SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  The Lounge    Why the Left Is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson

Moderators: Chris Orndorff, LDD
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Why the Left Is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson Login/Join 
I believe in the
principle of
Due Process
Picture of JALLEN
posted
The Canadian psychology professor’s stardom is evidence that leftism is on the decline—and deeply vulnerable

The Atlantic
CAITLIN FLANAGAN

Two years ago, I walked downstairs and saw one of my teenage sons watching a strange YouTube video on the television.

“What is that?” I asked.

He turned to me earnestly and explained, “It’s a psychology professor at the University of Toronto talking about Canadian law.”

“Huh?” I said, but he had already turned back to the screen. I figured he had finally gotten to the end of the internet, and this was the very last thing on it.

That night, my son tried to explain the thing to me, but it was a buzzing in my ear, and I wanted to talk about something more interesting. It didn’t matter; it turned out a number of his friends—all of them like him: progressive Democrats, with the full range of social positions you would expect of adolescents growing up in liberal households in blue-bubble Los Angeles—had watched the video as well, and they talked about it to one another.

The boys graduated from high school and went off to colleges where they were exposed to the kind of policed discourse that dominates American campuses. They did not make waves; they did not confront the students who were raging about cultural appropriation and violent speech; in fact, they forged close friendships with many of them. They studied and wrote essays and—in their dorm rooms, on the bus to away games, while they were working out—began listening to more and more podcasts and lectures by this man, Jordan Peterson.

In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like.

The young men voted for Hillary, they called home in shock when Trump won, they talked about flipping the House, and they followed Peterson to other podcasts—to Sam Harris and Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan. What they were getting from these lectures and discussions, often lengthy and often on arcane subjects, was perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics they had heard in their lives.

That might seem like a small thing, but it’s not. With identity politics off the table, it was possible to talk about all kinds of things—religion, philosophy, history, myth—in a different way. They could have a direct experience with ideas, not one mediated by ideology. All of these young people, without quite realizing it, were joining a huge group of American college students who were pursuing a parallel curriculum, right under the noses of the people who were delivering their official educations.

Because all of this was happening silently, called down from satellites and poured in through earbuds—and not on campus free-speech zones where it could be monitored, shouted down, and reported to the appropriate authorities—the left was late in realizing what an enormous problem it was becoming for it. It was like the 1960s, when kids were getting radicalized before their parents realized they’d quit glee club. And it was not just college students. Not by a long shot.

Around the country, all sorts of people were listening to these podcasts. Joe Rogan’s sui generis show, with its surpassingly eclectic mix of guests and subjects, was a frequent locus of Peterson’s ideas, whether advanced by the man himself, or by the thinkers with whom he is loosely affiliated. Rogan’s podcast is downloaded many millions of times each month. Whatever was happening, it was happening on a scale and with a rapidity that was beyond the ability of the traditional culture keepers to grasp. When the left finally realized what was happening, all it could do was try to bail out the Pacific Ocean with a spoon.

The alarms sounded when Peterson published what quickly became a massive bestseller, 12 Rules for Life, because books are something that the left recognizes as drivers of culture. The book became the occasion for vicious profiles and editorials, but it was difficult to attack the work on ideological grounds, because it was an apolitical self-help book that was at once more literary and more helpful than most, and that was moreover a commercial success. All of this frustrated the critics. It’s just common sense! they would say, in one arch way or another, and that in itself was telling: Why were they so angry about common sense?

The critics knew the book was a bestseller, but they couldn’t really grasp its reach because people like them weren’t reading it, and because it did not originally appear on The New York Times’s list, as it was first published in Canada. However, it is often the bestselling nonfiction book on Amazon, and—perhaps more important—its audiobook has been a massive seller. As with Peterson’s podcasts and videos, the audience is made up of people who are busy with their lives—folding laundry, driving commercial trucks on long hauls, sitting in traffic from cubicle to home, exercising. This book was putting words to deeply held feelings that many of them had not been able to express before.

It’s hard to think of a best-selling self-help book whose author has not appeared on the classic morning shows; these programs—Today and Good Morning America and CBS This Morning—are almost entirely devoted to the subject of self-help. But the producers did their part, and Peterson did not go to their studios to sit among the lifestyle celebrities and talk for a few minutes about the psychological benefits of simple interventions in one’s daily life. This should have stopped progress, except Peterson was by then engaged in something that can only be compared to a conventional book tour if conventional book tours routinely put authors in front of live audiences well in excess of 2,500 people, in addition to the untold millions more listening to podcasts and watching videos. (Videos on Peterson’s YouTube channel have been viewed, overall, tens of millions of times.) It seemed that the book did not need the anointing oils of the Today show.

The left has an obvious and pressing need to unperson him; what he and the other members of the so-called “intellectual dark web” are offering is kryptonite to identity politics. There is an eagerness to attach reputation-destroying ideas to him, such as that he is a supporter of something called “enforced monogamy,” an anthropological concept referring to the social pressures that exist in certain cultures that serve to encourage marriage. He mentioned the term during a wide-ranging interview with a New York Times reporter, which led to the endlessly repeated falsehood that he believes that the government should be in the business of arranging marriages. There is also the inaccurate belief that he refuses to refer to transgender people by the gendered pronoun conforming to their identity. What he refuses to do is to abide by any laws that could require compelled speech.

There are plenty of reasons for individual readers to dislike Jordan Peterson. He’s a Jungian and that isn’t your cup of tea; he is, by his own admission, a very serious person and you think he should lighten up now and then; you find him boring; you’re not interested in either identity politics or in the arguments against it. There are many legitimate reasons to disagree with him on a number of subjects, and many people of good will do. But there is no coherent reason for the left’s obliterating and irrational hatred of Jordan Peterson. What, then, accounts for it?

It is because the left, while it currently seems ascendant in our houses of culture and art, has in fact entered its decadent late phase, and it is deeply vulnerable. The left is afraid not of Peterson, but of the ideas he promotes, which are completely inconsistent with identity politics of any kind. When the poetry editors of The Nation virtuously publish an amateurish but super-woke poem, only to discover that the poem stumbled across several trip wires of political correctness; when these editors (one of them a full professor in the Harvard English department) then jointly write a letter oozing bathos and career anxiety and begging forgiveness from their critics; when the poet himself publishes a statement of his own—a missive falling somewhere between an apology, a Hail Mary pass, and a suicide note; and when all of this is accepted in the houses of the holy as one of the regrettable but minor incidents that take place along the path toward greater justice, something is dying.

When the top man at The New York Times publishes a sober statement about a meeting he had with the president in which he describes instructing Trump about the problem of his “deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” and then three days later the paper announces that it has hired a writer who has tweeted about her hatred of white people, of Republicans, of cops, of the president, of the need to stop certain female writers and journalists from “existing,” and when this new hire will not be a beat reporter, but will sit on the paper’s editorial board—having a hand in shaping the opinions the paper presents to the world—then it is no mystery that a parallel culture of ideas has emerged to replace a corrupted system. When even Barack Obama, the poet laureate of identity politics, is moved to issue a message to the faithful, hinting that that they could be tipping their hand on all of this—saying during a speech he delivered in South Africa that a culture is at a dead end when it decides someone has no “standing to speak” if he is a white man—and when even this mayday is ignored, the doomsday clock ticks ever closer to the end.

In the midst of this death rattle has come a group of thinkers, Peterson foremost among them, offering an alternative means of understanding the world to a very large group of people who have been starved for one. His audience is huge and ever more diverse, but a significant number of his fans are white men. The automatic assumption of the left is that this is therefore a red-pilled army, but the opposite is true. The alt-right venerates identity politics just as fervently as the left, as the title of a recent essay reproduced on the alt-right website Counter-Currents reveals: “Jordan Peterson’s Rejection of Identity Politics Allows White Ethnocide.”

If you think that a backlash to the kind of philosophy that resulted in The Nation’s poetry implosion; the Times’ hire; and Obama’s distress call isn’t at least partly responsible for the election of Donald Trump, you’re dreaming. And if you think the only kind of people who would reject such madness are Republicans, you are similarly deluded. All across the country, there are people as repelled by the current White House as they are by the countless and increasingly baroque expressions of identity politics that dominate so much of the culture. These are people who aren’t looking for an ideology; they are looking for ideas. And many of them are getting much better at discerning the good from the bad. The Democratic Party reviles them at its peril; the Republican Party takes them for granted in folly.

Perhaps, then, the most dangerous piece of “common sense” in Peterson’s new book comes at the very beginning, when he imparts the essential piece of wisdom for anyone interested in fighting a powerful, existing order. “Stand up straight,” begins Rule No. 1, “with your shoulders back.”

Link




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
 
Posts: 47294 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
While the left is obsessed and self-congratulating themselves about Alex Jones, there's large chunks of the country paying attention to the likes of Peterson, along with Harris, Hirsi-Ali, Shapiro, Rubin, Sommers, Weinstein and Rogan. Many of them have their own podcast or, regular guests of others...and they all make sense of things which is turning the left's talking points on it's head. AND, much to the surprise of the left, they all don't agree with one another, a concept the left has a hard time wrapping their head's around as lock-step agreement is something they expose.

Some are waking up and starting to take notice. Most still have Russia, Clinton, and Charlottesville on their mind, if not then it's Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic-Socialism.
 
Posts: 8014 | Location: Wine Country | Registered: September 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fourth line skater
Picture of goose5
posted Hide Post
I will listen to Peterson every time he speaks. He is very intelligent.


_________________________
She's into malakas, Dino!
 
Posts: 5477 | Location: Pueblo, CO | Registered: July 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Yanert98
posted Hide Post
quote:
As with Peterson’s podcasts and videos, the audience is made up of people who are busy with their lives—folding laundry, driving commercial trucks on long hauls, sitting in traffic from cubicle to home, exercising. This book was putting words to deeply held feelings that many of them had not been able to express before.



The author is right on the money about that. Screw the 'cultrue keepers'.


----------------------------------
“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny
can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses
it with feeling.” - Thomas Sowell
 
Posts: 2270 | Location: Migrating with the Seasons | Registered: September 26, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I believe in the
principle of
Due Process
Picture of JALLEN
posted Hide Post
Federalist
Joy Pullman

In The Atlantic on Thursday, contributing editor Caitlin Flanagan wrote of her liberal son and peers’ fascination with Canadian psychologist and auditorium-packing internet sensation Jordan Peterson.

They “began listening to more and more podcasts and lectures by this man, Jordan Peterson,” she writes. “The young men voted for Hillary, they called home in shock when Trump won, they talked about flipping the House, and they followed Peterson to other podcasts — to Sam Harris and Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan. What they were getting from these lectures and discussions, often lengthy and often on arcane subjects, was perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics they had heard in their lives.”

In this insightful counter-narrative essay attempting to explain “Why the Left Is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson,” she notes Peterson’s listeners are not largely the “alt-right” types often held up to him during hostile media interviews: “the audience is made up of people who are busy with their lives — folding laundry, driving commercial trucks on long hauls, sitting in traffic from cubicle to home, exercising.” Flanagan also memorably writes that these listeners are “pursuing a parallel curriculum.”

“A parallel culture of ideas has emerged to replace a corrupted system,” she writes later. What’s the corrupted system? The political and cultural left that “currently seems ascendant in our houses of culture and art, has in fact entered its decadent late phase, and it is deeply vulnerable.” Identity politics, she says, are one evidence and cause of this corruption.

Flanagan does not delve into why identity politics is a cause and result of corruption, but I have a suggestion. It’s because identity politics, and so much else of what passes for politics and culture today, is largely an elaborate system of virtue signaling. Indeed, scholar William Voegeli has shown in great detail that the left’s entire political program is wasteful, utterly ineffective virtue signaling.

Virtue signaling, of course, is essentially to present the appearance of virtue without its substance. It’s a dressy lie, a form of self-corruption. Its polar opposite is “dangerous” competence, and it is this that Peterson preaches. It’s deadly to the left because the left is anti-comptetence, and pro-corruption. Identity politics is merely the most visible proof of this reality.

Our Self-Appointed Leaders Are Bankrupt

In Aaron Renn’s email newsletter The Masculinist, he writes: “Populism is not our problem today. Our problem is that the American elite, of which many of us could be considered members at some level, is corrupt and inept. There are many good individuals and leaders in this group, but collectively our elite is bankrupt and has failed.” Here’s more from his insightful observations, which he aims specifically at Christians but are applicable outside that sphere as well:

[T]he elite have broken faith with the people they are supposed to be leading … We have a divergent society in which the leadership classes have prospered like never before at the same time much of society has fallen into ruin. At the same time our elite congratulate themselves for being morally superior to the benighted masses …

At precisely the most credentialed moment in world history, we have a competency crisis, due to running things according to politically convenient lies rather than accuracy, competence, and efficiency. The evidence for this is plentiful and within nearly everyone’s common experience. Old dishwashers are more efficient and effective than new ones. So are old showerheads and toilets. Public infrastructure is degrading to shameful conditions despite our historic peak of technical power because, among other things, all the maintenance money has been spent on inflated pensions and pork.

Western education institutions now generally and self-evidently serve not as robust developers of young minds and souls, but of a ridiculously expensive, careerist version of virtue signaling. Schools and colleges routinely graduate people who can hardly read or do math at even an eighth grade level. Large percentages of would-be teachers, all of whom graduated high school and college, cannot pass licensing exams typically set at approximately a fifth- to eighth-grade level that completely ignore key competencies such as knowledge of how to teach reading.

I regularly field articles from people with advanced humanities degrees who ought to have flunked fifth-grade writing. Just about every professor at a non-elite institution can tell similar stories, and even at elite institutions can clearly tell the marked differences in students admitted due to affirmative action, which can be the equivalent of an artificial 400-point SAT score boost.

We the people are well aware that we have to pay for a fat layer of incompetents to pretend to serve us atop the costs of doing things right ourselves. Renn lists many other evidences of the prevalence and heights of corruption among Americans in high levels of responsibility. Consider the revitalized wave of sex scandals among Catholic and evangelical megachurch leaders, and the federal officials refusing to carry out the policies of a duly elected president, to the point of using opposition research as the apparent basis to start a bottomless witch hunt.

The Place to Start Is With Ourselves

Because every society must have leaders, Renn is on a mission to revitalize American leadership, starting with where he and we all must: taking responsibility for his own character. “To make fundamental change in the church and broader society, the educated leadership class must collectively and individually become worthy. That starts with taking responsibility for ourselves and being above reproach and competent in our undertakings.”

This is also Peterson’s attraction, audience, and message. Whatever you think of Peterson, he is clearly competent. His command of general and expertise-specific knowledge is instantly evident, and earns him credibility and authority. The people he’s talking to, who aspire to this themselves, may not be our leaders now, but if they likewise dedicate themselves to the difficult work of excellence, they will be worthy of leadership in the future.

To be fully human and fully worthy of responsibility is to fight your entire life to bring order to chaos, to make an imprint upon the world in some meaningful way, Peterson says. It derives from committing oneself for life to another person and the children you create, sustain, and pass your culture’s accumulated wisdom on to together. And it derives from seeking the ultimate and transcendent truth of life and speaking about it, even if doing so produces pain. You learn to suffer for truth, because that is good. And life is worth nothing if it does not center upon a pursuit of the good, the true, and even the beautiful.

These are old and timeless ideas blessedly familiar to anyone who has had the good fortune to have family, a religious tradition, and teachers willing to pass it on. But clearly many in the West have not been introduced to their own inheritance. Many are orphans with no knowledge or only faint knowledge of their own intellectual and spiritual ancestors and homes. This is a source of the alienation, the hunger, and the loneliness that mark our age.

The ‘Parallel Curriculum’ Is the Real Curriculum

It is not that there is no home to go to, either. Western history is rich with sustenance for mind and soul. Its longevity, richness, and vibrance are proof enough of that. It is that the people who consider themselves our leaders now deliberately strip America’s young of their roots.

Peterson and many others note rightly that most of our universities, and the other cultural institutions they gatekeep such as media and public schools, are anti-education, anti-culture, and anti-American. They gain power by separating people, by not only refusing to cultivate the capacity for self-government, but also actively cultivating intellectual, economic, and spiritual dependency.

This is why, as Flanagan has noticed, a worthy curriculum, an apprenticeship in the deepest wisdom of our heritage, is typically no longer delivered through the West’s “leading” institutions. To gain any real competence, most people must self-educate through a growing “parallel culture of ideas.” Where have we heard this parallelism language before? Among the anti-Communists of Eastern Europe, for one.

The associate of Czech leader Vaclav Havel, Vaclav Benda, wrote of anti-totalitarian dissidents consciously developing a “parallel polis” specifically focused on self-education and friendship in another society in which the formal institutions had been corrupted beyond repair. (Polis is an ancient Greek word roughly translated as “a tight-knit, familial local community dedicated to the common good.”) Rod Dreher explored this concept in an interview with Benda scholar Flagg Taylor:

Benda thought that people needed to be reminded of what they had lost with communism, that [the dissident statement Charter 77] could help foster the rediscovery of meaningful social life. This is what he called the parallel polis. The Charter community ought to dedicate itself to developing parallel social structures to the official ones. This would reactivate people’s social natures. They could rediscover the deep rewards of friendship and devotion. [emphasis added]

Flanagan’s observations of Peterson listeners mirror Taylor’s description: “These are people who aren’t looking for an ideology; they are looking for ideas. And many of them are getting much better at discerning the good from the bad. The Democratic Party reviles them at its peril; the Republican Party takes them for granted in folly.”

Since he cannot really be in relationship to the hundreds of thousands, even millions of people considering the ideas he’s introducing them to, Peterson can only be a gateway to an American archipelago of parallel polises. A true apprenticeship requires the accountability of sustained personal interaction.

The phenomenon he’s sparked cannot live upon YouTube videos alone, but requires those ideas incarnating into thousands, even millions of people consciously choosing a lifetime challenging themselves with the rigors of true service to and friendship with wives, husbands, children, neighbors, and God himself. This is what it means to be human, to be fully alive.

That aliveness is a challenge to the deadness of political correctness and the mentally enslaved habits it demands and enforces. The PC zombie shock troops take it as a declaration of intellectual war, and it is.

Link




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
 
Posts: 47294 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
goodheart
Picture of sjtill
posted Hide Post
I like that last post a lot—plenty to think about there. Parallel polis indeed—-an excellent description of SigForum and other places where one can find like-minded people willing to take responsibility for their lives.


_________________________
“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”--Adam Smith, born June 16, 1723
 
Posts: 13901 | Location: One hop from Paradise | Registered: July 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I believe in the
principle of
Due Process
Picture of JALLEN
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by sjtill:
I like that last post a lot—plenty to think about there. Parallel polis indeed—-an excellent description of SigForum and other places where one can find like-minded people willing to take responsibility for their lives.


Yep. One of the better ones I’ve read.

I read a lot of these.

A close friend of mine of the female persuasion sometimes has been heard to mutter about having to “kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.” Sort of the same thing, really.




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
 
Posts: 47294 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  The Lounge    Why the Left Is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson

© SIGforum 2018