The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Jordon Peterson

Establishment elites in both parties often have advanced degrees from prestigious institutions, are often published, are frequently quoted and interviewed, are well known in the arts and in entertainment, have become cultural influencers, and have a near monopoly on high government positions. They are our leaders, our diplomats, our commentators. It's odd therefore, that they are often wrong about the trajectory of our country, wrong in the guidance and leadership that they provide, wrong when they decide to confront our adversaries and often wrong when they don't. What the heck is going on? Are they, in fact elite? Are they people we should follow?

That's a question asked by author, professor, and clinical psychologist Jordon Peterson, the author of the #1 bestseller, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,. He's a man who questions many of the politically correct "rules" that have been established by leftist elites. To the surprise of those elites, he has become widely followed by millennials and as a consequence, represents a distinct threat to the power of today's entertainment, political, and media thought leaders. He has raised important questions about postmodernism, postmodern feminism, white privilege, cultural appropriation, and environmentalism. Because the left considers those topics to be sacrosanct, Peterson been vilified in the usual ways, dishonestly accused of alt-right leanings, racism, misogyny, the usual tedious list of ad hominem attacks.

Joy Pullimann explores Peterson's work and then writes:
At precisely the most credentialed moment in world history, we have a competency crisis, due to running things according to politically convenient lies rather than accuracy, competence, and efficiency. The evidence for this is plentiful and within nearly everyone’s common experience. Old dishwashers are more efficient and effective than new ones. So are old showerheads and toilets. Public infrastructure is degrading to shameful conditions despite our historic peak of technical power because, among other things, all the maintenance money has been spent on inflated pensions and pork.

Western education institutions now generally and self-evidently serve not as robust developers of young minds and souls, but of a ridiculously expensive, careerist version of virtue signaling. Schools and colleges routinely graduate people who can hardly read or do math at even an eighth grade level. Large percentages of would-be teachers, all of whom graduated high school and college, cannot pass licensing exams typically set at approximately a fifth- to eighth-grade level that completely ignore key competencies such as knowledge of how to teach reading.
All of this is painfully true, and much of it is due to the decades long leadership of the establishment elites whose every decision ultimate boils down to staying in power—at any cost. That's why they characterize "populism" as a dirty word. After all, if you're a populist, you will listen to elites with a newfound and fully justified skepticism.

Pullimann writes:
Peterson and many others note rightly that most of our universities, and the other cultural institutions they gatekeep such as media and public schools, are anti-education, anti-culture, and anti-American. They gain power by separating people, by not only refusing to cultivate the capacity for self-government, but also actively cultivating intellectual, economic, and spiritual dependency.
Ahhh ... dependency. Along with the cultivation of a victims' culture evident throughout identity politics, dependency gives the elites enormous power. After all, if you're dependent on government, they "got you." If you perceive yourself as a victim who deserves special treatment, they got you. The elites can offer up free stuff and special treatment in return for robotic compliance with their dictates. At the end of the day, they want nothing so much as control. Control imparts power and power can, if applied without constraint, lead to authoritarianism.

Pullimann quotes Caitlin Flanagan as she discusses Peterson, his ideas, and the people who are listening closely to them:
“These are people who aren’t looking for an ideology; they are looking for ideas. And many of them are getting much better at discerning the good from the bad. The Democratic Party reviles them [think: "deplorables"] at its peril; the Republican Party takes them for granted in folly.”
The last two years have accentuated the gulf that lies between the elites and the rest of us. The elites of both parties have rejected the Trump presidency (and the populism and rejection of the elites it implies). They have in essence implied that half the country (in voting for Trump) was/is wrong or stupid or "deplorable." The GOP elites are guilty of this, but the people who lean right reject their view out of hand. The Democrat elites are guilty of the same thing, but the people who lean left embrace the elites' view with little equivocation.

That's an interesting difference and something that just might blindside the Democrats going forward.