The Enemy of my Enemy:
Vox Day’s Jordanetics
Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker
Castalia House, 2018
I have a confession: I was once a fan.
I was recommending the works and lectures of Dr. Jordan Peterson to friends, strangers, and family. There seemed to be a wave of public support rising for this man who was taking feminists and SJWs to task. He was defending tradition, religion, and the family—saving one’s father from the belly of the whale and all that. And he was defending freedom of speech in the face of government encroachment. What was there to criticize? What wasn’t there to celebrate?
But then the criticisms started coming in. And unlike criticisms of other figures, the criticisms seemed to be coming exclusively from the top of the distribution. I heard a long-time dedicated occultist friend mention that he dismissed anyone who took Dr. Peterson seriously. I heard Bishop Barron take a bit of umbrage with Peterson’s “gnosticisng tendency.”
And then, the infinitely disagreeable Vox Day discovered the man.
I watched over the course of six months as Vox Day first discovered Dr. Peterson, and seemed to grow more incredulous with each passing week that Dr. Peterson had ever risen to prominence in the first place.
It began mildly enough. Here’s a partial transcript from his first video, called “The Problem with Jordan Peterson”:
We have someone who, over the past two to three years, done some good work, been a more or less generally positive on people, and has become someone who is generally recognized by the mainstream media as a leading voice of the intellectual right […] I have to admit that I have, um, the one thing that’s impressed me most is the way that he has been able to build a tremendously successful video library […] I actually based my own Voxiversity program on them […] But—and you all knew the but was coming—the reality is that if you’re going to position yourself as a philosopher; if you’re going to talk about the importance of truth, then you have a moral responsibility to hold to that.
At this point in the relationship, the whole point of contention was Jewish IQ. Peterson had attempted to address the “so-called ‘Jewish Question’” in a blog post, arguing that Jewish overrepresentation was entirely explainable on the basis of a high mean IQ . . . a mean which Peterson claimed to be 110-115.
There are at least four problems with this. First, it isn’t true. Vox explains at length how not only does Peterson’s source account only for private school attendees at religious schools from several decades back, but the author of the study himself claims—in the study!—that the data isn’t representative of Jews as a whole. Incidentally, a similar study at the same time identified white private Catholic-school attendees as having a mean IQ of 119. Ashkenazi IQ appears to hover closer to 103-105; still high, but not nearly high enough to account for Jewish over-representation.
The second problem, of course, was that even if the bad data was accepted, the math was bad. A commenter on Peterson’s site took him to task for this, and identified that even if American Jews had an average IQ of 115, their over-representation still required nepotism to explain their positioning in society.
The third and fourth problems could not be identified in that first video, as Vox was still unfamiliar with Peterson’s teachings, but they are that, in two distinct ways, the argument goes against his own philosophy.
But this leads to a tricky question: what is Dr. Peterson’s philosophy?
With most intellectuals, it is possible to summarize their arguments in a way that conveys their essence to ordinary people who have not read their work. For example, one could summarize Nietzsche’s “slave morality” argument by saying something like: “Nietzsche believed that ancient ‘morality’ was based around the polarities of ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ He believed the good was aligned with the nobility; it is described by things like power, pride, and happiness. The slave-class were resentful of the nobility’s power and happiness, and so they used words to create a new system of values, in which up was down and down was up. They defined noble ‘bad’ (the slaves) as the new ‘good,’ and the noble ‘good’ (the aristocracy) as ‘evil.’ Nietzsche believed that because the noble ‘good’ are the most procreative and pro-life values, the reversal of values and invention of modern morality, and its institution in Christianity in particular, creates a culture that is, in its moral values, hostile to life itself.” Different people may phrase it differently, but I would wager that basically everyone who has read Nietzsche would agree that this is, in essence, his argument.
With Peterson, such a distilled summary is not possible. Ask five Peterson fans what his philosophy is, or what he means when he talks about “truth,” you will likely get three different and mutually exclusive answers. Does he subscribe to a pragmatic definition? A coherence theory? A strange variant of an identity theory? Based on his conversation with Sam Harris, it isn’t a theory that is easily understood or believed even by experts who are nominally on his side, politically.
In philosophy, adversaries are expected to respect the methodological principle of charity which requires interlocutors to interpret each other’s argument in a manner that is the most coherent and rational, if multiple interpretations are possible. If someone says, for example, that it is 11 AM and the sun isn’t up, we could easily conclude that they are delusional—of course the sun would be up at 11 AM. But it is possible that their language loosely meant that the weather was overcast; this interpretation would make more rational and coherent sense of their two statements than simply accepting them on their face.
So would it be possible to apply the principle of charity to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson? Might we be able to stitch together his seemingly disconnected and incoherent philosophy? And if so, what would it look like?
Vox Day’s book—Jordanetics: A Journey into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker—is that charitable book. But it is only charitable in the philosophical sense of the term. The worldview that emerges is coherent, but it is not pretty.
On the surface, Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life sound relatively innocuous, even helpful, albeit a little simplistic. What’s wrong with having good posture? What’s so bad about treating yourself well and choosing good friends? Where’s the harm in cleaning your room, or telling the truth?
But the ordinary, readily-understood meanings of Chapter-titles such as “Tell the truth—or, at least, don’t lie” are dependent upon ordinary, readily-understood definitions of words such as “truth” and “lie.” Peterson’s philosophy is not just a collection of helpful psychological folk-wisdom because at its base, he redefines—among other things—truth, God, Logos, lies, falsehoods, order, chaos, and suffering. An example: although Peterson gives various and conflicting definitions of truth, his primary and most repeated definition is a Darwinian notion, of speech that leads to your survival. Furthermore, telling a lie is not knowingly saying something that is not, but saying something that makes you feel like you’re coming apart inside.
Suddenly, the ostensibly straightforward axiom “Tell the truth—or, at least, don’t tell lies” seems to permit both lies and the withholding of the truth, as the terms are more conventionally understood, so long as the speaker says things which aid in his survival and success and which do not cause him to feel like he is falling apart inside. This is something that Peterson repeatedly, and demonstrably, does—not just with Jewish intelligence, but with things like the proportion of people who don’t take their pills, and the reasons why, as well as with absurd, almost Clinton-esque unnecessary lies like “I didn’t sleep at all for 25 days.”
All of the twelve rules require translations of this kind if they are to be understood in a coherent manner. Jordanetics provides this service, and the twelve hidden rules which emerge are as follows:
- Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
- Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. (Why won’t you just take your damn pills?)
Translation: God is the balance between Good and Evil.
- Make friends with people who want the best for you.
Translation: Leave the wounded behind to die.
- Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
Translation: Your head is the only truly safe space.
- Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
Translation: Do not excel, because excellence endangers the balance.
- Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
Translation:Inaction is always preferable to action.
- Pursue what is meaningful (Not what is expedient)
Translation:To reach Heaven above, you must descend into Hell below.
- Tell the truth–or, at least, don’t lie.
Translation: You can speak a new world into existence through your lies.
- Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.
Translation: Dominate the conversation and control the narrative by keeping your mouth shut.
- Be precise in your speech.
Translation: Transcend the material world and very carefully choose the words that will alter this reality.
- Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
Translation: Heal the world by assimilating its evil.
- Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
Translation: To lift the world out of Hell, you must be willing to accept its pain and suffering into yourself.
The Neo-Taoist philosophy that emerges is decidedly anti-Western, anti-Christian, and anti-nationalist (anti-identitarian of any kind, really). It is almost as if he took Nietzsche’s argument against slave-morality and took it as an advocacy position. And yet, as uncharitable as these interpretations may seem, is there any translated rule which Peterson does not advocate?
The only translation I might take issue with is Vox’s rule four, as I do not believe that Peterson argues that your head actually is, or ought to be, a safe space.
Otherwise, the interpretation Vox Day offers in Jordanetics is a “charitable” (coherent) take on Peterson’s holistic worldview, a job that Peterson fans as a whole cannot do . . . because—as Vox Day points out—most Peterson fans simply have not read the books. Nor have they read the source arguments from which Peterson’s arguments are made—Nietzsche, Jung, Solzhenitsyn, Piaget, Dostoyevsky, etc. I suspect most of them have probably read Orwell, but only 1984 and Animal Farm, not Road to Wigan Pier.
In short, Peterson appears to be an enemy of social justice warriors, feminists, and the progressive left in general. But this appearance does not make him a friend of nationalism or of the Right. To the contrary, it makes him a more insidious and more effective enemy of the nationalist Right, with his apparently more rational and attractive, less “extreme” middle-path. The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.
But what of Vox Day himself?
Vox’s criticism of Peterson delves deep into the occult and esoteric, linking Peterson not merely with anti-Western globalism, but with Thelema, Scientology, and Satanism. He points out the similarities between Peterson’s philosophy and that of Crowley and dark magic of the past. “As above, so below” appears to be a parallel theme to Peterson’s path of balance, particularly his fondness of Jung’s claim that in order for a tree to reach up into the heavens, its roots must descend into hell, and for his propensity to decry both the bottom and the top of the dominance hierarchy, representing suffering and tyranny (more suffering), respectively. In short, Vox Day’s standard for condemning Peterson is largely Christian in nature.
I am not a Thelemite, but neither am I a Christian, and I have a number of friends and acquaintances who are pagans or Thelemites. One in particular—a kind of Gnostic and disciple of Crowley—was actually the first person I saw condemn Peterson in public, even before JF’s famous seven-hour criticism. And if he who is not a Christian is against Christianity, then it may represent a failure to properly learn the moral of this story to take Vox Day as an ally for nationalism and for Whites. After all, he has expressed open contempt for America itself, based in part upon the government’s treatment of his father, and he has repeatedly said that he is a Christian first. One cannot serve two masters—at least, if one is a Christian.
I understand that Vox’s criticism of Peterson has less to do with the fact that he is not a Christian, and more to do with the fact that he is, in many ways, falsely representing himself as a Christian. But the exclusivity of Christian identity still makes the point that if you are an identitarian—or even if you desire to put your family first—Vox Day may be an enemy of your enemy, but that does not necessarily make him an ally.
I used to love—and in many ways, still do love—Christopher Hitchens. I like Hitchens despite disagreeing with him on nearly every subject, from religion and reason to foreign policy and French ideas on American soil (Thomas Paine in particular). Hitchens was an inspiration, but he was not an ally; to the contrary, he was an opponent, despite being a particularly enjoyable opponent to have. One gets the sense that Vox Day himself holds an attitude similar to this towards his own favorite writer, Umberto Eco—incidentally, an inspiration and mentor of sorts for Hitchens.
The more that Vox Day writes about politics and religion, the clearer it is that as brilliant and entertaining as the man is, he is not an ally of nationalists who care about their race. He is very sharp and often makes excellent and useful arguments, but it would be a failure to learn the moral of Vox’s own book to believe that because he is attacking a shared enemy, he must therefore be a friend.
Overall, Jordanetics is very worthwhile reading, because like Hitchens, Day is a good writer. Currently, the book is full of grammatical errors, and spelling omissions—the sorts one would expect from a second draft, rather than a polished manuscript—but the substance is not only powerful, but seriously amusing in places, particularly in the first half. It is as informative as it is instructive, on the subjects of philosophy, religion, logic, and the habits of charlatans and con-men.
Just don’t mistake the enemy of your enemy for a friend.
Johann Gottfried Herder o hudbě a nacionalismu
Revolution with Full Benefits
The State of the Nation for White Advocates
D. C. Stephenson and the Fall of the Second Klan
Scott Howard’s The Plot Against Humanity
Východ a Západ – gordický uzel: kniha Ernsta Jüngera Der gordische Knoten
Reviewing the Unreviewable
I watched a couple of his rants about Peterson, and he came of as completed ignorant of Jungian psychology. I don’t see a point in reading a 300 page “takedown” of a an who is primarily a Jungian from someone who hasn’t got the foggiest idea about the field. Likewise, much of the stuff that outraged him in Peterson could be traced back to Jung.
His attack on Peterson’s knowledge of philosophy is also unimpressive. Basically, Day seems to be a Thomist and was hence attacking Peterson because he doesn’t draw on Aquinas and Aristotle rather than delving into Peterson’s use of philosophers who he actually claims to draw from.
Given how CC’s audience tends to feel about Jung, Thelema, antinomian Gnosticism, Neopaganism.. I have a hard time imagining them as sympathetic to Day’s angle.
“he came of as completed ignorant of Jungian psychology”
Peterson comes off as plausible in the areas the listener knows nothing about. In the areas where the listener is knowledgeable he tends to come off as ignorant verging on fraudulent, dropping names & ideas he clearly doesn’t understand. I don’t know much about Jung, it was some other stuff he got to where I had a sudden shock “Wait, no… that’s not right!”
Serious academics take knowledge seriously; Peterson uses it in a smoke & lights show.
‘Suddenly, the ostensibly straightforward axiom “Tell the truth—or, at least, don’t tell lies” seems to permit both lies and the withholding of the truth, as the terms are more conventionally understood, so long as the speaker says things which aid in his survival and success and which do not cause him to feel like he is falling apart inside. This is something that Peterson repeatedly, and demonstrably, does—not just with Jewish intelligence, but with things like the proportion of people who don’t take their pills, and the reasons why, as well as with absurd, almost Clinton-esque unnecessary lies like “I didn’t sleep at all for 25 days.”’
Jordan Petersen is a Jesuit?
So, Christianity is incompatible with nationalism? Who could have guessed that? Joking aside, Peterson’s a tool with a couple of valid points that he repeats again and again and again… And those points he picked up elsevhere. Read Neumann’s book on evolution of individual consciousness, and you’ll have the entirety of his Bible and MoM lectures, only presented clearer and on much higher intellectual level.
That said, VD isn’t any better. I am about as interested in his thoughts about thelema and chaos magick as I am in Peterson’s supposed takedown of continental philosophy. Both cold take their info only at second hand.
” Read Neumann’s book on evolution of individual consciousness”
The History and Origins of Consciousness.
Christianity is NOT incompatible with nationalism. While it’s true on the one hand that a believer’s ultimate allegiance is to Christ and His Word, so that if a government demanded or required him to renounce his faith, he would have to disobey. The Scriptures are very clear on this.
However, there is no such command or even a suggestion that believers renounce their racial, ethnic and cultural identities. It just isn’t in the biblical text. The apostle Paul never required it of ethnic Jews (except in those areas which conflicted with New Covenant teachings) nor did he require Greeks/Gentiles to abandon their cultural customs and inherited traditions unless it involved gross forms of idolatry and the like. In other words, Paul and the other apostles recognized a plethora of familial traditions, ethnic customs, and cultural identities that were beneficial (or at least benign) and which did not require a believer to disassociate himself from.
Moreover, the apostles also recognized that a bond with one’s racial or cultural identity served as a means to reaching others with the Gospel of Christ within that same culture or racial group.
Passages such as ‘come out from among them’ and ‘love not the world’ have nothing to do with jettisoning one’s unique racial identity or customs, but of not thinking like those who live in spiritual darkness, not having the worldview of this system of things with its gross materialism, idolatrous ways, and mindless and empty pursuits.
Those of us who have thought carefully about Christianity and race, and who have a good grasp of the Bible’s actual teachings, redemptive history and hermeneutics sometimes feel caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, there is a gross misunderstanding among unbelievers about the nature of Christianity and what the Scriptures actually teach. And on the other hand, that same gross misunderstanding is shared among Christians who wrongly think the Bible is against recognizing racial differences, nationalism and commitment to one’s racial identity and culture, and the right of nations to protect their borders against military and cultural invaders.
The vast majority of Christians throughout history saw no conflict between defending their nation, their racial or ethnic group from outsiders who threaten it. They recognized that their commitment to God did not require them to live as hermits, nor to be so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. Truth is, Christians have a God-given commitment to BOTH their faith and their nation and all the racial and cultural implications that come with it.
Blame Romantic Nationalism’s fixation with Rousseau for this trope, as that is where most of these claims about Christianity incompatibility with any form of nationalism come from.
Good review, despite its veering into the bizarre territory of suggesting that Hitchens wasn’t also a con-man. (“Obama is the only one talking about Afghanistan so it makes sense for me to support him!” as an excuse to switch to the winning side and then feigning indignation as the anti-war candidate ended up reducing troop numbers.)
There’s a difference between being an enemy and a con-man. Hitchens was (in my opinion) a respectable enemy. Hitchens never disguised his internationalist loyalties, and made a strong (though incorrect) case for it. I respect courage, honesty, and intelligence, even in an adversary. Con-men, I cannot respect, especially when they are cowardly and dishonest.
I haven’t read the book so I don’t know all the reasoning that leads there, but I think Day is overthinking some of Jordan’s rules, extrapolating a world of sinister esoterica out of them. Anyone who’s had experience with cognitive behavioral therapy or self-help material will recognize Peterson’s rules as coming straight out of that context and spirit.
That said, I do think Peterson is a big problem. I believe he is a charlatan who’s role is to lead the flock in the wrong direction, and if Day’s book can reach some of them that’s fine with me.
Peterson can throw out some really powerful sounding sentences that catch a lot of people but it doesn’t take long to realize there’s nothing there. They are not backed up by anything. They are just words floating in space. Isolated. They are not joined to the person. They are not grounded in his own experience.
And with the silent endorsement of the establishment, he will use these powerful, out-of-context sentences to mislead our people on critical questions about our survival. Yes that makes him a problem.
Peterson has become a willing tool the system. He has been set up by the mainstream as a ‘far right truth teller’, ‘breaking through’ the net of political correctness to bring these desperately needed insights. He’s presented like that exact because he isn’t that. He’s obviously a way for the media to contain the debate into boundaries that suit them, by saying look at this ‘extremist’ who’s so ‘out there’ that we are ‘allowing to speak’. When he is anything but. That’s how they do it. And they have just done it again while nobody was looking.
Sure. Shut him down. He’s poison.
Not a Peterson fan (anymore), but I’m not buying into the “translations” of Peterson’s rules. Each one is a very, very far stretch.
For what it’s worth, the Peterson fans on Reddit seem to think they are pretty reasonable translations; they just disagree that incoherency and mediocrity are necessarily bad.
“Does Peterson pontificate in the metaphysical and make unsound leaps from science to metaphysics? Absolutely he does, and occasionally to his detriment.
But the author seems to believe that the most critical flaw in Peterson’s work is that the absence of a coherent conclusion or summation of Peterson’s doctrine compromises the integrity of the constituent arguments.”
“Those aren’t actually all that bad interpretations. What’s wrong with being mediocre at something? Most of us are actively terrible at everything compared to others in the world (which we’re increasingly aware of thanks to technology).”
“For what it’s worth” – it’s not worth anything at all, for two reasons.
Firstly, because VD’s supposed revelations of the “real” underlying principles are really rather obviously ridiculous. Having actually read Peterson’s book, most of VD’s interpretations (as stated here) don’t even come close to addressing or deriving from the point Peterson was making. (Peterson’s own examples and discussions sometimes stray quite far from the principle he is explicating, btw). VD hasn’t done his reputation (already rather low, in my estimate) any favors at all here. I might not think very highly of VD, but he’s clearly not an idiot, so I’m left scratching my head why he’d choose to come across like such a buffoon.
Secondly, dude, there are only two posts on that whole thread. This equates to “Peterson’s fans” in your mind, does it?
I agree, this is no proof whatsoever that P’s fans think these are “pretty reasonable translations”. They are annoyingly twisted and nonsensical. I don’t know what happened to VD…
I agree. Rule 7: Up. Translation: Down. Anyone can do this all day. It does not help.
It is a tight race to decide which person I care less about, Peterson or “Vox Day”. Both share an unhealthy overinflated opinion of how smart they are. Both say some interesting things now and then but digging through the megalomania simply isn’t worth it. This is especially true of VD, his paranoia and messianic complex coupled with the slavish devotion of his commenter’s makes it nearly impossible to take him seriously. Meanwhile JP is a tame “conservative” who can be counted on to not say anything overly controversial.
The only value of Peterson is his meme value to rustle leftist jimmies and/or his meme value.
However, he’s basically served his purpose and reached max saturation and effectiveness.
I’m surprised the article didn’t mention Juden Peterstein’s “I can’t” moment, Lol.
It’s all over youtube in case y’all didn’t know…
Indeed, it sums up his relationship to the anti-White establishment in one sentence.
An old economics joke says if you laid all the economists in the world end to end, they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion. I often feel that way listening to a Jordan Peterson lecture – just what is the essential point I’m supposed to take away from this, I’ve wondered. Still, for a book titled “12 Rules For Life” is not really much of a criticism to say that the rules don’t amount to some coherent, overarching philosophy. All the book aims to do is provide some principles to help one enjoy a better life, so it’s quite enough that the rules don’t contradict each other.
(Wait, I didn’t define “better”! Gulp. I sure hope VD doesn’t see this post. I dread to think what lurid interpretation he’d give it.)
Very interesting podcast on the subject to listen to: https://davidduke.com/dr-duke-mark-collett-expose-jordon-petersons-anti-white-agenda/
What he is doing is actually perfectly understandable from a Nietzschean point of view. Mediocrities ARE necessary after all. He is transforming unproductive wastes into productive mediocre drones, to be easily integrated into global identity-free society, to serve as a necessary basis for the production of the outstanding individuals.
For a Nietzschean – and I assume that one posting articles on a site like this one ought be at least a bit Nietzschean – Peterson IS a respectable opponent. He is playing by the maestro’s handbook.
Could someone care to explain what Vox Day was going on about when he went into that bizarre Peterson-Thelema subrant?
As a Thelemite, this interests me. However, a quick google search for “Jordan Peterson Thelema” didn’t net any results
Will no one rid me of this turbulent Peterson?
It seems a net gain to have a (non pomo) popularizer becoming so… popular, however irritating the guy is to behold.
Vox, meanwhile, becomes less and less interesting.
Eh, it’s kinda tiresome how folks keep accusing him of inconsistency or dishonesty, as if that is at odds with what he is selling. C’mon guys, he tells you where he is coming from. Blaming a Nietzchean for changing masks/stances, for lack of clear system, for pragmatic approach to “truth” means that you ain’t even fighting on the same ground.
Vox Day is absolutely a nationalist. Despite being a mutt himself, he is openly against immigration, open borders and miscegenation – and all of those positions are directly in line with him being a Christian.
He is a non-denominational Christian though. I don’t know what his personal theology is, or how much thought he put into it, but I suspect that most Christians wouldn’t find him too agreeable. He certainly criticizes organized Christianity often enough, and his rants about “Judeo-Christianity” sometimes arent too far off from criticisms of Christianity seen here (though, he has a very different definition of what “Judeo-Christianity” is).
What Im saying is that i doubt that he is talking for most Catholics or Protestants.
While it is certainly true that most people identifying as Christians wouldn’t agree with Vox, the main reason for that is that most churches are infested and converged to the point that they support abortions, marry homos and have women priests. They’re led astray. If one takes a historical perspective, Vox Day’s words concerning Christianity aren’t anything new or esoteric – they’re how the actual believers saw things. The modern churches won’t last – but the ones who subscribe to actual Christianity, like Vox Day, will.
Most people are idiots and easy to feed whatever pap the ones with the loudest voice shout.
Day/Beale on his blog not long back: “St Breivik Preserve Us.”
I’d say he was a member of the Church of Deus Vult. He’s also an utter twat.
Why the past tense? Also, so what if you find him a prick? That’s useful, as you’re wary of them and they won’t even try to get shit past you like the jordanpetersons of the world. It’s the people you find rubbing you the right way you should be more critical of – you have more soft spots for them and accept stuff with less criticism and flimsier arguments.
You can have whatever opinion of him personally, but what you can’t dispute is that he is an obvious asset to every nationalist there is.
He’s still a member of the Church of Deus Vult, I’m sure.
I think your second point is reasonable and I tend to agree. He has definitely done useful stuff like “SJWs Always Lie”. Maybe you’re right that an obviously obnoxious prick is better than a charming snake-oil salesman. Back in the day Richard Spencer could say/do outrageous stuff, and I’d think “Well I guess he must know what he’s doing…” – whereas with Beale’s lack of charisma his pronouncements command scepticism from all but his tiny group of cultists. Often the scepticism is warranted but he’s certainly made good points too.
I’ve tried to go thru some of Vox’s Peterson streams and… nope. At one point, he criticizes Peterson for writing in stream of consciousness style, rather that presenting a linear logical argument, saying how Maps of Meaning reads like Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. And yet Vox’s videos are just random banter that never gets anywhere. Anyone is free to go to some of them and to try and decipher what Vox’s qualm with Peterson really is. Good luck with it, Peterson may be an undisciplined writer but Vox’s is sure no Spinoza.
For example, when someone like Jay Dyer has a video that is mostly random banter and takes ages to get to the topic announced in the title, that it is because he expects you to pay for actual content. And while I don’t share much of his views, he is perfectly capable of making a clear and insightful argument when he is actually trying to do so. But Vox just isn’t, it is like your brain being turned into molasses in real time.
As for Peterson himself…
Is he a closet neolib? Maybe, probably. Is he criticizing the likes of Derrida and Adorno without having read their works or having anything like sufficient philosophical backing for it, thus making himself into an easy target for informed leftists? Yes and yes. Is he incessantly repeating insights taken from other, better authors? Yes.
But he sure isn’t conditioning young men into willing subjects for some Comtean global technocracy as Vox seems to think. He is worthwhile in that he is providing an easily digestible introduction to a number of worthy thinkers, and such normie-friendly non-(far)leftist pop introductions to Nietzsche or Heidegger are basically nonexistent. If some of his followers go from him to reading authors that he cites and recommends, then I am sure that they will eventually grow out of Peterson. And it not a long road from Jung and Elliade to Guenon and Evola…
I’m sympathetic to the gist here but have to wince at ‘happiness’ being injected into Nietzsche’s tripartite division of the noble or whatever, esp given his many criticisms of the term & its obvious association with democracy the herd & englishmen … Maybe something like Winckelmann’s ‘noble simplicity & calm grandeur’ comes closer to the spirit of a state of repose characteristic of one at the uber aristoi level?
Happiness can certainly describe different states, from hedonistic pleasure to stoic tranquility. My reading of Nietzsche was that he advocated a kind of childlike joy derived from a forgetful character, as well as the creative ecstasy of intoxication. These are, of course, much different than the kind of mundane positive feelings of contentment most people refer to when they say they are “happy,” but they are the kinds of positive feelings I meant to refer to when using the somewhat broad, catch-all term, “happiness.” Apologies for the confusion.
Thank you. Yes. I reflexively conjure an image of Last Men hopping whenever ‘happiness’ is invoked vis a vis N. BTW I appreciate your regard for Hitch. In the pre-digi dark ages of the mid-90s –living otherwise blissfully in the sahara of the bozart–I made a biweekly pilgrimage of 20 miles to obtain the latest edition of The Nation & Hitchens’ Minority Report. He was an undeniable force. A most eloquent hater. Despite his blindspots he was probably the greatest public polemicist of our pitiful little fin de siecle thru the 1st decade of the 21st c. … and if he must be jewish he is clearly the most british jew in recent memory.
Folks like Hitchens and Bertrand Russell before him were ultimately Atlantean to the core. I imagine that quite a few of this site’s readers feel some degree of admiration for them.
Comments are closed.
If you have Paywall access,
simply login first to see your comment auto-approved.
Note on comments privacy & moderation
Your email is never published nor shared.
Comments are moderated. If you don't see your comment, please be patient. If approved, it will appear here soon. Do not post your comment a second time.
Edit your comment