure that you as a parent are being perfectly rational? Are you telling them that flags must be saluted and war is heroic and public schools are great and that they have to kiss Aunt Millie even though she smells? Does your behaviour match your commandments? Do you tell your kids that they have to do the right thing even if they don’t feel like it in the moment, and then sit and watch football all Sunday instead of playing with them?

Do you hit them because they hit others? Do you take away their toys and then tell them to respect other people’s property? Do you tell them to respect their mother, while treating their mother disrespectfully?

Remember that children are born as total foreigners to the world you take for granted. They have never heard of America or Europe or Jesus or Krishna or war or prison or history or culture. They are born empirical and striving mightily and endlessly for rationality – delusional is the culture that dares to say that any children who oppose or question cultural norms are by definition “irrational.” That would require something other than culture – it would require a truly rational and philosophical world, and that is something we are still generations away from.

It is very hard to be truly rational in this world. It means rejecting an enormous number of beliefs held by others. It requires great courage, and a deep commitment to reason and evidence at all costs. So – can you look in the mirror and state with absolute certainty that you have to spank your kids because they are irrational, while you are 100% rational?

Also, why is it only children who must be spanked for being irrational? Have you ever been pulled over unfairly by a cop? Harassed by a border guard? Received bad service from an unapologetic waiter or valet? What about your own parents, as they age? Are they becoming any less clear-headed? What about that kinda-sorta racist woman at the office? Isn’t she being irrational? Or that dude next door who won’t support Ron Paul, even though he supports so many of his positions?

So – we can spank those who don’t listen to reason? Well OK, so just let that cop or coworker or neighbour have it! What? No? You’re not rushing out to do that? Why not? You have the moral right on your side!

Irrationality and injustice surround us – and irrational adults have infinitely less justification for their foolishness and inconsistencies than children whose brains are still so very young. So – why pick on kids?


“Kids Brains are Immature”

You say that children must be spanked because their brains are physically immature? All right – if physical mental limitations require spanking, does that mean we must spank elderly people with dementia? What about mentally handicapped adults?

You get that that would be morally repugnant, right? Surely those with physical limitations need more tender care, not more aggression.


“It’s the Only Way Kids Will Listen”

Many parents use the word “listen” when what they really mean is “obey.” What if your kids are listening to you, but just disagree with you? What if they have legitimate criticisms of your values and/or behaviour? Is that all right?


“It Teaches Children ‘Respect'”

Again, the word “respect” is used, when “obedience” is usually the goal. Respect, of course, must be granted before it can be requested. If you treat your children with respect, you can reasonably ask for mutual regard – if you spank them, frightening them into compliance with your size and strength, you are only compelling them into obedience against their will and judgment; you are not treating them with respect.

The goal of parenting is to create self-sufficient virtues in children. Applying external pressure and punishments tends to teach them fear-based compliance rather than the internalization of moral standards.

If spanking worked, then its use should quickly curtail. 40% of high school students are still being spanked by their parents, which is proof against the idea that spanking allows children to internalize values. Spanking causes compliance and resentment, obedience and resistance, which is why its use tends to increase over time – or at least not decrease.



According to the standards outlined in this essay, spanking is a clear violation of the non-aggression principle, and thus an immoral action.

This is not to say that all parents who spank are immoral. Morality requires knowledge; if all parents who spank are immoral, then all libertarians were immoral before they discovered libertarianism. Most people need exposure to the argument that taxation is theft before they can reasonably be held morally responsible for understanding the violent basis of the state. It is only within the last few decades that serious moral and scientific objections to spanking have spread within society, and patience and persistence is the key to convincing others of this essential and actionable moral reality.

That having been said, however, now that you have read this essay, you need to refute these arguments and disprove the science, or stop spanking. If you lacked knowledge and clarity before, you deserve sympathy. If you cannot refute these arguments, and continue to spank, you have no excuse anymore.

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October 03, 2023

From the mountain Rigi in Switzerland.🙂

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Stefan @freedomain,
In the recent FORGIVE YOURSELF video, you said that you didn't ask for donations during the pandemic.
But you did ask for donations during the pandemic. Here's one example of many: 9:35
I'm trying to understand whether you are mistaken or flat-out lying to your customers.


The book is coming along very well - page and word count is below.

We have assembled and organized all the sections - I am starting a readthrough this weekend to blunt some of the sharper edges, and to make sure it flows well.

Please have a look at the Table of Contents below (there are a few sections at the bottom that still need a home) and let me know what you think! (The numbers to the right are page numbers of course.)

If you would like to help support the book, please visit - thank you so much!




Prologue            6

Introduction       16

PART 1: THEORY            

Peaceful Parenting: What Is It?   32

What The World Should Be         35

The Evolution of Abuse  59

Entitlement        66

But My Childhood…        78

Humanity Versus Power 81

The Rules of Peaceful Parenting  90

The Ethics of Peaceful Parenting 97

   What If My Children Lie to Me?  100

   Credibility Is the Opposite of Vanity         106


PART 2: PRACTICE          

Parenting and General Integrity  108

Parenting and Moral Instruction 113

Peaceful Parenting and Ego         115

Peaceful Parenting and the Voluntary Family       121

   Preferences and Identity              127

   Benefits of Having Children         133

Discipline without Violence         135

   Imposing Standards        143

Peaceful Parenting and Sleep      146

   Start Early          146

   Self Soothing     146

   Simple Sleep Steps          147

   Does sleep training require ‘cry it out’?   147

Peaceful Parenting and Timeouts             148

What is a timeout?         149

Sibling Aggression           153

Compliance and the Teenage Years          159

Peaceful Parenting: Clean Your Room!     163

   Why Is It Important?       164

   Have I Modelled the Behaviour I Want in My Children?            169

Peaceful Parenting and Peer Pressure      171

Family and Bullying        175

Siblings 179

   Brothers             180

   Sisters   180

   Sibling Potential               183

Extended Family and Peaceful Parenting 186

   Extended Family             189

   Dealing with Family Bullies          190

   Family Loyalties 192

   Blowback from Boundaries          195

How to Apologize           196

   Apologizing to Children  204

   Restitution         213

Child Abuse and Power  217

Peaceful Parenting and Reconciliation     224

Defining the Cycle of Abuse         234

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse        246

The Effects of Child Abuse over the Lifespan         248

Neglect 250

   The Effects of Neglect    251

   Sadism and Neglect        257

Empathy             260

Strength             268

Moral Clarity      270



Does Society Love its Children?   271

   Empirical Priorities          271

   The Dangers of Smoking vs the Dangers of Child Abuse        273

   Spending on Child Abuse Awareness       274

   National Debts, Unfunded Liabilities and Children             278

   Spanking versus Covid    281

   Government Schools and Child Abuse     281

Adverse Childhood Experiences  315

   Prevalence of ACEs         315

   ACEs and Health             317

Global Prevalence of Child Abuse             317

   How often are children under the age of 2 hit?              318

Root Causes of Adult Dysfunction            318

The Detrimental Effects of Physical Abuse            318

Physical Punishment as a Predictor of Early Cognitive Development  319

   Physical Abuse and Stress Responses       322

   Spanking and IQ              323

   School Corporal Punishment and Its Associations with Achievement and Adjustment  323

   Physical Punishment as a Predictor of Early Cognitive Development  324

   Spanking: Conclusions [add more]           324

Mother's Weight and its Link to Diabetes             324

Early Parent Child Bond and Stress: (Return to Chapter)             325

We Cannot Survive Without Touch: (The Effects of Neglect)             327

   The Experiment on Language Isolation    327

Parts of the Brain Associated with Empathy (Return to chapter)             328

The Environmental Impact of Divorce:     329

   Overall Carbon Footprint of Divorce        331

   The Financial Impact of Divorce  331

The Bomb in the Brain   333

Adverse Childhood Experiences  334

   The Silent Scars: Verbal Abuse and Its Consequences    335

   The Soul Denied and Rejected: The Insidious Trauma of Neglect          338

   The Gravest Evil: Confronting Child Sexual Abuse and Its Impact      342

      The Unspoken Truth       342

      Understanding the Prevalence    342

   The Grave Ramifications              346

   Longer-Term Impacts of Childhood Sexual Abuse   347

Child Abuse and Early Onset Menstruation           347

Brain Alterations: How Child Abuse Reshapes Neural Pathways            348

The Effects of Child Abuse on One's Genes           354

Obesity and Health: The Physical Consequences of Emotional Wounds         357

Childhood Trauma and Biological Disruption        363

Key Components and Processes: 365

   The LHPA Axis and Childhood Trauma: Key Points   366

   Meta-analyses indicate: 366

   Childhood Trauma and Biological Stress Systems              367

   Influence of Trauma Timing and Duration              368

   Childhood trauma responses link to diverse biological stress regulation          368

   Biological stress system responses to childhood trauma are impacted by genetic components       369

   Epigenetic elements influence the biological stress system reactions to childhood trauma              370

   Gender differences impact how childhood trauma affects biological stress systems  371

   Heart Disease and Cancer            373

Sleep Disruptions: The Overlooked Consequence of Child Abuse        375

Risky Business: Promiscuity and Drug Abuse        377

   Promiscuity        377

   Drug Abuse (Including Alcohol)   379

The Incline towards Risky Behaviors and Criminality              382

   ACEs and Suicide:            382

   ACEs and Criminality      383

Beneath the Surface: Children Navigating the Waters of Parental Divorce         385

   The Disruption of Stability           386

   Loss of Trust       386

   Divorce: Educational and Social Impacts  387

   The Psychological Toll     387

Overall Negative Outcomes: The Life Cut Short    387

Bomb in the Brain: Conclusion    389

From Shadows to Sunlight: Dialogues that Mend the Soul       389

   The Ghosts of Childhood             389

   Talk Therapy: A Beacon in the Dark          390

How Peaceful Parenting Protects Children            393

Predators: How They Operate     394

   Basic Information on Offenders  394

   Selection of Victims        394

   Recruitment of Victims (Outside of Immediate Families)            395

   Location of Abuse           396

   Strategies Used 396

   First Move Made             397

      During First Sexual Contact          397

     Maintenance of Victims 397

     Offenders Preparation for The Abuse Immediately Prior to Offending  397

     Offenders Feelings and Concerns About the Abuse From The Offender's POV       398

     Offender's Own History  398

     Reliability Assessment    398

   11 Major Grooming Categories (from MOQ)              399

The Importance of Sleep             402

Parental Excuses            408

   General Principles for Excuses     408

  “It Wasn’t That Bad”      410

   “If I could go back, I would do it better, but I can't, so let's just move forward.”            411

   “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!”           412

   “How was I supposed to know…”             412

   “Wait till college to date?……You knew I was joking.” 413

   “You don’t listen anyway….”        413

   “As long as you live under my roof, I make the rules!”   414

   “Do as I Say, Not as I Do!”            415

   “You had a better childhood than I did.”  415

   “It hurts me more than it hurts you!”      416

   Christians and Proverbs 13:24    417

   “Other kids have it a lot worse than you…”              418

   “You don't know how difficult it is... You'll understand when you become a parent!”              418

   "You and your siblings fought all the time!"              418

   "You all drove us crazy!" 418

   "We didn't know what else to do!"          418

   “That’s how I was raised!”           419

   “The Bible instructs parents to spank their kids, this is for your own good” my parents would say.          420

   "Well so-and-so was disciplined and turned out just fine!"    420

   “If we didn't beat you, you would have done ‘xyz’ immoral or illegal thing!”    421

   “This person turned out badly because he was not spanked enough as a child!” 422

   “It’s hard to be a peaceful parent when they’re not being peaceful kids!”             423

   “I was spanked  - and I turned out fine!” 425

   “Kids need to learn to respect and obey their parents!”            426

   "I didn't want to only be a parent. I wanted to have a career too!"         427

   "I'm not a perfect parent, but (s)he's not a perfect kid either!"         429

   "Kids are resilient. They'll survive."          430

   "I didn't know you were unhappy!"          431

   "I always tried to listen to you kids!"        432

   "I've become a better person since then!"              434

   "I'll always be your mother, I deserve forgiveness!"      435

   "The parenting books/therapist at the time said to let you work it out on your own!"              435

   “I guess I didn’t do anything right!”         436

   My mother used to say: "One day you'll thank me for this" after beating me when I was a child.     437


Bibliography      440


Needs a Home:  446

Free play and executive function.             446

Twin Differences in Harsh Parenting Predict Youth’s Antisocial Behavior          446

The enduring effect of maltreatment on antisocial behavior          447

“Thirty-nine infants with rib fractures were identified. Thirty-two (82%) were caused by child abuse. “     447




Read full Article
A continuance of my start of the autobiography...

Childhood Illnesses

My mother used to have hippies come visit – I remember their names, and the general timber of their conversations, but it is impossible to replicate their words in any specific detail, so much time has passed. The early parts of my life, as I re-create them here, seem less of a documentary, and more of a “based on a true story” narrative – I suppose that is inevitable, given the number of years that have passed, my lack of desire or ability to consult with those who were there – or to trust what they would say, and the nature of memory itself, which is a narrative designed to protect us in the future, rather than objectively identify the past.

These hippies had the typical Jim-Morrison-Jesus-beard look going, and seemed vaguely indifferent to personal hygiene, and ate enormously, and scratched endlessly, and listened raptly, barely blinking, while barely seeming to take in any words at all.

They sat around our dining room table, devouring loaves of sour, black German bread, fingering their ears, gesturing with shiny fingertips, each attempting to climb on the mad platonic language of the others, to create a near-infinite tower of Babel of polysyllabic meaninglessness.

Their conversations – for want of a better word – generally centred around the dismantling of sense-evidence in the unraveling of any kind of objective metaphysics. Everyone had a story about a friend who had foreseen some terrible event – thus dismantling the objectivity of time. Other stories involved secondhand reports of psychic experiences – thus dismantling the objectivity of science and language. (Also evolution – any tribe which somehow developed the capacity to silently transfer thoughts would have dominated the planet, since they would be so much better at hunting and war.)

Other times, they would discuss the inevitable “higher realities” – the word had to be plural, because one higher reality would not be nearly enough for their fevered imaginations.

They were highly verbally adept, but utterly undisciplined intellectually. Their words were compelling – I sat sometimes on my mother’s lap, sometimes on a chair, and sometimes on the floor, watching their legs jiggling under the table, as if they were slowly pumping up the helium nonsense of their language – but nothing they described had any kind of centre.

This was quite common in the 70s – it didn’t just happen in my home. UFOs, pyramids, psychic phenomena, radical environmentalism, Marxism, socialism, leftism of every kind, feminism – all sorts of randomized ideas floated through the social ether. It’s sort of felt like the giant brains of Western civilization had cut loose their moorings, and now floated like hot air balloons in a landscape without gravity, in both senses of the word.

As an adult, when I worked a human resources, I went to a conference, and gave a speech, with no real knowledge about what I was talking about. I just spewed up some platitudes and arguments and data, and got warm applause and positive feedback, which left me with little respect for the discipline of human resources. I couldn’t imagine doing that at a physics conference, for instance.

What were the standards of truth in these wild and woolly conversations? What did it mean to be accurate, or in error? No one ever really disagreed with anyone else – but no one ever really agreed with the specifics of what was said, but only the generalities, the general methodology. If I had been older, and wiser in the ways of philosophy, I would have argued back against the crazed assertions and undisciplined chains of pseudo-logic – and then, as one, they would have united against me, having finally found someone they could call wrong and blind and prejudiced and narrowminded. Any mad statement could be made with impunity, but any demand for reason and evidence was met with outright contempt and hostility...



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The first part of my autobiography...

All about me, for those who have an interest to know, is summed up in the fact that I grew up facing down a near-infinite dragon of madness.

To be surrounded by madness is to never be at peace, but to never be at open war either. It is a constant battle of wills, which rarely flares into open combat and hatred.

To be raised by madness is to be like being clay and attempting - by reason alone - to resist the mad manipulations of an insane potter. Madness strives to drive rationality out of the human soul as a priest drives a demon from a shaking body.

Madness is a form of vanity, a hysteria of self-regard, which places the survival of the moment far above the sanity of the future.

Madness is a pathology of avoidance of criticism – which doubtless stems from an excess of self-hatred. Madness is a form of interpersonal domination, and can never leave those around it well enough alone. Madness fails and falters in the face of mere empirical sensual reality – it can only survive by reproducing in the minds of others. If it is a fish, the world is air, and its children are water.

Madness repels, and thus must breed, so it does not end up alone. Madness is so repulsive that it must propagandize, otherwise the voluntarism of recoiling relationships might heal its endless deviations.

My family’s madness was most centered around my mother, and my mother’s madness is difficult of course for me to diagnose, as it must be for anyone, because it is a kind of quicksilver that resists and avoids any fencing in through language, or even basic cause-and-effect.

My mother was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1937, and it’s hard to imagine a worse time in history to draw your first breath. Totalitarianism, insistent propaganda and warmongering, shortages and hysteria and the gathering fists of war, all closing around the population. Hitler did not ban Germans from leaving Germany, unlike many communist countries, and I suppose my grandparents decided to cross their fingers and wait it out.

It was a bad idea.

The first thousand-plane raid of the second world war occurred over Dresden in 1944, and took the life of my grandmother, who had an important job of some kind, and stayed in the city for work purposes, while her husband and my mother fled.

According to my mother, when they returned the next day, their house was completely destroyed, and the only thing they found of my grandmother’s was the clasp of her purse – she had been completely vaporized, it seems.

I had few stories of the war from my mother – madness hides its origins, just as a squirrel hides nuts in the winter, to sustain itself. One I remember was that she had to flirt with and cuddle up to a Soviet tank commander, for fear that he would destroy the village she was in. This would be when she was seven or eight years old, which shows a remarkable resourcefulness, and even courage – at the expense of any kind of sane progression of childhood maturation.

My mother left Germany as soon as she could, and worked as a courier on airplanes, delivering packages around the world – on one such trip, she met my father. She enjoyed his wit and intelligence, he enjoyed her conversational skills and diaphanous female beauty, and they merged together like hugging ghosts...


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