What's your opinions on Jordan Peterson?

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RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
I'm not asking you to like him exactly, I'm saying he deserves more respect than characters such as Milo.

He also has a lot more actual power and influence than people like Milo, and that's a bit frightening.

Sure, being able to summon hate mobs from the bowels of the internet is a pretty neat superpower, but it's nothing compared to the power of people in actual authority.

I think that's the one area in which Peterson is kind of right. It is frightening when someone in a position of intellectual authority starts espousing dangerous and illiberal views. Unfortunately, he just happens to be living proof of his own rightness. Unlike him, I don't think we need to politically purge all of academia of everything I don't like and introduce harsh academic censorship rules to ensure everything stays politically correct, but I do think we have a responsibility to be slightly concerned and to counter that influence within the scope of our own abilities.

Pseudonym:
Is there anywhere where Foucault is actually explicit on what such a baseline might be?

You have to remember, there's a certain tension in all critical theory between maintaining critical detachment and actually being useful, and it's a tension critical theory as a field really embraces as a kind of dialectic. There's a big difference between Judith Butler feminist philosopher and Judith Butler LGBT activist, and it's one she herself has been quite open in writing about, but if you look very carefully you can see the connections between them. Foucault is very similar.

I think there's some times it's pretty explicit. I remember him describing his own position as an "ethic of equal power" on one occasion, but annoyingly I can't find the reference.

I also think it shines through a bit clearer in some of his later thoughts on critique and the enlightenment (he did a very famous public lecture on the topic which makes for really interesting reading). For Foucault, critique serves as a kind of limited, conditional refusal of governance. We can't live outside of power altogether, but through critique we can perhaps imagine being governed differently, or not being subject to the disciplinary order we currently are. In modernity, Foucault argues, this questioning of authority has become a kind of constant, reflexive process, it's something we do constantly all the time, so much so that he calls it the "critical attitude".

A lot of criticism of Foucault (especially his early work) stems from the fact that while it's pretty clear he feels very uneasy about power, he also sometimes seems to presents a worldview in which resistance is ultimately futile and where there is no room to argue that one regime of power/knowledge is better than another. Critique provides an answer. In fact, Foucault ends up agreeing (albeit very, very conditionally) with Kant that we have a capacity to refuse or renegotiate the terms of our own subjection and thus to make ourselves, if not completely free, then at least more free than we are. This seems to quite explicitly suggest an ethical baseline in which freedom is good, and where the goal becomes one of broadening and diversifying access to the liberatory power of critique.

BreakfastMan:
Granted yeah, I don't think a 1917-style revolution is reasonable either. However, any political movement still relies on people taking action; either going into the streets to protest or showing up en-masse to vote. You don't get that by being all nice and respectful.

This forced an involuntary chuckle from me because Jordan Peterson would have an absolute field day with this. Suffice to say that you don't need to be a right winger to recognize that being "nice" and being "respectful" are two completely different things. I am advocating respect, not being nice.

BreakfastMan:
I really don't get this point. Of course I want my political ideology to "win", why wouldn't I? If I believe this is the best course for society, why should I not want it to come about as soon as possible? If you march to the gallows with your head held high, you are still getting hanged at the end of the day.

Its about how you go about winning though, isn't it? Again, if you think the best route toward that objective is pumping up your opponents dumbest, most ill mannered and badly read figures to avoid facing the ones that may pose you a serious challenge on a more intellectual level, well, I've got bad news for you if after recent events I need to explain why its a terrible idea. And its not just a terrible idea for a single reason either - ideologies need to be challenged by heavy weights because they are the ones who will catch the serious flaws. You don't want the biggest moron to be your opponents figurehead because he or she will drag the entire level of discourse down into the mud, and you with it.

Do I need to continue with this? Fuck it is so frustrating. This attitude has been continuously blowing up in our fucking faces for years now.

BreakfastMan:
"Easy to beat" was probably bad phrasing, but they are definitely undeniably easier. They more readily expose the contradictions inherent in the system. Don't forget, Brexit did happen, but what happened afterward? Corbyn arrived as a real political player and is incredibly close to snagging the PM spot. I am not an accelerationist by any means, but it is undeniable that dumb right wingers are better for us.

So this is the line of thought Zizek put out there during the US elections and I was a big fan of it. The problem is his fantasy consisted of two parts: first, the right wing catastrophy and second the left wing reaction. Until now the first part is happening everywhere and we're waiting in vain for the second because everyone is too comfortable carrying on as usual. Thats not very good.

And your particular example is very unconvincing too. Are you suggesting that nevermind Trump, nevermind Le Pen, nevermind Brexit, nevermind the AfD, nor the wildcard five stars movement, nevermind the rise of Sebastian Kurz, nevermind Hungary and Poland, nevermind the SD gaining ground in Sweden nor groups such as the Ident?re Bewegung which are succeeding in grabbing the attention of more and more young people, nevermind Venezuela which while it is not a failing of leftism per se still illustrates quite clearly where we stand in the world, no, we will forget all this because in one country with strong socialist elements a party whose left wing had been battling hard to regain control for more than a decade put forward a very charasmatic candidate who is as un-politician like as any politician can afford to be, at a time when their main opponent party was crumbling all on its own, and with that candidate ultimately lost the fucking election?

Because that would be stupid, stupid, stupid. Cherry picking of the highest degree. Completely ignoring context. No, lets not do that. I was overjoyed at the election results in Britain and they were as good as I had hoped but God fucking save us if this is the lesson we take from it.

BreakfastMan:
I would argue it is liberals (who have far more power and visibility currently than the actual left in most western countries) that don't have an answer to Milo, not the left. But that is a separate discussion entirely.

Strange how in most Western countries the "actual left" has been lamenting its lack of power and visibility for years. Really makes you think.

Providing satisfying answers to the alt-right is part of how we get more of that power and visibility. Whatever.

StatusNil:
Lol, Wikipedia. One of the gaggle of people there who got the previously existing "Cultural Marxism" page deleted and rerouted to the "Muh Conspiracy!" page instead used to call himself a Cultural Marxist in his own profile. But then people started talking about it (2014, I believe), and they went on an erasing spree. Watched it as it happened, there was even a vote. Some of us used to study that stuff, though, so we're not especially bamboozled.

So I was thankfully able to find the source you did not provide for this one, and I have to say; firstly, stop getting your news from Reddit. Secondly, there is a deep irony to be found in witnessing a person engage in X-Files reasoning in order to rebut a claim that their idea is a conspiracy theory.

Now that we've mutually disparaged each other's chosen sources, let's talk about what Peterson thinks cultural Marxism is, and why it's fucking stupid.

Jordan Peterson's characterisation of cultural Marxism is essentially the allegation that prominent postmodernist intellectuals were all crypto-Marxists whose academic contributions were part of a plot to subvert and destroy Western culture and facilitate a Marxist takeover of the world. Foucault, Derrida, Habermas - all part of the same grand scheme to brainwash several generations of Western academics into an Orwellian mindset, culminating in people being sent to gulags for refusing to use a person's preferred gender pronouns.

This is fucking nonsense. Anyone who has spent any time at all engaged in a liberal arts education can tell you straight off that postmodernists could not agree on anything, much less a decades-spanning plot to take over the world. Postmodernists are not scheming crypto-Marxists subtly controlling the minds of our youth; they're the dipshits in black turtlenecks who look at a blank canvas at an art gallery and say "It's such a bold statement." They spend their time arguing over which person's interpretation of Finnegans Wake is correct, with the mutual understanding that neither of them actually considers any interpretation to be valid and the book itself was probably written as a joke.

Jordan Peterson has a hate-boner for Marxists and a hate-boner for postmodernism, and he has wedded the two into a modern reinvention of the cultural Bolshevism accusation from the 1920s. To anyone who has actually read any of the philosophers and authors he condemns, this is bargain-bin crazy talk. To a young guy on Youtube without a college education, it's probably quite convincing, especially because it confirms his suspicion that universities are bullshit factories and makes him feel better about not going to college.

If you're wondering why on Earth a guy like Jordan Peterson would change careers from professor of psychology to peddler of fears, look at the fact that his Patreon pulls in something like $60,000 a month.

StatusNil:
And the lobster thing? That's the point. It's a counter to the claim that it was all culture/the patriarchy what dun it. Established hierarchies, that is.

Do you care to explain to me exactly how the fact that lobsters do not have brains is meant to counter the claim that hierarchies are culturally established?

Peterson's lobster analogy was dumb because he described the effect of seratonin on a lobster's neural ganglia in response to confrontations with other lobsters and then drew a comparison between that and human social hierarchies to argue that human social hierarchies were biologically established. He would have done well to have run this claim past a marine biologist or a biochemist, because it turns out it was nonsense.

Sorry about the multiple posting, I was getting a 504-Server-Timed-Out Error and tried reposting a couple of times.

MultiPost, see above.

evilthecat:

Anyone whose actually read and understood Foucault, for example, will be able to see the clear ethical baseline in Foucault's own writing. He is not writing for no reason.

In fact, Peterson himself routinely seems to notice this, right before making the undergraduate mistake of assuming any form of critical ethical baseline must be some form of coded Marxism. See also, the absurd contradiction that on one hand "postmodernism" is destroying all value and on the other hand "postmodernism" is turning people into insane cult-like fanatics forcing their values onto everyone else.

Riiight... and anyone who actually read and understood Quodlibeta Theologica by Henry of Ghent will be able to tell exactly how many angels can do the foxtrot on the head of a pin. See how that works?

You want gush over a glib French hustler? By all means, but not everyone is going to recognize him as Holy Writ. And the "ethical baseline" is an interesting allegation about someone whose one trick was implying the illegitimacy of any attempt at understanding as the sinister workings of "Power", while literally making a sexual fetish out of it. Curiously, not many of his fans seemed to have picked on his rather obvious boner when writing about it, preferring to take the vague "ethical" gesturing as a "baseline". And of course making a generous exception for Foucault's own production of knowledge/power. It's all good when The Master is doing it.

Noam Chomsky had a point when he called Foucault the most amoral person he had ever met. He was the foremost peddler of epistemic nihilism, and that is the influence on the Post-Modern/Post-Marxist academic "intelligentsia" complex that Peterson has a problem with. There is no confusion about that.

Having an ethical baseline myself, I guess I should mention this disclaimer. I found Madness and Civilization very nearly personally offensive, reading it at a time I found mental illness somewhat less liberating that civilization.

i've never heard of the guy before but if even half of the stuff in here is accurate he is a really good businessman.
he found a niche in the market and he is exploiting it for all its worth.

i've never heard of the guy before but if even half of the stuff in here is accurate he is a really good businessman.
he found a niche in the market and he is exploiting it for all its worth.

i've never heard of the guy before but if even half of the stuff in here is accurate he is a really good businessman.
he found a niche in the market and he is exploiting it for all its worth.

could a mod remove the double posts? my browser must have messed up.

bastardofmelbourne:
Smerp!

I was about to write a big long post calling out a certain someone I have long had on ignore since they came up with the typical uninformed, paranoid bullshit about how JP was right and how the Canadian government is going to force us all to use unconventional pronouns at the end of the barrel of a gun. However, I saw that you had beat me to the punch in post 51. Bravo and thanks for saving me some time.

In any case, here are some more receipts to further back up that Peterson's rise to fame is built upon a foundation of misinformed nonsense.

So there you have it kids. These laws don't target people for what they say but how they say it and what the speaker's intent is. You must use words in their most extreme iterations and with the intention of promoting feelings of hatred against certain groups. Somehow, refusing to use "zhlee" or whatever doesn't seem like much of a worry to me.

Oddly enough, I actually took a class on the limits to freedom of expression in Canada while in graduate school and while it has been quite a number of years since and it ought to go without saying that I am not a lawyer and so I am hardly a perfect expert, I do remember that first, it's actually difficult to prosecute someone for hate speech. And far from being thrown in a gulag, as you pointed out, those that do get nicked usually walk away with probation or a fine and it is only the really heinous cases that get taken further. And second, obscenity law in Canada is much more vaguely defined and something I'd maybe be concerned about.

StatusNil:

Ah, this old thing again. Behold the works of ignorance and Nazi conspiracy theories:

Sure. But...

To the best of my knowledge, the cultural Marxist theories those books cover are largely concerned with criticising things like capitalist cultural control of the proletariat. Mass production and mass media as a tool to erase working class consciousness, cultural homogenisation and destruction of local cultures, etc. This isn't anything like what Peterson et al. seem to describe "cultural Marxism" as either.

So how did we get from there to where the right is now?

We can look at the history of development of the term "cultural Marxism" as a right wing conspiracy. It's through people like Lyndon LaRouche and his organisation (of course, famously anti-Semitic); non-academic, old-style "moral majority" religious conservative politicians outraged at things like gay people and women having positions of social and political influence. It's hardly the stuff of intellectual rigour, is it?

It could hardly be plainer that "cultural Marxism" as Peterson uses is just a manufactured pejorative designed to smear certain forms of modern leftist politics by association with communism. In other words, it's just a fancy equivalent of calling Trump a Nazi.

Ninjamedic:

I'm of the (albeit speculative) opinion that Labour's Centre-Right leanings were one of the major driving factors in the rise of UKIP and Brexit support among the working class and Northern Regions myself. I;d also draw a parallel to the SNP and the Independence Referendum.

I'd agree that New Labour was a major formative influence on UKIP and Brexit. By the mid-2000s, millions of (mostly working class and probably mostly midland / northern) Britons had realised Labour was not going to give them what they'd really wanted, and they started looking elsewhere.

The dream I think was some sort of reversal of decades of post-industrual decay and stagnation: basically, relatively secure jobs with decent pay and some attention so that they didn't feel that the country was so London-centric. What they got were additional benefits and a few town/city centres spruced up. A person might be better fed with a few extra crumbs from the table, but it's a fraction as good as a seat at the table. The increasing managerialism and professionalism and middle class representation of Labour MPs hardly did the party any favours, either.

If a party leaves a bunch of people that it do not do much material for, nor regularly speak up for (even if nothing really happens)... those people will tend not to vote for that party and look elsewhere. Once the LDs had demonstrated "Westminster as usual" politics, UKIP was always going to be the grateful recipient of a flock of unhappy voters.

Reading some comments from referendum campaigners, I read things like pro-EU campaigners going to estates and saying leaving the EU will make everyone worse off. And people would do things like point to their house and local area, describe their years of struggle and effectively reply that it's so bad, worse means very little to them. That's the state much of this country has got to. Largely through the collapse of manufacturing, the failure to build high value industry in its place, and finally austerity to squeeze the social services and welfare holding what was left together. Of those three stages, the middle section is largely Labour's failure.

StatusNil:
Riiight... and anyone who actually read and understood Quodlibeta Theologica by Henry of Ghent will be able to tell exactly how many angels can do the foxtrot on the head of a pin. See how that works?

Relevance?

Is anyone suggesting that you couldn't?

StatusNil:
You want gush over a glib French hustler? By all means, but not everyone is going to recognize him as Holy Writ.

And noone is asking you to. Why would that be necessary?

But if you're going to pretend you've read and understand people, and especially if you're going to accuse them of stuff or of brainwashing people into weird cults or whatever, it helps if you have actually read and understand their work to the level of detail required to make the argument you want to make. Neither Peterson nor yourself seems to have managed that.

StatusNil:
And the "ethical baseline" is an interesting allegation about someone whose one trick was implying the illegitimacy of any attempt at understanding as the sinister workings of "Power", while literally making a sexual fetish out of it.

You must be able to see how what you're doing doesn't work, right? It utterly belittles your argument and demonstrates no respect towards mine.

Firstly, it shows a lack of understanding the source material. Foucault's concept of power is neither sinister nor inscrutible, in fact much of his own work dealt pretty directly with understanding how it works. It's actually one of the easiest things about his work to understand. Any first year student can pick up a copy of Discipline and Punish and immediately grasp its central themes.. assuming they read it.

Of course, they might misread it as a kind of traditional Marxist liberatory practice whose goal is to uncover "sinister" power, or they might assume that the failure to offer an easy way out of "sinister" power is some kind of deliberate obscuritanism. The cleverer sort of student, however, will realise why the book opens with a graphic description of the death of Damiens the Regicide and understand that power isn't necessarily "sinister", and that while people in Damiens time may have been less subject to observation and disciplinary control than we are today, the price was to live under the arbitrary power to inflict pain and death. They will understand that power can be a productive force rather than simply being punitive or restrictive. If they've really, really understood, they may even grasp that a different regime of social control seems to indicate a different view of human subjectivity itself, a more Enlightened one perhaps, but since they're smart and have gotten past the Marxist fallacy of power as necessarily "sinister" they will understand that even this understanding of the human subject is still tied to a regime of social control, just one which may be less overtly horrible than torturing people to death in public.

Of course, we can't completely put aside the possibility that they're just willfully ignorant and have no desire to understand the material they're reading, in which case they might engage in baseless ad hominems like "implying" that someone with unconventional sexual preferences can be dismissed out of hand. It's sad when that happens.

StatusNil:
He was the foremost peddler of epistemic nihilism, and that is the influence on the Post-Modern/Post-Marxist academic "intelligentsia" complex that Peterson has a problem with.

And yet fails to demonstrate any of it, just as you haven't.

I mean, if you want to accuse someone of nihilism, it's necessary generally to consider a very important question. Are they still writing/arguing/engaging, and if so why? If you can't answer that question, then you should probably restrain the desire to call someone a nihilist.

StatusNil:
Having an ethical baseline myself, I guess I should mention this disclaimer. I found Madness and Civilization very nearly personally offensive, reading it at a time I found mental illness somewhat less liberating that civilization.

Then read it again, because if you thought the argument was that mental illness was liberating and civilisation was bad, then you very deeply misunderstood it (and the culprit may be that you were trying to find a hidden Marxist meaning in which all power is automatically bad and resistance is both good and diametrically opposed to power, neither are things Foucault thought or argued).

I mean, to indulge this line of reasoning more than it deserves, why do you think mental illness isn't liberating?

bastardofmelbourne:

So I was thankfully able to find the source you did not provide for this one, and I have to say; firstly, stop getting your news from Reddit. Secondly, there is a deep irony to be found in witnessing a person engage in X-Files reasoning in order to rebut a claim that their idea is a conspiracy theory.

First of all, Reddit is much better for information than Wikipedia because it's vastly more transparent about the workings of the participants. But that's not my source for the scrubbing. See, there was a guy here in my user group who was very concerned with the inner workings thereof after they kicked him out on a pretext, and he used to post lots of links to their Talk Pages. Fascinating stuff, if you're into pompous self-made bureaucrats scrambling to find a "credible source" to validate what they want The People's Encyclopedia to say. As in, "I want to call [X] a crazy Nazi conspiracy theory, anyone know an outlet on The Approved List saying that so we can cite it?" And then they'd go to work, searching for a quote that would do if you squint.

That site is a tragic farce when it comes to anything beyond a list of TV show episodes. Which it is quite good at.

bastardofmelbourne:

Jordan Peterson's characterisation of cultural Marxism is essentially the allegation that prominent postmodernist intellectuals were all crypto-Marxists whose academic contributions were part of a plot to subvert and destroy Western culture and facilitate a Marxist takeover of the world. Foucault, Derrida, Habermas - all part of the same grand scheme to brainwash several generations of Western academics into an Orwellian mindset, culminating in people being sent to gulags for refusing to use a person's preferred gender pronouns.

Nope, that's an absurd simplification of a complex process that brought together the Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School and the British "Cultural Studies"of Stuart Hall & co., the prison writings of Antonio Gramsci that fueled the "New Left" of the '60s and a bunch of French post-modernist hustlers, along with various identitarian radicals, into a confused mess that defies reasoned argument. Although there was that whole thing about the "Long March Through The Institutions" (they all dug Mao at the time, what with the Cultural Revolution and all) plan concocted out of Gramsci by West German student radical Rudi Dutschke and adopted by Herbert Marcuse. Kept the old guy relevant at a time Theodor Adorno was hounded from academia for being too "reactionary". (From your favorite source, Wikipedia: 'a student wrote on the blackboard "If Adorno is left in peace, capitalism will never cease"')

There's little to suggest the feckless academics of today could even keep up a disciplined conspiracy. But they sure as hell have created a groupthink circlejerk in which success is achieved by out-radicaling your rivals and anyone questioning the confused basic premises is run out on a rail.

bastardofmelbourne:
This is fucking nonsense. Anyone who has spent any time at all engaged in a liberal arts education can tell you straight off that postmodernists could not agree on anything, much less a decades-spanning plot to take over the world. Postmodernists are not scheming crypto-Marxists subtly controlling the minds of our youth; they're the dipshits in black turtlenecks who look at a blank canvas at an art gallery and say "It's such a bold statement." They spend their time arguing over which person's interpretation of Finnegans Wake is correct, with the mutual understanding that neither of them actually considers any interpretation to be valid and the book itself was probably written as a joke.

If only, that sounds great. Unfortunately, it appears to be an impression derived from some Major Motion Picture, say in the genre of "Romantic Comedy". Unfortunately, I have some experience of engaging in liberal arts education, and it doesn't work like that at all. Also, if finnegans wake is a joke, I certainly didn't get it, but it would be an epic one, written over 17 years while Joyce was losing his eyesight.

bastardofmelbourne:
Jordan Peterson has a hate-boner for Marxists and a hate-boner for postmodernism, and he has wedded the two into a modern reinvention of the cultural Bolshevism accusation from the 1920s.

No, he hasn't wedded them, they got drunkenly together on their own and have been shacked up ever since.

bastardofmelbourne:
To anyone who has actually read any of the philosophers and authors he condemns, this is bargain-bin crazy talk. To a young guy on Youtube without a college education, it's probably quite convincing, especially because it confirms his suspicion that universities are bullshit factories and makes him feel better about not going to college.

Which one do you think I am, someone who has read the writers he condemns, or "a young guy on YouTube"? Take your time and mull it over, son.

bastardofmelbourne:
If you're wondering why on Earth a guy like Jordan Peterson would change careers from professor of psychology to peddler of fears, look at the fact that his Patreon pulls in something like $60,000 a month.

Oh yeah, I envy his moneyz too. But which one came first, the conviction or the big bucks?

bastardofmelbourne:
Do you care to explain to me exactly how the fact that lobsters do not have brains is meant to counter the claim that hierarchies are culturally established?

Why, I'd be delighted to. Lobsters, as you state, don't have brains. Culture presumably comes from brains. Yet lobsters have hierarchies, suggesting that they are not products of culture, as claimed by extreme cultural determinists.

bastardofmelbourne:
Peterson's lobster analogy was dumb because he described the effect of seratonin on a lobster's neural ganglia in response to confrontations with other lobsters and then drew a comparison between that and human social hierarchies to argue that human social hierarchies were biologically established. He would have done well to have run this claim past a marine biologist or a biochemist, because it turns out it was nonsense.

No, because what he suggested is that there is a biological basis for forming hierarchies that cannot be erased by simplistic cultural interventions. Which is not to embrace the naturalistic fallacy, but to understand that they cannot be blamed on some Invisible Manspiracy and require engaging with the biological nature of humans to modify.

evilthecat:

neither are things Foucault thought or argued

Quite possibly so, as he was always very circumspect about such ethical baselines. But it's sure as hell what I've been hearing from later Foucaldians, whether witting ones or not. The latter would be the students who pick up on the lingo as received wisdom of their trade with no real idea of where it comes from.

evilthecat:
I mean, to indulge this line of reasoning more than it deserves, why do you think mental illness isn't liberating?

Lived experience.

StatusNil:
But it's sure as hell what I've been hearing from later Foucaldians, whether witting ones or not. The latter would be the students who pick up on the lingo as received wisdom of their trade with no real idea of where it comes from.

No, sorry. This isn't how it works.

You don't get to arbitrarily decide that people are aligned with people they haven't read. You certainly don't get to then claim that the authentic perspective of someone you seem to have no understanding of is manifested in people who haven't read them to the point that we should hold the perspectives of people who haven't read them in greater regard than their own work when assessing their impact.

Like, please tell me you can see how utterly crap your argument is..

StatusNil:
Lived experience.

..is not an argument.

Maybe this would be a good time to try one of those "good faith attempts to substantiate meaning" you were talking about.

evilthecat:

I'm becoming a little tired of you now.

Go take a nap. I am.

StatusNil:
Go take a nap. I am.

Maybe when you wake up, try making an actual argument.

@Gethsemani - I wrote this before seeing your post, so will edit it in and walk away now.

StatusNil:
Nope, that's an absurd simplification of a complex process that brought together the Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School and the British "Cultural Studies"of Stuart Hall & co., the prison writings of Antonio Gramsci that fueled the "New Left" of the '60s and a bunch of French post-modernist hustlers, along with various identitarian radicals, into a confused mess that defies reasoned argument.

Alleging a complex process does not absolve you from having to explain it. You cannot simply point to several completely different intellectual traditions and allege they are secretly the same or were "brought together". You need to be able to evidence tangible connections between them sufficient to constitute something more than just routine dialogue.

None of the Frankfurt school never described what they did as "cultural Marxism". They were denounced as "cultural Bolshevists" by the Nazis, and several became the subject of right-wing conspiracy theorists in the US during the cold war, but there are clear political and philosophical disagreements between the Frankfurt school and other Marxist traditions (and I use the term "Marxist tradition" losely. The Frankfurt school were also a Weberian tradition, but they don't get accused of "cultural Weberianism"). If you want to claim that there is an authentic and generally applicable meaning to "cultural Marxism" beyond its use in conspiracy theory and beyond the specific tradition of Marxist cultural studies in the UK, maybe don't overtly reference the conspiracy theories or denunciations by the actual Nazis.

Bringing in "French post-modernist hustlers" makes even less sense. Firstly, most of the people you're talking about are either indifferent to modernity or are actually modernists. You could make the argument that Derrida is a postmodernist, for example, but Foucault definitely is not. They are both often described as post-structuralists, but they never used that term to describe their own work. We use it because they worked in the tradition of French structuralism (a tradition which predates the Frankfurt school) but came to question some of the theoretical assumptions of structuralism.

Furthermore, if they were postmodernists, then this would actually put them squarely at odds with both the traditional Marxism of British cultural studies and the fairly overt modernism of most of the Frankfurt school. Habermas and Derrida had a famous intellectual rivalry for this reason, for example, despite the fact they wound up being personal friends.

Again, if you want people to take seriously that this isn't just paranoid fantasy. Try explaining why you think things are actually connected beyond the fact that you don't like them, because that's not a real connection, it's something you've imposed. I don't care if it's complex, I like complexity.

Alright, it is time for you two to take a step back and let tempers cool.

StatusNil:
Which one do you think I am, someone who has read the writers he condemns, or "a young guy on YouTube"? Take your time and mull it over, son.

In a way, perhaps you could be both.

I am no great expert on philosophy, sociology, etc. On the other hand, I know at least a few people who are experts, and I read some more "accessible" stuff where experts kindly parse it into simple terms for the non-experts. It strikes me the sorts of analyses they usually arrive at are very different from various categories of heavily politicised dabblers (or "young guys on YouTube", as it's being put).

They might read these things, but not to parse the author's genuine, intended meaning. They are read because they are the words of a predefined enemy, and to read them is the better to selectively and even deceitfully intepret them in the most destructive way possible. The goal is not understanding something for itself, it's prejudging it as worthless and cherry picking what's needed to condemn it. It's a bit like all those self-appointed "climate scientists" whose analysis never goes beyond whatever they can do to attack mainstream research. They started with the conclusion they wanted, and the ongoing task is coercing the evidence to fit that desire.

To be fair, the modern alt right are neophytes at this sort of thing. They've got nothing on Communists for ostentatiously showing off their reading and "analysis" which, strangely enough, only ever proves their point of view.

Zontar:
On the topic at hand, Peterson's alright, he's better at destroying regressives then most because he's as smart as the regressives think they themselves are, and speaks in a language everyone can understand clearly. He also gives great dadpill advice that many young men need and didn't get due to the current nature of society.

That all being said, I don't know why he's associated with the Alt-Right, or right wingers in general, given his overtly left leaning philosophy. I guess he's like Sargon, the current zietgiest of the left is so focussed on collectivism that any form of individuality is seen as right wing, no matter how overtly liberal it is. I don't know about other nations, but by American, Canadian and British standards, there is no argument that Peterson is right wing (just as the same is true for Sargon), and claims that he (and also Sargon) are tell you more about the person making the claim then Peterson himself.

Oh well, Peterson is the face of civil rights activism up here in Canada right now, much to the anger of radical collectivists from what I've seen. Then agian it's easy to become the face of that when the government is attacking our constitutional rights and his message is one that most conservatives, liberals and NDP supporters all agree on.

I find that he's terrible at disarming regressives. When he originally broke out, it's was becuase his University was trying to censor him. Despite the fact that he was censoring his students in the classroom. He might be an example of regressives and how not to act. He also then censored the Uni. As I've said before, the Left isn't the only one attacking Free Speech.

Is he Left becuase he combines teaching from different religions? He seems to be a Neo-Liberal to me. Used to have liberal ideal but now wants doesn't want any change. I'd say he's seen as Alt-Right because that's the hyper authoritarian part of the right. And if there is one thing I could call Peterson, it's Authoritiarian. He uses the word force with parenting far to often for my liking. But then I was hit as a kid to correct behaviour and that didn't work on me. I don't think corporal punishment works ( at least for some people)

Also, right radical collectivist activists or left?

StatusNil:
First of all, Reddit is much better for information than Wikipedia because it's vastly more transparent about the workings of the participants. But that's not my source for the scrubbing. See, there was a guy here in my user group who was very concerned with the inner workings thereof after they kicked him out on a pretext, and he used to post lots of links to their Talk Pages. Fascinating stuff, if you're into pompous self-made bureaucrats scrambling to find a "credible source" to validate what they want The People's Encyclopedia to say. As in, "I want to call [X] a crazy Nazi conspiracy theory, anyone know an outlet on The Approved List saying that so we can cite it?" And then they'd go to work, searching for a quote that would do if you squint.

That site is a tragic farce when it comes to anything beyond a list of TV show episodes. Which it is quite good at.

The thing about Wikipedia is that if you read something that tweaks your bullshit sensor, you can go and check their sources, because they list them all at the bottom of the page. I do it often. Once you see their source, you can decide for yourself whether it's credible or whether it also tweaks your bullshit sensor.

Wikipedia isn't a perfect source of information; in comparison to the average university library, it's abysmal, being superior only in how convenient and easy it is to use. But in comparison to Reddit? Reddit's structure is designed to funnel people into distinct sub-reddits devoted to their areas of interest, and then to encourage them to pay the most attention to whatever threads everyone else is paying attention to. In other words, everyone picks their preferred echo chamber, and once they're inside, they only hear the loudest echoes.

It's terrible as a news source. The only advantage it has is speed, because shit spreads on Reddit a hell of a lot faster than it does on actual news sites.

StatusNil:
Nope, that's an absurd simplification of a complex process that brought together the Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School and the British "Cultural Studies"of Stuart Hall & co., the prison writings of Antonio Gramsci that fueled the "New Left" of the '60s and a bunch of French post-modernist hustlers, along with various identitarian radicals, into a confused mess that defies reasoned argument. Although there was that whole thing about the "Long March Through The Institutions" (they all dug Mao at the time, what with the Cultural Revolution and all) plan concocted out of Gramsci by West German student radical Rudi Dutschke and adopted by Herbert Marcuse. Kept the old guy relevant at a time Theodor Adorno was hounded from academia for being too "reactionary". (From your favorite source, Wikipedia: 'a student wrote on the blackboard "If Adorno is left in peace, capitalism will never cease"')

That sounds like...you dropping a lot of names and not explaining how they're connected. Don't get me wrong; I'm impressed by the names. I just don't see how they form any kind of coherent intellectual conspiracy.

Wait, how is Theodor Adorno being hounded from academia meant to support Peterson's point? Adorno was a critical theorist, if I'm remembering my ex-girlfriend's philosophical interests correctly. If these nascent cultural Marxists were busy pushing Adorno out, doesn't that put them in opposition with the critical theory that Peterson ties to cultural Marxism?

Am I wrong about this? I never read Adorno, I'm just going by vague memories of ten-year-old pillow talk.

StatusNil:
There's little to suggest the feckless academics of today could even keep up a disciplined conspiracy. But they sure as hell have created a groupthink circlejerk in which success is achieved by out-radicaling your rivals and anyone questioning the confused basic premises is run out on a rail.

...so if "cultural Marxism" is a feckless, confused mess, how does it present a threat to Western culture? Or to anything at all, except maybe the careers of some boring-but-competent academics whose works get overshadowed by radical nonsense?

It really sounds a lot like you agree with my opinion of postmodernists, which is that they're annoying and mostly harmless. I'm having trouble figuring out what your opposition to my argument is, here.

StatusNil:
If only, that sounds great. Unfortunately, it appears to be an impression derived from some Major Motion Picture, say in the genre of "Romantic Comedy". Unfortunately, I have some experience of engaging in liberal arts education, and it doesn't work like that at all.

I am having difficulty understanding this statement. Are you saying I'm oversimplifying postmodernism by describing it as "men in black turtlenecks?" Because...well, I am, postmodernism is a lot more complicated than that, but I was trying to stay relatively succinct in my initial description.

I'll rephrase. How do you think postmodernism works? That might be better than me trying to give the Cliff's notes version of Derrida or whatever.

StatusNil:
Which one do you think I am, someone who has read the writers he condemns, or "a young guy on YouTube"? Take your time and mull it over, son.

The statement you quote was not directed at you personally. It was directed at Jordan Peterson's fanbase, who are overwhelmingly male and mostly in the 18-30 age range.

These guys are the younger Trump voters; mostly white, almost all male, hitting adulthood and feeling vague and purposeless in life, unable to afford to go to college and slightly resentful of the people who can, being regularly maligned for their "privilege" while their parents get divorced and their friends get addicted to drugs and they struggle to find a job and meet a nice girl.

Peterson pops up to those people on Youtube - something they probably use regularly for entertainment, because it's voluminous and completely free - and tells them to stand up straight, go clean their room, get a haircut, start exercising, and start taking things seriously, chipping away at your problems step by step until they aren't problems anymore. He tells them that this is the way to apply order to the chaos of the modern world.

This is good advice. Peterson really seems like he was a pretty good clinical psychologist; he has a keen grasp of the anxieties presented by the modern world, and he knows how to help fix them. But Peterson unfortunately also has some very batty ideas, and they bleed through his work and into his audience until you have a whole bunch of people who are convinced that there's some sort of decades-old academic conspiracy to subvert Western culture by incepting Marxism into people's brains under the disguise of postmodernism.

StatusNil:
Why, I'd be delighted to. Lobsters, as you state, don't have brains. Culture presumably comes from brains. Yet lobsters have hierarchies, suggesting that they are not products of culture, as claimed by extreme cultural determinists.

Hold on, let me get this one down in a list. You're saying:

1. Culture "presumably" comes from brains.
2. Lobsters do not have brains.
3. Lobsters do have hierarchies.
4. Therefore, hierarchies are not the product of culture.

My criticism of this is that it's horribly circular. Your first point is that culture comes from brains, i.e. that culture is a product of neural biology and not a product of something else - say, human social interaction. You then use this to justify an argument that hierarchies are not the product of culture, but rather the product of...neural biology?

I mean, first of all, it looks like you're saying that both hierarchies and culture come from someone's neural biology and not from something less mechanistic, like human social interaction. But that's silly, because if hierarchy and culture are both products of our brains, aren't they still related? Secondly, you still haven't explained why culture comes from brains. You just say that it "presumably" does. Does it? I never took culture studies, but I would not intuitively reason that culture comes from neural biology. I would reason that culture is a product of a large collective of human social interactions over a long period of time.

Maybe it would help if you explained what you meant by "culture comes from brains," or why you see the need to divorce hierarchies from culture in the first place.

StatusNil:
No, because what he suggested is that there is a biological basis for forming hierarchies that cannot be erased by simplistic cultural interventions. Which is not to embrace the naturalistic fallacy, but to understand that they cannot be blamed on some Invisible Manspiracy and require engaging with the biological nature of humans to modify.

Okay, first of all; I would not call the well-documented historical social dominance of men over women in practically every era prior to the 1950s an "invisible manspiracy." It is simply historical fact that most human societies and all Western societies prior to the 20th century placed men higher on the totem pole than women. To the extent that "the patriarchy" exists, that's what it is.

Secondly, he suggests a biological basis for human social hierarchies, but never addresses the very basic observation that, biologically speaking, comparing a human brain to a lobster's neural ganglia is like comparing a supercomputer to a protractor. Humans are massively more complicated than lobsters in neurological terms. We don't simply go "oh shit, that guy is like a foot taller than me, I better let him take my job and fuck my wife."

...at least, I hope we don't.

I mean, this article makes the point that bees - like lobsters - also have social hierarchies. And, like lobsters, they are neurologically affected by seratonin. But the social hierarchy of bees involves an entire hive revolving around service to a single fertile female who produces all offspring, is fertilised by dozens of male bees, and who then drives those male bees out of the hive to die once the breeding season is over. Bees are as close to humans as lobsters are, but human social hierarchies are nothing like the bee. Or the lobster, for that matter. Human social hierarchies are infinitely more complex and vastly more diverse. Most importantly, we are capable of consciously analysing and altering them in ways that lobsters and bees cannot. The idea that it all boils down to keeping your back straight and your chin up is simply ridiculous.

Agema:

Ninjamedic:

I'm of the (albeit speculative) opinion that Labour's Centre-Right leanings were one of the major driving factors in the rise of UKIP and Brexit support among the working class and Northern Regions myself. I;d also draw a parallel to the SNP and the Independence Referendum.

Reading some comments from referendum campaigners, I read things like pro-EU campaigners going to estates and saying leaving the EU will make everyone worse off. And people would do things like point to their house and local area, describe their years of struggle and effectively reply that it's so bad, worse means very little to them. That's the state much of this country has got to. Largely through the collapse of manufacturing, the failure to build high value industry in its place, and finally austerity to squeeze the social services and welfare holding what was left together. Of those three stages, the middle section is largely Labour's failure.

But that's still rather selfish of those people. Okay, THEY hid rock bottom but their decision still drags EVERYONE down. A vote on the future of the country affects the whole country so gleefully taking the worst option because it ''can't get any worse for me'' is just selfish. A vote that affect the country negatively also negatively effects anyone those people know and care about.

Agema:

StatusNil:
Which one do you think I am, someone who has read the writers he condemns, or "a young guy on YouTube"? Take your time and mull it over, son.

In a way, perhaps you could be both.

I am no great expert on philosophy, sociology, etc. On the other hand, I know at least a few people who are experts, and I read some more "accessible" stuff where experts kindly parse it into simple terms for the non-experts. It strikes me the sorts of analyses they usually arrive at are very different from various categories of heavily politicised dabblers (or "young guys on YouTube", as it's being put).

They might read these things, but not to parse the author's genuine, intended meaning. They are read because they are the words of a predefined enemy, and to read them is the better to selectively and even deceitfully intepret them in the most destructive way possible. The goal is not understanding something for itself, it's prejudging it as worthless and cherry picking what's needed to condemn it. It's a bit like all those self-appointed "climate scientists" whose analysis never goes beyond whatever they can do to attack mainstream research. They started with the conclusion they wanted, and the ongoing task is coercing the evidence to fit that desire.

To be fair, the modern alt right are neophytes at this sort of thing. They've got nothing on Communists for ostentatiously showing off their reading and "analysis" which, strangely enough, only ever proves their point of view.

Well, I'm not an expert either, but I have read many of these writers more or less sympathetically in the past, and certainly aspirationally, not as a "predefined enemy" but as the current state of intellectual discourse it was necessary to master (to a degree at least) in order to participate meaningfully. Or at least fake it convincingly enough to get a seat at the table, as it were. Always had an unresolvable ambivalence about that.

More importantly, I'm not a "young guy". It's just one of those assumptions that I find irksome, particularly when younger people start condescending to me as if I was.

bastardofmelbourne:

That sounds like...you dropping a lot of names and not explaining how they're connected. Don't get me wrong; I'm impressed by the names. I just don't see how they form any kind of coherent intellectual conspiracy.

They don't, form a coherent anything that is. They form an incoherent complex of groupthink that's radically resistant to any external critique.

bastardofmelbourne:
Wait, how is Theodor Adorno being hounded from academia meant to support Peterson's point? Adorno was a critical theorist, if I'm remembering my ex-girlfriend's philosophical interests correctly. If these nascent cultural Marxists were busy pushing Adorno out, doesn't that put them in opposition with the critical theory that Peterson ties to cultural Marxism?

Am I wrong about this? I never read Adorno, I'm just going by vague memories of ten-year-old pillow talk.

You're right, Adorno was indeed one of the Frankfurt School OG Cultural Marxists. The point is that he didn't self-radicalize enough, remaining something of an elitist ivory tower type. Whereas his Frankfurt colleague Herbert Marcuse went #Full60s and embraced the student revolution, coming up with stuff like the essay Repressive Tolerance that still sums up the rhetorical justification against free speech used by campus mobs and their ilk.

bastardofmelbourne:
...so if "cultural Marxism" is a feckless, confused mess, how does it present a threat to Western culture? Or to anything at all, except maybe the careers of some boring-but-competent academics whose works get overshadowed by radical nonsense?

Fecklessness and incoherence doesn't make for a "harmless" elite ideology gone mainstream. You know what, if you're really interested, here's a piece that makes the case far better than I could: https://areomagazine.com/2017/03/27/how-french-intellectuals-ruined-the-west-postmodernism-and-its-impact-explained/

The author doesn't fully agree with Peterson (or me, damn it!), but I find it to be mostly on point.

bastardofmelbourne:
I am having difficulty understanding this statement. Are you saying I'm oversimplifying postmodernism by describing it as "men in black turtlenecks?" Because...well, I am, postmodernism is a lot more complicated than that, but I was trying to stay relatively succinct in my initial description.

I'll rephrase. How do you think postmodernism works? That might be better than me trying to give the Cliff's notes version of Derrida or whatever.

Dunno about the attire, black turtlenecks seem way too stylish for the current crop of academics... but perhaps even more importantly, they're certainly not agreeing to disagree about finnegans wake. They don't read fiction, certainly not by dead white guys. They "do theory". Case in point, a while back I recall reading a student describing a course on Faulkner. Turns out they read absolutely no Faulkner whatsoever, but plenty of identity theory. And any disagreement means the other opinion is not only wrong, but violently oppressive.

bastardofmelbourne:
This is good advice. Peterson really seems like he was a pretty good clinical psychologist; he has a keen grasp of the anxieties presented by the modern world, and he knows how to help fix them. But Peterson unfortunately also has some very batty ideas, and they bleed through his work and into his audience until you have a whole bunch of people who are convinced that there's some sort of decades-old academic conspiracy to subvert Western culture by incepting Marxism into people's brains under the disguise of postmodernism.

It's not like people weren't sketching out conspiratorial plans. Like that "Long March Through Institutions". It's described on that sinister megablog you like, Wikipedia, so you can safely look it up. And it actually did seem to come to pass, considering how terrorists who had officially declared war on the US simply found comfortable positions in academia when the violent revolution didn't pan out in the '60s/'70s. Such as Obama's old pal Bill Ayers, who went on to become an authority on early childhood education. That's simply a fact.

The thing is, once an ideology achieves hegemony (something Gramsci was very much concerned with), it's no longer necessary to directly control the process. It will enforce itself through the jockeying for position of those who enter the field.

bastardofmelbourne:
Hold on, let me get this one down in a list. You're saying:

1. Culture "presumably" comes from brains.
2. Lobsters do not have brains.
3. Lobsters do have hierarchies.
4. Therefore, hierarchies are not the product of culture.

My criticism of this is that it's horribly circular. Your first point is that culture comes from brains, i.e. that culture is a product of neural biology and not a product of something else - say, human social interaction. You then use this to justify an argument that hierarchies are not the product of culture, but rather the product of...neural biology?

I mean, first of all, it looks like you're saying that both hierarchies and culture come from someone's neural biology and not from something less mechanistic, like human social interaction. But that's silly, because if hierarchy and culture are both products of our brains, aren't they still related? Secondly, you still haven't explained why culture comes from brains. You just say that it "presumably" does. Does it? I never took culture studies, but I would not intuitively reason that culture comes from neural biology. I would reason that culture is a product of a large collective of human social interactions over a long period of time.

Maybe it would help if you explained what you meant by "culture comes from brains," or why you see the need to divorce hierarchies from culture in the first place.

I'll just rephrase it. Any useful definition of culture would in my view have to presuppose thinking, as it is something that manifests in interpersonal understanding. It's an overwhelming consensus of current scientific opinion that brains are what enables thinking. Thus, if we can demonstrate hierarchies existing without the presence of brains, we would have grounds to conclude that hierarchies per se are not a cultural phenomenon.

What's at issue here is the degree of human malleability. The extreme cultural determinist position is that a human being is a fundamentally blank slate, and will simply adopt any arbitrary manner of life it is trained to, whereas the counterargument is that humans have certain innate needs and predilections that precede any socialization, though there is certainly scope for adjusting how they are expressed. This is of course politicized because of the propositions by various ideologues to impose untested, improbable utopian schemes on a societal level, as in "We'll just teach all children to act completely selflessly! That will work because self-interest has been only imposed on all previous human beings by the patriarchy/capitalism/[Fill In Blank]."

And that's all he wrote, for the time being.

StatusNil:
And it actually did seem to come to pass, considering how terrorists who had officially declared war on the US simply found comfortable positions in academia when the violent revolution didn't pan out in the '60s/'70s. Such as Obama's old pal Bill Ayers, who went on to become an authority on early childhood education. That's simply a fact.

Terrorists also founded the state of Israel, freed South Africa from apartheid, and ended up as First Minister and Deputy Minister of Northern Ireland. In comparison, becoming a professor is small beans.

I'll just rephrase it. Any useful definition of culture would in my view have to presuppose thinking, as it is something that manifests in interpersonal understanding. It's an overwhelming consensus of current scientific opinion that brains are what enables thinking. Thus, if we can demonstrate hierarchies existing without the presence of brains, we would have grounds to conclude that hierarchies per se are not a cultural phenomenon.

Wait - did I miss something? Did someone seriously argue lobsters don't have brains?

What's at issue here is the degree of human malleability. The extreme cultural determinist position is that a human being is a fundamentally blank slate, and will simply adopt any arbitrary manner of life it is trained to, whereas the counterargument is that humans have certain innate needs and predilections that precede any socialization, though there is certainly scope for adjusting how they are expressed. This is of course politicized because of the propositions by various ideologues to impose untested, improbable utopian schemes on a societal level, as in "We'll just teach all children to act completely selflessly! That will work because self-interest has been only imposed on all previous human beings by the patriarchy/capitalism/[Fill In Blank]."

Extreme cultural determinists are very rare, though. All philosophies collapse into absurdity or atrocity if taken to logical extremes (so said Bertrand Russell, anyway). But the trick is that in practice, the extremes only exist as thought experiments that basically no-one sane actually believes.

It is certainly true that it is the degree of malleability under question. However, I can't help but notice that those most vociferously opposing supposed cultural determination extremists are basically just as full as shit too. Primarily through things like the fallacy of proposing that because something about current culture is a certain way, it is naturally supposed to be that way.

Agema:

Terrorists also founded the state of Israel, freed South Africa from apartheid, and ended up as First Minister and Deputy Minister of Northern Ireland. In comparison, becoming a professor is small beans.

But those were terrorists who won, or at least negotiated a settlement. All these Weather Underground types just assumed positions teaching kids once it became apparent their revolutionary violence wasn't getting the job done. It never ended.

And again, teaching kids. And the teachers of kids.

Agema:
Wait - did I miss something? Did someone seriously argue lobsters don't have brains?

bastardofmelbourne did, I just accepted that as a premise. I'm no biologist, it might be a matter of definitions for all I know. My argument is still all good, unless we're saying lobsters have culture. Which I don't think is a very widely accepted proposition.

Agema:
Extreme cultural determinists are very rare, though. All philosophies collapse into absurdity or atrocity if taken to logical extremes (so said Bertrand Russell, anyway). But the trick is that in practice, the extremes only exist as thought experiments that basically no-one sane actually believes.

Not that rare, I've certainly faced those arguments right here.

Agema:
It is certainly true that it is the degree of malleability under question. However, I can't help but notice that those most vociferously opposing supposed cultural determination extremists are basically just as full as shit too. Primarily through things like the fallacy of proposing that because something about current culture is a certain way, it is naturally supposed to be that way.

Nope, just that there are reasons for things being that way beyond the arbitrary rule of The Oppressor, i.e. the ever more specifically delineated "fucking White Male".

I don't really follow him or his news much, but any respect I could have ever had for Peterson and his more "self-help" stuff vanished forever the other day when I heard him say "Without god/religion you lose art, poetry, narrative, and drama. And if you have a sense of morality, you are religious, even if you say you're not".

I don't know where the original video is, so I'm just gonna link to Secular Talk, and tell you to skip to 1:42 which is where Peterson makes the claim.

Someone who can make a claim that fallacious is someone I just can't respect. It's like someone claiming the world is flat.

Hell, if we look at the crusades, the inquisition, the pedo priest scandal, the dedicated jihadist suicide bombers etc...I think we can make a case that religion actually has a NEGATIVE impact on morality. All it takes is one dude with the pulpit to believe that something innocent is actually evil, and suddenly, there's an influx of needless suffering caused by people who truly believe they're doing something good.

That and the only impact religion has on my own creative works is when I use those creative works to deconstruct or subvert religon and its tropes because of my general disdain for it.

Agema:
Wait - did I miss something? Did someone seriously argue lobsters don't have brains?

They don't, technically speaking. They have a clump of nerve endings called ganglia.

The reason for drawing the distinction is really just to demonstrate how different lobsters are from humans, biologically speaking, and how simplistic the lobster analogy is. Peterson is effectively saying that lobster social hierarchies are biologically determined, and that this indicates that human social hierarchies are also biologically determined, because both humans and lobsters respond to seratonin levels by changing their behaviour. But human brains are so much more complex than lobster brains that the analogy just falls apart.

He's using all of this in a chapter about why it's important to keep your back straight, mind, so he probably didn't give it that much thought. He was probably thinking "hey, research indicates lobsters get a seratonin boost after doing a dominance display, I can draw an analogy between that and how people can feel better about themselves by correcting their posture."

StatusNil:
They don't, form a coherent anything that is. They form an incoherent complex of groupthink that's radically resistant to any external critique.

I don't necessarily disagree, but what I'm getting at is that I don't see how that presents any kind of threat whatsoever to Western culture in the way Peterson describes.

StatusNil:
Fecklessness and incoherence doesn't make for a "harmless" elite ideology gone mainstream. You know what, if you're really interested, here's a piece that makes the case far better than I could: https://areomagazine.com/2017/03/27/how-french-intellectuals-ruined-the-west-postmodernism-and-its-impact-explained/

The author doesn't fully agree with Peterson (or me, damn it!), but I find it to be mostly on point.

I gave the article a skim (I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment), but it doesn't seem like it's giving me an argument I haven't already heard. I'll have to read it closer later tonight.

StatusNil:
It's not like people weren't sketching out conspiratorial plans. Like that "Long March Through Institutions". It's described on that sinister megablog you like, Wikipedia, so you can safely look it up. And it actually did seem to come to pass, considering how terrorists who had officially declared war on the US simply found comfortable positions in academia when the violent revolution didn't pan out in the '60s/'70s. Such as Obama's old pal Bill Ayers, who went on to become an authority on early childhood education. That's simply a fact.

I confess that I don't know a whole lot about Bill Ayers, but my response would be that while there may have been the sketch of a conspiracy in the 1960s, it certainly didn't pan out at all. We're sitting here fifty years later and the world is still controlled by neoliberals and neocons. It doesn't feel like Ayers or Gramsci succeeded.

Which folds back into what I'd consider the core element of my skepticism about cultural Marxism; I simply cannot credibly believe that a coalition of French postmodernists and Frankfurt critical theorists conducted a conspiracy over three generations that successfully indoctrinated a whole bunch of cultural studies students into becoming SJWs who want to overthrow the government and install some nightmarish, Lind-esque hyper-left regime. I think Tumblr has had more of an impact on the existence of SJWs than the Frankfurt school did.

StatusNil:
I'll just rephrase it. Any useful definition of culture would in my view have to presuppose thinking, as it is something that manifests in interpersonal understanding. It's an overwhelming consensus of current scientific opinion that brains are what enables thinking. Thus, if we can demonstrate hierarchies existing without the presence of brains, we would have grounds to conclude that hierarchies per se are not a cultural phenomenon.

What's at issue here is the degree of human malleability. The extreme cultural determinist position is that a human being is a fundamentally blank slate, and will simply adopt any arbitrary manner of life it is trained to, whereas the counterargument is that humans have certain innate needs and predilections that precede any socialization, though there is certainly scope for adjusting how they are expressed. This is of course politicized because of the propositions by various ideologues to impose untested, improbable utopian schemes on a societal level, as in "We'll just teach all children to act completely selflessly! That will work because self-interest has been only imposed on all previous human beings by the patriarchy/capitalism/[Fill In Blank]."

Okay. I don't totally disagree, seeing as I suffer from clinical depression myself and need medication in order to act like a normal human being; brain chemistry and basic biological impulses clearly play a part in influencing human social interactions. Because culture is the product of collective human social interactions, biological impulses would be involved to some degree.

But when it comes to reforming or altering an existing social hierarchy because it is perceived as unjust, I do not see how appealing to biology is meant to work. Modern culture requires the suppression of any number of basic biological impulses in order to serve as a functioning human being. For example, sexual impulses may demand that I find a mate, but we have a cultural, moral and legal taboo against rape, one that has no basis in biological impulses whatsoever - it's a taboo that we consciously imposed on ourselves because we recognised that rape is bad and sex should be consensual. That taboo then redefines the entire process of looking for a mate, and before you know it you have courtship rituals and chastity vows and marriage and Tinder. None of that is biologically determined, but it has a huge impact on human social interaction and modern culture nonetheless.

I could say the same for virtually every aspect of civilisation. As soon as humans meet and start interacting with each other, they have to agree on certain rules for that social interaction, and those rules are designed to suppress and regulate their biological impulses - because everyone knows, consciously or not, that if humans acted on their ever immediate biological impulse, civilisation would be impossible. And we know that culture is the product of that social interaction; culture is the collection of the norms, trends and taboos that govern social interaction.

At a certain basic level, biology is important. If I go longer than a week without my pills, I get grouchy and moody, and if I kept it up I'd end up putting holes in walls and shouting at myself. That would certainly impede any social interactions I tried to have! But culture and social hierarchies - and I do still believe hierarchies are closely related to culture, because hierarchies govern social interactions and culture is the product of social interactions - are a lot bigger than just me and my brain problems. Most importantly, culture is what tells me that I have a brain problem in the first place; it's what establishes the standards that I know I'm not meeting. And if those cultural standards suck ass - if they're a norm like "if you get raped, it's your own fault for dressing like that," or "drug addicts are only addicted to drugs because they're morally weak," or "people who stand up straight are more trustworthy and competent than people who slouch" - then they ought to be changed. And they can be changed! We know that we can suppress our biological impulses, because we do it every day.

Anyway, I have to run. That's all for the time being.

StatusNil:

But those were terrorists who won, or at least negotiated a settlement. All these Weather Underground types just assumed positions teaching kids once it became apparent their revolutionary violence wasn't getting the job done. It never ended.

And again, teaching kids. And the teachers of kids.

"Winning" or "losing" isn't the point - it's hardly a moral plus for society when the immoral are rewarded just because they "won". In a simple sense, do people who have done bad things end up in positions of power and responsibility? Overwhelmingly, yes they do: that may be teaching students, overseeing law enforcement, writing, lobbying or voting on government policy, get media slots, running major companies, etc. Where they merit doing so because of the good they have also done or will do, despite their past, we may usually just accept it.

Ayers et al. weren't convicted; if liberalism and rule of law means anything, they can't be denied jobs if they weren't criminalised. If academic freedom means anything, they can't be barred from educating for their beliefs. (Never mind that these particular individuals never tried to kill anyone, didn't kill anyone except themselves, and as far as I'm aware, later repudiated violence.)

bastardofmelbourne did, I just accepted that as a premise. I'm no biologist, it might be a matter of definitions for all I know. My argument is still all good, unless we're saying lobsters have culture. Which I don't think is a very widely accepted proposition.

They probably don't have what we'd recognise as "culture". They have social behaviours, however, and arguably culture is just particularly sophisticated social behaviours carried out by particularly intelligent animals.

Not that rare, I've certainly faced those arguments right here.

I'm honestly not sure anyone here has explicitly argued that humans are born a tabula rasa to be moulded entirely by how they are brought up in society. The difference normally appears to me to debates over extent, and the quality of evidence for various claims.

Nope, just that there are reasons for things being that way beyond the arbitrary rule of The Oppressor, i.e. the ever more specifically delineated "fucking White Male".

Overall, it is hard to disagree that white males (as a group) are the most powerful group in society - or, if you like, hold more positions of power, own more wealth and earn more on average, etc. Everyone would agree that there are reasons why white males hold more power, even despite nominal equality.

Let's take for instance that proportionally far more blacks are in poverty in the USA. US black poverty is clearly a legacy of slavery and discrimination, so there is undoubtedly some element which comes back to white men. Policies designed to exacerbate or alleviate policy then take a racial dimension, as do the parties that support various policies - think black people voting democrat and all those overwhelmingly white, often male, anti-welfare hawks on Fox News and in Tea Party rallies. That can't help but come through.

But in reality, although a lot of the lefties you're talking to believe discrimination is a thing, what they really want action on is poverty. They're nearly all primarily believers in secure and better paid jobs, social services, housing, healthcare, welfare, tackling crime-ridden areas, taxes on billionaires, etc. This sort of thing is still the lifeblood of mainstream political debate, and it's driven by a very wide range of beliefs way beyond criticism of white men. Let's also bear in mind that it's very frequently the right wing starting public debates about race or gender. And if they start one, they'll get it.

bastardofmelbourne:

The reason for drawing the distinction is really just to demonstrate how different lobsters are from humans, biologically speaking, and how simplistic the lobster analogy is. Peterson is effectively saying that lobster social hierarchies are biologically determined, and that this indicates that human social hierarchies are also biologically determined, because both humans and lobsters respond to seratonin levels by changing their behaviour. But human brains are so much more complex than lobster brains that the analogy just falls apart.

I'm having the same issue with dog anti-vaxxers who feel that because we don't vaccinate our children every year, we shouldn't vaccinate our dogs every year either. I'm pretty sure if I had a child, I wouldn't let it eat dead stuff on the beach, it wouldn't be fascinated by cat shit, and I'd be really angry if it was put to sleep for biting someone.

OT: I thought he looked a bit like Peter Capaldi, but on going back and checking, he doesn't really.

Agema:
Ayers et al. weren't convicted; if liberalism and rule of law means anything, they can't be denied jobs if they weren't criminalised.

Side note, but that depends on a lot of factors such as the jurisdiction they are in. Where I live you're not allowed to discriminate against people for reasons related to any protected class they belong to. But short of that? Yes, it would be legal not to hire someone accused but never convicted of a serious crime. In some states that might not be the case.

bastardofmelbourne:

They don't, technically speaking. They have a clump of nerve endings called ganglia.

The reason for drawing the distinction is really just to demonstrate how different lobsters are from humans, biologically speaking, and how simplistic the lobster analogy is. Peterson is effectively saying that lobster social hierarchies are biologically determined, and that this indicates that human social hierarchies are also biologically determined, because both humans and lobsters respond to seratonin levels by changing their behaviour. But human brains are so much more complex than lobster brains that the analogy just falls apart.

He's using all of this in a chapter about why it's important to keep your back straight, mind, so he probably didn't give it that much thought. He was probably thinking "hey, research indicates lobsters get a seratonin boost after doing a dominance display, I can draw an analogy between that and how people can feel better about themselves by correcting their posture."

Well it's dumb for more than that reason. Suffice it to say, his ideas represent the classic pitfall of looking for answers based on essentialism. Which already skews findings... But keep in mind evo psych has long been the butt of jokes in the scientific community. It doesn't explain what is clearly psychosocial forces that construct the human condition.

Moreover it ignores the basics or tries to utterly downplay events like neural pruning and accelerated learnt behaviour events where infants and children are particularly enculturated by their environments. Comparing humans to lobsters is just plain batshit. Comparing humans to anything but other humans is going to be inherently flawed.

And if we fall into that pit trap of comparing humans to lobsters, it seems to ignore the power of psychosocial experiments concerned with animals far closer to us that seem to indicate even love for ones children is socially constructed. Such as removing monkey mothers-to-be from their parents before they have a chance to experience aspects of affection, who them go on to birth live young and torture them. Monkey mothers biting their young's faces off. Chewing off their limbs. Sitting on them until they die.

So we can (horrifically) already understand just how powerful these learnt and conditioned qualities can be. The results of that experiment were so dark, so grotesque, it had the researchers wracked with guilt and shock.

Evo psych doesn't explain the sheer enormity of a human's relationship to themselves and the rest of the universe. Psychosocial forces can, however, provide answers that we see.

One of the most interesting experiments into evo psych and behavioural genetics was twins studies. Twins separated by birth and those kept in the home. So what we know there is genetic predictors of behaviour, but genetic prediction doesn't mean causation on its own ... because twins raised together actually had atypical psychologies as in representative of their neuroses when compared to twins raised apart, but raised in a similar cultural dynamic (like the same country) with similar educational systems, similar(ish) diets, etc.

Which is odd...

Humans actively modify their behaviour due to the conflicts they have with other humans and these become ingrained behavioural qualities, inseparable as the mind itself. And this is why family units are often polarized by the worst examples of conflict that we can imagine in our heads. Siblings actively trying to beat the shit out of eachother, scuffles between young and parents, active rebelliousness, etc.

It's one of the baseline theories why some cultures around the planet developed community parenting models. Like various Native American and Aboriginal Australian nation clans often developed community-centric patterns of child rearing. Which is incredibly distinct from European-centric ideas of families, which more or less solidify the idea of 'home' being a single family unit in a fairly static, singular environment.

So to downplay psychosocial forces as things that impel us as both individuals and distinct cultures on the Earth is barmy. Things like evo psych purport to have an answer in the present only by ignoring the fact that it's tautological when applied to the past and with different ideas of human agency and senses of human belonging, and the different types of neuroses that humans develop in different parts of the world.

Moreover, it's directly disproven by looking at our closest evolutionary kin. Moreover it's directly disproven if you reverse the gaze and query why humans have such astoundingly different social hierarchies, concepts of power, and cultural dynamics ... when we do not see them inany other organism.

Peterson's argument on gender, for instance, is directly queried by cultures who are thousands of years older than Western-centric cultures who have different ideas of gender ... and these ideas of gender havepersisted unabated until Western colonialism and the spread of Christianity.

It doesn't even have answers for the complex idea that that 1 in 16 humans that have ever been alive are alive right now, and yet the world is more peaceful than it has ever been in 600 years. By capita, you are less likely to die as a direct or indirect result of conflict than in any other time of recorded human history.

And evo psych provides no answers for that, it provides no answers for our social development, or cultural development, and why we see none of it in any other species.

The baseline argumentation that the body of research shows us into behavioural science is genetics and biochemistry is a thing ...but what seems to nerf both ... or couch the answers for the human condition from ... is our relationship to other humans.

Like you brought upthe example of depression before, and 91% of all depressive disorders have a basis in various anxieties or can be an extension of them. And overwhelmingly anxiety disorders have a basis in purely environmental aspects of humans in a material existence and governed purely by a personal experience with that shared material reality.

Like PTSD.

Melancholia is the exception that proves the rule, and even then it's argued just how much the effects of that cannot be mitigated by psychotherapy.

bastardofmelbourne:

Which folds back into what I'd consider the core element of my skepticism about cultural Marxism; I simply cannot credibly believe that a coalition of French postmodernists and Frankfurt critical theorists conducted a conspiracy over three generations that successfully indoctrinated a whole bunch of cultural studies students into becoming SJWs who want to overthrow the government and install some nightmarish, Lind-esque hyper-left regime. I think Tumblr has had more of an impact on the existence of SJWs than the Frankfurt school did.

"Postmodernist" has become one of those nonsense words used to denote "the bad people". Seriously, Adorno (the Cultural Marxist), was not exactly a favorite of the post-modernist movement.

Like, they didn't like each other. At all.

CM156:

Side note, but that depends on a lot of factors such as the jurisdiction they are in. Where I live you're not allowed to discriminate against people for reasons related to any protected class they belong to. But short of that? Yes, it would be legal not to hire someone accused but never convicted of a serious crime. In some states that might not be the case.

Accepted: they may indeed vary by state. It may also differ whether the employer is public or private sector.

Broadly, I think an employer would have an onus to show that hiring was specifically refused on grounds relevant, reasonable and proportional to the job in question. Bearing in mind in some jurisdictions it would be illegal to consider spent criminal convictions (albeit with some exceptions), it seems to me inconceivable that employers could legally consider mere accusations in those jurisdictions.

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