Taking Down Jordan Peterson

It’s become a industrial strength polarising meme in its own right, to cast Jordan Peterson and anyone who finds sense in his thinking as naive boys or unreconstructed misogynist lads or indeed something altogether more sinister.

Where the use of the mcm (Man Crush Monday) meme is

Peterson is the kind of guy guys have a crush on – oh how we laughed. [I personally addressed this meme directly in this previous postMocking? See Court-Jester]

He’s insistent on using that metaphor, exactly to make the point about sexism. PoPoMo is very slow to catch on it seems. Some people still prefer to attack PoMo when many of us have moved on.

“Jordan Peterson may be an advocate of free speech but he is also something far more sinister by Sam Jacobsen of SOAS.

Interesting piece. Sure, he does say things that can be interpreted as sinister – on the intellectual dark web – in dialogue with other “conservative” commentators, even though Jacobsen agrees his position in the content of the Newman interview – non-sexist freedom and equality – was valid and straightforward. However this piece stinks with disingenuous rhetoric – the reason to support free-speech-platforming of Peterson is apparently to  to take him down by providing opportunities for him to damn himself in front of critics who know better, rather than play the victim of censorship. Talk about Machiavellian.

And from a year ago, by way of contrast, before the Newman meme:

The Abstraction of Jordan Peterson – Mapping Meaning in the Land of Identity Politics by Brent Cooper

Which is an excellent piece on an important topic Peterson understands well, yet Cooper already felt obliged to include a follow-post last year, before Newman.

“I have written a follow-up post to this article, titled “The Detraction of Jordan Peterson“, which discusses his overstepping and the critical reaction to him. I argue that although Peterson is an expert in abstraction, he commits vicious abstraction with some concepts.”

Exactly – polarising reaction is not what constructive criticism is about. And by way of an aside, whilst we’re on about “abstraction” today, let’s contrast Natural Inclusion with Abstract Rationality:

Back to the dissing-Peterson meme: Also properly analysing the polarising reactions that destroy any nuance in Peterson’s position (and using the same Eric Weinstein – intellectual dark web – reference):

Eric Weinstein’s Four Quadrant Model
by Rosa Laura Junco of The Knife Media

“… illustrating how the media stigmatizes certain nuanced views that challenge the status quo by portraying people who hold those views as prejudiced or intolerant.”

Absolutely! The polarisation means anyone on the “bad” pole of it is stigmatised and the nuance in relation to the “good” pole is lost. I’m not defending Peterson’s position on everything – but everything I’ve seen or heard him say makes sense as (small c) conservatism in a memetic evolutionary context. Fidelity and fecundity in footnote here.

Dialogue beats #takedown anyday.


[Post Notes:

This is becoming a meme – ridiculing specific whacky clips of Peterson. This is indeed a mad exchange on a mad claim, but absolutely no attempt to understand his actual point.

And …

And the “Forward” smearing affair … 

It goes on:

Review of Jordan Peterson’s Stupid Lecture.

And on …

Friend who thinks he’s dangerous
(but doesn’t mean he’s wrong):

I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter.
Now I think he’s dangerous.

And a friend who thinks he’s right but not perfect:

Jordan Peterson’s Evidence-Based Endeavor.

And on.]

[Post Note: On a positive note …

That much-spoofed intellectual dark-web conversation …

Massimo Pigliucci has to remind us of the listening half of dialogue:

Yep, JBP’s content here – and sources – is whacky pseudo-science. Only defenses might be in his intent in the word “representation” and in questioning why, what he was trying to achieve, in the original educational context? Surely not a serious scientific hypothesis! He clearly back-pedals subsequently and being loath to provide his own elaboration is a sure sign anyway as GMS points out. Ancient natural symbology has its value in understanding human understanding, even in Crick & Watson’s minds – there’s life beyond science, and accepted science is far less objective that many presume – but that life is in living dialogue. As Massimo reminds us, and as GMS (Genetically Modified Skeptic, the original vlogger here) demonstrates, understanding requires proper listenting to what is actually said (in context). And what is wrong – scarily wrong(!) – in one specific is not itself a reason to damn the whole. Exemplary.]

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