As if I haven’t give the bugger enough space, there are just a couple more things I have to get off my chest.
During the Munk debate of
May 18, 2018,
Jordan Peterson identified his evil trinity of the extreme left as diversity,
inclusivity, and equality (of outcomes, as opposed to opportunities).
I have to take issue with these benchmarks one by one.
1) Diversity. He had the nerve to proclaim this in a great big hall in
, one of the most
diverse cities in the world. People from all over the world living side by side
in complete peace. On what planet could this be considered a bad thing? But
never mind ethnic diversity – diversity of anything, of language, of opinion,
of dress, cuisine, art, tends to be an incredibly enriching, positive thing.
How could this be considered an extremist or totalitarian situation? Toronto
2) Inclusivity. Are we to take from this that “exclusivity” must be a reasonable state of affairs? We taught in Kindergarten not to exclude anyone, not to exile little Johnny to the corner because we think he’s weird. We take this lesson into adulthood as we try to build (or at least idealize) a society where everyone is welcome. Sorry
not giving that up. Jordan
3) Equality. Peterson took pains to differentiate equality of outcomes with equality of opportunity, which he admitted was “laudable”. He didn’t seem to notice that equality of opportunity was exactly what his debating opponents, Michelle Goldberg and Michael Eric Dyson, were clamouring for. What most movements are clamouring for. How can he call something a “laudable goal” then denounce anyone trying to achieve it?
But let’s look at equality of outcomes, which he insists is how equality is defined. My first question is “by whom”? Who made that declaration? I didn’t. Did you? Let’s grant for a moment that this is how it’s defined, my second questions is: so what?
Equality of outcomes may be impossible, impractical or dangerous, but I don’t think it’s the mark of extremism. Why not? Because it’s largely an abstraction. It doesn’t refer to any particular policy or program. Are we talking economic outcomes? Physical? Emotional? Sexual? It feels more like a charicature of an idea than an idea anybody seriously pushes for. It is something we can discuss, debate, and abandon drunk and happy afterwards. A person pushing for such a thing may be deluded or mistaken, but not necessarily an extremist.
To determine if a person is an extremist, you don’t ask whether that person believes in equality of outcomes. You ask by what means they wish to achieve it. There is the acid test. A person pamphleting their neighbourhood trying to win it over to equality of outcomes may be a kook, but hardly a extremist. A person willing to bomb, assassinate, torture and kill is. A person who would suspend habius corpus. A person who would burn books. These, I think, are much more useful warning signs than Peterson’s unholy triumvirate. I can hardly believe I’m the first person to suggest them.
More likely, Peterson has heard them and doesn’t like them. They’re not all-encompassing enough. They alone would not allow him to portray himself as a hard-done by martyr. They would have no cache with internet trolls. The problem is not that the left won’t lay down parameters for tyranny. It’s that it won’t accept his parameters.
What would adjusting them cost him?