I have been working on finishing “It is Complex; Ergo Goddidit”, which I am excited to present because I have been corresponding with biologists over email on some big questions like the origin of DNA and details absent in Neo-Darwnism. But I realized I promised to address a comment about J.B. Peterson and related topics in a post. So I hastily put this together. I really shouldn’t give this individual the spotlight, but I enjoy engaging with people that have different views than I do. Although these views really come down to a difference in preferences, the concepts that the commentator brings up are hugely important. If it were not for this point, then I would choose not to engage. Because there are so many errors and confusion in their understanding, and I don’t have much time. To be fair, a lot of the points I make are nuanced and require a different perspective, one that they may not be used to. Oh, and to be brutally honest, as I try to refrain from displaying my contempt, this individual confirms why I am not a conservative.
Then. Uh.. Oh… JB Peterson is found to be conservative culturally (he keeps insisting that he is a classical liberal). The horror!!! Conservatism is bad!!! Conservatism is EVIL!!!
Then. Uh.. Oh… JB Peterson is found to be religious. The horror!!! Religion is bad!!! Religion is EVIL!!! Well, if Religion bends to the diktats of the Left, then Religion is somewhat ok.
Notice the shift in the tone of the commentator. Evil is something we label others with that can do harm to our well-being, which includes those that reject us. The typical staunch conservative—either literally or symbolically—has not been too friendly to minorities and the LBGTQA+ communities. If a conservative stays true to their worldview, they can never accept the underrepresented and marginalized. So you are goddam right many liberals should think of conservatism as evil. Your mockery either proves your ignorance or indifference to human nature. Below is the implicit hierarchy that is in the minds of conservatives. This legitimizes the traditional power structures along with making us believe that the rich are better than the poor. Of course, not all conservatives will have these implicit biases because this is a model! A model is an ideal type, and real conservatives will vary or deviate in different ways from the ideal type. But there is enough of the ideal to warrant the model.
As far as the comment on religion being evil, no I don’t share the same views as the New Atheists do. Religion can have some value. I choose to not believe in god nor participate in religion because I made a commitment to realism and science.
The narrator needs to show his Leftist bone fides and has to write some pseudo-objective essay damning JB Peterson with faint praise while implying – giving no specifics -that he is wrong in some undefined aspects.
I never damned the guy. I will say it again. If we want to be successful, then we should follow Peterson. My motivations are not to stay true to leftist viewpoints but to insightfully show that there may be some consequences to Peterson’s approach. I have been writing about status hierarchies for years now. And to call what I have defined below over and over as “some undefined aspects” either illustrates that they have a comprehension problem, I don’t explain myself well, or they are arguing to win instead of to learn.
I posed a hypothesis that Jordan Peterson’s moral reasoning and teachings are conservative-like through and through. I then posed another hypothesis that his approach only encourages hyper-competition and contributes to the problem we have with status hierarchy. Yes, no one has heard of this because it is from the ivory tower. But over three decades’ worth of research suggests that relatively large disparities in status differences result in a reduction in health and happiness. This may not make any sense to this individual, but I surely did define my argument. It won’t make any sense because we need to understand what status hierarchies, relative status, and the conservative worldview are. This individual obviously did not take the time to read the prerequisites to understanding. I will get to meritocracy in the next post, which is not in itself evil, but has tradeoffs like any system does.
This individual had a few good points which I acknowledged. One, they pointed out that my analysis was more of a caricature than an even-handed critique of J.B. Peterson. I agreed. Second, they pointed out that Peterson endorses “play”, as in being affable and, well, playful, which eases tensions when relating to others. I agreed. But neither of these detracts from the essence of Peterson’s approach which is conservative. What makes a conservative a conservative? This has been studied by experts, and I would refer those interested to George Lakoff or Jonathan Haidt. It is in how they reason and prioritize certain moralities (by Lakoff) which is rooted in their personality (by Haidt). If we want to know more, then I suggest we read this post. So unless this individual understands those posts, I will not convince them that conservatism and liberalism are not just political philosophies but rather different ways in which we reason and prioritize our values with. I doubt they will take the time to research.
The first hypothesis can be easily shown to be true. There are four assumptions that drive the reasoning of a conservative. [If one cares, I would be glad to share.] These assumptions are radial categories that can vary in different kinds of ways when applied to any particular real-life conservative. Pick most (not all) lectures Peterson has on YouTube, and we will find evidence of these assumptions. The stuff that is salient is the stuff that matters. I know Peterson has more modes of reasoning than the conservative worldview, but conservatism is the stuff that overwhelmingly directs his thoughts and reasoning. The best evidence we have that his worldview is conservative is that on every single political issue, he is on the side of a conservative. Jordan Peterson is not stupid; he has a set of well-thought-out values. These values influence what he chooses to teach and not teach. As far as being a classical liberal, which libertarians think they came from, they are two steps away from being a conservative. So it makes no difference.
I will address this, which consists of gross misunderstandings and bizarre ramblings, in the next post.
The genesis of all this Peterson-phobia (-phobia as in Hate and/or Fear) is Peterson’s refusal to kowtow to the Leftist imperative on pronouns. Previously Dr Peterson wrote several books, posted 100’s of hours of his lectures on social media. He was relatively unknown until the Leftst kerfuffle about pronouns. Dr Peterson’s fame and fortune exploded because of Leftist hysteria.
Traditional Marriage: JB Peterson supports it. So what. JB Peterson is not suppressing the gay lifestyle in any way. The pursuit of same-sex marriage to be seen as equivalent to traditional marriage is sign of incompleteness of the gay culture. Ancient Greece where homosexuality was pretty mainstream and yet same-sex marriage was absent. In Ancient Greece, where homosexuality plays a prominent role in its culture, all men are required to marry a woman. Even Alexander had to marry a woman (Roxanne) to strengthen an alliance with another nation. PLATO LAWS 636D : “… He who refuses to marry shall be thus punished in money, and also be deprived of all honour which the younger show to the elder; let no young man voluntarily obey him, and if he attempt to punish any one, let every one come to the rescue and defend the injured person, and he who is present and does not come to the rescue, shall be pronounced by the law to be a coward and a bad citizen.”
Traditional Marriage. Cultures, subcultures evolve with time, with institutions being created, destroyed, modified on some rational basis. The gay community says “Love is Love”. So why the opposition by the Gay Community to polygyny, polyandry, human-animal marriage which are embodiments of the “Love is love” principle? Can a community experiment with same-sex marriage? Yes! Why not? We will see the state of same-sex marriage in, say, 75 yrs from now. Traditional Marriage lasted thousands of years.
More on Plato. PLATO LAW, BOOK 8:”But how can we take precautions against the unnatural loves of either sex, from which innumerable evils have come upon individuals and cities? How shall we devise a remedy and way of escape out of so great a danger? … in what degree will they contribute to virtue? Will such passions implant in the soul of him who is seduced the habit of courage, or in the soul of the seducer the principle of temperance? Who will ever believe this?-or rather, who will not blame the effeminacy of him who yields to pleasures and is unable to hold out against them? ”
Transgenderism. JB Peterson’s stance on this issue is very much based on atheist – not christian – foundation. “Gender-Affirming” care. What gender is being affirmed? The spiritual gender? The material gender? Why do atheists abandon their faith on the transgenderism issue by embracing the spiritual gender over the material gender? I thought atheists do not believe in spirits, souls, ghosts, gods, and such silly stuff. The atheist’s stance on transgenderism is akin to Cargo Plane Cults where wooden planes were built as inducements for actual planes to come back with modern material goods.
“When you exclude people, then you will arouse animosity.” Excluding from what? Excluding for what reason? The politics of the American Left is politics of J.E.A.R. (Jealousy, Envy, Anger, Resentment). Animosity brings about Resentment. The politics of the Left is not so much one of Inclusion but one of Intrusion. The American Left is not comfortable, not interested in multi-cultural societies. Multiple cultures in the same physical space invariably implies that some aspects of one culture are excluded from other cultures; otherwise all cultures are one and the same resulting in a mono-cultrue society. For a harmonious multi-cultural society there should be a set of overlapping interests common to all participating cultures while – naturally – each culture maintaining exclusive aspects : the basis of federalism. And yet the American Left is bothered by “cultural appropriation”.
Is same-sex marriage just cultural appropriation from heterosexual culture? Why does gay culture want to imitate heterosexual culture? Is gay culture parasitic?
Is transgenderism just cultural appropriation from female culture? Why does transgender culture want to imitate female culture? Is transgender culture parasitic?
Mr Rogers as transphobe. Check YouTube (Mr Rogers on gender orientation — The Tonight Show 09-04-1980).
“I began to like the guy despite his beliefs.” Who cares. I doubt very much JB Peterson cares. Play the pieces on the board, not the person across the board. Facts do not care about your feelings.
Leftism encourages fear, not respect. Leftism encourages J.E.A.R. (Jealousy, Envy, Anger, Resentment). The Left fears the competent. The Left resents the competent.
Yes, I believe in many but not all cases envy and indignation can be at the root of a liberal worldview.
According to the dictionary, FORMIDABLE = inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable. Fear (aka intimidation) versus Respect. Fear is not Respect. Fear is a reaction; respect is a decision. Going back to the subject of play, no one gets invited to play through intimidation. Peterson definitely advocates people to strive to be capable, competent, and (IMPORTANTLY) playful. Formidable and playful inspires much more respect than fear. Fear and Respect are functions of the beholder more than of said formidable person.
According to the dictionary, RESPECT = a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Respect opens one to improve oneself, to educate oneself. Fear closes one to improvement and education. Leftism encourages fear, not respect. Leftism encourages J.E.A.R. (Jealousy, Envy, Anger, Resentment). The Left fears the competent. The Left resents the competent.
Sources recommended for the commentator to help them get up to speed:
 Anonymous. The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics. Federalist Publications.
 Boehm, Christopher. Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior. Harvard University
 Deaton, Angus. The Great Escape. Princeton University Press.
 Greene, Joshua. Moral Tribes. Penguin Publishing Group.
 Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
 Kling, Arnold. The Three Languages of Politics: Talking Across the Political Divides. Cato Institute.
 Lakoff, George. Moral Politics. University of Chicago Press.
 Lakoff, George. The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! . Chelsea Green Publishing.
 Lakoff, George. Philosophy In The Flesh.
 Lakoff, George. The Political Mind. Penguin Publishing Group.
 Lakoff, George. Your Brain’s Politics. Societas.
 Ryan, Christopher. Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress. Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster.
 Tuschman, Avi. Our Political Nature. Prometheus.
 Waal, Frans de. The Age of Empathy. Random House LLC
 Westen, Drew. The Political Brain. PublicAffairs.
It seems to me less that “The Left resents the competent” and more that “The Left resents those accorded respect greater than their actual degree of competence.”
In addition to George Lakoff or Jonathan Haidt, I would suggest looking into Altemeyer’s overview of his and others’ research on authoritarianism. While Altemeyer’s political and moral preferences about authoritarianism are controvertible, the underlying empirical findings are sound. (That is to say, whether the phenomena are good or bad, they are there.)
Altemeyer also did research with Hunsberger on the religious conversion/deconversion process and on Atheism more generally, which while less relevant here may also be of interest for those in the Free Thought community.
That is one source of perceived unfairness that some get accorded with more respect than what is warranted. But on the other hand it also unfair that some are born to get more respect by virtue of who they are. What I mean is that we are not all born equal and those that are more intelligent, attractive, are even taller get deferred to more than the unattractive, unintelligent and short. This is the same type of argument that is given for those born into wealth and status.
I will be sure to check out Altimeter’s research on authoritarianism. I would imagine that it converges well with Lakoff and Haidt’s material. Because in thinking about both of their material, which is either on their personality traits or how they reason, authoritarianism shines through.
“Transgenderism. JB Peterson’s stance on this issue is very much based on atheist – not christian – foundation. “Gender-Affirming” care. What gender is being affirmed? The spiritual gender? The material gender? Why do atheists abandon their faith on the transgenderism issue by embracing the spiritual gender over the material gender?”
“Spiritual gender”? “Material gender”?
Why does anybody waste their time on this guy? He’s just pulling it out of his hat (or wherever), making it up as he goes along. He’ll keep you going around in circles, chasing your tail forever. Just ignore him and get on with your life.
Raging Bee says
OMG, I have to ask why you spend so much time arguing with such an obvious noncompoop.
And then the answer hit me: there aren’t any smarter conservatives willing or able to show up here. WTF happened to those (relatively) intelligent conservatives? Did they all get banned for being obnoxious insulting ignorant haters? Did they quietly realize their arguments couldn’t stand in this crowd? Did they all grow a sense of shame? Seriously, they don’t seem to make right-wing commenters like they used to.
I’m reminded of one Londoner’s reaction to al-Qaeda’s bombing of London buses and tube stations in 2005: “We’ve been bombed by a better class of bastards than this!”
Peter Bollwerk says
I’ve read a book on Quantum Mechanics that was easier to understand than Jordan B Peterson.
Raging Bee says
Whoever wrote that book probably understood the subject, and honestly intended to explain it properly. That’s probably what separates him from JP.
Charles Watts says
I’m a friend of George Lakoff, so I’m always on the lookout for other followers who are dedicated to apply his brain insights to moral and political thought. Thank you to all on this thread that are committed Lakoff’s vision of our ideal world as strong, diverse communities of nurturing families caring for each other. Consider exploring our Adult Weekly Zoom Forums at https://empathysurplus.com/human-rights-adult-education.
Lakoff’s scientific and popular material has inspired me in many ways. Thanks for the comment!
Direct quotes from Lakoff (Leftist), a reference to Haidt (classical liberal). No quote or reference to JB Peterson or any other conservative like Thomas Sowell or Dennis Prager. Is the narrator lazy and/or gripped by fear of Conservatives? CONSERVATOPHOBIA!!!
Talking about Jonathan Haidt. He gave a TED talk about the pillars of Morality. You can see it on Youtube. He broke morality into 2 components: personal and societal. He surveyed many people in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Australia. Those who self-identified as liberal embrace only the personal component. Those who self-identified as conservative embrace both personal and societal components.
At the beginning of the talk Haidt asked those who are liberal to raise their hands and then for those who are conservative to raise their hands. Haidt remark there were few conservatives in the audience. BIG LAUGH. As he proceeded with his talk, the laughter become less and less.
“The typical staunch conservative—either literally or symbolically—has not been too friendly to minorities and the LBGTQA+ communities.” Incorrect. Conservatives care and are friendly to the LBGTQA+ communities as individuals. You know. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Friendship is not an all-or-nothing affair. Can an atheist be friends with a religious person? Can a teetotaler be friends with an alcoholic? However conservatives do not care for LBGTQA+ politics. And for good reason, as explained in the following.
Meritocracy. Actually JB Peterson – on Youtube – discussed alternatives to meritocracy: nepotism, tribalism, monarchy, dynasty. A position is assigned to someone according to their membership to a clan, to a tribe, to a particular family, to a particular caste or nobility class, NOT according to merit, NOT according to competence. In many places if you apply for a government benefit the first thing the bureaucrat asks is not your name but your political affiliation. Conservative values are NOT found in nepotism, tribalism, monarchy, dynasty.
LBGTQA+ politics is against meritocracy. LBGTQA+ politics is group identity politics. LBGTQA+ politics is politics of tribalism. Do you belong to the LBGTQA+ tribe? The aim of LBGTQA+ politics is to slice and dice (via intersectionality) society into many small and thin slices of group identities. The aim of societal morality is social cohesion and social harmony. As Prof Haidt noted, liberals (in fact Leftists) do not care for societal morality. The aim of LBGTQA+ politics is NOT social cohesion, NOT social harmony.
LBGTQA+ politics is politics of Social Division. The Left is quite inventive when it comes to woke vocabulary. TERF. Yes, Dave Chappelle was confused when he first heard this word. Feminists against the T’s. Now, tucute, newly coined by the LEFT. TUCUTE: someone who believes that gender dysphoria is not necessary to be transgender. Catfights amongst the Left!!! Popcorn time for conservatives.
Meritocracy. India’s society is affected by the caste system. Brahmin = highest; Dalit = lowest (untouchables). Entrance to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) is through examination.
all castes can take the exam. Yes, some people tried to bribe IIT. All bribe attempts failed. Through meritocracy IIT have Dalits rubbing elbows with Brahmin in the classroom. JB Peterson would approve of IIT.
“Your mockery either proves your ignorance or indifference to human nature.” Incorrect. The Left cannot bear humor or mockery. No wonder comics like Jerry Seinfeld, David Chappelle, Bill Burr, Chris Rock no longer do appearances at colleges which are Woke Central. The T’s are at eternal war against David Chappelle. The best mockery, the most biting humor is that which reflects best on human nature.
“This legitimizes the traditional power structures along with making us believe that the rich are better than the poor.” Realy? Many conservatives are christian and Jesus said that the rich have no better chance to get into heaven than the poor. Conservatives contribute more to charity than Leftists. Leftists do not care for personal charity for they see charity (welfare handouts) as the role of Government.
“…his approach only encourages hyper-competition…” Incorrect. Besides, the narrator does not bother to define “hyper-competition”. Yes, JB Peterson aims to have the young prepared for the inevitable competitions in their lives. What is the difference between competition and hyper-competition? You may avoid competition but competition will always seek you and find you inevitably. Sour Grapes (aka Resentment) lurk behind the word “hyper-competition”. As Science, Engineering, and Technology becomes more advanced, the lowest-hanging fruit are hanging higher and higher. Fewer and fewer people can reach – with little effort – the ever higher hanging fruit. As Science, Engineering, and Technology becomes more advanced, inequality increases, irrespective of politics. Inequality increases. So what? The living standard of the poor increases along with that of the rich. JB Peterson aims to make the young competent enough to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
“…the problem we have with status hierarchy…” A pointless statement. No matter how you re-arrange society, economy, and government, new hierarchies will arise with associated strata and status levels. Only in Dream-Land do strata-less, status-less societies exist.
“…that relatively large disparities in status differences result in a reduction in health and happiness.” Really? Where is the evidence? Just J.E.A.R. (Jealousy, Envy, Anger, Resentment) degrades health and happiness. A glass can be 1/3 full or 2/3 empty; it depends on your philosophy or take on life. You see the glass as 2/3 empty and you are quite liable to become jealous, envious, and resentful. You see the glass as 1/3 full and you are quite liable to be grateful. Dennis Prager is correct: gratitude is a moral obligation. Who is more likely to be a criminal: a grateful person? an in-grateful person? Who is more likely to be a criminal: a resentful person? an unresentful person? Have you ever met a happy ungrateful person? Gratefulness is the essential ingredient to happiness.
“The best evidence we have that his worldview is conservative is that on every single political issue, he is on the side of a conservative.” Who cares? Only those marinated in J.E.A.R..
I really don’t have the time to engage in this discussion anymore. But I did promise another post, so I will post the last one. I will try to address what I think is important too on this comment. But you still haven’t grasped the concept of relative status and its consequences. I agree that it’s better to have gratitude than to complain about a situation because we can fall prey to “learned helplessness.” On the other hand, people that are doing well in this system have a vested interest in wanting you to be compliant and obedient. Complaints fuel change. I will try to post it within a couple of days here, maybe sooner.
Raging Bee says
God’s balls, what a load of incoherent stupidity and hate…
He broke morality into 2 components: personal and societal. He surveyed many people in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Australia. Those who self-identified as liberal embrace only the personal component. Those who self-identified as conservative embrace both personal and societal components.
What an absolute load of bullshit. Which “liberals” have no opinions of societal morality? Here’s a little hint, dumbass: liberals DO embrace “societal morality,” — it’s what you so-called “conservatives” call “SOCIALISM!!!”
Each of those three sentences of yours, in itself, gives gross over-generalization a bad name. Just for starters, do you really think “liberals” are the same on all the continents you listed?
Conservatives care and are friendly to the LBGTQA+ communities as individuals. You know. Hate the sin, love the sinner.
You can’t pretend you “love” someone if you hate a part of him/her that cannot be changed, is none of your damn business, and isn’t doing anyone any harm. (And if you want to blither about “sin,” you should at least listen to the Pope’s latest statement about it.)
Can an atheist be friends with a religious person?
Sure, as long as neither one has odious, ignorant or hateful beliefs about the other. I know plenty of theists and atheists like that. I was able to be fairly friendly with my Catholic father.
Can a teetotaler be friends with an alcoholic?
Your analogy between gayness and alcoholism fails because the latter does verifiable harm to people and the former does not.
However conservatives do not care for LBGTQA+ politics.
Yeah, sure, just like white racists are perfectly okay with blacks “as individuals,” but hate them the minute they get together and start campaigning for justice.
And the rest of your comment is nothing but an incoherent repetitive jumble of PRATTS, non-sequiturs, and meaningless name-calling. Seriously, you’re just as stupid and dishonest as any other brand of bigot. I’m with musing on this: you’re really not engaging with us, so there’s no point in trying to engage with you. All you’ve done so far is repeat the same stupid hateful crap over and over again.