Tag: hierarchies

Jordan Peterson Manipulates Language to Appear Smarter

Ellie McFarland | United States

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson rose to prominence after a video of him defending free speech against the Canadian human rights bill C-16 surfaced online. This bill, among other things, would make it a crime to misgender a trans person. Dr. Peterson’s assertions in the original video were clear and admirable, but further, it was a direct deviation from the current common discourse. He was rocketed into public intellectual stardom after the episode at The University of Toronto; booking speaking event after guest lecture after television appearance. He was, and still very much is, the freshest philosopher in the free marketplace of ideas.

However, with closer examination, it seems his transparency and edge are inconsistent in his current work. Specifically, in the now infamous Cathy Newman interview, Dr. Peterson jumped from hard-hitting clear claims about the nature of political correctness to vague and meaningless facts about lobster dominance hierarchies.

The Bridge Between Lobsters and Humans

Dr. Peterson’s constant metaphors involving lobsters are actually very important to the way he manipulates language. For instance, he might say something about how dominance hierarchies are inherent in human beings and then go on a tirade about shellfish serotonin levels. While both statements are correct, but they don’t inform each other in any relevant way. This is called a non sequitur and means “it does not follow” in Latin. When someone uses a non sequitur, the premises do not logically inform the conclusion, even though all parts of the argument may be correct. Even though it is true that humans naturally fall into hierarchies, and lobsters do have very similar endocrine systems to humans, those facts do nothing to prop each other up, or to prop up his point, which usually amounts the differences between men and women being biological rather than social.

All of these declarations are technically correct according to everything we know about both human and lobster biology. However, neither of them does anything to prove whether or not there are actual differences between men and women beyond the social sphere. There is astounding evidence that he does frequently bring up to prove men and women, our masculine and feminine strengths and weaknesses, are biological. But he very rarely brings them up alongside that specific issue. Instead, he uses them in conversations surrounding crime and antisocial behavior. When these facts, however rarely, are brought up in the context of the conversation they actually belong in, they are cheapened and sandwiched between lobster-talk and dominance hierarchies.

This is actually a spin-off of a well-known debate technique called Gish Galloping, where a debater will try and overwhelm their opponents with as many arguments as possible in the shortest time possible. Dr. Peterson tweaks this idea. Instead of overwhelming his opponent with a lot of arguments all at once, he opens into an explanation of something that has very little to do with his real point in hopes that his opponent won’t bother to address it. The truth is, lobsters have nothing to do masculinity or femininity. But that sort of niche diatribe does impress people even though, critically, it carries no real value.

Redefining the Words We Know

The second way Dr. Peterson manipulates language is through the changing of definitions. The most atrocious example of this definition hopscotch is when he speaks on the topic of religion. He has said consistently that he believes all people are religious because religion is “what you act out.” This is just an unhelpful shifting of meaning. According to this definition, prayer, martyrdom, and communion are all religious acts in the same way driving, making a salad, watching TV, or participating in Punk Rock are religious acts. After all, “you can’t be a disbeliever in your actions”. This is an intentionally blunt definition that detracts from conversational productivity. Sam Harris explained this best when he said,

“People have traditionally believed in ghosts, it’s an archetype you might say– the ghost: survival of death is certainly an archetype. And we know what most people most of the time mean when they say they believe in ghosts. And I say I don’t believe in ghosts, and you say ‘No no, you do believe in ghosts. Ghosts are your relationship to the unseen. That’s a ghost.’ So you have a new definition of ghost that you’re putting in the place provided, to which I have to say of course I have a relationship to the unseen. So yeah I guess I do believe in ghosts. You win that argument. But that simply isn’t what most people mean by a ghost.”

Peterson Manipulates Words for Conclusions

Redefining words is not always such a slimy debate strategy. In many instances, it can be very helpful in coming to a conclusion about rather nebulous words such as “good”, “evil”, or even “god” in order to further some sort of discourse and continue the conversation. Dr. Peterson’s redefinition of religion, though, is all-encompassing by design. This basically boils down to an equivocation fallacy. Dr. Peterson’s definition of religion is clearly not the same as the average religious person’s definition. Therefore, it’s meaningless within any conversation about its impact.

This is not to say that Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is not intelligent, that he doesn’t have anything important to say, or that his philosophies outlined in 12 Rules for Life are immoral or fundamentally wrong. This is to say that not all of his proclamations are valid and we shouldn’t ignore his metaphorical talk-arounds of legitimate criticism. It is fine, even good, to admire Jordan Peterson. It is intellectually dishonest, however, to pretend he is flawless or doesn’t use manipulative language. In doing so, he makes himself seem more intelligent and convinces good-hearted people of positions with little merit.


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Slavoj Žižek Fails to Fully Understand Hierarchies

Daniel Szewc | Poland

One must understand the realities of Eastern Europe from 1945-1989 to understand Slavoj Žižek’s mentality. His embracement of the Marxist way of being is completely the result of his comparatively strong societal position in Slovenia before the fall of the Eastern Block. This was exemplified by the fact that this hierarchal position, created on the basis of being closer to the Marxist view of a perfected human than the average man, got even stronger after the acceptance of capitalism in his native country (for all intents and purposes, Slavoj Žižek is a celebrity in Slovenia). Of course, this brought to his subconscious the notion that being closer to Marx makes you a more efficient human in general, whilst in reality, it was just the manifestation of parts of the old, synthetic establishment, Žižek included, surviving into the new era, and adapting to the new circumstances.

As for his support of leftism, contrasted by his dislike of societal decay, it is comparable to liking uranium, yet disliking the particles that it emits. No matter how hard you try to keep society stable, without the philosophical absolute, you are unable to do so.

The Maintenence of the Hierarchy

Any hierarchy without an unreachable entity, whether it be a value or a being, that cannot be toppled from the bottom is doomed to fluctuate drastically, as well as to crash in a time proportionately short to the number of active members in the said structure. For example, the morally unthinkable happened in France, the regicide of the revolution, and the hierarchy’s immovable peak was shattered.

Soon after, the bloodshed flooded over to the initial instigators of the crime, causing the whole megastructure to topple. In the end, a new hierarchy arose, with Napoleon rising to its peak. He was able to justify his role sufficiently enough not to be toppled by power-hungry contestants for his position only because of his idealization and even stronger emancipation of the traditional role of emperor.

For such processes to not happen, equality, not hierarchy, would have to dominate throughout life forms- something that is mathematically ridiculous. To assume that the total sum capability of creatures as complex as us to have equal chances at maintaining our positions at a zero level hierarchy is simply improbable. Too many variables influence our lives on the daily for this to happen naturally, and for any individual even remotely knowledgeable about cybernetics, it is obvious that no circuit can encompass a circuit equally or more complicated than themselves, therefore the human mind may never manage to understand it’s own secrets (…and variables that make us so different in outcome).

Of course, #MeToo became dominated by empty media icons, because it’s the natural consequence of having a promiscuous society, something one can earn money off, and human nature. The last of the three implies inequality in intelligence and ability, whilst the first is implied by leftism. You cannot have all three and not get the result that #MeToo got.

In general, however, I personally like Žižek’s look on Buddhism, as well as I think that his views on love can be put to good use by any thoughtful person on any side of the political arena. Alas, 90%+ of what he says is based on some ridiculous imaginary plasticity of the human condition. For example, Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, if anyone, knows the most about empirically proving the aforementioned rationalist perspective of it being improbable.

Who will win the debate between the two? Well, the better question is whether the side that in fact loses will be able to comprehend it’s fallibility, or will it stay in its shell of Marxist presumptions.


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The Importance of Voluntary Hierarchies

By Jack Parkos | United States

The basis of leftist movement has been an anti-hierarchy mentality. That all hierarchies are evil and should be abolished to obtain a state of egalitarianism. Far leftists use words like “patriarchy” or “class struggle” to get their point across. The leftist view is that all hierarchies are authoritarian. These include capitalism, the nuclear family, and sometimes the government.

While it is true, that hierarchies can be tyrannical, this certainly does not mean all hierarchies are such the case. Hierarchies are, in fact, natural and do much good.

The wolf pack is a great example of why the hierarchy is naturally occurring. Wolves are very social creatures and form packs to work together to survive. Every wolf plays its role in the pack. In the wolf pack, the leader is the Alpha. The Alpha is in charge of the hunts and makes group decisions to benefit the pack. Below him is the Beta, and at the end is the Omega, the last in line. Such a system allows wolves to survive and work together. Many other social creatures use similar systems.

Humans too are social creatures, and thus require interaction with people. Groups can form from people with common goals and belief not only just to survive, but to thrive. Humans also maintain the idea of rights that can prevent a hierarchy from being tyrannical.  Let’s take a farming community for example.

The community needs to plan what crops and livestock will grow and where it will grow. Amongst all the debate, a natural leader will rise and take charge, allowing groups to compromise and figure out a plan as to what to do. He leads the community through the harsh winter with his leadership ability. As the work expands, he must have people below him, but above the average man. This new group may manage certain areas of the land.

This is the common business model. There’s the CEO of the business. Below him may be managers, and below them is the average worker. This works best for business. Without such a leader, the average workers would all have to run the business equally. This could not be done. Suppose there are disputes, which are common in the workplace. How would they be solved? One may say a vote would be a good resolution. But democracy (voting) creates a hierarchy of the majority over the minority, which can be dangerous.

Thus, natural rulers must take charge and run things. They should not be tyrannical as no one would follow them. Such hierarchies, like in the business world, should be voluntary. The leader should not disregard the rights of people. If so, the people can leave. Each man should be in charge of his own property. But, if they choose to form a group based on common defense and beliefs and have a leader, then this is not authoritarianism.

Natural and Unnatural Hierarchies

One may observe the wolf packs can be vicious, the Omega being “bullied” by the higher ranking groups. Such is a tragedy. But in human hierarchies, this can be protected. Humans, again, have greater thinking abilities. Only humans truly grasp the idea of property.  As long as a leader respects the people’s property, they cannot be tyrannical. The modern state does not respect private property.

The unnatural hierarchy rises from elites attempting to rule over the people.  Through force and violation of rights. The natural hierarchy rises by the will of people to have order and protect property. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe puts it:

Natural order defends these basic property principles. Locations were selected by defensibility. Leaders of small communities were able to act as courts by shunning wrong-doers and directing compensation to the victim. Law was discovered, not created. Taxes in the modern sense did not exist. The king, lords and nobles established protection villages against invaders.

People, having property rights, will need a defense for their property. If they agree to join a group of property owners and establish law, is it authoritarian? Certainly not. Law is necessary for any society, and law can create hierarchies (Reminder: these laws are not forced on the people).  Law should be local, decentralized, and non-tyrannical. Law should serve to protect life, liberty, and property. These rules could be established via a contract, perhaps a constitution of sorts. If laws go beyond these intended uses, property owners should have the right to leave such a contract.

A Non-Hierarchal Society

The common myth that hierarchy is anti-libertarian or anti-freedom is a lie from Marxists. Not only is it ineffective, but it’s also a lie about libertarianism. Libertarianism is not about chaos. Libertarianism is about peace and voluntarism. Libertarians aren’t against rules, but rather cohesive violent rules.

Assume all hierarchies were abolished. Unless we ignore human nature, humans will still require interaction. With interaction comes disputes. If two people cannot agree on something, how can it be solved? Removal of the hierarchy is the removal of the law. Without any sort of law, there is no way to solve disputes without violence.

Moreover, without hierarchies, there is no private property. If people cannot keep what they own, there is no incentive to work. Without an incentive to work, there can be no production. Without production, no food, technology, etc.

Assuming people would work for the betterment of the group, how is it decided what gets done? Who decides what is done? Suppose we use the farming example again. Say there is a dispute over whether land should be used for crops or livestock. How would this be solved? Again, the only way would be through either violence or democracy. However, as stated above, democracy is a hierarchy of the majority. This hierarchy gains its power simply from the majority, not from any natural leading ability.

The hierarchy is a natural part of human nature. Capitalism is not tyranny. The tyrannical hierarchy is not part of this. While the tyrants who use the law for personal gain should be overthrown, there must be a replacement with leaders. These leaders must only have authority based on consent from individuals. These leaders must be decentralized and have their only purpose to protect their property, as well as the people who they have engaged in a contract with.


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