Opposing Comments: 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.
[This is actually a good point, but I can’t get to it until the next post…]
I am glad that someone challenged my review of Jordan Peterson, where I used hasty generalizations. I picked out a few distinctive vignettes and created a caricature. But is Peterson’s philosophy more than this? This reviewer had what follows to say about this post which at a cursory glance may seem like good points. But they nevertheless miss my point. My point, however, was too nuanced and not developed enough for anyone to get it. If I were to summarize my point, it would be that Petersonism reinforces hyper-competition. The inevitable result of hyper-competition is status hierarchies. It makes zero difference if these hierarchies are based on competence or intimidation from other forms. Decades worth of epidemiological studies show the deleterious effects of status hierarchies. We weren’t always this competitive because we were egalitarian before the advent of the agricultural revolution. Since competition and status striving are here to stay, should we take Petersonism to heart or rebuke it?
None of this means that the alternative to hyper-competition is a system of socialism. This post is not about other options although many authors have proposed ways to at least buffer the costs of unbridled capitalism. My thoughts on conservatism, which is the essence of Peterson’s approach, is that it is a preference mainly based on personality differences. But it also can be dangerous because it can lead to demonizing the Other. In fact, the conservative mode of reasoning leads to conclusions like the following.
If he has not worked hard enough, he is slothful and hence morally weak. If he is not talented enough, then he ranks lower than others in the natural order…The rich (who are talented enough and who have worked hard enough to become rich) deserve their wealth and the poor (either through lack of industry or talent) deserve their poverty .
Response to Commetator
Opposing Comments: Seeing no actual JB Peterson quotes in this essay, I doubt the author has read or listened to JB Peterson. There are citations from people who opined about JB Peterson but no citations of JB Peterson himself. The books and lectures of JB Peterson cover a very wide array of subjects and the author demonstrates a deep and fundamental misunderstanding of JB Peterson’s philosophy.
Opposing Comments: Evidently the author is ignorant about JB Peterson’s work on play. The author claims that Peterson’s advice “boils down to intimidating others”. The author is just being prejudicial.
The commentator does not convince me that I have a profound misunderstanding of his philosophy. If by philosophy they mean his approach, then I think even my caricature captures the “flavor” of his brand. He is for an extreme form of meritocracy, and I am not even touching upon his other conservative beliefs. Conservatism has been identified to be a mode of thought that gives direction and form to our arguments. Conservatism is the essence of his philosophy despite the occasional appeal to “play”. Although I do not agree with this, many have labeled Peterson as a “pseudo-intellectual” because of his brand permeating his reasoning.
Play is what we do when we want to ease tension in our social interactions, and hence we can say that it is a good thing for the functioning of social hierarchies. When I say Petersonism is more about “getting ahead” than “getting along”, I mean that the unintended consequence of his focus results in this. Jordan Peterson must work within the confines of meritocracy. Although he may very well be for “getting along” within this context, the inevitable result of his approach is contributing to meritocracy. Although we participate in this system, we do not have a choice because we are indoctrinated into it. And status hierarchies work by who submits to who. This hardly qualifies as getting along. Understanding this will require a deeper explanation of status hierarchies.
We are so used to the point that competition is good for us that I do not expect anyone to see the perils of meritocracy. Meritocracy rewards the competent and punishes the incompetent. There may be some good things that come out of meritocracies such as high-quality services and products. But carrots and sticks are not the only way to motivate people. It is also an efficient way to implement an economic system, but is it the best way to configure a society? I am not claiming to have the answers to this, but we do know the costs of this system. Epidemiological research has been conducted over decades with robust and conclusive results.
If we want to learn about the effects of status hierarchies, I have written about this here and here. To summarize an effect, those who make an income of $40k have a relative risk of death of three times that of the group that makes $140k. This has nothing to do with absolute status, which is how much education and income we have in absolute terms. It is about what education and income bring relative to the next guy. Relative status gives us more control and social benefits in life. This means that even if we make a handsome $200k a year, if the people we compete with are more capable, intelligent, and earn more, we will not be better off.
I must also add that I am not prejudiced against Jordon Peterson. I began to like the guy despite his beliefs. And I think if we want to be successful in this system, most of his advice is spot on. The last comment on the alpha males is not something I even discussed. I do not think the commentator understands what exactly a status hierarchy is and relies on the dictionary to assist with concepts that are better left for social and evolutionary psychologists to sort out. In the next post, I will explain what I mean by a status hierarchy by relying on real models. This will give us a better understanding of the differences between fear, respect, admiration, deference, submission, and more. Lastly, I will also address the comment at the top of the page because the commentator is right. But it turns out that those feelings have assisted the downtrodden to be successful over millions of years.
Opposing Commemts: ccording 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.
The author confuses JB Peterson with Andrew Tate who stated that the main goal of the alpha male is status.
To be fair, Peterson is more than just my caricature. This can easily be proven by looking at his 12 Rules for Life which touch upon relationships, personal growth, finding meaning in life, and more. But none of this negates that his overwhelming approach utilizes conservative concepts. Take a look at what George Lakoff calls the conservative constellation of concepts. Peterson uses these to teach us lessons. Of course, Peterson also tells us to question the rules if they are stupid. He is more than my caricature. But at the core, since we need a worldview to organize our thoughts and feelings, he must rely on something to give his thoughts direction.
character, virtue, discipline, tough it out, get tough, tough love, strong, self-reliance, individual responsibility, backbone, standards, authority, heritage, competition, earn, hard work, enterprise, property rights, reward, freedom, intrusion, interference, meddling, punishment, human nature, traditional, common sense, dependency, self-indulgent, elite, quotas, breakdown, corrupt, decay, rot, degenerate, deviant, lifestyle. 
i). I do not think, however, that our liberal bias is not somewhat warranted. For those who fall into the categories of the underrepresented, e.g., the LBGTQA+ community, Peterson is quite frankly not that supportive. He supports traditional marriage and other conservative beliefs which are obviously not a plus for those who are not traditional. When you exclude people, then you will arouse animosity. I am trying to put aside those beliefs in order to focus on a single belief of meritocracy.
 Lakoff, George. Moral Politics. University of Chicago Press.