The Jordon Peterson Channel 4 interview

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Little John
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The Jordon Peterson Channel 4 interview

Post by Little John »

In case any of you have not seen it - an interview of Jordon Peterson was carried out by Chanel 4's news anchor Cathy Newman the other day. And it has gone viral for reason that are all too apparent if you view it, which I urge you to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMcjxSThD54

Having watched the car crash interview of Jordon Peterson by Cathy Newman myself, I decided to wade through several of Peterson's online videos outlining his theories and broader philosophical position and my general impression of his views is as follows;

I can certainly say that I agree with his diagnosis of the current problems with masculinity and toxic feminism and I also agree, at least in principle, with his prognosis for recovery of the problems he diagnoses.

However, where I think his his broader arguments become weak is in his absolutist existentialism/libertarianism. He basically seems to be suggesting that at all times, people should be “free� to pursue their own goals and that competition should be, barring some rather obvious basic rules of engagement, completely unfettered and the hierarchical chips will then fall where they may. Hence, his obvious issue with the tyranny of imposing equal outcomes on men and women in the workplace. He bases the above philosophical position on the underlying nature of human organisation. That is to say, it is based on “hierarchy�. And many hundreds of millions of years of evolution simply cannot be denied.

One the one hand, the above seems like an eminently sensible idea. And, to a significant degree, it is. But, on the other, these hierarchical organisational structures were evolved and then evolutionarily maintained under specific environmental constraints. That is to say, in the case of humans, under conditions of “low dispersal�.

What I mean by the above is that, for the vast majority of our evolutionary history, we lived in groups of around a hundred or so more or less related individuals ranging from full siblings through to distant cousins. This meant that several social facts tended to pertain. Firstly, most social and economic relationships were more or less transparent. Secondly, to the extent that any small sub-group took the piss excessively out of the majority, this was, as mentioned above, transparently obvious and so such piss taking was extremely limited and/or was dealt with in very short order. Thus, while social hierarchies were of course present in such prehistoric societies, they self regulated to the extent that they never got out of hand.

Fast forward to the dawn of civilisation (circa approximately 4,000 BC) and on up to the present day, these earlier, self-regulating mechanisms that were present in the simpler (and smaller) structures of prehistoric societies became lost in the opaque, complex social, economic and political structures of civilisations. At which point, hierarchical self-regulatory mechanisms no longer work.

In short, in the absence of at least some form of socialist, re-distributive mechanisms, the kind of hierarchies that develop in complex industrial civilisations eventually get completely out of hand, leading to instability and eventual collapse of said societies.

What I am saying is this:

Peterson is right when he states that hierarchical social structures are an inevitable facet of human nature.

BUT, his apparent insistence that any attempt to ameliorate these structures in a complex society where they are no longer able to self regulate, necessarily leads to tyranny is false. Or, to the extent that there is indeed a risk of tyranny developing out of such (socialist) amelioration, Peterson does not acknowledge that tyrannies will ALSO inevitably emerge if such ameliorations are NOT employed. In other words, in extremis, we are faced with the dilemma of being screwed by faceless capitalist plutocrats or by faceless socialist bureaucrats.

In short, the problem is not "capitalism" or "socialism". These are both symptoms of the problem. The problem is complex, socially opaque industrial civilizations.
Last edited by Little John on Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
woodburner
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Post by woodburner »

I might have a look at Peterson, but Cathy Newman is that nasty piece of work who went after Andrew Wakefield with all guns blazing trying to ridicule him for the sake of a flawed entertainment angle, following in the footsteps of the idiotic and lying Brian Deer who was paid £30,000 to discredit Wakefield, for the benefit of pharmaceutical companies who held vaccine patents, and have been damaging children ever since at an ever increasing rate.

Thus, Newmans programs should be viewed with as much suspicion as you should view many contentious subjects on Wikipedia.
To become an extremist, hang around with people you agree with. Cass Sunstein
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

It was the ability to accumulate wealth bought on by a sedentary rather than a nomadic lifestyle which led to hierarchical structures. Men had the physical strength to take and protect wealth and in most societies that is where we still are now. There are a few matriarchal societies but not many. Since the early days the ability to accumulate wealth and keep it has overtaken pure physical strength as the major factor the wielding of power. It would seem, nowadays, that a certain amount of psychosis also helps.

In the past clan chiefs and kings would lead their subjects into battle and it was that fighting ability and the ability to control other men, together with the resultant wealth, which got them to where they were. That dominant position has been maintained, often with the help of religions which were usually led by men and male priests, ever since.

It is our recent "civilisation" and the ease of living which has accompanied it which has enabled the spread of female, gay and disabled emancipation and food fads like vegetarianism and veganism. Once that ease of living goes and life becomes much harder again so also will go, unfortunately, that emancipation.

Emancipation has followed the EROEI of fuels and their low cost. That is all on the way out now.
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Post by emordnilap »

woodburner wrote:Thus, Newmans programs should be viewed with as much suspicion
She does not come out well in that particular interview. Apart from some embarrassing over-simplifications on her part, she's irritatingly interruptive.

Anyhoo, developing (evolving?) a more evenly-balanced masculine/feminine approach to life is no bad thing.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
Little John
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Post by Little John »

emordnilap wrote:
woodburner wrote:Thus, Newmans programs should be viewed with as much suspicion
...Anyhoo, developing (evolving?) a more evenly-balanced masculine/feminine approach to life is no bad thing.
What does that mean E?
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

woodburner wrote:I might have a look at Peterson, but Cathy Newman is that nasty piece of work...
Not seen it yet? Peterson does a Dorothy, on Newman's Wicked Witch of the West. "I'm melting..."
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

emordnilap wrote:
woodburner wrote:Thus, Newmans programs should be viewed with as much suspicion
She does not come out well in that particular interview. Apart from some embarrassing over-simplifications on her part, she's irritatingly interruptive.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cls8ZURQRK4
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Post by johnhemming2 »

It is an interesting interview. What it demonstrates, however, is that the media tend to see matters from the perspective of outcomes having only a single cause rather than multiple causes.

That is not something that is limited to Channel 4 or this particular interviewer, but tends to apply to TV and Radio. Print media does not necessarily do things in such a simplistic manner, that may be because they are not trying to put interviewees on the spot, but instead trying to find out what an interviewee's views are on an issue.

There is a danger in interviews that the interviewer aims to debate a matter with the interviewee rather than draw out a form of agreed truth.

That may be more entertaining as a form of gladiatorial contest, but is pretty useless really.
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Post by johnhemming2 »

kenneal - lagger wrote:It was the ability to accumulate wealth bought on by a sedentary rather than a nomadic lifestyle which led to hierarchical structures.
The point about seratonin and lobsters was an interesting point about heirarchies.
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

It is very hard to see how humans could organise our affairs non-hierarchically. It's not just the serotonin-lobster thing, although hard-wired psychology certainly plays a part. The problem is that we evolved as tribal animals, but tribalism on its own doesn't work when humans cease to be nomadic, because bigger is always better.

If two sedentary/territorial tribes band together to attack one other tribe, sheer weight of numbers means they'll probably win, and three banded together means they'll almost certainly win. Even though they have to share the spoils, this is still the way to go. So it is inevitable that more and more tribes will band together, for the purposes of mutual self-defence or mutual attacking of other bands of tribes. So the units get bigger and bigger, and these larger units inevitably have to be organised hierarchically, with one big boss at the top.

A statement of the obvious maybe, but there's no way out of it.
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Post by Little John »

UndercoverElephant wrote:It is very hard to see how humans could organise our affairs non-hierarchically. It's not just the serotonin-lobster thing, although hard-wired psychology certainly plays a part. The problem is that we evolved as tribal animals, but tribalism on its own doesn't work when humans cease to be nomadic, because bigger is always better.

If two sedentary/territorial tribes band together to attack one other tribe, sheer weight of numbers means they'll probably win, and three banded together means they'll almost certainly win. Even though they have to share the spoils, this is still the way to go. So it is inevitable that more and more tribes will band together, for the purposes of mutual self-defence or mutual attacking of other bands of tribes. So the units get bigger and bigger, and these larger units inevitably have to be organised hierarchically, with one big boss at the top.

A statement of the obvious maybe, but there's no way out of it.
All of this only pertains once one or more of two things becomes true. Firstly, that the the tribes are sedentary/territorial and secondly that there is limited territory such that it is worth defending to the death. it may be that these two factors are related.
Last edited by Little John on Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Little John
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Post by Little John »

But, notwithstanding the above, my problem with Peterson is his lack of acknowledgment that merely putting in place equality of opportunity does not address the rise of unstable hierarchies (because they are unnaturally extreme in terms of the conditions under which the tendency to organize ourselves hierarchically evolved) in complex, socially opaque civilizations.

In other words, contrary to his thesis, the problem of tyranny is not addressed by merely resisting the bureaucratic tyranny of extreme authoritarian socialism fixated on identity politics. The plutocratic tyranny of extreme free-market capitalism is at least as dangerous if not more so and he appears to have absolutely nothing to say on that.
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Post by johnhemming2 »

Little John wrote:In other words, contrary to his thesis, the problem of tyranny is not addressed by merely resisting the bureaucratic tyranny of extreme authoritarian socialism fixated on identity politics. The plutocratic tyranny of extreme free-market capitalism is at least as dangerous if not more so and he appears to have absolutely nothing to say on that.
There are people who disagree with your analysis on this. If you take the phrase "extreme free-market capitalism" for example. In the EU capitalism is regulated. One reason why people like Murdoch wish the UK to leave the EU is that he is unable to strongly influence the EU and its decisions on trade issues - he feels to be able to more strongly influence a UK that is not in the EU.

I would think Peterson is a supporter of "capitalism". He may even support the regulation of capitalism, but I don't know his view.

I don't know enough about Canada, but I don't think you could necessarily apply the description "extreme free-market capitalism" to Canada.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

When discussing capitalism and it's regulation you have to consider that we are arguing about it from where we are now which is quite heavily (if poorly executed) regulated, not some "extreme free-market" that does not exist anywhere. Pro capitalists arguing for less regulation are not arguing for no regulation only less then the present rules. That can be a long way from extreme. There are exceptions of course and they tend to be the loudest shouters but the rank and file would like the government to get out of their way so they can turn a profit and not have all of that taxed away later. But at the same time that rank and file want government to police and regulate things sufficiently to allow orderly business where contracts are honored and accounts receivable get received etc.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

VT, the stock market regulation was cut to shreds and resulted in the 2008 crash. There has been no further regulation and we're just waiting for the next crash.

Taxation is being removed from corporations all over the world and they avoid still as much taxation as they can. As a result the small businessman and the middle classes are paying a much greater portion of the overheads that these mega corporations and their non tax paying owners should be paying. If you look back in history when this happens so do revolutions; look at Russia and France for example only then is was aristocrats who held the power and the money.
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