INSTALLMENT THE EIGHTH: Jordan Peterson vs. Marx, the Pareto Distribution, and the purge of liberals from academia (making room for war criminals and other neo-fascists)
However, with regard to JBP’s references to “Marxism:”
You wrote, “I don’t hear any discussion of JP’s criticism of Marxism and the idea that Marxists ignore the Pareto Distribution.” and also that: “These are ideas that form the basis of Marxism and JP criticizes them. Where is the left’s rebuttal of that?”
First, I disagree that Marx and progressives (the real left) “ignore” the Pareto Distribution. My understanding of Marx and his theories — enhanced most recently by the arguments of Chris Hedges and the lectures of noted Marxist economist, Richard D. Wolff — is that Marx’s case against the “revolutionary” and “destructive” force of capitalism would encompass the Pareto Distribution. (And the reason Marx doesn’t mention it himself, obviously, is that the PD theory was first published 13 years after his death… 29 years after the publication of “Das Kapital”).
The Pareto Distribution focuses primarily on wealth distribution, right?
It seems to me that Marx/his followers address wealth distribution in capitalist societies, asserting that capitalism inevitably results in a distribution of wealth that is highly inequitable and destabilizing, resulting in gobs of destruction and human suffering.
French economist Thomas Piketty’s highly acclaimed book, Capital, published in 2013, offers mountains of data supporting that basic argument of the Marxists: that centuries of history demonstrates that capitalism is inevitably destructive and always impoverishes the vast majority while creating ungodly amounts of wealth for the ownership class. Capitalism, whatever its strong points, inevitably leads to that dark place we call fascism in the modern era (the fascism of Mussolini: pure corporate hegemony, making democratic systems impossible).
While some economists seem to think that the Pareto Distribution’s 20/80 wealth distribution is ideal (i.e., the government-overthrowing “Chicago School” of economists), some of the world’s most brilliant, celebrated liberals (like Naomi Klein) have documented the massive failures of such systems. They’ve chronicled how the Pareto Distribution has been forced on societies — usually through foreign invasions, assassinations, and violent coups — and the results have always been disastrous. One of the more notorious examples would be Pinochet’s Chile after the CIA assassination of Salvador Allende.
The atrocious record of the PD’s 20/80 paradigm has been detailed — fairly thoroughly and with great specificity — in such acclaimed books as Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. And Piketty’s book only solidifies her case — and the Marxist critique of capitalism.
As a 2014 Princeton University study concluded, the U.S. version of capitalism has rendered our society wholly undemocratic, a pure oligarchy, wherein only the super-rich are represented by the government, and the will of the people is systematically ignored.
“Cultural Marxism” as a bludgeon
I agree with Doc that JBP, like countless other conservatives before him, uses phrases like “Cultural Marxism” to obfuscate, rather than illuminate. Instead of forwarding an edifying discussion about the pros and cons of capitalism and communism, he seems to be reformulating decades of risibly superficial right-wing smears of communism and Marx. (In this way, he’s every bit as neo-McCarthyite as the reflexively RussiaGating right-wingers calling themselves “liberal” these days.)JP and the conservative school to which he apparently belongs, use “Marx” as a bogeyman, as Doc says. Equating Marxism with “tyranny,” they use nonsensical phrases like “Cultural Marxism” as a cudgel to clobber anyone who champions social justice, liberal open-mindedness, feminist ideals, compassion, and tolerance of all people.
They particularly disparage those who demand justice for patriarchy’s long-suffering victims.
Perverse beyond words
But alleging that the rare few Americans who aggressively champion society’s most victimized, unrepresented communities are the real “tyrannical oppressors” is… perverse beyond words. And frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing conservative white men hysterically shrieking:
“THEY are taking over OUR universities — with political correctness, Identity Politics, and left-wing ideology! The ‘liberals’ are brainwashing our kids!”
The truth I see is that academia – like the news industry and other institutions that once tolerated some liberalism — has largely surrendered to our neo-fascist establishment.
Universities have forced out one anti-establishment liberal after another (Ward Churchill immediately springs to mind… and Steve Salaita… and Cornel West… and Norman Finkelstein…).
And while liberals and progressives have been persecuted and forced out, war criminals like John Yoo — the “Torture Memo” author — have been hired… by prestigious universities like Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, etc.
Gen. David Petraeus, genocidal torturer and mass-murderer, has received the same treatment. So has Michael Hayden, Bush’s NSA Chief who lied repeatedly about torture, Saddam’s “WMDs,” vacuum-surveillance, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. Ditto for Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger, two of the worst war criminals of the last half-century (hired by Stanford and Harvard, respectively).
(Amen and hallelujah.)