MacLean’s is the Stupid Man’s Stupid Magazine

MacLean’s magazine asks the rhetorical question Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person? The title of this hit piece smears anyone who enjoys Peterson as ‘stupid’. Is author Tabatha Southey a smart person?

University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson was in the news this week—and one imagines this makes the university sad. Peterson first made the news and became a belle of the alt-right when, in September 2016, he announced that he would not use a student’s preferred pronoun if he were asked to, except that he might if he felt the request was “genuine,” and no one had asked him that anyway.

What he actually said was that he wouldn’t let the government or the university administration compel him to use these ‘special’ pronouns. Equating this position with the position of white ethno-nationalist is purely dishonest. Not a good start for Southey.

What that poor man has been through.

Well, he was put through hell. Check your progressive female privilege, Tabatha.

Needless to say, in an economy as desperately short of leadership and ideas as the alt-right’s is, Peterson’s stock went through the roof. He currently has legions of fans hanging on his every YouTubed word; he’s now hauling in around USD $50,000 a month through crowdfunding.

And all this through the tiny minority who are ‘alt-right’? What a load of bullshit. This smears everyone who enjoys Peterson’s commentaries on the bible as racist. Hillary Clinton lost the election in part because she called half the population deplorable. MacLean’s will hopefully lose readers after calling them white supremacists.

“Postmodern neo-Marxism” is Peterson’s nemesis, and the best way to explain what postmodern neo-Marxism is, is to explain what it is not—that is, it is entirely distinct from the concept of “cultural Marxism.”

Bullshit. Fredric Jameson, who set forth one of the first expansive theoretical treatments of Postmodernism, introduced Americans to the Frankfurt School, a European Neo-Marxist movement. Cultural Marxism is the claim that followers of the Frankfurt School have infiltrated the social sciences in academia. Ergo, the concepts are not entirely distinct.

“Cultural Marxism” is a conspiracy theory holding that an international cabal of Marxist academics, realizing that traditional Marxism is unlikely to triumph any time soon, is out to destroy Western civilization by undermining its cultural values. “Postmodern neo-Marxism,” on the other hand, is a conspiracy theory holding that an international cabal of Marxist academics, realizing that traditional Marxism is unlikely to triumph any time soon, is out to destroy Western civilization by undermining its cultural values with “cultural” taken out of the name so it doesn’t sound quite so similar to the literal Nazi conspiracy theory of “cultural Bolshevism.”

Claiming Cultural Marxism is a conspiracy theory doesn’t change the fact that there is ample evidence for the influence of the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School on western academia. Postmodern neo-Marxism is not a conspiracy theory. The Frankfurt School is a fact. Smearing those who believe in cultural Marxism as Nazis is not an argument.

To be clear, Jordan Peterson is not a neo-Nazi, but there’s a reason he’s as popular as he is on the alt-right. You’ll never hear him use the phrase “We must secure a future for our white children”; what you will hear him say is that, while there does appear to be a causal relationship between empowering women and economic growth, we have to consider whether this is good for society, “‘’cause the birth rate is plummeting.”

How is this a problem? The birth rate is indeed plummeting, and the fact that women are participating in the workforce is one of the causes. Considering the impact of the falling birthrate on society is good.

He doesn’t call for a “white ethnostate,” but he does retweet Daily Caller articles with opening lines like: “Yet again an American city is being torn apart by black rioters.” He has dedicated two-and-a-half-hour-long YouTube videos to “identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege.”

Decrying violence and the feminist white privilege conspiracy theory is a far cry from calling for a white ethnostate. Implying that the two are the same is dishonest.

Now, as I’ve said, I failed to get in on the ground floor of the “not using a person’s chosen address” industry which, in a simpler time, was known as “calling people names” and was considered bad manners. But since calling a certain University of Toronto professor “Jordan Pea-Headerson” is apparently the only thing standing between us and non-stop collectivist potato farming, I’ll do my part for the resistance.

Not using a person’s chosen address is not the same as calling them names. Maybe make some real arguments, rather than devolving into childishness? [See the original article for more brainless rhetoric if you feel so inclined, which I’ve removed because I care about my readers.]

As far as I can tell, [Dr. Peterson] rewards the devotion of his Patreon patsies with regular rants against “political correctness,” and relationship advice I can only call “Angry Oprah Says.” For USD $29.99, Petersonites can get access to the Self Authoring Suite (a USD $119.92 value!). Those looking for further opportunities to give him money can pay USD $9.99 for “100 question phrases” which “can be found, along with similar question sets, elsewhere on the web” so that they might learn how your personality compares to 10,000 others.

And people are free to do this if they want to. Calling them patsies isn’t going to persuade them. Not an argument.

Pro tip: just take a personality test from the back of an issue of Glamour; you’ll only be out about five bucks, and you might find a free perfume sample.

Pro tip: A personality profile developed by a clinical psychologist, not a hack magazine writer, may actually be worth $10, whereas an entire issue of Glamour likely isn’t worth $5.

He also gives book recommendations apparently drawn from a high-school English-class reading list. If somehow you missed them, Mistress Peterson is the portal to such obscure works as Animal FarmOf Mice and Men, and that cornerstone of the Western canon, Flowers for Algernon.

And people who haven’t read these books should. Animal Farm is an allegory for communism, written by George Orwell the author of 1984. Of Mice and Men is a novel about ordinary people surviving the wake of the great depression, written by Grapes of Wrath author John Stienbeck. Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction novel about a mentally disabled man who is given high intelligence via a surgical procedure.

There is no polite way to put this, but since Peterson claims that “If you worry about hurting people’s feelings and disturbing the social structure, you’re not going to put your ideas forward,” I’m just going to say it: Spend half an hour on his website, sit through a few of his interminable videos, and you realize that what he has going for him, the niche he has found—he never seems to say “know” where he could instead say “cognizant of”—is that Jordan Peterson is the stupid man’s smart person.

Wow, what a criticism. Jordan Peterson’s videos are long and he uses big words. Wah!

Peterson’s videos go on and on. It’s like opening up a tab for one of those bird’s nest webcams at the height of its popularity: Lots of people are watching, you feel like you should too, but nothing is happening. You keep checking back, the viewer numbers have risen, but the scene is just so grey and drab. You can make out a white object on your screen that may or may not be cracking up, but as time goes on you start to think, “This thing was not incubated properly.”

Nothing is happening in your head.

Watching his videos, it’s easy to conclude that Dr. Jordan Eggman exhibits the first documented case of the male-cry voice. Maybe he wouldn’t need to repeat himself quite so much, maybe he’d be more convincing when explaining things like men are helpless before “crazy women” and “harpies” because it’s not socially acceptable for men to hit women and that this is “undermining the masculine power of the culture” in a way that will prove “fatal” if he didn’t sound quite so much like Gwyneth Paltrow accepting her Oscar for Shakespeare in Love.

Jordan Peterson sounds funny. Hard hitting critique!

It was a video that brought J-man back into the news this week. In July, he posted a video on his YouTube page laying out a plan to launch a website on which students and parents could have courses rated for them by artificial intelligence that could detect a “postmodern cult course.” His aim, he explained, was to cut off “the supply to the people that are running the indoctrination cults.” Ultimately, the champion of free speech said, he hoped the project would shut down whole departments that upset him.

I liked this idea, but he ended up nixing it.

One has to wonder why Dr. Pettyson felt the need to resort to artificial intelligence. He’s already concluded that the entire fields of “women’s studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies groups” “have to go,”and that sociology, anthropology, English literature, and education are all “corrupt.”

Ah, so you recommend throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

Understandably, this plan to unleash grumpy-old-man Skynet on the academic world caused concern amongst his peers. The University of Toronto Faculty Association released a statement on Friday condemning Peterson’s website plan, without naming him directly; the group said it was “alarmed to learn that a web site may be under construction that is designed to place under surveillance certain kinds of academic content.”

We should be looking carefully at academic content, and resources that help students make intelligent decisions are a good thing. Students will after all have to pay for the courses they take. The expectation that no one can review your service says that it can’t stand up to scrutiny.

No one can objectively look at the level of hyperbole used by Jordan Buttercup Peterson and his fanbase and not acknowledge that the Faculty Association’s concern is justified. I wouldn’t want to be a department at the end of those more than 500,000 Youtube subscribers and more than 250,000 Twitter followers.

The service was not intended to be used to target universities. This may well be why Peterson changed his mind on the idea.

But woe betide those fields that have abandoned serious inquiry and empirical evidence and have become cult-like: Guru Jordan will vanquish you—just as soon as he’s done prepping his course, Psychology 434: Maps of Meaning. In this rigorously academic course, students learn how “every experience that you have had contains information. If you have fully processed the information in that experience, (1) its recollection will no longer produce negative emotion and (2) you have learned everything you need to know from it.”

Psychology is not a hard science, but claiming it is less rigorous than “women’s studies,  ethnic studies, and racial studies” is ludicrous.

It’s easy to assume Peterson is deserving of respect. A lot of what he says sounds, on the surface, like serious thought. It’s easy to laugh at him: after all, most of what he says is, after fifteen seconds’ consideration, completely inane. But in between his long rambling pseudo-academic takes on common self-help advice and his weird fixation on Disney movies, is a dreadfully serious message.

Dismissing the arguments of a practicing clinical psychologist after thinking about them for fifteen seconds leads me to think you have a journalism degree. Are you going to make an argument?

What he’s telling you is that certain people—most of them women and minorities—are trying to destroy not only our freedom to spite nonbinary university students for kicks, but all of Western civilization and the idea of objective truth itself. He’s telling you that when someone tells you racism is still a problem and that something should be done about it, they are, at best, a dupe and, at worst, part of a Marxist conspiracy to destroy your way of life.

Certain people are trying to remove our right to free speech, which is indeed one of the foundations of western civilization. I have never heard Peterson deny that racism is a problem. Not being able to criticize individuals actions because of their race is a problem.

Peterson says he only thinks of it as a “non-violent war.” But when you insist the stakes are that high, the opposition that pernicious, who’s to say where the chips will fall?

Yes. There are radical communists out there who go around hitting people in the head with bike locks. In response, crazies on the alt-right come out and kill demonstrators with their cars. So why add to the problem by shitting all over Peterson and the vast majority of people who merely see him as a right leaning centrist and find some value in what he has to say? You will only push them further to the right, and closer to the alt-right.

This entire article contains no arguments against Peterson’s positions that withstand more than the briefest scrutiny. Peterson has made a few arguments–namely calling men going their own way “pathetic weasels” and advocating forced monogamy as a solution to the incel problem–that I’ve argued against. See Jordan Peterson is Wrong on Forced Monogamy. Smearing Peterson and his fans is not going to make him less popular; quite the opposite. If you want to attack Peterson, you’ll need to go after his ideas with serious arguments, not slurs.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
This entry was posted in philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to MacLean’s is the Stupid Man’s Stupid Magazine

  1. Pingback: MacClean’s Thinks Free Speech is a Right Wing Conspiracy | Jim's Jumbler

  2. Denny Sinnoh says:

    Yes, Tabatha Southey is “Alt-Stupid”.

  3. Pingback: The Guardian Smears Jordan Peterson | Jim's Jumbler

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