Jordan Peterson interviewed by Dennis Prager

The idea that Peterson is not one of the best advocates for the side of reason and conservative values is again shown to be absolute suicidal, self-defeating nonsense. If you don’t agree with someone 100% is no reason not to welcome the 90% of what you do agree with. And if you don’t agree with 90% of what Peterson says, you are not a conservative anyway.

When doesn’t the left go too far?

Jordan Peterson: When the left goes too far — the dangerous doctrine of 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.

Equity is a whole different ballgame. It is based on the idea that the only certain measure of “equality” is outcome—educational, social, and occupational. The equity-pushers axiomatically assume that if all positions at every level of hierarchy in every organization are not occupied by a proportion of the population that is precisely equivalent to that proportion in the general population that systematic prejudice (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) must be at play. This assumption has as its corollary the idea that there are perpetrators (the “privileged,” for current or historical reasons) who are unfair beneficiaries of the system or outright perpetrators of prejudice and who must be identified, limited and punished.

There is simply no excuse for this doctrine.

Whether you read the rest is up to you, but you should.

The fantastical project of yesterday

Two articles which support each other, but written 140 years apart. First the modern one, just from the other day: Ladies, Stop Trying to Have Sex Like Men which comes with these introductory words:

From college campuses to our nation’s boardrooms, women try to pursue sex the way men often do: no commitment necessary. And they’re getting burned.

Then there is this from 1871: Women’s Rights Women. The first few paras are amazing since, apart from the linguistic style, might have well have been written, like the article above, just the other day.

In our day, innovations march with so rapid a stride that they quite take away one’s breath. The fantastical project of yesterday, which was mentioned only to be ridiculed, is to-day the audacious reform, and will be to-morrow the accomplished fact. Such has been the history of the agitation for “women’s rights,” as they are sophistically called in this country. A few years ago this movement was the especial hobby of a few old women of both sexes, who made themselves the laughing-stock of all sane people by the annual ventilation of their crotchet. Their only recruits were a few of the unfortunates whom nature or fortune had debarred from those triumphs and enjoyments which are the natural ambition of the sex, and who adopted this agitation as the most feasible mode of expressing their spitefulness against the successful competitors. To-day the movement has assumed such dimensions that it challenges the attention of every thoughtful mind.

If we understand the claims of the Women’s Rights women, they are in substance two: that the legislation, at least, of society shall disregard all the natural distinctions of the sexes, and award the same specific rights and franchises to both in every respect; and that woman while in the married state shall be released from every species of conjugal subordination. The assimilation of the garments of the two sexes, their competition in the same industries and professions, and their common access to the same amusements and recreations, are social changes which the “strong-minded” expect to work, each one for herself, when once the obstructions of law are removed from the other points….

The advocates of these “women’s rights” may be expected to win the day, because the premises from which they argue their revolution have been irrevocably admitted by the bulk of the people.

People have been writing about “modern” women since the days of the Roman Empire. I wish everyone the best of luck in pursuing the ends they seek in that brief time we have allotted to ourselves, and I mean that with absolute sincerity. I found this quite apt, although the modern example would be to postpone marriage until well into one’s thirties while still hoping for children, but you will see what I mean.

The philosophy of the Yankee mind is precisely that of the Yankee girl who, when she asked for leave to marry at seventeen, was dissuaded by her mother that she “had married very early and had seen the folly of it.” “Yes; but, Mamma,” replied the daughter, “I want to see the folly of it for myself.”

But if you think that’s up-to-date, try this.

It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.

Not everything works for everyone, so no matter what the fashion is, there will always be many who want something else. What seems perennial is the desire to experiment with one’s life, a very good thing but dangerous as well.

Jeopardising the ability of civilisation to continue to function

This is the brilliant picture that comes with this story: After Academia. It begins with a quote from Bret Weinstein that captures much of the intent, but if you have time, read it all.

I keep being invited to talk about free speech on college campuses and every time I’m invited I make the same point: that this isn’t about free speech and this is only tangentially about college campuses. This is about a breakdown in the basic logic of civilisation, and it’s spreading. College campuses may be the first dramatic battle but of course this is going to find its way into the courts; it’s already found its way into the tech sector. It’s going to find its way to the highest level of governance if we aren’t careful, and it actually does jeopardise the ability of civilisation to continue to function.

I will only add that the academic world is mostly about preserving and passing on ancient learning and culture, which it could do so long as universities were repositories of our Christian civilisation. Now they can still teach physics, medicine and perhaps the law, but the social sciences and humanities are a dead zone for original thought and cultural depth. Here is a bit from near the start of the actual article to give you a taste.

Premchand Brian, a friend of mine from Singapore, was until recently studying for a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. By his own account, he joined the UoE’s Black and Minority Ethnic Liberation Group but was ejected within a couple of months for wrongthink. “I said that ‘cultural appropriation’ is an invalid concept,” he told me, “because 1) nobody can own a culture, 2) even if ‘stolen’ the original owners still have it, and 3) cultural exchange was historically important in human progress and still helps combat bigotry. I was told my ideas were ‘triggering,’ ‘offensive,’ and ‘making people of colour feel ‘unsafe,’ so I was told to retract them. I refused and got kicked out.”

It really is gruesome.

Inventing the individual has a long history

Here’s a book you might consider if you are interested in seeing the world in a different way: Inventing the Individual.

Here, in a grand narrative spanning 1,800 years of European history, a distinguished political philosopher firmly rejects Western liberalism’s usual account of itself: its emergence in opposition to religion in the early modern era. Larry Siedentop argues instead that liberal thought is, in its underlying assumptions, the offspring of the Church. Beginning with a moral revolution in the first centuries CE, when notions about equality and human agency were first formulated by St. Paul, Siedentop follows these concepts in Christianity from Augustine to the philosophers and canon lawyers of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, and ends with their reemergence in secularism―another of Christianity’s gifts to the West.

Inventing the Individual tells how a new, equal social role, the individual, arose and gradually displaced the claims of family, tribe, and caste as the basis of social organization. Asking us to rethink the evolution of ideas on which Western societies and government are built, Siedentop contends that the core of what is now the West’s system of beliefs emerged earlier than we commonly think. The roots of liberalism―belief in individual freedom, in the fundamental moral equality of individuals, in a legal system based on equality, and in a representative form of government befitting a society of free people―all these were pioneered by Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages who drew on the moral revolution carried out by the early Church. These philosophers and canon lawyers, not the Renaissance humanists, laid the foundation for liberal democracy in the West.

And there is more here as well.

“No surrender in trying to take back our country”

UPDATE: With thanks to duncanm who has found the speech online.

Mark Latham unleashes in maiden speech: How did our nation come to this? This is only one passage in a much longer speech.

“Like so many parts of our politics that have changed quickly in recent times, there are voices here who do not believe in the virtues of the West, who do not acknowledge the nation-building achievements of our culture and our country.

“It’s like a scene from The Life of Brian, a case of: What has Western civilisation done for us? Only advanced healthcare and education; architecture, engineering, information technology, free speech and the rule of law.

“ In fact: this chamber, this parliament, in this city, all our public institutions and the material comforts we take for granted — none of them could exist without the greatness of the West. Without the advances that began with the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution and continue to this day.

“Yet still, among the Leftist elites, among the social engineers and cultural dietitians, sneering at our civilisation and its achievements has become their new pastime.

“They preach diversity but practice a suffocating cultural conformity, wanting everyone to be just like them.

“They argue for inclusion but as soon as a Christian, a conservative, a libertarian, a nationalist, a working class larrikin, an outsider from the vast suburbs and regions of our nation disagrees with them, they crank up their PC “outrage machine to exclude them from society. “

They are tolerant of everything except dissenting values and opinions — meaning, of course, they are tolerant of nothing that matters, only themselves.”

Mr Latham said this was a “Leftist curse through the ages: the recurring history of those who so badly crave control over others, they lose control over themselves.”

Lots more along the same lines with this the final para:

“ For those of us who believe in the virtues of Western civilisation, who treasure the advances and values of the Enlightenment … this is the fight of our lives. Our ethos, sir, is simple: No surrender. No surrender in any debate, in any institution, on any front. No surrender in trying to take back our country, That, Mr President, is why I’m here and what I’m fighting for.”

The rise of savage terrorist creeds

This is from Arnold Lunn’s 1939 Communism and Socialism: A Study in the Technique of Revolution. It comes at the start of Chapter XIV, “The Fruits of a False Philosophy”. The waning of the Christian ethic across the world will have and is already having moral consequences.

“Cruelty and the abuse of power,” wrote Charles Dickens, “are the two bad passions of human nature,” passions which have not been eradicated, but have certainly been tamed by Christianity, for though no Christian can read without shame the history of the Inquisition or the story of the Catholic martyrs racked and tortured in Elizabethan England, Europe, even in its darkest moments, paid homage to Christian ideals, ideals whose influence was cumulative and progressive. The rack and the stake vanished from Europe under pressure of the strongest of all arguments, the appeal from Christians to Christ. The contrast between the ideals and the practice of Christian men is impressive, but the value of of the Christian ideals has been proved by the consequences which follow when these ideals are repudiated. Russia is the first European country officially to accept atheistic materialism as the State creed, and only those who are wilfully blind can continue to ignore the fruits of that philosophy.

Soviet Russia provides indirect evidence of the immense importance of high standards even in a society in which only a minority seriously attempt to live up to those standards. Even lip-service to an ideal has some value. The contrast between Soviet Russia and the Christian Europe which even in the darkest period recognized Christian ideals, is a powerful if indirect argument for the influence of Christianity. Soviet Russia with a few short years has sacrificed the hard-won gains of the Christian spirit, and has re-established the ruthless standards of the pagan world into which Christ was born. The uneasy conscience of Christendom which still condoned and exploited pre-Christian methods of persecution is apparent from the apologetics with which Christians attempted to justify the rack and the stake. These tragic derelictions, which Christians defended with halting casuistry, are proudly accepted by Communists as an integral element of their new civilization. Modern states accused of war atrocities have implicitly recognized the Christian standards, and have either indignantly denied the charges, or have disclaimed responsibility for regrettable excesses. The worst crimes charged against States still influenced by Christianity are venial compared with the horrors officially enjoined by the rulers of Soviet Russia. The secretive use of terrorism as an emergency weapon to be disowned and denied when challenged has been displaced by the defiant glorification of terrorism and of violence. Lenin, indeed, argues that the dictatorship of the Proletariat is impossible without the “violence which is not limited by any laws or restricted by any absolute rules.” Lenin glorifies terrorism in the famous letter published in The Bolshevik for October 31st 1920. “The legal trial,” he wrote, “is not intended to replace terrorism; to make such a profession would be a deception of others or oneself; but to base terrorism firmly on a fundamental principle and give it legal form, unambiguously, without dishonesty or embellishment.” (Lunn 1939: 128-129)

Over the past 200 years if one could know only one fact about some nation that would determine where it was safest to live it would be whether the leader of its government was a believing Christian. Not absolute, by any means, but no other question imaginable would provide the kind of assurance that knowing the head of a government was a believing Christian.

The full bibliographic reference is: Arnold Lunn. 1939 Communism and Socialism: A Study in the Technique of Revolution. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. A book well worth the read if you can get your hands on one.

Why don’t things make sense?

The latest three posts at Lucianne.com, each of which are worth pondering.

It´s all about hate and
bloodlust that´s never sated
National Post [Can], by Terry Glavin    Original Article
At least two of the suicide bombers had law degrees. Two were brothers from a wealthy Colombo family, one of whom attended university in the United Kingdom and earned a postgraduate degree in Australia. There were nine of them altogether, eight men and a woman. Most were “well-educated and come from (the) middle or upper-middle class,” Ruwan Wijewardene, Sri Lanka’s deputy defence minister, told reporters. There is still much to piece together from what happened on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, about why the authorities did not respond to specific and actionable intelligence about an imminent jihadist

 

Trump Opponents Never Tire of Losing
American Spectator, by David Catron    Original Article
 
For well over three years, Donald Trump has been under attack. He has been subjected to unprecedented slander by the media, dirty tricks by the Democrats, legally dubious investigations, and sabotage by the deep state. Yet he is not only still standing, he has a record of accomplishments that any president would be happy to claim after two years in office. One would think his opponents would be able to divine a message from this. To wit, their time might be better spent working on behalf of the voters rather than launching further futile attempts to bring Trump down.

 

What Would an ‘Open Borders’
World Actually Look Like?
The Nation, by John Washington    Original Article
 
In the summer of 1947, the British lord and lawyer Sir Cyril Radcliffe found himself in charge of the fate of a subcontinent. As the freshly appointed head of the Boundary Commission, he was tasked with dividing up the British India territories of Bengal and Punjab—and he had just a few weeks to complete the task. After three and a half centuries of brutal and exploitative involvement in the region, the last 90 years as official imperial overlord of the British Raj, the United Kingdom was officially abdicating colonial rule. Deeply in debt from two world wars,

There is a lesson there but only if you can understand it

The analogy is not perfect. Socialists do not want to kill you, it just sometimes happens that they do. It is often the only way to keep the power they were given by offering free things to people who, based on these promises, allow them to take the reins of government.

People’s lives are then plunged into darkness because they took the word of political leaders who offered them what cannot possibly be afforded, who had no means to deliver on their promises.

No socialist will ever solve a single one of your economic problems. They will inevitably make the ones you have worse than they were before while adding new ones onto the old.

Henry Arthur Jones

Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929) has not entirely faded into history as is attested to by the existence of his Wikipedia entry. A prolific playwright from the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, about whom Oscar Wilde said this:

“There are three rules for writing plays. The first rule is not to write like Henry Arthur Jones; the second and third rules are the same.”

My acquaintance with Mr Jones has come through my just having finished reading his wondrous 1921 political tract, My Dear Wells: A Manual for the Haters of England, whose perspective is perhaps better displayed by its subtitle, “Being a Series of Letters Upon Bolshevism, Collectivism, Internationalism, and the Distribution of Wealth Addressed to Mr H.G. Wells”. So whatever rules there may be about writing plays, the three rules for writing political tracts might be summarised as: the first rule is to write like Henry Arthur Jones; the second and third rules would then be the same.

What is particularly wondrous is that the book could have come off the press this morning, how up-to-date he is in singling out the fools on the left who seem not to have learned a thing in the hundred years since then. Mr Jones was infuriated by Wells’s support for Lenin and the Revolution which had just then taken place in Russia. I had not been aware that the horrors that were visited upon the Russian people had been immediately recognised for what they were and discussed across the world. Jones’ replies to Wells’s own writings highlights the cruel indifference typically shown by the left, seen today in how the horrors in Venezuela are being downplayed by the media and the socialists amongst us. Other people’s tragedies must never be allowed to impede progressives in their will to visit the same tragedies on us as well. The left were vile then and are equally vile now. Here is a bit to see just how contemporary it all is:

Make a list of the richest and most powerful men in Western European and American civilization. Quite a large number of them are men who have made themselves rich and powerful, not by intercepting the wealth and influence that other men have created for mankind, but by their own conspicuous ability, by severe self-denial, by thrift, by constant strain of hard thought and hard work. By these means many of them have created vast quantities of wealth for others, and have eased the conditions of living for large populations of workers, and have otherwise conferred lasting benefits on their fellows. I do not say that some of these rich and powerful men may not have received larger rewards than were justly their due, I do not say that some of them may not have gained some of their wealth by dishonest means. There is no possible way of adjusting any scale of measurement. The thing for you to notice is that in your Collectivist State you are not likely to have many of these benefactors, for in denying them the rewards of money, power, honour and influence, you take away from them all incentive to train their natural ability, to practise thrift and self-denial, to scorn base trivial delights, and to spend themselves in constant thought and labour. Notice the result in Russia of suppressing and persecuting out of existence this enterprising type. (Jones 1921: 183)

Socialists never change. Grasping, greedy and envious to the end, ignorant even of the basics on how wealth is created so that what is produced may be shared out amongst us. These socialists are the curse of the earth.

LET ME ADD THIS: Via Instapundit this morning: Your Socialism Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad. The promise of free stuff plus “equality” has a powerful attraction many find hard to resist. Now we also add in containing climate change as one more part of the socialist magic act. Just vote us in and we will tax and spend our way to stopping the seas from rising.