‘We’re teaching university students lies’ – An interview with Dr Jordan Peterson

Discussion in 'Other Stuff' started by Jim_Smith, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. http://www.c2cjournal.ca/2016/12/we...ts-lies-an-interview-with-dr-jordan-peterson/

    My primary interest has always been the psychology of belief. Partly religious belief, and ideology as a sub-category of religious belief. One of Jung’s propositions was that whatever a person values most highly is their god. If people think they are atheistic, it means is they are unconscious of their gods. In a sophisticated religious system, there is a positive and negative polarity. Ideologies simplify that polarity and, in doing so, demonize and oversimplify. I got interested in ideology, in a large part, because I got interested in what happened in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution in China, and equivalent occurrences in other places in the world. Mostly I concentrated on Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. I was particularly interested in what led people to commit atrocities in service of their belief. The motto of the Holocaust Museum in Washington is “we must never forget.” I’ve learned that you cannot remember what you don’t understand. People don’t understand the Holocaust, and they don’t understand what happened in Russia. I have this course called “Maps of Meaning,” which is based ona book I wrote by the same name, and it outlines these ideas. One of the things that I’m trying to convince my students of is that if they had been in Germany in the 1930s, they would have been Nazis. Everyone thinks “Not me,” and that’s not right. It was mostly ordinary people who committed the atrocities that characterized Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
    ...
    I was also quite profoundly influenced by [Alexsandr] Solzhenitsyn’s bookThe Gulag Archipelago. People say that real Marxism has never been tried – not in the Soviet Union, in China, in Cambodia, in Korea, that wasn’t real Marxism. I find that argument specious, appalling, ignorant, and maybe also malevolent all at the same time. Specious because Solzhenitsyn demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the horrors [of the Soviet system] were a logical consequence of the doctrines embedded within Marxist thinking. I think Dostoyevsky saw what was coming and Nietzsche wrote about it extensively in the 1880s, laying out the propositions that are encapsulated in Marxist doctrine, and warning that millions of people would die in the 20th century because of it.
    ...
    There’s literature looking at differences of men and women in personality in many, many societies throughout the world. I think the biggest paper examined 55 different societies. And they rank societies by sociological and political equality. The hypothesis was that if you equalize the environment between men and women, you eradicate the differences between them. In other words, if you treat boys and girls the same, the differences between them will disappear. But that’s not what the studies showed. In reality, they get bigger. Those are studies of tens of thousands of people. The social constructionist theory was tested. It failed. Gender identity is very much biologically determined.
    ...
    In Christianity, there’s the idea of the general Christ, that’s the “Word” that God used to speak chaos into order. Then there’s the specific Christ, a carpenter in the Middle East 2,000 years ago. So there’s this weird notion in Christianity between this general principle, which is the logos roughly speaking; the logos is the thing that mediates between order and chaos and is very abstract principle; and the specific human being who had a specific identity tied to a specific time and place, making the archetypal individual, and that makes an unbelievably compelling story.
    ...
    This is why free speech is so important. You can struggle to formulate some argument, but when you throw it out into the public, there’s a collective attempt to modify and improve that. So with the hate speech issue – say someone’s a Holocaust denier, because that’s the standard routine – we want those people out there in the public so you can tell them why they’re historically ignorant, and why their views are unfounded and dangerous. If you drive them underground, it’s not like they stop talking to each other, they just don’t talk to anyone who disagrees with them.
    ...
    What did Nietzsche say: ‘you can judge a man’s spirit by the amount of truth he can tolerate.’ I tell my students this too, you can tell when you’re being educated because you’re horrified.
    ...
    What happens when that truth actually does contribute to violence against groups?

    You pick your poison, and free speech is the right poison. There are groups that advocate for hate, but that’s not the issue. The issue is whether repressing them makes it better or worse. I would say that [repressing them] just makes it worse. There’s lots of times when you don’t have a good option
    ...
    Can you comment on the U of T’s specific response, the letter you received from Arts Faculty Dean David Cameron?

    They talked to their lawyers, and they’re doing exactly what HR people always do. If you want to get rid of someone, you write them a letter. Tell them what they’re doing wrong, tell them to stop, and you tell them nicely. Then you write a second letter, and you tell them the same thing except not so nicely. Then you give them a third letter, and after you give them a third letter, if they don’t comply, then you can do whatever you want, you’ve put your paper trail together. The lawyers looked at the policies on the OHRC website, and they’ve concluded that my interpretation of the law is absolutely correct. It’s worse than that however. It’s like ‘okay, that’s against the law, the university is supposed to abide by the law, and I’m not doing that, at least in principle.’ So they have a legal and ethical obligation to do what they did, but they did it in a deceitful way. In the first letter, they misquoted me. So I told them ‘you guys should take this letter back and rewrite it because it’s not accurate, and if you want to hand me a warning letter, it’s in your best interests to get it right.’ The second letter was far worse. It said that I contributed to this climate of fear and danger on campus, which I thought was a specious and unfounded claim to begin with, but when they mentioned that they had received many letters from groups on the university campus, they didn’t mention the 500 letters they received from supporters of mine, which I know about because I was CC’ed on them. They didn’t mention the petition with 10,000 signatures which I also received. That’s the lie. They didn’t have to omit that. They could have said ‘we understand there are a variety of opinions on this, and you have substantial public support. But the truth of the matter is, as far as we can tell this is illegal, and its our obligation to tell you to, you have to comply with university policies and the law.’ They could have done that, but they didn’t.
    ...
    Is that part of what explains the results of the United States’ election?

    The Democrats decided in the 1970s that they were going to abandon the working class and play identity politics, and the working class bit them. [Hillary Clinton] lost all the rust belt states. You really have to work pretty hard to lose the rust belt states if you’re a Democrat. So, they got exactly what was coming to them. And all the lefties are worried that Trump is a right-wing demagogue. It’s insane – he’s a liberal. He was a Clinton supporter. I mean, you could say he’s opportunistic, he’s narcissistic, but he’s no right wing demagogue. I don’t think he’s any more narcissistic or opportunistic that Newt Gingrich, I don’t think he’s any more narcissistic or opportunistic than Hillary Clinton. I don’t think what happened in the U.S. is a surprise at all. I think the left is saying “My god, this is a catastrophe.” It’s no more a catastrophe than Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan as far as right-wing demagoguery goes. I don’t think it’s any different than the Reagan revolution, or what happened with Thatcher in terms of seriousness. Trump’s a moderate. He’s a noisy moderate, and he’s a bit of a populist, but fundamentally he’s still a moderate – and people are reacting as if he’s Hitler. You could get Hitler – and it certainly isn’t Trump. Was he a qualified candidate? No, I don’t think so, but he did a lot of things right, and one of those was he didn’t give the same canned speech all the time, and he wasn’t handled to death. People saw that and thought “he’s not crafting every utterance. He’s kind of jerk, but at least we know what he thinks.” Then people went into the ballot room, and they thought “fuck it, I’m voting for Trump” and that’s what they did. It was just like Brexit. The left pushed too hard, mucked about too much, and people thought “we’re not doing this anymore,” and then Democrats abandoned the working class. I’m not a Sanders admirer because I don’t think the kind of socialism he promotes is a tenable solution, but I certainly understand the working class in the United States has been screwed since 1975. Their social institutions are falling apart, their wages have been flat, the advances of India and China have all been on the backs of the American working class. Then the intellectuals think ‘oh, those rednecks, they’re stupid.’ Trades people are NOT stupid. In fact, they tend to have a lot more sense than most of the intellectuals that I know, even though they’re not as good at articulating their arguments.
    ...
    How do you define social justice warriors?

    They’re the ones who weaponize compassion.

    Do you view social justice culture as a threat to democracy, and why?

    Absolutely. There’s nothing about the PC authoritarian types that has any gratitude for any institutions. They have a term – patriarchy. It’s all-encompassing. It means that everything our society is, is corrupt. There’s no line, they mean everything.
    ...
    Which means democracy, which means liberalism, which means human rights.

    It means the whole thing. The whole edifice.
    ...
    Are you denying the existence of discrimination based on sexuality or race?

    I don’t think women were discriminated against, I think that’s an appalling argument. First of all, do you know how much money people lived on in 1885 in 2010 dollars? One dollar a day. The first thing we’ll establish is that life sucked for everyone.
    ...
    When George Orwell wroteThe Road to Wigan Pier, the coal miners he studied walked to work for two miles underground hunched over before they started their shift. Then they walked back. [Orwell] said he couldn’t walk 200 yards in one of those tunnels without cramping up so bad he couldn’t even stand up. Those guys were toothless by 25, and done by 45. Life before the 20thcentury for most people was brutal beyond comparison. The idea that women were an oppressed minority under those conditions is insane. People worked 16 hours a day hand to mouth.
    ...
    There was no equality for women before the birth control pill. It’s completely insane to assume that anything like that could’ve possibly occurred. And the feminists think they produced a revolution in the 1960s that freed women. What freed women was the pill, and we’ll see how that works out.
    ...
    There’s some evidence that women on the pill don’t like masculine men because of changes in hormonal balance.
    ...
    it’s possible that a lot of the antipathy that exists right now between women and men exists because of the birth control pill.
    ...
    Now groups that were discriminated against. What are you going to do about it? The only societies that are not slave societies are western enlightenment democracies. That’s it. Compared to utopia, it sucks. But compared to everywhere else – people don’t emigrate to the Middle East to live there, and there’s good reason for that.
    ...
    What about women and the glass ceiling? That’s a lot more complicated than it looks.
    ...
    We’ve made unbelievable advances in terms of levelling the playing field, and a lot of that was due to pure capitalist greed. In capitalist societies, people are desperate for talent.
    ...
     
  2. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    He doesn't think women were discriminated against in the past?

    Not quite sure what he thinks about gender, in terms of sex and sexuality, but he seems rather reactionary.
     
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  3. LetsEat

    LetsEat Member

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    He thinks everyone is oppressed by society, he goes more in depth on that idea in his youtube videos (I can't recall which right now but maybe it will come to me), but I assume he does not think that there is or was an active campaign lead by men to oppress women. Read the entire interview, he gives his view of sex and sexuality in it, there's also several paragraphs to his statement on discrimination that were omitted from the OP (presumably to save space)

    I personally think this is demonstrably false however due to things like the legality of beating wives in the past (http://www.womensafe.net/home/index...torical-laws-that-supported-domestic-violence), maybe I'll shoot him an email and get a better clarification out of him.

    In regards to gender and so on he probably fits the label of reactionary in that he wants a return to an objective labeling system rather than the current progression of a subjective labeling system, but if you meant when you said he seemed to be a reactionary that he was counter enlightenment or an authoritarian I would have to disagree there. He is certainly a reactionary in regards to opposing communism, which was a label they frequently employed against their opposition.
     
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  4. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    If you know why Jim Smith posted it... let me know.
     
  5. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Maybe Jim wants to sit back and let us decide what to make of it!

    I agree with a lot of what he wrote - particularly the above quotes.

    PC restrictions had become a muzzle that was used to suppress discussion of awkward topics. For example, in the UK there was a report published today about the dangers posed by minority ghettos in certain cities, and the need to actually try to integrate new arrivals. Arguments like this used to be branded 'racist' - basically to avoid a tough discussion. When you stop people saying things, they do indeed say them in private. My partner spend her early years in communist Czechoslovakia, and she will tell you how everyone would grumble about the regime behind closed doors. If they had been able to discuss problems openly, perhaps they could have helped to solve some of them, but in public, they had to pretend that the communist state was perfect.

    The Democrats and the UK Labour Party don't stand for what they used to do, and people are starting to realise that fact. Donald Trump is self evidently not analogous to Hitler - indeed he doesn't seem to be particularly 'right wing' to me. I like him particularly because he seems to want to take a more reasonable approach to Russia, and avoid a war with that country! Hillary seemed to want to make an issue out of Syria - as though the US can possibly find some shred of moral high ground in the Middle East!

    I certainly hope President Trump will prove a lot better than either Thatcher or Reagan, and maybe the Democrats will start a long period of soul searching.

    First item on their agenda: Why would people want to vote for a party devoted to selling even more jobs abroad, opening the country up to even more immigration, and stirring up trouble that could all too easily have ended in a nuclear war!

    I agree particularly with the last sentence of the second quote - I have thought for a long time that non-intellectual people can often make better decisions than more intellectual folk. I don't quite know why that is - but perhaps they are attuned to some vibes that intellectuals tune out (and probably deny exist)!

    David
     
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  6. LetsEat

    LetsEat Member

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  7. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    That's as useless as saying nothing... which I guess was your point.
     
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  8. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    Not everyone agrees with Peterson that the law would compel people to use specific speech. One should probably dig into the actual language of the bill before riding on that particular train. I do support anyone's right to use any speech in a presentational manner. Obviously shouting hatred directly into someone's face as happened yesterday to a young muslim woman on the NYC subway should not be protected. There should be true protections against that kind of violence. But if those same folks want to gather into a conference center and talk about how much they hate muslims. More power to them.
     
  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Part of the problem is that people who are employees can be hounded out of work for PC speech violations. This is just one, particularly gross, example of this behaviour:

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/13/tim-hunt-hung-out-to-dry-interview-mary-collins

    Tim Hunt, a Nobel Prizewinner, had done nothing but make a few somewhat gauche comments about the difficulties he found in dealing with female subordinates, because it was so easy to get emotionally involved. The BBC thought this was so important that it was top item on the eight o'clock news!

    This cost him his emeritus position at his university!

    David
     
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  10. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    You've just repeated your nonsense... you found it interesting... but don't say why...
     
  11. malf

    malf Member

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    I (unusually :)) find myself with Jim here. "Other Stuff" should be just that.

    Contribute if you want. Or not.
     
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  12. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Max,

    Why not cool it a bit - if Jim posted something with no interest, he would not have received so many replies within a short space of time.

    David
     
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  13. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I have now read the whole article, and I would suggest others do too. I had not realised how extreme things have become in Canada - where the use of certain (made up) pronouns is mandated by law!

    David
     
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  14. LetsEat

    LetsEat Member

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    Check out the debate on Petersons channel, the lawyer he went up against who is for the bill said that wages would be garnished and assets seized for failure to use the correct pronoun as it can be interpreted as a form of harrassment, I assume here that this womans position was accurate since she was defending the bill and was also a lawyer.
     
  15. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I was very much in favour of the anti-hate speech legislation when it was first introduced. I never imagined that it would be used as a foot in the door to try to muzzle people on a whole range of subjects. When this crazy period is over, it may be that the anti-hate legislation simply has to be removed, and that will be entirely the responsibility of those that have tried to exploit the concept for their own ends.

    David
     
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  16. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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  17. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I'd say the whole "identity politics" agenda has gone way too far, and will be seen to have done so when it is reviewed by historians.

    I also think that trends like this tend to swing back and forwards. Thus just as Victorian puritanism seems to have fuelled the current swing to relatively relaxed views on sex, modern identity politics nonsense may well fuel a swing back that will take back many of the rights that gay people currently enjoy. This would be very unfortunate, and a sad testimony to the short-sighted obsessional view of the current 'elite'.

    Since the subject of Hitler came up, I tried to think just what it was about Hitler that made him so awful, and I suppose it was his extreme obsession (about the Jews). People with obsessions make lousy leaders, and I'd say Donald Trump is exactly the opposite sort of person. On the other hand, far too many on the other side seem to be obsessional. Think of Jill Stein, who never stops to think that she campaigned against Hillary Clinton, and possibly took a critical number of votes from her, but who now wants to subvert the result of a democratic election. Or think of Hillary Clinton, who was ready to go head to head with Russia over Syria, basically because her plan to use terrorist fighters to topple Assad (thereby wrecking yet another Middle Eastern country) had backfired.

    David
     
  18. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    That doesn't end well. I know of someone (co-worker) that randomly triggered some SJW with a Twitter joke and then took to referencing LGBT people by a "gender neutral pronoun"... It.

    New generations rebel against the beliefs of their parents, that is a rule of life that most of us have already seen but millennials are in for a surprise when their children grow into angsty teenagers. So, we are (potentially) looking at an extremely conservative or cold and ruthless generation (possibly both), depending on what perk of millennials the next generation focuses on.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
  19. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    I must admit I tend to disregard the whole shenanigans as a bunch of nonsense.

    Thing is, when I was 19 or 20 years old, I felt completely disenfranchised, my sector of society was not represented. Now, nearly half a century later, I feel even more disenfranchised.

    The answer is not to promote minorities, celebrate them. On the contrary it will be ... eventually, and maybe not in my lifetime, to embrace all, and celebrate all. So far what is happening is merely the divisions in society being more finely-divided into smaller slices ... the obvious end result is that there are no slices - there are just - us, all of us.
     
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  20. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    I also support free speech, so I'm just adding this as a potential other angle to critically evaluate Peterson's statements on the pronouns thing.

    http://sds.utoronto.ca/blog/bill-c-16-no-its-not-about-criminalizing-pronoun-misuse/
     
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