The Jordan Peterson Thread

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I've been musing devoting a thread to this guy for a while but this is motivating me right now. I can't find info on the faculty letter elsewhere but this Peterson quote (verifiable from the embedded video) is something else:

I have absolutely no regrets about going after the postmodern neo-Marxists as hard as I possibly can and I am certainly not done doing so. So, one of the thing that is going to happen, for example, in the next month or so, I have been working with a programmer who has volunteered his services and has already produced this, he has produced a website that enables people to enter text that will then classify the text as postmodern or non-postmodern and so you will be able to enter a course descriptions from universities – the course description, the professor’s name, the discipline, and the university. It will tell you the degree to which the description is postmodern and then you can decide for yourself whether you want to take that and become a social justice warrior, if that is what you think your education should be about, or if you should avoid that like the plague that it truly is … I’d like to knock enrollment in the postmodern disciplines down by 75% over the next five years. I think that I am thinking about it from the perspective of nonviolent warfare, it is that serious to me and that this would be equivalent to cutting off the supply chain. It is like the postmodernists need a continual influx of young impressionable minds in order to continue their propagandistic and society devouring efforts and I am going to do absolutely everything I can to cut that supply chain off at the source.”

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 10 November 2017 19:31 (one week ago) Permalink

he linked the FB profiles of some associates of mine on Twitter in order to sicc his awful followers on them.

Simon H., Friday, 10 November 2017 19:33 (one week ago) Permalink

Standout features, to start (assuming this is not empty bluster, which is likely):
i) the level of entitlement it would take for a clinical psychology professor to decide that he should be able to decide which courses and programmes offered by his employer and which of his colleagues should survive and which should perish; does tenure do this to you?

ii) He would in fact do this, not even by applying his own judgment, but with a text-sorting algorithm that he is confident would be able to determine a course's level of postmodernism by scanning a course description (half of mine are not even written by me fwiw)

iii) postmodern neo-Marxism: is this even a real thing?

xp

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 10 November 2017 19:38 (one week ago) Permalink

he linked the FB profiles of some associates of mine on Twitter in order to sicc his awful followers on them.

Ugh

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 10 November 2017 19:38 (one week ago) Permalink

postmodern neo-Marxism: is this even a real thing

as a budding neo- (or at least contemporary) Marxist I feel I can pretty confidently state: no. He's talking out of his ass and conflating totally separate phenomena, some of which he has completely made up

Simon H., Friday, 10 November 2017 19:39 (one week ago) Permalink

not even by applying his own judgment, but with a text-sorting algorithm that he is confident would be able to determine a course's level of postmodernism by scanning a course description

he's flattering himself with the word "algorithm", for sure he's just going to come up with a list of offensing keywords and crtl-f

Simon H., Friday, 10 November 2017 19:41 (one week ago) Permalink

And he throws the ever elusive "skeletons" in there too just to make it clear he has no idea what he's talking about xpost

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 10 November 2017 19:43 (one week ago) Permalink

iii) postmodern neo-Marxism: is this even a real thing?

post-marxism is a thing but peterson just means "cultural marxists" or whatever. usually right-wing buzzword nonsense.

-_- (jim in vancouver), Friday, 10 November 2017 19:46 (one week ago) Permalink

i mean he uses the phrase "postmodern disciplines", he is just thinking of anything apart from STEM here isn't he?

-_- (jim in vancouver), Friday, 10 November 2017 19:47 (one week ago) Permalink

He's talking out of his ass and conflating totally separate phenomena

I don't think intellectual honesty is the goal he's aiming for.

Scholarship is boring and difficult for most people and not well-rewarded. Plunging into political controversy with all guns blazing and taking the side of reactionary conservatism, otoh, is invigorating, doesn't tax one's intellectual ability, and if you catch the eye of talent-scouts for a billionaire-funded right wing think tank, it can be enriching, too.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 10 November 2017 19:50 (one week ago) Permalink

Re: what he means by "post-modern Neo-Marxism," this Reddit post seems to get at it:

Marxism is a very broad social theory that extends far beyond its implementation in Soviet Russia and Mao’s China. Its core assertion is that whoever controls the means of production (the bourgeoisie in Marx’s writings) controls the ‘knowledge’ in society—the set of social norms, values and cultural conventions. This ‘ideology’ thus comes to be regarded as natural by everyone in society, even though it is only true in the sense that it benefits the bourgeoisie at the expense of the proletariat. Marx called this accepted ideology ‘false consciousness’.
Marxism experienced a revival in the social sciences in the 1960s as a theoretical framework for understanding how structures of power shape the social order. This approach to sociology went hand in hand with other emerging theories that questioned and challenged these relations of power (post-modernism, post-colonialism and post-structuralism in particular).
What Jordan Peterson is criticising, is a neo-marxist evaluation of how our society functions. In particular, people who believe that dominant cultural ideas are products of exploitative and oppressive elites. Which, for SJWs, is the white, cis-gendered, patriarchy.

Full thread here.

dinnerboat, Friday, 10 November 2017 19:53 (one week ago) Permalink

Just seeing this title made me retch. Not that we shouldn't talk about him, of course.

pomenitul, Friday, 10 November 2017 19:57 (one week ago) Permalink

I just find it bizarre that he (or people of his ilk) equates "SJWs" (a derisive term for people who are extremely vocal but pretty strictly about issues of representation, mostly in pop-culture stuff) with marxists of any stripe

Simon H., Friday, 10 November 2017 19:57 (one week ago) Permalink

fwiw, the Athenian, Critias (fl. 5th century B.C.), argued that the gods were the invention of the wealthy and powerful few, solely for the purpose of controlling the masses. So, it's not as if the idea began with Marx.

Ironically, Critias himself was a wealthy reactionary politician from a powerful family, who was the leading man among the Thirty Tryants put in place by the Spartans to rule Athens after the Peloponnesian War. He helped carry out bloody purges of democratic leaders in the city. Probably the kind of guy Jordan would approve of, except by Jordan's definition Critias was practically a neo-Marxist SJW.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 10 November 2017 20:07 (one week ago) Permalink

I wonder where he locates his own views in relation to postmodernism. They don't seem diametrically opposed. There was an interview where he argued for a pragmatist theory of truth and said that scientific truth is secondary and less important than the pragmatic truth of religion, which has to do with utility/morality/flourishing.

jmm, Friday, 10 November 2017 20:15 (one week ago) Permalink

He argues that his views are rooted in biology and evolution — Darwinism, basically — in contrast to what he identifies as the social constructionism of the postmodernists. Though I'm less comfortable tossing these $5 words around than he is.

dinnerboat, Friday, 10 November 2017 20:27 (one week ago) Permalink

I like when he talks about religion and art, completely uninterested in his pronoun obsession, and his followers are p vile and pathetic for the most part. i do like listening to him speak though, he's entertaining as a pop philosopher. his obsession with postmodernists and marxists is also a little tiresome (i admittedly don't know much about either in depth, to the level where i could confidently call bullshit or not), but the transgender thing is really fuckin grating.

flappy bird, Friday, 10 November 2017 21:38 (one week ago) Permalink

he's a total dipshit

-_- (jim in vancouver), Friday, 10 November 2017 21:47 (one week ago) Permalink

I was just having a conversation about this with a coworker. It's a shame he has fallen into this b.s. rabbit hole. I like his lectures on Jung, religious archetypes, and "cultural dna." I find some of his arguments about the value of religious principles convincing—and I'm in no way religious. The biggest Peterson fan I know is an atheist, as I think many of his followers are. But this dude has a major chip on his shoulder about this pronoun issue. He's also clearly miffed from getting torn apart on Sam Harris's podcast. It's a bummer that he's so caught up in this shit, and with no end in sight.

Say what you want about Peterson, Sam Harris, and others of their ilk. I think it's a positive thing that these people are getting some attention. I don't remember any prominent philsophers or psychologists getting semi-mainstream attention before. And even if people are hearing these discussions through a Joe Rogan podcast, that's fine by me.

Benjamin-, Friday, 10 November 2017 21:54 (one week ago) Permalink

He is not getting attention for his scholarly work in psychology.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 10 November 2017 22:04 (one week ago) Permalink

I was a fan of his from his appearances on The Agenda, a local current affairs show. And his Maps of Meaning is an interesting take on religious and mythological archetypes, in the Joseph Campbell and Northrop Frye vein. It's been disturbing to watch him elevated as this figurehead of the alt right, though I think it's also a consequence of the general polarization at the moment — he believes the "pronoun" issue (or specifically the vulnerability of our institutions like schools and the law to the machinations of radical leftists, which he sees as little different from Nazis) is a step on the path to the kind of murderous totalitarianism of the Soviet era.

dinnerboat, Friday, 10 November 2017 22:07 (one week ago) Permalink

If you mean Steve Paikin's The Agenda on TVO, that has always been good when I've watched it. The debate about gender was a very good and at times illuminating episode imo (although Peterson wasn't the best part of it).

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 10 November 2017 22:13 (one week ago) Permalink

It is pretty lazy and irresponsible to associate Peterson with the alt-right. I know plenty of liberals that follow him, as well as reasonable conservatives. He's getting pegged as alt-right by quite a few blogs now.

Benjamin-, Friday, 10 November 2017 22:23 (one week ago) Permalink

Though he isn't helping his cause by embracing Pepe, focusing his ire exclusively on the left, appearing on alt right media like The Rebel. He was on Fox & Friends this afternoon.

dinnerboat, Friday, 10 November 2017 22:28 (one week ago) Permalink

It's not lazy, he's embraced that group wholeheartedly. They're the reason 99% of the people who've heard of him have heard of him and they're the reason he can pull in $30k a month with his Patreon.

louise ck (milo z), Friday, 10 November 2017 22:28 (one week ago) Permalink

It is pretty lazy and irresponsible to associate Peterson with the alt-right. I know plenty of liberals that follow him, as well as reasonable conservatives. He's getting pegged as alt-right by quite a few blogs now.

― Benjamin-, Friday, November 10, 2017 2:23 PM (four minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i know arguing with someone like you is a waste of time because you're not ever going to be arguing in good faith, but ...

jordan peterson is directly connected to the rebel, who hosted a crowdfunding campaign for him. he associates with the worst examples of the canadian alt-right, and has intentionally built a profile based on his transphobia which he has monetized.

-_- (jim in vancouver), Friday, 10 November 2017 22:30 (one week ago) Permalink

like when you repeatedly appear getting interviewed by people like prison paul, the leader of the proud boys, you are being quite deliberate about who you want to associate with and why

-_- (jim in vancouver), Friday, 10 November 2017 22:33 (one week ago) Permalink

a quick google confirms he was literally on fox and friends today

-_- (jim in vancouver), Friday, 10 November 2017 22:35 (one week ago) Permalink

Marxism is a very broad social theory that extends far beyond its implementation in Soviet Russia and Mao’s China. Its core assertion is that whoever controls the means of production (the bourgeoisie in Marx’s writings) controls the ‘knowledge’ in society—the set of social norms, values and cultural conventions. This ‘ideology’ thus comes to be regarded as natural by everyone in society, even though it is only true in the sense that it benefits the bourgeoisie at the expense of the proletariat. Marx called this accepted ideology ‘false consciousness’.
Marxism experienced a revival in the social sciences in the 1960s as a theoretical framework for understanding how structures of power shape the social order. This approach to sociology went hand in hand with other emerging theories that questioned and challenged these relations of power (post-modernism, post-colonialism and post-structuralism in particular).
What Jordan Peterson is criticising, is a neo-marxist evaluation of how our society functions. In particular, people who believe that dominant cultural ideas are products of exploitative and oppressive elites. Which, for SJWs, is the white, cis-gendered, patriarchy.

See, the thing is, I'm not actually sure that this is an informed and coherent description of a real intellectual tradition, although, unlike Peterson, I recognize that intellectual history in philosophy and social science is not my area of specialization. (Marxism IS a modern grand narrative, for one thing, while I gather that postmodernism, insofar as I understand it to mean anything, involves some sort of scepticism of grand narratives.) It is more or less what he was saying on Fox and Friends, though, that postmodernism was when Marxism 'turned into' identity politics in the 60s, which seems very, very odd.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 11 November 2017 00:46 (one week ago) Permalink

I really like the cultural DNA and semiotics discussion and as a non-religious person I find the religious meta-narrative stuff fascinating. I don't know his past but he seems to have gained an audience beyond his students & academia and is pursuing them and catering to them regardless of their belief system/makeup. he's an opportunist. i'm not gonna give him money but the little pop philosophy clips of his lectures on youtube are fun to listen to as someone that's really into semiotics and grand narratives. his postmodern / marxist schtick isn't really any different than what DFW was talking about in Infinite Jest, coping with the loss of God and how we have satisfied that innate religious impulse within all of us through various 'false idols' or dead ends or whatever, whether it's drugs or food or social media or hive mind cliques. I like that he mentions the Gulag Archipelago and Solzhenitsyn in almost every interview he does.

flappy bird, Saturday, 11 November 2017 01:06 (one week ago) Permalink

his postmodern / marxist schtick isn't really any different than what DFW was talking about in Infinite Jest, coping with the loss of God and how we have satisfied that innate religious impulse within all of us through various 'false idols' or dead ends or whatever, whether it's drugs or food or social media or hive mind cliques.

I haven't read Infinite Jest but it makes me think more of Obama-era Glenn Beck or a million right-wing conspiracy theorists (see the Rich Higgins memo or a bunch of these, in Canada: Worst National Post Columnist).

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 11 November 2017 01:20 (one week ago) Permalink

Closer to Chomsky than Glenn Beck.

dinnerboat, Saturday, 11 November 2017 03:46 (one week ago) Permalink

He has a vocabulary, but he's basically a "political correctness sucks, amirite?" troll. Fuck him.

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Saturday, 11 November 2017 04:38 (one week ago) Permalink

(I try not to make a practice of posting on threads about people I hate/make me mad, but as a Canadian academic, this guy has been an unavoidable nuisance for the last year or so.)

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Saturday, 11 November 2017 04:45 (one week ago) Permalink

That's where he gets his money, but that's far from all he talks about. To be fair I'm not at all interested in the internecine battles of Canadian academics.

flappy bird, Saturday, 11 November 2017 05:18 (one week ago) Permalink

^suggest ban

bumbling my way toward the light or wahtever (hardcore dilettante), Saturday, 11 November 2017 12:05 (one week ago) Permalink

Perhaps he has a way to tie all this together and I'm just not aware, but yeah, it's really difficult for me to see "marxist post-modernism" as anything but a paradox.

Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 11 November 2017 12:09 (one week ago) Permalink

To be fair I'm not at all interested in the internecine battles of Canadian academics.

He is literally talking about using his social media following to go 'as hard as [he] possibly can' after any courses, disciplines, or professors that his computer program judges to be 'postmodern' via a scan of keywords in course descriptions. This isn't about something he said on a tenure review committee.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 11 November 2017 14:19 (one week ago) Permalink

ftr, Chomsky never tried to prevent students from being exposed to other ideas.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 11 November 2017 18:50 (one week ago) Permalink

ha, that's a good one and i loved the distinction between post-modern neo-marxism and cultural marxism.

-_- (jim in vancouver), Friday, 17 November 2017 22:10 (two days ago) Permalink


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