Jordan Peterson recently released a youtube vid of a live presentation he did, and as always, it is well worth watching or listening to. Also, as always, it’s heavy on dialectic – it’s far better on how you should handle yourself, and understanding at the core why you and the world are the way they are, giving you the certainty, the logos, needed to help face chaos. Finally, yes, it’s another speech where he goes on 20-minute long digressions before pulling all the threads together at very nearly the end.
Which brings me to his concluding answers.
Dr Peterson is knowledgable, well studied, and damn well worth listening to, and despite his stand against tyranny of thought, and understanding of communism and its evils, he is, bless him, a reasonable man.
I’ll leave aside his “big lie” understanding of Nazis as being of the right instead of fellow totalitarians of the left with the communists and just a separate victim group – a blind spot that continues to amaze me given his description of how the roots of post modernism helped drive progressivism and communism, and how the modern movement explicitly grew out of the failure of Marxism to pick different victim groups for power games.
His final answer on dealing with the hard left – and I’ll even grant that many are just kids looking for a gang to hang out with and not truly of the hard left, but acting out as part of a mob – is to turn the other cheek. He notes correctly that positive feed back loops – like pushing back – can spiral out of control quickly, and that for the purposes of showing up at lectures by him and others, it is far best to realize one will be taunted, possibly attacked, and to remain calm and measured. He is correct that his lectures are no place to turn into a war zone.
I will add though – if it can be avoided.
He misinterprets what it means to turn the other cheek, and ignores the issue that a war only needs one side, and that to the emotionally incontinent, the ever-terrified cluster-B’s and tyrants who want to control everything, simply saying “no” and ignoring them is an attack on them and their reality. Objective truth, and objectively doing nothing to them, does not matter. And he is well aware of the stacks of dead bodies and souls that have resulted from one side waging total war on the consciences of everyone around them.
If I ever have the opportunity to hear him speak I will not seek action, but I will be prepared for it. Because while escalating something until it becomes life threatening is stupid, and even then the smart move is to leave, avoid the drama, the reality is that sometimes what stops a bully, much like what stops a mass-murdering shooter, is often the very thing that may escalate the situation – active resistance.
For that matter, once a bully’s decided it’s OK to punch you and beat you, it’s a bit late to avoid escalation, you’re already in deadly force territory.
The left lately has taken pride in shutting down anyone to the right of them, and hurting them if they have to. As long as they’re just shouting slogans, ignoring them may be best – they’re not a threat to my existence. If it escalates, it doesn’t matter if they’re really nice when they’re pulled out of the mob, if they’re punching and screaming and kicking and throwing water bottles full of cement and clubbing people, they are making their choice, and have presented themselves as an existential threat. The fact that they’ve acted like that before means they’re willing to cross that line if they think they can get away with it. Again, it doesn’t matter if Johnny wouldn’t do that to your face, alone.
Reason, and reasoned responses, are for those who would listen. Turning the cheek is so that one does not unduly escalate a situation with family or friends where they may have just had a bad day. It is not an invitation to martyrdom. I understand why he says one should not try to win, and should indeed strive for peace, for solving the problem, but since I intend for me and mine to survive, if they give me the historical choice of subjugation or stopping them cold?
I intend to win, because as horrible as that is, it’s preferable to losing.