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Jordan Peterson, Social Media and Rise of Alt-right

by Oui Tue Nov 13th, 2018 at 02:01:56 PM EST

I'll have to agree with generic on this one.

"psychological background"

No, Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor. From what I have read, that is where his professional knowledge and experience lies. The podcasts and crowdfunding in recent years deliver quite a few bucks to keep the envelop moving forward.

From personal experience over more than a decade I have seen too many professional psychologists and psychiatrists in the profession due to damage from early youth or in the family genealogy. Some persons use the study to help find oneself or explain major issues from their youth.

More below the fold ...

Jordan Peterson has political issues with Marxism, totalitarianism and the genocidal deaths of millions under Communist regimes in the 20th century Soviet Union and China. Apparently he has come to the conclusion left is dangerous and right is OK. What makes a person tick to transform into a bloody killer. Has Peterson written about the Vietnam War, Cambodia intervention, Central and South America, Abu Ghraib and Iraq, Libya and Syrian intervention? I would place Peterson in the realm of Bernard-Henri Levy.

Peterson is a psychobabbler using social media to gain notoriety, and not through his peers, on his favorite topic of today: the deplorables of Donald Trump.

Aspen Institute: From the Barricades of the Culture Wars
The Gulag Archipelago: A New Foreword by Jordan B. Peterson

Planned visit to University of Amsterdam, an advice to the academy ...

Some eighty UvA employees and a number of student organizations want Room for Discussion to invite an extra guest for her episode with the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson next Wednesday. 'An extra guest can counteract Peterson's conservative, patriarchal, anti-feminist, anti-climate-scientific,' politically incorrect 'worldview.'

Jordan Peterson reacts on his website ...

UofA Host added a 20 min. Q&A session to the event, but no second guest

"See you in Amsterdam, you cowards, denouncers and totalitarian wannabes."

The rise of YouTube's reactionary right by Ezra Klein

One way to understand the Data & Society report is to see it as another cut at what Bari Weiss described in The New York Times (again naming Rubin and Shapiro, though omitting a lot of the more extreme figures identified by Lewis) as the "intellectual dark web." Weiss's piece described something real and important, but it had trouble defining their ideology, in large part because it was overly credulous. Here, for instance, is her explanation of what unites this community:

    They all share three distinct qualities. First, they are willing to disagree ferociously, but talk civilly, about nearly every meaningful subject: religion, abortion, immigration, the nature of consciousness. Second, in an age in which popular feelings about the way things ought to be often override facts about the way things actually are, each is determined to resist parroting what's politically convenient. And third, some have paid for this commitment by being purged from institutions that have become increasingly hostile to unorthodox thought -- and have found receptive audiences elsewhere.

This is definitely what the members of this community say about themselves. But spend some time listening to Rubin call progressivism "a mental disorder," or emailing with Sam Harris -- a New Atheist author and podcaster in this community -- and you find the commitment to civility or even debate is pretty thin. Similarly, this movement's vaunted commitment to free speech looks a bit shallow after you receive a letter from Jordan Peterson threatening a lawsuit because you ran an interview with a scholar who criticized him. And, of course, every community believes they're the ones who prize facts over feelings.

From Wikipedia entry ...

Writing for The Spectator, Tim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung's philosophy of religion, and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos, and posits that life would be meaningless without this duality.

Starting around 2000, Peterson began collecting Soviet-era paintings, displayed in his house as a reminder of, he argues, the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art, and as examples of how idealistic visions can become totalitarian oppression and horror. In 2016, Peterson became an honorary member of the extended family of Charles Joseph, a Kwakwaka'wakw artist, and was given the name Alestalagie ("Great Seeker"). Since late 2016, Peterson has been on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables, to control severe depression and an auto-immune disorder, including psoriasis and uveitis. He stopped eating any vegetables in mid-2018.

Jordan Peterson's Jungian best-seller is banal, superficial, and insidious

But the real problems in Peterson are far more dangerous than his prolixity, superficiality, or banality. The real danger in this book is its apologia for social Darwinism and bourgeois individualism covered over with a theological patina. This, as we shall see, becomes obvious in a number of places early in the book, but it is confirmed in an offhand comment near the middle of the book. (As Adam Phillips reminds us in Side Effects, offhand comments usually reveal far more than we intend, and are often closer to the truth.) Here, purportedly while telling us about his intellectual trajectory (which he never finishes because nearly every page spasmodically lurches to another topic at precisely the moment he might have to develop or substantiate a point), Peterson says of his early days that "I had outgrown the shallow Christianity of my youth by the time I could understand the fundamentals of Darwinian theory".

But he could not quite abandon the Christianity of his youth, and so Peterson spends a lot of time in this book purporting to tell us what Scripture really says, and does so with all the exegetical and hermeneutical skill of Ayn Rand. While Rand's scorn for theology and Christianity was well known, warning most believers off her, Peterson's presentation, given the lack of theological literacy of our time, contains just enough jargon and scriptural references to fool a lot of people into thinking he knows what he's talking about. He does not. If his psychology is suspect, his theology is absolutely insidious.

I was Jordan Peterson's strongest supporter. Now I think he's dangerous


My recent diary - Digital Media and the Rise of Populist Right-Wing

Digital media and the rise of right-wing populism | JStor |

Studies of the internet and politics often focus on progressive politics – on the internet as a democratizing influence or on movements such as Occupy Wall Street in the United States. The other main area is the deviant internet hackers and mischief-makers like trolls. What gets far less attention are the retrogressive mainstream political forces such as right-wing populism, which, I will argue, have been the single most important political change in at least three of the countries examined here (in China they are the most important). To make the argument, this chapter compares four right-wing populist movements: Donald Trump, in America, Narendra Modi in India, the Sweden Democrats and Chinese nationalists. Digital media have been a necessary precondition for the success of all four, but in quite different ways, depending on the media system, including digital media, in each country. Common to all four, however, is the fact that digital media have bypassed traditional media gatekeepers.

War On BDS, Progressive Left Under Attack
Democratic Ideologues, Populism and Identity Politics
Christian Zionists Collude with Alt-right Trump

Related reading …

The Hate Report: The alt-right is down, but not out

The alt-right, as we know it, looks to be in serious trouble.

Richard Spencer is beset on all sides by lawsuits and begging for money. Milo Yiannopoulos, who toured U.S. campuses and incited riots, has seemingly disappeared from public view. Andrew Anglin, once arguably the world’s most powerful neo-Nazi, is running from lawsuits.

The alt-right is in trouble, sure. But those who closely monitor the far-right, in all its incarnations, have a warning for anyone who thinks the broader movement is dying: The far-right is just suffering a temporary setback. It’s here for the long term and the lasting effects of the alt-right aren’t going anywhere.

Here’s how Daily Beast reporter and far-right expert Will Sommer sees it:

“There’s a lot of chaos in … (the alt-right) now, obviously, but I think they’ve successfully implanted in a lot of white people, especially angry white young men on the internet, the idea that white identity politics is acceptable. They’ve been derailed by a lot of personal issues among their leaders, but hard to imagine that idea going away.”

I became aware of Peterson when one of my students brought him up. He'd run across his stuff on YouTube, and we were talking about interviews as a text type, and so it was topically relevant. The student was positive about the stuff he'd seen - which from what I'd gathered was his more innocuous "guide to living" stuff - the stuff for which he is usually accused of banality.

So, we watched some interview clips together, from the "infamous" Newman interview to a debate with a Canadian professor about transgender pronouns. The thing about Peterson that's interesting is just how much mileage he gets out of implication, at least in his most public performances. It's so, so easy for him to very accurately play the, "I didn't say that" game when challenged on a particularly objectionable statement, when it's entirely obvious how and why certain audiences of his would have taken exactly that objectionable meaning away from it.

Oh, and there was a clip of him angrily shouting to an angry group of his supporters at a protest, and he was a pretty scary dude.

I will always remember his bafflement and dismissive disgust when confronted the idea that maybe he shoudl just try being kind to people. It's not that simple, he replied, you can't just be kind. Principles are at stake, he claimed, baffled that anyone would even dare to put kindness and respect on the same level with his right to, theoretically, if he wanted to, use pronouns to misgender individuals of the trans community. Of course, the issue at stake had nothign to do with legally requiring him to use zer or whatever, but about the ability of trans individuals to use such pronouns on their registration forms.

I'm rambling, I know, but whatever. I have no desire to delve into the hateful and confused swamp of his mind long enough to develop my arguments more precisely. My will to live is far to weak for such self-inflicted wounds.

by Zwackus on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 03:54:59 AM EST
The Newman interview is infamous due to the semi-automatic "So you are saying..." barrage. You know at once what certain (and less certain) audiences are getting from him? Just as well, Peterson knows beforehand limits of his niceness on particular topics. Chase him under a rock :-)
by das monde on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 11:17:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You get "So you are saying..." a lot if you outsource all the work of making a point to your audience.
by generic on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 02:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Newman did a very simplistic homework.
by das monde on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israeli consul Dayan links Jeremy Corbyn to Pittsburgh massacre (and no mention of Trump) | Mondoweiss |

After 11 Jews were massacred by a white nationalist in Pittsburgh on October 27, two Israeli officials attempted to exploit the tragedy so as to demonize Palestinian solidarity --  ambassador Ron Dermer and education minister Naftali Bennett. Now here's another offender; last week, Dani Dayan, the Israeli consul general in New York, spoke at a vigil for Pittsburgh organized by the American Jewish Committee and used the occasion to smear Jeremy Corbyn as an "anti-Semite" and to call Iran a "genocidal regime."

The Netanyahu administration is once again showing contempt for American Jews. Dayan completely avoided the topic of Donald Trump's nationalist and racist rhetoric -- even though three out of four American Jews hold Trump responsible for the massacre.

Dayan did say some healing words --  that he had flown to Pittsburgh on the night of the massacre and gone to the Tree of Life synagogue after midnight to say prayers and commune with the spirits of the dead. But he then launched into the political lessons of the massacre, and located neo-Nazi demons in Jeremy Corbyn of Britain and the Iranian government, without saying a word against Donald Trump's racist comments.  

Netanyahu's flirtation with the far right | Le Monde |
At Rabin rally, center-left leaders rail against `politics of hate, incitement'

Related reading ...

Christian Zionists Collude with Alt-right Trump
Sunshine on Alt-right Movement USA
John Kerry talking about Brexit, Globalization and disruptors in digital society | Aspen Institute |
John Kerry: Remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival and Conversation with Walter Isaacson [cached version]

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 08:33:48 AM EST
Rumor has it that Israel is ready to end the boycott of Austria's far-right foreign minister if they move the embassy to Jerusalem. Fitting in a lot of ways.
by generic on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 09:44:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Israeli minister meets Austrian FM, breaking boycott of far-right FPOe | Times of Israel - Oct. 8, 2018 |
Austria's far-right government 'wooing Israel' to end Freedom Party boycott | MEMO |

Haaretz added that one possible step that Vienna may take is a "a declaration on the status of Jerusalem". While Strache has "expressed support for moving the embassy", Kurz has said "that Austria would not be the first European Union member to do so.

However, sources claim, "when Austria ceases to be president of the EU at the end of this year, the situation could change and enable some measures, such as moving tourist, culture and commercial affairs of the Austrian embassy to Jerusalem, as was done by the Czech Republic".

Vladimir Putin taking centre stage at wedding of Austrian foreign minister
A nationalist streak runs through Putin's love for Jews and Israel
Chabad, Vekselberg, Putin and the Schneerson Library

One won't hear a word of criticism from Binyamin Netanyahu about Putin, Russia and the annexation [!!] of Crimea.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 10:19:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will agree with you about Peterson's bias about greatest evils. The Jungian archetypes, Campbell's Hero's Journey are indeed superficial... if there is nothing to change in your comfortable life.

But the embraced women, minorities may surprise progressive triangulators again by finding, hoping or voting for a better life than offered by the decaying, ever defrauded welfare state as the singularly alpha provider and protector.

Young men are particularly interested in getting life. As ever, their majority struggles to fetch social power (while young women achieve it easily now). The dominant effect of #MeToo is to compound that inhibition for taking initiative, finding own social place, breaking out of obedient quiet desperation. Peterson has little competition for attention of those men.

by das monde on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 11:03:14 AM EST
".. decaying, ever defrauded welfare state .."

Difficult to put my finger on what you precisely mean by this, seems a broad allegation.

In most Western European nations, in particular for The Netherlands where I reside, the superfluous welfare state has been forced to cut back since the 1980s. Fraud in welfare dwarfs by any other white collar crimes of defrauding the state or by not paying your fair share of taxes. See Trump and the USA, cutting back on corporate tax and handouts to some who don't need it with the intent to supply money into the economy. The backlash will come in the short term as the interest rates rise to normalcy and the debt burdened corporations and national treasuries will start feeling the pinch.

In the meantime, the EU of Brussels will have to contend to debt laden countries like Italy who want to escape austerity measures on the populist vote.

First under PM Ruud Lubbers and thereafter under PM Wim Kok (PvdA - Labour) the Dutch welfare state did get major cutbacks. Both the CDA and PvdA play a minor role in Dutch politics today and had to move more to the right of party platform and policy spectrum to survive.

Business as usual? White collar crime as 'economic' news.
Dutch tax havens - corporate tax cheating
How to Crack Down on Tax Havens, Start With the Banks

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 12:36:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As well, by "fraud" I mean takeovers of government agencies by actually opposite agendas. Think of Trump's agencies indeed. For quite some time various progressives appear to be toxically powerless to withstand that.
by das monde on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 12:47:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hahaha. And we all thought you were talking about all those wimmin and minorities sucking on the welfare teat. More fool us.

How very Petersonian of you.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 03:05:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After several years in Japan, I may tend to share the duty of communication comprehension with the listener.
by das monde on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 03:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're seeking cultural excuses for your attempts at plausible deniability.

Tough luck, I'm less polite than the average Japanese.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 05:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did a give much validation to you?
by das monde on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 06:44:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am satisfied that you've related this Peterson character to Bernard-Henri Levy and Richard Spencer in one breath, so to speak. Many more have appeared in westworld histories of real and imagined homicidal --and ahh femicidal and infanticidal-- mania.

I had a good amount of fun ridiculing Levy [School of *] over '12, '13, when I wasn't chastising Geert "The Hair Shirt Crusader" Wilders. Or Obama and resurrected Bushes. Subsequently, last night, or the wee hours this morning, I was moved to revisit Sartre, A Life to cast febrile suspicion at the other Levy (Benny), alias Pierre Victor [!], "the Maoist" and, perhaps more significant, the death-bed secretary of "The Untouchable". The lesser Levy --among contemporaries of dispossessed [jews] in colonial France seeking ahh prodigal legitimacy -- appears belatedly in this particular stream as B-H.

So far as a neurosis is really only a private affair, having its roots in personl causes, archetypes play no role at all. But if it is a question  of a general incompatibility or an otherwise injurious question productive of neuroses in relatively large numbers of individuals, then we must assume the presence of constellated archetypes. Since neuroses are in most cases not just private concers, but social phenomena, we must assume that archetypes are constellated in these cases too. [Jung: 47]
Jung has more to say about the implications in The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious with which American-style behavioral psychologist ...or neurologists ... are likely unfamiliar, being ahh unschooled in ahh therapeutic dialectic techniques, apart from ritual baptism.

Americans, as a rule, are no good interpreting symbolic language. So I am rather disinterested in the particulars of any "alt-right" personnage who has lately hijacked the US American ahh unconsciousness of the dispossessed. Where "we" sip is the "realm," or banks, of archetypes to which das monde poetically refers. To my mind, attention directed to the abnormal psychology of an individual by anonymous spectators is an activity best left to wardens, while the remainder attempt how best to express normal psychology. There is much introspection to be done on this account in so far as a "hierarchy" of deserving murders rules socially acceptable behavior within the society issuing critiques of themselves.

## Sociopaths teaching sociopaths manners.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 06:57:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The great disillusionist
How did the heroes of the past do what they did, he wondered? How did anyone find the will to achieve anything? Illusion. They were driven by beliefs that were demonstrably vain, by the very errors that Leopardi had trained himself to smell out and deconstruct. On the other hand, how wonderful to believe in such things and to act with energy and intention.
by das monde on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 02:05:54 PM EST
A barrel of laughs. I will definitely check him out.

However. Any thinker is heavily inluenced by personal experience. Ill health, unhappy family, body odour...


No sooner had Leopardi undergone his philosophical, essentially nihilist conversion than his thinking began to revolve around this central paradox: one studied and educated oneself under an imperative to find the truth, yet to live a happy life, which necessarily meant a purposeful active life, one needed to be impelled by illusion, not truth - or certainly not ultimate, philosophical truths.

A more happily socialised thinker might draw more positive conclusions.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 04:47:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:53:12 PM EST
It does indeed. It is a very charitable reading, at times too charitable. As we had discussed earlier, he misrepresented the bill he opposed so profitably. I could quibble with quite a few other passages, yet the gist of the article is still that what is true is not new and what is new is not exactly true.

I think I'm done with this.

by generic on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 08:58:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article cited by Oui below says:
Legal experts reply that not using preferred pronouns does not constitute hate speech, so Peterson's objection that his individual freedom of speech was being restricted by Bill C-16  was ill-founded. More threateningly for Peterson, the Ontario Human Rights Commission does say that refusing to refer to a trans person by a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity will likely be discrimination when it takes place in employment, housing and services like education.
So it required the expert opinion to determine the misrepresentation. Even so, his new federal duty as a professor apparently overrides his human or academic freedom of expression. So he was taking a real stance.

P.S. Peterson's own take on his Amsterdam gig.

by das monde on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 02:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Before I looked up the Canadian code, I read Peterson's message from the UvA venue. The substance of it is incoherent and appears primarily to convey his aesthetic judgment about Dutch protesters' agitation for a remedy to his speech, which they agree is offensive to them.

The letter from UvA "employees and ... student organizations" --translated from Dutch to English and purportedly quoted in part by Peterson--appears incoherent, too, because this content does not specify UvA rights and responsibilities of any and all persons, required by laws of the Netherlands.

Do you see where Peterson's rhetorical appeal to a Canadian act, C-16, is headed? Nowhere. It is unreasonable, irrational, incoherent. Consider the limitations of his implied freedom from interdiction, or "rights," while resident in the Netherlands.

First, jurisdictional authority (NE, EU, statutes and case law).
Second, statutory (not colloquial) definition of a "hate speech" act.
Third, provisional rights, protections, and criminal penalty.
Fourth, exclusions, if any, by "protected class" of persons.
Fifth, and most important, exclusive use, thereby prohibition, of propaganda by government.

In the first instance, no expert legal opinion is needed to ferret Peterson's ignorance of the foregoing or his condition as an employee of the government of the Netherlands and appropriate law enforcement, when the people have demanded of government a remedy to his ignorance. And that remedy, foremos is the injunction of "his" exclusive freedom. Nadie es libre.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 06:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even our coherence frames differ. What content is lawfully required in the letter from UvA employees, etc?

Briefly: Peterson knows well the agenda and outrage discipline at American Universities (as he cites some cases). If protestors have all rights to disrupt and threaten violence, and he has then only obligations, then he will surely seek to avoid those engagements.

As for hate speech laws and policies: Peterson had no illusions of the mission c r e e p, surely.

by das monde on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 08:25:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jordan Peterson's Flimsy Philosophy of Life

Peterson follows the existentialist philosopher Kierkegaard in insisting that the only way to make your life intelligible and avoid chaos is the "act of faith" that "Being can be corrected by becoming". But there are much better ideas to be gained from philosophy and positive psychology about how to live a valuable life, based on evidence and good theories rather than faith.

Peterson's allusive style makes critiquing him like trying to nail jelly to a cloud, but I have tried to indicate alternatives to his assumptions about morality, individualism, reality, and the meaning of life. If you go for Christian mythology, narrow-minded individualism, obscure metaphysics, and existentialist angst, then Jordan Peterson is the philosopher for you. But if you prefer evidence and reason, look elsewhere.  

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 12:14:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somehow people relentlessly reject "much better ideas": Enlightenment was met with various forms of Counter-Enlightenment; American rational open-mindedness is regularly followed by religious Great Awakenings and anti-intellectualism. Further back, Christianity prevailed in the declining Roman Empire as an anti-intellectual opposition to the Greek classics; and most dramatically, Islamic Golden age ended with a decisive victory of anti-intellectual Asharites.

I see two reasons for that. For one, Reason proved to be an awkward, stilted leader of human tribes. It had its best time in the 20th century, when progress was obvious and engaging. Somehow it was not rewarded gratefully, and its appreciation decreases further. Even in Ancient Greece, where gods and heroes had vulnerabilities and vices (which helped to define philosophy as critical inquiry), common Athenians looked at philosophers dismissively. It is hard to be a congruent leader by self-defeatingly questioning any authority. Can this classical philosophy take a critical view at its critical method? Perhaps reverence to authority in ancient Persian, Indian, Confusian doctrines was not a disqualifying error, after all.

Secondly, Reason effectively assumes utility of all choices known, or that "unknown unknowns" would not change epistemology and ethics. That is a haughty stance. Notice how anti-intellectual currents gain strength "just before" major social-political transformations. It is plausible that Reason knows (and will ever know) much less about dialectical resolutions of Chaos into Order than its opposition. Major upheavals (including the coming climate change, presumably ) are survived not by any Bayesian knowledge but by faith that is already present in communal joints, bones and genes.

Peterson apparently communicates in this venue, for better or worse.

by das monde on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 01:46:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a Peterson quorum by another name.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 07:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And here is another.

And another.

And another.

And so on and so forth.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 07:31:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Plato and Aristotle, a virtue is always something deliberate, and usually a restrain or some discomfort.
by das monde on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 08:27:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
primary source
preferably in context length > 25 words
from any translation you choose.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 04:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plato's "Protagoras", some context highlights:
[319a] What is to learn from a philosopher? Virtue
[329d] Virtue is a whole of being just, temperate, etc
[339b] Citing poet Simonides: It is hard to become/be good.
[340e] Is it hard to stay virtuous?
[342b] Praise of the Spartan character
[350b] The courageous know what they are doing
[353c] The vice of being overcome by pleasure
[354a] Painful goods
[356d] Knowledge by measure
[357d] Errors, vices by ignorance
[360e] The ignorant would not be virtuous
[361b] Expression of virtue presupposes knowledge

Similarly, the gist of Aristotle's ethics is that virtuous acts are those performed by virtuous people consciously (i.e., by deliberate choice, intention). They are defined by their character (the habit of virtue) rather than "mechanics". Good life involves good reasons for the acts, etc.

by das monde on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 04:51:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what you think of outraged students vandalizing prof's office door, and then the administration putting all responsibility on the prof?  Similarly, shouldn't people of Reason accept responsibility for massive anti-intellectual backlashes?
by das monde on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 08:31:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A feminist philosopher makes the case against Jordan Peterson

Kate Manne:

His idea (in chapter six of his book) that what leads to mass shootings in general, and school shootings in particular, is a kind of ahistorical, existential angst, or a "crisis of being" -- that's the phrase he uses! -- about the despair and misery and suffering of human beings.

Peterson thereby takes on a huge burden of explaining why white women, people of color, nonbinary folks, and so on, almost never act on our existential angst and despair in this way. Because, as you know, the vast majority of school shooters have been white men.

I also think the way Peterson cherry-picked the few more dignified-sounding sentences from the diary of one of the Columbine killers, Eric Harris, was downright dishonest. As I wrote in my review, he failed to mention the fact that the majority of Harris's diary was a virulently racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and ableist screed.

Harris, like many other mass killers, was obsessed with the very hierarchies whose importance or validity Peterson never really challenges or offers an alternative to.

Truth Teller, Guru, Hypocrite?

    Jordan Peterson dishes out what he sees as harsh truths,
    but can he take them in return? Critics see hypocrisy and
    even misogyny in his threats to sue them for defamation.

The Alt-Right's Discourse of "Cultural Marxism" : A Political Instrument of Intersectional Hate

Key words | existential angst, or a "crisis of being" |


Scholar @Duke University - by Owen Flanagan.


Existentialism is a concern about the foundation of meaning, morals, and purpose. Existentialisms arise when some foundation for these elements of being is under assault. In the past, first-wave existentialism concerned the increasingly apparent inability of religion, and religious tradition, to provide such a foundation, as typified in the writings of Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche. Second-wave existentialism, personified philosophically by Sartre, Camus and de Beauvoir, and in literature by Mann and Hesse, developed in response to the inability of the polity to serve as such a foundation. There is a third-wave existentialism, a new existentialism, developing in response to advances in the neurosciences that threaten the last vestiges of an immaterial soul or self. With the increasing explanatory and therapeutic power of neuroscience, the mind no longer stands apart from the world to serve as a foundation of meaning. This produces foundational anxiety. This collection of new essays explores the anxiety caused by this third-wave existentialism and some responses to it. It brings together some of the world's leading philosophers, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and legal scholars to tackle our neuroexistentialist predicament and explore what the mind sciences can tell us about morality, love, emotion, autonomy, consciousness, selfhood, free will, moral responsibility, law, the nature of criminal punishment, meaning in life, and purpose.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 08:37:21 PM EST
If all concerns about young male lives are reflexively framed as misogyny and toxic masculinity, what is humane about this harassment of their striving and initiative? As I mentioned above, such things as #MeToo only inhibit social power possibilities (and existential woes) of only-so-much-privileged guys. This feminism is just a form of deluding "surplus" males -- something does it in nearly almost society.

What is nice about this:

Boys left to fail at school because attempts to help them earn wrath of feminists ...

by das monde on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 09:01:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Much too easy to put blame on "feminist" activity.

Boys left to fail at school because attempts to help them earn wrath of feminists, says ex-UCAS chief  

Ms Curnock Cook praised the new higher education regulator for starting to highlight the underrepresentation of white working class boys at university, by listing them as a target group for outreach activities.

"But it's too late to say `you have to admit more poor white boys to university'. The reason why their particular admission rate is lower is because they have fallen behind in education. It starts in the early years and gets worse over time," she said.

Boys are also more likely to be expelled from school than girls, according to the Department for Education's most recent figures, with the permanent exclusion rate for boys over three times higher than that for girls.

In the past five years, more than twice as many male university students committed suicide than their female peers, despite there being fewer male students.

○ Head of UCAS says private school pupils are 'sleepwalking' through same education experience as their parents
Men's rights movement
Intelligence Report Article Provokes Fury Among Men's Rights Activists | SPLC |

The last issue of the SPLC's Intelligence Report presented a scathing portrait of "a hard-line fringe" of the Men's Rights Movement (MRM): "women haters whose fury goes well beyond criticism of the family court system, domestic violence laws, and false rape accusations," whose rage is "directed at all women, not only perceived feminists."

In Dutch education system, Moroccan boys are doing poorer than the girls. It's a cultural thing in the immigration group of Moroccan families. And I speak from personal experience in addition to the attempt to get Moroccan boys to enter vocational education. Girls are doing much better in the languages and overall Dutch education. That's become a problem as the boys become young men and don't want to marry a "Western" Moroccan girl in The Netherlands. The young men return to Morocco to pick a partner and the cyclus starts from zero once again: poorly educated, doesn't speak the language and is conservative about the religion of Islam.

Related reading ...

Dichtbij de jongens uit de Schilderswijk
Aanpak onderwijsachterstanden | Dutch Gov. Minister of Education |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 03:11:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are not many tolerated (though largely ignored) critics of the feminist (yes, feminist) onslaught on boys' prospects.

I quoted this before:

But the truth is boys have been systematically feminized for the past 3-4 generations. Boys are taught like defective girls. Since the 1970s it is increasingly women who have dominated academia from kindergarten to doctorate degrees. [...] School and teaching became 'for girls' and the educational landscape shifted to teaching styles that girls were most benefited in.

In that shift the idea that boys might be disadvantaged had little bearing, but overtime the conditions of teaching 'to girls' defined the teaching style as the correct style. In fact, teaching in a way that girls learn best, and disciplining boys for not learning this way, is no longer a style -- it is just the way children are taught. Boys and men today are the product of female teachers who actively advantage girls at the expense of boys. So normalized is this teaching that boys disrupting the advantaging of girls in class is something we've decided needs to be medicinally curbed. Boys being boys is diagnosed as an illness and drugs are prescribed so as to sedate them long enough for the girls to learn.

by das monde on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 11:26:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh fuck off. Seriously.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 03:18:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You go to Fukuoka.
by das monde on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 04:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears>
And never forget Marx and Flaubert: While there may have been and are at this moment university students beavering away to dam a stream of consciousness in order to articulate a cogent thesis about the one, true God's episodic death, everywhere, I confess. I believe Emma Bovary is alive. She is alive, I tell you!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 04:27:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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