T Nation

Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro: Religion, Trans Activism, and Censorship


I feel that Peterson’s work is detrimental to the moral development of young men. There are strong currents of misogyny and mystical Jungian pseudo science underpinning his work. It’s really a far cry from what leaders in virtue ethics have brought to the table for millennia now. He’s less a prophet as he is a charlatan that has a keen sense of smell for the weaknesses of today’s youth.


Meh. In an age where the mainstream media now wants us to meet the 11 year old drag queen (who does shows at gay bars), I guess I’m wondering how Peterson is much of a worry as far as the moral (whose morals, first of all) development young men goes. Haven’t read his book. Still, from what I have seen…Meh.



Like who?

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Jordan Peterson is very good. I like the cut of his jib. I have read his 12 Rules for Life book and have seen some of his interviews. I think its great how he deals with the shit he gets. That said, he doesn’t get everything right and has some far out ideas. That diet thing of just eating beef is off the scale loopy.

I’ve only seen small bits of Ben Shapiro. He strikes me as an intelligent, very intense and slightly strange man.


The thing about Peterson is that he didn’t seek fame. Now that he has it and is asked questions on every topic he is more likely to comment on things that are beyond his experience or expertise.

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Ok, yeah, that’s odd. Didn’t know that. When I do see him (by happenstance) it’s usually related to something about PC. To which, so far, I tend to nod to what he says. But, he may very well have some goofy ideas ( to me) that have so far escaped my attention. Again, I haven’t read his book. Nor, do I follow his media appearances.

Curious what makes it “pseudo science” … whenever anyone throws that term around I feel like it’s just a poor attempt to discredit and it comes across as a logical fallacy. Not saying that’s your intent, but that’s my perception of the term … so, that’s why I asked what makes it “pseudo science” and what you’d recommend to punch it up to full fledged science??

I think this is fair - I have seen him on occasion say he’s outside of his scope when doing this, from time to time … tbf.

Peterson is a divisive figure. There’s a reason he’s so popular in the “men’s rights” circles. He has the gift of gab and is certainly influential, but I find his work to be destructive. I think cognitive behavioral therapy, virtue ethics, and positive psychology have much more to offer in today’s increasingly complex world.

From Peterson’s Maps of Meaning. Let me know if anyone can make sense of this post-modernist babble:

“Procedural knowledge, generated in the course of heroic behavior, is not organized and integrated within the group and the individual as a consequence of simple accumulation. Procedure ‘a,’ appropriate in situation one, and procedure ‘b,’ appropriate in situation two, may clash in mutual violent opposition in situation three. Under such circumstances intrapsychic or interpersonal conflict necessarily emerges. When such antagonism arises, moral revaluation becomes necessary. As a consequence of such revaluation, behavioral options are brutally rank-ordered, or, less frequently, entire moral systems are devastated, reorganized and replaced. This organization and reorganization occurs as a consequence of ‘war,’ in its concrete, abstract, intrapsychic, and interpersonal variants. In the most basic case, an individual is rendered subject to an intolerable conflict, as a consequence of the perceived (affective) incompatibility of two or more apprehended outcomes of a given behavioral procedure. In the purely intrapsychic sphere, such conflict often emerges when attainment of what is desired presently necessarily interferes with attainment of what is desired (or avoidance of what is feared) in the future. Permanent satisfactory resolution of such conflict (between temptation and ‘moral purity,’ for example) requires the construction of an abstract moral system, powerful enough to allow what an occurrence signifies for the future to govern reaction to what it signifies now. Even that construction, however, is necessarily incomplete when considered only as an ‘intrapsychic’ phenomena. The individual, once capable of coherently integrating competing motivational demands in the private sphere, nonetheless remains destined for conflict with the other, in the course of the inevitable transformations of personal experience. This means that the person who has come to terms with him- or herself—at least in principle—is still subject to the affective dysregulation inevitably produced by interpersonal interaction. It is also the case that such subjugation is actually indicative of insufficient ‘intrapsychic’ organization, as many basic ‘needs’ can only be satisfied through the cooperation of others.“


I’d disagree. Calling something pseudo-science is a methodological critique. That a position propagates itself as adhering to the scientific method but is not sufficiently evidenced by the tools of rational inquiry. It isn’t a logical fallacy like attacking a straw man or red herring.

Pseudo: false

Quasi: having some, but not all the features of.

Much of Jung’s (and ergo, Peterson’s) work is pseudo-science. It portrays itself as adhering to the scientific method while not meeting the standards of empiricism.

His work is heavily based on Jungian archetypes, which are essentially based on mysticism. E.g., Logos means order and is masculine. Eros means chaos and is feminine.

He subscribes wholesale to a crude version of evolutionary psychology that propagates misogyny and division. This is the same ilk that postulates a “rape gene” in men arguing that it would be an effective means for widely propagating a man’s genes. They are positions that display a thin vaneer of science but upon closer scrutiny don’t meet the bar.

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Knowing what to do/doing what is morally right is not learned through experience alone. What is right in one situation may not be right in another. When these situations arise there is conflict between the mind and the body, causing a revaluation of morals/beliefs. During which entire moral systems may devastated, reorganized and replaced. True resolution of such conflict requires an abstract moral system based on objective truths, something larger than oneself (Perhaps God). Though this may resolve issues in the mind (internal) conflict one may be subject to dysregulation by personal experience/physical interactions (external) which is a sign of poor mental organization.

***Some of your sentences are lifted from other sites/blogs. Were you not accused of plagiarizing some time ago?


Throw in chicken and that’s pretty much my diet (eggs too).

I never eat fruit and I’m horrible about getting veggies in. I figure I have about 15 years to live.

2019 and we can’t make veggies taste like snickers?


You can, just have to blend them into a milkshake.

Yeah, Bismark may have lifted the claims about positive psychology’s superiority to Peterson’s musings from a weak article critiquing Peterson in Psychology Today titled “Jordan Peterson’s Flimsy Philosophy of Life.” Peterson also talks repeatedly about the importance and development of virtue, so while he hasn’t explicitly expressed his adherence to a particular ethical theory, his claims are consistent with certain streams of virtue ethics.


You do realize that virtue ethics descends from the Greek tradition, right? And that misogyny and mysticism characterized the thought of the philosophers (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) primarily attributed with the development of virtue ethics? If you are looking for people without misogyny and mysticism at the roots of their ethical reasoning, you basically only have the last two centuries, so “millennia” is a bit of an overstatement…


A word salad.

You can go back much further than two centuries.

Thanks for the thorough rebuttal. I totally see my error now… :wink:

To whom are you referring that is pertinent to my response to Bismark? He claimed that Jordan Peterson’s thought is misogynistic and mystical pseudo-science, and he offered the narrative of a millennia-long tradition of virtue ethicists as an alternative to Peterson’s misogyny and mysticism. If you consider Peterson’s thought misogynistic—Peterson who bases his claims about differences between the sexes on the empirical studies and explicitly states that those differences are small and apply primarily to the outliers—then you have a very low bar for misogyny, and there are no virtue ethicists that are going to withstand similar scrutiny. The same applies to the charge of mysticism—Jung’s (and by extension, Peterson’s) ostensible “mysticism” reflects a kind of demythologization of religious symbolism and imagery, the very same perspective Peterson exemplifies. If that’s mysticism, then again, you’re going to be hardpressed to find a virtue ethicist who does not reflect a similar kind of mysticism. It’s only been the last few centuries (IF THAT) that such “mysticism and misogyny” have been self-consciously critiqued; thinkers before (and even during) the Enlightenment labored under assumptions that we would now deem “misogynistic” and “mystical.”


I like about 90% of what Peterson says, especially when you break it down to his core ideas. The 12 rules for life are a good start for somebody to take responsibility for themselves and get going in the right direction. I think it’s a good thing if he is able to get anybody to better themselves.

With that said, there is definitely a 10% disagreement. He also goes into super word salad mode WAY too often for my liking. He seems to do that more when he’s on the edge of his expertise, as @zecarlo mentioned, he’s pushed there more of late due to his popularity.

The diet thing is not his preferred way. He usually answers questions about his diet as “unfortunately, yes, I’m still only eating meat”. I think it has worked for him and he doesn’t really push it, which is fine. Of course super fans will try to do everything he does and apply it to themselves, which won’t always work.


As I understood it, he undertook the diet because of an auto-immune disorder in his family. His daughter had some serious symptoms that she claims were improved by such a strict elimination diet.

Wild horses wouldn’t drag me to a steak, salt and water only diet (and I love steak).