01 February 2018

The geek's Deepak

The recent popular fascination with the meagre thinking of Jordan B. Peterson is both amusing and sad (a very Trumpian ‘sad’, that). Amusing, because it’s always fun to see strange bedfellows (evolutionists and creationists, psychologists and racists, or the very Marxist combo of academics and rednecks) mate over pet peeves (political correctness and the plight of the white male). And sad, because it’s largely built on ignorance, on the part of both Peterson and his fans.  

Take the delusion that a biological basis for ‘dominance hierarchy’ would somehow threaten Marxism. Or the associated confusion over the pretence that Christianity, in which “the last shall be first”, would somehow provide a corrective for ‘cultural Marxism’. Not to mention the complete ignorance of the long history of Christian Marxism. 

Or consider the inability to see that religions provide ideologies too. That God only survives in an environment where language is policed (with ‘correct pronouns’ as well). That Christianity is also, historically, the advocation of slavery - not only the pseudoscientific babble of Jungianism.

Inveighing against the ‘French professors’ who have infected liberty-loving minds with their postmodern ideas is only the posh version of the Bush-era ‘freedom fries’. It ignores the basic fact that postmodernism is nothing if not the culmination of the Judeo-Christian tradition (a form of Greek thought, let’s not forget). And it belies the mysteriously less-than-obvious reality of Peterson’s own postmodernism, as showcased in his insistence on the utility of Christianity as fiction directrice, or in his concept of “truth”.

That anyone had to wait for the gospel of Petersonism to learn about “silencing your inner critic”, or that parents are supposed to be more than friends to their children, or that one should listen and pursue understanding before trying to argue against an opponent, boggles the mind. That one would prefer Peterson over the masters of self-help, like Marcus Aurelius or Montaigne, is just stupid. But that the evangelist of Petersonism stands to make a fortune over his traffic in ignorance and banality surely fulfils the great free-market prophecy of 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

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