Its ironic that people like Jordan Peterson, Mike Cernovich, Ben Shapiro and even Alex Jones have allied themselves with a philosophical tactic they often rail against. Peterson especially name checks postmodernist thinking in his critique of gender identity and gender politics, yet the very fact that he can pepper his statements with the very dishonesty and untruth that he accuses the philosophy of bringing to the table is just logic-defyingly stupid.
Every single one of the folks listed above have said things that have a sliver of truth. Peterson’s assertion that we should be radical in our self-assessments and his claim that self-actualization often comes at a very high price are both truisms that very few people would argue with. Cernovich, in the past, quite accurately has spoken about manhood being tested and twisted by the expectations of women, hardly an original thought, but at least its accurate and debate worthy in a genuine way. Shapiro too has made some salient points about personal responsibility and having some moral foundation for your ideology. Hell, even Jones in his less crazy less tongue up Trumps ass years made allusions to real issues with the government’s unnecessarily secretive side.
Now I’m not sure if it is the allure of fame, the draw of infamy or some other ego driven magnetism that has pulled all of the above in to the crazy-town station, but with each one of them there are distinct patterns of ascending levels of insanity as their notoriety grew.
Citing the Dunning-Kruger effect is all the rage by well-meaning folks on the center and left. It speaks to the large majority of voters who, despite numerous silos full of evidence, feel that they know better in matters of government and science especially. It’s been used effectively by activists predominantly on the so-called right but also the so-called left. “So called” being used the way Malcolm X used the term. He’d often cite the “So called Negro” as a way to quickly deconstruct the language of the oppressor. In my mind the right and the left are used by moneyed elites to muddy the waters and call into the code word lexicon a form of identity politics they use to keep the focus off the wealthy. But I digress…
Dunning-Kruger is a great party trick for dismissing the economic reality and manipulation of the white working class by some people who in using it, display its qualities. I’ve gotten into the boneheaded ways the left loves to play the holier than thou game and I’m sure I’ll go there again. It is a real phenomenon but shouldn’t be used as a cudgel to dismiss a whole group of people. Ironically combining this and post-modernistic reality modes to manipulate people are what these Guys do best.
Everything is a lie, the media is evil, they are lying to you. Don’t believe what you hear, feel and see, only believe me.
I hesitate to say that each one started out really wanting to help enlighten us menfolk but that’s the narrative anyway. I do believe that of all the above Peterson is probably the likely one to have altruistic motives, at least in the beginning. Jones has always been a bit nutty and Cerno a bit sleazy, Shapiro I think is just a smarter than average boy child who got his conservative Orthodox faith confused with real morals. But at some point, each one saw the allure of the spotlight and followed it like a moth down the nut-ball tunnel.
I really do think that, at least in this case. our way of life may be brought down by foibles smaller than hatred or nationalism. Honestly I believe that as long as there have been humans in human civilizations there have been and will be smaller, more human things that take down nations, things we call Nazism, or nationalism, or Fascism but are really greed, envy, lust, anger you get it.
I don’t think anyone not blinded by the allure of fame whatever form that takes, adulation or recognition, especially those who regardless of what a perspective on reality would give feels like they got the shitty end of an otherwise clean stick, is subject to the self trickery that enslaves them. Anyone with a brain sees that we are heading toward a dangerous future for our democracy, a future that makes it harder to think about the repercussions of daily actions.
Postmodernist ideas of the flexibility of perspective and the dissection of humans into identities are, I think, dangerous if they don’t include the starting point from which we all begin. When there are too many sub divisions of us into this and that, the nationhood that brings us together disappears and becomes a series of roaming nation states. Bisexual, transgendered, white, christian, Black, Jewish, American are all aspects of who we are NOT the limits of that identity. The same goes for political labels although those can be more easily affected, Candice Owens’ and Dave Rubin’s sudden disaffection for the left and all its better philosophical parts betrays something else at work. In their cases I believe it’s purely money, but I won’t fully presume.
It always seems that there is more defection from left to right, usually followed by some sort of steady income. Miller, Horowitz, Owens…all scored some duckets by flipping off the left and demonizing all lefties as dumb, misinformed bullies. Fame is an amazing aphrodisiac it lulls you in and cradles you and insulates you, it seems much easier to be stuck in an echo chamber at either end of the income spectrum. I know at some point all of these people have to look at themselves in the mirror and realize the damage they have done, none of these people (save Owens, or Rubin who really seem not to have a clue as the exchanges below the end of this post prove) are so painfully self-unaware as to not see what they have contributed to the polarization and collaginization of this country.
Whether its money, fame, ego or whatever, the bill will eventually come due. And boy will that tab be heavy, very heavy indeed.