Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Dave Rubin walk into a podcast and…it’s all one big joke! John Holbo thinks it’s funny, anyway. The three of them engage in their usual pseudo-philosophical babble — I’ll include a tiny sample of their long-winded gassing here, but there’s more at the link. Even more if you go to the original source, but I wouldn’t want to inflict that kind of pain on anyone.
Peterson: Here’s the idea. Imagine that you are in some sense the embodiment of that paternal spirit that has characterized mankind since the dawn of time. It’s locked in you, it’s part of your potential. That’s coded in part biologically, but it’s also coded sociologically, in the air and the mythos and the stories we tell each other … [snip out some stuff about Christianity]. It [the image] starts to force you to develop. The socialization. The stress of that transforms you biologically. That won’t be unlocked until you place yourself in the position … [snip more stuff about Christianity] … you actually produce a psycho-physiological-spiritual transformation that matures you into the representation of the Father on earth.
It must be nice to just wave your hands and claim that some complex phenomenon is coded
biologically, without ever having to do the work to justify it. But here, Holbo is more interested in that idea that you’re the
embodiment of a
paternal spirit that also isn’t justified with evidence. You’re expected to accept it because feelings, and of course Ben
Feelings Don’t Care About Facts Shapiro concurs.
The discussion concerns, so to speak, the status of certain feelings. You have a feeling that a certain image of positive masculinity (paternalistic, dominant) is valid, exemplary, normatively binding.
So: what is the status of this feeling?
Peterson speculates, on the basis of evolutionary psychology, that: facts care about his feeling. Shapiro backs him up by arguing that Aquinas and Leibniz concur. There has to be a reason why things are as they are, including our feelings about positive masculinity. There must be something underlying it! (My feeling can’t be resting on nothing. That would imply I am like a snowflake, liable to melt. Abzu forbid!)
Note: this is only masculine feelings. Facts care about guy feelings. It’s a priori!
To be fair, Peterson doesn’t claim certainty. But, to be fairer: the whole thing seems so transparently Just-So-Story-ish wishful and (to spin it in the most charitable way) wildly indulgent in rank speculation. (And Leibniz!) The conspicuously uncritical quality of it, especially in light of Shapiro’s famous catch-phrase?
Well, I thought it was funny.
Hey, I thought it was hilarious! But then, if you find entertainment in contradictions and pretentious foolishness stated with pompous certainty, then Peterson and Shapiro are world-class comedians.