19 Dec A Civil Conversation, Part VII: “Liberals” demonstrate that reactionary hate is a bipartisan phenomenon… and Jordan B. Peterson turns out to be a classic right-winger, after all.
INSTALLMENT THE SEVENTH: “Can’t we just drone this guy” liberals, the new McCarthyites, and Jordan B. Peterson revealed (desiccated right-wing claptrap in a brand new suit)
The undeniable efficacy of Two Minutes Hate “journalism”
The worst conserva-liberals say things like: “Julian Assange/Edward Snowden/Donald Trump/Chelsea Manning/Glenn Greenwald/Chris Hedges/Susan Sarandon/Jimmy Dore/Bashar al-Assad/Ralph Nader/Michael Hastings/Saddam Hussein/Glen Ford/John Kiriakou/Vladimir Putin/Bill Binney/Moammar Qaddafi/Caitlyn Johnstone/Yasser Arafat/Max Blumenthal/Prof. Stephen Cohen/Seymour Hersh/Cornell West/Hugo Chavez/Eva Bartlett/Aaron Mate/Hassan Nasrallah/Jeremy Corbyn/Moqtada al-Sadr/Bernie Sanders/Greg Palast… should just STFU forever — or prepare to be incarcerated, executed, lynched, or assassinated… ASAP!”
As Sec. Hillary “No-Fly Zone/We came, we saw, he died” Clinton said of Julian Assange:
“Can’t we just drone this guy?”
[Clinton “can’t recall” making the comment — unless it was a “joke.” (“It would have been a joke…”) Robby Mook won’t comment on the matter. But WikiLeaks reported it, and every single story WikiLeaks has printed, to date, has been verified as accurate, every leaked document authentic.]
And anyway, why shouldn’t she have said it? As stereotypically fascist as Sec. Clinton’s “joke” was, it perfectly reflects the current political climate. Fringe-right Republican, Peter King, Joe Biden, and others, had already called the WikiLeaks publisher a “terrorist.” (Tellingly, Obama never refuted these remarks, concerning a world-celebrated publisher — uncharged with any crime — who has repeatedly exposed the worst criminal malefactors of our time, from Bush/Cheney to Barack Obama to the CIA to the Clintons.)
Fascism-exemplifying comments like Sec. Clinton’s would have been unthinkable in the country’s brief, idealistic period before JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcolm X were gunned down… before the death penalty was reinstated, kicking off the rollback of the peace-mongering, anti-establishment culture of the 1960s-early ‘70s… before Reagan’s orgy of unbridled, irrational materialism… and before “Sa-damn” made it possible for America to go to war again, to “(bury) forever in the desert” the “specter of Vietnam.”
(That’s George H.W. Bush, getting the neocon agenda rolling, with D’s and R’s — and the propaganda-parroting corporate media — united behind the 1991 invasion of Iraq. And all parties involved were good enough to minimize/ignore the ensuing parade of war crimes — a favor they repeated, in spades, for Clinton, Bush’s son, and Obama.)
Illiberal conservatism where critical thinking and compassion once resided
Witnessing the moral and intellectual corruption of the liberal class — and being close to so many people who have been affected by it — has been devastating for me, personally. I’ve been watching (and resisting and debating), as many people I’ve long respected and cared for — a host of kindly, gentle, brilliant Dr. Jekyll’s — have gradually morphed into a mob of morally-corrupt, critical thinking-impaired “Mr. Hyde’s: neo-McCarthyite, neoliberal, neoconservative, fact-averse (reality-hostile), easily programmed, and sadly predictable…
They are the latest proponents of classic Reagan-conservatism: reflexively partisan defenders of deregulation, “trade” pacts, and the war on journalism. Textbook conservatives, they’re arguing for all-of-the-above energy “solutions” and defending charter schools (condoning the assault on the public school system when it’s Obama, Arne Duncan, and Rahm Emmanuel doing it — but not when it’s Betsy DeVos). They’ve championed RomneyCare, with virtually no cost controls.
Worst of all, they’ve embraced the neocon agenda, running with the new McCarthyism and RussiaGate, which has been little more than a stream of flimsy claims, show-indictments, and sensationalized bombshells that are lucky if they survive one news cycle before being utterly debunked.
So partisan are these folks, they appear willing to risk a major confrontation with Russia, inviting a third world war, on a host of wild, lurid, evidence-free claims — claims that Noam Chomsky has called “laughable.”
Returning to Jordan Peterson…
I admit I’m not well-versed (at all) in his writing. That said, I began my investigation into him with an open mind, expecting to encounter an interesting, anti-establishment thinker. I watched a few videos posted by his followers, engaged his fans in conversation, and read an article by two sensible-sounding writers who’d read his book and attended one of his speeches. They seemed fair-minded, expressing admiration for at least some of his ideas along with their criticisms, which seemed well-founded to me.
Generally, I find myself agreeing with JP’s critics, including Peter Coffin. IMO, there’s something to his core message — and in the clearly political space he’s chosen to fill — that is unmistakably conservative, in the worst, most reactionary sense. I’m referring to his consistent, strenuous defense of our corrupt, patriarchal, Christian Dominionist/white-supremacist establishment. Peterson seems to be telling his audience, in coded language, no doubt, that it’s okay to be regressive and bigoted, especially against women and the LGBTQIA community… which I realize is a mouthful.
(From the outside of that community, one is tempted to add “BCDEFGHIJKLMNOP,” as the virtual parade of letters in this ever-lengthening acronym is flat-out confusing and alienating to many mainstream Americans. But I try to be open-minded, and I like “LGBTQIA” — and not just because I’m a Scrabble fan who likes being able to use a “Q” without a “U.” I feel that this acronym represents real people, honoring their identities and helping them unite and resist those who would oppress them… including those who would leave their beaten and tortured corpses bound to a fence in Wyoming.)
Not only does JP seem to be reviving a lot of stale, old conservative tropes — repackaged in more subtle language for an age when most people are trying to unyoke themselves from such retrograde ideas — he appears genuinely hostile to feminism and Identity Politics.
(That doesn’t take a lot of courage or radical thinking, in my opinion; quite the opposite.)
In sum, Peterson appears to be a particularly sophisticated and cunning flimflammer, to borrow Boris’s term, cynically exploiting the resentments of white-males, particularly those who have been discarded and repeatedly disparaged by our (right-wing; faux-liberal) establishment.
In stoking such resentments, I believe Peterson is courting chaos, just as Trump does. They’re largely playing to the same audience, and both encourage victimhood and resentment against historically vulnerable and marginalized groups and philosophies.
Taking on “Cultural Marxists” (with a plethora of bigoted, right-wing claptrap)
Like “Tommy Robinson,” another right-wing con-man IMO, they act as if they’re battling a corrupt, oppressively liberal establishment (the tyranny of “Cultural Marxism”) — when in reality they’re reinforcing the age-old, bigoted claptrap of a right-wing, white-Christian-male-dominated establishment. (An establishment that makes Trump look like an amateur — and a liberal — by comparison. The establishment’s real objections to Trump stem from the fact that he exposes and discredits them. He too accurately and nakedly reflects their core values… and he’s difficult to control.)
But returning to JP, I don’t see anything “liberal” about picking on transgender people, feminists, and “Marxists” (who practically don’t exist in the U.S.).
Why go after historically marginalized groups, already the targets of vicious attacks from the right? What’s the point, besides riling up reactionary conservatives by playing to their prejudices?
And having followed the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, I’ve already heard most of JP’s arguments about how hard it is for men in the workplace to know “the rules” for avoiding sexual harassment accusations. I remember it like yesterday: all those Republican politicians shrugging and wondering aloud, “How can a guy know if his advances are welcome? It’s impossible to navigate this mine field! They’re wearing dresses and make-up, what do they expect? Men are being victimized!”
Peterson doesn’t help his image any when he offers his unscientific theories about the proper role for a woman: nurturing/caregiving, raising children, supporting a successful man. He seems to be echoing traditional conservative stereotypes, sounding more like a Promise Keeper than an academic.
All that said, I admit I was surprised when you informed me that, “JP has been highly critical of Universities who have replaced tenured Professors with adjunct instructor who , non-tenured, low paid, and easily fired. That doesn’t seem right wing to me to defend teachers. That’s seems very liberal.”
Fair enough. It doesn’t change my overall assessment, but you certainly have a point: Here, JP is offering a solidly liberal argument with which I strongly agree. He’s addressing a very serious situation, which I’ve been following with growing concern. I have no disagreement with him on this issue, whatsoever — and I’m reminded that everyone has nuances; everyone is multifaceted.
It’s possible that Peterson has more to offer than I suspected.
END PART VII
NEXT: Jordan Peterson vs. Marx, the Pareto Distribution, and the purge of liberals from academia (making room for war criminals and other neo-fascists)