The perfect antidote to the cocktail of coddling and accusation

Friday, January 26th, 2018

David Brooks calls this the Jordan Peterson moment. Dr. Peterson has a new book out, 12 Rules for Living, and his YouTube videos have accumulated 40 million views.

But Brooks isn’t exactly a fan:

At some level Peterson is offering assertiveness training to men whom society is trying to turn into emasculated snowflakes.

Peterson gives them a chance to be strong. He inspires their idealism by telling them that life is hard. His worldview begins with the belief that life is essentially a series of ruthless dominance competitions. The strong get the spoils and the weak become meek, defeated, unknown and unloved.

I immediately spotted something wrong there, and Peterson himself called it out on Twitter:

Not dominance competitions. Competence competitions. Not the same thing at all….

I can almost hear him saying “Bucko” at the end there.

“Much of Peterson’s advice sounds,” to Brooks, “like vague exhortatory banality,” but Brooks did enjoy Peterson’s dissection of Channel 4′s Cathy Newman:

Instead of actually listening to Peterson, she just distorted, simplified and restated his views to make them appear offensive and cartoonish.

Peterson calmly and comprehensibly corrected and rebutted her. It is the most devastatingly one-sided media confrontation you will ever see. He reminded me of a young William F. Buckley.

The Peterson way is a harsh way, but it is an idealistic way — and for millions of young men, it turns out to be the perfect antidote to the cocktail of coddling and accusation in which they are raised.


  1. Gaikokumaniakku says:

    If you work in a corporation dominated by psychopaths (e.g. a Wall Street investment bank) then it is true that your life is essentially a series of ruthless dominance competitions. In a corrupt organization, the most evil psychopath gets to the top, where he commands a little army of less-competent psychopaths.

    I have never seen Dr. Peterson address the fact that psychopaths are very successful, NOT because of competence at work, but because of competence at fraud, force, and Machiavellian machinations. I don’t necessarily think that Dr. Peterson is trying to defend psychopaths, but Dr. Peterson’s rhetoric is ideal for psychopaths who want to defend their ill-gotten gains.

  2. Dave says:

    Agree with the first commenter. I enjoy Peterson’s work, and he deserves the accolades he’s getting after years in the trenches.

    That said, I do have a problem with some of his phrasing and apparent misperceptions. Peterson is a Boomer, and doesn’t seem to understand, at least not through personal experience, how horrible most young woman are in the West, and how much damage this has done to young men.

    Peterson was raised in a very different time and environment than men 40 and under, and simply telling young men to “man up” is no where near enough to right the sinking ship of the West.

    I know that he knows this on some level, and I still feel that he represents a very positive trend in our collective social discourse, but until someone addresses the female half of the population and the toxicity they bring to the table, no amount of tough talk will suffice.

  3. Overhere says:

    Can’t agree, Dave. Dr Peterson has to be, in the current climate, very careful about what he says in relation to women. He could say a lot more, and in the Ms Newman farce he very carefully avoided getting her into the pro-feminist faux-outrage I suspect lurks not very deep in the woman. Even casual comments that twenty years ago would have passed unnoticed are now focal points for a storm of so-called protest that hides any truth,

    Wisely I think, Dr Peterson focussed on the one area that doesn’t get deflected by any twitter-and-facebook froth, so he stays firmly on that of the male’s position.

    The key to the game is getting the players to know their position in it: once they are aware of where they are and why their gameplan isn’t working, things begin to change. Once aware, it is up to the players to turn it round on a personal level which then transmits to a broader understanding.

  4. Dave says:

    Overhere, I agree. I didn’t mean to suggest Peterson hasn’t taken on an heroic struggle against various manifestations of Political Correctness. He’s done that and more. I truly enjoy his work.

    I understand he has to walk a thin line, and any slip-up can derail the significant headway he has made in the public realm.

    That being said, as he walks that line, he has, of late, gotten more strident in his condemnation of male weakness and apathy. The tough talk doesn’t bother me in the least, but at some point he has to make clear that a collective change in men occurs when women start dismantling the mountains of bullsh*t that Feminism has built around all of our lives.

    In the end I’m really just nitpicking. I still think Jordan is great.

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