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Book Review: Twelve Rules For Life

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❶And I didn't have pain. The book debuted at number one on the bestseller lists for The New York Times and The Globe and Mail , holding the position on the former for eleven consecutive weeks.

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While Gladwell acknowledges his mother's ambition and intelligence, he also points out opportunities offered to his parents that helped them live a life better than those of other slave descendants in the West Indies. Gladwell also explains that, in the 18th century, a white plantation owner in Jamaica bought a female slave and made her his mistress. This act inadvertently saved the slave and her offspring from a life of brutal servitude.

Summarizing the publication, Gladwell notes that success "is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky", [9] and at the end of the book, he remarks, " Outliers wasn't intended as autobiography.

But you could read it as an extended apology for my success. Outliers has been described as a form of autobiography, as Gladwell mixes in elements from his own life into the book to give it a more personal touch. Lev Grossman , writing in Time magazine , called Outliers a "more personal book than its predecessors", noting, "If you hold it up to the light, at the right angle, you can read it as a coded autobiography: Published by Little, Brown and Company on November 18, , [10] Outliers debuted at number one on the bestseller lists for The New York Times in the United States and The Globe and Mail in Canada on November 28, , [11] holding the position on the former for eleven consecutive weeks.

In particular, Anders Ericsson and coauthors who conducted the study upon which "the 10,Hour Rule" was based have written in their book that Gladwell had overgeneralized, misinterpreted, and oversimplified their findings. Shaywitz, reviewing the book in The Wall Street Journal , praised Gladwell's writing style as "iconic", and asserted that "many new nonfiction authors seek to define themselves as the 'Malcolm Gladwell of' their chosen topic.

How much raw talent remains uncultivated and ultimately lost because we cling to outmoded ideas of what success looks like and what is required to achieve it? In a discussion about the book in Slate magazine , John Horgan was particularly moved by Gladwell's family history.

He felt that the links between race and achievement were given substantive analysis, but found the lessons mentioned in Outliers to be "oddly anticlimactic, even dispiriting". The review remarked that Outliers was repetitive in parts, but that Gladwell eventually pulls the stories together into an overarching narrative. Criticism focused on the book's style and oversimplified conceptualizations.

Displeased with Gladwell's generalizations drawn from small amounts of data, Roger Gathman wrote in The Austin American-Statesman that this was uncharacteristic of him, and believed that the approach points to a "certain exhaustion in his favorite method". Jason Cowley , reviewing the book in The Guardian , felt that Outliers was an argument between Gladwell and himself, referring to the many times that he uses the word "we" when defining his position, such as in the example: Finding it ironic that Outliers provided suggestions on how to resolve cultural biases, the Sunday Times review by Kevin Jackson agreed that the book itself suffered from an unbalanced focus on American subjects, predicting that this would lead to better sales in the United States than in the United Kingdom.

Jackson was disappointed in the book's lack of new ideas, noting that it merely expands on the concept that "you have to be born at the right moment; at the right place; to the right family posh usually helps ; and then you have to work really, really hard. I think there is a lot of truth in it [ I think, however, when you look at a group who has been successful I think you always will find that amount of work in the background.

But I don't think it's a rule that if you do that amount of work, you're going to be as successful as the Beatles. Macnamara and colleagues have subsequently performed a comprehensive review of 9, research papers about practice relating to acquiring skills. They focused specifically on 88 papers that collected and recorded data about practice times. In their paper, they note regarding the 10,hour rule that "This view is a frequent topic of popular-science writing" but "we conducted a meta-analysis covering all major domains in which deliberate practice has been investigated.

We conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued". Statistical analyst Jeff Sauro looked at Gladwell's claim that between and was the best time to be born to become a software millionaire.

Sauro found that, although the — category held the most births, "[a] software millionaire is more than twice as likely to be born outside the to window than within it.

Lee discussed the strategic timing of King's ascent from a "Gladwellian" perspective, citing Outliers as the inspiration for his argument. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Outliers Outliers book cover. Br J Sports Med: Malcolm Gladwell's Success Story".

Little, Brown and Company. The Wall Street Journal. The Story of Success Hardcover ". The New York Times. The Globe and Mail. Timing is Almost Everything". Outliers, By Malcolm Gladwell". Archived from the original on The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell". Paul McCartney heads to Canada". Retrieved 13 September Works by Malcolm Gladwell. Retrieved from " https: Pages to import images to Wikidata All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from May Official website different in Wikidata and Wikipedia Good articles.

Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 30 August , at People can be so confused that their psyches will be ordered and their lives improved by the adoption of any reasonably orderly system of interpretation.

This is the bringing together of the disparate elements of their lives in a disciplined manner — any disciplined manner. So, if you have come apart at the seams or you have never been together at all you can restructure your life on Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian, Rogerian, or behavioral principles. At least then you make sense.

At least then you might be good for something, if not yet good for everything. I have to admit, I read the therapy parts of this book with a little more desperation than might be considered proper.

Psychotherapy is really hard, maybe impossible. Your patient comes in, says their twelve-year old kid just died in some tragic accident. And then they ask you for help. What do you say? There are times — like when I have a desperate and grieving patient in front of me — that I would give almost anything for this talent.

So how does Jordan Peterson, the only person in the world who can say our social truisms and get a genuine reaction with them, do psychotherapy?

People need to think…True thinking is complex and demanding. It requires you to be articulate speaker and careful, judicious listener at the same time. So you have to tolerate conflict. Conflict involves negotiation and compromise. So, you have to learn to give and take and to modify your premises and adjust your thoughts — even your perceptions of the world…Thinking is emotionally painful and physiologically demanding, more so than anything else — exept not thinking.

But you have to be very articulate and sophisticated to have all this thinking occur inside your own head. But you need someone to listen. A listening person is your collaborator and your opponent […]. The fact is important enough to bear repeating: Like hoarders, they cannot unclutter themselves. The input of the community is required for the integrity of the individual psyche.

To put it another way: It has emerged from the underworld, materialized from chaos, and manifested itself. It is perceptible and concrete and no longer easily ignored. The speaker has even startled himself. He sees the same thing reflected in my eyes. He notes that, and continues on the road to sanity. Sometimes I hate my wife. My mom did that all the time, too. It drove Dad crazy. It drove all of us crazy, to tell you the truth. It even drove Mom crazy!

She was a nice person, but she was very resentful. That really affected me. Maybe I overreact now when it happens even a bit. I better let her know. And I see that he was possessed, unconsciously, by the spirit of his father. He sees all of that too. Now he is a bit more differentiated, a bit less of an uncarved block, a bit less hidden in the fog. He has sewed up a small tear in the fabric of his culture. This is what all the textbooks say too. But it was helpful hearing Jordan Peterson say it.

Everybody — at least every therapist, but probably every human being — has this desperate desire to do something to help the people in front of them who are in pain, right now. And you always think — if I were just a deeper, more eloquent person, I could say something that would solve this right now. But you still feel inadequate. Not just a good psychotherapist, but a good person.

To be able to create narratives like Peterson does — but also to lay that talent aside because someone else needs to create their own without your interference — is a heck of a sacrifice. I am not sure if Jordan Peterson is trying to found a religion.

But if Peterson forms a religion, I think it will be a force for good. Or if not, it will be one of those religions that at least started off with a good message before later generations perverted the original teachings and ruined everything. Problem with this was that having a voice in the culture war is how this guy got attention in the first place. Watching people polarize in real time is a hell of a thing, matched only by feeling it happen within yourself.

People are remarkably fine with efforts to help men when they are not framed as being in conflict with efforts to help women. I just have to say, most of the people I know hate the type of MRAs that have shown up in their spaces and yelled at them, and have a natural revulsion for the term MRA.

But, all of them are interested in helping male victims of whatever, reforming the criminal justice and prison system to address bias, etc. The claim someone made in this discussion was that there were almost no shelters for male victims of abuse. Your narrative that the ostracized are to blame because of their own behavior is a classic narrative by which those who abuse their power to exclude and silence justify their behavior.

I oppose the mainstream feminism that is driving policy and law. The feminists who actually make policy and control the Overton window, seem to pretty much exclusively fall in two camps: However, they reject the Social Justice axioms, which seems to make them extreme outliers in the feminist movement and feminist activism or policy-making seems to ignore their beliefs. If it were possible to truly help men within feminism, then Erin Pizzey would now be working with feminists to run domestic violence shelters for men and women.

Erin Pizzey started the first modern domestic violence shelter. However, she is a fact-oriented, non-misandrist person, who noticed that most domestic violence is reciprocal which scientific victim surveys also show is the case and she thus advocated an approach to combating domestic violence that is not based on seeing men as exclusively perpetrators and women as exclusively victims.

Rejecting Social Justice axioms in this way earned her death threats. Yet when it was being released, it was regularly violently prevented from being shown or seen by feminist activists. In some viewings in Australia, they had to devise a method of sending out the location and time on the day-of, and having the audience be escorted by police through secret entranceways in order to make the viewings possible.

I just have to say, most of the people I know hate the type of MRAs that have shown up in their spaces and yelled at them.

The result was that the ones who visibly did were the sort of people who liked hostile confrontations, exchanges of insults, and the like. Ditto for things like paternal leave and criminal justice reform. Peterson is an agent of polarisation who reinforces the bullshit of the shoutiest and most toxic voices in SJ from the other side. There are many feminist groups helping female rape victims in Africa. It is now known that men suffer as much and often more than women from rape in Africa.

Many men are permanently disabled by repeated rape, abandoned by their families after being raped, raped to death, etc. These groups adamantly refuse to do anything to help the male rape victims, and oppose helping them for fear that it will take funds away from female rape victims. There was a big article in the Washington Post about it.

The notion that feminists and men are somehow opposing parties, […], these are radfem beliefs. For example, I would claim that America has a gun culture, relative to other nations. Claiming that America or Americans have a gun culture, is not a claim that each individual American supports relatively easy access to guns for citizens or wants to own a gun. I think that it is fair to say that one of the two cultures of the culture war has a very strong cultural belief that a substantial bias exists against black people in some ways.

I think that it is fair to say that this culture has a very strong belief that a substantial bias exists against women in some ways. Furthermore, a lot of the evidence that I base my beliefs on is very similar to the evidence that is and was used to claim that substantial bias exists against blacks and women. That this evidence seems to be weighed very differently when it comes to men, is why I claim that a strong usually unconscious bias exists against men.

I used a pithy one-liner 2. I accept that my statement is ineffective at reaching those who do not yet share my views. Criticizing the second is fair, although in my defense, it is very hard to distinguish between beliefs and aliefs in writing.

They are very powerful tools to protect the ego and bind a group behind a non-rational ideology. However, it you choose to defend that there should be some much shelters, automatically you are deemed anti-feminist. If you choose to defend that there should be some such shelters, automatically you are deemed anti-feminist.

But now that I do think about it, why do battered men need their own shelters? My understanding is that having either a shelter for men or a gender-neutral shelter would solve the problem of a battered man having nowhere to go , but I suppose neither exists. Another problem is that, as far as I know, shelters for battered women do not allow them to bring their male children above certain age 12 if I remember correctly. If we take this concern literally , we should build shelters where only men and women; that is, if we also care about battered lesbians below average height are allowed.

If there exist female and gender-neutral shelters, I suspect women, given the choice, would almost always go to female ones, leaving the gender-neutral ones de-facto male.

I also think that there is a loudly vocal minority of women who care A WHOLE LOT about domestic abuse shelters who buy into the idea that all women are victims of all men, and so strongly resist the idea that men might need shelters also. If all of the shelters are women and children only, where are the battered men, who no longer feel safe in their homes, and cannot afford to live in a hotel room, to go?

I personally have strong doubts whether those hotel rooms are actually made available with anywhere the same eagerness as rooms are offered to women. There may be a very strong barrier there, so that these hotel rooms are theoretically available much more than they are practically so.

To quote the UN:. Facility security precautions are extremely important in a shelter both to provide protection and to support women to feel safe, allowing them time to reflect on their circumstances, overcome the effects of abuse and plan for the future. If women do not trust that they will be protected by a shelter or feel safe once inside the space, they are likely to avoid seeking support or leave the site.

Where they have no other options, this may force them to return to the abusive environment, placing them at even greater risk for further harm. A large proportion of those who sought help from DV agencies It was also very common for these men to be accused of being batterers, by DV agencies Overall, the men reported that their help-seeking experience was more negative than positive, which is very worrying.

Instead, many men may give up or seek informal, possibly inferior, remedies. It may actually be not realistically possible for many men to get help from formal sources, given that many resources seem to be unhelpful or even hostile.

It seems very hard to distinguish between those that are actually willing to help and those who do not. So many men may be unable to find the helpful resources that do exist. So while I agree that getting men to actually seek help is part of the solution, we also need to be careful not to tell men lies about the level of support they can expect. It may be extremely harmful if men drive up to a shelter with their children, expecting a room and then being forced to return home, perhaps facing retaliation.

Most male-dominated cultures and places in the U. My perception is that DV shelters and homeless shelters can vary quite a bit, in part based on how much money is available.

Some DV shelters seem to be built like low security prisons, albeit with the intent of keeping people out, rather than in. Others are more like normal houses. Presumably, they tend to offer support services. Homeless shelters also sometimes seem to have a policy where people can only stay there on some days, expecting people to sleep on the streets some days of the week. DV shelters never seem to have such a policy.

People have a tendency to object when their ideology is challenged. People with that ideology also work very hard to suppress facts about physical and sexual abuse by women against men. The lack of societal and institutional support for male victims of female misbehavior is part of gender inequality which disadvantages men and which IMO contributes to people seeing men and women as more different than they are.

So any comprehensive effort to address how society treats men differently will conflict with the ideology based on its contents and not the packaging. Peterson flabbergasted Newman with his story about how he has helped women achieve their goals.

The very fact that it was confusing to her that a person can both care about men doing well and yet also care about women doing well, shows that it was Newman who had the perception that speaking to the needs of men implies antagonism towards women. What evidence points to causation in that direction, rather than the biological basis for different perceptions of men and women actually causing the indifference to male suffering? The battered woman is commonly seen as a victim of an abuser.

The battered man is commonly assumed to be a nasty guy, where the circumstances forced her hand. If men who are victims of female misbehavior stop hiding as much as they do and become far more visible, then these men become humanized. Suddenly we are not talking about a stereotype, but about Bob, who has a face and a story. Nor, of course, is it confined to Peterson. I would argue that much of our history demonstrates a tendency to devalue writers, artists, entertainers, thinkers, genres etc.

People assume that because he fits their definition of sexist, he must fit their definition of racist as well. Then he made the mistake of saying that black people on average have lower IQ than white people on average, and Asian people on average have higher IQ than white people on average. And then said that racial IQ is mutable over generations, so maybe we should focus on doing things that help black racial IQ raise. And that people should be judged as individuals, not by stereotypes or averages.

I think we live in a time when everything is political. Yes, there will be some controversy among the intelligentsia about his statements, but his pronouncements will quickly become forgotten. Even previously less political people like the New Atheists are become more and more controversial figures because they stuck to their guns. Richard Dawkins still says Richard Dawkins things. Our culture is the thing that changed.

Even scholars like Jonathan Haidt who does his best to be measured and more or less apolitical cannot help but generate political controversy. Did not expect this to be so positive. What do you think of the critique here — https: Yet he has almost nothing of value to say. This should be obvious to anyone who has spent even a few moments critically examining his writings and speeches, which are comically befuddled, pompous, and ignorant.

They are half nonsense, half banality. In a reasonable world, Peterson would be seen as the kind of tedious crackpot that one hopes not to get seated next to on a train. This does help me understand better how his work can be valuable to people.

Peterson is actually a very good researcher on the science of personality. Speaking of, he has what I assume is this version of the big 5 online. We are living in the age of Twitter — the one thing you do that randomly gets virulent on social networks will define you forever in the eyes of most people who heard your name, while I think this is the normal situation for intellectuals. The strong opinions of those who never read Dawkins, Rand, or Dworkin are at least somewhat correlated with the actual politics of those people; or at least, not the opposite extreme.

But people who got their education from Twitter seem to fail at applying even this quite low standard to Peterson. Why should we expect better from anyone else? This metric, which measures both quality and ubiquity, establishes Peterson as a leader in his field. What is interesting to me is that, with some minor edits, this is exactly how I would describe Nathan J.

I have yet to be convinced that Robinson is not, in fact, involved in some grand act of performance art. He, or his persona at least, believes that socialism is The Answer and just about anything he has to say on any given topic is put in the service of affirming his pre-existing belief that socialism is The Answer. There definitely is some value in being able to sell even just the basic self-help stuff that people need to hear, as long as they follow through on it. That is a good point. Because he is a self-help guru spouting generalities and cliches that is being understood as an intellectual saying wise and deep things.

Just stinks of a charismatic but un-serious person to me. Of course, this is just my vague impression based on second-hand sources and quotes. Is it un-serious to actually help non-genius people? Someone like Kierkegaard is never going to become the most influential public intellectual. I have experienced similar feelings when seeing the media talk up people like Ta-Nehisi Coates as great thinkers, when his works seem purile to me.

If true, this suggests that the most influential public intellectuals will tend to write at a level of complexity commensurate with an IQ of I think that what you bring up is an orthogonal issue, where most people prefer emotionally satisfaction over rhetorical thoroughness. Let me give two memes: Both are highly deceptive and simplistic statements. They both feed on a different ressentiment. The first statement is accepted by people who will pick apart the latter statement for being absurdly biased and vice versa.

They both seem much more pleasant to people with the ideology that matches the statement than the steelmanned variants that one can expand them into.

A white nationalist, who we shall call Adolf Nasi who wrote at the same level of legibility and with the same quality of argument as Ta-Nehisi Coates would obviously not be popular with the same crowd, but I think that he would be very popular among white nationalists. A white nationalist called Adolf Kierkegaard who writes at a far higher level, would not be as popular with white nationalists, just like Ta-Nehisi Kierkegaard would not be as popular as Ta-Nehisi Coates with SJ people.

Who else is spouting the same generalities and cliches? Lewis and Marcus Aurelius? Peterson is not the typical believe-in-yourself self-help guru teaching you how to get rich quick or pick up hot girls. He speaks of personal responsibility, of doing good and not doing evil, of reclaiming order from chaos as a way to live a meaningful life.

Who else is doing this? You can be smart but unfulfilled, depressed and unwise. Think of the stereotypical miserable PhD student. And you can be not particularly smart or maybe smart but unsophisticated but wise and live a fulfilling life.

Intellectually sophisticated advice is not necessarily correct advice, and vice versa. Similar things apply to developing new drugs, writing a new OS, etc. It might even yield worse outcomes, insofar as very intelligent people are presumably better at rationalising their prejudices than somewhat less intelligent people.

There is research by Dan Kahan that supports something along these lines. I glanced at Maps of Meaning and some of his lectures, and I agree they seem confused and not very interesting.

Maybe Twelve Rules had a great editor? Would you be willing to review just the section 2. I think MoM is a lot more potent than 12 Rules so if you enjoyed the book I recommend going through those lectures. It turns out I need a new mattress. Someone suggested that I go to a mattress store so I can try the different mattresses and see what kind I want to get. If reading MoM seems confused and not very interesting I worry that going to watch the lectures based on them is kind of like going to that mattress store.

He is not a hypnotists that is going to plant ideas in your mind. I would venture that you are afraid of him affecting your belief system and thus being overly defensive. As he would say, whenever we learn something new change our belief structure a part of us has to die and from its ashes another one is being born. That is true, so you can accept it. But you know that about yourself, at least, so you have a starting point. Do you like a firm or softer mattress? How much are you willing to pay?

Do you need them to deliver it for you? Do they have a website where you can see what they have in stock and on offer before you go to the store? Then stick to that list, get your moral support person, and hit those mattress stores! But luckily everything can now be ordered online.

Anyway, my point is that there are multiple reasons not to want to watch youtube videos. I ordered our current mattress online. As best I can tell, it fits the online description, and it is comfortable.

I would have noticed that in a store. If anyone watches Maps of Meaning, they should stick to the short 6 hour TVO version , also available on his podcast, as episodes 9,10,12, All the interest in his psychology work came after that. Maps of Meaning is poorly written, but Peterson is capable of better writing and has published a couple of articles that lay out his core ideas without the mythological prophecy layer.

Definitely connected to the whole predictive coding trend in neuroscience. He published the book when he was Peterson is a great speaker, but frequently a pretty terrible writer, even in 12 Rules. That quote is phrased way too harshly, but in the broad sense, I agree with it.

The problem I have with Peterson is that whenever he says anything, he does so with total and absolute conviction. Naturally, this makes me doubt everything he says, especially the parts I agree with. I want to believe things that are actually true in the real sense, not in the Petersonian poetic sense , not just things that sound good. If the former, i agree but dont find it troubling. At least thats how the series came across to me. Are you referring to his tone or the epistemic status he assigns to his statements?

I am referring to both. I will grant you that one case of epistemic humility in the biblical lecture series, but to me it sounds like an exception, not the norm. My priors would be that Peterson is using something similar a rule I took to heart back in my forum Mafia days: I think this is a rather pedantic interpretation, but as such, it is correct.

Except the first thing is probably something Peterson has actually said. The second is not. But it only lacks nuance because you deliberately removed it. What kind of strawman is this? So do you agree or disagree with Bugmaster?

I think he would try to defend the idea that they are psychologically useful because individual meaning can be projected onto them. Honestly that article became suspect to me when I actually attempted to read the lecture transcript that Robinson warms you not to try to read all of.

Honestly, this is what makes me run cold when I read Peterson more than anything: Like the woman who lacks any internal structure and is so lost that she will crystallize her entire personality around whatever coherent ideas he hands her… that is not a description of a real human being. Who was in need of psychotherapy. She was just looking for something to be.

Yes, teenagers experiment with their identity and tribal affiliations. This is Fundamental Attribution Error — just because you saw her behavior changing in different circumstances, does not mean the core of her personality and being was changing as well. Peterson at no point described his patient as an empty vessel, or claimed that he was dictating the core of her being.

The way he described it, he handed her some tools or a narrative, and she instantly used that to order her own internal being. If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.

But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? Yes, I think this is a particularly sleazy tactic commonly employed. I tried watching one of the lectures and it had different rambling personal story. I do wish there was a 15 minute TED talk version of Peterson though. They all seem to be TedX though. On chaos and order: On tolerance as a vice: The wife diagnoses the developmental issue in one day, which is different from solving it.

What she did was take the first step, but actually solving the issue would have taken weeks and maybe months of time after that. Can you believe he said this?! If even Scott Alexander is not immune from the SJW hitsquads, it is time to sell insurance against this? To make profit at selling insurance, you need to evaluate the risk. People who are more at risk need to pay more for the insurance.

Behaviors knowingly increasing the risk may be prohibited by the contract, or may be considered insurance fraud. However, some other people, including readers of this blog, could.

Also you would need to think about the perverse incentives this could create. Must be a prophet. Or if not, it will….. He is not forming a religion. Is it simply the observed fact that he has a following, plus the fact he is religious? I understand why CA is the go-to for blue-tribe opinions, since the articles are written in a way that clearly articulate all the right blue-sounding noises.

The default scenario is that in five years, Peterson and Twelve Rules go the way of Marcus Aurelius — a decent self-cultivation system that almost no one reads. If you want to do more than that, you need to build a social community around yourself. Remember when rationalists were annoyed at the movement being labeled a religion?

Peterson, by my judgement, is aiming at etching his name in the history books as a Western version of that figure. Consider the flipside of your comment on Marcus Aurelius: Plotinus, founder of Neoplatonism. Like, right there in the quote: Old article on the matter. I do think that there is a certain amount of well-poisoning going on when one uses negative descriptive words like those without necessarily demonstrating why each of them is applicable.

It seems like it is more of an attack on the social status of the target than an honest attempt to demonstrate why they are wrong. What function do you imagine the insults to be playing in the relevant quote?

I mean, Scott here writes plenty of snark all the time, are we to say that these are implicitly ad hominem arguments and he should be scolded? Let people express things rudely, I say.

But I think that if you want to enforce this standard of how things are to be said, you are going to find that to violations everywhere …. The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: Had this paragraph come at the end Robinson could claim that it was his own opinion and that after providing evidence and letting the reader have a fair look at things he wanted to get his shots in, putting it up front makes it an entirely different strategy.

But I think that if you want to enforce this standard of how things are to be said, you are going to find that to violations everywhere…. And every society known to man past some nontrivial size contains murderers, thieves, and liars. Unless you happen to individually find meaning in Marxism or social justice or being politically active or happen to be trans.

This is completely incorrect. He is opposed to being forced to say things, and has no problem with calling a person by their preferred pronouns. The rest of your post is similarly bizarre, and you should check your sources. But the prospect of an Orwellian state apparatus that forces people to use certain words does affect pretty much everyone, and therefore he objected publicly. Unfortunately, I later learned it has centuries of precedent in some aspects of the English language. The reason trans people and LGBT activists have a problem with Peterson is not […] In fact, until he made a name for himself in by specifically denouncing trans people and the trans rights movement.

Peterson himself claims to have had letters of support from trans people. I also disagree that Peterson denounced trans people and the trans rights movement. At any rate, I find that it is much easier to use it in the first way than the second way. That makes sense to me. But non-binary people exist, and their identities are valid, and at least some of them feel extremely distressed by being referred to with male or female pronouns.

It feels wrong in terms of the internal logic of the language. Similar developments occurred throughout Europe: The Communist can say that Communism is metaphorically true and helps society and et cetera, but the Communist is wrong about this and at this point showing a reckless disregard for the truth.

By their fruits, Scott, by their fruits! Look at what happens when people believe the slogans of the party, does that feel like flourishing to you? We need something that would have told people that in the s, or can tell us today that the latest Hot New Thing is bad.

We need something that can tell us not to spread misleading propaganda without solving every object-level issue. Well, you can generalize the past experiences into rules. Maybe the best we can really do is try out truly novel ideas, preferably in a controlled or limited setting, and see what happens.

This is one of the most baffling sentiments to me, and I would be interested if anyone else has a batter explanation of it. To me, it seems like it was, you know, the guns and tanks of the Nazi and Communist states, or having violent psychopaths for leaders, that led to most of those deaths. To me, it seems like it was, you know, the guns and tanks of the Nazi and Communist states, or having violent psychopaths for leaders.

If Hitler had tried to make a truth-based argument for why Jewish conspirators were responsible for Germany not being a nice place to live, no-one would have listened to him because there simply was no such true evidence. It was because he built his arguments out of seductive lies that he actually came in to power in the first place.

Well, no, there was evidence. He had a pretty iron-clad argument for the existence of Jewish conspirators undermining the German state, the problem was what he extrapolated it to and the ideological gloss he gave it. Imagine a society in which a good part of life is play pretend.

I have a couple of stark memories from my childhood. There were no lying leaders and believing followers, they never were, actually — they usually come to power by violent means. Anybody still supporting the regime 10 days after the revolution would have been regarded not as an enemy, but simply a bit slow or stupid.

It also seems like there are degrees of this- some societies seem to have a lot more propaganda than others. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. In The Wages of Destruction, Adam Tooze makes a pretty good argument that the Nazis went to war to loot the resources to keep their economy running.

For a little bit longer. Is that actually true, though? I doubt if you honestly endorse the claim that the fascists were legitimately and earnestly trying to do good, instead of indulging their hate with whatever justifications they could find. The communists have better PR, but there was an awful lot of hatred and desire for plunder powering them too. They defined their happiness and security as the highest goods, and consequentialismed their way to justifying the suffering of others.

But at all times they were serving the good as they understood it. The math always worked out to creating more good than evil. All evil is done this way. All evil is done by deciding that the good I am experiencing outweighs the suffering if any of others.

Well, I think this is where you disagree with Jordan Peterson. He thinks the fascists should have known better. The Nazis claimed to see what they were doing as justified and necessary. This could be true even of things everyone seems to agree are good; in one of my writing classes last semester, we were studying memoirs, and the teacher stressed that it was important to be honest… about the emotional truth. How exactly this differed from the literal truth was never clearly defined, but in cases where the two conflicted we were advised to go with the former.

My guess reading it was that it was a reasonably friendly portrait of a nascent fascist movement before it had taken power. I think National Socialists tried to keep the existence of concentration camps secret.

Why would they do that, if they sincerely believed this was the right thing to do? Similarly, Communists did not talk much about their gulags, secret services, uranium mines, et cetera. Again, why, if they sincerely believed this was the right thing to do? People who sincerely believe they are doing a good and important thing — effective altruists, vegetarians, etc. Sometimes people prefer not to talk about things because they prefer not to think about them too much. Perhaps they believed it was the right thing to do, but also correctly!

Based on their rhetoric to those in the know, they thought it was the bitter, tragic lesser of two evils. Which, to be sure, let them talk up the suffering of those who had to do these horrible things instead that of those who suffered it.

As time went on, more and more people and categories of people were sent to camps. Officers commanding German units would know that this stuff was going on behind the lines, sometimes they helped, sometimes they just sort of tried to ignore it, almost never did they protest or try to stop it.

The death and dual-purpose camps were better-kept secrets, but there were still enough people involved that it would be impossible to keep it secret, enough people outside of the extermination effort would have been involved in using the slave labour in the dual-purpose camps that they would get a decent idea of what was going on, and people in general knew something bad was happening to Jews being deported from Western Europe or rounded up in Eastern European ghettoes.

Outside of this, the Germans did a poor job of hiding their crimes in general: German soldiers and police took pictures of the executions of civilians targeted for death, suspected of being partisans, or just chosen at random in retaliation for partisan attacks, it would have been fairly common knowledge that Soviet POWs were starving to death, that civilians especially in Eastern Europe and the USSR were often killed out of hand or treated in a way that would likely lead to death, etc.

But they tried to hide their crimes, or, at least, some of them. If someone does something and hides it, they must at least have thought it was OK enough to do it. Their justification was that what they were doing was good — or at least a greater good than the harms they were creating.

Their math always worked out so that the good created by their happiness was greater than the harm they caused. Actually I think we do. I mean, we have the fascism thing pretty straight albeit largely as a point of faith , but communism is still hip as can be.

Did you know that the Young Karl Marx got drunk with his good buddy Engels? Unlike being a Nazi, being a Marxist appears to be no hindrance when it comes to for example getting tenure.

That needs to change. Speaking as a communist, Marxism is out of fashion in the academy. Workers are not currently a sexy fundamental object of interest.

As I said, that needs to change to be perfectly clear: You might have heard of it;. The Marxist experiment was run multiple times in the last century, and degenerated into slavery, starvation, and mass murder every single time. At this point, it has no further place in the academy except perhaps among historians who specialize in atrocities , and is no longer an intellectually tenable subject of scholarship.

It needs to go. As the Heterodox Academy argues and IMO convincingly , many parts of academia have given up on this goal, in favor of a Social Justice agenda, where heterodox opinions are no longer accepted. One paper found that in psychology, a large percentage of liberal academics say that they would discriminate against conservatives, when given the chance. The who would discriminate when hiring seems high enough, that any non-liberal would likely be blocked from being hired, by one of the people who are involved in the hiring procedure.

We see exactly the kind of slow cleansing of moderates and conservatives that you would expect if the entrance to many parts of academia filters out moderates and conservatives. Also, various academics, like Bret Weinstein, were not in fact protected note that he is very liberal, but one who holds at least one opinion with is currently anathema among American Liberals.

Speaking as a neoliberal, I gotta side with Freddie here. First because, they are normative and thus not really debatable in any interesting way. Second, because they are uninteresting. Then there are sophisticated communists. If he wants my attention, he should be forecasting how long the current boom will last. He has some interesting research on how the rate of profit drives investment, and not vice-versa, but a lot of his other writing borders on demagogy.

The question is, are you seriously going to call for the Anwar Shaikhs and Andrew Klimans of the world to be denied tenure? Like, Michal Kalecki…would you wish that he had never gotten a chance to teach or write his books? Now, turning to Nazis…first we have the unsophisticated Nazis.

But what about the sophisticated Nazis? I say, sure, let them into academia. If I had to steelman a sophisticated version of Nazism, it would go something like this:. We Nazis agree with the communists that economic inequality will always generate political inequality. The pretense of having equal political power while wealthy bankers run the economy is laughable. Such a situation is always going to breed corruption and dissatisfaction when people realize how short liberal democracy falls relative to what it promises.

However, we disagree with the communists that economic equality is possible. Economic inequality is inevitable and necessary for a thriving society. Therefore, we must reconcile ourselves to the fact that there will always be both economic AND political inequality. In other words, we will always be living in some sort of aristocracy. The only question is, who will be the aristocrats and who will be the slaves?

In theory, anybody could be the aristocrats, but we will get more enrichment of our culture, virtues, genetic health, etc.

This enrichment will benefit the slaves too and remember, it is inevitable that there will be slaves, whether wage-slaves or chattel slaves or serfs , so the best utilitarian course of action for everyone is to identify the strongest, healthiest, most mindful, most intelligent, most virtuous people to be the aristocrats.

Now, how do we identify those individuals who are the strongest, healthiest, most mindful, etc.? How can we measure those traits? Maybe we should be Christian supremacists since we will get the most virtuous society if they are the aristocrats. Maybe we should be Mexican supremacists. If we make nobody into aristocrats or slaves? Yeah, your utopian fairy-tale dream would be nice. Better to be enslaved to the ubermenschen than to the Rothschilds! Some of us old-fashioned liberals might want to change the former condition rather than the latter.

But what if a math department is considering a candidate who turns out to think South African Apartheid was a good thing. But my guess is that it will count heavily against him in practice. There is the intermediate case that Citizencokane raises. Suppose the job is in political science and the Apartheid supporter is a highly intelligent person who offers arguments for apartheid that people in the department cannot readily rebut.

Insofar as intellectual diversity is a good thing—we would be better educated if we understood the arguments for the views we disagree with—they should hire him. Which is probably good, because if they ever start tweeting, the dragonkin is going to make sure they get fired for something.

I mean, that is a weapon designed specifically against the working class…. Yes, that is exactly what I am calling for. If your ideas have resulted in the murder of a hundred million people, they have no place in the academy or, for that matter, in any bastion of civilized society.

MD cum laude, University of Munich, This is a strange comment. There is no argument for apartheid that is not either the political, economic or ethical equivalent of alchemy. Marxism is out of fashion everywhere. When I offer this thought experiment, a common response is that there are no intelligent supporters of apartheid, hence the additional information shows something wrong with the prospective hire.

I take that response as evidence in favor of my thesis. Almost nobody who makes it has had the opportunity to argue apartheid with a serious, sophisticated supporter—indeed, I suspect many of them have never met anyone who would admit to supporting it at all.

Yet we know that millions of white South Africans did support it for quite a long period; it is a considerable stretch to claim that none of them could have been intelligent and thoughtful. And, in my thought experiment, the supporter of apartheid has already demonstrated sufficient ability to make him a strong candidate before his unfortunate political beliefs are discovered. The confident belief that no reasonable person could support a position that many otherwise reasonable people did support is strong evidence of the failure to be exposed to a sufficiently diverse range of views.

Do you know this after arguing the question with an intelligent supporter of apartheid, or is it your assumption that there were none? If the answer is that you have never had such an argument, you might want to consider what your view would be of someone who made a claim like yours about some position you hold without ever having discussed it with a serious defender.

The election of Reagan marks good dividing point between traditional Marxism and the modern SJW offshoot thereof. Those rubes simply would not shut up and do as their intellectual betters ordered. I am sure that there were plenty of thoughtful and intelligent supporters of apartheid, just as there were thoughtful and intelligent supporters of North American chattel slavery or the Shoah. There are even thoughtful and intelligent believers in alchemy and astrology and Illuminati conspiracy theories.

My comment was about the argument and not the person making the argument. I will say it again. That is, a successful argument would require logical and historical transformations that are at odds with the reality of what apartheid was. OK, now we are getting somewhere. The ethical view in support of apartheid is black people have an a priori lower claim on basic human rights than do whites; therefore it is morally acceptable to exploit their labor in service of maintaining the living standards of whites.

You answered the second half of the question. I conclude that you have reached your confident conclusion without ever subjecting it to counter arguments by an intelligent defender of the position you think obviously wrong. One of the thing the intelligent defender of apartheid might question is your claim about what the view he was supporting was.

I grant that intelligent people believe ridiculous things all the time. There are only two ways to argue in favor of apartheid. In other words, the only way to argue in favor of apartheid is to be grossly misinformed and unwilling to fill in the gaps in your knowledge or to be a committed bigot committed enough to be retroactively arguing in favor of a system that most of the rest of the world realized was monstrous decades ago.

You should pick another example. You have still not answered my original question—whether you have argued the issue with an intelligent defender of apartheid. I conclude that you have not. You seem unable to understand my point—that confident conclusions based only on hearing one side of an argument are not to be relied on. Imagine an educated medieval Catholic whose view of atheism was based entirely on arguments he had heard or made against it.

Either of those people could be just as confident of his views are you are, with just as little reason. I grant that there are intelligent people who can make an argument for apartheid that is, on the surface, persuasive. That does not change the fact that there is no argument for apartheid that is not either factually incorrect or ethically specious.

Apartheid is not like capitalism and it is not like atheism. You are making a category error. Show me this mythical strong argument in favor of apartheid. Show me one that is what you say it can be and I will admit that I am wrong. That sounds like an interesting intellectual challenge. Give me five minutes to try to steelman one together. Rule by an informed, educated minority is better than rule by an uninformed, uneducated majority.

All that stuff that they tell you about how going to college or just going to high school! The black majority of the South African population is, due to the effects of previous generations of racial discrimination, politically ignorant, horribly educated, and suffering from extreme malnutrition.

Spend forty hours polishing it, track down some statistics that point in your direction, have lots of obscure sources lined up to appeal to, and you can have a nice long argument — maybe even enough to make a career. The existence of intelligent people who hold the position does not demonstrate that it is true or even defensible. The fact that you have reached a confident conclusion that the position is false without facing arguments against that conclusion from competent people who disagree with it, if true, is what I am objecting to.

Perhaps I can get the point through to you with a true story that has nothing to do with apartheid. A very long time ago, when I was trying to choose a college to go to, I visited Yale. They were having a program about HUAC, the House Unamerican Activities Committee, which had been a politically controversial institution a decade or so earlier.

It showed, very persuasively, with video evidence, that the campaign to abolish the committee had been organized by communists. After that there was written material by supporters of the committee debunking the second movie.

Then written material by critics, debunking the debunking this is from memory of events more than fifty years ago, so details may be off, but you can find the movies webbed if you are curious. I concluded that it was very dangerous to reach a conclusion after hearing only one side of the argument.

That is what I have been trying to convince you of. I am not trying to convince you that apartheid was a good thing. The answer depends on what one believes the alternative was. There have been societies much worse than apartheid South Africa, and neither you nor I knows what sets of institutions would be stable under South African circumstances, although you may think you do; we will have more information on that as we see how the current situation there plays out.

Hence we do not know what the alternative was. We do know that some African countries ended up with one man, one vote, once, followed by oppressive and murderous dictatorships, hence even less democratic than apartheid South Africa. We know that one ended up with a genocide in which something between half a million and a million people were killed, after which the situation reversed and something like two million people became refugees.

We also know that apartheid South Africa was sufficiently attractive for blacks so that large numbers migrated there from adjacent black ruled polities. It would, I expect, have been still more attractive for blacks under a democratic government following classical liberal policies, since the actual Nationalist government followed interventionist policies that made the country poorer.

But we do not know whether that was a possible alternative. Do you regard utilitarianism as a defensible moral position not the same question as whether you agree with it? If so, you face the difficult problem of demonstrating that what would have happened if apartheid had never been established would have led to more utility than what did happen. If you cannot demonstrate that you have no basis for claiming not only that you think apartheid was a bad idea but that there could be no good arguments against that claim.

And without having actually faced arguments by people supporting apartheid, or at least seriously arguing for it, you are not competent to do that. Innovating new lies to restructure society is dangerous, in his opinion. He points to the 20th century as a fantastic lesson in that. That way lies melancholy. Thus were the words of Captain Beatty, Fahrenheit I think, perhaps indirectly, Bradbury was getting a similar idea.

Scientific facts are one kind of truth, but fundamentally different from this kind of truth.

The Truth No One Wants To Admit

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