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Jordan Peterson gets it wrong again on inequality

Jordan Peterson has made another intervention ; arguing against ‘equity politics’ as opposed to what passes for ‘equality of opportunity’ in Western societies. For his own purposes he defines ‘equality’ as ‘equality under the law’ and ‘meritocracy’ as far as it has progressed in Western society. (We could also add free, universal and equal suffrage ; amongst whose most early ardent advocates were socialists).

By contrast ‘equity’ is argued as inferring ‘equality of outcome’. (For some the goal is even role reversal).

Because the main focus on the Left these days appears to be gender, Peterson focuses on gender also. Along the way he makes some interesting points (and also some shallow, Conservative assertions).

Amongst the “interesting” points:

  • Only a tiny proportion of men actually occupy positions in the ‘ruling class’.
  • Corporate Affirmative Action in Sweden has had almost no impact on the prospects and lives of working class women.
  • ‘Equity’ can be interpreted as ‘sameness’: but men and women may not freely choose to be ‘the same’ if given the choice.
  • Some women accept a ‘trade off’ of free time for lower incomes ; and that is an acceptable choice.
  • Further ; providing OPPORTUNITY doesn’t mean women will take those opportunities ; and old patterns in the labour market may be replicated here and there even after significant efforts to ‘open the way’ (eg: Peterson mentions Mathematicians, Engineers, Physicists).
  • ‘Sameness’ is not the same as ‘equality’ or ‘justice’.

But in response: it is legitimate to break down barriers to women’s (and men’s) participation in non-traditional realms ; without creating new stereotypes, disincentives and barriers for either sex.

Peterson argues that “the Equity Doctrine” “has gone too far”. He seems to assume that ‘Western meritocracy’ is the best system ; with (in fact extreme) inequality as functional to the creation of prosperity.

But many Socialists themselves have assumed ‘perfect equality’ is unachievable and undesirable, even under socialism. Social Democratic Marxists Karl Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein variously made that point that for the foreseeable future there would remain differences of remuneration based on skill, effort, and the undesirable and unpleasant nature of some labour.

Whatever you think of ‘communism in practice’ the ultimate (theoretical) ‘communist goal’ assumes free and non-alienated labour ; where there is abundance ; and labour has become ‘life’s prime want’ ; and diverse and fulfilling in nature. This principle can inform policy today ; but without true abundance it cannot be fully realised.

There are other questions as well. Such as ‘co-ercive laws of competition’ as they apply not only to enterprises, but also to nation-states. (Competition can drive less desirable labour and social conditions). And resultant economic forces mitigate against the retreat of alienating human labour.

Further, the welfare state itself demands an economic base ; and as the Swedes showed, this was best supported by policies ensuring full employment.

In practical terms, though, those socialist principles can be furthered through educational, social and cultural opportunity ; voluntary job rotation ; a reduced working week and opportunities for fulfilling voluntary labour. And the viability of which can be supported by a strong social wage, and regime of social insurance.

Peterson argues “the Left can go too far” ; and he mentions the Soviets ; Maoists ; the Khmer Rouge, Cuba and today’s Venezuela. What this has to do with the feminism he discusses (which seems to be his central focus) is lost on this writer. Also missing in this grandiose dismissal is any consideration of ‘capitalist atrocities’. Wars such as World War One with tens of millions killed; the massacres of over half a million in Indonesia in the 1960s ; and over 300,000 in Guatemala in the 1980s.

To that we could add atrocities and oppression elsewhere in Central and South America. And the War in Vietnam ; which spilled over into the US bombing of Cambodia and Laos ; destabilising Cambodia with the consequent rise of the Khmer Rouge.

And indeed while the current Venezuelan Government is not ideal, its developing inclination to repression is informed by foreign intervention and destabilisation, including sanctions and direct support for an usurper against the elected government. Venezuela’s actual policies (support co-operatives ; support for public education, housing and health ; socialise oil profits) are not at all ‘extreme’ in the ‘wide sweep’ of history. Venezuela’s future must be decided by the Venezuelans (UN involvement in elections may be acceptable) ; and not by US intervention.

But the real problem with Peterson, here, is that any robust democratic socialist program is associated with ‘the Left going too far’ ; and hence rejected out of hand. Peterson assumes an essential link between socialism and totalitarianism which does not stand up in the face of various other examples ; such as the Austro-Marxist experience between 1917 and 1934.

The connection Peterson tries to draw between the ‘equity politics’ he discusses – and Stalinism – is also threadbare.

To conclude ; some ‘equity’ policies – such as quotas applied to representative government – may be workable and desirable ; but too cumbersome to introduce to every sector of society. And it begs the question why we are not considering the place of social class in all of this. Which is the main factor in discrepancies of economic and political power.

Also, the most efficient correctives for inequality may well go beyond quotas. For instance ; Subsidies for ‘feminised’ sectors such as Aged Care and Child Care which typically involve exploitation. Or comprehensive universal and socialised health care. A regulated labour market and industrial liberties. A fully funded and first class public education system, including free Tertiary education. And the opening up of ‘education for active and critical citizenship’ to everyone ; including a balanced consideration of the entire political spectrum, and the promotion of political activism for a healthy democracy.

Again as Sweden demonstrated during its ‘golden age’ : a strong and comprehensive welfare state, social wage, social insurance regime – can provide for real social security and happiness. And that social security also makes it easier for industries to modernise ; with transitions ‘softened’ by re-education and training ; and by active industry policies which seek to maintain full employment ; and create new jobs for displaced workers (where possible making the most of existing skills sets).

Peterson tries to construct some simplistic opposition between “equal opportunity/meritocracy” and “equity/equality of outcome”.

In fact there is a ‘democratic socialist middle ground’ here.

Meritocracy and equal opportunity are often myth-like. Schools are not equally-resourced. Class often dictates educational opportunity. Gross inequality results in a ‘capitalist aristocracy’ dominated by billionaires – who have political access and influence ordinary citizens can barely dream of. The heights of power in the US particularly are influenced by nepotism and private fund-raising (by capitalists).

Meanwhile, in the US especially a ‘middle class’ is constructed as a political support base ; but even these could be rendered destitute through unanticipated health expenses where there is not sufficient health insurance.

The postulated ‘middle class’ (much of which is working class in fact) is ‘disciplined’ through fear of descent into the working poor (Walmart pays $11/hour and that is a big improvement on the past ; the federal minimum wage in the U.S. [is] $7.25 ) ; and the working poor are ‘disciplined’ through fear of descent into utter destitution.

Further ; to provide a more ‘global’ perspective: In early 2019, Oxfam claimed that the World’s 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%.

With appropriate social wage, welfare and social insurance policies ; as well as labour market liberties and regulation ; and a genuinely and strongly progressive tax system it is possible to have much greater equality without resort to ‘extremes’. The establishment of a robust mixed economy, and support for co-operative enterprise ought not be rendered ‘marginal’ either ; and the Mondragon experience in Spain is instructive. It is also arguable that such combined policies can be more effective than cumbersome quotas applied to every aspect and corner of society. Though in certain instances gender quotas have proved very effective ; for instance in promoting women’s representation in Australia’s Parliamentary Labor Party.

In short ; Peterson tries to construct an opposition between ‘equality of opportunity/meritocracy’ and ‘equity/equality of outcome’. He ignores any potential ‘democratic socialist middle ground’; and he virtually ignores the aspect of social class which is fundamental to economic inequality ; and crosses lines of gender, race, ethnicity and so on. His resort to examples of Stalinism and Maoism is shallow and simplistic. It is true that parts of today’s Left deter internal dissent through the threat of ostracism ; and sometimes it is taken too far. But with regard the ‘democratic Left’, Peterson’s references to Stalinism and Maoism would appeal only to the easily convinced and ideologically prejudiced.

Here’s to genuine equality of opportunity ; and to such a degree of economic equality that would put paid to the ‘the capitalist aristocracy’ ; lift working people up from exploitation and poverty ; and empower ordinary citizens in democracy.



This article was originally published on ALP Socialist Left Forum.

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  1. Karen Kyle

    Petersen gets a lot of things wrong.He is not the Public Intellectual he thinks he is. If we take a deep breath,stand back and view the situation objectively and workout what the hell he is up to, the situation bcomes clearer.

    His paranoia re the Left is easily explainable, because political danger these days iis coming from the right. The Left is a convenient boogey man and scapegoat. The enemy we must all fear and only right wing poitics can save us and save Western Civilization. Petersen is jjust one among many. Have a look at Prager University on Youtube. Their arguments are always thin. the lies and ommissions always extreme.

    The trouble is most people have no defences against them. They have billionares behind them. They are first rate propagandists. They can produce brilliant Youtube videos which can cost twenty thousand to thirty thousand each…As long as their arguments appear to be logical and as long as they claim to be fair people believe them. The situation is dangerously bad and how we fight it, I jst don’t know.

  2. Kaye Lee

    “Some women accept a ‘trade off’ of free time for lower incomes ; and that is an acceptable choice.”

    So doing the childcare, cleaning, shopping, cooking, bill-paying, hosting, communications, chauffeuring, gardening, organising maintenance, budgeting, caring for elderly relatives, volunteering etc etc is called “free time” now?

    Who wouldn’t want a free domestic slave/personal assistant/nanny/cleaner/chef/driver/sex worker?

    Speaking of meritocracy, Peterson is a lightweight riding a wave of exposure he doesn’t merit.

  3. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Kaye Lee – the assumption that women will do all the housework isn’t “part of the package” re: a trade off between work and spare time. It doesn’t have to be. And men can make the same ‘trade off’. The ‘trade off’ is more free time, but less disposable personal income. Also it’s a trade off you can make regardless of your family status.

  4. Kaye Lee

    I agree Tristan. But the comment specifically referred to women making trade-offs.

    Peterson is really hung up on gender. It’s what got him notoriety. So hung up that he can’t accept obvious truths about the unequal opportunities faced which is why he will never be able to come up with suggestions on how to make things better.

    You mention “equality under the law”. Anyone who has ever had to deal with the justice system can tell you that the people with the big bucks win. They can outlast any action against them until legal costs become prohibitive for anyone who would consider fighting them. That is how Adani is trying to silence opposition from the native title holders. It’s how Rupert Murdoch got an $880 million payout from the ATO instead of a fine for tax avoidance.

  5. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Kaye Lee – good point re: “equality under the law” ; should have thought of it myself. Hope people read the rest of the article too.

  6. Phil

    Analysing anything Peterson says is a waste of time, who cares what he thinks or what he says? . He is an insufferable bore and a rancid right wing wanker ta boot .Celebrities and others that engage him in debate, only encourages him. Be gone Peterson FFS.

  7. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Like it or not there is a popular perception of so-called ‘Political Correctness’ (PC) out there that Peterson is playing to. And many people are highly dismissive of the Left because of it. Sometimes it’s necessary to refute these people rather than let them go on building up their following and support base. Also some of the debates on freedom matter ; A Bill of Rights in this country (which would be a good thing) would enshrine our liberal rights, but also those of our adversaries. An acceptable compromise, I think, given what we’ve seen recently with the AFP and the ABC. Depending on how extreme our adversaries’ views, arguably we should be tolerant as well. Ideally we are liberals as well as socialists.

  8. Karen Kyle

    Depends on what is mean’t by “poitical correctness”. If using neutral language as a strong wish to avoid giving offensive and hurting the felings of the vulnerable, then pc is inevitable, and necessary for decent human interaction. And a great improvement on how we used to speak.

    In the not so distant past we praised people by saying he was “a white man”.and ethnically inspired insults were common. It is a welcome development to see this cringeworthy habit gone and no longer acceptable. To defend such habits of the past in the name of”free speech” is contemptible.

    If politically correct means holding certain political ideas, and dismissing all others by not allowing right wing nut jobs to speak on University Campuses etc, then despite the fact that such people are again abusinng free speech. for nefarious political aims they should not be prevented from speaking. Progressives should aim to refute their thin arguments by speaking the truth against lies. Easy to say. Hard to do sometimes especially with young students whose politics may not be quite formed. They might need some help from outside progressives.

  9. Dr Tristan Ewins

    I wouldn’t attempt to forcibly suppress Peterson from expressing his views. A lot of what he says is just plain factually incorrect. His critique of socialism is a caricature. And I think he knows this ; but just carries on with it anyway. Because he’s a propagandist. ‘Simple messages cut through’. But in other respects he’s in the mainstream of historical liberalism. Karen you’re right that outright prejudice and hatred – eg: incitement to racial violence – has no place. But I also remember that Doc Evatt defended the existence of the Communist Party on the basis of politically liberal arguments and values. Liberalism can be a valuable ideological ally ; and abandoning liberalism could have consequences for the Left down the track.

    Agreed – when it comes to Peterson and those like him – better to meet on the battlefield of ideas and win through ; rather than rely on suppression.

  10. Phil

    I’m sorry, I’m all out of tolerance. For mine tolerance cost us among other reasons, i.e.the lies, the media, and of course Bill Shorten the last election.. I resigned from the Labor party over putting Shorten in the job. Albo got the vote from the rank and file at the time by a country mile. Of course we mere mortals, uneducated swill not only know nothing about politics, we obviously are not in tune with other peoples body language. Although for mine it would appear and yes it’s early days yet, Albanese is going to be found wanting himself. But I agree we need a bill of rights. But back to the topic at hand.

    Peterson. I don’t believe he has any influence amongst the populace except for the cretins that would vote for the likes of Trump, Palin, Graham, McConnel et al. Besides which forums are available to debate him? He appears on all the major networks in the US and is only interviewed. All the other people that have debated him in the past, Sam Harris, Mat Dillahunty, et al in my opinion, have made him look like the pompous dork he is. It is sad Hitchens is not alive, he would have had Peterson relieving himself on his podium.

    I don’t think people are going to give a flying fck what Peterson thinks or says shortly. There is trouble coming down the pike and the latest raids by the AFP are just the start of things to come. We are headed for mass unemployment and a financial Armageddon and a possible war with Iran. Once the hoi polloi realises they have been lied to on a massive scale, they are not going to be happy.

  11. Michael Taylor

    Phil, given the number of people who have already read this article I would suggest that many out there are interested in listening to alternate opinions.

  12. Noel Pound

    No system works without a sensible concern for others and the planet. We are currently being screwed by deceptive and greedy corporations who are helped out by the massive distraction and misrepresentation of gender issues. JP is an ordinary bloke who talks a lot of sense.

  13. Phil

    ‘ Phil, given the number of people who have already read this article I would suggest that many out there are interested in listening to alternate opinions..

    In the memorial words of Pauline Hanson . Please explain!

    I didn’t know it was a competition. Or a lack of space.

  14. Michael Taylor

    What the hell are you talking about?

    What competition?

  15. Phil

    What the hell are you talking about? Yea back at ya.

    If my comment has broken the bounds of decency just say so.

    Just what are you trying to say?

  16. Michael Taylor

    If you don’t like Tristan writing about this bloke – then don’t read it. Simple.

  17. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Phil I hope you’re prognosis on the near future is wrong ; but in fact I think it’s very likely. How a ‘war with Iran’ would end I don’t know. Perhaps Iraq is instructive. Much of the Iraqi Army was destroyed under Bush Snr ; I remember the road to Baghdad was strewn with tanks and other vehicles blown up by US forces as they retreated. But only about ten years later after a decade of sanctions did the Americans move in and actually occupy the country. And then there was a long-run insurgency where the Americans really suffered for a while ; and there were regular terrorist bombings and assassinations. Iran would be similar ; but given it is a larger nation – probably worse. And then we had ISIS ; and really the whole region has been destabilised. And remember Iran now has strong support in Iraq. (effectively courtesy of Bush Snr and Bush Jr) There used to be a ‘balance of power’ in the region where Sunnis and Shia faced off against one another. Now Iran’s main rival in the region is Saudi Arabia. Israel’s Netanyahu thinks Israel will not be secure until the existing Iranian Government is destroyed. Indeed Iran supports Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah. And Iranian leaders have long talked of destroying the ‘Zionist regime’ as they call it. But while this has fueled rocket attacks ; few have died compared to what would be the cost of a war with Iran ; and probably worse still – any occupation and the ensuing resistance. But Iran will probably not dare attack Israel directly so long as the US is in Israel’s corner. Though Israelis still remember the Yom Kippur War ; and hypothetically the Americans wouldn’t necessarily have the time to intervene in that kind of scenario. I hope it does not come to a ‘hot war’. Though already we’ve seen a ‘proxy conflict’ in Yemen.

  18. Phil

    ‘If you don’t like Tristan writing about this bloke – then don’t read it. Simple.’

    I never said or inferred anything of the sought.

    I like Tristan’s writing immensely and have corresponded with him on facebook on other subjects. The man is brilliant. If I see his name on anything, I will read his comments.

    With that in mind, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with his every utterance. So I’ll repeat it just for you. Peterson is a pretentious wanker, I could care less what his qualifications are. He is a wanna be poster child of the right and his obnoxious ramblings should be heard in silence. That is my opinion which I stand by. If other people want to read or listen his diatribe so be it. I am not condemning anyone who wants to read or listen to his schlock. My only other point is, being nice to these wankers doesn’t work. Cheers.

  19. Michael Taylor

    You talk with him, Tristan. I don’t want to waste my time.

  20. Phil

    ‘Phil I hope you’re prognosis on the near future is wrong ; but in fact I think it’s very likely.’

    My son who recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan has told me the place is in ruins. Btw the last thing I want to see is a war with Iran. With Trump in charge and possibly on the verge of being impeached, God knows what will happen. What Australia’s input into that conflict. will be is anyone’s guess. If Israel gets involved it could be Armageddon. Golda Meir in her biography said she would see Israel destroyed rather than give up an inch of land. As an aside warships of the US and Russian Navies had a close call collision a few day ago in the East China Sea. Make of that what you will.

    As for the rest for mine, a financial crash is coming, the printing presses have started up again in the US and they putting people off like there is no tomorrow. The myth going around their economy is good is another Trump lie. Admittedly it is only anecdotal evidence at the moment but, a barometer of the state of the economy is the retails sector it is failing. Where I live shops are shutting every where. My mate who is currently in Adelaide tells me it’s the same there. An interesting few months ahead.

  21. Phil

    You talk with him, Tristan. I don’t want to waste my time.

    Wasting mine more like. You do have tickets on yourself don’t you?

  22. Phil

    ‘You talk with him, Tristan. I don’t want to waste my time.’

    Wasting mine more like. You do have tickets on yourself don’t you?

  23. Dr Tristan Ewins

    The US Corporate and Personal Tax Cuts (for the rich) have cost hundreds of billions and virtually nothing in return. The trade war with China and Mexico could escalate sharply. The world economy could go into a tailspin. I wonder how Murdoch will spin ‘superior Conservative economic management’ after that? Of course a lot of it will be out of our control ; but the neo-liberal economic policy toolkit is not sufficient to meet the threat. In fact would make matters worse.

  24. Phil

    ‘ The world economy could go into a tailspin.’

    Indeed. I see the price of gold is on the move up. Apparently the Chinese are buying heaps of it. Maybe they know something we don’t.

    They are forecasting more interest rate cuts they wont be able to juice the market at all soon. Some are even predicting banks charging for accounts ?

  25. Lynette Hill

    The irony here is that this article claims that only those with shallow ideological consideration can believe what Peterson is putting out, whilst at the same time the author is clearly a slave to his own. Puts out basic leftist socialist talking points as “rebuttle” against extensive psychological research and insights at both the clinical and philosophical levels. Now I don’t agree with everything Peterson proclaims, but as for the author of this article, at least attempt a little bit of independent thought next time rather than the simple overlaying of an ideological lense.

  26. Michael

    This article is full of factually incorrect dribble.
    Just to take one part;
    If the opinion of the writer is such that you can claim that WW1 was full of capitalist atrocities…… go back and reread history. The atrocities were on ALL sides. WW1 destablisied Europe and the world into capitalist and communist national identities. Not to mention the inumerable volume of people that communisn and its ilk has killed.
    At least capitalism has brought billions out of poverty. Peterson even says himself that its not a perfect system…. just the best of a bad bunch.
    I appreciate you need somwthing to write about but get the facts straight and actually read and listen to what Peterson is saying. You have got his message all wrong.

  27. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Michael ;

    Capitalism has developed the means of production and brought many out of absolute poverty. But it is also based on the exploitation of the Third World ; and in some countries – very severe class divisions. And hundreds of millions are in relative poverty. We are possibly on the verge of a crisis even worse than the GFC ; with the trade wars and tensions with Iran. But you question my characterisation of WWI saying “there were atrocities on all sides”. Yes there were ; and this was before communism ; and that’s the point.

    At no point do I justify Stalin. As for Lenin ; he tried to win through in an impossible situation – and in the process resorted to desperate measures which discredited communism in the eyes of millions for generations. There was labour conscription ; and the civil war ; the storming of Kronstadt: but also remember there was foreign destabilisation and intervention. A similar scenario to the French Revolution of 1789. Desperate circumstances drove centralisation and Terror. In the end it wasn’t worth it, once the descent into Stalinism is considered ; and the discrediting of socialism. But remember the Terror in the French Revolution is not taken as discrediting the liberties and democracy the revolutionaries fought for. Neither should socialism (or even authentic communism) be taken as ‘forever discredited’ because of Stalin and those who followed in his tradition.

    I’m more sympathetic to Rosa Luxemburg who writes:

    “Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element.”

    and also:

    “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”

    In practice I’m probably closer to ‘the Marxist Centre’ than Rosa ; I’m also not a philosophical materialist ; I believe in free will ; transcendent consciousness ; the soul…. So I’m far from being a conventional Marxist in these regards. But I recognise the diversity of the Left ; which Peterson wrongs with ‘catch-all’ cries of ‘Cultural Marxism’ and so on.

    A couple of people are now telling me I have Peterson all wrong. But no-one has shown me any recognition by Peterson of the true diversity of the Left , including the radical and Marxist Lefts.

  28. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Lynette you can dismiss my arguments as ‘talking points’ ; but they are my sincerely-held views and I don’t step back from them. In any case they were developed over a couple of decades of research and activism. How about trying to refute any of the specifics?

  29. Phil

    Not only in WW1 were there capitalist atrocities but they excelled in WW2 by actually trading with the enemy.

    I nearly pissed meself laughing ‘ Capitalism has brought millions out of poverty ! ‘ Tristan you were too kind. Not only has capitalism killed millions in third world countries, it is now killing thousands of people in capitalist countries through austerity. There is no need to further canvass the disparity between the rich and the poor in these capitalist countries the figures are well known and they are a scandal..But you already know all of this. Capitalism is dying a death, they have not yet realised most of the world has all the plastic buckets it needs and in the countries that could still use them, they can’t afford to buy them. Not to mention global warming that may yet see the end of life on the planet as we know it.

    Anyone over the age of sixty would remember all those capitalist propaganda films when automation first appeared. How I remember those documentaries showing all the workers on the beach in the parks, scoffing ice creams down with gay abandon handfuls of hotdogs, whilst the robots did all the work. They told us we were going to be in Nirvana. Of course now they’re all on the beach and in the parks alright, on the dole with a lot of them the affluent ones living in cars, with others living under bridges.

    Some of the people that comment here not only talk a load of not so much dribble, but unadulterated horse shit.

  30. Lucifer, A. M.

    Men and women are fundamentally different, simply due to the extremely different reproductive cost of each sex. Besides, it is this crucial oppositional sex difference which forms the very foundation of sexual reproduction, basic biology 101.
    Therefore, no amount of “huffing & puffing” nor attempts to distort this basic truth about sex difference either through ‘misleading semantics’ or false presuppositions are going to be successful in changing this indisputable notion, especially given the mountain of supporting evidence that’s virtually irrefutable.

    Bottom line is, whenever a selection process based on quantity is executed, such as gender quota or gender target, then rest assured the quality will be certainly sacrificed. It’s just a logical fallacy to assume both quantity and quality can be preserved simultaneously. It’s just impossible to reconcile or equate conditions that are intrinsically paradoxical.

    Furthermore, if there is substantial evidence about issues surrounding the selection process based on meritocracy, then those issues require independent addressing and solving.
    However, if the presumed problem is attempted to be resolved by introducing another new form of “discriminating” problem such as selection criteria based on gender, then that would just make matters worse because “two wrongs don’t make a right”, regardless of all the justification efforts. Period.

    In essence, providing “equality of opportunity” is NOT the same and will never be the same as determining “equality of outcomes” because both processes are basically antagonistic to each other, whereby the former is a liberal policy centred on democratic principles while the latter is an authoritarian process centred on autocratic principles. Thus, even any attempts to make this matter appear more complex than it really is, it will still not change the fundamental truth underlying this matter. Period.

  31. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Phil ; Marx himself realised that capitalism built up the means of production ; and this provided the prospect of all people being lifted out of poverty with a transition to socialism. Depending on the specific country, capitalist produce has had to be ‘caught up’ for consumption in the middle class ; and in some cases the working class. That said inequality keeps increasing. And because lower income workers consume with a greater proportion of their income ; unemployment and extreme inequality are bad even for capitalism. Neo-liberal capitalism tolerates extreme polarisation and poverty. Capitalism provides less and less high wage full time labour. And Western prosperity rests on the exploitation of the Third World, and often internal underclasses. Trade wars and debt crises (and possibly a hot war) could lead to one hell of a recession ; and it raises the question of what socialism could do better: ensure full employment ; and hence the economic base for social wage, social insurance, welfare and so on. I’d like to see an end to capitalism ; but replaced by something better ; and it’s getting from A to B which is so difficult. How to build a socialism with rock solid commitment to liberties ; and incentives for innovation and responsiveness to consumer need.

  32. Oscar

    Totally with you Phil.

  33. Dr Tristan Ewins

    I can’t make any significant (big) posts.

  34. Phil

    Dr Tristan Ewins.

    Amen to all of that Tristan.

    I believe with every fibre of my existence capitalism is finished. Unfortunately it wont be in my life time. Socialism will come not if, but when. All of the arguments about politics and who is responsible for the most deaths and all these other side issues will matter not, when the eco system starts collapsing and global warming really kicks in. Unfortunately it will need something catastrophic to get the people out of their collective comas.

    But hope springs eternal. Two of my grandchildren who voted for the first time, voted for the Labor party. Even after their step father gave them the old Stalin routine.( Peoples ignorance of this period never ceases to amaze me) I had them over the weekend and thankfully they are more interested in my small library of books than they are their mobile telephones.

    My own children who one of was dux of the high school in his leaving year, are all committed socialists. But it has as you would know,being a lefty has its problems. One must be careful in the work environment that you do not offend the sensibilities of other workers. It can lead to persecution and dampen promotional aspects. But it is not as bad now as it used to be. I can remember the persecution of lefties, especially homo sexual ones. Getting letters in my pay packet extolling the virtues and advantages of a Liberal government. Before Don Dunstan SA was controlled by the Squattocracy, probably still is, a subject for another time.Love your comments.

  35. Michael

    I think a healthy debate between you and Peterson might garnish some better insight into your differences of opinion.

    I appreciate your point of view regarding the social upheaval of the french and russian revolutions, and the immense destruction it brought upon many.

    History, well before those events, has shown the same kind of death and destruction wrought by social inequality. Regardless of what political structure is involved.
    Im not religious but even the bible describes this in its account of the jews leaving egypt.

    Communist Russia exploited the Balkan states, Afghanistan, Iraq… the list goes on. Sorry, not a good argument in my opinion to say the capitalist west is responsible for the explotation of 3rd world countries. They too must take reponsiblity for themselves, as even without western backing those countries would have descended into social chaos. They are ruled by warlords and dictators. Capitalist in one sense, but his is better described by greed and despicable cruelty. And in many cases those countries (not all) are worse off after the departure of the colonial west.

    I think western society as a whole is on a good path. Socialism has its place in a capitalist democratic society. Free healthcare, education, distribution of wealth (however it is produced) via a fair tax system.

    The issue i believe Peterson is refering to is that if someone is more skillfull, then naturally people will pay more for that skill. If you choose to have a family istead of a career then you must sacrifice something. Ie time and income. An employer shouldnt have to pay you the same because you work less because you have children. I would happily stay home with my child and my partner who is better educated than i am go to work. But she has chosen to stay home and knows full well the sacrifice. It is her choice. That is western freedom. And capitalism has enabled this. Socialist aspects of our society have given her the opportunity of support through paid maternity leave, via a fair tax system. Amazing.

    It is a shame, as i can see that Peterson isnt trying to say that left values are wrong. Just certain aspects are going too far and are reflective of the past which will repeat itself if not fought against. How do you get this message across in such short periods of time?

    Gender equality is a whole different thing again. A recent BBC story about transgender, in this case men to women, competing in womens sports. How are bilogical women meant to physcally compete with a male body in athletics. It is extremely unfair for women. And ridiculous for these people to think it fair. I dont have a problem with anyone trying to compete in sport. But passing a law to say that transgender peole can play i what ever sport they gender identify with is just open slather for explotation. I (Peterson tell me if i am wrong) think this is what Peterson is referring too also.

    This could go on forever….

  36. Phil

    ‘ Communist Russia exploited the Balkan states, Afghanistan, Iraq… the list goes on.”

    Agree Stalinist Russia was never communist. But hey that’s another argument.

    ‘ Sorry, not a good argument in my opinion to say the capitalist west is responsible for the explotation of 3rd world countries.’

    Ah Rudyard Kipling couldn’t have put it better himself.

    A white-mans burden.

    ‘ This could go on forever….’

    Oh please don’t. Spare me anyway. Just discussing Peterson is enough already.

    I can just imagine you in the old ‘ Raffles hotel ‘ quaffing the old Pink Gin and moaning about the price of the Coolie labour.

    Socialism has it’s place in capitalism. Wow that would have Karl confused.

  37. Michael

    Stop being a troll.
    The whole discussion is about Peterson. If you dont want to talk about it….. dont.

    I love: I can just imagine you in the old ‘ Raffles hotel ‘ quaffing the old Pink Gin and moaning about the price of the Coolie labour….
    only a consumate moron would make comparison.

    And if you think that Marx didnt have the mental aptitude to consider a system that could have evolved from both ideologies, you are poor judge of charcter too.

    Keep your insults to yourslf and actually put together a coherent argument instead of piggybacking on someone elses.

    These responses should be for those who want to expand their mind, not crush independant thought.

    Good on you for playing directly into the hands of those you apparently oppose.

  38. Pieter

    I think the middle ground you describe is already mentioned in the article by Dr. Peterson. There’s equality under the law, equality of opportunity (which is what he promotes), and equality of outcome. DEI departments are more and more focused on equality of outcome, where results are measured by the statistical ratios of employees and/or students at each level. Those metrics of success are important, because no matter how much you claim to fight for equality of opportunity, if your metrics are wrong you’re actually aiming at equality of outcome.

    As an example: the wage gap.

    Let’s say I run a company with 50 men and 50 women, whom I all pay $10/hour, and since I really like myself I pay myself $520/hour (yes, it’s an extreme example). I decide to annually publish the average salary/hour to track the wage gap (used as an indicator for pay equity), and so for the first year I get:

    women: 50×10/50 = $10/hour

    men: (50×10+1×520)/51 = $20/hour

    Damn, that’s a 50% wage gap in favor of men!

    So, apparently I’m not doing a very good job, and so I retire, and my job gets taken by a woman who accepts a salary of only $265/hour for doing the same job. The results for the next year are:

    women: (50×10+1×265)/51 = $15/hour

    men: 50×10/50 = $10/hour

    Not only has she accepted a salary just over half of mine, but the wage gap has been reversed to a 33% wage gap in favor of women.

    In this (extreme) example, we’ve managed to do absolutely nothing to tackle equality of opportunity, a woman is doing my previous job for just over half my former salary, but in accordance with our metrics we’ve managed to reduce (and reverse) the wage gap, so we’ve improved our equity results.

    That’s why metrics of success are important.

    You mentioned quotas; I think they achieve exactly the opposite of equality of opportunity. Setting up a quota of 30% female software engineers when only 20% of the university computer science graduates are female for instance is not equality of opportunity. Moreover, every female engineer will always be looked at with skepticism, since it’s impossible to determine whether she was hired for her abilities or because they had to fill a quota. It’s also unnecessary, since assuming talents are equally distributed among men and women, you’d be a foolish employer to ignore half the pool of talented people, and you’ll be passed quickly by employers who aren’t as foolish as you.

  39. Phil

    June 10, 2019 at 5:05 pm


    I’ve addressed Peterson along with many other academics in the past, who also think he is a pretentious wanker. Peterson has an opinion on everything just ask him. . I addressed your points and they are a load of twaddle. I never piggy back other people points, mine are straight off the cuff. Btw your response ref the third world countries is typical of right wing thought process every where it infects peoples minds. As for my little joke about the Raffles Hotel that got you hook line and sinker,. What was it Shakespeare said?

    As for insults, you must be taking the piss?

    ‘ They too must take reponsiblity for themselves, as even without western backing those countries would have descended into social chaos. They are ruled by warlords and dictators. ‘

    That Sir is not only an insult to the intelligence but, an insult to the countries exploited by other western capitalist countries. Btw this exploitation is not just in the mists of time. They are still doing it.

  40. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Pieter I accepted that quotas were too cumbersome to be applied across the board in every context to every disadvantaged group. No one is suggesting the manipulation of wages and the ‘Pyrrhic’ victory you suggest. Quotas can be problematic if they contravene elections based on platforms which is the basis of democracy. But when the gender gap has been so great – as it has been in the Liberal Party for instance – you see that this state of affairs is not because of ‘merit’ or lack of women’s talent. Rather you’ve had systemic exclusion. And you can solve that problem with gender-reserved seats. That said sometimes it’s impossible to have a considered debate here. While supporting an aspiration and movement towards gender equality in the home, the labour market, sport, public life – I argued that the term ‘mansplaining’ was sometimes misapplied to silence an opponent. Suddenly I had dozens of people condemning me on Facebook labeling me a ‘misogynist’. Or trying to get me to ‘admit’ I was a misogynist. It was very traumatic and unexpected. It kind of confirmed my point ; but I got no pleasure from it. This is where we need to lift our game ; we don’t want there to be substance to Peterson when we accept that parts of the Left enforce conformity through ostracism.

  41. Pieter

    Dr Ewins,

    I’ve been a left-wing voter in the Netherlands practically all my life, but I’m certainly not “woke”, which I agree can be enough these days to get vilified. I know no one is suggesting the manipulation of wages the way I described; it was merely intended to illustrate how important metrics of success are. I’ve looked through those metrics from multiple DEI departments, and many of them focus on measuring ratios among employees and/or students. That’s not a proper way to measure success when your claimed goal is equality of opportunity. You need blind testing on e.g. gender and race to determine whether there’s bias within your hiring process. It’s harder to measure that for internal promotions though.

    While I agree that bias exists within the promotional process, it is for instance unrealistic to expect that 50% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies will be female if the number of interested applicants are only 10-20%. I’m all in favor of finding bias, but there’s also people’s free choices and interests at stake here, as can be seen by the gender paradox research papers. So yes: all in favor of equality of opportunity, and if that creates equality of outcome that’s fine, but if equality of opportunity creates inequality of outcome due to personal choices and preferences, then forcing equality of outcome is a dystopian nightmare waiting to happen.

    As for Dr. Peterson: There’s plenty of valid criticism to be given on the man’s views, but I rarely read any of them in news articles. It’s mostly views attributed to him that he doesn’t even hold or reading his descriptive arguments in a prescriptive manner. It’s like nuance is dead in today’s discussions.

  42. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Phil ; sure the best we can aspire to for now is for “socialism to have a place in capitalism” ; in the sense of beach-heads for socialisation ; a democratic mixed economy with a strong social wage, social insurance, welfare state. But at the end of the day there’s a problem with a system of ‘capitalist aristocracy’ ; people with access to tens of billions which can determine the US Presidency ; or even a less-endowed billionaire like Clive Palmer able to sway an election with a $60 million disinformation campaign. There’s still a case against capitalism as a system of exploitation, waste, destruction and extreme inequality. As I argued the question is how to transition to socialism while maintaining robust liberties ; and market signals that ensure innovation and quality. A mix of markets and planning. Sadly, we’ve seen how the very idea of an inheritance tax is considered by the Australian public re: the Liberal scare campaign. But we shouldn’t be too defeatist. Karl Kautsky wrote at one point about the strength of the proletariat ; but moreover the proletariat’s BELIEF in its own strength.

    To start we need a long term strategy to re-mobilise the working class and restore a sense of class consciousness that does not get written off with howls of ‘class warfare’. We need an alliance of forces – the working class and social movements – which does not fall for the Conservative ‘divide and conquer’ strategy re: ‘Elites’ versus ‘Battlers’. I think the Left is hemorrhaging support here from its traditional base. We need strategies to stop this. That includes not playing into the Right’s hands by vilifying the white working class. (more so in the US you hear class based put downs like ‘poor white trash’ ; here as well you hear about “old white men” ; but not so much the problem of social class) We need to appeal to the working class as a whole ; with mutual recognition and respect. We have to navigate very carefully to stop the Liberals, Nationals , One Nation, Clive Palmer – playing divide and conquer with people who according to their class location should be in our corner, not theirs.

  43. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Pieter ; in any case getting women into boardrooms does very little for working class women who are stuck on exploitation wages in child care and aged care and so on. It may be arguable from a justice perspective ; but its not a panacea.

  44. Peter F

    Dr Tristan, Child care support from the government is really another rort allowing investors to develop child care businesses reliant on these government handouts to ‘working mothers’. Now, who in the government has had the brilliant idea of investing in such a thing to their own benefit?

  45. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Peter ; Maybe better to support NFPs. But I’m not talking about subsidizing the businesses but rather the wages. My hope is that the NFPs eventually become dominant ; and maybe a stronger place for the public sector.

  46. Pieter

    Dr Ewins,

    That’s absolutely true, though the same could be said for certain jobs that men do. We have a general scalability problem when it comes to certain jobs. There’s an absolute maximum in the amount of children one person in child care can look after, and assuming we want to keep it affordable for parents we must take a stance as a society to invest in these things. The same goes to a lesser degree for education. If we as a society value these things as investment in our future, we also need to invest in them through the tax system. I don’t know what the situation is like in Australia, but such systems are already in place to a large degree in the Netherlands (though there’s certainly room for improvement, and investment in education hasn’t exactly improved over the last two decades).

    More general though: we’ve sold a lot of people on the ideal of a career, while in reality most of us just have a job. Some of us are lucky, and have one we actually like, but for most people it’s just a way to pay the bills. The focus seems to be on the top positions, while only a very small percentage of the population actually wants or can get to those positions. What won’t help either is the technological advancements to be expected in the next 10-20 years, where a lot of the common jobs will be automated away.

    I was curious whether you have looked into the policy plans of Andrew Yang in the USA, and how you feel about them.

  47. Dr Tristan Ewins

    I haven’t ; but I will take a look.

  48. Phil

    Dr Tristan Ewins.

    Amen to all of that Tristan but I am not going to cop opinion dressed up as facts. Yes I am prone to a bit of hyperbole myself to be sure, but that is only to negate opinions that are not only what I believe to be false but are in fact false. If I make a statement ref capitalism it is not a throw away line, I research my topic before I go to press and if necessary can always put up bona fide links to bona fide sites that share my opinion. After all we all rely on our sources to form an opinion. However ones own experiences must be the basis for an opinion to start with. I wont cop bullshit, I can after being on this planet for 66 years tell the difference between shit and clay. If I find a comment totally outrageous yes I will take the piss. Guilty.

    Getting back to Peterson. If it was only myself that thought he is an intellectual fraud I would have to cop the fall out. But Peterson has been analyzed by the left in the USA who are hardly ‘ Bolsheviks ‘ for some years and from what I have read thus far the consensus is, he is an opportunist fraud.

    For mine the failure of the left to sell their policies stated some time ago speaking for Australia. The rot started with Hawke and the accord, followed up by Keating and the home interest rates with the finishing touches by Gillard. In fact I still blame Gillard for the mess we are in now. Notwithstanding all her total policy stuff ups ref old age pensions and single mothers social welfare cuts, when she knifed Rudd in concert with Shorten and the others who are now gone, it put us back for years. In essence we are suffering Morrison on the alter of Gillards ego .Btw, I know how she voted I know someone who was in the caucus. Not that it isn’t common knowledge. But to your point I am doing what I can, I contribute to causes with my money and not just my mouth. I have contributed to GetUp wisely or not for six years and to the local police and citizens, yep I’m serious. The latter some of my mates cringe at. The enemy and all that. As usual Tristan great comments and it shows you have studied the subject deep Cheers.

  49. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Universal Basic Income looks good to a degree ; $1000/month doesn’t add up to much, though ; for the truly disadvantaged it would need to be supplemented by welfare ; and $12,000/year isn’t enough if it’s filling the space traditionally taken by unemployment insurance.

  50. Phil

  51. Pieter

    @Dr Ewins,

    It’s true that $12,000/year per adult isn’t a huge amount, but it’s a base that doesn’t get taken away when you start working, unlike many current welfare programs. As such, it creates an incentive for people to work (perhaps part-time) while providing money for the basic necessities. It’s also opt-in, so people can chose to stay on their current program or opt-in to this one, depending which is a better solution.

    It’s not a full solution for the long run of course. With automation replacing more and more jobs, the hope is that the abundance of wealth will be sufficient to provide a good base of living for everyone; perhaps a 24th century Star Trek like society. For now it’s an imperfect solution to an imperfect problem.

    His policies go far beyond UBI though; I’ve found his ideas refreshing, especially for an American.

  52. Pieter


    Is there any chance you can actually argue against Dr. Peterson’s opinions in stead of posting hit pieces that have little to nothing to do with his actual ideas? As said above: there is plenty of legitimate criticism to his views, but these are not among them.

  53. Phil

    ‘ Is there any chance you can actually argue against Dr. Peterson’s opinions in stead of posting hit pieces that have little to nothing to do with his actual ideas? As said above: there is plenty of legitimate criticism to his views, but these are not among them.’

    The link is not a hit piece. Where is Schiff wrong?
    I do not have to cherry pick every utterance of Peterson to have an opinion on his ideas and his character. It is obvious to any sentient being that has listened to his ramblings, he is a misogynist and anti LGBT . He is very subtle in his anti trans gender opinions, dressing them up as facts.. As I cannot recall verbatim every utterance and btw, it’s a safe bet neither can you, of Jordan Peterson, you can’t refute my opinion. You don’t have to agree with it but I’ll decide how I will construct my opinion of him. I stand by what I said and to use the old Australian vernacular he’s a pretentious wanker. Cheers.

  54. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    You’re entitled to your opinion, just like everybody else, but if you wish to convince people of the correctness of your point of view you’ll have to do better than that. I actually read the original article by Professor Bernard Schiff, and I found it to be a combination of interesting view points and a lot of projection, mostly on Peterson’s fans. The problem of the internet is scaling. If 1% of the population are aggressive idiots, and 100 people read your article, you’ll get one angry reaction that you simply ignore. Now if 1000000 people read your article, you’re starting to wonder if the world’s gone mad.

    You claim he’s a misogynist and anti LGBT. I’d like to see you argue those positions. Which things has he actually said that makes him a misogynist or anti LGBT? You see, I can actually recall verbatim most of what he’s said on these topics, or know where to find the videos he made or articles he wrote on the topic, so that’s a discussion I’ll happily take on. So, give it a try. 🙂 The purpose is not to convince me, but to convince (perhaps more reasonable) other people reading your words.

  55. Phil

    You claim he’s a misogynist and anti LGBT. I’d like to see you argue those positions. Which things has he actually said that makes him a misogynist or anti LGBT? You see, I can actually recall verbatim most of what he’s said on these topics, or know where to find the videos .

    I don’t have to argue anything. I stand by what I’ve said. I and I presume you, have seen Peterson being interviewed and in debate the same as I have, it is just a matter of perception most of the articles and video’s I have seen and not the schlock from the far right, agree with me, not you. True among Petersons followers it would be hard work. My God Pieter your not one of his bitches are you? Your contention you can recall him verbatim is nothing short of bullshit. Smart you may well be, but you aint that smart. So what are we to do? Put a link up once a day and both analyse it until the cows come home. I am a muso and believe me I have better things to do.

    (perhaps more reasonable)

    Ha ha. You are I presume a Dutchman? My wife’s family is from Leiden for your amusement she is laughing at your comments. Only the three of us most likely understand that little bit of useless information. 🙂 Cheers.

  56. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    True, you don’t have to argue anything, but simply stating your opinions is unlikely to sway anyone’s opinion. Me being able to quote certain people on certain topics verbatim is just a matter of being interested in what they have to say, independent of whether or not I actually agree with them, and having a pretty good memory for these sorts of things (I’m horrible at remembering names on the other hand). I’m actually generally more interested in what people I disagree with have to say; I’m not much for echo chambers.

    So, what are we to do? How about the claim of misogyny. What things has he said that makes you say he’s a misogynist?

    I am Dutch; I already stated as much in one of my previous posts. My partner has family in Australia.

  57. Phil


    The link is not a hit piece. Where is Schiff wrong?

    Btw I notice you still didn’t answer my question.

  58. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    Why you’d want to hang out at CTH is beyond me, but let’s take a few of these “tweets” on.

    With regards to “enforced monogamy”, he clearly stated what his views were in

    Here’s something intelligent about the issue, written by antiquark2 on reddit (after the NYT piece appeared and produced its tempest in a tea pot): “Peterson is using well-established anthropological language here: “enforced monogamy” does not mean government-enforced monogamy. “Enforced monogamy” means socially-promoted, culturally-inculcated monogamy, as opposed to genetic monogamy – evolutionarily-dictated monogamy, which does exist in some species (but does not exist in humans). This distinction has been present in anthropological and scientific literature for decades.”

    That’s all.

    No recommendation of police-state assignation of woman to man (or, for that matter, man to woman).

    No arbitrary dealing out of damsels to incels.

    Nothing scandalous (all innuendo and suggestive editing to the contrary)

    Just the plain, bare, common-sense facts: socially-enforced monogamous conventions decrease male violence. In addition (and not trivially) they also help provide mothers with comparatively reliable male partners, and increase the probability that stable, father-intact homes will exist for children.

    Claim from the post: Catcalling is not assault, consent is what a man wants, there is no rape culture, women just want attention, men are persecuted
    Linked tweet: The accuser is always right (the accused is guilty, and needs to proved innocent): lawyer in Washington Post:
    How is that tweet stating what is claimed?

    Claim from the post: Also, women harass themselves and shame one another into wearing burkas to even the playing field when it comes to beauty
    Linked tweet: That’s why its wearing is often enforced by women: @notadamclarke @Kimrobe29140016 “The burka is an equalizer to beauty.”
    That’s called sarcasm in reaction to a post from the linked individuals. It’s clearly men who are enforcing women to wear burkas.

    I could continue with the rest of them, but if these three are indicative of the rest, I don’t think there’s very much here, as usual when it comes to CTH.

  59. Phil


    Oh please you must do better than that. So you are now interpreting his tweets to suite your own agenda.

    I am in the middle of learning a guitar riff for a show later this month at the moment it is much earlier over here in the west, so I will carry on the debate much later this evening or tomorrow.

    So until then TTFN. That’s Ta Ta for now.

  60. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    “A lot of the following are pretty angry evidenced by the attacks on everybody who says anything bad about Jordan.”

    I addressed this when I spoke of the scalability of the internet. A small percentage of aggressive followers over a large group of followers will make anyone wonder if the world’s gone mad. You see the same problem with woke activists; the group isn’t that large, but if you get 1000 angry reactions to something you say it does make you wonder what’s going on.

    “He sees the world come to an end, and he is going to save us.”

    I’ve never got that impression from Dr. Peterson. He seems focused on getting people to take on responsibility to provide meaning to their lives. That’s a personal and rather harsh message to give to people, but for some reason it resonates with people. He’s worries about left and right-wing identity politics, and in all honesty: so am I. The number of articles on left-wing activism is increasing strongly, and the reaction of the general public appears to be moving to the populist right in reaction to this. Getting people to take on more centrists positions is a good thing in my book.

    “Jordan is a self styled martyr and a self styled savior.”

    He’s said many times that he’s not a victim. He came close to being in real trouble when this thing started, but he’s somehow managed to make social justice activism work for him.

    “I think he’s enabling them to be in the dark.”

    How exactly is his message of taking on responsibility enabling them to be in the dark?

    “I think he’s encouraging misogyny.”

    We’re already discussing that part.

    “… when he came out against bill C-16 in an aggressive and nasty manner.”

    He merely objected to two aspects of this bill:
    1. Putting a social constructionist view of gender into law.
    2. Compelled speech in the form of personal pronouns.

    Now a lot has been said about this, and perhaps his interpretation of the bill was not correct, but I read the original webpage, and in the Q&A it referred to the OHRC website for interpretation for the terminology, and that site was rather clear about not using someone’s preferred pronouns being discrimination or even harassment. At worst you could say that the website was rather unclear about what would or would not constitute an illegal act under this bill.

    “he was distorting the science”

    In what way exactly?

  61. Phil

    Jordan Peterson Is A Sexist Tool

    I must confess my cheese and kisses just gave me this one. What another hit piece ? No just more opinion to be sure. But an opinion by a well qualified academic no less.

    On your marks….

  62. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    Not really, I just referred to Dr. Peterson’s article on enforced monogamy, in which he clearly explains what he meant, that the interviewer knew quite well what he meant, and deliberately misinterpreted his words. That’s also what CTH does here. They interpret his words in the most negative way, claim that’s what he meant, even if it goes against everything else the man he said on the topic, and then argue against that. That’s called straw manning, and exactly why you so often hear Dr. Peterson say: “That’s not what I said!”. You’d think they’d have learned better after the Cathy Newman interview.

    Honestly, if he really held the opinions CTH attributes to him, do you think he’d have so many followers and people buying his book(s)? How large do you think the alt-right actually is?

    The biggest issue with Peterson is that, when he goes beyond the personal responsibility, he tends to argue descriptively. If you read his words prescriptively, you get a completely wrong picture of his views. That’s why you often hear him say, after quoting some statistics, that he’s not particularly happy with it, but that’s just how it is.

  63. Phil

    June 10, 2019 at 11:45 pm .

    The music can wait. WTF… Look me old China this is the last transmission ref Peterson. Anyone that has an ounce of grey matter between their ears can see Peterson is a poster child of the right. His schtick, is a new niche market that has taken off in the States especially catering for YouTube. . The new kid on the block is Ben Shapiro, who makes Petersen look like Einstein. And I might add David Ike and Alex Jones just to name a couple more. All of them making a fortune off the credulity of people, who are as thick as two short planks.

    It has just dawned on me, and you’re good that’s for sure, I don’t usually take this long to work it out, you are taking the piss. What you believe about Peterson I care a jot. Most accademics and I could put up links all night, think he is a wanker what part of that don’t you understand? Yes he appeals to the right, the very same people who think Trump is the second coming.

    Now good bye.

  64. Adam


    Citing to authority is a fallacy used by people who are incapable of Defending their arguements

    Thanks for demonstrating your opinion is worth disregarding

  65. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    There are roughly 3 kinds of viewpoints of Dr. Peterson that I regularly argue about:
    1. Views he holds and that I agree with.
    2. Views he holds and that I disagree with.
    3. Views he doesn’t hold, but may be attributed to him by others.
    So far, you’ve been arguing the third kind, which is rather easy to argue against. I just have to point out where he explains what he does believe, and take it from there. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen here? That you find out that he and his fans don’t actually support some of the views you despise? How is that a bad thing?

    Now to the article your better half gave you. If I understand the article correctly, Dr. Peterson is a sexist tool, because he put scare quotes around feminist philosopher and feminist philosophy. The reason for that is simple, and it would fall in category number 1: While Peterson supports first and second wave feminism, he strongly dislikes the third and fourth wave, and so do a lot of first and second wave feminists, including Germaine Greer and Camille Paglia. Where first and second wave feminists fought for equal opportunity, and justly so, third wave feminism plays the oppression olympics, and argues for equality of outcome. Dr. Peterson finds that to be a very dangerous doctrine, and from what I’ve seen happening on US, UK, and Canadian campuses (the Netherlands isn’t so bad yet), I tend to agree.

    He recently wrote a pretty extensive article on the diversity, inclusivity, and equity departments that I think hits pretty close to the truth, and the number of professors speaking up about this is rising:

    As for the other people you mentioned:
    Ben Shapiro is a right-wing orthodox Jew, with corresponding view points. I generally don’t agree with those.
    Alex Jones is a conspiracy theorist; fun to watch, but should never be taken seriously.
    I honestly have no idea who Dave Ike is.

  66. Kaye Lee

    Peterson is a pseudo-intellectual who is riding a bandwagon.

    “Most of the global warming posturing is a masquerade for anti-capitalists to have a go at the Western patriarchy. That’s partly why the climate change thing for me is a contentious issue, because you can’t trust the players. You can’t trust the data because there is too much ideology involved.”

    Oh really?

    Peterson has argued that feminism and policies such as no-fault divorce have had adverse effects on gender relations and destabilized society.

    Oh yes, it was much better when women just shut up and took it.

    He has argued that the existing societal hierarchy that the “left” has characterised as an “oppressive patriarchy” might “be predicated on competence.”

    Because men are so much more competent?

    Peterson has said that men without partners are likely to become violent, and has noted that “enforced monogamy”, i.e. societies wherein monogamy is a social norm, decrease male violence.

    How does he explain the epidemic of domestic violence here? Or the gratuitous violence men perpetrate against each other as evidenced by the rash of coward punch deaths? Why should men without a partner become violent? Does the same apply to single women?

    He has attributed the rise of Donald Trump and far-right European politicians to what he says is a push to “feminize” men, saying “If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology.”

    What a ridiculous notion. Peterson obviously has a very low opinion of the intellectual capacity and emotional intelligence of men.

    Why anyone listens to this charlatan is just beyond me.

  67. helvityni

    Saw the man on Q&A, can’t say I was impressed…

  68. Dr Tristan Ewins

    A couple of things I agree with amongst most which I do not: I still believe in innocent until proven guilty – though victims need to be treated compassionately and respectfully ; From what I’ve seen Peterson’s views on trans individuals is that they have the right to consider themselves women, undertake surgery, dress as women – But it should not be legally mandated that everyone vociferously accept they they are, in fact, women. That said it is polite, respectful and kind to use gender neutral language. As for monogamy: it should not be mandated ; but arguably it’s safer.

  69. Kaye Lee

    Engels argues that monogamy was the beginning of capitalism and a society built around the patriarchal nuclear family.

    There is something to be said for the matrilineal clan as an alternative.

    Primitive communism, according to both Morgan and Engels, was based in the matrilineal clan where women lived with their classificatory sisters – applying the principle that “my sister’s child is my child”. Because they lived and worked together, women in these communal households felt strong bonds of solidarity with one another, enabling them when necessary to take action against uncooperative males. Engels cites this passage from a letter to Morgan written by a missionary who had lived for many years among the Seneca Iroquois,

    “As to their family system, when occupying the old long-houses, it is probable that some one clan predominated, the women taking in husbands, however, from the other clans; and sometimes, for a novelty, some of their sons bringing in their young wives until they felt brave enough to leave their mothers. Usually, the female portion ruled the house, and were doubtless clannish enough about it. The stores were held in common; but woe to the luckless husband or lover who was too shiftless to do his share of the providing. No matter how many children, or whatever goods he might have in the house, he might at any time be ordered to pack up his blanket and budge; and after such orders it would not be healthful for him to attempt to disobey. The house would be too hot for him; and, unless saved by the intercession of some aunt or grandmother, he must retreat to his own clan; or, as was often done, go and start a new matrimonial alliance in some other. The women were the great power among the clans, as everywhere else. They did not hesitate, when occasion required, to “knock off the horns”, as it was technically called, from the head of a chief, and send him back to the ranks of the warriors. The original nomination of the chiefs also always rested with them.”

    — Morgan, Lewis H. (1877). Ancient Society.

    Those were the days (smiling)

  70. Phil


    ‘ Thanks for demonstrating your opinion is worth disregarding.’

    Utter Bollox.

  71. Pieter

    @ Kaye Lee,

    I find a lot of projection in your response; drawing conclusions not found in his actual words.

    Peterson is a pseudo-intellectual who is riding a bandwagon.

    He’s actually a well respected academic in his field:

    “Most of the global warming posturing is a masquerade for anti-capitalists to have a go at the Western patriarchy. That’s partly why the climate change thing for me is a contentious issue, because you can’t trust the players. You can’t trust the data because there is too much ideology involved.”
    Oh really?

    Why, yes actually. The number of current and former IPCC members complaining about exactly this has been rising ( as is the number of climatology professors like Judith Curry. That’s not to say that man made climate change isn’t happening, but the actual research has been heavily politicized over the past decades.

    Oh yes, it was much better when women just shut up and took it.

    Not at all. Dr. Peterson has often praised the improvements these movements have brought, but they’ve also had some negative effects (like almost everything does).

    Because men are so much more competent?

    No, but in anything you value you generally define a hierarchy. I’m pretty sure that the supermarket you shop at, the carpenter you hire, the barber you visit, etc. are decided based on competence rather than power.

    How does he explain the epidemic of domestic violence here? Or the gratuitous violence men perpetrate against each other as evidenced by the rash of coward punch deaths? Why should men without a partner become violent? Does the same apply to single women?

    Enforced monogamy just reduces the problem a little; it’s not a solution to it, nor has he ever claimed it was. On average, men are more physically aggressive than women, which however also implies that of the 1% most physically aggressive people, most are men (which is in part why 90% of the prison population is male). Men also on average tend to see a relationship more as a symbol of status than women do. As such, a man without a relationship is more likely to become resentful to the world, and that resentment quite often finds an outlet in physical violence. The same generally does not apply to women, because women on average are more prone to verbal violence in stead of physical violence, and don’t see a relationship as a symbol of status. Note that these are averages; they say nothing about a specific individual.

    What a ridiculous notion. Peterson obviously has a very low opinion of the intellectual capacity and emotional intelligence of men.

    He has a high opinion of the potential of the individual, but his expertise in abnormal, social and personal psychology gives him some insight in the behavior of people as a group. I do think he’s a bit off the mark on this one though, since the voter demographics really haven’t shifted that much from 2012 to 2016. It was mostly a few % voters in key swing states, most likely due to losing their jobs due to automation.

    Why anyone listens to this charlatan is just beyond me.

    Most likely because he has a keen insight in psychology, and his message of taking up responsibility to provide meaning to your life resonates with a lot of people.

  72. Pieter

    @ Dr Ewins,

    I’m curious to hear what view points of his you actually disagree with. Could you elaborate a bit on those?

  73. MöbiusEcko

    Credit to DSL

    Consider the rhetoric: “More than 1000 dissenting scientists (updates previous 700 scientist report) from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.”

    Why the initial use of “dissenting” when the substance of the sentence is to establish dissent? Upon what is this dissent focused? Note that Watts probably includes Pielke in this list, but Pielke accepts AGW; he just differs from other scientists on the contribution of various components. How many other of the “dissenting scientists” are in the same position? How many reject the idea that atmospheric CO2 absorbs and emits at certain wavelengths? How many simply reject some of Al Gore’s implied but not directly stated consequences? (I believe I read Gavin Schmidt disagreeing with something in the Gore documentary; if so, add him to the list) All WUWT is effectively doing is establishing doubt–not establishing an alternative position, not establishing scientific progress. How many of the scientists in the Senate report agree on the same physical model? Who are these scientists, and what weight should they carry for people who pay attention to survey results? Show me the specific reasons for dissent, and I’ll show you why the 500, 700, 1000, whatever list is meaningless.

    A better question is “what does the list mean to you?” (or to anyone who encounters such things).


  74. Pieter

    @ MöbiusEcko,

    While I do not know enough about the science behind it to know what it means, I can answer what the list means to me, and it more or less matches what Dr. Peterson said: It’s very hard to determine which parts of the IPCC reports are actual science, and which parts are selectively chosen to fit a political agenda. It’s become very hard to determine the actual bare facts here.

  75. Kaye Lee


    Quoting “global research” about climate change does nothing for your credibility. It’s a crackpot site.

    Likewise Judith Curry who tries to tell us that there has been no global warming since 1998.

    Peterson might be well-regarded by his fanboys (who seem to be a similar group to those who think Milo Yiannopolous is worth listening to) but that does not equate to being a highly respected academic. This sums it up best for me….

    “If you go for Christian mythology, narrow-minded individualism, obscure metaphysics, and existentialist angst, then Jordan Peterson is the philosopher for you. But if you prefer evidence and reason, look elsewhere.”

  76. Pieter

    @ Kaye Lee,

    I doubt you have the climatological background to question the work of Judith Curry to be honest. She once headed the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. With regards to the 1998-2008 period, I presume you mean this: ? Did you actually read what she wrote or just what others said she wrote?

    I’m still waiting for some legitimate criticism of Peterson by your hand. All I’ve seen are projections of what you think he means (straw man) or what others claim he said or meant. If you must dislike the man, at least dislike him fir views he actually holds.

    And no, I’m not a fan of Milo.

  77. Pieter

    @ corvus boreus,

    I was more interested in the actual report than the article. I guess I should have put a direct link in stead? Would that have made a difference to you?

  78. MöbiusEcko


    “It’s very hard to determine which parts of the IPCC reports are actual science, and which parts are selectively chosen to fit a political agenda. It’s become very hard to determine the actual bare facts here.”

    No, it hasn’t. The reason it seems to be hard to determine the actual bare facts is that certain vested interests have gone out of their way to muddy the waters, generously remunerating eloquent speakers and some scientists, in the same way, the tobacco industry muddied the waters on their cigarettes causing cancer. The tobacco lobby also hired scientists and medical professionals and similarly, those they hired were a fraction of those who stated smoking did cause harm but they were enough to muddy the waters to considerably delay action against the cigarette manufacturers. Even the same PR firms used by the tobacco lobby are being utilised by the fossil fuel industry.

    The actual science is easy to ascertain as the IPCC makes the raw data public, and there are tons of it. A layman making sense of it is another matter, which is why we have specialists in the fields and scientists who write peer-reviewed studies.

  79. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Pieter ; There are a number of things I disagree with re: Peterson ; though I have not read his psychological and self-help work ; so maybe he is more capable here than in his politics. Firstly, I believe there is room for affirmative action for women ; and I don’t see ‘meritocracy’ as the opposite of this – because “when the deck is stacked” against women it’s not meritocracy anyway. Though there’s a problem that it would be too cumbersome to have affirmative action for every disadvantaged group in every context. So how do you prioritise? ; and what are your other strategies?

    Also I think his critique of ‘Cultural Marxism’ is shallow ; and in his debate with Zizek it was shown he just didn’t know what he was talking about. He couldn’t even say who specifically these ‘cultural Marxists’ are. Arguably he has very informed opinions in psychology ; but in his critique of Marxism it’s just a series of talking points ; many of which betray ignorance. He uses ‘Marxism’ as a bogeyman. Gramsci understood culture. And Adorno critiqued ‘the culture industry’. But a lot of the time Peterson is talking about postmodern theorists ; and people like Foucault – who have very little to do with Marxism. At one point Peterson argued (against Marxism) that ‘capitalists wouldn’t exploit workers because it’s not in their interests’. This betrays a total lack of understanding of Marxism for which exploitation is the extraction of surplus value. ie: the worker is only paid a proportion of the value he/she creates rather than the whole ; and what remains goes to profits and dividends. That is: It’s about more than ‘treating your workers badly’, ‘poverty wages’ and so on. It’s something essential to capitalism, and the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the working class.

    For some small investors and small businesses there’s more of an element of personal sacrifice (ie: forsaking consumption in the here and now) ; and if could be argued that profit is a reward for that. But once you get to the real bourgeoisie you’re talking millionaires and billionaires who could easily live from a passive income stream from their investments. (ie: exploitation ; often enabling an excessive lifestyle) And even on the occasion they do keep working ; it still doesn’t justify the degree of inequality out there.

    And all the talk about ‘envy’ is an excuse to avoid the question of Justice.

  80. Kaye Lee

    “Cultural Marxism” is a viral falsehood used by far-right figures, conspiracy theorists, and pundits to explain many ills of the modern world.”–the-ultimate-postfactual-dog-whistle-20171102-gzd7lq.html

    Any social movement they don’t like – feminism, LGBT rights, an Indigenous Voice, environmental protection, tolerance of difference, multiculturalism – they label as cultural marxism in some sort of paranoic fear that their place in the world is being challenged or even just changed.

    What they confusedly call cultural marxism is very different to Marxist theory. It seems to just be a rhetorical pejorative.

  81. Phil

    Möbius Ecko

    I couldn’t resist making a comment on your observations of the ‘ smoking lobby ‘ in relation to global warming.

    When tobacco advertising was still allowed on Australian media outlets there was a very famous add by the Philip Morris company ‘ The Marlboro Man ‘ The actor that was the star of this most famous add attended a meeting (piss up) of the CEO’s of the company in New York and he remarked to the head CEO of the company that he noticed that none of the executives of the said company smoked. The reply from the CEO was. ” We leave that pleasure to the poor, the spicks, the blacks, and who ever else we can get hooked on our product ” The Marlboro man smoked, he consequently after surgery for lung cancer, died. I see the parent company Altria of Philip Morris has now invested 1.8 billion into a Canadian cannibis company. Like the current lobby of global warming deniers, cigarette companies spent millions trying to convince people it was harmless.

    I hope I don’t offend Adam up the thread who accused me of citing a higher authority to prove my argument, he wont mind if I use the Lancet Journal to buttress my argument that smoking kills.

  82. Dr Tristan Ewins

    The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory exist/existed. But that refers to a very diverse and broad range of theory. And many of the post modernists Peterson refers to are anything but Marxist. Gramsci involves cultural critique. So does Adorno. But better to actually read these thinkers rather than just beat up a panic. Habermas was also a critical theorist – and saw himself in the Enlightenment/Modernist tradition. Marcuse can be linked to so-called ‘identity politics’ because he promoted the New Left in which we had the genesis of the New Social Movements. But again – these thinkers are very diverse. There is no ‘over-arching conspiracy’. There is a diverse intellectual movement growing out of Marxism. And there are also structuralists and post-structuralists who have little to do with Marx. Foucault, for instance, is anything but a Marxist. Also ‘Critical Theory’ is an intellectual/academic movement. Many critical theorists have moved so far from Marx there is no way they could be considered Marxist. If anything, for a great part Critical Theorists have been pessimistic. And they substitute philosophy for social science. Some of them simply aim to preserve a space where truth can be told – even if you cannot change the world. But in this case a stand of principle where much hope has been eroded. Marcuse had hope ; but effectively abandoned the working class – claiming it had been co-opted by consumerism – which affirmed the system. (Hence he argued a ‘Great Refusal’ of the New Left) ALSO importantly: ‘Post-modern’ ‘Cultural Studies’ often concern themselves with ‘the margins’ ; they reject ‘metanarratives’ ; and hence they do not contest Political Economy. This is anathema to Marxism: for which the mode of production and the class struggle came first. Critical theorists have diverged from this (and rightly so sometimes) ; but most of the ‘post-modernists’ have relegated class to secondary status ; again focusing on identities springing out of the New Social Movements ; celebrating ‘the margins’ and so on. There have been errors of judgement in critical theory. For instance Marcuse’s pessimism about the working class contributed to the de-coupling of cultural struggle from class struggle. What we need is to bring class struggle and cultural struggle back together ; and prevent the ‘wedging’ of today’s ‘cultural Left’ from the working class. The abandonment of the working class is in the interests of capitalists, and of the Right. It prevents the solidarity which is so important and necessary. It abandons attempts to restore class consciousness and class struggle. And many workers turn against the Left – because they feel the Left is no longer speaking to them and their interests. That is something we have to correct. And a re-mobilized, conscious working class united with what people call ‘the cultural Left’ perhaps the consequent movement would be unstoppable. But you also have the problem of de-industrialisation, the ‘Gig economy’ etc. And that’s getting in the way of class consciousness and organisation. Again – as well as today’s ‘Left’ having largely abandoned the representation of the working class’s interests ; and standing for a distinct, socialist political economy as opposed to ‘neo-liberal consensus’ – even if ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘globalist’. What we need is what Gramsci called “a counter-hegemonic historic bloc”. But again: most of the ‘radicals’ Peterson talks about are not Marxists ; they a feminists and queer theorists and so on ; often radical liberals of post-modernists. But not in fact Marxists.

  83. Pieter

    @ Kaye Lee,

    What facts would that be exactly? For someone who claims to dislike Peterson, you seem to have surprisingly few views of your own, and in stead have to refer to others to do your arguing for you. Let’s unpack this latest marvel.

    Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life is on the bestseller lists, despite the commonplace nature of his rules

    Well, obviously. It would have been a surprise to me if he’d managed to write down 12 fundamental rules, and be the first to think of them. The book is mostly about why they are true.

    Peterson seems to assume that the only alternatives to religious morality are totalitarian atrocities or despondent nihilism.

    That’s an interesting conclusion to draw from this book, and not a view Peterson actually holds.

    Legal experts reply that not using preferred pronouns does not constitute hate speech, so Peterson’s objection that his individual freedom of speech was being restricted by Bill C-16 was ill-founded. More threateningly for Peterson, the Ontario Human Rights Commission does say that refusing to refer to a trans person by a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity will likely be discrimination when it takes place in employment, housing and services like education.

    No, that’s exactly the reason why Peterson was objecting. The Q&A of the website on the law referred to the OHRC for definitions of terminology, and since the OHRC defined refusing to use a trans person’s personal pronouns as discrimination or even harassment, Peterson was worried that this law would do the same. Whether he was correct in that assessment is a different matter, but the website was at the very least ambiguous about it.

    A major part of Peterson’s defense of the individual is an argument that inequality and dominance hierarchies are rooted in biological differences, from lobsters up to human men and women.

    Not at all. He merely states that the notion that hierarchies are rooted in capitalism or patriarchy is ludicrous, since such dominance hierarchies are found throughout the animal kingdom, including species as old as lobsters.

    Peterson’s subtitle is “An Antidote to Chaos”, and the point of his rules is to help people to achieve order.

    No, the antidote to chaos is not order. Too much order is just as bad as too much chaos. The antidote to chaos is meaning. Life should be lived on the balance of order and chaos to have a stable base (order) from which you can tackle unbridled potential (chaos). Order often results in staleness, boredom and tyranny.

    Peterson’s allusive style makes critiquing him like trying to nail jelly to a cloud

    That only happens if you take his descriptive arguments as prescriptive, an error many people seem to make.

    As for your link about Judith Curry: I see a number of statements attributed to her, but the links don’t actually refer to articles she’s written. I don’t find that to be very convincing to be honest. Did you actually read the article I referred you to? It was a paper on “Given the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008.” which she critiqued for its explanation. Apparently the data didn’t match the models, and the authors of the paper tried to come up with an explanation that she found unconvincing.

  84. Pieter

    @ MöbiusEcko,

    No, it hasn’t. The reason it seems to be hard to determine the actual bare facts is that certain vested interests have gone out of their way to muddy the waters, generously remunerating eloquent speakers and some scientists, in the same way, the tobacco industry muddied the waters on their cigarettes causing cancer.

    Well, that’s absolutely part of it. The oil industry wasn’t likely to take this the easy way. That doesn’t mean the current IPCC isn’t politically driven though, and that was the main part I took from the statement. Can you for instance tell me what % of climate change is man made according to their reports?

  85. Pieter

    @ Kaye Lee,

    “Cultural Marxism” is a viral falsehood used by far-right figures, conspiracy theorists, and pundits to explain many ills of the modern world.”

    Agreed. Peterson never speaks about cultural Marxism. He speaks about postmodern neo-Marxism, which is a different theory on the same phenomenon.

  86. Phil

    Agreed. Peterson never speaks about cultural Marxism.

    Please do go on. This was shared by the Peterson. An opinion on Peterson.

    A few to go on with. Peterson talks about Cultural Marxism ad nauseum..

  87. Phil

    Is there any chance Jordan Peterson would be interested in playing Chance the gardener in ‘ Being There ‘ ?

    Just askin.

  88. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    Did you actually watch the videos? Can you give me just 1 single time instance in those videos where he actually uses the phrase cultural Marxism? Yes, there are people, both fans and critics of Peterson, who think that cultural Marxism and postmodern neo-Marxism are the same thing, and gleefully post videos or write articles about it, but that’s not what he’s talking about here.

    I will admit that he did post a link to an article about cultural Marxism once, but I’ll challenge you to find an instance where HE wrote or spoke about it. I know of only one myself, where he describes what that theory was, based on a question he was asked. It’s not his theory however.

  89. Pieter

    @ Dr Ewings,

    Thank you for the first valid criticisms of Peterson’s work in this discussion so far.

    Personally I don’t think affirmative action is a solution to the problem, but it’s certainly important to make sure that the deck isn’t stacked against women or other marginalized groups. It’s equally important however to use the correct metrics to measure success in that area, as I pointed out earlier.

    Dr. Peterson doesn’t speak of cultural Marxism; his theory on the same phenomenon is different from that conspiracy theory. I would agree however that the name for his theory is unfortunate, because the only thing Marxist left that he identifies is the oppressor/oppressed narrative, which as I understand it isn’t even solely contributable to Marx to begin with. I’m afraid I’m not too well versed in philosophy though, so it’s a part of his work that I tend to stay away from. I did watch his conversation with Zizek, and agree with you that his knowledge of Marxism was shallow, though he tends to focus more on the practical implementation of the theory than the theory itself. I did predict in advance however that it wouldn’t be much of a debate, and Zizek proved me right in that regard. He was much more interested in conversation, and that took Peterson by surprise. In the end, I actually enjoyed watching it.

    His critique of the left however matches closely to what you wrote. He feels that the correct role for the left is to speak for the dispossessed, something any hierarchy is bound to create eventually. He mourns the abandonment of the poor by the left in favor of identity politics.

    I certainly recognize myself in your description of people feeling abandoned by the left. I’m very left leaning when it comes to economics, but I’m most certainly not woke, and think the left has abandoned its core tenets. I also understand why Peterson mirrors the identity politics of the left to what happened in the USSR, China, Cambodia, etc., because the core principles are very similar. Peterson often points to the “discovery” of Solzhenitsyn that the USSR was not a victim of circumstance, but an almost inevitable result of the underlying doctrine.

  90. Phil


    I may be in my dotage etc etc.

    I don’t need to put up a link to proove Adolph Hitler used the term Untermensch. Sometimes you just have to take someone else’s word he said it. I know the Normandy invasion was a fact my dad was there.

    And yes I did watch the videos. I have studied this man for some time he is a pathological anti leftist. I don’t have to have a Phd in political science to work him out, it’s called common dog in the company I keep. When I get dog shit on my shoe I can smell it and can pronounce to the world ‘ Yes this IS dog shit. Btw the man is obviously intelligent, but he is still an opportunist. As I said he is one of many that have taken the opportunity forums like YouTube provide. If not for you tube,his books would probably be found in the marked down piles with other want to be authors. In the box marked ‘ Fiction.’

  91. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    True, you don’t need to prove anything, but you’re making a claim here that I’m contesting, so if you wish to be convincing you might need to actually provide some evidence. I know others have made the same claim, and where I’ve encountered them I’ve asked them to do the same thing. None of them ever managed it so far.

    Peterson isn’t anti-left. He’s anti-identitarian left. He’s often said the political spectrum needs both the left and the right, but he despises identity politics on either side. He would agree with Dr. Ewins that the left has lost its core tenets.

  92. Phil

    He would agree with Dr. Ewins that the left has lost its core tenets.

    Peterson would deny they had any.

    Did he say that in those exact words asked the lawyer? No but is was clear in his language what he meant Sir.

    One of the laws of evidence, the general exclusionary hearsay rule is, in our judicial system and should be ignored. However, It has sent many a good man/women to an appointment with the hangman. Peterson would no doubt swing. Btw, I don’t dislike the man, I just think he’s a well polished bullshit artist.

  93. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Peterson makes more sense here (see the URL below) than where he complains of ‘cultural Marxism’.

    I think he overstates the West’s ‘respect for the individual’ in fact (you only have to consider the slaughter of World War One) ; but liberal individualism is part of our legitimating culture ; and there are some good ramifications from that.

    He doesn’t emphasise the need to change this collectively either. Perhaps he overstates and over-estimates the power of an isolated individual. (though here I am trying to change the world, lol)

    But you can see where his dislike of communism comes from. ie: from the stories of Solzhenitsyn. From the reality of the Gulag. It’s a moral critique of Stalinism basically. But he never really bothered to go directly to Marx in enough depth to truly understand him. And he didn’t look deeply enough into Marxism to understand its diversity. He appreciates that bad things have happened in Western society ; but perhaps not enough. For instance he talks about the Khmer Rouge – But seems to have nothing to say about the place of Nixon and Kissinger there.

    Also he believes that authenticity beats character assassination. Not necessarily so. Peterson has big interests and big resources behind him. For someone less prominent it’s much harder. There’s a lot of stake in politics. Big interests behind the scenes. Arguably there’s many of them ; some worse than others. That leads to enormous pressures for conformity on pain of ostracism or worse. It leads to a corruption of politics. It happens on all sides.

    If Peterson is honest with himself he’ll admit there’s actually some sense in Marx. There’s humanity in his critique of alienation for instance.

    What I think he needs to do is to go back and engage more thoroughly with the broad Marxist tradition to get a better picture. But if he compromises in face of the truth how would his right-wing supporters respond? Perhaps Zizek was right to engage rather than ‘go for the jugular’. Peterson appears to be a liberal conservative – but he’s not a Reactionary. And sometimes people change through engagement.

  94. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    I find your reasoning baffling. You attribute opinions to the man based on your interpretation of his words, and then conclude based on this interpretation that he’s a well polished bullshit artist. Why not read more about what he actually says to properly interpret his words or ignore him completely? Why is it necessary to put a label on him based on an interpretation you don’t even know is correct?

    As said before: there’s plenty of views he does hold to disagree with, but what’s the purpose of disagreeing with view points he doesn’t even have, but that you attribute to him anyway?

    Peterson’s spoken many time about the true purpose of the left, and why it is important for the left and right to balance each other to prevent the necessary hierarchical structures from tilting too much in one direction. He used to work for a left-wing political party, and though he’s grown a bit more conservative over the years, I estimate him to be slightly right of the middle to Canadian standards (which would be slightly left of the middle for US standards; I don’t know enough about the political spectrum in Australia to say anything useful about that, but to Dutch standards he would be somewhere between D66 (slightly right of the middle) and VVD (right wing, but not extreme right like PVV and FvD).

  95. Pieter

    @ Dr Ewins,

    I think in a direct conversation you would probably find it easy to get him to nuance his ideas a bit. There’s always a limit to what you can pack within the available time frame after all, and I would agree with you that he sometimes posts his views more strictly than he actually feels them (and later explains them more extensively in an article, video or blog post).

    You are correct that his fear for totalitarianism stems from his research to the atrocities of the 20th century, both on the left and on the right, and he’s come to the conclusion that the results were an inevitable consequence of the doctrines behind them. That’s also one of the conclusions Solzhenitsyn came to at one point during solitary confinement: that if things had gone slightly different, he might have been the guard outside that door in stead. Peterson believes it’s important to realize that every human being, including yourself, is capable of unspeakable evil under the wrong circumstances, and to realize that is to focus on its prevention.

    He believes that life will inevitably bring you occasional great happiness, but also great suffering, and that happiness is insufficient to overcome the times of suffering. You need meaning in your life to overcome that, and the best way to meaning he sees is by taking on responsibility. Once you’ve got your own life in proper order you can use your newfound wisdom to improve your family, your community, and beyond. The world’s problems are incredibly complex, and as Mencken said: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”. The “easy” solutions are far more likely to make things (much) worse than to make things better, so you have to be incredibly careful when messing with a complex system.

    I also agree that his talk with Zizek was good for him. Peterson’s always been very critical of capitalism as well, but it would be good for him to broaden his horizon, and talks like this (and e.g. the talks he had with Sam Harris) help him to formulate his thoughts. Personally I found his online lectures and his book tour (which is hardly political, at least the one I saw in Amsterdam) far more fascinating than his political views, though I must admit that the news I read about identitarian left and right-wing activists is starting to scare me more than a little.

    In that regard, I do think Peterson makes a good point: Where the right is rather quick to say no to the identitarian right, the left doesn’t seem nearly as willing to say no to the identitarian left, which is in part why the left is slowly being taken over by identity politics. It’s moved from a fringe group (about 8% according to the latest data I read) into mainstream, and it will be interesting to see what impact that will have on the political spectrum. There are more and more people on the left starting to feel politically homeless, and I think it’s very important for the left to say no to the identitarians, and return their focus on economic problems in stead. That this will inevitably benefit those who’ve been marginalized in the past more goes without saying, but that’s a completely different approach from placing people in the intersection of their identity groups, and then complain when people don’t fit the profile you’ve pushed them in.

  96. Kaye Lee

    “As for your link about Judith Curry: I see a number of statements attributed to her, but the links don’t actually refer to articles she’s written. I don’t find that to be very convincing to be honest.”

    I presumed, since you are insisting that everyone read the stuff you are sharing (which btw comes from highly dubious sources) you would understand that if you clicked on the spurious statements made by Ms Curry you would find the scientific rebuttal of all of them.

    Here, let me make it easier for you

    And you are correct in stating that I am not contributing my original thought to climate science. I’m funny like that. But I do have a B Sc and it appears to me that you do not understand concepts like equilibrium and saturation level and tipping points and feedback loops when you ask what percentage of climate change is man made. Have you ever done a titration? You can add and add and add but It’s that one drop that causes the reaction to occur.

  97. Pieter

    @ Kaye Lee,

    You are correct that I missed the Quotes tab that links to the sources; the Arguments tab you linked to didn’t have that. I thank you for that.

    There appear to be some disagreements between Judith Curry and the authors of this website regarding particular parts of the climate change debate. I did a bit of reading so far, and those disagreements are shared more widely, but even if Curry is wrong on these particular instances (as far as I can tell the truth is a tad more nuanced, but I lack the expertise to make a full assessment on the actual topics), that still doesn’t invalidate the original premise (by Dr. Peterson) that you mentioned that the IPCC’s agenda appears to be politically charged these days. The consensus on that also appears to be increasing, with a growing number of current and past IPCC members and climatology professors signing on.

    I do apologize for the website I linked to; I should have just linked to the report rather than an article on the report, but it was the first link that I found in my search. I forgot to check the character of the author of that article, and even though I feel the message is more important than the messenger, I do think I should have investigated this further before posting it. As said: I’m not an expert on climatology, though I’d love to see a more direct debate between these people to get a better bearing of the truth and limitations of the science.

    Yes, I’m familiar with equilibria, saturation levels, tipping points and feedback loops. I’ve also done titrations. I do actually have a scientific background that includes knowledge of physics and chemistry, though my main studies were in electronics and computer engineering. That doesn’t mean ratios aren’t important though, as hard as they may be to determine, because without those you have no way to determine whether your efforts will be successful. Money spent on reducing CO2 emissions for instance will not be used to research new technology or build prevention measures against the consequences of climate change, so in order to determine the best spending of the limited funds we have, we need to know these things.

    My colleague, who actually is more knowledgeable on climate change, stated that the next 10-15 years should be interesting. Solar activity will go down during that period, so we’ll get a good feeling of whether solar activity is important in this regard (and we may get a small “ice age” like we had a few hundred years ago) or not (and temperatures will continue to rise).

  98. Kaye Lee

    The Sun can influence the Earth’s climate, but it isn’t responsible for the warming trend we’ve seen over the past few decades. We know subtle changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun are responsible for the comings and goings of the ice ages. But the warming we’ve seen over the last few decades is too rapid to be linked to changes in Earth’s orbit, and too large to be caused by solar activity.

    One of the “smoking guns” that tells us the Sun is not causing global warming comes from looking at the amount of the Sun’s energy that hits the top of the atmosphere. Since 1978, scientists have been tracking this using sensors on satellites and what they tell us is that there has been no upward trend in the amount of the Sun’s energy reaching Earth.

    A second smoking gun is that if the Sun were responsible for global warming, we would expect to see warming throughout all layers of the atmosphere, from the surface all the way up to the upper atmosphere (stratosphere). But what we actually see is warming at the surface and cooling in the stratosphere. This is consistent with the warming being caused by a build-up of heat-trapping gases near the surface of the Earth, and not by the Sun getting “hotter.”

    Peer-reviewed research, physics, and math all tell us that a grand solar minimum would have no more than a 0.3°C cooling effect, barely enough to put a dent in human-caused global warming.

  99. Pieter

    @ Kaye Lee,

    I will have to take your word for it. I haven’t spent enough time looking into the science yet to properly make these assessments, so I prefer not to do so. I’ve already gone deeper into the subject in previous posts than I actually feel comfortable with.

  100. Phil

    Let’s get ready to rumble.

    In the red corner the Marxist Champion and intellectual Slavoj Zizek. with a record of fifty wins 3 draws one cancelation due to insufferable boredom.

    In the blue corner polished actor and infamous bullshit artist Jorden Peterson. 0 wins 3 submissions and 1 disqualification for self flagellation.

    Round 1. Peterson comes out with a flurry of condescending insults and a couple of jabs of attempted humour.
    Slavoj parries the insults and throws a devastating left hook. Peterson takes a knee to rest on his
    laurels. The referee warns Peterson to take the fight serious and cease the rhetoric and stop calling
    Slavoj Stalin’s butler..

    Round 2. Peterson comes out throwing long winded stories and complaining about feminism telling Stavoj
    women perform better bare foot and pregnant and chained to a sink. Slavoj takes offence to this low
    blow and wacks Peterson with another Marxist bomb.

    Round 3. Peterson fails to come out and the referee calls for the Doctor. The Doctor stops the fight. The Doctor
    Informs the referee that Peterson is mentally exhausted from factual information overload and
    declares Slovaj the winner by a TKA a technical arse kicking.

    On a serious note Zizek destroyed him.

  101. Zathras

    I get the impression that Petersen is a more than just a bit of a self-promoter and needs to incite and inflame controversy to be noticed above the noise.

    He does seem to be an expert on making complex systems sound simplified, considering he’s just a clinical psychologist, but complex systems are just that – complex.

  102. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    I think I watched a different channel:

    Peterson: I’m woefully unprepared, but I did manage to squeeze in a reread of the Communist Manifesto. Let’s debate.
    Zizek: I don’t feel like debating Marxism; let’s talk about the excesses of capitalism and the problems with identity politics in stead.
    Peterson: What kind of Marxist are you?
    Zizek: I’m not really a Marxist; I’m a Hegelian.
    Peterson: Ok, let’s just talk then.
    Peterson and Zizek are having an amicable conversation, in which they find they agree more than they disagree on these topics, and conclude that it’s certainly possible for two such people to have a friendly discussion.

  103. Pieter

    @ Zathras,

    What exactly gave you that impression? I think Peterson’s work can roughly be split into two sections:
    1. A prescriptive solution to the suffering of life: meaning through taking on responsibility.
    2. A descriptive explanation of why certain solutions to the world’s problems are invalid.

    People often think Peterson claims to have some brilliant solutions to the world’s problems. He does no such thing. He merely describes why certain simple solutions to complex problems are bad or invalid based on the scientific (mostly psychological and biological) research results. The controversy starts when people take his descriptive arguments as prescriptive.

  104. Kaye Lee

    Peterson’s prescriptive solution to life is about as deep as Dr Phil’s: stand up for yourself, take care of yourself, make friends, don’t compare yourself to others, mind your children, set your house in order, pursue meaning, tell the truth, listen to people, be precise, give children freedom, and enjoy pets. That should fix society.

    All good advice no doubt, which completely ignores entrenched disadvantage, discrimination, inequality of opportunity, power imbalance etc. Peterson speaks from a position of privilege.

  105. Zathras

    Why do I have that impression?

    I may have grown to be overly-cynical but over several decades I’ve seen too many pop-psychologists “gurus” offering simplistic solutions to fix society’s problems – from motivational self-help speakers like Tony Robbins to unethical manipulators like Dr Phil (“keep it real but remember to buy my weight-loss products”).

    Petersen has hardened followers as well as detractors and is not above distorting or ignoring facts to reinforce his arguments.
    Maybe it’s not his fault but his acolytes have certainly elevated his status and relative importance and he’s done little to detract from that notion.

    There may be value in much of what he says on a personal level but changing what is inherently an unfair society can’t be done on an individual basis. It requires group action.

    I find him interesting and often entertaining but terms like “post-modern neo-Marxism” may sound impressive but society is far more complicated to be categorised and explained by buzz-words.

  106. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Pieter, It wasn’t the doctrines that were the problem with Marxism. Marxism is still full of amazing insights. The problem was in the historical circumstances the Bolsheviks faced. They did their best under those circumstances ; but centralisation and Terror eventually led to permanent Stalinism. Which led Marxists like Martov to doubt that the Bolsheviks should have tried for absolute state power. Because when things went wrong Marxism as a whole bore the blame and the stigma.

    Another problem was that Marx dismissed discussion of the details of future society as ‘utopian’; presuming that would be sorted by the class struggle. We need an idea of where we want to get to. Nonetheless there were minimum platforms. Maybe I’m somewhat Idealist and not a pure Marxist.

    Again I have a lot of sympathy for Rosa Luxemburg:

    “Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element.”

    and also:

    “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”

    The Austro-Marxists during the 1917-1934 period show there’s an alternative Marxism.

  107. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Pieter ; there’s an awful lot which is considered ‘under the umbrella of identity politics’. Such as feminism, indigenous rights and queer rights. But there’s diversity of perspectives there as well. What we need to do is get rid of the wedge between New Social Movements and the working class. That means recognizing that being white and male isn’t the be all and end all of privilege. White working class men and women are oppressed and exploited as well. And it should be possible to consider a ‘men’s rights’ which has nothing to do with the Alt-Right ; which is sympathetic to feminism ; but which asks questions: about male tertiary participation for instance. We need a conversation which does not begin with personal accusation or negative essentialising : which shuts down exchange : and reinforces the wedge between much of the working class and the New Social Movements. What we need is a ‘counter-hegemonic historic bloc’ ; and that means reconciling a variety of social movements and forces under a shared program of respect ; and of opposing oppression, domination, exploitation.

  108. Phil


    Jordan Peterson gets it wrong again on inequality

    The above link on Peterson is in his own words. Btw there are heaps of these links that are very similar. There is no wiggle room here, nothing for debate, nothing out of context, pure unadulterated horse shit as only Peterson can lay it on. Anyone in any doubt this charlatan is not a wanker after watching this, probably needs a psychiatrist themselves much less a psychologist. On a lighter note, you would think with all the loot he’s making, he would buy a sun lamp and have a nice steak now and then. The poor sod looks emaciated.

  109. Pieter

    @ Kaye Lee,

    The rules themselves are not what draws people to his lectures; it’s the extensive explanations from multiple different angles as to WHY these rules are true and important. If his book only contained those 12 rules, it would have been a very short book indeed.

    Obviously those rules are not going to solve the larger problems in life, though if people all lived them they’d certainly contribute to making the world a better place. Complex problems generally require complex solutions, and those will require the left and right to work together to find acceptable answers. You won’t find those answers in Peterson’s teachings; at best you will find answers as to why certain solutions will NOT work.

    It’s interesting though why he’s famous to begin with. He was a relatively unknown professor, though respected within his field, with a few million views on his Maps of Meaning lectures online. Yes, I know: Bill C-16, but why should that have created more than 15 minutes of fame? Why would anyone care what some psychology professor had to say about this matter? I honestly don’t know, and as he’s said many times: neither does he. Either there truly was something there, and he managed to portray these matters so profoundly that it hit a nerve with a large group of people and/or the social justice left created him by constantly giving it attention.

  110. Pieter

    @ Zathras,

    I’ve never known Peterson to claim he can solve society’s problems. His book is about solving your personal problems, improving your life, and taking it from there. The rules are nothing special; his explanations as to why they’re true and important are. Apparently there’s a large group of people these days that need such guidelines to improve their lives, and based on the responses he gets I’d say they’re successful.

    I agree that postmodern neo-Marxism is not a very good term, but it’s not posed as the sole cause for the world’s problems. It’s just something that he, as a professor at a university, is confronted with a lot over the past 5-10 years, and that he sees seeping into corporate life and politics as well. Considering the core tenets of that ideology, he sees parallels with the identitarian thinking of the 20th century, and the atrocities they caused; it’s actually a topic he’s researched extensively over the past 3-4 decades. Whether his fears are stronger than they need to be is hard to determine, but seeing the results on certain American campuses and certain large media companies they do worry me.

    Petersen has hardened followers as well as detractors and is not above distorting or ignoring facts to reinforce his arguments.

    Perhaps you could give some examples of this? I find this claim a bit vague to comment on.

  111. Pieter

    @ Dr Ewins,

    I absolutely agree with you on the topic of identity politics, though I think feminism should be restricted to third and fourth wave if you’re talking about identity politics. I’ve been totally on board with first and second wave feminism, and as far as I know so was Dr. Peterson.

    One of the biggest issues I see with identity politics is the one Steven Fry mentioned in the debate: it doesn’t work. It doesn’t improve the situation by any objective measure, and more often than not it makes matters worse. Labeling people as privileged based on a few immutable characteristics is likely to cause resentment, especially if those classes of people are arbitrarily chosen. How does white privilege compare to wealth privilege? To health privilege? To intelligence privilege? To living in a free and rich country privilege? To attractiveness privilege? To male privilege? To female privilege?

    I think it’s far more productive to look at making sure we create equal opportunities to all, as much as possible, and combat true racism and sexism and poverty. Make sure people have a good base to start from, but keep the incentives to strive to improve oneself. That’s a complex matter in itself, and will require a lot of cooperation and discussion. Identity politics do not contribute in any positive way to that discussion as far as I’m concerned.

    As far as Marx is concerned: I honestly don’t know enough on the topic to comment on the details, but every large scale attempt to implement it so far has failed spectacularly. I understand the appeal of the Utopian vision, and I share it to some degree, but within our current human mindset I don’t see how it could be achieved without force and without creating the exact same mistakes we made before. As such, I’m highly in favor of social policies as instantiated in certain European countries, including the Netherlands. We can do more in that regard as far as I’m concerned.

    I’m not familiar with the work of Rosa Luxemburg, but I can certainly get behind the quotes you mentioned. 🙂

  112. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    The above link on Peterson is in his own words.

    That link to me took a comment by Dr Ewins without quotes from Dr. Peterson. Is it something on my end or is the link incorrect?

    On a lighter note, you would think with all the loot he’s making, he would buy a sun lamp and have a nice steak now and then. The poor sod looks emaciated.

    The poor sod has autoimmune disease, and has been on a steak only diet for about a year now (as is his daughter). He hates it, but it appears to be one of the only foods not triggering his medical problems. In addition, his wife is in the hospital with a possible terminal illness, so I can understand why he has something else on his mind right now.

  113. Phil BEATTIE


    The above link I gave you is wrong don’t know what happened there.

    Anyway. The information is in the above link. His theories taken apart.

    Btw. Peterson just happened to be the subject of Dr Ewins burst. I don’t care for right wingers no matter who they are or what they say. My introduction into socialism was many years ago I haven’t read or seen anything yet, that will yet change my views. It was my old mans sister who got me on the road to being a lefty. Btw she cleaned hospital floors to put her son through Manchester and Oxford universities, he has a degree in Physics. Yea and he is a Tory go figure. He design’s computers. His father was a civil engineer spent many years in India building bridges. He was a socialist. Life is a fine tapestry of ideas. It is well we do not all think the same, how boring that would be.

  114. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    Anyway. The information is in the above link. His theories taken apart.

    That’s a link to a YouTube search with a large amount of results. Which specific video did you want me to take a look at?

    I don’t care for right wingers no matter who they are or what they say.

    I’m left wing myself (in the Netherlands no less), but by American standards, Peterson doesn’t qualify as right-wing. By Canadian standards he would be slightly right of the middle.

  115. Phil


    The one that nailed it is there somewhere. Look at a few randomly a lot of them are pretty good.

  116. Pieter

    @ Phil,

    The one that nailed it is there somewhere. Look at a few randomly a lot of them are pretty good.

    I’ve actually debunked a few of them in the past, because they were straw manning Peterson’s arguments, so a bit more guidance would be good in this regard. As said several times already: there’s plenty of legitimate reasons to disagree with Peterson’s views (I most certainly do from time to time), but I rarely encounter them in these kinds of videos. These videos more often than not (try to) debunk a view Peterson doesn’t have.

  117. Trikkidhikki

    Tristian, thanks for your article. I agree with you that Jordan makes some interesting points. I put him in the same category as David Icke, John Butler and Wayne Dyer, people who had some kind of awakening as to the nature of how the minds works. Any difference in the subsequent ‘work’ post-awakening of such people can be put down to the context of their life prior to what each calls an awakening (whatever that is). I find each interesting in their own way even though some of what they share is a bit far out there. I wonder how many of us would have heard of Jordan had he not poked the Gender Identity Bill bear in Canada.

  118. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Sometimes he gets very emotional like he has his own internal struggles ; I disagree with him profoundly on much that he says ; but if you explore him deeply enough you can have some sympathy at a personal level. You know that word ’empathy’ that everyone talks about – but some people have none of it. Especially if you get away from his misconceptions on Marxism and socialism and get to parts of his ‘philosophy of life’.

  119. Egalitarian

    Peterson does keep a little pot of Theology on the back burner just in case.

  120. Pieter

    @ Dr Ewins,

    Peterson has suffered from auto-immune disease and depression for most of his life. His symptoms have only recently diminished due to his diet (which he hates), but with his wife in the hospital at the moment life certainly isn’t easy. I can understand the emotion though. His goal was to try and help people improve their lives, and he’s been getting overwhelming responses from people during his book tour. If you get that on a daily basis, that should bring up some emotion as far as I’m concerned.

    Other than his view on Marxism and socialism, are there fundamental things you disagree with Peterson about? I find him to be somewhat more conservative than I am, but in general he makes some very solid science based arguments as far as I can tell. I’ve never been really interested in psychology, but he’s certainly kindled my interest in the subject. He’s also given me many solid arguments to go against right-wing extremism.

    @ Trikkidhikki,

    You’re right that without C-16, most people would probably never have heard the name Jordan Peterson (and in all honesty: most people still haven’t). His online lectures had gathered a few million views, so probably about 300,000 people had actually seen them. He was reasonably well known in the academic world though; he’s a highly cited professor in his field. What baffles me more though is why his views on C-16 should have mattered to anyone. I think if it hadn’t been for the activist protests, he probably still would be a relatively unknown professor in Canada.

    @ Egalitarian,

    What I find fascinating though is that he approaches religion from a psychological and philosophical perspective in stead of from a religious perspective. I’m actually religious myself, but it’s given me a completely new outlook on religion in general, and Christianity in particular.

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