Tuesday, May 15, 2018

12 Rules for Life: A Catholic review

Sam Rocha does not think much of Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life either, and reaches much the same conclusion about the charlatan that I have in his review of the book at the Catholic News Agency.
In 12 Rules for Life, Peterson makes a number of claims that obliquely relate to his opposition to the C-16 bill and to the points he has raised in his media appearances since then, but he does not credit any of this as contributing directly to this book. Instead, he cites his hero, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, as articulating Peterson’s core idea for the book: an opposition to the view that human beings are created for happiness. In this respect, Peterson unwittingly picks a fight with Aristotle’s ancient and enduring ideas of human flourishing and the good life within the first three pages of his 2018 book about how to live.

Peterson also provides an early footnote explaining his usage of the capitalized word “Being,” a term he uses throughout the book’s nearly 400 pages. Peterson credits his repeated usage of this term to Martin Heidegger. Anyone who has read Heidegger’s Being and Time, however, will find no resemblance between Heidegger’s and Peterson’s notions of Being, including the undifferentiated spelling (Heidegger distinguished between Being and the beings). Peterson’s reference to Heidegger is ultimately an appeal to authority, attempting to justify his use of the term “Being” as an abstract neologism. But it is not remotely true that Heidegger was using Being as a neologism. After all, Heidegger did make up an abstract neologism, Dasein, to explain the way in which Being is experienced through our particular existence. Peterson’s repetition of the word “Being” throughout the book is impossible to understand on Heideggerian terms, and Peterson provides no explanation for it but this one, in his footnote. This example is par for the course: Peterson employs a litany of big names without substantive engagement, while missing the sources that his own ideas are in passive dialogue and conflict with.

In other words, Peterson’s book begins with an oddly incomplete account of its origins and motivations, followed by an unconscious dismissal of Aristotle’s most compelling account of the purpose of life, followed by a lazy attempt to justify using a specialized term as a mystical buzzword for the rest of the book. Yet in some respects, these are the most reasonable eight pages of the book.
In case you haven't noticed, the more intelligent and the better-read the reader happens to be, the less he thinks of Jordan Peterson and the ludicrous pseudo-intellectual bafflegabbery that comprises Jordanetics. In case Sam's review convinces you to give the book a pass, Sam has helpfully put together this list of twelve rules for approaching life as Jordan Peterson and his fans do.

Rule #1: Dominance Hierarchies Dominate, Hierarchically ( OF COURSE!), But They Don’t Really Know How to Make Upright Arguments or Provide Broad-Shouldered Reasons or Offer Serious Examples That Don’t Involve Psychologizing Crustaceans

Rule #2: “Postmodern Neo Marxists” Refers to Lacan But Not Jung, To Derrida But Not Nietzsche, To Foucault But Not Freud, But Please Don’t Ask Peterson About Terry Eagleton, Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, Or Anyone Else Alive Today Who Is This Thing He Repeats Over And Over

Rule #3: If You Write One Book In 1999 With Routledge About Being Scared Of Nuclear War And You Cannot Get Enough Attention, Find A Good Culture War In 2016, Open a Patreon Account, And Get A Book Contract With Random House.

Rule #4: If Someone Critiques Peterson in 2017, Ask Them To Stop Being A Scaredy-Cat And Get In Touch With Him Directly; If Someone Critiques Peterson In 2018, Call Them Jealous And Bitter And Question Who They Are To Think They Could Debate JORDAN B PETERSON

Rule #5: As You Are Working As A Tenured Full Professor At A Major Research University, Convince Culture Warriors To Pay You Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars ON Patreon To Protect You From Something Bad From Happening To You

Rule #6: When You Are Promoted To Full Professor, Instead Of Writing An Opus Or Taking Joint Appointments Or A Chair Or A Distinguished Professorship, Publish A Rule Book Based on Your Quora Profile, YouTube Channel, And Your Only Other Book From 1999 Instead

Rule #7: If Jordan B Peterson Is Ever Criticized, Be Sure To Follow His Lead And Never Provide Reasons, Examples, Evidence, Counterfactuals, Arguments, Or Anything That Is Substantial Because You Are More Into The Phenomenon Of Peterson And His Effect On Society And He Is AMAZING

Rule #8: Quote Tons Of Philosophers In Your Books And Claim To Base Your Ideas Off Of Philosophical Ideas But Always Refuse To Debate Philosophers, Excepting Sam Harris Who Owned You In Your First Debate So Much You Wrote Him A Letter Afterwards—Debate Journalists Instead

Rule #9: Talk A Lot About IQ And Your IQ And Social Darwinism And Jungian Psychoanalysis And The Ying Yang And The Dragon Of Chaos And When You Get To The Book Of Genesis Christians Will Immediately Count You As An Exegete And An Evangelist For Their Cause

Rule #10: Anytime You Try To Defend Your General Position Against ALL Forms Of Marxism, Find A Way Back To Hitler And Stalin And Make Anyone Who Disagrees With You A Moral Monster, But Be Sure To Get VERY MAD About It And Show Them You Mean Business And Quote Adorno—Oopsies...

Rule #11: Talk More Than You Write Because It Is Hard To Be Pinned Down On What You Say, Also Use Your Professor Position To Add Credibility As A “Scientist” While You Try And Destroy The Corrupt Social Justice University—It Really Covers All Your Bases, Like The Salary + Patreon

Rule #12: Don’t Tell Marshall McLuhen, George Grant, Naomi Klein, Or Charles Taylor That Jordan Peterson Is Canada’s Greatest Intellectual And A Prophet For Our Time And When Someone Shows You Exactly How Nutty This Is Tell Them “Okay Man; I Only Think Peterson Is Just All right”

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Anonymous Anonymous May 15, 2018 1:29 PM  

That was certainly amusing. Always makes me wonder if authors like Peterson are actually aware that what they've written is pure rubbish. I guess postmodern folks don't do shame.

Blogger Matthew May 15, 2018 1:46 PM  

Referencing Heidegger by itself is an indication that someone is a charlatan. Doing so while plainly not understanding Heidegger is just funny.

Blogger Matthew May 15, 2018 1:46 PM  

(unless your name is Bruce)

Blogger August May 15, 2018 1:52 PM  

He also, apparently, uses the pronouns he doesn't want the Canadian government to force him to use.

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums May 15, 2018 1:52 PM  

Ryan Dawson's take on Peterson is top notch:

When someone can accurately distill your entire life's work in less than a minute... well I don't know what to say. I can't imagine it being a pleasant experience.

Blogger Dave May 15, 2018 1:53 PM  

Damning, entertaining but damning. I began to have this notion last week and then Vox stated it the other day; Jordan B. Peterson is the Barack Obama of public intellectuals, Jordan Barack Peterson.

Blogger L' Aristokrato May 15, 2018 1:54 PM  

You dare criticize the Gospel of Jordan?!

Blogger Salt May 15, 2018 1:56 PM  

Waiting for the Gospel according to St. Jordan. Should be a best seller.

Blogger The Smoking Man #3424 May 15, 2018 2:00 PM  

Cruelty Artist indeed.

Blogger Allen Skeens May 15, 2018 2:02 PM  

Dave, have you ever seen the two together?

Blogger Brett baker May 15, 2018 2:11 PM  

Why......OH MY GAWD!

Blogger Brett baker May 15, 2018 2:11 PM  

Why......OH MY GAWD!

Blogger Peter Gent May 15, 2018 2:15 PM  

Jordon has no where to go from here as it is clearly shown that the "emperor has no clothes" or anything of substance in his noggin for that matter.

As has been famously attributed to Mr. T, "I pity the fool!"

Blogger OGRE May 15, 2018 2:25 PM  

wow, that is savage

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 15, 2018 2:26 PM  

Matthew wrote:(unless your name is Bruce)
Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out-consume
Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel.
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.
There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya
'bout the raising of the wrist,
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed.

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
Plato, they say, could stick it away,
Half a crate of whiskey every day.
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
And Hobbes was fond of his dram.
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart,
"I drink, therefore I am."

Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed,
A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 15, 2018 2:30 PM  

What I have noticed is that most people who defend Peterson do it on the basis of something Peterson doesn't quite manage to say.
They have to impute context, conclusions or meanings to his statements in order to make them make sense, and then will defend their conclusion rather than the statement.

Blogger Dave May 15, 2018 2:31 PM  

Dave, have you ever seen the two together?

No, but if JPB becomes Prime Minister of Canada and receives a Nobel Peace Prize - can there be anymore doubt?

Blogger S. Misanthrope May 15, 2018 2:45 PM  

Accurate. I got into Peterson because I am not well read in 20th century psych/soc/phil and he seemed to give a good overview of that material. But the more he tries to talk philosophy (or write it), the more obvious it is that he skipped most everything I am decently read in, starting with the ancients. Basically what I got from him in the end was a pretty good reading list for the ideas currently destroying civilization.

Blogger Damn Crackers May 15, 2018 2:51 PM  

From reading this post and the last post, it's obvious that Peterson has read a lot of Jung and believes much of the psychologists ideas as fact. But, Peterson is oblivious to realizing that much of what Jung wrote was untrue. For example, much of Jung's writings on alchemy (which Peterson should realize that the alchemists pursued empirical research PRIOR to Bacon, Newton, etc.) has been shown by modern historians of science to be flat-out wrong!

Blogger Thanks, J. May 15, 2018 3:12 PM  

Word on the streets is Peterson a pothead. Or at least was a longtime smoker of marijuana.

Blogger Shawn Hetherington May 15, 2018 3:20 PM  

I must say that I have pretty much come around to the idea that Peterson is a waste of time for anything beyond some of his YouTube content(some of which I still think is pretty good). At a minimum, he does seem to be *very* scattered intellectually which makes any actual exploration of his ideas to be intensely dull and unrewarding (at least for me).

I, personally, do not see anything particularly malign about the man, though.

Blogger maniacprovost May 15, 2018 3:27 PM  

My preferred Canadian intellectual is Deryck Whibley. His writing is as coherent as JP's, but more entertaining and to the point.

Blogger Herr Abubu May 15, 2018 4:22 PM  

Hi, Vox, would you be interested in discussing/debating with a guy called Jay Dyer? He used to come from a perspective of Thomism and Augustinianism, but turned to Orthodoxy some time ago and is now quite critical of Western theology. I could try to facilitate a discussion/debate between the two of you.

Blogger Dirk Manly May 15, 2018 4:26 PM  


"Word on the streets is Peterson a pothead. Or at least was a longtime smoker of marijuana."

Wouldn't surprise me.
He looks like a pothead in a suit.

Blogger Herr Abubu May 15, 2018 4:32 PM  

He's discussed/debated with people like Richard Spencer, Dugin, Styx, Nick Fuentes and JF on related topics.

Blogger VD May 15, 2018 4:33 PM  

Hi, Vox, would you be interested in discussing/debating with a guy called Jay Dyer?

No. I'm too busy for debates and media these days.

Blogger Herr Abubu May 15, 2018 4:37 PM  

Alright, that's a shame, but thanks for the quick answer!

Blogger weka May 15, 2018 4:40 PM  

Don’t Tell Marshall McLuhen, George Grant, Naomi Klein, Or Charles Taylor That Jordan Peterson Is Canada’s Greatest Intellectual And A Prophet For Our Time

Is that the best Canada has? Michael Coren is weak tea, but he is better than any of those, and I can think of bloggers from the Shadie and Judgy Bitch to the better people at Northern Dawn who are far better.

Most stuff from Canada is NWO poison, from CANMEDS to their Bill of Rights that allows euthanasia.

There remain but a few thousands who have not kissed this Ba'al. I have some hope for the USA, but I consider Canada is a warning.

Do not be like them.

Blogger Matamoros May 15, 2018 4:42 PM  

Somewhat off topic: May 14th was the last day for Premillenial Dispensationalism's Christ to come again based upon their theories; and hopefully represents the death of this modern judaizing element within Christianity.

Gary North has written of this in "The prophecy clock has now run out for Dispensationalism"

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener May 15, 2018 4:46 PM  

In other words, Peterson’s book begins with an oddly incomplete account of its origins and motivations, followed by an unconscious dismissal of Aristotle’s most compelling account of the purpose of life, followed by a lazy attempt to justify using a specialized term as a mystical buzzword for the rest of the book.

Which prompts the obvious question... PETERSON, WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE?

To remember to take your pills; to cite philosophers whose ideas you don't understand without being questioned by your audience; to clean your room as strange dog-like beings dismember and eat your beautiful cousin. Also lobsters.

Blogger The Kurgan May 15, 2018 4:49 PM  

This was one of the most entertaining book reviews I have read in a long while.

Anonymous Anonymous May 15, 2018 5:02 PM  

Now Sam Rocha has devoted six tweets to disavowing this blog, one of the tweets was on the basis that he's Mexican.

Blogger KSC May 15, 2018 5:29 PM  

"I have been extremely critical of Rod Dreher and Jordan Peterson and others for not distancing themselves immediately from any form of alt-right sympathy."

Wait what?

Blogger Dave May 15, 2018 5:38 PM  

Alexandros wrote:Now Sam Rocha has devoted six tweets to disavowing this blog, one of the tweets was on the basis that he's Mexican.

Aha, good catch. My favorite tweet from the self-professed Mexican-American:

@SamRochadotcom 53 minutes ago
All intellectual debates aside, I want nothing to do with any person who advocates for anything approaching any form of political ethnonationalism, most of all that falsely conceived, racist ethnos called "white."

Blogger S'mon May 15, 2018 5:43 PM  

" must say that I have pretty much come around to the idea that Peterson is a waste of time for anything beyond some of his YouTube content"

His Jungian analysis of The Lion King beats most Youtube movie reviews. Even Comicbookgirl19.

Seriously, as entertainment, with occasional thought-provoking points, Peterson really is pretty good. Treating it seriously is a mistake - potentially a serious mistake. Watching his beatdown of Cathy Newman was fun, and millions of men cheered. It doesn't make him The Chosen One.

Blogger S'mon May 15, 2018 5:45 PM  

("as entertainment ....Peterson really is pretty good" refers only to his Youtube videos. 12 Rules For Life is not very entertaining at all.)

Blogger select star May 15, 2018 5:45 PM  

And JP fans everywhere said... *crickets sound here*

Blogger Laramie Hirsch May 15, 2018 6:44 PM  

I've been arguing with an unbelievable amount of belligerent Catholics in my Facebook page about Peterson. Vox, I've basically been saying EVERYTHING you've been saying, yet they continue to fight for him. It's insane. These people think he's brilliant.

Blogger Laramie Hirsch May 15, 2018 6:45 PM  

Someone needs to write about media whores.

Blogger Nathan Wright May 15, 2018 7:02 PM  

@34 looks like someone has some intense ethnic feels there ... it certainly explains the butthurt tone of his article.

Blogger Adam Ray May 15, 2018 7:05 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Adam Ray May 15, 2018 7:08 PM  

A youtube debate between Voxday and Jay Dyer would be great. Jay Dyer is an Orthodox Christian who has had a couple debates on andy warski, one with JF Gariapy.

Blogger Nathan Wright May 15, 2018 7:10 PM  

Sorry for the double post. "White ethnos is false and inherently racist" but he's "proud to be Mestizo". (lol) The guy spends a good part of his article criticizing JBP's motivations, but surely (whatever they might be) they're better than this stereotypical uprooted mutt's racial insecurity and resentment.

Blogger Adam Ray May 15, 2018 7:11 PM  

Vox, have a debate with Jay Dyer on the merits of Augustine and Aquinas. Jay is an Orthodox Christian who has deconstructed much of there work.

Blogger VD May 15, 2018 7:16 PM  

I neither know nor care who Jay Dyer is. As I have already mentioned, I am far too busy for debates or media right now.

If you don't want ASOS or more Castalia books by authors I am editing, just keep suggesting more things I can do instead.

Blogger Adam Ray May 15, 2018 7:17 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger berb2000 May 15, 2018 7:19 PM  

I do not find Peterson annoying, I do find it odd that the defenders of Peterson cannot take any criticism. I haven't been following this too much, but my thoughts are that b4 Peterson became the cause celebre that he is, he would have wholly welcomed a debate with you. Now there is money as well as a bizarre shiboleth, not too sure what to make of it.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 15, 2018 7:20 PM  

"These people think he's brilliant."

You might be saddened by how many people assume intelligence from how someone looks in a carefully curated photo.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 15, 2018 7:20 PM  

And I mean purely and permanently assume.

Blogger Blastman May 15, 2018 7:38 PM  

In 1984, Peterson “had outgrown the shallow Christianity of [his] youth by the time [he] could understand the fundamental of Darwinian theory”...

Rev.Cuthbert O’Gara, a Catholic bishop who was assigned to a mission in Yuanling county in China in 1934, made some interesting observations about the Communists in that country after they took over in the middle of the 20th century. After his arrest in 1951, he was tortured for almost 2 years before being released, and eventually returning to the US. He wrote a small booklet about these experiences there entitled The Surrender to Secularism.

You can read a summary of his story at …

An interesting quote from that booklet …

“When the Communist troops over-ran my diocese they were followed in very short order by the propaganda corps – the civilian branch of the Red forces – an organization, if anything, more disciplined, more zealous, more fanatical, then the People’s Army of Liberation itself. The entire population, city and countryside, was immediately organized into distinctive categories – grade school and high school pupils and teachers (Catholic, Protestant and pagan), merchants, artisans, members of the professions, yes, and even the lowly coolies. Everyone, for a week or more, was forced to attend the seminar specified for his or her proper category and there, willy-nilly in servile submission, listen to the official Communist line.
“Now what, I ask, was the first lesson given to the indoctrinees? One might have supposed that this would have been some pearl of wisdom let drop by Marx, Lenin or Stalin. Such however was not the case. The first, the fundamental, lesson given was man’s descent from the ape – Darwinism! …. Darwinism negates God, the human soul, the after-life. Into this vacuum Communism enters as the be-all and the end-all of the intellectual slavery it has created.

Blogger Eli May 15, 2018 7:41 PM  

Sam's little mini rant about you and the alt right in general was sad. Apparently he's afraid of being lumped into the alt right by association now. He's your typical Catholic liberal who blogs at Patheos of all things. His review of Peterson's book goes to show that a broken clock can be right twice a day after all. I'd avoid him beyond that.

Blogger Daniel Bendele May 15, 2018 7:41 PM  

I think we need a Voxiversity on the difference between Plato and Aristotle and how that philosophical difference impacts the modern world.

Blogger Damaris Tighe May 15, 2018 8:00 PM  

''Peterson the post-Christian somehow sees a pairing of Jung’s neo-pagan psychoanalysis with Social Darwinism as a productive way out''


Blogger Damaris Tighe May 15, 2018 8:04 PM  

jung is suitable for the modern wannabe shaman.

as is heidegger, really - see his work on techne art and technology.

Blogger Damaris Tighe May 15, 2018 8:07 PM  

just adorable how sam rocha distills the advanced thinkers' view of race-


Blogger Damaris Tighe May 15, 2018 9:57 PM  

note peterson's involvement in the mysticism of 'first peoples.


carlos castaneda and aliester rowley here he comes

Blogger tublecane May 16, 2018 12:13 AM  

"the more intelligent and the better-read the reader happens to be, the less he thinks of Jordan Peterson and the ludicrous pseudo-intellectual bafflegabery that comprises Jordanetics"

Or you could get lucky and be like me, who just so happens to have read some of Peterson's favorites: Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, the pragmatists (as much as I could stand), Freud, etc. Than you know from experience he doesn't have a better grasp than an any random intelligent layman.

One YouTuber or another referred to him as the "stupid man's smart person." That's apt.

Blogger tublecane May 16, 2018 12:18 AM  

@57- About "stupid man's smart person," I think that may have been from someone complaining about how Peterson appeals to a group of deplorable human beings known as the "alt-right." Who must be stupid, otherwise they wouldn't be on the alt-right.

Nevertheless, I like it.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants May 16, 2018 4:58 AM  

I watched his analysis on The Lion King, a while back.
It wasn't exactly Earth-shattering analysis as to the points made, and I went into it trepadaciously, knowing Peterson's obsession w/Jung, which I thoroughly dislike.
From what I remember though, it seemed like it would be a fun project for a 18 yr old in an intro to Psych class.
Judeo-Peterson should probably just stick with type of work, instead of spreading his cancerous Jordanetics to the rest of the world.

Blogger SciVo May 16, 2018 5:30 AM  

Are there really people who name-drop Heidegger to seem smarter? As a genuine fan of Being and Time, my experience whenever I mentioned it was for midwits to point & shriek "NAZI!!" I never even got to talk about what I liked about it; immediate DQ.

Blogger Adam Ray May 17, 2018 12:30 AM  

I wasn't aware that it had been mentioned. Just thought it would be a good idea,it certainly would be a good outlet for you to premote Castalia House.

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