Friday, August 10, 2018

Caitlin Flanagan Loves Jordan Peterson. As Is To Be Expected.

Remember Caitlin Flanagan?  If not, I wrote about her anti-feminism a long time ago, more than once.

Now she has come out in praise of Jordan Peterson, the new prophet which many conservative men follow.  If you are not familiar with Peterson's work, you can get a crash course right on this blog*!

Her ode to Peterson makes for hilarious reading.  She tells us that her teenage son and other young men suddenly had someone to listen to who argued against identity politics:

That might seem like a small thing, but it’s not. With identity politics off the table, it was possible to talk about all kinds of things—religion, philosophy, history, myth—in a different way. They could have a direct experience with ideas, not one mediated by ideology.

Bolds are mine.

I have read (and reviewed) Peterson's little book, and one thing it is certainly mediated by is ideology:  The name of the book is 12 Rules For Life.  An Antidote to Chaos, and Peterson tells us, repeatedly, that chaos is the eternally feminine.  He also tells us that patriarchy has existed for the good of us weak, feeble and leaky women, and he has a whole chapter in his book about masculinity in peril.

Professor Peterson has also wondered, in 2017, if feminists avoid criticizing Islam because they unconsciously long for masculine dominance:

And more recently he has asked:

“Is it possible that young women are so outraged because they are craving infant contact in a society that makes that very difficult?”

 No, Caitlin.  No.  Prophet Peterson is not a non-ideological source ideas (if such a thing even were possible).  His ideology is anti-feminist, based on societal hierarchies** and the belief in natural male supremacy.  His sources are often based on the nuttier kind of evolutionary psychology, and he is a biological essentialist who believes that women would be much better off at home.

In that he shares Flanagan's views, of course, though those views do not apply to Flanagan herself.  And that sharing-of-views explains why she likes Peterson's ideas.***

*  A few useful posts, in order:  This one introduces you to Peterson and his debating technique, this one talks about chaos as eternally feminine and order as eternallly masculine, and this one is the first post in my book review of Peterson's book.  More right-wing ideas about Peterson are discussed in this post.

** He has become famous for arguing that lobsters have hierarchies, which means that hierarchies are very old and humans also have them.  And the dominant guy lobster gets to mate with all the female lobsters.  What this means about humans he never says out loud,  but you can figure it out!  Peterson's acolytes can now buy t-shirts which say "Top Lobster!"  There's also one which says "White Lobster"...

Of course evolution is much more complicated than just putting some quick equal-sign between lobsters and humans, as this marine biologist points out.

And, as an side, this is a good review of Peterson's book, with a title about lobsters.

***  Peterson's other views are firmly right-wing, too, with a few small variations.  The Alt Right loves him, by the way.   Scott's take on other aspects of the Flanagan piece also covers some of this.