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

Monday, May 13, 2019


Jordan Peterson is the author of the international best seller, 12 Rules for Life, and is well-received by millennials who often treat him as a quasi-life coach. Because of his popularity and the fact that his message conflicts with many leftist narratives, progressives tend to dismiss him and/or demonize him. Here is Peterson on one of the left's core narratives—"equity:"
The mantra of Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity (DIE) perhaps constitutes the primary identifying factor of the tiny minority of radical collectivist ideologues that nonetheless have come to dominate the humanities and social sciences in Western universities (and, increasingly, the HR departments of corporations). Of these three, equity is the most egregious, self-righteous, historically-ignorant and dangerous. “Equity” is a term designed to signal “equality,” in some manner, and is a term designed to appeal to the natural human tendency toward fairness, but it does not mean the classic equality of the West, which is equality before the law and equality of opportunity.

Equality before the law means that each citizen will be treated fairly by the criminal justice and judicial systems regardless of their status — and that the state recognizes that each individual has an intrinsic value which serves as a limit to state power, and which the polity must respect. There is likely no more fundamental presumption grounding our culture.

Equality of opportunity is a doctrine of openness predicated on the fact that talent is widely distributed although comparatively rare. This should come as no surprise to anyone, given that some people are much better at doing a given task than others and, because of that, it is in everyone’s selfish interest to allow such talent to come to the fore so that we can all benefit. This means that no one should be arbitrarily denied the possibility of their contribution for reasons unrelated to the task at hand. This is also a fundamental principle of Western culture, particularly in its free-market guise.
Conservatives rightly characterize the equity issue as a debate over equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcomes. There is no guarantee of equality of outcome, but every society should attempt to provide equality of opportunity. Progressives argue that we have failed in that regard, but there are few, if any societies on the planet who have tried harder to overcome that failure or done more to remedy it.

But it's more than that. It also goes to the central question of the spectrum human ability, and of the parallel spectrum of personality and character traits that drive some to excel while others are perfectly willing to live their lives without the stress (and risk) that always accompanies high achievement.

Progressives often take the fall back position that those who do not achieve "equity" have somehow been victimized by our broader society, and if it were not for that, we would achieve equity of outcome. That position flies in the face of our collective experiences and observations, and that's the reason that equity argument embedded in the broader political correctness narrative leads to cognitive dissonance among large portions of the electorate. People observe distinct and irrefutable differences in physical and intellectual traits among other people, they have encountered many people who are driven, who are risk takers, who have failed only to try again. But they've also encountered and others who who are less enthusiastic about achievement, who are risk averse, and who are crushed by failure, unwilling to try again. That's human nature and it will always be with us—at least as long as humans in their current form sit at the top of the food chain.