Testy, condescending, oblivious


Oh, the pain: I sort of listened to this new interview of Jordan Peterson by Helen Lewis. I skipped around a bit, because there is only so much Peterson I can stomach, but I saw enough to get the gist.

He talks about lobsters at around 40 minutes. He hasn’t learned a thing. He’s still babbling about how lobster hierarchies refute the idea that much of human behavior, including hierarchies, can be socially constructed. That there is so much variation in animal behavior says that you can’t accept a single fundamental principle regulating behavior; that we use serotonin in our brains just means that there is an ancient signaling pathway that has been liberally repurposed by evolution multiple times.

He also uses his strawman argument that those damn social constructionists believe humans are infinitely malleable. I don’t believe that, but I also believe Peterson is full of shit.

He talks about gender roles, too, and how girls ought to be raised to look forward to making babies, and boys ought to be raised to have careers. Lewis mentions the obvious problem there: careers are the only thing you get paid for under capitalism. Peterson laughs condescendingly about an hour in.

How can you say something like that? It’s so cliched.

It’s not capitalism, for god’s sake. You have to invest into a child for 18 years before they have any economic utility. t’s a consequence of delayed economic utility. We don’t know to monetize it. It’s not a consequence of capitalism! It’s a consequence of the fact that humans have an 18 year dependency. How do you monetize that?

It’s not capitalism, he sneers, and then his defense of that claim is entirely about the “economic utility” of children and how difficult it is to monetize kids. That’s about the most capitalistic argument ever: he’s only able to see the world through the lens of capitalism. It was kind of amazing how little he’s able to examine his own premises.

Then, shortly after that he goes full-blown psychopath. He sees other people with different views as not fully human — as robots or NPCs who’ve been narrowly programmed by their ideology. It’s creepy how he dismisses Lewis.

I’m not hearing what you think. I’m hearing how you are able to represent the ideology you were taught. And it’s not that interesting because I don’t know anything about you. I can replace you with someone else who thinks the same way, and that means you’re not here. That’s what it means. It’s not pleasant. You’re not integrating the specifics of your personal experience with what you’ve been taught, to synthesize something that’s genuine and surprising and engaging in a narrative sense as a consequence. That’s the pathology of ideological possession. It’s not good. And it’s not good that I know where you stand on things once I know a few things. It’s like, why have a conversation? I already know where you stand on things.

You know, I could say the same thing about Peterson fans: they’re ideologically obsessed and extraordinarily predictable. I’d say the same thing about Peterson himself — he’s a thoughtless ideologue.

He also says that climate change is probably happening, and that he’s got no opinion on it, but then he goes on to say he read 200 books on ecology and that climate change has been hyped, and that he really admires that fraud, Bjorn Lomborg.

The conversation turns to Count Dankula, that loon who trained a pug to give a Nazi salute. Peterson thinks that’s fine, because it was just a joke (oh, god, the “just a joke” excuse is so tiresome). Lewis disagrees.

I don’t fundamentally believe that it was a joke. I believe it was camouflaged as a joke, and it comes across as…

Peterson: Well, that’s exactly what you would believe if you were inclined to persecute comedians.

OK, I was done at that point. What a dishonest sleaze. Fuck him.

Why are people still interviewing that loon?

Comments

  1. rietpluim says

    Peterson is coming to the University of Amsterdam and all the usual supects are screaming about diversity of opinions and free speech because some pople think it’s not such a good idea to let him speak there.

  2. says

    Has he ever bothered to explain why the fuck lobsters of all things? Could he not at least find a closer species to make a fallacious comparison?

  3. lotharloo says

    Let’s move on from this fucking idiot and asshole. Even atheist assholes like the amazing atheist has moved on. The only people who like him are those idiots who like Ben Shapiro.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    He talks about lobsters at around 40 minutes. He hasn’t learned a thing. He’s still babbling about how lobster hierarchies refute the idea that much of human behavior, including hierarchies, can be socially constructed.

    Wait! Aren’t right-wingers like Peterson all about “free will” and “personal responsibility?” By arguing for a naturalistic root to human behavior aren’t they evoking the very functionalism and materialism that they claim would make us nothing but soulless meat-machines rather than the special little snowflakes created by their deity?

  5. bramhengeveld says

    @1 I was pretty iffed when I read Martijn Katans facebook posts on the open letter the concerned students and faculty wrote. Katan was implying it was akin to deplatforming Peterson and against freedom of speech, which is bollocks of course. They wrote they’d like to see an opponent next to him on stage.

    A true attack by left wing extremism and postmodern marxism! If you’d believe many of the comments there and elsewhere that is…

    Ugh…

  6. says

    You have to invest into a child for 18 years before they have any economic utility…

    18 years?! The fellow is addled. I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London*, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout…

    His name escapeth me for the nonce; a Mr. Deale, or Tiele, mayhap?

  7. cartomancer says

    Do tell me more about this genuine, surprising and engaging narrative of segregated homemaker and breadwinner gender roles. Clearly only a supremely original thinker, unburdened by ideological baggage of any kind, could conceive of such radical new perspectives on the world…

  8. lumipuna says

    First they came for comedians, and I did not speak out, for I was a dog, and also I was planning to take over my owner’s YouTube channel in service of The Party.

  9. brucegee1962 says

    So that final exchange was basically saying that if we want to demean people we don’t like (Jews, blacks, women, Jordan Petersons, doesn’t matter who) all we need to do is tell crude jokes about them, and then if anybody says “that’s offensive!” we get to leap back with the “You must hate comedy!” counteroffensive. Got it.

  10. raven says

    He talks about gender roles, too, and how girls ought to be raised to look forward to making babies,

    Why???
    This is sick.
    Girls and women are far more than walking incubators.

    Peterson accidently does the world a favor every time he says something.
    He lets everyone know that there is something drastically wrong with his mind.
    The guy is a crackpot and a monster.

    PS Even the Peterson trolls have disappeared.
    Trying to defend a monster must not be very rewarding.

  11. raven says

    He talks about gender roles, too, and how girls ought to be raised to look forward to making babies, …

    Actually here in Realityland, girls and women ought to be raised to avoid Jordan Peterson, Peterson trolls, and anyone who thinks like they do.
    Guy is a sick puppy and a monster.

    And oh yeah, boys and men ought to be raised to avoid Jordan Peterson, Peterson trolls, and anyone who thinks like they do.
    In fact, anything sentient like Fairies, Elves, Leprechauns, Angels, Demons, UFO aliens, intelligent plants, and Artificial Intelligences, ought to be raised to avoid Jordan Peterson, Peterson trolls, and anyone who thinks like they do.
    We are looking at omni-malevolent nonthinkers with Peterson and his hangers on.

  12. ethicsgradient says

    “Well, that’s exactly what you would believe if you were inclined to persecute comedians”
    Ah yes, that must be why Lewis is a regular guest on the BBC comedy show ‘The News Quiz’. Because they want to be persecuted, really. Peterson just knows this instinctively.

  13. Zeppelin says

    “And it’s not good that I know where you stand on things once I know a few things. It’s like, why have a conversation? I already know where you stand on things.”

    It’s almost as if, in a self-consistent worldview, beliefs follow from common premises and principles. I guess not being a hypocrite does make you sort of predictable.

  14. petesh says

    I am pretty sure I know where Peterson stands on a number of issues. He IS sort of predictable. Predictably repulsive. And, to be honest, I don’t really want to have a conversation with him. Damn! I seem to have agreed with him on something. Oh well.

  15. =8)-DX says

    I managed about 10 seconds, until he said “read more!” the smarmy, arrogant, condescending, absolutist dipstick.
    =8/-DX

  16. hemidactylus says

    Now that PZ has gone and reminded me Lobster Boy exists I am wondering something. Is there a special font that can be used for Peterson quotes that emphasizes the muppet voice. My brain adds it automatically after hearing him on podcasts, videos and the greatest debate ever with Harris.

    🐸Well, that’s exactly what you would believe if you were inclined to persecute comedians🐸 – that was an attempt.

    PZ spidey quotes get the 🕷🕸……..🕸🕷 treatment appropriate for Halloween.

  17. colinday says

    @Hemidactylus
    #17

    Let’s try this

    <code>Stuff Peterson says</code>

    Stuff Peterson says

    Taken from Lawyers, Guns, and Money

  18. rq says

    So the definition of tyranny, according to Peterson, is “something that isn’t good”. Therefore, I have declared that peas are tyranny, farting in public is tyranny, and anyone who litters in national parks is a tyrant. And Peterson himself is both a tyranny and a tyrant.

  19. hemidactylus says

    colinday and Crip Dyke:

    I was thinking of font color to make Peterson’s muppetry stand out, but the emojis help, if they render in all browsers. Another try with tags and hex code.

    🐸Well, that’s exactly what you would believe if you were inclined to persecute comedians🐸

  20. hemidactylus says

    Well, that’s exactly what you would believe if you were inclined to persecute comedians

  21. Freodin says

    Oh, so it’s just a joke?
    Well, maybe he’s right. Maybe it’s just a joke.

    But what he seems to ignore is that, even in our hugely diverse society… SOME JOKES SIMPLY ARE NOT FUNNY! And non-funny jokes are not jokes. They are just stupid behaviour.

    Oh… now I understand why Peterson agrees with such things.

  22. rietpluim says

    @1 @6 And now Peterson’s critics are receiving death threats. Oh boy, the unlimited freedom at the marketplace of ideas!

  23. alixmo says

    I said it so often (and nobody listens): Peterson is peddling “male supremacy” (which also implies “female inferiority”. And his cult is well aware of that. There are guys among his fans who say the most awful stuff about women (I tried to post a quote here once, but it did not get posted…)

    They believe in what they call “biological essentialism”. For them, “biological facts” proof that women should be “incubators” and mothers, because that is what their biological “purpose” is. Men, on the other hand, can do all sorts of stuff (from inventor to to “adventurer”). They are brilliant “geniuses”, driven by the magic fuel of testosterone.

    You could not make this up!

    I did not even have to dive deeply into their subculture, go to reddit (or wherever they are lurking now). No, reading the comment section in youtube will suffice.

    I am warning you, the Peterson fan base is part of a “cult of masculinity” that is feeding actual (proto?) fascism. If we do not take those guys seriously, we will all suffer for it. The election in Brazil of Jair Bolsonaro, a (Christian) misogynist and homophobe is a perfect illustration for this. (Bolsonaro did make use of the anti-SJW, anti-Cultural Marxism, anti-“gender”, anti-“feminist” jargon that is so common in the “cult of masculinity” since Gamergate.)

  24. alixmo says

    By the way, I did see the word “incubator” used for women by fans of Peterson! I did not make that up, nor did I exaggerate. Sure, not everyone who likes Peterson is a “male supremacist” (at least not to the extreme), but the number is pretty, pretty high. I recommend involving a Peterson fan in a conversation about “gender” and the role of women in society. And make sure to listen (read) carefully – you will be in for some (nasty) surprises…

  25. ajbjasus says

    I must say that I found Helen’s approach to interviewing Peterson much more helpful in exposing the weaknesses in his arguments than did Cathy Newman.

  26. gijoel says

    @Raven He also ignores the social and economic pressures that discourage women from having children. The days of single income families has gone the way of the dodo. Even if a woman is in a stable relationship, she still has to work to cover the bills.

  27. raven says

    I said it so often (and nobody listens): Peterson is peddling “male supremacy” (which also implies “female inferiority”.

    It’s not that nobody is listening.
    Everyone already knows this.

    Peterson’s basic point is that girls are icky.
    You can get the exact same viewpoint from a lot of 6 year boys and said better at that.

    And it is worse than you say.
    Peterson is a conperson, a hate merchant selling his fan base’s hate and bigotry back to them for money.
    He’s found his place in intellectual society, on the far reaches of the lunatic fringes with Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, etc..

  28. drst says

    Apparently Lobster Boy said something about the rightwing contributing to the rise of antisemitism and the shooting over the weekend on Twitter and his mass of NeoNazi followers went bananas on him. If anyone wanted an excuse to eat some popcorn.

  29. raven says

    Once again, some of Peterson’s anti-female bigotry.

    Peterson has left a huge paper and video trail behind him.
    He is just a truly horrible, evil person. Proof from Peterson himself. His hates are many but women, the majority of the population are high on his list.

    https://www.quora.com/Why-i
    The poster below on quora has some Peterson quotes. I normally don’t like to copy other people’s comments but in this case it’s important enough that I will with attribution. The sources are at the original article reached by the link.
    My replies are in bold.

    Riley May
    Answered May 4, 2018 · Author has 70 answers and 83.4k answer views
    Because he says things like:
    ..women have a subconscious wish for brutal male domination
    This is bullcrap. He doesn’t know this.
    ..that it’s unfortunate that men can’t control women who say crazy things because they aren’t allowed to hit them
    How about crazy men like Peterson. We aren’t allowed to hit them either.
    Peterson admires violence and is frustrated that he can’t be violent towards women.
    Guy is a sick puppy.

    ..young women are outraged because they don’t have a baby to suckle
    Gibberish. He doesn’t know this. It’s just a misogynistic insult.

    more….
    ..if a woman doesn’t want to have kids, there’s something wrong with her
    Gibberish. It’s an opinion or an assertion without proof. It’s also wrong.
    It’s a sick puppy thing again.

    ..and says “The idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.” –
    despite women lacking basic human rights and legally being owned by men throughout history
    The oppresion was/is blatantly true and obvious.

    ..says stuff like “Men cannot oppose pathological women because chivalry demands they keep their most potent weapons sheathed” on twitter
    That violence thing again. I would be very surprised if Peterson doesn’t have a history of violence against women, children, and pets. Anything smaller and weaker than himself.

    There is lots more. Pages and pages of sick garbage like this.
    No matter how ugly and vicious Peterson seems, the reality is going to be far worse.

  30. curbyrdogma says

    I wonder if this guy was a fan of “Cerebus the Aardvark”, in which the author wrote an extended screed 20-odd years ago basically saying the same things.

  31. Curt Sampson says

    I just greatly enjoyed Marina Hyde’s Pity Jordan Peterson. Can a giant lobster analogy ever replace a sense of humour?

    Anyway, you may simply know Jordan as “the lobster guy”, after his most famous proposition/abstraction: the idea that lobsters and their serotonin levels explain why human hierarchies exist and are good. But were better in the 1950s. Put simply, you’re really doing this wrong if your first thought on seeing a lobster is: “I’d like to eat this thing, not surrender my abortion rights to it.”

    Owing to his sell-out speaking tours, huge YouTube following and multimillion book sales, Peterson is frequently described as a “Pied Piper” of angry and disaffected men – though my understanding of the original Pied Piper was that he took all his followers away into some kind of mountain from which they never returned. Yes please!

  32. alixmo says

    @ Raven, thanks for the “Peterson`s Best of Misogyny compilation”. Also thanks for seeing the truth about this problem. It may seem obvious to you and me, but how many people really bring this issue up? There is much tacit agreement (at least on some of the points Peterson makes) amongst men (and even some women…). How else can I explain the lack of interest in this serious problem?

    Lots of men (and women) think that womens rights in the West are safe, set in stone, cannot be taken back. Many think that the fight for womens rights and equality is over. Not necessary any more (or never was, in many people`s eyes).

    Which is wrong. Many countries around the world actually went “backwards” on their laws concerning e.g. reproductive rights or LGBTQ rights (which are always related to womens issues) etc. Ignoring the "cult of male supremacy", pretending that it cannot ever pose a threat to womens rights is delusional.

    There are already many men all around the world who do want to restrict women`s rights on the grounds of their religion. Now, some young atheist men found “biological” reason to do the same. This should get us out of our lethargic complacency.

  33. alixmo says

    Another recent interview with Peterson on Swedish TV program “Skavlan” (in English) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iudkPi4_sY

    Just look in the comment section: The only thing that his cult really, really cares about is the “gender issue”. They love that Peterson gives them the “biological facts” for why women are not their equals. Time for the majority of people to wake up and see what he is actually selling to young guys (who are eager to hear it).

    “Male supremacy” is part and parcel of fascism.

    If Peterson would use the words “Jew” or mention other races, everybody would shun him and his ideology. And rightly so.

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