1. How I First Got Interested In Philosophy
The first serious philosophical questions I ever asked were political ones, starting in mid 2016. I’ve been Atheist for as long as I can remember, and I started out as a mainstream right-winger because my parents raised me that way and it felt more coherent and less contradictory than being left-wing.
One day, I was shown a 2-minute video on black swans and confirmation bias. Before watching that video, I used to use lots of confirmation bias for justifying all my beliefs, regardless of what they were. It felt like my brain was melting the first time that I had to admit that I was wrong about something, but after that, it became easier for me to admit whenever I was wrong about something. I soon realized that when I’m able to admit that I’m wrong, it means that I can stop being wrong and start being right.
In 2017, I became a right-libertarian since I couldn’t reconcile the contradictions I was perceiving in Conservatism. While I now consider Libertarianism to be (mostly) unrealistic, it seemed like a step in the right direction at the time since I was rejecting societal norms that everyone else took for granted.
I didn’t seriously start thinking about philosophy as a whole (including metaphysics, epistemology, axiology, etc) until I was introduced to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism in 2018. Months after my first break up, I still felt depressed. As I was searching the Internet for some advice on how to move on, I came across this website in my search results: groundedlibertarian.com.
Before I came across that website, I had the terribly inaccurate understanding that philosophy was simply a boring subject that consisted of nothing but train-track problems because that’s how philosophy had always been presented to me: trolley problems and pointless ethical questions that have no meaningful application in the real world. In contrast, the way that website was written immediately caught my attention. When my eyes skimmed over all the webpages, I thought “So that’s what philosophy actually is. Why have I never bothered to think about something that is so interesting!”
2. How I Became An Ancap, And Why I Eventually Rejected It
For context, the Objectivist conception of morality preaches that “good” is essentially the same thing as “rational”, that “rationality” is based on what sustains human life, and that humanity is more “good” than “evil”. A few months after being introduced to Objectivism, I became an anarcho-capitalist after watching Larken Rose’s youtube channel. At that point, I believed that: 1. all political authority is illegitimate, 2. taxation is essentially equivalent to slavery, 3. an Anarchist (Voluntaryist) society would have less violence than one ruled by a state, 4. future societies would look down upon government the same way people today look down on slavery, etc. I held those beliefs for the next 1-2 years, and I regret it.
I wasted several hundreds of hours thinking about non-existent problems, asking moral questions that lead to nowhere, and consuming Internet content that only reaffirmed the moral superiority that I thought I had. I was so obsessed with pursuing “objective morality” that I even briefly became vegan for about 5 months, until I realized that veganism was unhealthy, anti-environmental, impractical, and full of contradictions.
In September 2019, I was introduced to Efilism, which improved my philosophy to an extent since I became more aware that: 1. life is violent, 2. objective free will did not exist, and 3. value is subjective. These were the first cracks in my support for Anarcho-Capitalism. In October 2020, I gained a better understanding of Georgism, and how land economics, urban planning, and geopolitics all work, which lead me to fully reject Anarchism.
Around early 2021, I started questioning whether morality was truly objective or not. I was looking around at all sorts of different ideological subreddits that had completely different morals from one another. I wasn’t morally dogmatic since I wasn’t an Ancap anymore, so I was viewing all the different ideological communities more similarly to how a sociologist or descriptive ethicist would (“What do people think is right?”). The more I thought about it in my observations, and more it seemed that morality didn’t have an objective basis. I already knew that value was subjective, but the last pair of dots I still had yet to connect within my belief network is that morality is based on values, not reason. Just because something is “moral”, that doesn’t make it reasonable, and vice versa.
3. How I Became Georgist
I was strongly opposed to Georgism when I first heard of it because I was an Ancap at the time. But when I saw Ancaps debating against Georgists on Reddit, I noticed that the Georgists always had better arguments that were more economically detailed than the Ancaps’ arguments, and the Ancaps would always give up in the debates eventually. u/haestrod, u/green_meklar, and u/jdkeith in particular were really knowledgeable, and they were always willing to go the long haul in these text debates. Prior to learning about Georgism, I never realized how important urban planning was. I was never taught anything about it in school, and since I was an Anarchist, I was inclined to believe that urban planning wasn’t worth studying since it was controlled by governments and partially structured according to various taxation schemas, which I thought were evil at the time.
The only reason why I was ever opposed to taxation in the first place was because it deprives people of the fruits of their labor. But land is not created by labor. After connecting these two facts in my mind, I had to seriously question why I was against Land Value Tax in the first place, and it created cognitive dissonance for me:
- Taxation is slavery with extra steps if it deprives people of the fruits of their Labor.
- Land is not created by Labor.
Conclusion: Land Value Taxes are not theft nor slavery because Land is not created by Labor.
After I realized this, I finally understood the importance of land distribution, urban planning, and geography / geopolitics in political philosophy. This caused me to reject Anarcho-Capitalism, and I’ve been Georgist ever since.
In hindsight, the best and earliest time to have introduced me to Georgism would’ve been before or around the same time that I became Libertarian, since I didn’t have any reasons to oppose taxation and I was in search of another political ideology to identify and conform with. It’s less likely that I ever would’ve had an Anarchist phase if I became Georgist beforehand.
4. How I Discovered Efilism, And Why I Eventually Rejected It
In November 2018, I came across a random person on r/ShitStatistsSay who claimed that giving birth to children violates the NAP because the parents are creating the child without their consent. r/ShitStatistsSay is an echo chamber, although I didn’t realize it at the time. The reddit user who spoke out got downvoted to oblivion by all the morally-righteous Libertarians and Ancaps visiting that sub.
However, I didn’t downvote him, even though I was inclined to disagree. I believed that he had a legitimate criticism against a socially-acceptable practice that violates the NAP, and I thought it was intellectually dishonest that everybody else was ruthlessly attacking that guy with nothing but insults and Ad Hominem Fallacies. Since he brought up Antinatalism, I decided to lurk around the r/Antinatalism subreddit. Antinatalism seemed like a very interesting and eye-opening way of looking at the world, and it resurfaced in my mind every few weeks after I learned about it. At that point, I briefly saw Inmendham’s Efilist youtube channel, but there were literally thousands of videos on that channel that were several hours long, so I couldn’t grasp what Inmendham was talking about from just looking over all the video thumbnails and titles. I understood that Efilism was pro-antinatalism, but if Inmendham had just placed a summary description about Efilism somewhere where I would’ve seen it, I would’ve found out what Efilism actually is about a year earlier. Note that this is the main reason why I am adamant that my website’s homepage should have descriptions of what it’s linking to, so that the links can catch people’s attention and give the readers a preview into what the linked content talks about.
In September 2019, I had another periodic moment where I was wondering about Antinatalism again, and I came across the Efilism Fandom Wiki (the original site was taken down by Fandom.com, but that link shows an archived version of what it showed). At that point, I finally understood that Efilism is a full-blown philosophy comprised of reductive physicalism, determinism, unintelligent design, acknowledgment of wild animal suffering and biological zero sum games, extreme negative utilitarianism, pro-Benevolent-World-Exploder, and so on. While Ancaps reject and ignore the violent nature of life because they’re ignorant and privileged to have grown up in a relatively safe environment created by the rule of law, Efilists don’t overlook the intrinsic violence of nature at all and they talk about it all the time, so discovering Efilism created a lot of contrast in my thinking.
For a couple of years, it seemed that Efilism might’ve been the objective moral standard that I had been chasing after. It was very depressing to think that there was a strong possibility that the most reasonable and morally objective thing for me to do would be to throw away everything I had worked towards up to that point in my life, and devote myself towards the cause of destroying the Earth. Efilism made me feel nihilistic and depressed to an extent since I didn’t have any good arguments against it at the time, and this was frustrating since Efilism goes against my biological intuitions. I’ve always wanted to have children and hope that the human race continue among the stars.
Some time after Adam Lanza’s Youtube channel had been discovered, I found Blithering Genius’s Youtube channel, since he was one of the few people on the Internet who was talking about Adam Lanza’s philosophy and motivations. I was finally able to firmly reject Efilism after I watched “Efilism: Arguing the Argument” and read “What is Morality?”. I was very happy to finally have a philosophy that didn’t contradict my own desires and biological intuitions, especially one that caused me to explore all my unexamined assumptions. While I wish I had discovered Blithering Genius’s content at an earlier date, it’s kind of thing that I had a chance to explore philosophy independently by myself, since I feel that it enabled me to brainstorm a lot of ideas that I would’ve otherwise never conceived.