Monday, March 5, 2018

What's Up With Jordan Peterson's Jungian Psychological Theories?

Psychologist Michael Edelstein is in the hot seat between Joseph Ford Cotto,  editor-in-chief of The San Francisco Review of Books and paleoconservative philosopher Paul Gottfried,

They discuss Jordan Peterson.


 -Robert Wenzel 


  1. Jordan Peterson doesn't go far enough'

    A perceptive but critical review of JP's latest book by Peter Hitchens.

    Is the JP phenomena a reaction by young men growing up in a world where young women are trained to distrust masculinity per se?

    There's no need to agree with every ...or even any.. of JP's own theories. However the man is intellectually honest and courageous in our era of media enforced conformity. He deserves at least two cheers for that.

    I think his run-in with Ontario's PC thought police and his relatively recent recovery from long term auto-immune health problems - have fired him up. His energy and resolve is outstanding.

  2. Gottfried, i think, misinterprets JP on the 'economic equality' topic. Although JP (unfortunately) is not a free marketeer -he isn't a closet egalitarian either. He views inequality (and i think he draws from Pareto and Robert Michels) as a wider phenomenon in the universe. Inequality isn't just an economic or even purely human condition. JP may wish to ameliorate the worst extremes of economic inequality but he would certainly regard radical egalitarianism as a fools errand.

    I don't think this position is inherently a problem for free marketeers. Although markets do not produce equal outcomes, neither do states. Not even socialist states.

    Paul Gottfried - who is a specialist in marxism - calls out JP on post-modernism. He may be on stronger ground here. In this PG actually parallels Thaddeus Russell. TR has criticised JP for conflating po-mo with Frankfurt School & "cultural marxism". PG has some issues with the "cultural marxism" label - but he and TR (and JP) all consider this (probably mislabeled) phenomenon a problem.

    TR goes further and actually considers post-modernism as -at least - "not antithetical" to libertarian ideas. He sees some points of agreement between po-mo and the ideas of Hayek for example (i.e. the knowledge problem critique of economic planning.)

    The Gillespie /TR interview is Episode 39 of TR's "Unregistered"podcast series. After exploring a probable bureaucratic root cause for Cultural Marxism's domination of American academy, they get into the po-mo topic towards the end. I will try to summarise the main points from memory.

    Firstly as Gillespie noted the old school marxists strongly opposed the pioneer po-mo theorists as they see dialectical materialism as 'the truth'. Secondly TR says modern college radicals may sound po-mo but cultural marxism isn't the same thing as po-mo. TR argues thay Hayekian 'knowledge problem' critique of central planning / intervention dovetails nicely with po-mo uber-skepticism. TR adds that Mises's / Austrian subjective value theory is also "po-mo friendly". Gillespie and TR compare the issue to an older economics debate -between Milton Friedman and Mises. Friedman defended "positive economics" vs the more subjectivist position of the Austrians. TR says the Austrians sound almost po-mo here. Lastly regarding everyday ethics etc TR argued in favor of Ayn Rand's self interested approach. So there are some potential points of agreement between Austrian libertarians and po-mo (at least when shed of it's 'cultural marxist' fellow travellers.

  3. Here is Peterson on inequality:
    “If we could come up with a way to reliably flatten inequality that would be a good thing.”
    “inequality is a terrible problem."
    "I don’t think the left-wingers are pessimistic enough about the problem."

  4. Michael.

    Thanks for posting.

    I found a brief clip on JP discussing pareto distribution and economic inequality. He has referred or implied pareto principle several times. See example here.

    JP elsewhere has defended 'equality of opportunity'. A Cato page comments critically on this.

    Rothbard basically calls 'equality of opportunity' poor logic. At a more pragmatic level, i think David Friedman gives a better take on equality issues - but it is unlikely to satisfy those who elevate equality to a sacred principle.

    I think Hayek's charactisation of eqalitarianism as "atavistic" is an attempt at an evolutionary explanation for popular strength of the 'ideal'.