06 Oct 2019

The Mindset of a Pharisee

Jordan Peterson, Religious 26 Comments

Check out this interviewer trying to nail Jordan Peterson. When JP explains how his work has helped countless young men escape drug addiction and suicide, the guy doesn’t bat an eye (or challenge JP to see if he’s exaggerating). He just moves on to the next rhetorical trap.

(And no, just because I’m saying this is how the Pharisees behaved, I’m not saying “Jordan Peterson is Jesus.”)

26 Responses to “The Mindset of a Pharisee”

  1. Tel says:

    I’m not a Jordan Peterson fan, in as much as I don’t follow his philosophy. For starters, I should never have to clean up my room … that’s my wife’s job!

    But oh gosh those journalists are slimy and dishonest. It’s cringe-worthy watching that guy come up with random garbage that he made up five minutes ago and throwing it up as if it might be somehow a genuine questions. I love the way Peterson stands up to these people, even if I don’t agree with him at every level. As psychologists go I prefer Theodore Dalrymple … if there are young men getting off the gear and pulling their lived into shape because Jordan Peterson helped out, then I’m totally fine with that. We don’t all have to agree on details of lifestyle.

  2. Silas Barta says:

    He should have asked the interviewer to take out a dollar bill and then hit ’em with the zinger, “Render to Washington what is Washington’s…”

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Nice…

    • Tel says:

      The interviewer is from New Zealand and seems to be mostly a sports writer, but also covers political matters … provided you don’t mind if politics ends up being called same as a football game.

      I doubt he would have cottoned onto the Bible reference, and unlikely he would carry any Yankee bucks around either.

  3. Harold says:

    If Peterson stuck to self help he would be fine, but he is very political. He would get on well with Bill Clinton: “It depends what you mean by “is.””

    His statements on arguing with “certain types” of women were senseless and obnoxious, however he tries to dress them up.

    Peterson’s arguments are wrong, but in subtle ways which are picked up in debates but rarely in media interviews.

    The big mistake they often make is putting words into Peterson’s mouth, which is a really bad technique. It is fair enough to repeat what someone said, but you cannot tell them what they meant. Doing so is asking for a very easy rebuttal. This interviewer said Peterson wanted to hit women.

    Peterson replies that he didn’t mean that, but he meant that there are limits when men interact with men that don’t apply when men interact with women. What limits? He doesn’t say here, but in his previous statement he made clear it was violence. His clarification does not actually negate the interviewer’s interpretation, but tries to sidestep it. What is he actually talking about? Does he feel hos inability to hit women makes it impossible to deal with certain types of women? As with him so often, each is left to make up their own mind because his meaning is so opaque.

    Peterson also said there is no way of regulating that, which is obvious nonsense.

    The interviewer then did it again, saying that what Peterson was “really getting at” was men avoiding engaging their anger. Allowing Peterson to rebut easily again, saying men regulate their behaviour so that anger is not necessary. Why engaging with women presents such a problem in the first place is again left unexplained.

    Another famous example is the lobster hierarchy stuff. He literally said antidepressants work in lobsters. That is wrong, because we do not even know if lobsters can be depressed. What he should have said was that antidepressants block serotonin uptake in lobsters, much as it does in humans. This actually has the opposite effect, making them more aggressive. He can claim that this is what he meant by “work”, but clearly there is another message given. Either he is disingenuous or remarkably clumsy in his language, and given his erudition I doubt the latter.

    However, none of that matters because his point is almost meaningless. He argues that hierarchies are natural and unavoidable. So what? The one we have now is neither “natural” nor unavoidable. We know because we have changed it massively over the last few years. His argument is a straw man because it only works against a few people who insist everyone should be equal. Once we sidestep that, then all his lobster talk is pointless. Cathy Newman famously missed the point when she asked if Peterson wanted us to be organised like lobsters. The real question is “if hierarchies are inevitable, should we settle for the one we have or could we do an awful lot better?” Lobsters cannot help you there. The answer is we can do much better.

    Bob, it might be a good idea not to link videos introduced by Pepe.

    • Ben B says:

      Are you angry right now?

    • Dan says:

      “The real question is “if hierarchies are inevitable, should we settle for the one we have or could we do an awful lot better?” Lobsters cannot help you there. The answer is we can do much better.”

      Maybe someday Jordan Peterson will grapple with the tyrannical potential of hierarchies. Perhaps he could put out many videos online where he spends literally hours discussing that very issue. One can only hope. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kGE1WCt2zvI

      • Harold says:

        I was getting myself primed for a lengthy, perhaps hours long, exposition by Peterson. Honestly, I was looking forward to it. Instead I get a 2 minute clip totally justifying my point. Lobsters are not relevant. Human hierarchies are different. They can be better or worse. There is nothing there that contradicts the idea we should look for a better one. Nothing that suggests the one we have inherited is in any way the one we should now support. Nothing to reject the idea that tyrannical men have hijacked the hierarchy to the deriment of women. The lobsters remain a red herring, to use a pelagic metaphore.

        I have watched an awful lot of Peterson. More than is probably good for me, because I find him a fascinating study. He is clever, erudite and very good at debate. He undoubtably has some good arguments and his self help stuff is good for some people. He is very hard to rebut for several reasons One is that he uses words to mean something different from the usually accepted meaning. Truth, for example, means something different for Peterson than it does for most people. So does religion. In a live debate I am sure he would wipe the floor with me. My style requires deliberation and fact checking. Nonetheless, many of his argumets are ultimately hollow.

        Just a quick test, which some here may find interesting. Is Peterson religious? Is he a Christian? How do you know?

        • Dan says:

          He’s literally taught entire courses on hierarchies that went terribly wrong. They are free on YouTube. Your comment was ignorant. Not only does he acknowledge that hierarchies can become tyrannical, he’s spent a huge portion of his career warning people of this fact. So not only does he warn about the dangers of hierarchy, he also points out that the people who think it can be eliminated are delusional because it exists everywhere in life on this planet. Just because you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time doesn’t mean nobody else can.

          • Harold says:

            So why the lobsters? They remain a distraction. He is tilting at windmills. Somebody has to be on top, as I just discovered Pareto discussed with his ideas on elites. Peterson rejects the Patriarchy, and his discussion of lobsters is entirely irrelevant to that. I have seen a lot of Peterson, I am not ignorant of his arguments. I still find them hollow.

            I am not rejecting his ideas on hierarchies, just how they are presented to support the one we now have. Something he does himself.

            An observation. Peterson decries identity politics, Yet he says he cannot deal with some people based on what he sees as their identity, namely women. Odd.

            Its almost as if he wants to retain identity politics when he finds it useful, and reject it when he doesn’t.

            • Dan says:

              “So why the lobsters?”

              To demonstrate that hierarchies are not some man-made invention that can be eliminated. It’s a part of life that will always exist. Then he spends an enormous amount of time discussing the potential dangers of hierarchies.

              “Peterson rejects the Patriarchy, and his discussion of lobsters is entirely irrelevant to that.”

              Yep his discussion of hierarchies is different than his critiques of people who spout on endlessly about the patriarchy.

              “I have seen a lot of Peterson, I am not ignorant of his arguments. I still find them hollow.”

              No, the problem is you hear his arguments and then can’t restate them accurately. They go into your head and get mangled for whatever reason, and then you insist he means things he most certainly doesn’t mean.

              “I am not rejecting his ideas on hierarchies, just how they are presented to support the one we now have. Something he does himself.“

              Peterson would like massive changes to the current structure. Sure, he’d not go as far as I would, but he’d go pretty far.

              “An observation. Peterson decries identity politics, Yet he says he cannot deal with some people based on what he sees as their identity, namely women. Odd.”

              What do you think identity politics means? It has nothing to do with recognizing that men and women are different and treated differently in certain situations.

              “Its almost as if he wants to retain identity politics when he finds it useful, and reject it when he doesn’t.”

              No, it’s just you heard what he said and then those words got filtered in your head in an incoherent way, and you are blaming him for you failing.

        • Mark says:

          Harold: Jordan Peterson is not a Christian. He is really good on some things (like gender, SJW stuff, cultural Marxism) and full of garbage on others (like psychology and the Bible.)

          If you want to see Peterson dissected from a Christian point of view, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y5OdiRnZpw

          Jump ahead to 10:35 for the start, and it ends at 54:50. Also, White is just a bit of a slow talker, so you can increase the speed to 1.25 and save yourself some time and keep your brain alert.

    • Dan says:

      “Peterson replies that he didn’t mean that, but he meant that there are limits when men interact with men that don’t apply when men interact with women. What limits? He doesn’t say here, but in his previous statement he made clear it was violence. His clarification does not actually negate the interviewer’s interpretation, but tries to sidestep it. What is he actually talking about? Does he feel hos inability to hit women makes it impossible to deal with certain types of women? As with him so often, each is left to make up their own mind because his meaning is so opaque.“

      If you ever dated a crazy woman before you’d know exactly what he meant. https://m.worldstarhiphop.com/apple/video.php?v=wshh68I8fvG86w4sYC68

      • Harold says:

        I don’t know what point you are trying to make. There are crazy people everywhere. The clip you showed was a clear assault on the big guy by the woman.

        Correct me if you think I am wrong, but Peterson’s idea seems to be that if the person attacking him was a man, then the big guy could have hit him. Even if the man was a bit of a weed. Great, the big, tough guy could have laid him out. In Peterson world, this would have inhibited the man from behaving in this way, so the problem would not have arisen. Instead, in our world, the big guy walked off, and diffused the situation.

        Nobody at work should have to put up with that. I wholeheartedly agree. The man was assaulted by a woman and there should be sanctions against her. The man showed admirable restraint. However, I don’t see that things should be different if it was a man rather than a woman doing the assault.

        This is what Peterson seems to be suggesting. Instead of thinking violence is always an option with a man, why not think violence is never an option, unless your physical integrity is actually threatened? Then it does not matter if you are dealing with a man or a woman. Your response can be exactly the same, and there is not need at all to invoke some concept of men being unable to deal with “crazy women.” Just think of them as “crazy people.”

        In this instance, the apparent prohibition aganst violence aganst women prevented any further violence (beyond the food throwing). That seems a good outcome to me. Why not extend this to everyone, instead of giving violence a pass between men, as Peterson seems to want to do?

        And once again, Peterson’s idea of men not being able to deal with crazy women because they cannot resort to violence is debunked.

        I also reject the idea that violence against women is a universal no-no. Believe me, there are plenty of women who can attest to the opposite. Male violence against women is not a myth. If we could reject Peterson’s free pass for some sorts of violence we may get towards a better society.

        • Ben B says:

          “If we could reject Peterson’s free pass for some sorts of violence, we may get towards a better society.”

          Spoken like a true anarchist. Indeed.

        • skylien says:

          “Instead, in our world, the big guy walked off, and diffused the situation.”

          I don’t see a diffused situation here. She was following him continually harassing him.

          From my personal perspective I much rather would have it being harassed by a man than a woman. At least with a man I can answer in kind. I am not one who thinks escalating is a good idea so I wouldn’t hit out. But I may would shove back, run my hand through his face etc… But I can’t do that with a woman. I just can’t answer in kind, when it gets physical.

          With a woman I could only run away. And if she doesn’t stop call the police. But what are they going to do here? They can’t take her into custody for having shoved him, could they?

          And what Peterson means finally is that since among men it is clear that if anyone ever gets physical, he may well be answered in kind as well, so this possible outcome carries over into the part where the debate is still civil, and makes it more civil, less likely for anyone going crazy. But since women know that mentally sane men cannot answer in kind when they get physical some abuse this situation, by pressuring men to their will by physically abusing them like in the video.

          Which might mean, that men try to avoid this situation in the first place, and don’t really discuss as hard as they would with a man, since they don’t want to risk that the woman starts being physically abusive.

          Now I would say to Peterson, so what? Who cares, that is reality. If a man doesn’t stand for his opinion because of that possibility he is a weakling. I never hold back when I discuss with women, and if one would ever start snapping, then I would try to ignore it, get away from her, and cut her out of my life.

          I think this is too much fuss that is made about this. Yes Peterson is right about this, this is reality, and you could see it in the video. The men didn’t even try to argue. He was helpless. The only option he has is to leave her for good. Obviously, that might be a lot harder if she is your wife, and you have kids, then this is nightmare.

          Can you agree with me?

          • skylien says:

            * The mAn didn’t even try to argue. He was helpless.*

            • Harold says:

              ” They can’t take her into custody for having shoved him, could they?”

              I believe they absolutely could take her into custody for assaulting him with the ice cream, or whatever it was. I doubt they actually would if they were called. in part, because they would not have all the facts to hand, and also because society does not accept that a big man can be assaulted by a little woman. He does have a case for assault and I believe the woman should be held to account. There is no excuse for that abusive behaviour.

              It is possible for big men to abused by women. Exacty the same rules should apply. Watching the video again, I am not sure of the realtionship between the main protagonists. Are they partners? He does seem to be in abusive realationship if that is the case and he probably should leave her, because it is very hard to change that dynamic. This applies whether the man or the woman is the abuser.

              This is exactly where we should abandon identity politics and treat all people equally. Don’t think this is a woman, or this is a man, but this is a human being. Why can we not behave to everyone the same? Lets drop this identy politics crap and treat everyone as human, and make an assumtion that violence is off the table unless absolutely required to protect yourself.

              This is where Peterson as a clinical psychologist and Peterson as a political activist come into conflict. It is perfectly OK to talk to individuals given their actual personal experiences and their prejudices etc. How he would advise an individual shuld be very different from how he should advocate society should operate.

              So you may say to an individual woman (or man) that showing too much emotion in the work place may do you harm for promotion. It may be good advice for that individual to hold back on displays of emotion, if that individual says they want a promotion in the particulat environment they find themselves in.

              It is very different to say that this is good for society. I think Peterson gets these mixed up, or at least conveys the impression that good advice for individuals is good advice for all..

              • skylien says:

                Agreed. Before the law everyone should be treated the same. And I also don’t see where Peterson would argue for the contrary.

                As I understand it he merely states a reality, that it seems some might not want to see. The different dynamic between men, or men and women is there. You cannot change it. Nevertheless, as you say before the law this should not make a difference. And though I am not saying it is actually handled the right way now, still I would ask, is it actually right to treat it really completely the same?

                Think about the situation in the video the other way around. This would be a horrible frightening scene. Why? Because the big guy losing his shit on a small weak woman (BTW in is not much different, if it were a child, or for that matter a small weak man) means serious things might happen, with grave consequences. But as long as the woman does it, it is rather funny.

                And there is a good reason for this. You always want that the side with a lot actual power is mentally stable and in control of his/her emotions. That is what you want to have as a societal norm/pressure. You WANT that strong big individuals do not take it out on small defenceless individuals. And since for the most part man are the strong ones, and women the weak ones, you have this difference in how those situations are seen by people in general. She losing her shit on him is annoying, him losing his shit on her is dangerous.

                So the police behaving differently depending on the side being crazy here must not really mean they treat them differently if they factor in possible consequences of such situations. So, the situation is actually NOT the same just because either side acts the same. They are different. What would be basically equal though is, him losing it on her, or her losing it on 5 year old. Right?

                Also in defence of her in the video. Her losing it on him does not mean she would lose it on an equally weaker individual like a child. And for that matter him keeping it together here, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t lose it if the other side was… well hm the Marvel Hulk.

                I am not sure what to the police should or should not do here actually. Because obviously I am not arguing for the police to not do anything here just because there is a low probability for something serious to happen to him. Though I see why it is not the same, and why there is a good reason to be handled differently by the police. Yet that doesn’t mean it would be different treatment before the law, because it just isn’t the same situation. What it is, is a big can of worms…

              • Harold says:

                Thinking about it, the reason abusers are seldom arrested is because the victim refuses to press charges.The reasons are complex. The role of the police in the first instance is to keep the peace and ensure everyone’s safety.

                “You cannot change it. ”
                Yes you can. That is the problem. Peterson throws up his hands and says “men can’t deal with crazy women” when they can learn to do so if they give up their fixed idea. Just take violence off the table unless your physical integrity is actually threatened. A woman or a man calling you a Nazi is not that.

                Peterson comes from a cinical psycholgy background. I am sure lots of individual men do have the problem he identifies. They do find it hard to deal with women because their techniques for dealing with stuff are so based on violence. The answer is not to say nothing can be done, but teach these men, or at least the next ones, to deal with stuff in a different way.

              • skylien says:

                Sorry for late reply.

                You do not understand what it is that cannot be changed. Yes you can teach some men a thing or two how to deal with women especially crazy women. Yet the fundamental fact doesn’t go away, and cannot be wished out of existence, which does make real world differences no matter what men do or not do.

                As an analogy I try this: Imagine wage negotiations with you employer. Usually it is said you need to make clear to your employer how well you work etc, and all that BS. But the hard truth that really makes you able to negotiate a higher wage is, that you might quit if you don’t get it. And it is not necessary to threaten with leaving, not at all. Your employer and you know full well, if he doesn’t keep you happy enough salary-wise, you might go to another company that will pay you what you want, or make your own company. So not even bringing the topic up, still changes how the conversation goes. On the other hand, imaging it was impossible to quit, that makes it impossible to negotiate. Yes if you sugarcoat what you say, maybe you can get your employer to give you something, but that is not really meaningful nor will it work in the long term.
                So, if arguments are tough between two individuals, the possibility of both parties being able to retaliate accordingly if one side completely “steps out of line” keeps the argument civil. But if one sides hands are tied, while the other can do a lot of stuff (like in the video) with impunity (as long as not threating the other sides health), then guess what, the side that can snap without repercussions, will snap a lot more often. This fact you cannot change, because it ultimately doesn’t depend on what the men do or not do. If you know the other side cannot touch you, people are more likely to (men and women) insult the other side, to behave abusive to them, be demeaning etc… That is just reality.

                I went back to the original video where Peterson brought this up. And what was most interesting is that he said it wasn’t himself who came up with that but his wife, and he was telling it here to an old school feminist Camille Paglia, who also understood what he said there. This should not be an argument from authority, but it should indicate that it just isn’t coming from Petersons violent phantasies as so many people try to spin it (even you I think, by inferring he argues for hitting people who call you a Nazi, which isn’t true at all). If it were, his wife wouldn’t be the originator of this, and you can bet Camille would have protested heavily.

                And finally, sorry for the lengthy reply, because funnily enough the first comment below the video sums it up perfectly:

                “I bounced in nightclubs. When a man gets out of line, it gets physical. Women know, its not going to get physical, so they can go crazy. And they do.”

                So you cannot change this, and the only people who can control crazy women is women themselves. That is all Peterson is saying. (Obviously it is nearly the same vice versa, mostly only men can control crazy men, but it is for different reasons here). So basically, both women and men have to run away when the other side gets crazy. In a way it is not even that unfair.

              • skylien says:

                One more thing I want to add. Because I think what you think is:

                If the threat of it getting really physical is really the answer then it means, if someone goes a step above civil, like calling names e.g., calling you a Nazi, means automatically you would need to answer with said physicality, right? Like hitting the other side who calls you that..
                No, because that is not how things escalate. It is not that one side oversteps slightly, and the next step is war. No, it is ratchet effect of escalation. Both sides escalate step by step. One side may lead and the other merely following the escalation, nevertheless both need to escalate their behavior until TSHTF.

                But for men there is only so much room for escalation if they argue with a woman. They cannot match what the women can do by long shot, women can be really physical to men without really threatening their health. However men literally cannot even touch women. So there is no ratchet affect possible, hence women can insult (sane proper behaving) men with impunity because they know nothing can go wrong for them.

                However among men, even starting to insult could start a ratchet affect that might end badly. That is the heart of the matter. Men insulting other men could lead to a fight. Women insulting men cannot, so they do a lot more often.

                Well if that doesn’t make it clear I guess we will have to disagree.

        • Dan says:

          “This is what Peterson seems to be suggesting.”

          It’s not. I’ve already discussed this issue with you when I told you the story of the crazy girl who threw a sad iron at me. It’s not about wanting to use violence. It’s just a fact of the world that women can get away with a lot more than men. Jordan Peterson not only doesn’t say we should use violence to solve it, he says that it is largely a problem that men will struggle to address and that it’s better suited for sane women to handle.

          I’ll give you another example. I was at a gas station the other day, and these 4 punk ass high school kids were about to get into a fight with some old man. I started heading over to get in between them. As I was, one kid was squaring up to throw a haymaker. The old man’s wife stepped in between and started pushing the kid and ripped the shit out of his shirt. The kids didn’t know what to do. Then I got over there and got in the middle and separated everyone and made the kids walk away.

          Had that old woman not stepped in, her husband would’ve gotten laid out before I got there (moron was walking in with his chest and chin out and hands at his side.) And had that old woman been a man, the kids would’ve immediately started fighting back. The fact she was a woman and there are different rules saved her and her husband.

          Women live by a different set of rules. The threat of violence is lower. Stating this fact doesn’t mean you wish you could hit women. It’s just acknowledging that because women can get away with more there are going to be crazy women that take advantage of that situation. And I agree with JP that sane women are in a much better position to deal with this problem than men are.

          The reason you can’t seem to grasp this even though it’s been pointed out to you numerous times is likely because you oppose JP ideologically and seem incapable of reading him charitably. I’m sure even now you’ll continue interpreting this point that numerous men have made over the years as a desire for women to face violence.

      • Harold says:

        #wearenotlobsters

      • Harold says:

        I am watching the whole thing here
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sSe6FSrylc

        But what the f*** is happenining with the viewpoint? One second he is on the left, the next on the right! It does not seem to be a change of camera.

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