If all society is organized rationally according to an ought but if all oughts are subjective, this means that reason is ultimately a tool of unreason. The Left’s subjective preference for egalitarianism guides its use of reason to pursue an egalitarian future. The Right’s equally subjective preference for a particular hierarchy—in concrete terms, the patriarchy—guides its use of reason to defeat the Left’s pursuit of an egalitarian future. So goes the theory, at any rate, and cognizance of it can teach us at least a couple valuable lessons.Read More
Dr. Peterson is certainly right that equality is different than the equality of outcome. Unlike the simple concept of equality, the equality of outcome already has built into its concept, at the beginning, the criterion that the equality contemplated must touch every facet of life. The equality of outcome is, in other words, totalistic in its basic meaning. Equating equality simply with equality of outcome would be like comparing two boxes that have the same length but different widths and heights and judging them equal. The two would be equal along one dimension but not equal in a total sense. Likewise, noting an equalizing effect in the institution of marriage and calling that effect the equality of outcome is similar to claiming that if society fosters equality in any way, then it ought to require it in every way.
I wonder, however, whether the most important potential for denying Mr. Rogan’s premise in questioning Dr. Peterson on this count remained uncultivated because of Dr. Peterson’s decidedly agreeable habit of leading friendly conversations in constructive directions even when he is attempting to disagree with his friends. Under discussion, we must remember, is Dr. Peterson’s critique of the ideology that underpins the political program of the Left in our contemporary moment. By his question, Mr. Rogan intends to challenge Dr. Peterson to explain how he can offer what appear to be contradictory opinions in two analogous sets of circumstances. If marriage is an equalizing institution, then as an equalizing institution, it is supposed to be a microcosm of the Left’s commitment to total equality achieved by means of our political institutions. In setting up his analogy, however, Mr. Rogan overlooks fundamental differences that would have defeated the analogy at its beginning.Read More
When we said that for postmodernists subjectivity is free, what we meant was that on the basis of insights pretty much in line with Nietzsche’s, the postmodernists judge human subjectivity as free from God and free from objective necessity…free from science. Marx brought onto the world stage the project of engineering human cosmopolitanism similar to the way in which an engineer designs a bridge, but his claim that the objective side of human life is the key for social engineering failed. For the postmodernists the idea of the freedom of subjectivity offered a new modus operandi for Marx’s program of social engineering. To shape the world according to a Marxist cosmopolitan ideal, the postmodernists saw an amoral war of values as the necessary means.Read More
On the one hand, Kant’s response to Hume enables and even necessitates the idea of science as an infinite human project. I.e., because scientific theories are always the imposition of our thinking on the world rather than a description of the essence of the world’s being, every scientific theory is liable to being eclipsed by a more accurate, more comprehensive scientific theory. On the other, Kant’s response to Hume established the question of human perception, human subjectivity as a potential route of central concern. From Kant forward, the British academy followed, broadly speaking, the path of scientific inquiry. The German and, later, French academies followed the path of critiquing the modern scientific project on the basis of insight into subjectivity.Read More
Indeed, for Schiff and the CBC the literal meaning of Peterson’s tweet is not important. It is, rather, to be interpreted in the light of their predetermined conviction that Dr. Peterson is a secret transphobe. Because the CBC and Schiff prejudge Peterson a transphobe, they misconstrue his tweet as a covert, transphobic dog whistle. And this is all the more ridiculous because to make their claim, they have to employ against Peterson precisely the tactics that they impute to him.Read More
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