Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men


WhiteIndian's picture

I have a hypothesis that reading Ayn Rand novels and Objectivist/Libertarian Literature whereby one learns to deliberately suppress empathy and altruism has much the same effect as these violent video games upon the brain.

Psychopaths have much the same MRI results as observed in the article. Current science considers psychopathy an "organic" brain "malfunction," but I wonder how much of it is just an adaptation to the hyper-aggressive and violent nature of agricultural city-Statism, especially the intense industrial civilization that is destroying the home planet and human health and well-being (save for the few at the top of the hierarchy who benefit.)

AtlasAikido's picture

Monsters incubated and propagated by Govt have everything to do with the practice of altruism (sacrifice) and nothing to do with the man who neither sacrifices himself to others nor sacrifices others to himself. The anti-concept definition of selfish is accepted as its actual meaning. The idea of a truly selfish man is not part of our culture...

I don't hold Ayn Rand responsible for uncritical zombies--and certainly not sociopaths--nor those who will not help themselves and smoke cigarettes just because Rand smoked. Such have been with us a long time. And they will even join up and perhaps assimilate the unwary with package deals... so alien an idea in our culture that Rand dedicated an entire book to dissolving misconceptions about its meaning and extolling its virtues (The Virtue of Selfishness).

And while some are uncritical, more and more of her Objectivist-Anarchist-Agorist-Autodidact students have stood on Rand's, AND Mises and Thoreau's shoulders to make breakthrus based on their work...

Some Examples:
"Objectivist Resistance to Anarchy: A Problem of Concept Formation?” Column by new Root Striker Carrie Burdzinski.

Even though her description of Galt's Gulch is a functional anarchy (no rulers), Rand abhorred what she thought of as "anarchy" and she explicitly embraced the idea of minimal government. HOWEVER, as George H Smith points out "...Rand's principles, if consistently applied, lead necessarily to a repudiation of government on moral grounds".

Stephan Molyneux's Handbook to Statist.."In the interests of efficiency, I have decided to distill every argument I have ever had with your average statist, so that I can hand it out to *those who argue that government is voluntary*, if I don't like it I can leave, taxation is not violence, etc...

Morris and Linda Tannehill's "The Market for Liberty"
Book review--Freedom Naturally
Making it possible to see thru the political myths men have lived by since Neolithic times. Making it possible to understand that liberty is the mother of order not its daughter and that If revolution comes by violence and advance of light the struggle will have to be begun again.

Walter Block and Wendy McElroy at and

238. Lew Rockwell Attacked By a Parasite
On December 2, 2011, In Podcast, By admin
Standard Podcast
Ron Smith talks to Lew Rockwell until a federal employee intervenes.

Doug Casey--Fresh Starts

And of course myself....

WhiteIndian's picture

First, altruism isn't sacrifice, no matter how Rand twists words. Consult a dictionary. Then consult scholarly scientific research on altruism, especially related to evolutionary biology. (Yes, I know what Rand said; I've got her books, including "The Virtue of Selfishness," along with much of the rest of the libertarian canon in my library.)

Second, sacrifice (and cannibalism) is solely associated with domestication and agriculture (which resulted in city-Statism (civilization.)) Non-State egalitarian bands and tribal foragers, whom Ayn Rand and most other city-Statists denigrate, never practiced sacrifice.

That leaves Rand and company, promoting agricultural city-Statism (civilization) while attributing the sacrifice and cannibalism observed in agricultural hierarchies to primitive Non-State foraging tribes who never practiced it.*

"Check your premises." She would have done well to take her own advice. She got so much so wrong; empirical data debunks many of the false assumptions upon which objectivism, libertarianism, an-caps, agorists, etc. base their philosophy.


A couple good, and easily available-on-line references to back up my assertion, filled with scholarly references in which you can dig deeper, regarding sacrifice, cannibalism, and violence, and their rise with domestication, agriculture, and finally the agricultural city-state (civilization) is as follows:

Future Primitive
John Zerzan

The Thirty Theses
Jason Godesky

AtlasAikido's picture

Yes, it is frustrating that a good word like "no king" in Greek (an-archon) has been destroyed by past association with statist collectivism and initiatory force. And it is frustrating that a system of privately owned resources and free markets could be described by a word like capitalism, except for the long-standing association of that word with cronyism and fascism—the marriage of big government to big business. Nor is it pleasant to suppose that a system of putting people before power structures described by a word like socialism has been associated with statism and power structures to the detriment of people.

But why fret about some words? There are plenty of other words. Or you can invent a new one.

I like "indomitus" as a word for "not part of YOUR system." Or "not enslaved." It is Latin for "savage" but it carries these other meanings. And we can make it mean what we want to.---I like the word "agorism" because it comes with 95 theses, it has a nice ring to it, it hasn't been connected to statism or initiatory force, and it seems like our best path forward.-----Whatever you choose to do, worrying about what labels are used to describe what you do seems like the last thing to do. In general, worry is a wasted emotion.

But this sort of fixation on words is a sort of idolatry. As if getting just the right words were going to fix everything. They won't. The good news is, we don't have to treat words as though they were a scarce world resource. They aren't. New words are invented every day.

State socialism is evil whether you call it capitalism or socialism. Statism is evil whether you identify it with the right or the left. Anarchy is almost certainly a botched word because of its association with chaos and bomb throwing. Socialism is almost certainly a botched word because of its association with state ownership of everything. Capitalism is almost certainly a botched word because of its association with cronyism and fascism.

One of the reasons I like "agorism" so well is that it is not tainted by association with a lot of past indiscretions by people who had their heads firmly stuck in their own rectums. But, look, type the word "agorism" on your Facebook status, or in a comment, and your computer probably identifies it as misspelt, *depending on your browser and whether you've added this word to your dictionary*. It is a new word.

Where did it come from? It comes from the word "agora" which is Greek for market place and forum or gathering place. It was used by Samuel Edward Konkin III (SEK3) to identify his economic and political philosophy of withdrawal from...

There is no magical incantation of just the proper words that is going to cause everyone on the planet to embrace individual liberty, private property, free markets, and lay the foundation for ending the state, freeing the slaves, and stopping the wars. We're going to do those things, and we'll do them using whatever words work with a particular audience. It isn't rational to worship words as though they were going to be our salvation. We should find the ideas that work and use whatever words we need to convey those into each mind we encounter.

After all, every individual is different, and worthy of whatever words are needed to shine the ligth. One size does not fit all.

Paraphrased from
Word Idolatry

In closing, freedom has no system, and it never will. Billions of humans making trillions of decisions could never be harnessed or thoroughly theorized by even the most brilliant voluntaryist thinkers or free market economists. I try not to use the term, “free market system” anymore, because humans trading goods and services is not a system, it’s what humans do. I have abandoned the use of the word “system” completely. Of course, some of the more logical folks out there might say that having no system is a system. Well, for those of you who would say that and discard this whole essay, I would ask you this….

Is there a difference between those who seek to build a system, and those who only seek to build?

Objectivist-Anarchist-Agorist-Autodidact students have stood on Rand's, AND Mises and Thoreau's shoulders to make breakthrus based on their work...And now their students are standing on their students shoulders--Samuel Edward Konkin III and Jim Davidson, and Chris Dates--to make new break thrus...

There is No We: Challenge the Premise.

WhiteIndian's picture

I've got and have read all the deceptive and fantastical "Agorist" literature.

The "Agora" was an open "place of assembly" in ancient Greek male land-owners who were citizens would gather in the Agora for MILITARY duty or to hear statements of the RULING king or council. (wiki)

See what the "Agorist" evangelicals left out?

Oh sure, later, the Agora also served as a marketplace. (wiki)

The "Agorist" premise is false, and they have overlooked some simple facts of empirical observation:

• Humans never have had, and never will have, settlements of 5000+ (civilization) without hierarchical State-level politics.

• Hierarchy begins above 150-500 population as a non-egalitarian chiefdom (the proto-State.)

• Formation of hierarchy is related to neurobiological evolution in the concept of "Dunbar's Number." It's not sin. It's not corruption. It's a neurobiological limit related to brain size.

• Domestication and agriculture are the primary behavior that lead to increased violence, cannibalism, sacrifice, famine, subjugation of women, war in culture after culture.

Agorism is going to work at saving the world about as soon as that famous zombie is going to rapture the elect to heaven. Both of the salvationist hopes to escape the hell of the agricultural city-State (civilization) are founded on false premises.

Agorists wants to magically have the agricultural city-State, without the oppressive political hierarchy. It won't happen any sooner than animated corpses can be conjured.

The State is an integral and inseparable part of the cultural package of agricultural city-Statism (civilization.)

Samarami's picture

This, Atlas, is an excellent response to the naysayers of freedom.

How many there are of us who cannot grasp the idea that we do not need to build a free society. We simply need to be free ourselves.

I think I'd like to rephrase that: I simply need to be free myself. All too often when blogging about "freedom" I find myself wanting to use the most dangerous word in the world: "we". And as your last sentence says, (using my own words) "...if it's going to be it's up to me..."

I can't speak for you. But I can learn from you. And you can learn from me. That's what STR is all about. I think the thesis you've laid out for us above is what gave rise to my use of the term, "...I am a sovereign state..." We've had some argumentation back and forth over the white man's legalese, and I've certainly had some challenges over that declaration even from freemen I truly respect. But it simply means, as Bill Bupert indicated in the "zerogov" essay you linked at the end of your well-thought-out reply: I'm not sure how "society" -- or even you -- or even me for that matter -- will pan out under "freedom". Trial and error may be the game plan some days. But the responsibility for my freedom resides with me and me only.

The hallmark of the white man seems to be obfuscation -- using lots of words to camouflage lack of knowledge or understanding. Wouldn't it be simpler and more honest to say, "I don't know"? Speaking of hallmarks, I believe honesty must be one of the badges of freedom.

I don't know.


Suverans2's picture

"I like "indomitus" as a word for "not part of YOUR system." Or "not enslaved." It is Latin for "savage" but it carries these other meanings." ~ AtlasAikido

A good word, AtlasAikido. Another English synonym for indomitus is untamed; how appropriate, and here's a little something to go along with that, from Noah Webster.

"The savages of America, when uncorrupted by the vices of civilized men, are remarkable for their hospitality to strangers, and for their truth, fidelity and gratitude to their friends, but implacably cruel and revengeful towards their enemies. From this last trait of the savage character, the word came to signify."