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jordan peterson reactionary bullshit

Quillette delivers a wet, sloppy kiss on the butt to Jordan Peterson’s new book “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life”

It’s not a shock to discover that Quillette — the house organ of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web — has given Jordan Peterson’s Beyond Order, his sequel to his bafflingly popular 12 Rules: An Antidote to Chaos, a rave review.

And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the review is as muddled and rambling as Peterson’s own prose. I just wish the 2400-word appreciation had been a little shorter. Life itself is short, and I’ve already wasted more that enough time contemplating the big blob of prickly nothingness that is Jordan Peterson.

So how much does Quillette’s reviewer — London journalist Hannah Gal — love Peterson? Enough to call his book “an astonishingly illuminating look at the human condition” that “could positively impact society as a whole.” In other words, it’s much better than CATS; she’s going to read it again and again.

All this despite the fact that Peterson’s alleged insights into the human condition have always been a mixture of “tough love” cliches and muddled pronouncements about the profound insights supposedly contained in certain Disney movies.Gal praises one of his insights as being wonderously “mind-boggling” but, judging from the extended exegesis of his arguments she provides in her rambling review-manifesto, every point iillustrated with a quote or three from the man himself, Peterson is at least as boggled as he is boggling.

As is Gal’s review, which bounces from topic to topic with a kind of manic energy that disguises her and Peterson’s fundamental incoherence.

As expected, Beyond Order draws on literature, poetry, mythology, classic fairy tales, Nietzsche, Freud, and the New and Old Testaments—the 10 commandments are listed in full. There are moving references to Peterson’s family members, including his wife, his father-in-law, and his little granddaughter.

None of whom, I should mention, are ever mentioned again in the piece.

Another sample:

His many eclectic references and eccentric observations awaken the mind, inviting the reader on a path of contemplation and discovery, at the end of which awaits deeper understanding of the human condition. Elsewhere in the book, he explains why Thomas the Tank Engine has a face and a smile … .

She never bothers to explain what exactly Peterson’s point is with regard to Tank Engine Thomas, so I can only imagine that the reason he has a smiling face is that TRAINS ARE ALIVE and probably biding their time until they rise up and overturn human civilization.

Though the title of Peterson’s book is “Beyond Order,” and though there is very little order in Gal’s review, the main lesson she draws from her reading of Peterson is that rules are good.

His conclusions point to an urgent need for individuals and society to adopt traditional values—constructive discipline, responsibility, competence, hard work, apprenticeship, competition, acceptance of hierarchy, and respect for the past and basic order.

Then why, again, is the book called Beyond Order?

I guess I’ll never know, because based on her review I have less than zero inclination to actually read the book.

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Anonymous
Anonymous
11 days ago

Wasn’t Petersen supposed to have brain damage after that coma he went into?

Alan Robertshaw
11 days ago

Oh gawd, please not another polemic on the politics of Thomas the Tank Engine. You can’t move for them here.

And anyway, everyone knows the best commentary on Capital versus Labour is Bagpuss.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
11 days ago

Oh gawd, please not another polemic on the politics of Thomas the Tank Engine. You can’t move for them here.

Hey, ranting about the politics of Thomas is what got my husband and I through literal years of our kids’ obsessions with the show! Don’t take our grim cackling joy in spotting some of the nastier elements (what exactly happens to engines who aren’t Really Useful?! Will Donald and Douglas really be executed for scamming the Fat Conductor?!) away from us! We had too much fun snickering behind our children’s backs! Oh damn, now the theme song is stuck in my head. 😆

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
11 days ago

Oh gawd, please not another polemic on the politics of Thomas the Tank Engine. You can’t move for them here.

Hey, ranting about the politics of Thomas is what got my husband and I through literal years of our kids’ obsessions with the show! Don’t take our grim cackling joy in spotting some of the nastier elements (what exactly happens to engines who aren’t Really Useful?! Will Donald and Douglas really be executed for scamming the Fat Conductor?!) away from us! We had too much fun snickering behind our children’s backs! Oh damn, now the theme song is stuck in my head. 😆

Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
11 days ago

 acceptance of hierarchy, and respect for the past and basic order.

Acceptance that you women are property of your husbands and gay people should be forced to be in straight relationships.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
11 days ago

Is one of the rules “Don’t acquire a benzo addiction that sends you into a coma in Russia?”

Because it ought to be.

Also, God, Creator of All That Is, only had 10 rules. Why’s JP need more than twice as many?

Cheerful Warthog
Cheerful Warthog
11 days ago

Is the Thomas thing meant to be amazing? Because prepare to have your minds blown, all conservatives and mushy centrists: it is because Thomas is a character on a kids’ show and if he just looked like a train it would be difficult to empathise with him. Bang! I should be the one making a hundred thousand dollars a month on Patreon and eating nothing but salty beef!

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
11 days ago

Hey JP, I think all of us went through a phase in high school where we stayed up late to ramble with our friends about our Vast Unifying Oh-So-Awesome Philosophies Of Life. I’m sure we all thought, at the wise ages of, say, 14 to 17, that we were absolute geniuses .

Most of us were self-aware eno8gh to grow out of that phase.

And we sure as hell didn’t turn our pretentious monologues into terrible books.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
11 days ago

Yeah, when you see the Red Skull and automatically think “it me”, maybe you’ve gone wrong somewhere?

And, I mean, grandiose much there, Jord? Like other people didn’t come up with 10 Rules For Life before you?

YHWH called, He wants His number back. Smiting is always an option with that One.

Ninja Socialist
Ninja Socialist
11 days ago

Peterson would be fine if he’d stay in his lane. Even then, his takes are very dated, He needs to stay out of politics and keep his opinion on women to himself, given his sexist and disgusting audience. He makes excuses for their bad behavior which is in direct violation of his “clean your room” pull yourself up by the bootstraps bull crap. He’s a weird man who chooses to share his dream about his grandmother’s bush. Did no one on his editorial team say “Bro, wtf?”

Ninja Socialist
Ninja Socialist
11 days ago

@Annonymous I was going to say that the coma may have explained a lot about him but that doesn’t explain everything before. The dude is a wacko.

Ninja Socialist
Ninja Socialist
11 days ago

@Alan R, wait until he gets a load of WAP.

Crip Dyke
11 days ago

Also, God, Creator of All That Is, only had 10 rules. Why’s JP need more than twice as many?

Well, at first, maybe. He wrote a lot of sequels and was up to 613 before He even got to the Golden one.

On other topics…
I’m not willing to read JP to be sure, but he strikes me as someone who practices a form of virtue ethics that is all too common, even if it’s not what virtue ethics was originally about under Aristotle.

For JP, as near as I can tell, virtue is redemptive. If one has the core virtues of a particular community, one is a good and ethical person regardless of behavior. That in itself isn’t TOO far from Aristotle, But for people of the type I’m discussing (probably including JP, but I can’t be sure so leave him aside for now) people who aren’t part of that community are viewed with “out group” suspicion, and the rules imposed on outgroup individuals are there so that those persons can simulate the values of the in group.

But because of the strong in-group/outgroup dichotomy, people in the outgroup can never be judged sufficiently good and moral without becoming part of the in-group. And if you’re in the in-group, then it’s trusted that even if you do a bad thing™, you’re still essentially god.

This creates an asymmetry: there are good (in-group) people who can relax, confident that they are moral and that their actions are moral because the actions of a moral person are moral actions – by definitions. Then there are the always suspect out-group people who must live up to the rules as imposed on them or be judged.

His books, then, are an opportunity for in-group persons to tell each other how much they agree with his values, even if they don’t intend to follow his rules. And his books – from the reviews I’ve read, I’ve never cracked the spine on one of his actual books – invite this by specifying rules that are metaphors. “Clean your room” was, famously, mocked. But the Petersonian response was not that, yes, this is a rule for juveniles but some people haven’t learned it even after becoming adults so it’s fair to include. The response to the mockery was that this was a metaphor for…whatever the fuck.

in this way, the in-crowd can always be confident in themselves that they are “cleaning their room” because the metaphor only means as much as they want it to mean, and only restricts their lives as much as they wish. Their in-group membership absolves them of any need to obey the letter of the law. In judging members of the out-group, however, the in-group arrogates to themselves the same authority to interpret the rules that they showed when interpreting how the rules related to their own behavior. This is not a contradiction to them: they do not believe that since they judged their own behavior that this means that individuals, broadly, should be the judges of their own behavior.

Rather, they judged themselves and now they’re judging you: who gets to judge is entirely consistent in their reading because who did the judging never changed (even if the perspective and the role of any conflicts of interest certainly did).

But, of course, since they are virtue ethicists, it doesn’t even matter if you uphold the rules better than they themselves do: if you don’t share the values of the in-group, if you don’t venerate the same virtues as the in-group, you can never be judged as moral as the in-group.

The rules, such as they are, are inchoate by design, because as much as people like this, people very much like JP, simulate deontologies, they are ultimately virtue ethicists to the core.

And you, my friends, don’t have the virtues that they value.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
11 days ago

the 10 commandments are listed in full. 

The entire ten commandments? Not a partial list, but the whole thing!? That’s amazing! Who ever heard of such a thing!?

Crip Dyke
11 days ago

Wasn’t Petersen supposed to have brain damage after that coma he went into?

How would you tell?

Crip Dyke
11 days ago

Then why, again, is the book called Beyond Order?

Oh, fuck. With that whole long thing above, I forgot to circle back to why I was writing all that in the first place: it’s because I’m trying to answer this question by David.

It’s “Beyond Order” yet still has rules, because for Jordan (I think), the out-group people need the rules, but the in-group people can simply clap themselves on the back for having good values. They are “beyond” the need for order, even if the rules are necessary to impose on others for the good of the in-group (which is made synonymous with the good of the society).

They’re beyond order. You’re stuck following the rules. Suck it up, Sunshine, that’s how the Lobster God intended it to be.

Last edited 11 days ago by Crip Dyke
Viscaria
Viscaria
11 days ago

@GSS ex-noob

Also, God, Creator of All That Is, only had 10 rules. Why’s JP need more than twice as many?

Right? I thought one of the selling points of the first one was that by following 12 and only 12 rules the reader could live well, but apparently, woops, he missed half of them, so we’d all better shell out for the sequel.

Last edited 11 days ago by Viscaria
Snowberry
Snowberry
11 days ago

@Crip Dyke: Since I have yet to do a deep dive into Petersonology, I’m mildly curious as to what position he’s ultimately supporting. Pure tribalism where one group is immune to out-group treatment as the goal in itself, or as a pathway to universal conformance?

rabid rabbit
rabid rabbit
11 days ago

I did see one review of Peterson’s latest book that was interesting in that it was by someone who wasn’t invested one way or the other, so sort of didn’t see what the fuss was about one way or the other, and apparently had never come across Peterson’s online pronouncements, and so was just basing his review on the book itself. The main thing I found intriguing was the reviewer pointing out that it was refreshing to see a self-help book that wasn’t all “You can get out of this! You just have to believe in yourself!” but instead openly said “Yeah, life sucks. You’re going to have to deal with that.” Which… if it wasn’t Peterson, would seem a possibly valid viewpoint.

Crip Dyke
11 days ago

@snowberry

I’m mildly curious as to what position he’s ultimately supporting. Pure tribalism where one group is immune to out-group treatment as the goal in itself, or as a pathway to universal conformance?

That’s a good question.

.45
.45
11 days ago

Elaine kind of beat me to it, but “acceptance of hierarchy, and respect for the past and basic order”?

In other words, shut up, don’t question anything, do what I say, and maintain the status quo.

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
11 days ago

[T]he 10 commandments are listed in full.

Echoing WWTH to say, Wow!

Does he include the commandment not to be a sanctimonious, grifting asshole? Okay, that’s not actually a commandment — but it should be.

There are moving references to Peterson’s family members, including his wife, his father-in-law, and his little granddaughter.

His little granddaugher? Even my cold, dead feminist heart is melted by the mention of a little granddaughter. This Jordan Peterson must be a great guy.

His conclusions point to an urgent need for individuals and society to adopt traditional values—constructive discipline, responsibility, competence, hard work, apprenticeship, competition, acceptance of hierarchy, and respect for the past and basic order.

Constructive discipline, responsibility, competence, hard work, and apprenticeship? Sounds good to me. Competition? Why. Acceptance of hierarchy? Nope. Respect for the past? Not for the bad old days. Respect for basic order? You seem to be implying that your critics love chaos. Hahaha, no, that’s Donald Trump you’re thinking of.

Last edited 11 days ago by Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
11 days ago

comment image
This picture accompanies the review. Jordan Peterson smiles! And it looks as though he doesn’t quite have the hang of it.

Last edited 11 days ago by Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
11 days ago

TWELVE MORE RULES
https://youtu.be/uWXxlYzBCno
TWELVE MORE RULES

Halloween Jack
Halloween Jack
10 days ago

Do they also give him credit for founding Hydra and battling Captain America?

Ninja Socialist
Ninja Socialist
10 days ago

@Cat, so JBP wants his granddaughter to live in a world where she has no choice except to be a subservient little house wife. What a stand up guy /s

Buttercup Q.Skullpants
Buttercup Q.Skullpants
10 days ago

awaken the mind, inviting the reader on a path of contemplation and discovery, at the end of which awaits deeper understanding of the human condition. Elsewhere in the book, he explains why Thomas the Tank Engine has a face and a smile

These two sentences cannot possibly go together.

Otrame
Otrame
10 days ago

“Order” means the lesser being doing what they are told by their superiors.

Full Metal Ox
10 days ago

@Bookworm in hijab:

Hey JP, I think all of us went through a phase in high school where we stayed up late to ramble with our friends about our Vast Unifying Oh-So-Awesome Philosophies Of Life. I’m sure we all thought, at the wise ages of, say, 14 to 17, that we were absolute geniuses .

That’s about the same age at which a lot of us thought of ourselves as temporarily embarrassed witches, mutants, or anime action heroes; in fact, there’s a Japanese word for the phenomenon: chūnibyō.

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Chuunibyou

Last edited 10 days ago by Full Metal Ox
Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
10 days ago

How long do you guys think it will before the Peterson fanboys descend on this page to tell us about how great of man he is and dodge the question when we bring up his comments on “enforced monogamy”

Also ot

I wish I could show you guys the view I got up to this morning. My husband and I rented this cabin by one of the lakes as an impromptu to mini vacation for us. The sun made the water sparkle and there were all these ducks and swans on the water. We’re away from the city and other people and it’s just so beautiful.

Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
10 days ago

Eh, I’ll read it when I get chance. Doubt it’s terribly original or interesting, last one weren’t, but even Captain Obvious here gets a chance when I’m bored.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
10 days ago

Jordan Peterson walks into a crowded fast food restaurant where someone else is waiting for their takeaway vegan burger.

Cashier: “Who’s got the Beyond order?”

Peterson: “That’s mine! Also, I’d like a beef patty without any context.”

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
10 days ago

@Lumipuna:

Thanks, now I’m remembering one of my favourite lines from The Phantom Tollbooth, where the Everpresent Wordsnatcher (a nuisance with a habit of taking one thing you said and making extreme remarks based on it) says that he’s from a little town called Context, but that it’s such a boring place he spends almost all of his time out of it.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
10 days ago

@Snowberry: probably both — they go together in RWNJ “thought”.

@Elaine: It sounds beautiful!

@Kat: “Hello hyoo-mons. I am one of you, and not a bunch of lobsters in a hyoo-mon suit. See my reassuring hyoo-mon mouth rictus?”

@Alan: Perfect. And I extracted myself from TV Tropes in less than an hour.

epitome of incomrepehensibility

Then why, again, is the book called Beyond Order?

Because Nietzsche wrote something called Beyond Good and Evil and Peterson thinks that making a vague reference will make him sound smart?

I dunno.

Doug
Doug
9 days ago

Let’s not sully the good name of “The Amazing Alexander” by associating him with Peterson.

Alan Robertshaw
9 days ago

@ bookworm in hijab

Just got an email about this. It’s up for auction. I can’t afford it. But I thought of you when I saw it.

(It’s called “Universal Personhood“; by Shepard Fairey)

comment image

Last edited 9 days ago by Alan Robertshaw
Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
9 days ago

Alan, cool, thanks! I know Shepard Fairey’s work only from the series of protest posters he did. This one is lovely too.

Image downloaded and saved (take that, expensive auction!)

Alan Robertshaw
9 days ago

@ bookworm in hijab

take that, expensive auction!

Too right! And anyway, this is meant to be an auction about subversive art; so what could be more on point than just blagging it?

I do like his stuff though. I can’t have figurative art at home. Representations of people freak me out. But I do like some of his spoof record covers. Wouldn’t pay those prices though; even if I had the cash; which I don’t.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
9 days ago

@Alan,

so what could be more on point than just blagging it?

LOL. I mean…I do believe very strongly in the importance of paying artists for their work (since there seems to be this attitude out there of “but you love making art! If you reeeeeaallly loved it, you’d do it for freeeee!”)…but on my salary a phone-download is probably the best I can do.

You’re a lawyer, is that right? Did I violate copyright laws?! Uh oh.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
9 days ago

Representations of people freak me out.

That’s really interesting. Are you comfortable with talking about that? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Simon
Simon
9 days ago

How long do you guys think it will before the Peterson fanboys descend on this page to tell us about how great of man he is

Honestly? That seems to have eased off. There was a time when it was like the Goddam batsignal for arseholes but I think the benzo/coma gap peeled away all but the hardcore.

Also, I was reading a terrific new biography of one of Jorpy’s bête noires, Jaques Derrida. Guess which one of them was actually arrested and briefly imprisoned by communists on trumped up drug charges for attempting to do philosophy lectures in Czechoslovakia on behalf of charter 77? Not the Canadian bloviatior.

Alan Robertshaw
9 days ago

@ bookworm in hijab

Did I violate copyright laws?! 

Now that is an interesting issue. There’s a general consensus in the art world that, when an artist consigns work (that is to say, puts it in a gallery or auction for sale), then any reproduction of the art for the purposes of advertising constitutes ‘fair use’. That’s one of those ‘standard industry practice’ things. Also, some contracts have that as clause; the artist grants a licence for that purpose. Well, when people bother with written contracts. Which is itself an issue. The art world is notorious for not doing. Still, keeps the lawyers employed when everyone falls out. But as I just reproduced it here to say it was up for sale I’m covered!

Even if you breach copyright though there’s the question of damages. Copyright holders can only sue for actual losses. You having a copy is unlikely to give rise to damages. It’s not like everyone is going to say “I don’t need to buy it now. I’ll just pop round Bookworm’s house and see it there.”

If you were to use it for any other purpose there can sometimes be nominal damages. The courts base that on what a reasonable license fee would be. That does crop up when people put stuff on websites. Getty Images are notorious for going after people.

Are you comfortable with talking about that? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Oh yeah. It’s not a difficult subject or anything. It’s just I can’t have anything ‘living’ on display at home. It really feels like there’s someone present. I guess thats the animist in me. Weirdly it doesn’t have to be a ‘naturalistic’ image. Even something fairly abstract has that effect if it evokes a living thing.

Of course, as you’ll know better than I, Islamic art has that prohibition (Well, sometimes. There is a long history of representational art in Islam). But that might be one of the reasons I like it. That and I just love abstract art anyway. I could ramble for ages about the universality of some abstract concepts. Maybe it’s that Jungian collective consciousness thing; or just neuro-psychology; but you see the same sorts of patterns in so many disparate cultures. From the earliest times we made art to the present day.

Last edited 9 days ago by Alan Robertshaw
Tovius
9 days ago

@Alan Robertshaw

Getty Images are notorious for going after people.

That reminds me a little of this tweet from a few years ago.

Last edited 9 days ago by Tovius
Alan Robertshaw
9 days ago

@ Tovius

Brilliant! But scarily on point,

I also like the one below. Where she just wore the chromakey suit!

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
9 days ago

Alan, thanks, that was an interesting read! I always enjoy hearing other people’s perspectives on this. I’m torn, a bit, on the subject of copyright: on the one hand, of course artists should be paid for their work; on the other hand, I’ve heard of cases where artists are sued over copyright infringement if they use, say, corporate-owned images in the creation of protest art (something about a muralist who used a Coors beer image to make an anti-war point, don’t remember the details though). Where does riffing off of someone else’s ideas turn into ripping off someone else’s ideas? Like people who want to make money off their fanfics. And I know of many underfunded teachers who photocopy huge swathes of books so that all their kids have access, even though they’re not supposed to. But then those writers aren’t getting the revenues from the book sales.

Tl;dr: I feel like the legal, ethical, creative issues all tangle into one big (fascinating) knot.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
9 days ago

Copyright doesn’t exist to ensure artists get paid. Artists, with a tiny set of superstar exceptions, typically get paid very little, and the superstar exceptions have no shortage of ways to monetize their fame, with appearance/speaking fees being one obvious non-copyright-dependent example.

Copyright exists to ensure the profits of large publishers, record labels, studios, and etc., and the huge passive incomes of their CEOs and boards of directors. It’s one more cog in the machinery of capitalist exploitation. One of the more obvious ones, since it explicitly creates a legal right to extract monopoly rents!

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
9 days ago

Even if you breach copyright though there’s the question of damages. Copyright holders can only sue for actual losses.

My understanding of copyright is that it doesn’t work like that in the US. In the US, if an artist registers the copyright, they can claim statutory damages and not just actual damages. I’m not a lawyer, but that’s always been what I’d heard and why I freaked out when my organization decided to nick some images from the internets and use them on our website without license.