Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Man In Need Of A Mirror

When Bill Maher welcomed onto his set Canadian author and professor Jordan Peterson on the April 13 episode of Real Time, he told Peterson "I'm a big fan, as you might have guessed."

Maher, as a supporter of freedom of the press, academic freedom, and free and open inquiry, believed (and may still believe) Peterson is an ideological blood brother. But he is nothing of the sort.

The first hint should have been when Maher, accurately and objectively, defined "political correctness" as the "elevation of sensitivity over truth."  Peterson responded "it's even worse.  It's more like the elevation of moral posturing of sensitivity over truth."

Remarkably, Maher agreed, though there is a stark and critical difference between the two definitions. Maher recognizes that the "politically correct" are sensitive, overly so in his view; Peterson accuses them of faking it, of not even being sensitive, of wallowing in "moral posturing."

It really is a brilliant move on the part of the guest. As Sam Seder notes in the video  (a commentary upon the "overtime" segment of the broadcast) below, Peterson's approach "shows this guy has an agenda."  This was clear when Peterson claimed in the main broadcast we "can pretty much blame it (political correctness) on the universities" in their "pursuit of policy- a radical left policy with an overlay of post-modernism." He has subtly shifted from defining p.c.- as Maher does- as over-sensitivity to defining it as the liberal sentiment common on campuses.

On the overtime segment (video below), Peterson- as Seder emphasizes- defends Trump voters and states

There are all these people in the U.S. who are on the conservative side who agreed with Trump for all sorts of reasons and there's all this tension around this presidency and attempts to pull him out of his office for various reasons. And what do you think will happen if that comes to pass?

What do you think will happen to these people who have identified with Trump? And, like, how is that Democratic types, for example, are holding out their hand to, say, these conservative types to say "welcome back into the fold," because it looks to me from an outsider's perspective that your country is polarizing in a way that's not good and that people are going after Trump. And I understand that. It's not like I don't understand that but there are all these people that elected him and that are identified with him and they're- they're not taking this well.  

Give them a cookie, I say- and give Peterson the next couple of cookies. Maher responded well (though he still may not understand where Peterson is coming from), replying that Donald Trump is not at all like any President we've ever had. In his own analysis, Seder points out that this isn't the first time this nation has been divided. Most recently we had a President which many- if not most- of the individuals who went on to vote for Trump- would not even acknowledge was born in the USA. And there was the matter of the Civil War and Jim Crow.

But Peterson, as Seder recognizes, is part of the conservative "personal aggrievement industry that this guy totally feeds off of."   Peterson deserves a pat on the head with those cookies, for the sensiivity he oozes is a near-perfect embodiment of political correctness.

A majority of the electorate (as Seder notes) did not vote for Trump, and fewer voted for him than for his major rival. Even if he had won the popular vote, it is such exquisite sensitivity to suggest that criticism of the President be quashed because his supporters are "not taking this well."

"How did we get to the place where we're so fragile?" Maher asks Jordan Peterson.  Little did he know that Peterson, while posturing otherwise, is among those who are the most fragile.

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