Friday, June 1, 2018

Excellent Article

On Jordan Peterson, a current bete noire for all sorts of bien-pensant intellectuals, who tend to misrepresent his moderate (even banal) ideas, reframing them as hyperbolic, straw man arguments they proceed to diminish with great self-congratulation (see the recent piece in the NYTimes, for one of many examples).

A sample:

Moderation can, of course, be the wrong approach to any given problem and, like every other political temperament, it is susceptible to criticism. But one criticism it is not susceptible to is being a form of crypto-fascism, or covert anti-Semitism, or an attempt to “justify class and gender hierarchies,” when it plainly is none of those things. His goal appears to be to advance the cause of progress while taking care to preserve what is functional in our systems, whose capacity to sustain nation states of hundreds of millions of people in conditions of relative peace and prosperity he would like all of us to acknowledge. His own personal conservatism might lead him to strike the balance between equality and freedom at a different place than would an egalitarian liberal or leftist: But it’s the idea that there is a balance that needs to be struck that has come under assault.
There is something uneasily poised at the border of grandiosity and grandeur, heroism and quixotism, about Peterson that makes him appealing to undergraduates at the same time as it makes him a target-rich environment for haughty intellectuals and snarky journalists.