Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Is Jordan Peterson a conservative?

Jordan Peterson and I both spent decades fascinated with authoritarianism and doing research into it.  I am 20 years older than him, however, so our research activities did not overlap. I think, however, that our common research interests may enable me to judge his views more insightfully.

The first thing I have to say is that both Peterson and I have studied, Nazism, Fascism, amtisemitism etc as something which horrifies us, not something we admire.  Many people seem unable to allow that, however.  You must secretly admire it in order to study it seems to be the claim.  And some justification of that will always be devised by misquoting or misunderstanding some isolated fact or bit of text that in fact provides no such justification at all.

And in my case, my frequent promotion of libertarian ideas should show where I belong on the political spectrum.  The fact that libertarianism is the exact opposite of Fascism should be convincing about what I believe but it is not, of course.  In the twisted minds of the left, liberarianism and Fascism are often equated.  Black can be white for them. Even my cast-iron support for the State of Israel can be ignored.

An interesting example of Peterson being accused of what he is not is the case of the now famous article in the historically Leftist NY "Jewish Forward" which implicitly accused Peterson of being antisemitic.  The article was such a total denial of everything Peterson has said that it got angry rebuttals from several sources and the "Forward" itself quickly published a retraction.  Peterson gives all the detail of that here

So: Don't believe anything about Peterson in the Left-leaning media. Just read what he himself writes.  Media comments will be reliably distorted. A rather amusing example of such a distortion is the NYT claim that Peterson advocates "enforced monogamy".  Does that mean he wants to abolish all divorce laws?  No.  As one of Peterson's defenders summarized the matter:  "Peterson is using well-established anthropological language here: “enforced monogamy” does not mean government-enforced monogamy. “Enforced monogamy” means socially-promoted, culturally-inculcated monogamy", not legally required monogamy.  In other words, faithful marriage should be encouraged by the society at large.  See here

Peterson himself says he is a classical liberal, meaning that he believes in a broad spectrum of individual liberties.  Conservatives do too but they tend to add in other beliefs about patriotism and such social issues as abortion and homosexuality.  And yet Peterson has such conservative positions too so I think he is simply resisting "conservative" as an overinclusive label.  He offers no guarantee that he will agree with all conservative positions.

He is right to be cautious. "Racist" is a label that is ceaselessly thrown around by the Left and all conservatives are racist in their view.  I did rather a lot of survey research showing that not to be so but Leftists don't need evidence for their accusations.  So any mention of race brings howls from the Left and conservatives do in fact mention race in some ways at times.

And that is where Peterson and I part company.  I try to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth at all times.  And as a psychometrician I am well aware of important black/white differences.  And I talk about them, sometimes at length.  Peterson wisely avoids the topic.  Because I do talk about scientifically well-established black white differences I am someone who has to be avoided.  The fact that the official position of the American Psychological Association is that blacks are on averge about 15 points lower on IQ does not excuse me. I am simply putting the majority conclusion of academics in my field but I am outside polite society to say so publicly. I see blacks as requiring assistance rather than persecution but that doesn't count either. And I am vociferous in mocking the false assistance of "affirmative action".

So Peterson is something more than a classical liberal but he is not wholly a conservative.  So what is he?  I think it is reasonable to say that he is a traditionalist.  His self-help writings lie well within that description.  They do not rely heavily on laboratory research or surveys but also use clinical insights and traditional wisdom:  Christian wisdom in particular.

He is certainly using pre-Spock childrearing advice. That Spock himself eventually recanted much of his permissive views and saw much wisdom in earler teachings would support Peterson in that. Anybody who has absorbed Bible teachings in his youth -- as I did -- would find Peterson's personal development teachings familiar.  And Peterson makes no secret of that.  He appears to be an atheist -- as I am -- but sees Christianity as a great source of wisdom -- as I do.

So his views are not entirely scientific.  They are sourced widely rather than in surveys and experiments.  But where available the academic literature does offer some cautious support for what he says. And it should be noted that use of insights from clinical work has always been a major source of psychological thinking -- starting from Sigmund Freud -- JR


All public forums should be open and uncensored

A huge silver lining from a recent court ruling

Trump should embrace (and expand) court ruling that his Twitter account is free speech forum

President Trump may not block even rude or obnoxious criticism from his Twitter account, because it is a public forum that is protected by the First Amendment, US District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has ruled. The President’s use of his Twitter account to comment on important policy, personnel and personal announcements made it a public forum, akin to a park or town square, she concluded.

Blocking unwanted tweets is thus viewpoint discrimination, which public officials are not permitted to engage in. Indeed, his Twitter account is not just a public forum. It is also “government space,” and thus may not be closed off, Judge Buchwald continued – rejecting a Justice Department argument that, since Twitter is a public company, it is beyond the reach of First Amendment public forum rules.

Free speech proponents hailed the ruling as a groundbreaking decision, saying it expands constitutional protections deep within the realms of social media. The executive director of Georgetown Law School’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection called it “a critical victory in preserving free speech in the digital age.” Blocking people from responding critically to presidential tweets is unconstitutional, because it prevents them from participating personally and directly in that forum, others said.

The Justice Department said it disagreed with the decision and was considering its next steps. Here’s another option: Embrace and expand on the decision. Assess how these District Court principles and free speech guidelines can be applied in other vital free speech arenas. Take it as far as you can.

Some will then predictably want to construe the decision narrowly, saying it applies only to government officials, perhaps especially conservatives who support this president. Conservatives, the White House and the Trump Administration should not feel bound by such partisan, self-serving assertions.

As Supreme Court and numerous lower court decisions have interpreted the Civil Rights Act and other laws, no person may employ race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status or other categories, to discriminate in admissions, hiring or anything else under any program or activity receiving any form of federal financial assistance, including loans or scholarships. Those that do discriminate will lose their Internal Revenue Service non-profit status and their government funding.

Should that list of categories not include one of the most vital and fundamental civil rights of all – the one addressed and protected by the very first amendment to the United States Constitution? The right of free speech and free assembly, especially regarding one’s beliefs, interests and political viewpoints, and one’s ability to participate in discourse and debate over important political and public policy matters?

Our colleges and universities were once society’s crucible for developing and thrashing out ideas. Sadly, as anyone with a milligram of brain matter realizes, they have become bastions of one-sided ideological propaganda and intolerance. Every conceivable element of “diversity” is permitted and encouraged – nay, demanded – except for our most fundamental civil right of personal views, free speech and robust debate.

That right now applies only to liberal-progressive-leftist views and ideologies. Anything that challenges or questions those teachings is vilified, denounced and silenced, often violently – as being hurtful, hateful, objectionable or intolerable to liberals. Faculty members are hired, protected, promoted or fired based on their social, scientific or political beliefs. Viewpoint discrimination, bullying and mobbing are rampant.

It’s time for pushback. Judicial and Executive Branch decisions and guidelines hold that even private universities that receive federal money for faculty research, student loans and scholarships, or campus facilities, are subject to Civil Rights Act rules. Presidents, administrators and faculty members of public universities are arguably public officials. Campuses and classrooms are clearly public forums.

If they tolerate or encourage viewpoint bullying, mobbing or violence, they are violating the civil rights of students, professors and speakers whose views have been deemed inappropriate, discomforting, hurtful or intolerable to the fragile sensitivities of climate alarmist, pro-abortion, atheist and other liberal factions.

Judge Buchwald’s ruling and the reactions of free speech advocates provide useful guidelines to buttress this approach. The Trump Administration, state attorneys general and free-speech/individual rights advocates should apply them to help restore intellectual rigor and open discourse to our campuses.

The ruling and reactions could also help expand constitutional protections even more deeply in the realms of digital age social media. As they suggest, today’s most popular social media sites have become our most vibrant and essential public forums: today’s parks, town squares and town halls. People, especially millennials, rely on them for news, information and opinions, often as substitutes for print, radio and television (and classrooms). But they now seem far better at censorship than at education or discussion.

Google algorithms increasingly and systematically send climate realism articles to intellectual Siberia. Unless you enter very specific search terms (author’s name, article title and unique wording), those sly algorithms make it difficult or impossible to find articles expressing non-alarmist viewpoints.

Google thus allies with the manmade climate cataclysm establishment – which has received billions of taxpayer dollars from multiple government agencies, but has blocked Climate Armageddon skeptics from getting articles published in scientific journals that often publish papers that involve hidden data, computer codes and other work. Even worse, it facilitates repeated threats that skeptics should be jailed (Bill Nye the Science Guy and RFK Jr.), prosecuted under RICO racketeering laws (Senators Warren and Whitehouse), or even executed (University of Graz, Austria Professor Richard Parncutt).

Google is a private entity, there are other search engines, and those seeking complete, honest research results should see if those alternatives are any better. But there is something repugnant about mankind’s vast storehouses of information being controlled by hyper-partisan techies, in league with equally partisan university, deep state, deep media, hard green and other ├╝ber-liberal, intolerant elements of our society.

Meanwhile, Google YouTube continues to use its power and position to block posting of and access to equally important information, including over 40 well-crafted, informative, carefully researched Prager University videos – because they contain what YouTube reviewers (censors) decreed is “objectionable content” on current events, history, constitutional principles, environmental topics and public policies.

Scholar-educator Dennis Prager sued YouTube for closing down yet another vital public forum to views that question, contest or simply fail to pay homage to liberal ideologies and agendas.

District Court Judge Lucy Koh concluded that YouTube did indeed apply vague standards and the arbitrary judgments of a few employees, and did indeed discriminate against Prager U by denying it access to this popular social media platform and digital public forum. However, she ruled that Google YouTube is a private company, and thus is under no obligation to be fair, to apply its services equally, or to refrain from imposing penalties on viewpoints with which its partisan officers and employees disagree.

In other words, YouTube may operate as a public forum but it is a private business and thus may discriminate as it wishes – since it does not bake cakes or provide food or overnight accommodations … or deal with any civil rights that Judge Koh would include among protected constitutional rights.

These actions are the hallmarks of communist, fascist and other totalitarian regimes that seek to control all thought, speech, economic activity and other aspects of our lives. They drive policies that further limit our freedoms, kill countless jobs, and cost us billions or trillions of dollars in lost productivity.

The Left is clearly afraid of conservative ideas and principles. It refuses to participate in discussions or debates that it might lose, and instead resorts to mobbing, bullying and violence to silence our voices.

Up to now, lower courts have not always been supportive of the analysis and prescriptions presented in this article. But appellate courts and the Supreme Court have yet to weigh in on the Trump Twitter, Prager YouTube, Google search bias and similar cases. So we are still in uncharted territory.

Conservatives, climate chaos skeptics and true free speech advocates should build their own social media forums – while helping to create the legal precedents that will protect our hard-won rights and freedoms, and exposing, ridiculing, embarrassing and challenging the dominance of the Intolerant Left.

Via email from Paul Driessen, JD


Ted Cruz Says Media Is Avoiding Santa Fe School Shooting Because Texas Students Don’t Want Gun Control

In an interview in his Senate office Tuesday with The Daily Signal, Cruz said support for the Second Amendment in Texas is why CNN and other media outlets aren’t giving these students the kind of wall-to-wall coverage that followed the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Cruz also talked about why the Senate should work full workweeks and potentially skip the August recess to get more done. From making tax reform for individuals and small businesses permanent to repealing Obamacare’s employer mandate, the Texas senator said plenty of legislative priorities could be passed with a simple majority and Republicans should take advantage of the relatively rare opportunity of being in charge in Washington.

Cruz also applauded President Donald Trump both for listening to many views and for standing up to much of official Washington and fulfilling his promises to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and get America out of the Iran nuclear deal.



France signs contracts for €1bn direct investment to Russia

Aha! So it must have been Russia that gave Mr Macron his win in the recent French elections!

Russia and France have signed six contracts for direct investment into Russia worth about €1 billion as part of the ongoing business forum in St Petersburg and the coinciding visit of the French president.
The billion-euro ($1.17 billion) sum of the deal was reported on Tuesday by Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. The six contracts were signed at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which is being held in the former Russian capital on Tuesday and Friday.

For comparison, the entire foreign direct investment into Russia in 2017 amounted to $27.9 billion.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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