Archives for posts with tag: Jordan Peterson

There’s a lot of accusations flying around about certain groups, individuals, and local white male terrorists saying that they are misogynist. It’s a fair claim. A lot of their actions possess underlying, or even blatantly overt, violence directed towards female humans. Misogyny is the hatred of women, but do these men actually hate women? From the common progressive standpoint, obviously, and to question that canon is essentially to turn in your progressive credentials. However, claiming the alt-right, the incels, the white supremacists, and the Jordan Petersons hate women is kinda like saying terrorists hate our freedom. It’s painting the antagonist with purposefully broad strokes to make the Manichean dichotomy easier to propagandize.


All this could be solved if our glorious leader and their wicked despot had a cage match on Pay Per View.

Simone de Beauvoir wrote that women struggle to rebel against men because they are dispersed throughout every category; blacks, whites, rich, poor, and so on; all of them have women. Women cannot simply cleave themselves from their biological counterpart, and even though whites and blacks could eliminate one another, Jews could eliminate every last gentile and vice versa (as has been attempted), women cannot get rid of men. This makes rebellion against male dominance much more complicated. While de Beauvoir was writing about the predicament of being woman, the same holds true for men. Man cannot wholly rebel against women. Hatred that longs for catastrophic destruction of the thing hated is a non-starter. Misogyny in its purest sense is just implausible.

Elliot Rodger, the champion of misogyny, killed a whole mess of people because women collectively decided not to have sex with him. Is it fair to say he hated women when Rodger clearly desired them? A love/hate relationship could be argued, but I think that is far too simplistic. Rodger believed that women should have sex with him. They did not, which means that women were not fulfilling their role as sex-havers. It was this dereliction of duty that drove him towards violence.

Let’s look at another example. The Jordan Peterson clip I hyperlinked earlier shows Peterson describing why women cannot participate in rational discourse: men can’t be physically abusive toward women because of social norms, and violence is the only thing that keeps discourse rational between men, therefore women can say the craziest shit in the world, and men can’t rough them up for being so dumb. This creates feminism, I guess. This is stupid for many reasons, the most glaring being that it ignores the fact that men commit violence against women all the God damn time, but what makes it allegedly misogynistic is that it conceives of “woman” in a specific way. “Woman” is not rational, “woman” relies on notions of chivalry for her own benefit, chivalry is a thing, etc. Now I doubt that Jordan Peterson hates women, he makes sure to mention that he married one after all, but it’s clear that his beliefs about women have something wrong with them.


Women! Amirite?? If men could just somehow commit violence against them, then none of this would ever have happened!

What’s the link between Elliot Rodger and Jordan Peterson? They both define “woman” as something that women as people cannot be. Women are autonomous, freely-choosing human beings. “Woman” is not irrational, nor is she a sex-haver, in the way an inkwell is an inkwell. Peterson and Rodger categorize women in such a way that eliminates her humanity. Certainly women can be irrational; they can also have sex. The problem is that defining women in such a way limits their freedom, and when you demand they act in a certain way that they naturally cannot adhere to 100% of the time, you’re bound to be disappointed (especially during an age when a lot of women have been empowered enough to not give a shit about what you think).

What we’re calling the hatred of women is the enforcement, through words or deeds, of an anachronistic (if not outright fictional) idea of “woman.” If some woman decided to have sex with Elliot Rodger, he likely would have been fine with her (up until she stopped). If a woman agreed with Jordan Peterson, he’d think she was a-okay. Conform to these ideas, and the hatred disappears. It’s not hateful attitudes that is driving these men, but the idea of what a woman should and should not be. Were Elliot Rodger to say, “I want to have sex with a woman,” what he means when he says “woman” and what someone else might hear are two totally separate notions.The problem isn’t hatred; the problem is that these ideas of what is “woman” are wrong.

THE STEPFORD WIVES, Toni Reid, Carole Mallory, Tina Louise, Katherine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Barbara

Women are biologically determined to conform to their social role

If you believe that women should be or perform Y, and you don’t have any problems with women who are and do Y, you will never self identify as someone who hates women. You’ll just be wrong, and if you act on your wrong beliefs to shame, abuse, or kill women who do not fit into this fantastical mould that you’ve created in your mind, then you are raging against human beings for being human.

And you need to stop.

To understand postmodernism, one must first have a basic understanding of modernism. Luckily, modernism is far less complex than postmodernism, which hopefully makes understanding postmodernism easier as well. Modernism is a paradigm that says that we’ve figured everything out, science has won, our current institutions never need to change again, and any form of progress will only be the refinement of things that we currently have got going for us right now. It’s the paradigm of Fukuyama’s “End of History.” There’s no point in talking about things anymore; this is it.

Postmodernism is the reply to that which says, “Wellllllll….. I mean…. really? Literally everyone in the past has said that their way of thinking is irrefutably true, but you’re super sure that you’ve got it this time?”

This of course is completely reasonable. Modernists give primacy to science; science is about the refutation of existing theories (except apparently when it comes to the primacy of science and other modernist principles which can never possibly be refuted), so why is there such blowback against attempts to refute existing theories? Postmodernism is applying rational skepticism to firmly entrenched ideas and values. This is usually done by looking at an idea that is taken for granted as true, analyzing its history, and then pointing out flaws that have been imbued in that idea since its inception. Postmodernists usually leave it up to us to decide what to do with their criticism, but it’s generally assumed that a revaluation of that idea is the implied minimum.

For a couple of examples, capitalism is an economic system founded in colonialism and slavery. Tracing its history to today, one can see threads of that continuing in the exploitation of third world countries for first world profits. Postmodernism stops there. It has never been big on solutions, just pointing out the problems. I’ve also outlined the general thesis of Foucault’s evolution of punishment here. This blog is essentially a postmodern analysis of contemporary justice. Basically if you’re criticizing something by looking at how its history has shaped its current incarnation, you’re doing postmodernism. Nietzsche was actually one of the first postmodernists. In The Genealogy of Morals, he takes the firmly established Christian way of life, and then deconstructs it as the “slave morality” response to the Roman “master morality”, thus leading to the insipidness of his time. The difference I guess is that Nietzsche offered a solution.

Here’s the thing: nobody likes postmodernists. Which is weird because skepticism has been around for a looonnnng time. Postmodernists are attacked for not liking science and reason; David Hume posited that causality is unknowable; Renee Descartes suggested that mathematical truths could be the deception of an evil demon, and thus could not be held self-evident; Sextus Empiricus, one of the most famous Greek skeptics, provided proofs both for and against the gods; Socrates denied traditional piety, values, language, epistemology, justice… so many things. Much like Socrates, postmodernists get a lot of grief because they attack the paradigm of those in power. They are the gadflies of modernity.

If you watch any video on postmodernism, you’ll probably see somewhere in the comments advice from helpful Youtubers to check out Jordan Peterson, because he knows about postmodernism, and he says it’s bad. Let’s look at some of his criticisms:

It’s an attack on rationality/empiricism/science: That’s one way of framing it, sure, but that isn’t unprecedented even in the most enlightened of circles, and it’s not actually the case. Postmodernism appreciates other ways of knowing, rather than baldly accepting the deification of reason. Maybe beauty has some truth worth knowing, or empathy might reveal something about the universe. Ask yourself, “How can I prove that reason is the ultimate way of knowing?” You can answer either with reason, which would lead to an infinite regress (proving reason with reason would require further reason to prove the second reason), or with some other way of knowing, which shows the value of an alternative. It’s not that science is wrong or bad, it’s that it’s not alone.

It suggests multiple viewpoints, which means there can be no true viewpoint. The only reason we have an agreed upon viewpoint is because it belongs to those in power: Well, yeah. Read a book. History belongs to the victors, right? Those with the most power are going to organize things so that they keep winning. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Everyone knows politicians are corrupt because they do everything to keep their power, but nobody can make the leap to other facets of our society functioning on the same premise? Please.

Next would be the relativism implied in the criticism: the difficulty we have with truth does not mean that there cannot be a best viewpoint, and deciding which is best is a lot more complicated than accepting the current system simply because that’s the way it has always been. Perhaps with a postmodern lens, we can better understand which viewpoint has the greatest benefit.

There is no individual in postmodernism, just identity. It splits people into an oppressor and oppressed class: Again, yes. Economists and statisticians split people into identifiable variables all the time. It makes measuring trends easier. It’s a way of analyzing social phenomena. If one group is lumped together into an oppressor class, that’s because historically that group has tended to behave in that pattern and now benefits from that history, even if you don’t accept that that practice continues today. It’s not complicated.

Postmodernists are all Marxists. They don’t engage in dialogue. They want to destroy everything: To sum up, postmodernism corrupts the youth. Peterson is famous for wanting to shut down university courses that he believes perpetuate postmodern ideas and “cultural Marxism.” This is the exact charge the Athenians levied against Socrates. There is a lot of propaganda against postmodernists by those who stand to lose under their dissecting eye. Peterson is a buffoon.

There are some valid criticisms of postmodernism, even in this blog. You may have noticed I repeatedly pointed out that it doesn’t offer solutions. Beyond this, it denies any Grand Narrative, which in theory could be used to unify people even if today they are mostly used for jingoist purposes. When people call postmodernism a philosophy I usually cringe because I see it more as sociology rather than philosophy. A postmodernist is more likely to criticize bourgeois philosophy than participate within it, and fair enough.

The true skeptic holds that every belief must be questioned, including the belief that every belief must be questioned. Postmodernism is not beyond criticism, and nobody says it should be. It’s just that too much of its criticism has been coming from people who lump it in with “Cultural Marxism“, and those people are just so, so dumb and are ruining things for everyone. I just want to go back to writing about how empathy isn’t real and the Marxist implications of Facebook, but NOOOOooooo! I have to write out entire blogs explaining why alt-right talking points are wrong.

Post-script: In that Jordan Peterson video, he says that he read Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, and then says that its theme is that the presentation of mental illness is shaped by the conditions of its surrounding environment. That’s… not what the book is about at all. The book is about showing how mental illness is framed in moral terms, as a manifestation of an unreason contrasting the social norms of its environment. Kind of like how being transgender is seen as morally deviant because it flies in the face of the traditional understandings of gender. It’s actually exactly like that. Peterson either never actually read the book and is posturing (so smugly) to seem smart to his followers, or he’s just really, really dumb and didn’t pick up what Foucault wrote out explicitly like, a bunch of times throughout the book. It really seems to me that Jordan Peterson learned about postmodernism from a Jordan Peterson video, and didn’t investigate further because whatever, he gets to be famous for being the stupid man’s smart person.