I look forward to Jordan Peterson’s inevitable decline into dishonorable obscurity


Partly because I’m growing tired of the frequent puncturings of his obvious lunacy, even the well-written ones, because he and his fanboys just keep blithering on. The latest, though, by Pankaj Mishra in the New York Review of Books, seems to have had some effect — Peterson is raging on Twitter and threatening to slap him. You know, that “underlying threat of physicality” that Peterson believes to be a necessary part of our social interactions.

I sympathize. If I met Mishra, I’d have to get physical too, and shake his hand.

Closer examination, however, reveals Peterson’s ageless insights as a typical, if not archetypal, product of our own times: right-wing pieties seductively mythologized for our current lost generations.

Peterson himself credits his intellectual awakening to the Cold War, when he began to ponder deeply such “evils associated with belief” as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, and became a close reader of Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. This is a common intellectual trajectory among Western right-wingers who swear by Solzhenitsyn and tend to imply that belief in egalitarianism leads straight to the guillotine or the Gulag. A recent example is the English polemicist Douglas Murray who deplores the attraction of the young to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and wishes that the idea of equality was “tainted by an ideological ordure equivalent to that heaped on the concept of borders.” Peterson confirms his membership of this far-right sect by never identifying the evils caused by belief in profit, or Mammon: slavery, genocide, and imperialism.

Reactionary white men will surely be thrilled by Peterson’s loathing for “social justice warriors” and his claim that divorce laws should not have been liberalized in the 1960s. Those embattled against political correctness on university campuses will heartily endorse Peterson’s claim that “there are whole disciplines in universities forthrightly hostile towards men.” Islamophobes will take heart from his speculation that “feminists avoid criticizing Islam because they unconsciously long for masculine dominance.” Libertarians will cheer Peterson’s glorification of the individual striver, and his stern message to the left-behinds (“Maybe it’s not the world that’s at fault. Maybe it’s you. You’ve failed to make the mark.”). The demagogues of our age don’t read much; but, as they ruthlessly crack down on refugees and immigrants, they can derive much philosophical backup from Peterson’s sub-chapter headings: “Compassion as a vice” and “Toughen up, you weasel.”

Peterson’s response:

Yeah, if those quotes were attributed to me, I’d be pissed off, too.

Comments

  1. gijoel says

    Compassion is always a sin to people like that right up to the point where they beg for it.

  2. skeptico says

    If you were in my room at the moment, I’d slap you happily.

    Oh yes, I’ll slap you, always a good intellectual argument. Not a sign that you have no actual arguments to offer, oh no.

  3. gijoel says

    @ 3. I’m surprised he didn’t take the Sam Harris “you haven’t understood what I said’ gambit.

  4. speedofsound says

    This ought to be an interesting journey. I know very little about this Peterson guy outside of a handful of things: first, The Lobsterian Argument and the Cathy Newman interview. The first leaves me wanting to tap him on the shoulder and suggest reading material but then the interview makes me want to defend him.
    I also kind of sort of agree on the surface about political correctness, in a Bill Mahr sort of way, and with some things about growing a backbone. Some surface stuff.
    I was appalled by how Newman argued with him and frankly a little impressed with his style.
    Grant me this. I just learned about this guy yesterday through your blog so I am not clear about what he got out of the lobsters. I’m sticking my toe in early and defending him. As an experiment.
    My question. Is this really the best way to argue with the ultra-right?

  5. Zmidponk says

    Personally, I’ve never quite got the popularity of Peterson. Yes, it is obvious that certain groups, like the ones mentioned by Panjak Mishra, might like him because he says things they like, but you only have to spend a few minutes on Google to realise he is a self-contradicting, hypocritical asshole. For example, this is the guy who opposed Canadian Bill C-16, which explicitly adds gender identity to a list of things protected from discrimination, because it infringes his right of freedom of speech, yet also wants certain university courses ended and banned from ever being taught again, basically because there are things in them he doesn’t like, so it seems he doesn’t mind infringements of freedom of speech, and even actively advocates for them, if he disagrees with what’s being said. This is also the guy who is considered, by some, to be a ‘martyr’ for the principle of freedom of speech because he was ‘deplatformed’, and lashes out at people, using words such as ‘coward’ and ‘totalitarian’, for uninviting speakers from events, but, whilst being a key speaker and organiser of an event entitled ‘Stifling of Free Speech on College Campuses’, uninvited someone (though this person was an ‘investigative journalist’ who quite willingly associates and allies herself with places like the Daily Stormer, so it’s understandable for him to do it, but still highly hypocritical).

  6. whywhywhy says

    I am confused. How does threatening physical violence prove one is not a fascist? It would appear to do the opposite.

  7. chigau (違う) says

    speedofsound #6
    I’m sticking my toe in early and defending him. As an experiment.
    Why?

  8. says

    My question. Is this really the best way to argue with the ultra-right?

    You don’t argue with the ultra-right. You point out their lies and when they inevitably resort to violence, you beat them down with a stick. That’s all you can do.

  9. rietpluim says

    but you only have to spend a few minutes on Google to realise he is a self-contradicting, hypocritical asshole

    Sounds like the exact definition of alt-right.

  10. randall says

    It’s always Hitler, Stalin and Mao ( or Pol Pot ) for the most evil trifecta. That was a favorite drinking game back in school. My most evil choices were R. J. Rushdoony, Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss. I agree that you don’t ( can’t ) argue with the ultra-right but I’ll hazard that you can’t argue with the “regular” right either.

  11. raven says

    … and his claim that divorce laws should not have been liberalized in the 1960s.

    Right.
    Because being trapped in a failed and/or abusive marriage by bonds of slavery worked so well and made so much sense.

    Really, Peterson dug this Zombie from the 1960’s up, is too dumb to realize it is a Zombie, and is about to lose a lot of family members, pets, and neighbors to a mindless monster.

  12. anbheal says

    OK, this is elitist, but “in my room” struck me as funny. Not “my house” nor “my home” nor “my office” nor “my apartment” nor “my condo” nor “my place” nor “my yard”. My room.

    I can kinda picture those liberal divorce proceedings that upset him so much. “Your honor, his room is filthy, smells like socks and stale sperm, there’s no room for the crib with all his Play Station cassettes in that corner, his mother is always barging in to make sure he’s not masturbating, I mean, he calls it ‘his room’, but it’s totally his mom’s….”

  13. says

    raven

    Because being trapped in a failed and/or abusive marriage by bonds of slavery worked so well and made so much sense.

    It worked well for the Jordan Peterson side of the equation…

    whywhywhy

    I am confused. How does threatening physical violence prove one is not a fascist? It would appear to do the opposite.

    Didn’t you know, threatening people with physical violence because they’re criticising things you said is the hallmark of a classical liberal and defender of free speech.

    +++
    This story reminds me of some of the less proud stories of my childhood. I was a reasonably smart kid and had a big vocabulary. I was also not afraid of physical fights. But I was smart enough to stay on the adults’ good side*. I knew exactly that starting fights was bad, but defending yourself was good. And that adults cared pretty little about the content of what you said but a lot about the words. So having a big vocabulary and language skills meant that in a verbal fight I would simply smother the other kid who, being cornered intellectually, would often get physical, which often meant that I could now deliver a physical beating on top of the verbal beating and be the innocent victim at the same time.
    Now, I’m not saying that Mishra is me in that story, but I know who Peterson is.

    I will say two things in my defense. One I was raised by an abusive mother, so those things were survival skills, two, I usually used this tactic on bullies who picked on smaller kids.

  14. screechymonkey says

    speedofsound@6,

    I get the feeling that you’re new here. (In which case, welcome.)
    I don’t speak for PZ or for the commentariat here, but I think I can safely offer a couple of observations to you:

    I’m sticking my toe in early and defending him. As an experiment.

    We’re not overly fond of such “experiments” here. Same for offers to play “Devil’s Advocate.”

    This isn’t Debate Club. Oh, you’ll find plenty of us willing to engage in quite spirited debate here, but we tend to do it because we think these things matter. Most of us aren’t here to help you sharpen your rhetorical skills just for shits and giggles.

    If you actually think Peterson is worth defending, either in general or on a specific point, then go ahead and do so. But I think most of us here find it quite tiresome to spend time rebutting an argument only to hear “oh, well, I didn’t really believe that anyway!”

    My question. Is this really the best way to argue with the ultra-right?

    Yeah, we’re also not big fans of “tone policing” and other attempts to explain that we’re “doing it wrong” because we aren’t using the One True Method of arguing against our opponents. We’re more of a “let a thousand flowers bloom” mindset here: you argue with the alt-right your way, and we’ll do it our way. Feel free to go use your approach and come back to us with the results.

    Again, you can do as you like, subject to the rules here (which I don’t make). Consider this just some friendly advice about what to expect here.

  15. Dr. Pablito says

    @speedofsound #6
    I sympathize. All of a sudden I seemed to be hearing about this amazing intellectual dude who was crazy popular with alt-right people. Knuckleheads demanding to be taken seriously, because here was a Professor who was voicing these Very Sophisticated Truths about Human Nature which validated a bunch of opinions — opinions I had found objectionable and without merit. So yeah, he seemed (to me) to come out of the woodwork. But I don’t read as much on the 20-teens culture wars as some other Pharyngula commenters here. But if you’re earnest about your curiosity, try not only the NYReviewo’Books link above, but also this one:
    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/03/the-intellectual-we-deserve
    which is a hilarious (okay, maybe not wet-your-pants funny, but what passes for funny in academic-ese) takedown of Professor Peterson’s magnum opus and oeuvre in general. TLDR: he’s an iteration of the well-known academic tribe of Bullshitting Bloviators, and because his writing and thinking is so vacuous, amorphous, and filled with gobbledegook, he can be appealing to nearly any political segment — but he seems to be a kind of conservative and retrograde crank, and he does well with the alt-right as a consequence.
    In terms of kvetching about the interview by Newman: I personally don’t care, didn’t watch it. But I don’t see why people should be feeling one way or the other about being maltreated by a journalist or whether a journalist did a bad job or a great takedown or whatever. His psychology/sociology/evolutionary biology/philosophy mumbo-jumbo is without any scholarly merit, and I’ve now read enough good smackdown from quarters I understand that I can dismiss him. The lobster thing alone — that kind of simplistic naturalistic fallacy — not good for someone wanting to be taken seriously as an academic.

  16. speedofsound says

    screechymonkey@16

    Ok. That was the experiment. Get a toe in and see what the style is. Or maybe I should have just asked because you gave me a damned fine answer. Maybe I can express myself a little more forcefully around here?

    I was on my short journey to figuring out why Peterson was calling up so much froth when I encountered (second link) Cathy Newman’s interview. She’s an idiot. Tone policing is necessary when idiot B eclipses idiot A. More powerful tones require more powerful edits. That’s my whole point here so far. Let’s (can I say fuck? ) get a grip on our context and critique and have a clear rebuttal before the shout goes on the air. Otherwise it’s a little confusing to people trying to figure out what side they want to be on.

  17. Dr. Pablito says

    … and also falling in the “maybe not the best way to argue with the ultra-right”
    http://www.macleans.ca/opinion/is-jordan-peterson-the-stupid-mans-smart-person/

    and as an aside, it is fruitless to argue with the ULTRA-right, because those are the real dangerous loons, best left to the authorities to lock up, and thank goodness for the Southern Poverty Law Center, but maybe you mean the knuckle-headed but perhaps uninformed or smugly ignorant alt-right, which may in some circumstances be reachable by discussion and debate? Well, I heartily approve of ridicule, arch writing, pointing, and name-calling. They’re the ones who say they don’t need safe spaces but also we lefty academics are intolerant and we won’t give them space to talk about their Very Important Ideas. About lobsters.

  18. vucodlak says

    Compassion as a vice

    People who disdain compassion are worthy of pity.

    Toughen up, you weasel.

    Being a crybaby, I got “toughen up” a lot as a child. Unfortunately, the people who gave me that also taught me the way to be “tough” is to hurt people, preferably those weaker than myself. I still knew that it was wrong to hurt people weaker than myself, no matter what my tormentors said, so I mostly learned to hurt myself instead. I also developed a tendency to respond to bullies with disproportionate violence, because I saw nothing wrong with hurting people who were deliberately hurting me.

    Ironically, those two things proved as effective as “toughening up,” at least with regard to bullies. Most bullies won’t mess with the guy who’ll rip open his own flesh and fly into a violent (though not blind) rage if you hit him too many times. Still wouldn’t recommend them.

    Peterson is just another bully, one who is all the more contemptible for using his degree to offer a patina of respectability to other right-wing bullies. He knows people will be harmed with he writes, and that fact pleases him. He’s hurting people weaker than himself. It’s just like the story he tells so proudly, the one about him bullying a 4-year-old; only, with his books, he has lots more victims.

    I know I should be compassionate, even towards those such as him. Mercy is always the right choice. But all I can muster at the moment is pity.

    I pity you, Jordan B. Peterson.

  19. screechymonkey says

    speedofsound@18,

    Fuck yes you can say fuck here.

    The Newman interview was a mess all around. I think she was thrown by Peterson’s refusal to stand by his initial argument in any meaningful way, and then flailed around for a bit trying to figure out what exactly Peterson is saying. Not a great performance by Newman, but that’s hardly an endorsement of Peterson, either. Peterson wasn’t some crime victim or eyewitness or other random citizen being thrust into unfamiliar territory; he’s an experienced speaker who is putting himself out there as somebody whose ideas are supposedly interesting and worth listening to. People who are actually worthy of the term “public intellectual” usually manage to say something interesting and thoughtful even with a dull interlocutor.

  20. brutus says

    The NY Review of Books article is far, far better than the Current Affairs article at hitting its mark. I appreciate the historical context, namely, cultural strains of late the 19th and early 20th centuries that produced similar “intellectual entrepreneurs” exploring a range of conservative niches in the marketplace of ideas. Strains being felt in the early 21st century often aren’t so easy to identify while we’re in the midst of them, but like the disorientation and dislocations of earlier eras, the world in flux certainly gives rise to retrograde impulses in need of a ideology, architecture, or guru around which to coalesce. Peterson is providing one such architecture and becoming that guru, but the foundations are remarkably resonant with those of the past. I still find it impossible to dismiss out of hand every last one of those impulses, considering the alternative seems to be default acceptance and embrace of everything new and progressive, however ill-conceived. But as a whole pill, yeah, it’s too much to swallow.

  21. speedofsound says

    OK. I checked out some links. He is an asshat. Sorry for the diversion.

  22. militantagnostic says

    Now we know why Marcus Ranum is so hostile to the field of Psychology and never went further than a bachelor’s degree. He wasn’t “man enough” for the slap fights.

  23. billyjoe says

    Speedofsound,

    My first exposure to Jordan Peterson was also that Cathy Newman interview. I was similarly impressed. But a lot of that was because Cathy Newman was totally unprepared for the interview. In fact, it was more a debate than an interview, and more an attack than a debate.

    The only occasion where Jordan Peterson messed up was with his “gotcha” comment. Apart from it not being a “gotcha” moment (she stuffed it up herself), it was an opportunity to switch the “debate” to a “discussion”, and he missed it. Like yourself, everything I have read and seen since has sent my opinion of him on a downward spiral. He doesn’t have any solutions that haven’t been tried and failed in the past. We have moved past those strategies a long time ago.

    As for the expletive? You certainly can use it here. Unless you want to buck the trend – then you would have to avoid it like the plague ;)
    Each to his own though :)

  24. billyjoe says

    gijoel,

    I’m surprised he didn’t take the Sam Harris “you haven’t understood what I said’ gambit.

    Both have been misquoted and quoted out of context and, as a result, misunderstood. Which is not to say that they cannot be criticised. In fact, there’s so much to criticise – especially in Jordan Peterson’s case – that it is actually unnecessary to criticise what they have not said.

  25. billyjoe says

    Here is Ira Wells on Jordan Peterson in relation to the Lindsay Shepard incident:
    Firstly on how not to respond to JP:

    Faced with the threat posed by Peterson, many in the universities have opted for a strategy of enforced disengagement. According to the attitude recently displayed by Laurier faculty, simply recognizing his perspective on gender-neutral pronouns represents harassment. But the fact that his popularity and influence have continued to skyrocket over the past year should put the lie to the notion that disengagement is an effective containment strategy. More crucially, the prohibition of his views isn’t only ineffective, it also exacerbates the problem, lending credence to the argument that universities are intolerant of ideological dissent. Perversely, the anti-harassment policies that were intended to defend sexual minorities have instead stopped us from meeting the threat head on.

    A more effective strategy:

    Shepherd modelled a far more effective strategy. Rather than banning Peterson’s views and hoping for the best, she suggested we challenge his assumptions, correct his willful misinterpretation of the humanities, and reveal the pseudo-scientific basis of his attitudes. The solution lies not in silencing offensive arguments or in preaching to students but in cultivating the critical-thinking abilities that will allow them to recognize Peterson’s fallacies for themselves.

    He gets a lot wrong about Jordan Peterson, but he hits the nail on the head in the above quote. Here is what he got wrong though:

    http://quillette.com/2017/12/01/defence-jordan-b-peterson/

    Note that the author is not a supporter of Jordan Peterson by any stretch of the imagination, but his not blinded by that into accepting without question what others have said about him that are not true.

  26. says

    @28 billjoe
    The website you linked to defend Peterson is a right wing site filled with anti-trans, anti-progressive, anti-women articles. This says a lot about why you are defending Peterson. You like to just ask questions about what is ok to call trans people like me and what is a bigotry and what isn’t in regards to people like me while defending Peterson who called for stopping my rights. You are bigot.
    When you do this every time the subject comes up it is pretty clear what your agenda is.

  27. says

    Looking at his Twitter feed with no (ahem) context, a reasonable person would assume it was the stream-of-consciousness bather of an aging malcontent with a loosely connected array of gripes. He appears to lazily despise politicians and journalists and absolute abhor people who disagree with him. In other words, he’s the old crank next door whose wife left him and who now whiles away his days and nights pounding Wild Turkey and howling at various Internet moons.

    The good money says he’ll go down in flames for either a previously unreported sexual offense or a remark so fucked up that he finally alienates even most of his core-but-not-invested followers, who like the noise more than whatever his scattershot philosophy might reduce to.

  28. heike says

    The great irony of calling JP “alt-right” is that he’s probably changed more minds of people who otherwise would be alt-right than anyone.

    JP has helped me tremendously. I am not alt right by being moved by what JP has to say. This thread is harshly stigmatizing to the people that are helped by JP. Political adversaries have a right to explore ideas.

    Peterson also said that he received numerous letters from individuals who were moved away from the far right by his ideas. Probably has something to do with his emphasis on personal responsibly, which both the left and the far right vehemently oppose.

    I’ve watched Peterson’s online lectures for a while now, after he became an internet celebrity in late 2016. It’s been fascinating witnessing media outlets trying to come to terms with him. He’s been described as “rightwing” or “far right” by journalists who have apparently forgotten how to think.

    Does he belong to the far right because he loathes political correctness, identity politics and postmodernism? Noam Chomsky has made similar criticisms for decades. As did Christopher Hitchens.

    I’m going to tell you something may surprise you. The alt-right mostly detests Peterson. If you know where to look for alt-right commentary he’s routinely pilloried there. He opposes race realism, he doesn’t support ethno-nationalism, says Jews are demographically disproportionately successful not due to conspiracies but due to competence hierarchies, and has called Nazism an evil ideology.

    The author misses the point I think on what made Dr. Peterson such a hit. He has made a clear and understandable defense of classical liberalism and western civilization in an era where both are under massive ideological and cultural attack. Liberal politics has been hijacked by a deeply resentful identity movement that is not interested in equal opportunity for all. It is instead interested in exacting justice for past perceived wrongs upon racial and identity groups it has determined responsible. Like white men for example. Peterson had the audacity to claim that this ideology is intensely dangerous, as it smacked of Maoist struggle sessions and the soviet purging of the middle class, while also risking to push white men into embracing the opposite of liberal identity politics. Hard Right ethno nationalism and Nazism.

    This struck a chord because it is true. The modern left has deeply underestimated just how much rage has been building over its actions and Peterson spoke out at a critical moment.

    JP is just a man. He has flaws. He doesn’t have to be perfect. People shouldn’t turn him into Jesus Christ. He’s got a bunch of ideas that are really resonating with people, ideas that you aren’t going to hear from anyone else (because they will be attacked and won’t be able to stand up to the onslaught).

  29. KG says

    He’s been described as “rightwing” or “far right” by journalists who have apparently forgotten how to think.

    Nope. They’ve just listened to him.

    Does he belong to the far right because he loathes political correctness, identity politics and postmodernism? Noam Chomsky has made similar criticisms for decades. As did Christopher Hitchens.

    No, because he preaches authoritarianism, celebrates inequality and hierarchy, and pretends the inequalities and hierarchies currently in place are the result of merit rather than privilege. And incidentally, Hitchens is a typical case of the youthful leftist who switches to the right once it’s in his interest to do so.

    has called Nazism an evil ideology.

    Gosh. How courageous of him.

    risking to push white men into embracing the opposite of liberal identity politics. Hard Right ethno nationalism and Nazism

    If anything “pushes” someone into “Hard Right ethno nationalism and Nazism”, they were already vile scum.

    He’s got a bunch of ideas that are really resonating with people, ideas that you aren’t going to hear from anyone else – heike@31

    That in itself is enough to show that you are a shameless liar. There is nothing in Peterson’s spew that is not the common currency of the resentful privileged.

  30. John Morales says

    heike:

    The author misses the point I think on what made Dr. Peterson such a hit. He has made a clear and understandable defense of classical liberalism and western civilization in an era where both are under massive ideological and cultural attack. Liberal politics has been hijacked by a deeply resentful identity movement that is not interested in equal opportunity for all. It is instead interested in exacting justice for past perceived wrongs upon racial and identity groups it has determined responsible. Like white men for example. Peterson had the audacity to claim that this ideology is intensely dangerous, as it smacked of Maoist struggle sessions and the soviet purging of the middle class, while also risking to push white men into embracing the opposite of liberal identity politics. Hard Right ethno nationalism and Nazism.

    Very, um, insightful. I particularly like the crux being the concept of white men being victimised and persecuted by a deeply resentful identity movement which when bravely articulated will ameliorate the risk of white men into embracing the opposite of liberal identity politics.

    He’s got a bunch of ideas that are really resonating with people, ideas that you aren’t going to hear from anyone else (because they will be attacked and won’t be able to stand up to the onslaught).

    Ahem. I just heard them from you, a self-confessed informed informant.

  31. Danny Husar says

    You broke him. Keep up the daily drumbeat of fascist innuendo around anything and everything he says and you finally got to him. I feel bad for him. He lost his cool and this will be used against him too.

  32. Dunc says

    Keep up the daily drumbeat of fascist innuendo around anything and everything he says and you finally got to him. I feel bad for him.

    Since a significant part of his shtick is explicitly claiming that various people (LGBT activists, postmodernists, anybody to the left of Thatcher) are leftist totalitarians who subscribe to the philosophy of Stalin and Mao, I can’t say I’m terribly upset. Sauce for the goose and all that…

  33. Danny Husar says

    >Oh no, his own words will be used against him now. How sad.

    That wasn’t the point. There’s nothing really in the tweets that’s terrible. After all, a typical blog post by our very own PZ will have a number of F-bombs and nasty slurs against fascists like Pinker. But the language and tone is out of character for Peterson, and I guess it stemmed from the exasperation of yet another article that wraps fascist innuendo around a critique of him.

    Speaking of Pinker, I saw him on a panel shortly after he got destroyed in the blogosphere for saying that the left gaslighting pushes some ‘intelligent’ men into alt-right – and he looked absolutely shell shocked. [1]

    [1]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFohRupaXzc

  34. zenlike says

    So we shouldn’t hold Peterson accountable for his own words. Funny how that works.

    An referring to physical violence equals using bad words.

    Jeebus but you apologists are getting desperate.

  35. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    heike #31

    He has made a clear and understandable defense of classical liberalism and western civilization…

    That made me laugh quite hard. After I wiped the tears away I did have to concede that there was a possibility that somewhere Peterson has indeed offered a ‘clear and understandable defense’ and I just haven’t seen it.

    That said, given what I have read I suspect that we could rend him down into his constituent atoms and dilute the resultant slurry to homeopathic levels and he’d still be opaque.

    Seriously, his inability to make a point without rambling, pointless detailed digressions makes him the poster child for what uneducated folk think scholars should be like.

  36. heike says

    Bad words = physical violence has just been proven. By an authority no less than the New York Times itself.

    Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system. Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain – even kill neurons – and shorten your life.

    Your body’s immune system includes little proteins called proinflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation when you’re physically injured. Under certain conditions, however, these cytokines themselves can cause physical illness. What are those conditions? One of them is chronic stress.

    Your body also contains little packets of genetic material that sit on the ends of your chromosomes. They’re called telomeres. Each time your cells divide, their telomeres get a little shorter, and when they become too short, you die. This is normal aging. But guess what else shrinks your telomeres? Chronic stress.

    If words can cause stress, and if prolonged stress can cause physical harm, then it seems that speech – at least certain types of speech – can be a form of violence.

    That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/opinion/sunday/when-is-speech-violence.html

    During the Berkeley Anti-Free Speech Riots of 2017, one of the go-to phrases from the mouths of the students themselves was “your free speech is raping and killing us.”

    Now that we’ve established that speech is violence, back to Jordan Peterson. The Jordan Peterson phenomenon is mainly caused by our failure to take the pain of men, especially young men, seriously.

    Men, especially white men, today are dealing with an impossible series of challenges. There are few satisfying roles for them in society anymore. They are ridiculed. They feel persecuted. They feel unloved. The rise of the Sheconomy has made the only jobs on offer for men ones that they don’t particularly like doing or are not particularly suited for. Even in few fields that are still (temporarily) male-dominated, such as computer programming, we are told that that this means we have a “diversity problem” that needs to be solved, while no one frets about the paltry number of male home health care workers or nurses. Men are blamed for creating and maintaining the system that is shortening their own lifespans.

    Men quickly find that their natural interests do not overlap with what society wants or needs anymore. They find that the traits that make them desirable as workers make them undesirable as romantic partners. They find video games and pot more satisfying than working in a job where you are treated like a virtual serf.

    His message might be phrased, “Life is bounded by suffering and malevolence and the only antidote is meaning, which is found through responsibility.” Longer form:

    “…Aim at something that’s worth aiming at. And how do you determine what’s worth aiming at?

    Well you think: Okay, here I have my miserable, wretched life. Under what conditions would it justify itself, as far as I’m concerned, personally?

    So you think. What sort of future would I have to have so that I could say ‘This is worth it.’?

    And that’s what you aim for.

    And technically that works in part because we know most of the systems that mediate positive emotion in human beings. And so those would be the dopaminergic systems that have their roots in the hypothalamic exploratory centers…are activated in relationship to pursuit of a goal, not as a consequence of attaining something.”

    *My Brain exploded!* Some say every time he opens his mouth, a millennial is sorted out!

  37. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    The Jordan Peterson writing prompt: In 100 words or more explain the phrase “try to accomplish your dreams” (resist the urge to elaborate).

  38. Porivil Sorrens says

    @40

    The Jordan Peterson phenomenon is mainly caused by our failure to take the pain of men, especially young men, seriously.

    So he’s made a career out of exploiting the petulant whining of overgrown manchildren who don’t like that women can get jobs now. Good for him, I suppose.

    Men are blamed for creating and maintaining the system that is shortening their own lifespans.

    I mean, yeah, men are blamed for that. Mainly because it’s true.

  39. says

    Shepherd modelled a far more effective strategy. Rather than banning Peterson’s views and hoping for the best, she suggested we challenge his assumptions

    Wait, wasn’t Shepherd the one who got into trouble for showing Peterson videos instead of teaching what she was supposed to teach?

    ++++
    heike

    He has made a clear and understandable defense of classical liberalism and western civilization

    Which part of that is the one where you win arguments by threatening to use violence against people who hold different ideas?
    Which aspect of liberalism leads to forcing children to eat and touching them when they don’t want you to touch them?

    Men, especially white men, today are dealing with an impossible series of challenges.

    Impossible!
    See, I’m not saying they don’t have challenges, but I give them a little more credit than that.
    Also, lets assume that a world where white men are not automatically at the top of everything is a world where white men by some biological reasons cannot succeed, what is your solution?

    There are few satisfying roles for them in society anymore.

    Whose fault is this?
    Yes, I agree, the world has massively changed. Men, especially white men stubbornly refused to change with it. Some things, they cannot control, like globalised capitalism that has vanished many jobs in the west that used to pay a good wage (but Peterson loves capitalism), but others?

    They are ridiculed.

    Wait, aren’t you people also the “Can’t you take a joke?” brigade?
    And yes, if you are outraged at the fact that you can buy hard boiled eggs, you deserve ridicule.

    They feel persecuted.

    And?
    Are they?
    Funny how feelings are suddenly so important.
    No, feeling persecuted is not the same as actual discrimination and by all data that we have, there is hardly any of that happening to them.

    They feel unloved.

    I’m married to a cis het white guy. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t.
    What the dudes feel is that they’re entitled to love, and they’re really upset that they aren’t. Which leads to many of them becoming violent against women who turn them down. Tell me again who the victim is here.

    The rise of the Sheconomy has made the only jobs on offer for men ones that they don’t particularly like doing or are not particularly suited for.

    Sorry the what? Do you mean the shift to the tertiary sector?
    So men don’t like those jobs, whose problem and fault is it? For somebody touting “personal responsibility” you sure complain a lot. And what jobs aren’t they suited for? While there sure are female dominated professions, it’s not like men cannot work there. A lot of those things are cultural. My male Arab students were hairdressers, embroiderers, retail assistants…

    Even in few fields that are still (temporarily) male-dominated, such as computer programming, we are told that that this means we have a “diversity problem” that needs to be solved, while no one frets about the paltry number of male home health care workers or nurses.

    Wrong, you’re just not listening. Just like there’s a “Girls Day” where I live where girls can get to know STEM professions there’s a “Boys Day” to get them interested in female dominated jobs.

    Men are blamed for creating and maintaining the system that is shortening their own lifespans.

    Because they do. Toxic masculinity, a set of attitudes where men and boys are shamed and threatened with “emasculation” should they as much as toe the line is maintained and enforced by other men. Look no further than your idol Peterson who claims that physical violence is a necessary part of rational debate.
    “Salad is for girls, real men eat meat” is actively harmful top men, but also an attitude of men.
    “Man up, grow a pair, boys don’t cry” are attitudes that make men less likely to seek mental health care are attitudes enforced (mostly) by men. This leads to higher male suicide rates.
    I’m not saying that men don’t have some specific disadvantages, I’m saying that men as a group are mostly to blame for them.
    Also, what was this thing about personal responsibility again? And how is your lament different from “identity politics” where black people discuss actual discrimination?

  40. screechymonkey says

    heike @31,

    This thread is harshly stigmatizing to the people that are helped by JP

    Awww. The fans of the guy who compares anyone on the left to totalitarian Maoists are being harshly stigmatized?

    Poor little Peterson snowflakes. Do they need a safe space?

  41. Dunc says

    Even in few fields that are still (temporarily) male-dominated, such as computer programming, we are told that that this means we have a “diversity problem” that needs to be solved, while no one frets about the paltry number of male home health care workers or nurses.

    Funnily enough, I’m currently reading a book called “Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing“, which is a detailed historical investigation of the various processes by which a number of important and powerful organisations quite deliberately shifted computer programming from being a female-dominated field to a male-dominated one. In light of that, I’d have to say that this assertion is ahistorical – the current male domination of computer programming is entirely the result of people fretting about the paltry number of male computer programmers, at a time when working with computers was perceived as every bit as feminised as health care or nursing are today.

    Also, it’s worth remembering that most people (but particularly women) have always found themselves stuck in jobs “that they don’t particularly like doing or are not particularly suited for”, and just had to suck it up. That’s why they call it “work”, and pay you to do it.

  42. Porivil Sorrens says

    Personally I think it says a lot about a person that they are swayed by Canada’s leading purveyor in unhinged McCarthyist rants, including such classics as

    “Ey/Em/Eir pronouns are a product of a totalitarian marxist ideology that killed millions”

    “Frozen is dangerous propaganda because the villain isn’t immediately noticeable”

    “Men are all horny unthinking chimps that can’t help but sexually harass those sexy, slutty women”

    “Men are all petulant infants that can’t handle having other kids in the playpen with them”

    “Humans function identically to fucking lobsters”

  43. says

    Men, especially white men, today are dealing with an impossible series of challenges. There are few satisfying roles for them in society anymore. They are ridiculed. They feel persecuted. They feel unloved. The rise of the Sheconomy has made the only jobs on offer for men ones that they don’t particularly like doing or are not particularly suited for.

    Oh dear. The world’s smallest violin to date is completely inadequate to this task. Fortunately we have new technologies! Someone fire up CRISPR Cas-9 and recombine us a nano-violin.

  44. electrokokoro says

    Since Jordan Peterson doesn’t like using transgender people’s pronouns (especially gender-neutral pronouns, such as “they”) and doesn’t believe people should get to choose their own pronouns for themselves, how about we choose his . . . I mean HER pronouns for HER? I wonder what would happen if everyone referred to Jordan Peterson with female pronouns. Do you think maybe then he’d (SHE’D) get the hint as to how transgender people feel when they are misgendered? I would love to see a bunch of people start referring to Jordan as “she” and see how SHE’D react to that.

  45. Zmidponk says

    heike #40:

    The Jordan Peterson phenomenon is mainly caused by our failure to take the pain of men, especially young men, seriously.

    This is going to be harsh.

    I don’t take the ‘pain of young men’ seriously because they’re basically in the process of discovering life isn’t fair. As an older man, I already fucking know this. I also know that, if you’re a white, cis, heterosexual man, life isn’t fair – but it’s quite a bit fairer for you than if you were, say, a black, transgender, homosexual woman.

    You feel ridiculed? Don’t act so fucking ridiculous, and maybe you won’t be ridiculed.

    You feel persecuted? Go and tell that to the woman who is basically told she’s only worth 80% of you because of an accident of birth. Or the person who continually gets told, by certain sectors of the population, that they’re subhuman criminal scum simply because their skin is a bit of a darker hue and will often actually face a certain degree of suspicion from the police simply because of this. Or the person who gets told they’re a sexual deviant, equivalent to a child molestor, simply because they love people of the same gender, and can find themselves facing physical violence because of this.

    You don’t like the jobs available to you? BOO FUCKING HOO. As the joke goes, oh, you don’t like your job? There’s a support group for that – it’s called EVERYBODY, and we meet at the bar. Suck it up and choose one of those jobs you don’t like anyway – it’s the only way you’ll keep a roof over your head. Or is keeping a roof over your own head not part of ‘personal responsibility’? You find that those jobs treat you like a ‘virtual serf’? Many of the jobs that are traditionally considered ‘womens work’ are such jobs, and have been for centuries. Now, if you’re saying nobody should be treated that way, that’s possibly a reasonable argument – but it’s not the case that this situation needs fixed simply because men find themselves sometimes treated that way. If it’s unacceptable for men, it’s also unacceptable for women.

  46. says

    electrokokoro

    and doesn’t believe people should get to choose their own pronouns for themselves, how about we choose his . . . I mean HER pronouns for HER?

    How about we fucking don’t? Just because it makes trans lives a joke and rhetorical tool, you know? Apart from the ingrained misogyny that nothing can be worse for a man than to be called a woman.
    If you want to play that game, call him Jordie. Say you don’t believe in made up words like “professor” or “Jordan” and that it’s ridiculous to expect you to use them.

  47. militantagnostic says

    electrokoro @ 48

    I wonder what would happen if everyone referred to Jordan Peterson with female pronouns.

    He would slap them.*

    *Unless of course they looked like someone who could and would kick his ass.

  48. zenlike says

    heike
    “During the Berkeley Anti-Free Speech Riots of 2017, one of the go-to phrases from the mouths of the students themselves was “your free speech is raping and killing us.””

    Your link does not contain support for your claim. Googling the phrase shows the usual set of MRA and rightwing “anti-SWJ” sites.

    Anyway, even someone as stupid as you should be able to see the difference between refering to speech that calls for violence, and bad words.

  49. emergence says

    Here’s what Peterson and guys like heike don’t get; You guys want us to take your claims of being marginalized seriously while simultaneously denying that women and people of color could possibly be treated unfairly by society. You guys make shit up about how men dominating women is the natural order of society while lying about feminists and other egalitarians being totalitarian “marxists” who want to send people to death camps. You call compassion a vice while demanding sympathy for your supposed plight. Your ideology is entirely self-serving. It consists entirely of demanding the sort of respect that you deny to others.

  50. says

    heike @ 40:

    Men, especially white men, today are dealing with an impossible series of challenges. There are few satisfying roles for them in society anymore.

    There are few satisfying roles for anyone in society any more. Why should white men (and apparently only white men) be exempt from this? Please justify your answer.

    They are ridiculed. They feel persecuted. They feel unloved.

    Again, this is a common factor of the human condition under late stage neo-liberal capitalism. Again, why should white men be exempt from the general malaise of society as a whole? What is so very special about white men in particular, that they should somehow be exempted from the overall implications of the society they live in? (Again, justify your answer).

    The rise of the Sheconomy has made the only jobs on offer for men ones that they don’t particularly like doing or are not particularly suited for.

    What, and you think nobody else ever in the history of the developed world has ever had to suffer through this? The phrase “suck it up, snowflake” is definitely springing to mind here. Again, why are white men, specifically, supposed to be exempted from this aspect of the human condition? What led you to believe this was a natural law?

    Even in few fields that are still (temporarily) male-dominated, such as computer programming, we are told that that this means we have a “diversity problem” that needs to be solved, while no one frets about the paltry number of male home health care workers or nurses.

    Actually, there are people who do. The thing is, those people are largely women, largely feminists, and they tend to be ignored by a social discourse which is dominated by… well, white men. Feminists have been arguing for years, decades even, that we need to get a gender balance happening in every industry. But the thing is, everyone concentrates on getting women into the industries where men are, because for some strange reason (can’t think what it might be) those industries are the ones which are better paid and higher valued by society. There’s less of an emphasis on allowing men into low-paid jobs like kindergarten teaching, home care, nursing, and so on, because for one thing, those jobs aren’t seen as high-status or desirable as computer programming jobs or jobs at the top of corporations… for some reason. The other reason there isn’t that much of a push from men to get into those jobs (unlike the push from women to get allowed back into computer programming[1]).

    Men are blamed for creating and maintaining the system that is shortening their own lifespans.

    Well, yes. Which gender are the people who are at the top of the majority of corporations? Which gender are the people who are at the top of the majority of political systems? Which gender are the majority of the people involved in law creation, refinement and enforcement? Which gender are the majority of top bureaucrats and high government officials? Which gender are the majority of the people who commission and license cultural content created in the Western hegemony? Which gender are the majority of the feted cultural creators, the majority of the feted scientific minds, the majority of the admired teachers and public intellectuals? Which gender has historically dominated all of these systems, often to the outright exclusion of all others? Given all these people of one particular gender at the top of the systems making the decisions, which gender are we supposed to be blaming for this?

    Men quickly find that their natural interests do not overlap with what society wants or needs anymore.

    So does just about everyone else. Suck it up and deal, snowflake.

    They find that the traits that make them desirable as workers make them undesirable as romantic partners.

    Well, to be honest, at least some of the traits that make some men undesirable as romantic partners tend to make them undesirable as workers in a service industry oriented economy too. Things like a short temper, an unwillingness to listen, a tendency to breach others personal boundaries, and a tendency to lash out violently whenever you’re crossed aren’t exactly desirable qualities in a worker with their own private office, much less for people who are working in an open-plan office or a customer service role.

    They find video games and pot more satisfying than working in a job where you are treated like a virtual serf.

    Again, so does everyone else. Why are men, and more particularly, white men, somehow expected to be exempt from this overall pattern of life? Why are the rest of us supposed to fall to our knees in shock about the whole business of white men being caught in the same trap as the rest of us?

    Yes, the system is broken. But women, and people of colour, and working class people of all genders, and non-heterosexual people, and people who have fled to different nations, and people who don’t identify as cissexual have been saying this (and yelling it, and screaming it, and protesting and rallying and arguing non-stop about it) for decades, if not centuries, and nobody’s fucking well listened in all that time. Now that one particular special snowflake group (the white, middle and upper-middle-class, cis-heterosexual Anglo-Saxon male) is getting their fee-fees hurt by the machine they bloody well created, we’re all supposed to fall to our knees, apologise and help them in particular?

    Join the queue, guys. There’s always room at the back.

    [1] Computer programming used to be a female-dominated field, back in the bad old days when the actual work of programming involved hours of tedious calculations by hand, and a lot of manual flipping of switches. As the job got automated, the men started moving in, and as the men started moving in, the field gained in prestige (which led to women being excluded). But do google people like Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and so on, to get an idea of the female origins of computer programming.

  51. billyjoe says

    Anna,

    The website you linked to defend Peterson is a right wing site filled with anti-trans, anti-progressive, anti-women articles. This says a lot about why you are defending Peterson. You like to just ask questions about what is ok to call trans people like me and what is a bigotry and what isn’t in regards to people like me while defending Peterson who called for stopping my rights. You are bigot.

    The website is Quilette. It is not a right wing site. It is not filled with anti-trans, anti progressive, anti-women articles. Even if it was a right wing site, that would be irrelevant. It’s the content of the article that’s important, not where it is posted or by whom. And I’m not defending Jordan Peterson. I don’t even support him. I’m pointing out that there’s plenty to criticise about what JP actually says without having to criticise him for what he has not said.

    Case in point: You say JP wants to stop your rights. He does not. You have simply misunderstood what he said. He refuses to be compelled to use trans pronouns. He explicitly said that he would use a trans pronoun if asked. He changed his mind when he was compelled to use them and now says he will not use them for that reason – as a reaction to being compelled to use them.

    I do not support his decision. I also do not believe that he was actually compelled to use trans pronouns. He got that idea from his reading of the bill and a letter he received from his employer at the university where he works. I am not a bigot. I would use any pronoun anyone chooses, just like I’d call someone Chris rather then Christopher or vice versa according to their preference.

    It’s a bad argument to use an ad hominem even if your character smearing is true. It’s worse when the accusation is false.

    When you do this every time the subject comes up it is pretty clear what your agenda is.

    Maybe you just need to pay attention to what people are saying. My opinions about JP have been very clear. There really is no excuse for misunderstanding that. Interestingly, we now have a commenter who has watched all of JP’s videos and his account of what JP says on various subjects gels with my own impression. Yet there are still commenters here who insist on misunderstanding him and denying what this commenter has said based on watching all those videos. I just don’t get it. First understand what JP (or anyone else) is saying by reading what he says in context, not what others have extracted out of context. Then criticise him for what he says, not what others say he said or have interpreted him as saying.

  52. Porivil Sorrens says

    @55
    Except, as is mentioned every single time you bring up the “He’s only refusing to use the pronouns in response to compelled speech!” talking point, he has also said that he refuses to use pronouns like ey/em/eir because he sees them as being dangerous neo-marxist terms.

  53. Porivil Sorrens says

    @56
    My bad, he actually specifically pointed out “zhe” pronouns, not “ey” pronouns.

    The specific quote is

    First, I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words “zhe” and “zher.” These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century…I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen. Period.

  54. John Morales says

    billyjoe, I find your contrarianism feeble.

    There really is no excuse for misunderstanding that. Interestingly, we now have a commenter who has watched all of JP’s videos and his account of what JP says on various subjects gels with my own impression.

    That he’s the saviour of white men who would otherwise become Nazis, is that commenter’s account.

    (You sure you concur with that?)

    In passing, I note that his Patreon has thrived since he became notorious, that his attendances are well-skewed towards a certain demographic, and that his videos are fully monetised.

    (Also, apparently he sells a course he spruiks, too. But all of this is incidental, after all one would not risk to commit the genetic fallacy by considering other factors.)

    Yet there are still commenters here who insist on misunderstanding him and denying what this commenter has said based on watching all those videos. I just don’t get it

    Consider you might be purblind, so that you foolishly endorse the narrative of the victimhood of white men and they do not misunderstand.

    (Inconceivable?)

    First understand what JP (or anyone else) is saying by reading what he says in context, not what others have extracted out of context. First understand what JP (or anyone else) is saying by reading what he says in context, not what others have extracted out of context.

    Yeah, about that. Access is monetised; there are a couple of books, there are numerous videos, there is much commentary. But free primary sources where one doesn’t have to wade through monetised video? Not-so-much.

    (In an earlier age, you would have exhorted others to purchase his pamphlets)

  55. billyjoe says

    Giliell,

    Wait, wasn’t Shepherd the one who got into trouble for showing Peterson videos instead of teaching what she was supposed to teach?

    That is not really a fair characterisation of what happened.
    If you are interested in a detailed and nuanced account pretty well from everyone involved, here is a link:
    (Sorry it’s very long)

    http://www.macleans.ca/lindsay-shepherd-wilfrid-laurier/

    Lindsay Shepard is a Teacher’s Assistant. She presented a tutorial on English grammar, specifically the use of plural pronouns instead of singular pronouns in certain circumstances. She showed a Jordan Peterson interview lasting a few minutes to get the discussion going. She said she was remaining neutral because she wanted the students to discuss the topic. However, she has stated clearly since then that she does not support Jordan Peterson’s view. And she is not alt right. She is a liberal. There were four students with strong and opposing views but she apparently was happy with how the discussion went. However, one of the students, a trans person, with a strong opinion about JP reported her to the Rainbow Centre who got her professors involved. The rest followed.

  56. billyjoe says

    Porivil Sorrens,

    Correct. Sorry to not have made my comment even longer than it was. What I did say was that, although he initially said he would use trans pronouns if asked, he has since said that he will not use them because he sees this now as compelled speech. And, yes, he sees this as being initiated by those neo-Marxists that he detests, Yes, he has an strong ideological point of view. He doesn’t want those “cultural Marxists” or “postmodern neo-Marxists” telling him what speech he must use.

    I agree. This would constitute constraint of free speech and should not be tolerated. You can’t have free speech if speech is compelled. It’s a contradiction of terms. 1984. However, I don’t agree that that’s what’s happening. I think JP has misread the situation. I don’t think it was on purpose initially, but he should now back down. He won’t because he has dug himself in too deep.

  57. John Morales says

    billyjoeL

    Giliell,

    Wait, wasn’t Shepherd the one who got into trouble for showing Peterson videos instead of teaching what she was supposed to teach?

    That is not really a fair characterisation of what happened.
    If you are interested in a detailed and nuanced account pretty well from everyone involved, here is a link:
    (Sorry it’s very long)

    Meh, it’s text. I can read and process that in less time than it takes to watch a video lasting even a few minutes.

    But fine, your nuanced adumbration is that “Lindsay Shepard is a Teacher’s Assistant. She presented a tutorial on English grammar, specifically the use of plural pronouns instead of singular pronouns in certain circumstances. She showed a Jordan Peterson interview lasting a few minutes to get the discussion going. She said she was remaining neutral because she wanted the students to discuss the topic. However, she has stated clearly since then that she does not support Jordan Peterson’s view.”

    So, you don’t dispute that got her into trouble, you just dispute that it was instead of what she was supposed to teach.

    What is evident is that her intended pedagogy (showing a controversial clip she later indicated she does not support for the purposes of discussion) was less-than-successful in its outcome (at least for her); your retort hardly sustains the original claim that she employed a “more effective strategy”.

    (Obviously the way to go, since it didn’t work as intended. Or something)

  58. John Morales says

    billyjoe:

    You can’t have free speech if speech is compelled. It’s a contradiction of terms.

    Makes about as much sense as claiming one can’t have a free vote if voting is compelled.

    (Wow, you really are a bad thinker!)

  59. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    I don’t find your monetary argument convincing.

    Athletes make multi-million dollars a year. Second rate but popular actors likewise. It is a separate issue in which I have zero interest. Things are the way they are. It’s not fair. Teachers and nurses are paid a pittance. Science researchers likewise. It’s not fair. It’s also the way it is. If you want to change that, you are welcome. You will need to change the whole capitalist libertarian system though. I don’t care. I picked my occupation according to what I was interested in, not in how much money I could make. Some are in it for the money, Some for both. I don’t really have an quarrel with either. Different perspectives is all. I don’t see any point in being jealous or envious. I enjoy the work I do and that is enough for me.

    If you don’t want to pay JP, as neither do I, there are plenty of free videos and articles you can access to get a good idea of what JP is all about. I was just making the point that someone who has done so is likely to have a pretty good idea what JP is saying and not saying. And, no, I do not endorse the narrative of white male victimhood. However could you have reached that conclusion from what I’ve written? On the other hand, you seem to have your narrative about JP, and it seems that nothing anyone who has actually viewed all his videos is going to say is going to upset that narrative.

  60. chigau (違う) says

    John Morales #62
    We™ do seem to have given up on the “chew-toy” thing.

  61. John Morales says

    chigau, heh. You know me well.

    billyjoe:

    I don’t find your monetary argument convincing.

    Fine, let it not dissuade you from watching his videos with their adverts and so forth.

    If you don’t want to pay JP, as neither do I, there are plenty of free videos and articles you can access to get a good idea of what JP is all about.

    Well, this blog is such a place. But I referred to primary sources, since you intimated you think context is important.

    And, no, I do not endorse the narrative of white male victimhood. However could you have reached that conclusion from what I’ve written?

    How not? You did allude to @31, right?

    On the other hand, you seem to have your narrative about JP, and it seems that nothing anyone who has actually viewed all his videos is going to say is going to upset that narrative.

    Seem to, eh? Since I’ve pretty much restricted myself to critiquing critiques of critiques of him, I’d be amused to see you essay a synopsis of my purported narrative.

  62. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    That strategy is the only one that can be effective in the long run. Either that or free speech is doomed. If that is what results, so much the worse for your country. And the world if it follows suit. There is no other way to support free speech except by making opposing views free to be aired. That’s the very definition of free speech. If you’re going to limit speech to speech which doesn’t upset anyone, you are not going to have free speech. In this particular case, one student was upset because he interpreted it as an attack on trans people and reported the TA. The response from her professors was egregious. The university agreed and apologised to the TA.

  63. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    Makes about as much sense as claiming one can’t have a free vote if voting is compelled.
    (Wow, you really are a bad thinker!)

    Bad argument.
    Bad analogy.
    Parse this:

    Free speech is not free speech if you are compelled to use certain words.
    Free vote is not a free vote if you are compelled to vote for one party.
    Free voting is not free voting if you are compelled to vote.

    Your bad argument is a bad argument because of what is known as a “category error”

  64. billyjoe says

    Chigau,

    I see. Still no useful contributions from your finger tips. May I suggest you redirect their attention down below. Wait…you’re already doing that :D

  65. John Morales says

    Billijoe:

    That strategy is the only one that can be effective in the long run. Either that or free speech is doomed.

    Your faith is remarkable, especially when the example at hand is such a failure.

    There is no other way to support free speech except by making opposing views free to be aired.

    (sigh)

    Imagine the last subject had explicitly noted, before showing the video, that she disagreed with the claims she was about to show Peterson make, rather than claiming neutrality. Do you think the outcome would have been the same?

    (She didn’t get into trouble for indulging in free speech, she got into trouble by making at least one person think she thought Peterson’s claims were meritorious)

    If you’re going to limit speech to speech which doesn’t upset anyone, you are not going to have free speech. In this particular case, one student was upset because he interpreted it as an attack on trans people and reported the TA.

    In this particular case, you hold that teaching what she was supposed to teach and free speech necessitated showing Peterson videos without any disclaimer.

    (Teach the controversy, right? Just like with Creationism vs. evolution)

  66. John Morales says

    billyjoe @67, you do squeak delightfully.

    (I particularly like how the original “You can’t have free speech if speech is compelled” became “Free speech is not free speech if you are compelled to use certain words”)

  67. says

    billyjoe

    Assistant. She presented a tutorial on English grammar, specifically the use of plural pronouns instead of singular pronouns in certain circumstances. She showed a Jordan Peterson interview lasting a few minutes to get the discussion going. She said she was remaining neutral because she wanted the students to discuss the topic.

    Is Jordan Peterson a linguist?
    Are Jordan Peterson’s complaints about grammar or politics?
    Does emotionally upsetting your students make you a good teacher?

  68. billyjoe says

    Giliell,

    Is Jordan Peterson a linguist?
    Are Jordan Peterson’s complaints about grammar or politics?
    Does emotionally upsetting your students make you a good teacher?

    JP was not quoted as a linguist, he was quoted as an example of the non-use of pleural pronouns for single pronouns and the non-use of trans pronouns.

    JP’s complaints are irrelevant to the tutorial.

    Can any teacher ever say that they have never upset any student? Is there anyone who has never said anything that has upset someone? I have a pretty thick skin so pretty much nothing upsets me. But the things I’ve been accused of in this blog would definitely have upset someone else less armoured. So it’s a bit rich for you accuse the TA of upsetting her student, while you and many others here have upset commenters on this blog. Also that PA would likely be upset by your assumption that she deliberately set out to upset her student. And you might be upset by me saying that it is your assumption that she deliberately set out to upset that student. So let’s just gat over this thing about upsetting someone shall we? You simply cannot speak for any length of time before upsetting someone somewhere.

  69. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    I particularly like how the original “You can’t have free speech if speech is compelled” became “Free speech is not free speech if you are compelled to use certain words”

    You should stop digging.
    There is no difference in meaning between the two sentences. I was merely putting it in a form – by parsing it onto your sentence – that demonstrated clearly your category error.
    And you have obviously forgotten that this discussion was about JP thinking he was being compelled to use certain words.

  70. John Morales says

    Heh. billyjoe, my digging is exposing you; exposing, for example, your degree of understanding of semantics and category errors. But sure, tell me what category you think I’m misapplying.

    Regarding “Free voting is not free voting if you are compelled to vote.”, are you aware that here in Australia we have compulsory voting?

    (We’re free to vote either informally or for whatever candidate(s)* we want, but you assert we don’t have free voting. Tyrannical!)

    * It’s a preferential vote.

  71. billyjoe says

    John,

    Yeah, in Australia voting is compulsory, but you are free to vote for whichever party you wish to vote for or to vote informally.
    I hope that explains it finally, otherwise I give up.

  72. says

    billy

    was not quoted as a linguist, he was quoted as an example of the non-use of pleural pronouns for single pronouns and the non-use of trans pronouns.

    JP’s complaints are irrelevant to the tutorial.

    Thank you for making my argument.
    If you use examples in a grammar class, they have to be about the usage. Since Jordan Peterson’s whole thing isn’t a linguistic example but an opinion on why singular they is apparently the same as a gulag, it is not about grammar.

    Can any teacher ever say that they have never upset any student?

    No, they cannot.
    But there is a difference between accidentally saying something insensitive and presenting highly sensitive material without any context that isn’t even good material relevant to the grammatical content is highly unprofessional.
    Upset students don’t learn.

    Is there anyone who has never said anything that has upset someone? I have a pretty thick skin so pretty much nothing upsets me. But the things I’ve been accused of in this blog would definitely have upset someone else less armoured. So it’s a bit rich for you accuse the TA of upsetting her student, while you and many others here have upset commenters on this blog.

    Billy, despite the fact that I regularly end up explaining basic shit to you, I am not your teacher.
    I don’t have a duty of care to you, there is no power differential between the two of us.
    You and I are here voluntarily. Students have to be in class.

    Also that PA would likely be upset by your assumption that she deliberately set out to upset her student.

    *sigh*
    1. That’s something your making up. I only stated the fact that she did upset them.
    2. Whether deliberate or not, the result is important. It’s evidence that at least she didn’t think it through and didn’t take into account what effect it might have on her students.

    And you might be upset by me saying that it is your assumption that she deliberately set out to upset that student. So let’s just gat over this thing about upsetting someone shall we?

    At risk ofupsetting you, you’re being dense. Or dishonest. The debate isn’t about never ever upsetting anybody.

  73. Clovasaurus says

    #2 @hemidactylus
    That tongue and cheek review is everything! thanks for sharing. ;)

  74. billyjoe says

    Gilly,

    The student is a university student, not in kindergarten. And it’s a bit rich you being nonchalant about whether or not you upset people with your choice use of words (because, you know, we are here voluntarily) but are totally okay criticising a TA who, with seemingly the best of intentions, inadvertently upsets a student by, horror of horrors, discussing the use of trans pronouns.

    There are biology teachers now who won’t discus evolution for fear of the repercussions of upsetting students with certain religious views. It seems students, including university students, now have to be protected from facts. And they are our future.

  75. says

    Billyboy,

    And it’s a bit rich you being nonchalant about whether or not you upset people with your choice use of words (because, you know, we are here voluntarily) but are totally okay criticising a TA who, with seemingly the best of intentions, inadvertently upsets a student by, horror of horrors, discussing the use of trans pronouns.

    Now, of course I laid out the fundamental differences between you and me and a teacher and a student out already, which yoy continue to ignore, but if I, as a teacher, greatly upset a student, I would be horrified and try to make amends instead of climbing up the cross.
    But yeah, I really couldn’t care less about upsetting you.