Nitpicks

I recently became aware of Tablet Magazine via this under-reported article: Is the Women’s March Melting Down?, which goes into lengthy, well documented detail exploring connections between The Women’s March and some closeted anti-semites. While it’s not the point of this post, to those who may have interest it’s recommended.  This sort of analysis used to be called journalism.

I subscribed to Tablet’s newsletter because of it, and was rewarded today with a profile of Jordan Peterson from May of this year: The Shocking Truth About Jordan Peterson

“Shocking” is irony, or clickbait, or both.  This is a thoughtful and balanced look at Peterson, which I highly recommend. But, I have a couple of quibbles.

Wesley Yang (the author), makes this point early in the piece:

It really does require watching a few hours of his sprawling, digressive, improvisatory lectures to reach a judgment of who Peterson is, what his motives are, and what would be the likely consequences of his ideas being adopted in the world. In fact, Peterson supports virtually nothing that wouldn’t fit comfortably into the center-left to center-right governing consensus that obtained in the last 40 years in America. How do I know this? Because there are hundreds of hours of video posted online of Peterson talking.

Here is the Achilles’ heel of the campaign to oust Jordan Peterson from the margins of respectable society: You don’t have to outsource your judgment to journalistic authorities in the age of the internet. You can see for yourself.

And that is exactly the reason attacks on Peterson have failed to destroy him. “You can see for yourself,” from decades of lectures.  I mention this because it features in later cavils.

Here are the specifics with which I take issue.

On Peterson’s rejection of gender pronouns:

[He] stated his intention to defy any prospective attempt through the force of law to compel him to adopt gender-neutral pronouns in his classroom at the University of Toronto

Um, not exactly. Those would include minutely gender-specific pronouns, potentially hundreds of them, many not neutral, and which can change on a whim.

About Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life:

That message was cleverly packaged as “self-help.”

Well, yes, it was categorized that way. But those who bought the book, precisely because they’d viewed those videos, were looking for more of:

[T]he deeper message, which lingered on the inescapability of suffering, tragedy, limitation, and loss, enjoined those consigned to such a fate, as we all are, to meet it through taking on the heaviest burden of responsibility they could bear. In other words, a message that was antithetical to the “get rich quick,” or “visualize your way to success” ethos endemic to the genre.

I think it could have been packaged as “modern philosophical musings on stoicism” and it still would have been a runaway bestseller.  Because of his video history and his viral defense of freedom of conscience, cleverness was not required.

On the repeated suggestion that Peterson is periodically immodest, immoderate and intemperate:

He speaks to journalists, even those who plainly have it in for him, in exactly the same forthright manner as he does anyone else—as if he is free to indulge any thought experiment or rhetorical gambit he likes with a willing and sympathetic interlocutor in pursuit of the truth. He has behaved abominably at times and refuses contrition or regret on principle. He is stubborn as hell…

Jordan Peterson may have already allowed himself to become too immured in the fractiousness of our time to be the figure whose intervention breaks the fever. He is a messenger whose immoderate personal conduct has worked at cross purposes to the essential moderation of his message. While his own personal following is likely to grow unabated, continuing to enrich him, the progressive consensus has immunized itself against his message—one that is fundamentally correct on certain crucial aspects of the conundrum we face—with an assist from Peterson’s own immodest tongue.

Yes, you can plausibly call Peterson’s reaction to the scurrilous attacks documented in the article immodest or intemperate, but a study of the man’s corpus of work will suggest the word “humble.” Watching the famous Cathy Newman interview will strongly suggest the word “patience,” – of a saint – in the face of great provocation.  And, yes, speaking in a consistent and forthright manner can make the press call you immoderate, even abominable. Forthright consistency is not a fault in the speaker, but of the press corps reaction and need to monetize their political views.

Was “continuing to enrich him,” necessary to our understanding?

Yes, Progressive consensus is solidified. In regard to Peterson’s message, that means it’s gone from zero degrees Celsius to zero degrees Kelvin. Progressives would never accept what he says, no matter how he said it. Consider: The left-wing ideological immunization specialists will long since have scoured the wealth of video Peterson has online for vaccine enhancers. Yang, again:

It really does require watching a few hours of his sprawling, digressive, improvisatory lectures to reach a judgment of who Peterson is, what his motives are, and what would be the likely consequences of his ideas being adopted in the world.

Well, they have watched those lectures. That they don’t publish examples of his “hateful” behavior from that long history means there aren’t any.  Still, they “see for themselves,” what isn’t there.  There are precious few attempts to even engage with his points. Half of those are insubstantive “intellectual” dismissals, assuming their premises.

Peterson’s most virulent critics employ willfully ignorant ad hominem attacks on contextually misappropriated outtakes. A point the author makes quite well.

RTWT.

Fairest of them all?

Don’t Deny Girls the Evolutionary Wisdom of Fairy-Tales

Cinderella, for example, revolves around the perniciousness of what researchers call “female intrasexual competition”—the often-underhanded ways women compete with each other. While men evolved to be openly competitive, jockeying for position verbally or physically, female competition tends to be covert—indirect and sneaky—and often involves sabotaging another woman into being less appealing to men…

Psychologist Joyce Benenson, who researches sex differences, traces women’s evolved tendency to opt for indirectness—in both competition and communication—to a need to avoid physical altercation, either with men or other women. This strategy would have allowed ancestral women to protect their more fragile female reproductive machinery and to fulfill their roles as the primary caretaker for any children they might have.

This piece is well worth reading in full. The quote above struck me, since I’ve been writing lately about the UBC study saying millennial males place lower value on competitiveness and independence (for two things) than openness and empathy. Presumably, there is a cultural influence at work, and I suspect it is tied into the Feminist push to raise all children to see the world with female eyes.

But competitiveness and independence, and openness and empathy are not the exclusive property of one sex. That competitiveness is considered a ‘male’ trait is true for only the male competitiveness style (open). Female competitiveness is just as intense. It just takes a different, and one could argue, less healthy form.

I could hear Jordan Peterson’s voice in the discussion of the evolutionary biology involved in creating the Cinderella/Snow White archetypes. I was also reminded of his discussion of highly-competent women, in high-pressure professions, he’s helped with assertiveness training. Understanding why one might need assertiveness training would be beneficial, and flatly denying evolutionary lessons in favor of a political agenda would not.

Population Bomb, bomb

This is your good news and history lesson for the day.

The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources
(Citations omitted below.)

Summary in a sentence: “As population increases, the time-price of most commodities will get cheaper for most people, most of the time. Unfortunately, most people will assume the opposite.

It occurred to me when reading this that the simple bet about the future price of a few commodities, between University of Maryland economist Julian Simon and Stanford University biology professor Paul R. Ehrlich, is unknown to most people today. After all, it was made in 1980 and settled in 1990.

I read Ehrlich’s Population Bomb (1968) and The Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth (1972) when they were first published. Ehrlich assured us that mass starvation was inevitable and imminent. The Club of Rome predicted a dire future caused by shortages of food, water, and all manner of commodities – because of human population growth.  By 1973 we were experiencing severe oil shortages, leading to President Carter’s “malaise” speech.  By 1976 Greenpeace was fundraising off the (allegedly staged) torture of baby seals in Newfoundland as a demonstration of human environmental rapaciousness.

All this gave me pause: Maybe predictions of economic and social collapse based on running out of “stuff” were plausible. Little could be done quickly, but it was critical to DO SOMETHING NOW. There is a pattern there we see today.

To mitigate, not prevent, mass starvation, Ehrlich called on governments world-wide to implement draconian population control.

By 1979 the Chinese had done so, with their “one child” policy. One result was 338 million aborted Chinese babies, the majority of them female. While sex selective abortion was banned in China in 2005, there are still 17% more males born than females. This is triple the natural rate difference, so one might suspect the ban is not totally effective.  There’s another effect from the one child policy; “By 2030, projections suggest that more than 25 percent of Chinese men in their late 30s will never have married.” There are a host of societal woes that will result from that.

China tried Ehrlich’s experiment and it’s turned out badly for them.

So, the ‘the bet’ was important in many ways. It was a test of humanity’s future; and, on one side, a prescription to avoid disaster. That prescription is still proposed.

To it, CAGW promoters have added the idea that preventing destruction of all life on earth depends on massive and economically crippling world-wide government intervention. This would certainly curb population growth and reduce human well-being. Going for the absurd conclusion, radical environmentalists call for human extinction.  Ehrlich’s ideas inform both groups.

Like climate modellers whose models don’t work, Professor Ehrlich has not given up on his thesis. In 2013 he said:

[Human civilization] is threatened with collapse by an array of environmental problems… . The human predicament is driven by overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources … and socio-economic-political arrangements to service Homo sapiens’ aggregate consumption.

…but if he is wrong – again – we would be well advised to ignore him.  We would find ourselves far less able to navigate existential threats due to restricted trade, fewer ideas, slower innovation, smaller productive capacity, and less wealth.

When you hear the term “sustainable growth,” that’s what is meant.

The whole Simon Abundance article is worth reading, and I hope to encourage you to do so, even though it’s long. There’s much more there than just the Ehrlich/Simon bet. It is worth reflecting on the miracle of human ingenuity, stoked by capitalism: Half the world is now middle class or wealthier. I doubt this would be true if the entire world had adopted Ehrlich’s advice in 1975.

Intro to the Simon Abundance article:

Humanity, the latest estimates suggest, is roughly 300,000 years old. For the first 99.9 percent of our time on Earth, Homo sapiens lived a short and difficult life that ended, all too often, in violent death. We roamed the world afraid, cold, hungry, and sick. Remedies to ease our suffering were few. In the past 250 years or so, however, human fortunes dramatically improved. An accumulation of incremental technological, scientific, and ideological advances led to the Industrial Revolution, which ushered in an age of abundance.

That is the trajectory Ehrlich told us was over in 1968.  Simon challenged the idea:

After intellectually sparring with one another in print for most of the 1970s, [University of Maryland economist Julian] Simon finally challenged [Stanford University biology professor Paul R.] Ehrlich to a wager on resource depletion. Ehrlich would choose a “basket” of raw materials that he expected would become less abundant in the coming years and choose a time period of more than a year, during which those raw materials would become more expensive. At the end of that period, the inflation-adjusted price of those materials would be calculated. If the “real” price of the basket was higher at the end of the period than at the beginning, that would indicate the materials had become more precious and Ehrlich would win the wager; if the price was lower, Simon would win. The stakes would be the ultimate price difference of the basket at the beginning and end of the time period.

The positions:
Ehrlich:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.

Simon:

There is no physical or economic reason why human resourcefulness and enterprise cannot forever continue to respond to impending shortages and existing problems with new expedients that, after an adjustment period, leave us better off than before the problem arose… . Adding more people will cause [short-run] problems, but at the same time there will be more people to solve these problems and leave us with the bonus of lower costs and less scarcity in the long run… . The ultimate resource is people-skilled, spirited, and hopeful people who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit, and so, inevitably, for the benefit of us all.

Ehrlich chose copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten. The bet was agreed to on September 29, 1980, with September 29, 1990, being the payoff date. In spite of a population increase of 873 million over those 10 years, Ehrlich lost the wager. All five commodities that he had selected declined in price by an average of 57.6 percent. Ehrlich mailed Simon a check for $576.07.

Since the conclusion of the bet, Ehrlich’s supporters have argued that Simon got lucky: had the bet taken place over a different decade, the outcome might have been different. The debate continues to this day. In 2016, Southern Methodist University economists Michael Cox and Richard Alm revisited the Simon-Ehrlich wager and found that Ehrlich’s metals were 22.4 percent cheaper in 2015 than they had been in 1980.

In an essay titled, “Onward and Upward! Bet on Capitalism-It Works,” Cox and Alm proposed a new methodology to evaluate Simon’s thesis. “The real price of everything,” as Adam Smith pointed out, “is the toil and trouble of acquiring it… . What is bought with money … is purchased by labour.” The cost of human labor, Cox and Alm note, tends to increase faster than inflation. From the perspective of average hourly wages in the United States, therefore, the real price of Ehrlich’s minerals fell by 41.8 percent between 1980 and 2015. According to Cox and Alm, in “work-hour terms, Simon wins The Bet [with Ehrlich] in every year from 1980 to 2015.”

When Jordan Peterson looks around a lecture venue and reminds us of the absolute miracle that the lights always work, the room is warm, and it is safe from wolves; he is speaking about the same thing. When he complains that rejecting the cultural underpinnings of this miracle is thoughtless ingratitude; he is correct.

If we can just keep the government hand on us light, we can continue to enjoy abundance.

Update: 1-Dec-18, 11:59
Prominent Environmentalist Finally Discovers His Religion’s Catch-22

Economic growth is a cancer, in this view. Its bad effects are permanent and cumulative, its blessings are evanescent and ultimately trivial.

Malthusianism is a religious conviction that desperately needs to think of itself as a science. From Thomas Malthus and his mathematical certainties to Paul Ehrlich with his famine timetables and the Club of Rome with its ‘scientific’ predictions of resource exhaustion, Malthusians have made confident predictions about the future and claimed scientific authority for statements that turned out to be contemptibly silly. That is the brutal fate that often awaits people who can’t keep the boundaries between science and religion straight.

The Catch 22 is that “sustainable” economic growth is code for economic decline (links omitted).

JBP at 20 Monroe Live

My wife and I were at Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life lecture on Thursday (Sep. 20) in Grand Rapids, MI. We had VIP seats (3rd row, center) which added a badge, a picture with Peterson, and a separate interactive Q&A session. An unadvertised perk, for which my skinny old butt was grateful, was padded seats. Beyond row G, there was no padding. 20 Monroe live is a venue designed for rock concerts, not lectures, and all the folding chairs were packed closely.

Dave Rubin opened: A couple of decent jokes, and invocation of several Peterson memes (e.g. Cathy Newman, lobsters). All of which drew positive reaction from the audience. Rubin was OK, but has a pretty much canned intro. He welcomed 3,000 people when the capacity (it was filled) is about 1500. Must have been thinking about a previous event? He also told us we were the first audience to cheer for the venue’s announced policy of “no heckling, no video.” Aside from the fact that Peterson ticket buyers come for an intellectual stimulus and wouldn’t want to peer at the man through a forest of cameras held high in the first place, or listen to some SJW ranting instead of what they paid for, I’ve also read of the same reaction elsewhere. Maybe Dave wasn’t at that event.

The audience was about 35% female, 40% young male, and 25% older male. I make that latter distinction because I’m in the category, and it is relevant to the second-hand ad hominem arguments of many of Peterson’s critics. These postmodernist fellow travellers (most of them aren’t aware of how their social justice world views were formed) claim his demographic is overwhelmingly young, alt-right, and male – and mostly incels. They claim this audience proves he is a fascist, homophobic misogynist. Untrue of the demographic, but it’s all they’ve got. Peterson has hundreds of hours of video online going back decades, which you can be sure these SJW’s have minutely combed for any badthink.

On the contrary, the more of him you see the more you will be convinced he is intelligent, articulate, polymathic, grounded, kind, thoughtful and humbly aware of his own exhaustively examined faults. It’s not possible to spend a little time listening to him and come to any other intellectually honest conclusion.

The problem is simple: journalists guilty about inequality portray Peterson as an anti-trans, Cold War lunatic. Then, people who read that commentary and end up watching videos from his Biblical Series, or his Maps of Meaning lectures, do not find a right-wing radical. Instead, they find a passionate lecturer against authoritarianism who is deeply invested in a symbolic, archetypal understanding of human nature. Now, they realize that all these left-leaning outlets have lied to them. Instead of exposing a bigot, they’ve smeared a serious scholar.

For political reasons. But, Peterson’s message is only political in the sense that he looks at the science and comes to different conclusions about human nature than does the collectivist left.

He said nothing political during his speech.

Politics came looking for Peterson, he didn’t go looking for politics. His many years studying psychology, and vast experience as a clinical psychologist, have convinced him that postmodernism is a nihilist threat. Until his government decided to apply group-identitarian principles to him through the mechanism of compelled speech, he was invisible to the Internet. Then he made his conclusions explicitly public.

Back to the event. People I talked to said they were there because they wanted to better understand Peterson’s ideas. They sense the nihilism oozing from academia and media, and don’t want to succumb to it. Only one of them recognized the phrase “long march though the institutions;” and “Gramscian” drew a blank. But they all knew the effects. They’re looking for intellectual ammunition.

It is the first event of this nature I’ve attended which began with a standing ovation. That goes back to a Barry Goldwater campaign rally in 1964. That’s before I could vote.

I think Dr. Peterson had a cold. His voice seemed a little hoarse, or maybe it was the spirit of Kermit. A meme you’ll have to look up if you don’t recognize it.

From 2 minutes in the audience was transfixed. Interruptions by applause decreased as he continued; not because he stopped making valuable points, but because nobody wanted to interrupt the flow. Interrupting a train of thought is his specialty, but he usually does it himself (then jumping right back to his main thread).

Peterson gave an original, insightful, erudite, humble, astoundingly extemporaneous performance. It seemed improvisational. Which is to say, it was typical.

For reference, the 12 rules:

1.  Stand up straight with your shoulders back
2.  Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
3.  Make friends with people who want the best for you
4.  Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who
    someone else is today
5.  Do not let your children do anything that makes you
   &nbspdislike them
6.  Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
7.  Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
8.  Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie
9.  Assume that the person you are listening to might know
   &nbspsomething you don’t
10. Be precise in your speech
11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

He started with Rule 1 (this is not necessarily obvious, he skipped around and only directly mentioned rules 1, 3, 2, 5, 9 and 4, in that order, IIRC). He invoked Rule 1 in speaking to the Problem of Evil, and to set up the relationship between responsibility and meaning: Be prepared for tragedy, in part by taking responsibility for yourself. In doing so you find not the answer to the purpose of the universe; but meaning in your life.

He segued to the rule 3, 2, 5 sequence (with excursions to 5, 9 and 4), building the case for treating “yourself like someone you are responsible for helping” because that directly impacts relationships with your spouse, your children, and your community. Not concepts you haven’t heard from him before, but essential to the core element of his message: individual sovereignty requires individual responsibility.

The collectivist counterpoint is: “Treat everyone as a member of a group you need to control in order to ensure your own power.” I.e., power is well-being. Peterson has never specifically said this (AFAIK), but I think the contrast is both accurate and useful.

I’d put the overall experience in the top 90% of the hundred or so hours I’ve watched on YouTube, half of that (so far) his university lectures. I didn’t expect to hear shocking new directions. After all, the talk was about 12 Rules. There were many concepts with which I was familiar, but with different stories, examples, and analogies. I learned from those. JBP spoke of ideas he’d “just figured out in the last 2 weeks.” Nice to be a spectator in that journey.

He is a powerful teacher; he lets you see the mundane as marvelous – again. It’s an encouragement to regain your childlike wonder. Listening to him is a challenge and an invitation to explore the borders of chaos and order.

He was also funny. There were some hilarious riffs on relationships. Peterson had to pause to let the laughter die off.

I’d give a lot to see Peterson’s humour unleashed over a beer or three. I imagine it to be poker-faced and Menckenian, though peppered with, “And that’s that, bucko!”, “Think again, sunshine!”, and “Bloody neo-Marxists!” Hearing him laugh about something is a treat.

In a era where Jerry Seinfeld eschews college campuses because of their near Stalinist humorlessness, we won’t see unconstrained Peterson humor anytime soon. He is pilloried enough without contributing sound bites for the deliberate misinterpretation at mis-re-education camp(use)s. This is a shame.

There was a deserved standing ovation at the end of Dr. Peterson’s address.

The following will likely vary by venue, but for those of you wondering about the content, sequence and timing of activities, as I was, here’s a bit of housekeeping info. The lecture is followed by a general Q&A. In this case, Dave Rubin selected questions submitted online through Slido. This segment completes the basic portion of the show.

Then there’s a delay of 15-20 minutes while they set up for pictures.

It was stated in emails prior to the event that it was OK to give JBP a gift during the picture segment. I did. I gave him a kiddie cup from a dinner I had at Red Lobster on the occasion of my wife’s birthday earlier this month. I expected a laugh from the doctor, and I got one. He asked where it had come from, and I told him Red Lobster via my 10 year old grandson. I have my own cup, from a granddaughter. So I have that in common with him now. ;)

As my 20 seconds ended, I thanked him for the hard work and dedication that made it possible for him to give us the gift of his insights.

We were asked please not to engage in extended conversation, since to move 200-300 people through the process takes 45 minutes – if it’s moving quickly. This is why there’s no book signing, the time would easily double.

You would think that at a Jordan Peterson event, people would be particularly loath to violate this responsibility.

Well, there’s always a couple, aren’t there? You could hear grumbling from everyone both in line and already finished when a couple of people took a minute or two. I was jealous, but proud that my inner child hadn’t done anything that made me dislike him.

The reason people who had already had their picture taken were grumbling is that the last portion of the evening is spent in a more intimate, back and forth Q&A with JBP. They were robbing us of that time. About 50 of us stayed for it.

I paraphrase: The questions ranged from a long exposition (female): “I like STEM. I’m a proven talent. Males and females give me praise for my abilities. It’s still really hard. Should I continue?”, to (female) “What psychedelic drug would you recommend to a beginner?”, to (male) “I have evil tendencies. I’ve always identified with villains. I’ve resisted temptation to do -some unspecified thing- so far. How do I ensure I continue to cope?”

A takeaway for me was the intimate nature of some questions before a group of 50+. Some people had a remarkable level of trust in a bunch of strangers whose only certain characteristic was an interest in Jordan Peterson’s ideas; and a belief JBP could tell them something important about a personal problem.

He handled the serious and the oddball questions with aplomb and real interest. Probably at bit like office hours at UoT, or a clinical session with a client. ;)

This conversation lasted a little over an hour, and my wife and I discussed the evening for our entire 45 minute drive home. A fine evening.

Jordan Peterson is a classical liberal who strongly supports First Amendment principles. His cogent defense of these ideas is a gift to all of us. I highly recommend visiting his website and YouTube channel, particularly the videos of his lectures at the University of Toronto. His passion for teaching and the importance of his thinking can only be appreciated with a deeper exposure than a single lecture, or an interview with an ideologue like Cathy Newman.

Academiarchy

A well written peek into the suppurating cesspit that is SJW academia (which is most of it). The cracks in the edifice are being exposed, ironically, by #MeToo hypocrisy. The author would appear to be risking her career, so I find it remarkable. It’s also remarkable it could be published.

Added to the DoJ support for Asian applicants’ suit against Harvard, DeVos finally insisting Title IX must observe due process, and the fear inspired vitriol directed against Professors Jordan Peterson, Johnathan Haidt, Christina Hoff Sommers, Brett Weinstein, Charles Murray, and Stephen Pinker, this is encouraging.

If you’ve ever wondered where the Left’s version of Jordan Peterson is, there isn’t one. Oh, there are academic superstars like Avital Ronell (and Catherine McKinnon and Judith Butler, for example) all over the place. But they can’t be called “public” intellectuals because their ideas are agenda driven, deliberately obtuse, and generally abhorrent to the public.

And Ronell’s defenders know it. Judith Butler’s cringing apology is instructive, and essentially admits to autonomic tribalism. Basically, “We rose in righteous anger because the punishment didn’t fit the crime, even though we didn’t know what the crime was.”

Oops. Ronell is a female Harvey Weinstein, but they couldn’t wait to find that out before reflexively attacking her accuser.

#MeToo leader Asia Argento couldn’t be reached for comment.

Stoic Justice Warriors

Jordan Peterson channels Marcus Aurelius: Life is hard. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Get your room clean before you decide to start changing the world. Pick up the biggest weight you can carry, it will give meaning to your life. Treat yourself as someone you care for. Pay attention.

Marcus Aurelius on How to Turn Around a Rotten Day

“…there will always be difficulties to drag through your day… Nothing has to go right today for you to act with honor and character. …we, not other people, are the problem. …things don’t have to go well for you have to a good day. …instead of treating yourself with respect, you have entrusted your own happiness to the souls of others. …Concentrate every minute…on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice.”

Peterson has become notorious because so few have ever heard this. Modern University courses would regard Marcus Aurelius as a white-privileged, patriarchal colonizer; if they mentioned him at all.

That, and they’re all clamoring about their “rights” with no regard for their responsibilities.

Update. 5:47 PM.
I notice I am not the first to make this association:
Jordan Peterson and the Return of the Stoics

TERF War

Academia’s Consilience Crisis
Appearances by Gad Saad, Jordan Peterson, Nassim Taleb, E. O. Wilson and anti-science poster boy and Professor of Sexual Diversity Studies, Nicholas Matte.
Recommended.

[C]onsilience
… refers to the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can “converge” to strong conclusions. That is, when multiple sources of evidence are in agreement, the conclusion can be very strong even when none of the individual sources of evidence is significantly so on its own. Most established scientific knowledge is supported by a convergence of evidence: if not, the evidence is comparatively weak, and there will not likely be a strong scientific consensus.

One might say, “Interdisciplinary scientific method.”

The Quillette article doesn’t mention Intersectionality, but it bears some discussion as the evil twin of Consilience. It’s what Dr. Matte applies as an alternative to scientific method when he flat out denies the reality of biological sex differences.

Intersectionality
…is an analytic framework which attempts to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society. Intersectionality considers that the various forms of what it sees as social stratification, such as class, race, sexual orientation, age, disability and gender, do not exist separately from each other but are complexly interwoven.

One might summarize, “A means of creating victim identity groups.”

Implict, but missing from the definitions is another difference. Intersectional analysis begins with its result already decided. It is not falsifiable by experience or logic. That does not mean there are not competing and conflicting “theories,” but debating such differences is problematic because any such conversation is bounded only by opinions about the relative power of various victim identity-groups. It’s postmodernists shouting their foregone conclusions at each other.

For example, the TERF war (TERF is trans exclusionary radical feminists) revolves around who can claim to be a woman. At issue are claims by some feminists that trans-women (i.e., men) aren’t really women. While science is on their side, this does put the TERF feminists in a bit of a bind. They appear to be claiming “biological determinism is only a fallacy when used against them, not when they use it against others.” Of course, by “biological determinism” both sides of the TERF war mean to reject the idea that there is a biological difference between sexes. Differences between men and women are determined wholly by social conditioning.

If both sides agree with Dr. Matte that there’s no such thing as biological sex, why do they care who calls themselves a woman? Well, if your biological sex can be determined moment by moment at your whim, what’s the point of Women’s Studies? If it can’t be, what’s the point of Transgender Studies? People’s careers are at stake. So is the basis of their power.

Consilience bears a superficial similarity with intersectionality in weaving together multiple points of view, but consilience compares independent observations in an attempt to falsify theories – a way of seeking objective truth. For example, that there is a better than 99% correspondence between physical characteristics and how people identify as men or women; that in utero exposure to testosterone has permanent developmental effects; and that, with vanishingly small exceptions, males and females differ by huge tracts of genetic material, tend to strongly confirm profound biological differences between men and women – identity group power struggles notwithstanding.

Intersectionality is anti-science, so it allows some to claim that math is racist, rigorous discipline in engineering is sexist, physics is based on white privilege, and chemistry is colonialist. The emphasis on power as the only arbiter of truth gives rise to claims that speech criticizing intersectionalist claims is literally violence, while intersectionalist speech is beyond reproach.

In the TERF war we’re seeing what happens when intersectionalists engage in their only useful activity.

Pass the popcorn.

Canada the Goof

Jesse Brown may be Canadian, but he’s definitely not forthcoming, eh? Mr. Brown has an Op-Ed in the New York Times:

“There is a certain image that Canada projects to the world, one that is particularly compelling to Americans. It’s the image of Canada as a tolerant, progressive, kind and humanitarian nation, populated by mild-mannered and polite people. The idea of Canada the Good — a Scandinavian-style socialist democracy, with the added bonus of multicultural harmony — is an attractive one, helpful in providing Canadians with some kind of national identity, and left-leaning Americans with a handy rhetorical device for political arguments: Look at what’s possible, right next door!

But it’s worth remembering that this image of Canada, currently personified by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is a relatively recent construction, largely put forth by Mr. Trudeau’s father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. “

Justin Trudeau’s father was a snooty playboy who married… shall we say a goofy development-arrested woman 30 years his junior. She was 22 upon their marriage, he was 51.

Justin’s contribution to “Canada the Good” follows soundly in the flower-child traditon of his mother. Just search the ‘net for ‘justin trudeau gaffes.’

I can tell you that many, many Canadians, at least since the 60s, thought of their country as “Canada the Good,” many of them did so in comparison to the ‘US Imperialists.’ The identity being expressed is, “We’re NOT Americans.” Which is tautologically true, if somewhat insubstantial as a national identity.

“Canada is home to many more Jordan Petersons than Justin Trudeaus.”

Debatable. Take a walk down Bloor Street and ask a few people some political questions. Say, about socialized health care, pronouns, CAGW, multi-culturalism or firearms.

“Pierre Trudeau might have technically been a liberal, but he was the kind of liberal who declared martial law in 1970”

Pierre Trudeau’s good friend Fidel Castro might technically have been a socialist, but Castro was the kind of socialist who tortures political prisoners. Pierre Trudeau was not a liberal, despite the name of the party he headed. He was an elitist authoritarian. He was a long, long way from classical liberalism.

“[T]he New Democratic Party, ostensibly the major party farthest to the left, ran its last campaign on a platform of balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility.”

That’s like our Democrats saying “We don’t want to take your guns.” The NDP is far left by our standards. Even the conservative party is the “Progressive Conservatives.”

“Not even the Green Party dares to suggest divesting from Alberta’s oil sands.”

No, they just block the pipeline construction needed to sell that oil and are wholly supportive of a punitive carbon tax Justin Trudeau is pushing.

“Canadian conservatism is not brash. It not belligerent, it is not loud. It is not Fox News.”

True, Canadian conservatism is more like Joe Lieberman Democrats.

“The proposed human rights policy that made Mr. Peterson famous is now Canadian law, and no instance of “compelled speech” has occurred as a result of it or resulted in criminal charges, as Mr. Peterson feared. On the issue of legal requirements for pronoun use, things remain the way Mr. Peterson wanted them — the same.”

If things are the same, one wonders why the law was needed.

There have been no charges yet, but Jesse Brown deftly ignores Lindsay Shepherd‘s experience at Wilfred Laurier University, where she was threatened with that very law for showing her class a video snippet of Jordan Peterson from an Ontario public television current events show. While the inquisitors were wrong, they did think the law could be used to compel Shepherd to toe the line. It’s only a matter of time before it’s applied to compel speech.