We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“Jordan Peterson aims at a refounding of Western Civilization …”

I like this, about Jordan Peterson, in Esquire, by Wesley (good name, considering his subject) Yang:

Many of Peterson’s seemingly grandiose pronouncements are, in fact, quite modest. He is often derided for repackaging banal common sense in a vague and pretentious idiom, and there is something to this. Peterson is an apologist for a set of beliefs that we once took for granted but now require an articulate defense, such as: Free speech is an essential value; perfect equality inevitably conflicts with individual freedom; one should be cautious before attempting to reengineer social institutions that appear to be working; men and women are, in certain quantifiable respects, different. His life advice concerns the necessity to defer gratification, face up to the trials of life with equanimity, take responsibility for one’s own choices, and struggle against the temptation to grow resentful. How such traditional values came to be portrayed as a danger adjacent to Nazism is one of the puzzles of our time.

The next paragraph solves this puzzle:

Viewed another way, Peterson’s intellectual project is exceedingly immodest, and can be stated in a sentence: He aims at nothing short of a refounding of Western civilization, to provide a rational justification for why the materialists of the digital age should root themselves in the soil of Christian ethics despite having long ago lost the capacity for faith.

The more rabid leftists call anything they don’t like Nazi. And the thing they dislike most is The West, which they want trashed. The West’s power, and everything good that The West stands for. Anything – anything – which is anti-West, they support.

Jordan Peterson is preaching virtues, public and personal, virtues which are the total opposite of Nazism and which might, unlike Nazism, greatly strengthen The West, by persuading a generation of Western and Westernised wastrels to sort themselves out, and to have good lives with good consequences. Therefore Peterson must be denounced as a Nazi, regardless of what he says he is, and regardless of what he actually says about the Nazis.

34 comments to “Jordan Peterson aims at a refounding of Western Civilization …”

  • despite having long ago lost the capacity for faith.

    They have lost (of intent) the capacity for faith in the west, or in anything that made the west great. As everything from communism to crystal power demonstrates, they have not lost the capacity for faith.

    They believed in nothing and they could make themselves believe in anything  (Conrad, ‘The Heart of Darkness’)

    If human nature is denied food, it will gobble up poison  (C.S.Lewis)

    (Quoted from memory.)

  • Shirley Knott

    It is not Christian faith that is lacking — good riddance to it. It is secular faith, faith in the products of reason over superstition.
    The Great Enrichment may have grown out of fields fertilized by Christian blood, but it did not grow out of ‘Christian ethics’ as presented in the Bible or the 1700 years of church teachings. It grew out of the ongoing attempt to civilize religion. Something which England and Northern Europe did fairly well.
    [Do I need to explicitly point ou that all the Abrahamic faiths are all based on a morality of ‘might makes right’? Probably.]

  • pete

    The liberal attitude to Peterson is not a puzzle at all.

    They are shocked and appalled that he says things which they think people shouldn’t be allowed to say.

    And that he says them clearly, confidently and unapologetically.

  • The Pedant-General

    “And that he says them clearly, confidently and unapologetically.”

    And they are clearly unarguably true.

  • rapscallion

    “The more rabid leftists call anything they don’t like Nazi.”

    They fail to see that this is so utterly counter-productive. By that definition anyone who isn’t ultra hard Left is therefore a Nazi. This means that Ed Milliband is a Nazi, and so is Kate Hoey, all of the Tory Party, most of the Dim-Libs, and pretty much most of the population.

    pete has it right – Jordan Peterson talks plain common sense, he will not be cowed, he won’t apologise and he openly calls them for what they are and for what their goal is, the despatching of those who don’t toe their line, just like Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot.

  • Jacob

    Jordan Peterson aims his “rules” and his advice to the individual. He proposes traditional ways and advice to individuals, he promotes individual well-being and redemption, based on traditional values. He urges individuals to take responsibility for their own lives.

    In this he opposes main-stream approaches that stress the collective, the state solution and the group identity problem. In this respect he preaches contrary to main-stream, fashionable thought and conventions of today.

  • Jacob

    Also: young people won’t love to hear him say that life is very complicated, that 18 year olds understand nothing (correct), and before they embark upon revolutions to “save” mankind, they need to put their own personal lives and minds in order.

    He also says you need to be extremely cautious when trying to change social institutions and arrangements that evolved during millennia. This is the classic-conservative view as opposed to the progressive-liberal-revolutionary view which believes in social engineering.

  • [Do I need to explicitly point out that all the Abrahamic faiths are all based on a morality of ‘might makes right’? Probably.] (Shirley Knott, May 1, 2018 at 8:24 pm)

    This is not even true of Islam. Asymmetric warfare, as understood by Al Qaida and friends, means that the west has the physical might. The only might the terrorists claim is the might of their will contrasted (and here the point returns to the OP’s subject) with the weak will of the physically-mighty west.

  • Alisa

    young people won’t love to hear him say that life is very complicated, that 18 year olds understand nothing (correct), and before they embark upon revolutions to “save” mankind, they need to put their own personal lives and minds in order.

    Actually, lots of young people are craving to hear just that, as the numbers of Peterson’s followers on various social-media sites, his book purchases, and his public talk attendance prove. Dismissing young people as inherently stupid is just older people avoiding the taking of responsibility.

  • Peter Whale

    The major consequence of JP’S rise to fame is that at long last a dialogue is being debated whereby the lefties are brought to task for their reframing of every argument with straw man fallacies and they can’t stand it.

  • Jacob

    “Dismissing young people as inherently stupid…”
    He didn’t do that.
    It’s just that 18 year olds lack life experience, and tend, mostly, to parrot what they have been taught by elders or what they read in books. It takes (at least) time and effort to form a better judgement.

  • Alisa

    He didn’t do that

    Of course not – your comment implied that 🙂

  • Paul Marks

    Well I wrote a long comment – but I lost it because due to the wind and rain (that often disrupts the internet around here, our signal is weak).

    So I will try again.

    Good post Brian.

    As for whether Civilisation can survive a loss of faith (the “capacity for faith” would be a very radical claim) it depends on what one has faith in.

    A loss of religious faith would indeed be tragic in the opinion of people like myself (who believe) – but I can not truthfully deny such examples as Estonia. Most Estonians (not all – but most) are basically supporters of liberty (the free market and private property rights) and they are also traditionalists – they “know the old songs and they sing them”, but most Estonians are also atheists. They believe that God does not exist and that when someone dies they become something (they are no longer someone – the soul, in the Aristotelian non religious sense, has died with the body and all is left is rotting meat and bone).

    There is actually nobility in such a grim atheist vision of life – like the Anglo Saxon who no longer believed in the old Gods but did not accept Christianity, who (when asked his view of life) pointed at a bird that had flown into the lighted hall at night and then flown out again – “the bird came from darkness and returned to darkness – but for a brief time was in the light”. Moral virtue as an act of defiance against an indifferent (indeed mindless) universe. A conscious decision of human personhood to stand for the light against the darkness – even though one holds that the darkness always wins in the end. I am also reminded of parts of the “Meditations” of Marcus Aurelius (although this work also has its dark side – which fed the despair of its writer) and the non Christian (but certainly not anti Christian) parts of “The Conciliations of Philosophy” by Boethius – one of the favourite works of Alfred the Great (Alfred had no love of his sword – he loved what it defended, and this was what his sword defended). Indeed such works are needed most when civilisation is in peril or seems lost.

    To the “hopelessly Pelagian” British (as Karl Barth called them) the words “here I stand, I can do no other” mean “here I CHOOSE to stand, I can MORRALLY do no other” – a lifting of one’s sword against the powers of darkness, even if evil wins in the end. In fact we find it difficult to even get a grasp on someone (or something) who means the words LITERALLY – “here I stand, I can do no other” meaning “I am a flesh robot, predetermined to stand here and make these noises” (which is what Martin Luther actually meant – at least in his later philosophical conflict with Erasmus) – but then most ordinary Germans would not take the words literally either, as they also (the ordinary Germans) hold that human personhood exists – that we are people (not just objects) and can make moral choices, choose to do other than we do.

    The “intellectuals” who deny the existence of the intellect itself (of the “I” – the human person, moral agency) may be blunt about it- as Thomas Hobbes was (he was a “compatiblist” then “compatiblist” is just another word for determinist), or they may be polite about it (as David Hume was), but the end result is the same. Their doctrines are acid – if accepted they destroy civilisation, by denying the very existence of humans as moral persons (denying the “I” – the soul in the Aristotelian sense, not just the religious sense).

    It is all very well to have critics of the Western tradition – to have, for example, David Hume gently mocking Thomas Reid and the other mainstream Western philosophers of his time. But it is a very different thing when the critics (OPPONENTS) of the tradition of the West are presented as-that-tradition, when Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham (and-so-on) are presented as the Western tradition – then that utterly negates it.

    Nor is this that ancient – for example plenty of academics and writers in the 19th century pointed out that as J.S. Mill had not broken with the philosophy (specifically about the human person) he had been taught, his liberal politics were robbed of their foundation. And it was people such as Noah Porter and James McCosh who held the university chairs in philosophy up to the 1890s.

    20th century Oxford was the Oxford of Professor Harold Prichard and Professor Sir William David Ross and of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis – these were not enemies of human personhood, they were defenders of human personhood (just as much as the Battle of Britain fighter pilots – who contained people who had heard their lectures).

    The father of Mrs Thatcher, Alfred Roberts, gave talks in Grantham against the “totalitarians” (both the Nazis and Marxists) in the 1930s – and how they denied human personhood (moral reason, free will, the “I”) – and he was typical of so many people.

    It is no good, no good at all, to waffle on about how we should act “as if” this was true – it is true or it is not true. And if it is not true (if there is no morality – and no human moral agency) then we can not choose to act “as if” it was true, because we can not really CHOOSE anything.

    Contra Hayek one can not get to the politics of the Old Whigs without the philosophy of the Old Whigs (and of the Tory folk also – as Dr Johnson believed it just as much as Edmund Burke did) – this is why so much of the “Road to Serfdom” echoes the philosophy of the great tradition – even though Hayek himself did not believe the “old language” he was using (that he does not believe it is obvious in his later works – for example the brief examination of free will and determinism in “The Constitution of Liberty” an examination that gets things backwards).

    Again this is NOT about not believing in God – it is about not believing in people, in human personhood. And if human personhood (free will – moral agency) does not exist, then it is vain to defend such things as the Bill of Rights (British or American) as they rest upon it – it is their foundation, and if it is false so is the Bill of Rights. Flesh robots need no fundamental liberties – their only “freedom” is that of water (or some other non sentient thing) after a dam has been blown up, there is no moral importance (none) in that, for their is no moral CHOICE involved. “I need freedom of speech to say the words I am pre programmed to say – and “I” do not really exist anyway” is not something anyone (sorry anyTHING) is going to really defend, it would be absurd to do so. Hayek spent his adult life baffled as to why so many of his friends and associates held to collectivism – he denied that the philosophy they had been taught in Vienna (and elsewhere) led naturally to tyranny, but it does. It was his fiends and associates (the fellow modern intellectuals) who were correct – IF one accepts their philosophy, and it was he who was wrong (in trying to cling to the politics of liberty – whilst rejecting its philosophical foundations).

    If the “intellectuals” (the “treason of the intellectuals”) succeed in destroying belief in the intellect itself(the “I” – free will, moral choice) then indeed all is lost. It is this that must be defended, to the death (literally).

    If the “intellectuals” (the “education system” and the media and-so-on it produces) succeed then civilisation will indeed fall – but that should not concern us if all humans are is the brute beasts (or flesh robots) the “intellectuals” (false intellectuals – sworn enemies of the very existence of the intellect, the “I”, itself) claim that we are. Only if humans are actually beings (only if the “I” the capacity for REAL CHOICE exists) is civilisation of moral importance. And, again, “as if” will not do.

    Civilisation can survive people no longer believing in God (although I personally do believe in God), but it can NOT survive (in the long term) if people no believe in the existence of PEOPLE – of human BEINGS (moral self awareness – the “I”).

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Peterson is an apologist for a set of beliefs that we once took for granted but now require an articulate defense, such as: Free speech is an essential value; perfect equality inevitably conflicts with individual freedom; one should be cautious before attempting to reengineer social institutions that appear to be working; men and women are, in certain quantifiable respects, different.

    This is true.

    Another thing that is true: only rights that are threatened need to be defended.

  • The Pedant-General

    “Another thing that is true: only rights that are threatened need to be defended.”

    I’m not sure that it is quite totally true. The time to defend them is when people don’t think they are under threat and are thus happy to throw them away lightly.

  • Julie near Chicago

    P-G: Exactly. Don’t wait till it rains to look after the roof.

    Don’t wait till you need a rototiller to clear out the pathway to the storage shed.

    Etc.

  • Biffa Bacon

    JP certainly says a lot of things that desperately need saying these days. A much-needed dose of Northern Alberta good sense.

  • Snorri Godhi

    A much-needed dose of Northern Alberta good sense.

    Not that far North, actually: less than halfway to the Northern border of Alberta — though as far North as I have ever been in North America.

    But basically I agree: when it comes to good sense, you can do a lot worse than Alberta — and you probably have, already. I know I did.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I apologize: i found out on wikipedia that JP was born in Edmonton, and did not read any further.

  • Thailover

    “Materialist” vs “faith” is a ridiculous excluded middle fallacy, and presents a very “Abrahamic religion” parochial bias. Ayn Rand herself (an unapologetic hard atheist) was obsessed with “the human spirit”, and was “not a materialist in the Russian sense” (i.e. that people are only a self-animated skin-bag of meat and bone). Plenty of spiritual people (people who believe in literal spirits, not metaphorical ones), and religions around the world don’t deal in faith. Theravada Buddhism, for example, is a take-it-or-leave-it theory/belief system in Thailand. There is no proselytizing of theravada. It’s literally viewed as your own damned business. Mahayanna Buddhism, on the other hand is a different story.

  • Thailover

    Paul wrote,

    “Civilisation can survive people no longer believing in God (although I personally do believe in God), but it can NOT survive (in the long term) if people no believe in the existence of PEOPLE – of human BEINGS (moral self awareness – the “I”).”

    Indeed. I think this is one reason the Left is terrified of Dr. Peterson. He talks in terms of general concepts, arching archetypical themes, but ALWAYS as they pertain to the individual, individuals with moral agency and individual responsibility. He also speaks in terms of consequences for actions/nonactions and INDIVIDUAL decisions.

    The Leftist SJW perspective is to find worth only in terms of a faceless cog in the social machine. This is why we see the occasional young college campus lady doubled over and screaming as if someone shoved a knife in their gut…just because someone was “allowed” to voice an alternative view.

    To thinking individuals, an alternative view is, hopefully, something interesting to adopt or discard. It doesn’t threaten their self esteem. To the full-blooded collectivist, it’s an existential threat to their existence. Because if they don’t exist as a collective arm of the borg, then they have no identity (that they know of) at all.

    To the 100% collectivists, our words ARE INDEED a “violent” threat to their existence, because their false world is threatened by reason and demonstrable reality.

  • Tedd

    Shirley Knott:

    Just to be clear, Peterson is not talking about Christian faith in the slightest. His lectures concerning religion are about the purely symbolic meaning behind religious myths–most especially biblical myths, but he draws on the mythology of many other cultures, too. His basic thesis is that we evolved this kind of storytelling as a way for cultures to capture and propagate life wisdom learned through experience.

    This is by no means a new idea, of course. Jung and many others have promoted similar ideas. But Peterson is the most prominent of the few scholars who are currently promoting it.

    Also: What Jacob said.

  • A self important blowhard. And from fucking Alberta yet, where only awful things come from. They can keep their terrible road tar, they peddle as oil, and most certainly we do not want run it through our living room. 😉

    JP we have little use for in our hippie paradise. We tried but no, you idiots knew better.

    A resident of BC.

  • Thailover

    Ted, Dr Peterson is a huge admirer of Jung. (Pronounced “Yoong”. It annoys me when people pronounce it “young”.)

  • Thailover

    PenGun, Peterson, unlike myself, subscribes to Christian humility. Self-important blowhard hardly describes him. He thinks if he doesn’t tell the truth exactly as he sees it, it will undoubtably corrupt his soul. A bit melodramatic I think.

  • Thailover

    “His lectures concerning religion are about the purely symbolic meaning behind religious myths”

    Then he should talk about the occult rather than religion, because the religious take their religions seriously IE literally.

  • Thailover

    It doesn’t dismiss young people as inherently stupid. He dismisses them as inherently foolish. Folly is in opposition to wisdom whereas stupidity is an opposition to intelligence. The ignorant, the unlearned, the inexperienced are foolish. This is the basis of the Fool’s journey in the tarot major Arcana for example.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Forget JP, JH, the other Gurus of the Day. I have just seen a 43-minute speech-cum-Q&A by Candace Owens, and I can only say, She is Da Bomb !!!

    Loaded with intelligence and personality, absolutely knows how to grab an audience and keep it, a refreshing style of presentation with plenty of gentle humour…. Oh, and unlike J.P., she actually speaks English. :>)))

    If anybody’s missed her, watch her on PowerLine, at http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/05/candace-owens-unexpurgated.php

    Enjoy! 😀

  • Thailover

    Julie, Candace Owens, aka Red Pill Black, is still in denial about her website/doxing tool known as Social Autopsy.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Um. Thanks for the info, Thai. This is the first I’ve heard about”Social Autopsy,” whatever that is.

    Also don’t know what is a “doxing tool.” Something to do with documenting, I suppose. A routine that keeps countof her videos’ hits?

    Very well, always glad to make an excursion to the Cyberstacks. :<)

  • bobby b

    Thailover
    May 16, 2018 at 3:09 am

    “Julie, Candace Owens, aka Red Pill Black, is still in denial about her website/doxing tool known as Social Autopsy.”

    The site has been completely inactive for almost two years. She started it back when she was still a lefty, and admits now that it was badly conceived. She no longer even owns the domain name. Want to ding her about it now? You’re supporting the likes of Zoe Quinn. People make mistakes. She admits SA was a mistake.

    Julie near Chicago
    May 13, 2018 at 1:11 am

    “Forget JP, JH, the other Gurus of the Day. I have just seen a 43-minute speech-cum-Q&A by Candace Owens, and I can only say, She is Da Bomb !!!”

    She’s a breath of fresh air in a room full of boring homogeneous Minnesota conservatives. In the extended version of the Q&A, you can see me in one shot! Kudos to The Center of the American Experiment.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Um, bobby, I’d love to know which one you are. Blue shirt? Glasses? Beard? Clean-cut guy with a question, who’s a junior at Whatsit Academy?
    But you might prefer to remain unrecognized: Understood. :>)

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>