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Open democracy: excerpts

https://www.opendemocracy.net/james-smith/steven-pinker-jordan-peterson-neoliberalism-radical-right

‘the fact is that young men can now get respectable academic backing for reactionary views on race and sex, a moral high-ground over politically correct liberals, and a counter-cultural worldview packaged as a lifestyle brand from thinkers with university posts, arena speaking tours, columns in the broadsheets, and books published by Penguin Random House.’

‘Peterson and Pinker offer long-term validation to a raft of interrelated reactionary political positions, in a way that the alt right could never dream of doing.’

‘Peterson defends his model of traditional masculinity on the grounds that, “if men are pushed too hard to feminize, they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology”, invoking Fight Club – as it happens a classic reference on the alt right – in illustration’

‘as Peterson himself puts it in 12 Rules for Life, “Lest We Forget: Ideas Have Consequences”.[5] Pinkerson has had flirtations with the ‘race science’ beloved of the alt right, promoting research arguing that Ashkenazi Jews have innately – on average – higher IQ. [see article for discussion]’

‘The ostensibly benign and platitudinous argument that we have to be race- and sex-blind and treat everyone as individuals obscures its radical libertarian logic; really treating everyone as an individual would mean an end to affirmative action, all-women shortlists and other mechanisms set up to mitigate historical injustices that continue to affect the life chances of disadvantaged groups.Does Peterson want this? The radical right certainly do. And framing debates about IQ as apolitical and ‘merely scientific’ hands them the justification.’

‘Peterson, with less of Pinker’s zen agreeableness, refers simply to “the insane and incomprehensible postmodern insistence that all gender differences are socially constructed”.

There are two extreme positions and one moderate and reasonable one. Peterson is not moderate, by positioning himself as a reactionary against the leftist position ‘all constructed’, he ends up saying ‘all biological’.

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