Whether you know everything about Jordan Peterson, or snippets of what people say about him here and there, it’s easy to feel like the name Jordan Peterson has just snuck up on you over the last year.
For some, Jordan Peterson is a refreshing new voice in the political and social world. For others, the name Jordan Peterson alone is enough to spark intense argument and debate. And unless you have listened to several of his lectures or read his bestselling book, it can be difficult to situate yourself to Jordan Peterson’s relevance.
Are you supposed to rally for him, against him, or just ignore his name completely?
In this comprehensive article, we outline Peterson’s views on one of his favorite topics — political correctness, and why he detests it and social justice warriors so much.
The 1-Minute Rundown
- Political correctness and social justice warriors have grown over the last few years
- With the rise of social media platforms, it is easier than ever before to enforce social rules, such as what can be said and what can’t be said; those who break the rules are alienated from society
- Black Lives Matter and #MeToo are examples of movements with originally good intentions that are now used for purposes of extreme agenda
- Peterson believes that political correctness is the first step towards Orwellian groupthink from a postmodern Neo-Marxist radical left, and if taken too far, can lead to a violent revolution towards a Marxist totalitarian regime
- Political correctness emphasizes the importance of being politically correct in accordance with the state rather than factually correct, in accordance with nature
- Peterson argues for individuality rather than group victimhood
The bigger picture
Political correctness has been a growing trend over the last few years, interestingly coinciding with the mass adoption of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It has shaped the way that we talk and conduct ourselves, acting as a kind of unwritten rulebook for what can and can’t be said, and what’s appropriate and inappropriate.
Statements and jokes that might have been normal or funny a few decades ago, or even just twenty years ago, now seem in bad taste because of the wave of political correctness.
While the intentions behind political correctness seem to be for everyone’s best interests, there are times when the lines between being politically correct in consideration of another person and being politically correct for the sake of political correctness are blurred.
Movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo could be said to have come from the political correctness and social justice warrior era.
While the goals of these movements are not necessarily wrong—the promotion of equality in race and gender should be a common goal that we should all stand behind—it is when these movements are used for excessive and at times abusive means that political correctness begins to be a problem.
Political correctness, or postmodern neo-Marxist groupthink?
One term Jordan Peterson has coined is the “postmodern Neo-Marxist groupthink” perpetuated by the left.
Many of Peterson’s critics stand against him due to his stances against political correctness, posing questions such as, “Isn’t political correctness good for society?” “Shouldn’t we defend the rights of minorities and women?”
Peterson would answer yes, but the extent by which we have stretched political correctness is at the brink of dangerous and irreversible territory.
It is necessary to understand Jordan Peterson’s expertise to fully grasp his disparagement of political correctness. Peterson has spent decades understanding the relationship between ideologies and language, and how small yet consistent changes in language can make a giant impact on the way a society thinks.
Peterson regularly uses stories from the past to reinforce his ideas. One story he often cites is the birth of political correctness itself, which can be traced back to the early 1930s, amongst the Communist party. A joke within Communist circles went:
“Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.”
“Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”
The joke emphasized the importance of prioritizing political correctness over factual correctness. Why? Because in a society in which believing in the ideas and teachings of the state were essential towards an undisturbed life, appeasing the state was prioritized over getting the facts straight.
As political analyst Angelo Codevilla put it:
“Because Communists claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, they end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities. Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power.”
And it is from these instinctive failures in left-wing, group-based ideology that dangerous notions such as groupthink are born.
Groupthink: The core of Peterson’s teachings
Like the classical liberal the Jordan Peterson identifies as, his core teachings stand firmly at war with groupthink and circumstances which might lead to it. It is from this philosophical refusal to be shaped by groupthink that Peterson built his platform against compelled speech.
When individuals are forced to say certain words regardless of whether or not they respect or agree with the idea, it is only a matter of time until more groupthink beliefs become widely accepted.
In an essay for the National Post, Jordan Peterson writes:
“These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century. I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. I wrote a book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, on the topic, which explores how ideologies hijack language and belief.
“As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modern universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen.”
So how should we think once we break away from the groupthink of political correctness?
Peterson emphasizes the importance of the individual and embracing your individuality. He believes that political correctness has “feminized” young men around the world, forcing them to feel guilt simply for being male (and white, in many cases).
This guilt comes from the same groups perpetuating the groupthink political correctness ideology that Peterson is so wary of; from women and minorities who insist on taking the roles of victims for problems unrelated to a majority of men.
This guilt forces men to spiral into embracing a number of negative characteristics. One is weakness, and another is malevolence. As Peterson says, “Consult your resentment. It is revelatory. Don’t underestimate malevolence and don’t underestimate the utility of your capacity for malevolence. If you are weak, you might turn yourself into a monster.”
For Peterson, the arrival of groupthink in society is one of the biggest red flags for an authoritarian state, and is a sign that major changes need to be done. He believes that Orwellian groupthink and political correctness are just the first stage towards an upcoming violent revolution that will bring upon a left-wing, Marxist totalitarian state.
This article is an excerpt from the 58 page eBook “The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon” by Ideapod. All of Ideapod’s eBooks are now available for Prime members. It’s free for 14 days and then $4 monthly, and you’ll be supporting Ideapod to create more quality content like this article. Sign up below — there’s a risk-free trial period and you can read the eBook immediately. Once you click sign up below, you’ll then put in your credit card details to access the eBooks. You can easily cancel at any time.
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