Sunday, August 14, 2022

Jordan Peterson Deep Dive

 Cody the News Guy at "Some More News" briefly looks at the topic of Jordan Peterson:

I don't know how Peterson still has any credibility as a self-help guru after he drove his own life into a ditch a few years back.  But he does.  He is still very influential.  Cody's short video provides a good portrait of the man himself and his style of argumentation and his way of looking at the world.

My takeway from it is that Peterson is a deeply insecure individual who NEEDS for the values of the world he grew up in to remain valid.  That world was patriarchal, Christian, heterosexual, capitalist, with a smattering of liberal-representative democracy.  It was also white supremacist.  And (as the video shows beyond a shadow of a doubt) Peterson is more than happy to quote drivel from nazi-adjacent "thinkers" to "prove" that a certain percentage of the population might be completely irredeemable and useless.  (He leaves it to his readers/listeners to ponder what the skin colour of those "useless eaters" might be.)

Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Peterson wasn't/isn't a bad looking guy.  He's also relatively tall (1.85 m).  These attributes, combined with a brain that works quickly at the task of inventing nonsensical arguments, have given him the self-confidence to rise above his squeaky voice and emotional fragility, and become a semi-charismatic bullshit artist.  He is a guru for a racist-conservative philosophy which he cloaks under a veneer of pseudo-scientific mysticism to appear as reasonable.

[Among several painful, cringe-worthy, infuriating segments, there's one part where Peterson angrily denies a nervous male university student's assertion that he (Peterson) defends the hierarchies he is always defending and celebrating.  The young man is unnerved by Peterson's yelling and gives up his point.  At a panel discussion on a British television show, Peterson's self-righteous indignation is less effective when a woman points out that women are not well represented in most Western representative democracies.  In response to her Peterson whines about being insulted and then starts yammering about how maybe she won't be happy unless 51% of bricklayers are female.  To which the woman smiles sadly to herself about the idiot she's sitting beside.]

Which all gets back to Peterson's emotional fragility.  I don't think he's aware that he's actually a con-man.  I think he genuinely believes in the white, patriarchal, capitalist, conservative worldview he proselytizes for.  When he smooshes together truthy-sounding arguments based on pseudo-facts and wishful thinking, he believes he's doing the Lord's work.  He probably truely believes that civilization will fall apart if father-led nuclear families believing in sky-gods who want us all to work hard and get rich are at all challenged.  His tears for the desperate young men who likewise need their fantasies upheld and for his own crumbling under the pressures of defending a world under attack from pink-haired feminist social-justice warriors are genuine.  As was his total nervous breakdown a few years back.

This is how a guy can write a book called Twelve Rules For Life, have a nervous breakdown and then come out with yet another book with supposedly more rules for life (the majority of all these rules being banalities) and then get a paying gig with racist, babbling speed-talker Ben Shapiro.

Don't get me wrong.  There's stupidity aplenty across the whole political spectrum.  But right-wing ideas, the thinkers of those ideas, and the swallowers of those ideas, enjoy the lion's share of the total quantity of stupidity in the universe.


Purple library guy said...

I was watching the video, and it occurred to me that Jordan Peterson is kind of just a placeholder. I mean, it's worth shooting down his arguments, because there's always a conversation going between different political views, some of which make some kind of sense and some, mostly on the right, that are whackjob crazy, and every contribution to a good side helps.
But consider--what would happen if Peterson had a change of heart? Not even a rush of brains to the head. But imagine his emotional attachment shifted, and he started using his weird fairy tales and anecdotes but framed them just a little differently so the result was decent left wing conclusions, albeit arrived at in a ludicrous way. So, same kind of thought processes, same delivery, same fake-seriousness, but concluding that we need redistribution and stuff. It wouldn't be hard, lots of the stuff he says could support practically any conclusion you felt like drawing from it.

He'd disappear. Overnight. The bots wouldn't retweet him any more, nobody would interview him, Youtube's algorithm would dump him to the bottom of searches, right wing PR companies would stop astroturfing for him, and they'd go get someone else and build them up for as long as they were saying the right things. And we'd have a new moron we have to debunk.

thwap said...


You're certainly right. Ben Shapiro would drop him in a heart-beat. Even if his change of heart was accompanied by an increase of intelligence, thereby making his new stance all that much more credible.

Because they want someone who can babble right-wing inanities with confidence. That's it.


Zoombats said...

Peterson reminds me of Rex Murphy in some twisted way. Rex might be his twin brother from the Bizzarro world. a kind of parallel Lex Luther. Both are asshats to be sure.

thwap said...


I only see Rex Murphy when fellow lefties post something about him. I think he has a thesaurus and Peterson doesn't. And that might be to Peterson's benefit from what I've heard from listening to Murphy.

Purple library guy said...

Y'know, listening to him . . . he's kind of squeaky.

Purple library guy said...

So is Rex, come to think of it.

thwap said...


I actually don't remember what Rex Murphy sounds like. Ignorance is bliss.

Anonymous said...

It isn't a coincidence that Jordan Peterson is turning up on podcasts with Joe Rogan, Ben Shapiro, or Matt Walsh. Peterson is a lightweight. I listened to a debate between Peterson and David Benatar, and Peterson can't keep up with his academic peers. Peterson might know a lot about Carl Jung, but that is really only going to be useful in a one on one therapy session, and trying to graft watered down evolutionary psychology or sociobiology onto Jung isn't all that impressive as an intellectual accomplishment.

thwap said...


Just looked up David Benatar. That would have been an interesting debate.