A Place In The World

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The main thing Jordan Peterson concerns himself with is making order in a world that has lost it.

This is the reason the opposition to him and calling him things like fascist, was loony.  They started even before he’d come out as opposing some/most of the left’s projects.   Mind you, his political philosophy isn’t even particularly well integrated.  He still falls for leftist lies that “inequality is very bad” eve though a) inequality is natural.  Great apes have hierarchies with different privileges for each, even in the most primitive band.  Well, I don’t agree with privileges for existing, but capitalism — aka the way humans function naturally — does not provide grey and mindless equality, so that’s fine.  b) we don’t have the kind of corrosive inequality that results in someone starving while someone else rolls around in silks and eats nightingale’s tongues which was rather the norm throughout most of history. c) the only way to stop this “inequality” thing is to have the government redistribute, ultimately, poverty.

But it’s normal for Peterson not to have thought this through. Economics is not his jam.  And this is not what he set out to do.  What he set out to do is bring order out of chaos and help people make a place in the world.

Throughout most of human history, and even before that, probably, there was an order to life.  You knew who you were and whom you belonged to.  “Belong” is how the Portuguese say you are related to someone.  “Oh, she belongs to me/I belong to her in some fashion.  My second cousin married her mother.”  Like many things buried in languages it gives a hint to how society functions.  Recently I went through a situation where I very much wanted to break heads on behalf of one of my sons.  In Portugal this would be fine.  You cold be forty, but someone is treating you badly, and mom shows up in this person’s office and goes, “I’m here about my son.”  No one bats an eye.

The US, for reasons of what we are — a pioneer culture that values individualism — leaves adults to solve their own problems.  You don’t “Belong” to your family.  You do/can get help from them out of love and care, but your problems are yours to solve.

I’m not disagreeing with this system here, mind.  It has certain advantages, like not having the entire tribe look over your shoulder and call out hints for everything, from what pet you keep to what kind of house to buy, or how to cook cabbage.  Or–  It was just very hard to hold back the instinctive reach for the cast iron frying pan, is all.

To be fair even English culture started departing from that model around the time of Shakespeare or before.  Which is why individuals had more freedom and autonomy to be and create in it.

Part of the reason the future comes from America, is that each is free to be and create, and not be told “you’re an engineer now?  But none of your people are engineers.”  We’re free to be innovative, break the rules, make the never-seen.

Innovation and freedom are double edged swords.  In a talk Peterson says that the democrats can’t understand why we laughed at “we belong to the government” and that what we don’t understand is that desperate need to belong to anything that caused them to fasten on that, possibly the worst of masters.

It’s not so much that humans want to belong, in the sense of being slaves, and I think if the left understood that they won’t be in charge, but just told how to do, it would cool their anxiety to “belong” to government.

It’s more homey: humans want to have someone to work for, they want to have something that gives rules and shape to their world.

And this explains why the left hated Peterson, even before he was political, and why he drives them to a frenzy such that they feel the need to do daft things, like try to break into the place where he’s going to speak, carrying a garrotte.

The project of the left since the 20th century at least (and honestly, they were only continuing a prior project) has been to remove all those things that give shape to a life.  The hymn to daftness and anomie, “Imagine” makes that very clear: “Nothing to kill or die for.”

The same left that jabbers incoherently about the anomie of capitalism and the lack of structure of consumerism “buying a lot of things to fill a spiritual hole” and other such twaddle, are the people who have made sure there is nothing to live for and that our lives don’t matter.

“Nothing to kill or die for” is the exact same as “nothing to live for.”  And their tragic mistake is not comprehending that.  Partly because they’ve made their destructive philosophy into a quasi-religion, to give themselves something to kill and die for.  Hence the garrotte at Peterson’s lecture, because instinctively they feel their entire reason for existing is threatened.  They just don’t get why they feel that way.

But this is why the Peterson project matters.  Something to kill or die for, is something that matters beyond your life.  Most humans in history had that: the tribe,the faith, the land, the king.  Whatever it was, they had something that mattered to them more than their own lives and their transitory fulfillment.  Enjoying yourself is not happiness.  Happiness consists in having a purpose in life.  Something you live for.

A course on the black plague almost convinced me (almost) that the black plague was the first unmooring of Europe.  But the disconnection to the perhaps too tight bonds of the church, left Europe free to innovate.  It was the second blow of all those young men who died stupidly in world war one, that left Europe adrift.

And then the Soviet agit prop of the sixties and seventies, designed to make the free world ripe for domination finished the work.

So, what do you live for?  I don’t know.  You’re you.  I’m me.

I know what matters to me, and the things I work towards: Securing the blessings of liberty for my descendants; writing stuff that might help with that war; caring for my family; keeping my environment livable and organized; making sense of the timeless demands of Him who is beyond time, and yeah, trying to follow through in my life, because the Eternal Law is beyond human need.

All of those are things to live for, and maybe things to die for in the sense that you use your life in service of something, and die a little.

Kill?  For liberty for me and mine world without end, for sure.  I won’t kill someone for simply deep sixing one of my books (something for which people alive in the world today should be grateful.)

But my life has boundaries and purpose.  I think all of us need boundaries and purpose.  Which, again, is what Peterson is trying to bring to the world.

It is also why some of the happiest people any of us knows are not those who left themselves totally unfettered to pursue some undefined “happiness” but those who gave themselves up for something.  (Who gave their lives up in order to save them you might say.)  Some of those things might be transcendent and everyone will agree are vital, like saving babies, or securing medical help for the third world.  Some we can see why they’re important to people, like art or religious vocations, or saving kittens, or running a store. It might not be for us, but we can see why people are willing to sacrifice all for it. And some might be silly, like making the SCA chapter REALLY good, or making crochet curtains or whatever.  BUT people who give their whole lives to an endeavor that matters to them, those are usually happy.

(It’s tricky when you give your whole life to a project based on envy and malice, like the SJWs.  It gives you purpose but it also corrodes your soul.  Particularly since the project is ultimately “make humans into something else” that will work with the communitarian project”, which is inherently doomed to failure.)

So, choose your purpose well but choose it.  What would you give your whole life to or for?

That way lies the path i the search for happiness.

256 responses to “A Place In The World

  1. This is the reason the opposition to him and calling him things like fascist, was loony.

    No, they were loony before he earned his High School diploma.

    The manner and basis of their disagreement is loony because they do not dare respond to the real threat he poses, the threat to their control of setting the agenda, of establishing a power center (basis of orientation) competing with theirs. Trump has the same effect as he, too, challenges their control of narrative.

    But never mistake this: they are loony, they have always been loony and will always be loony. Because they believe themselves gods able to define reality to their whim. And they believe any challenger to that power is Lucifer.

    • Exactly. Their belief system is a fundamentalist, totalitarian religion (not a quasi-religion, but a full-blown one even if no one accepts the terminology). Their dogmas require those of us who don’t espouse their religion and who point out it’s fundamental disconnects with reality to be nothing less than demons (which they term “fascists,” “racists,” “homophobes,” and whatever else they think will bother us–you’ll notice that those terms are applied even in cases where they’re not only manifestly incorrect, but impossible). They are as much a triumphalist religion as the worst of the Wahhabi Islam.

      • except their religion has likely killed more, at this point.

        • They leaped over that line in the 20th century. I think if you total up the death count from all religious conflicts they roughly equal the total body count of WWI. And for all its carnage, WWI fails to come close to the domestic purges of the USSR, PRC, Khmer Rouge, etc.

        • Hmmmm … interesting challenge. First thing is to determine what wars truly are religious, as almost all have a religious component but not all wars with religious component are wars of religion. There was a religious element underlying the American War of Southern Secession and even in the American Revolution but neither seems likely to qualify as a religious war. Nor were the War of the Roses or even the 100 Years War actually fought for The Faith no matter how the wars’ leaders used religion to whip up the masses.

          We can probably eliminate the Mongols’ wars and the Romans’ conquests from the slate of religious wars, and even the Greek wars against Persia (for all the Persians had a Godking those wars were not intended to convert. Heck, I’m not even sure I deem the Jews’ Wars of Extermination in Palestine to be fundamentally religious. Maybe the Mohammedan Wars, during the Prophet’s lifetime. Not sure about subsequent generations.

          Then there’s the tallying. Should Communism’s death be taken in raw numbers or as percentage of population — if the latter Pol Pot was a greater murderer than Stalin and Lenin combined. But the millions killed under Mao and Stalin certainly represent a significant portion of life on the planet, something which few wars actually achieve. Put it in terms of death/decade and Communism probably is the champion.

          As I said, an interesting challenge.

          • nope, just use raw numbers. they ‘win’

          • Wars of the Roses don’t make that cut. Those were straight-up dynastic conflicts.

          • When I totaled it up, I used the broadest definition of religious conflict, even including the various inquisitions and wars that were nominally religious, but really only political. And even over the course of recorded history it doesn’t come close to what the Left “achieved” in the 20th century alone.

          • This is the thing that annoys me about the claim that “almost all wars are caused by religion” — but I never seem to see any statistics to back this up.

            When I look at the various wars, I see all sorts of elements that cause them, including religion — but the biggest element always seems to be one group saying to another “We want power over you” and the other saying “NO, we won’t stand for THAT!”, the latter sometimes adding “WE want power over YOU!”.

            • There’s that phase during Europe’s history when religion got involved basically because one group didn’t want to do whatever the current rules were, so they “converted.” From what little I’ve been able to find, if you just had a sneaking suspicion that such a move let them harvest rich and or obnoxious folks, you are a decent scholar of human nature.

      • If someone wishes to call me a demon, I’d rather they be more up front about and just say “demon.” But what I’d rather doesn’t matter to them, of course. Though as it is, it does have the advantage of the label simply not fitting – thus making them look silly to those inclined to give a moment’s thought. And making a response of “Is that lie the best you can do? Really, there are so many other labels that aren’t worn out and some might even fit. That one is worn out from overmisuse.” so apt. And fun!

        • It’s the horns, Orvan. All stereotypical demons have horns, and they apply the stereotype to mythical creatures like yourself. I shudder to think of what they’d do to a poor defenseless Jackalope.

          • Perhaps, but still if I am to be demonized, why not go right for that instead of the even less fitting labels. I will grant superficial similarity to demons. “Fascist” however is just nonsense. I might not be the best looking creature, but I don’t resemble Mussolini.

        • The thing is, they can’t use terminology from prior religions, as that would violate their basic tenet of their religion that rejects all religion. This means they have to change all the terms, bending language to their mindset, and after that they generally shift to breaking all the things, and then move on to the killing people phase of the evolution.

          The basic cognitive dissonance of believing in a religion that denies all religions has to manifest destructively somewhere.

      • *poking at a thought*

        It’s almost like they’ve got a jealous god– but that god is belonging, itself.

        In Catholic theology, there’s recognition and even praise of “belonging” to different levels. You’ve got to possess yourself, first, and you are responsible for living by God’s rules– but you’re supposed to have other ties, too. Family, duh, friends, those you’ve got a duty to, and so on.

        But this is like some kind of a cross between Himself’s reported reaction to the people worshiping other gods, and The Cause(tm) as a god.

    • I think you’re correct, that they see any other thing to belong to as a threat– and they can’t figure out why.

      • How did Mussolini phrase it? [E]verything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value, outside the State.
        http://constitution.org/tyr/mussolini.htm

      • Eric Hoffer had them pegged in 1951.

        If anyone here hasn’t read his The True Believer, I commend it to your attention.

        • *pokes around*
          Nice. I was rather reluctant to consider it, because the various “explain mass movements” psychology books tend to over-reach to try to be “fair,” and end up working in parodies of those groups the author didn’t bother to find out about, especially if he already “knew.”

          But a 1940s longshoreman in San Fran would be working with a lot of the same groups and declared motives that we are, just different situation, which might actually help things come into focus.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    A few years back, a young Japanese woman had gotten caught in the mess of IIRC Iraq.

    She had gone there against all advice and gotten into trouble.

    Well, apparently the Japanese government somehow got her out but the reaction she faced back in Japan was “interesting”.

    She was “being shamed” for causing the Japanese government trouble (ie having to get her out of Iraq).

    IE She “belonged to Japan” so she should not have gone to Iraq because of the trouble she might have gotten into and the problems for Japan that her going there would have caused.

    Note: From what I remember this “attitude” toward her actions was shared by most Japanese. 😦

    • It’s one thing to hike and accidentally stumble into a minefield. It’s another to ignore the obvious [DANGER: MINEFIELD] sign and proceed to tap dance.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Perhaps, but this was (to a degree) a person knowing the risks and taking a chance.

        Our families might say “You were an idiot for doing that”.

        This was an entire society shaming her for doing that.

        • Japanese culture has very strong ideas about people who are “troublesome” or “a burden.” So the right thing to do, in that culture, is to apologize or beg pardon for causing trouble or being the focus of trouble, regardless of whether you did anything wrong, or whether it was your fault. Then people can tell you that you really weren’t a burden, and they were glad to help… Or not.

          Of course, that kind of politeness does not require sincerity, although you probably get extra social harmony points for managing to be sincere during the apology.

  3. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I’ve sought safety for a very long time, despite realizing early on that this was an impossible goal. It is physically impossible to eliminate all risk from life.

    At the age of ten, one of the risks I studied was sexual predators in general and pedophiles in particular. A well organized kidnapping was not something I could prevent or remedy; that would be on society, if society could be bothered. I could hinder a kidnapping that relied on things that are psychologically true of the general population. If you let yourself be taken to a secondary crime site, you are likely dead anyway. It is absolutely worth throwing away that remote possibility of living through compliance in order to thwart such people as much as possible. For spite’s sake, even if society does not care, and does not take advantage of that sacrifice to hunt down and kill the would be kidnapper.

    Knowing that there are lines nothing will force me to cross, knowing that there are prices I will not be forced to pay, even by my own’s desire, has brought me happiness in the face of certain conflicts.

    • I’ve sought safety for a very long time, despite realizing early on that this was an impossible goal. Interesting that thought. I live much the same way. I live by statistics, and do my best to make sure the ones I’m living by are correct.

      Examples? Bought my first car in 1974. Long long before seat belt use was mandated. I’ve never driven on the road without a seat belt on. Oonly very recently have daytime running lights appeared. I knew Ma Bell’s experiments with running with headlights on and 3rd high mounted brake lights. My auto’s headlights have always been on. I mounted 3rd brake lights before they became standard equipment.

      Kidnappings? Once you know all the truth about kidnappings there’s not that much, in the U.S., to worry about. Stranger kidnappings really are extremely rare. Hostage kidnappings even rarer- the feds and local police and private security companies hired by the rich to hunt down such people will find the kidnappers. We’re not South America. And a significant percentage of reported “stranger kidnappings” are of, well, severely handicapped or troubled youth. And local police recognize this quickly. And often make a decision to not search too deeply into what actually happened….

      It was always stupid policy to tell passengers to not fight hijackers but go along with them. It took 9/11 to change that advice.

      I don’t ride motorcycles. Two wheels and a motor… just not me. My late boss did. He died in a head on collision 2 months after retirement when someone drifted into his lane. In broad daylight. He was driving his car not his beloved motorcycle. Sometimes crap happens you can’t control.

      • “Sometimes crap happens you can’t control.”

        And sometimes you just get Lucky. Like yelling at your hubby to “move over now” (left lane to right, freeway) because you “perceive” an oncoming car in the left lane around the corner before you can really “see” it fully. Yes, he did jerk over. Then yelled “what if a car had been in the right lane?”; yes we got lucky twice. We’d had been better off to sideswipe someone rather than hit head on. Then the car going the wrong way, at 60+ mph, passed, we were also going at least 60 mph … Also lucky no one was behind us, but that was someone else’s luck.

        • I cannot count the number of times “something” nudged me to do something “silly” on the road that probably saved mine or someone else’s life.

          • The “I don’t know, I just had a feeling” thing you don’t even examine until AFTER you’ve done it?

            • You mean.

              -Not putting the car into first at a stop light (more difficult to accomplish now not driving manuals anymore), when that is the first thing you always do, then stalling the car, only to have an oncoming car run the red light, thus avoiding getting T-Boned in the intersection at a high rate of speed, if normal automatic actions had been followed?

              -Slamming on breaks when see an oncoming truck before you could see the black lab come out of the (back of) pickup in front of you (still couldn’t stop in time, but if had waited would have jerked into major river or it would have come into the windshield, cops weren’t sure which).

              -Can’t count the number of “watch ‘him'”, “on it” conversations between hubby & I, especially when in truck towing trailer; which contrary to other driver’s beliefs, does NOT stop quickly or turn tightly. Better than a semi, but still…

              • *nod*

                You can sometimes come up with just-so stories– I must’ve seen a shadow on the far side of the car, the truck across the way must’ve flinched, etc.

                But sometimes it just makes no sense.

          • “I cannot count the number of times “something” nudged me to do something “silly” on the road that probably saved mine or someone else’s life.”

            Yes. Regular occurrence. More frequent when I’m driving. This one stood out, because of …. well the consequences & I wasn’t driving.

            OTOH this ability is absolutely worthless when we are in areas of 4+ lanes (one side), not a normal occurrence in our state. Those areas, one hand on the “oh hell handle” & the other over my mouth; hubby grew up & learned to drive in San Diego & LA, so best to just trust him.

            Plus lately, Thank you technology & GPS, no more arguing over what lane to be in to make the correct exit, or if we miss it, what is the alternative to fix the mistake “recalculating” is great. Those things may be death traps in Oregon for “alternative” routes between I-5 & hwy 97 or 101, but they are great for metro areas.

        • I believe the fact that the streets – and especially parking lots – are not covered in bodies as proof that humans are mildly telepathic. It could be just very good subconscious peripheral vision motion detection, but that’s boring.

          • I suspect a fairly droll story could be made of the great overworking of guardian angels by the existence of the automobile. Angels’ efforts to adapt to the higher level of attention required was probably a factor in the initiation of WWI, for example.

            Screwtape likely could have insights into the internet and its uses. Certainly the ability of television to distract from daily responsibilities and its presentation of an idealized life must contribute to Hell’s draw.

  4. Took me decades to find my purpose. Well actually my purpose was thrust upon me. Wasn’t an easy choice to make, and I will be living with that choice for the rest of my days. Worth every agonizing minute of sweating it out and carrying it through.

  5. There’s a saying that’s gone around about how you’re not truly an adult until you have kids. It’s both very untrue and based in truth. The invalidity of it is easily proven—you can probably point to specific examples of people who were not adults in spite of having kids, and people who acted as full adults without having the responsibility of children.

    The truth that it’s based in, however, is going to hold, and that is you are not truly an adult until you have an investment in the future. Children are a good example of this, which is why the saying has held up so long, but someone who doesn’t really care on a fundamental level what happens after they’re gone is not going to be able to act in a mature fashion.

    This can definitely be obscured by “what about the children?” but you can tell if you prod—someone who doesn’t care about secondary or tertiary effects is still thinking only of the present, of “wouldn’t it be nice if…?” (A lyric from Into the Woods occurs to me here: “You’re so nice. You’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just nice.” “Nice” is not a compliment.) This isn’t just someone for whom secondary or tertiary effects haven’t occurred (which is, unfortunately, most of the population and most of the politicians), but someone who actively rejects that anything but the principal purpose of an action is going to occur. Things will happen a certain way because they want them to.

    • I think a lot of what causes people to grow up when having children is simply the recognition that you are now responsible for someone else. Someone in this relationship is going to have to be the adult, and it probably isn’t going to be the six-week old baby.

      I had a friend who was a serious daredevil on his motorcycle before having a kid. Then, shortly afterwards, he had a minor accident and realized, “Hey, that could have been serious. And if it had been, if I’d been killed, I would have left that little boy without a father. It’s not just my life at stake here any more, I need to take better care of myself for his sake.”

      • Ahhhh, but now The State will step in and care for the child. That seems to be the primary driver behind US social service policy the last several decades. “It takes a village” or “we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

        • Don’t know Zsuzsa motorcycle friend. But, based on my thoughts about the state’s social service, not from experience, but live examples, no matter how overblown/understated, or the small percentages they may be (enough disclaimers?), I can imagine his continuing thought could have been “… left that little boy without a father …” “& at the mercies of others, not me, no matter how competent of others, including kid’s other biological parent.”

          Bottom line my take on responsibility to “my kid” is/was “me, without me, my child is at a disadvantage, at risk. No one, can do better than me.”

          • I think that was pretty close to his realization. And I think that’s probably the difference between those who grow up when they have kids and those who don’t. There are those who assume that if they don’t, someone else will take care of the kid, and those who recognize that, whether someone else could take care of the kids or not, your children need YOU.

        • but now The State will step in and care for the child.

          All the more reason to be careful to make probability living higher: Prevention of child abuse.

        • And the child will receive absolutely the best possible care as determined by The State, just like they did for Alfie Evans.

        • I wonder. Back when I worked with DCF in Florida at a children’s shelter, the push was to find ways to get kids out of the group homes and over to other family members or foster/adoptive families.

          Partially because the existing shelters are usually full to overflowing, and partially because you don’t want the kids to get institutionalized.

          While the academics and screechy hags may think state homes are all that and a bag of chips, those in the trenches got to see the results, and they’re not pretty. A kid raised in a state home will probably wind up in a state penitentiary later.

          And while horror stories of overzealous workers pulling kids because of spanking exist, most of the kids I’ve seen needed to be pulled. Because mom’s boyfriend… you get the picture.

          • Anybody else here remember the pearl clutching reactions to (newly elected Speaker) Newt Gingrich floated the idea of bringing orphanages back in ’94?

            Too commonly the acceptance of an idea depends on who proposes it more than on the idea itself.

          • The single biggest threat to children is a resident unrelated male*. Every single metric of actual threats to children (instead of perceived threats) shows that—three of the top five dangers are from “mom’s boyfriend”.

            *Note that this does not apply to stepfather types who assume full fatherhood responsibilities—I know more than one of those who is a better father than the biological one ever was.

            • Besides the deliberate conflation of the stats, there is a lot of desire to attack step-fathers who are dads because they are doing a really hard job that most don’t want to bother with, so they get a bunch of guilt shoved on them.

              Probably the nastiest ones I’ve seen are step-fathers who do not wish to shoulder the fatherhood responsibilities. (Those function like “mom’s boyfriend.”)

              My baby brother is in the former category; guy who molested and abused (locked son in dog crate on back porch, during winter) a friend’s kids, with their bio-mother’s help, in the latter.

    • I’ve yet to meet a deliberate DINK couple, as opposed to those that can’t have kids, in which I liked the adults. Double income-no kids. Self centered, egotistical, selfish, sociopathic. All those apply to those couples I’ve known.

      • I actually know several DINKS (friends and relations) who are quite nice people but who chose not to have children (not imposed by infertility).
        They didn’t all share the reasons with me, but all would have made good parents despite their concerns.
        Sad that they will have no one of their own making to follow their paths.

        • They can still be aunts and uncles.

        • Mike Houst

          Severe genetic disease is a good reason for two otherwise wonderful people not to conceive children. Doesn’t mean they can’t adopt; but adopting outside your family, as opposed to fostering/adopting sibling’s or cousin’s ‘excess’ children is a slightly higher bar. From what I’ve dug out of researching family history, there were quite a few ‘adoptions’ when someone got pregnant before marriage.

        • I think there’s a difference between people who choose not to have kids because of various reasons (including genetics, personal health, and just the not wanting of any) and those who look at children as a plague and a horror. The difference should be easy to spot—if they’re fine with other people’s kids, that’s fine, but if they look at those kids with hostility, that’s another thing.

          • Exactly my thoughts on the matter. Children are fine if they’re someone else’s responsibility.

  6. What he [Peterson] set out to do is bring order out of chaos and help people make a place in the world.

    This becomes wholly constructive when one views it in light of certain sturdy wisdoms:
    1. Social and economic inequality are the natural outcome of biological inequalities and developmental inequalities. They cannot be eradicated. All attempts to do so have actually amplified them.
    2. Hierarchies are also natural. They spring from inequalities. Not everyone can function as a Fortune 100 CEO or General of the Armies. Some are economic; others are intellectual. Both sorts exhibit persistence and enduring power.
    3. In a world in which individuals are unequal in various significant ways, the fundamental task is finding a place for oneself that one can maintain by one’s own efforts. That place will almost always be somewhere within an existing hierarchy — and one should be realistic about that, and about one’s prospects for advancement.

    To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Peterson doesn’t advocate large-scale political changes in his or our nations. However, his advice concerning finding a place for oneself — particularly the need for the young adult to accede to the very high probability that he is not a genius nor an innovator nor a leader of men, — is immensely valuable, whatever his particular political stances.

    • A major part of the (perceived) inequality comes from the fact that not everybody wants to pay the price. Not everybody who wants to be a Fortune 100 CEO or General of the Armies is willing to invest the time and effort of attaining such position. They don’t want to show up early and stay late, they don’t want to spend their lives being constantly on call for their job.

      It is like the old joke about the lottery: first you gotta buy a ticket. Not everybody who wants to win is willing to buy that ticket.

      Because humans are individuals and unique not all perceive the price of that lottery ticket as similarly high. If you want to be a Rock and Roll star you have to learn to play an instrument, you have to put up with being on tour and away from home for months at a time, you have to eschew music that interests you for music that interests the public. Some people find this easier to do, some find it not worth enduring, especially as the rewards are not guaranteed, you’ve no assurance of being even a one-hit wonder.

      Or take being a best-selling author. Not all of us are willing to sit typing all day long, not all of us can tell a story interestingly, and not all of us are interested in decoding the techniques of so doing. Even if those techniques are mastered there is no guarantee that your stories will be of interest to the general public, or even an editor or publisher. You might be the best storyteller since Willy the Shakes and never get out of the slush pile because slushpile readers are all graduates of MFA English programs who hate their lives and only pass along stories reflecting their hatred.

      Life isn’t fair, some of us are sweet, some are sour, some stand alone and others blend well with gin and bitters. You have to be an idiot to demand otherwise (or rather, demanding otherwise will soon reduce you to all forms of idiocy.)

      • Indeed. I made a similar point in a conversation about “pent-up demand.” Just because Smith wants a particular good doesn’t mean he has the price of it…and just because he has the price doesn’t mean he’d be willing to part with it. Real demand is desire plus the means to pay plus the willingness to pay. And so it is with every form of achievement or stature.

        • When giant flat screen TVs were running several thousand dollars the demand was about the same as now, but only a few wanted to pay that price. Now that the price is down to around $500 they are moving a lot more of that product.

          We gotta move these color tv’s

          Look a’ here
          That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
          You play the guitar on your mtv
          That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
          Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free
          Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

          • (chuckle) And may God bless Mark Knopfler, for that reason among many others!

          • $500, heck, we have one that barely fits in the built-in setup that came with the house– someone was HARD CORE into their audio/visual when they built this house– and it cost us half that. Could’ve gotten a “smart” screen for a little less, but the extra cost was worth it.

            I honestly can’t remember the technical screen size, but I’m a little over 5 foot, and while I can lift it fine, I can’t grab both sides of the screen at the same time and lift.

            Now the “giant big-screens running several thousand dollars” are for your private, five-row home movie theater.

            • I can actually follow what’s going on on the 60″ TV without having my glasses on. Wife won’t let me get a 70″…yet. But the reason I got one? All the people I worked with who were on food stamps, AFDC, WIC program, whatever, were always talking about theirs. And I had a 27″ CRT TV. Since I was working two jobs at the time, I decided I wanted to keep up with the poor people…

            • Mike Houst

              Big Brother wall screens on every wall so you can’t avoid watching and being subliminally programmed. With a build in camera for the watchers.

          • We had a flatscreen that we bought at a discount store. A year or two back, we upgraded to one that was about 50% bigger—and cost about a third less at full retail price.

      • A point that I made back during the whole “Occupy Wall Street” mess:

        “Who is the greedy one? The stockbroker who studied hard to graduate with a high GPA and an economics degree, regularly works 80 hour weeks, and takes on all the high-stress tasks at work? Or the dreadlocked idiot who’s not willing to do any of that but thinks he’s entitled to the stockbroker’s wealth anyway?”

          • Both might be “greedy” but one is clearly the more deserving than the other.

            • The thing is, the stockbroker is greedy. Greed works, so long as it isn’t allowed to cheat. It creates wealth and unless the greedy one is competely potty (Hetty Green) that wealth gets spent and benefits other people.

              Mr. ‘I’m caucasian and have the bad taste to wear dreadlocks’ isn’t primarily greedy. He’s primarialy ENVIOUS. And there is a great deal of evidence that envy does not work.

      • “Not everybody who wants to be a Fortune 100 CEO or General of the Armies is willing to invest the time and effort of attaining such position”

        There is also in many cases a fear of the responsibility involved. In Nicholas Monsarrat’s novel “The Cruel Sea.” The captain of a WWII sub-hunting vessel is confronted with a cruel decision: should he or should he not try to save some men who are in the water as a result of a sinking, at the risk of having his *own* ship sunk by a U-boat known to be lurking in the area:

        “It was Ericson’s decision alone. It was a captain’s moment, a pure test of nerve; it was, once again, the reality that lay behind the saluting and the graded discipline and the two-and-a-half stripes on the sleeve. While Ericson, silent on the bridge, considered the chances, there was not a man on the ship who would have changed places with him.”

        • “That’s why you get paid the big bucks.”
          At which folks like military NCOs and officers laugh. But everyone knows what you mean.

    • Over the last couple of decades I’ve noticed an awful lot of people graduating high school or college, who expect their *first* job is going to be “supervisor”, “manager”, or some other kind of boss. And they’ll do the offended act if I ask them why they don’t just take a job flipping burgers or changing oil.

      On the other hand, they might have a point. There’s very little vertical mobility in the American workplace any more. Hire in as a laborer, you’ll likely always be a laborer. If they need another supervisor or manager, they’ll almost always hire from outside.

      • I know of two counter examples of (recent) high schoolers managing multiple McDonalds having started as a burger flipper.

        • The only examples I can think of where folks hired outside of the company are…well, big companies. Where the current management never did jack, either. Things tend to go badly when they get down to store managers, much less shift management, that didn’t come up through the ranks.

          Some prefer to hire from outside of the local area– so your management position involves moving across the city,or the state– but that is kinda dependent on the culture.

          • While some of the tech companies, once they got larger, eventually set up some form of internal ID-and-train programs for future managers, the time-tested and proven path for advancement in Silicon Valley is to jump ship for anything at a higher level.
            I’ve seen plenty of folks that jumped out and then eventually jumped back in into positions well ahead of their peers who stayed put.

            • Heh, the only stories I’ve heard out of Silicon Valley are more like morality stories for why you never work there….

              • I had one director whose staff meetings I characterized as gladiatorial games – he basically set up these to-the-death fights and then sat there and watched the blood soak into the sand.

                Interestingly, years later I was at a very much kinder company, and they hired in someone who decided to pick ambush fights in meetings. I’m like, “Oh, I remember how to do this – now where did I put that gladius?”

                • Did you succeed in, ah, retiring the person?

                  • FlyingMike

                    I just sort of pushed her into the trap she was trying to spring. Her setting the trap was actually a bit of a surprise to more than me – that company’s culture was much more collaborative than combative, so it kind of stood out.

            • Usually with the same company promotions seem to come with a much smaller raise than someone hired from external. One of my 1st network engineer gigs was an internal promotion and my ‘raise’ was being handed a pager.

              When I finally burned out and quit, the guy that replaced me was offered 12k more a year than what I’d been making and he was only doing the network engineer role, not the network engineer + tier 3 support I’d been doing.

            • Think I figured out why— a lot of tech companies are basically “well, fine, we’ll start our own.”

              Then management is mostly those people you hire to do the stuff you can’t or won’t.

              Eventually you get big enough that isn’t true anymore…but the habit is there.

              (Based off of a fairly small sample size, mostly relates)

            • This seems to be true for management in many areas. Job-hoppers do well…partly because they hop away before their incompetence is fully evident.

              • Noted that when on active duty – the job-hoppers bounced away, before their incompetence became obvious. But they had firewall top-score performance reports! And so they bounced higher and higher. This was the thing that I noted about our former prezzy, Emperor Barack the 1st. That he kept bouncing higher and higher … leaving the wreckage far, far behind him.

                • Our “Boss Wrecker” story is about the VP who was put in charge of a department, totally ruined it, but was moved along to another one before the crash came. This happened several times.
                  The employees knew that he was the cause of the problems.
                  Management only noticed that “the only thing keeping departments going is good ol’ VP – because every time we move him, his former department crashes.”
                  Perception is everything.

            • They keep making noises in aerospace that they are trying to circumvent that need, but I still as much that that’s your only bet. Especially if in dysfunctional environment.

            • “I’ve seen plenty of folks that jumped out and then eventually jumped back in into positions well ahead of their peers who stayed put”

              Happened in Eugene. Two smaller hardware, similar complementary skills, specialty companies. Each would poach the other engineer’s, swapping back & forth, doing the management jump. Then the two companies merged. Management “blood bath” was epic. In someways the management that didn’t survive were the lucky ones. The combination of the two companies was what triggered bankruptcy for the purchasing entity. Took out both companies. Only a small portion from each specialty survived to be picked up by an international conglomerate.

              Was not part of management; but also did not survive as part of either small core engineering teams that remained.

            • My husband has been working at a particular company since 2001. He keeps trying for a management position on the corporate end—but the way his job is defined, there is no promotion path. He doesn’t have the experience so he can’t get the job so he can’t get the experience. It’s really annoying. (He’s been getting plenty of raises and so on, but having an office where he could dim the lights and shut out the noise would really help with his sensory issues.)

            • At least through the 1980s, Hewlett-Packard had a series of courses for supervisors, “Managing at HP”. I’d worked at a couple of semiconductor companies previous to that, and at the one where I had supervision responsibilities, it was pretty much sink or swim.

              FWIW, my niece (an engineer with a year-old MSME) is now supervising a team of 20+ people. Sounds like she’s really good, but she’s in danger of burning out. There’s some indication that top management is taking measures to fix this. I hope it works; seems like a good company.

          • I had a friend in the Silly Valley who was a compulsive job hopper, but staying at the senior engineer level. A quick review says he worked for 8 different companies in 11 years. Things went well until he got fired from the last, and to his shock, he discovered he was unemployable. He got at MBA, but the last I heard from him, he was flipping burgers and living at the homeless shelter.

            There’s a moral to that story, somewhere…

            • snelson134

              While you may be right, the other explanation is that his salary / benefits package became uncompetitive with an H1B from Bangalore. Seen that; a big reason it hasn’t happened to me yet is that I was hired in a smaller Southern town and had a lower payscale starting out than people hired in CA or even Atlanta.

        • Retail and food service are about the only areas you can easily move from hourly into management. If you’re good at what you’re doing. And dot your T’s and cross your I’s. My son went from night cashier at Walmart to management in 2.5 years. Doing store sets. He travels a lot. Took all the store online training courses required to go up, as fast as he could take them. Walmart, McDonalds, other chains, are not dead end jobs for the motivated.

          • The key is working and taking the new responsibility even if it’s only a pager, then improving on that.
            My “ne’er-do-well” cousin went from fry cook to manager at the local KFC, then up through the line to regional manager, then in charge of putting in new franchises, then poached (heh) by Fuddrucker’s.
            Ended up richer than any of us educated elites.

      • “If they need another supervisor or manager, they’ll almost always hire from outside.”
        Which is a good sign that that company is about to start going downhill, that they have bought into the myth of the expert.
        Which means other management fads are soon to follow- get out while you can.

      • I graduated high school over a decade ago. The entire way through grade school, we were bombarded with the “fact” that if you wanted to get a decent job, you HAD to go to college, and if you did go, there’d be a mid-level (at words) management position with your name on it the moment you graduated.

        Flipping burgers, changing oil, or any other form of manual labor? Pfft! That was for people who were too stupid to get into college! And if, God forbid (you could still mention God in public school back then, but just barely) you go a job like that, you’d be stuck doing it for the rest of your life! I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I heard a teacher, guidance councilor, administrator, or PARENT say “you don’t want to spend the rest of your life flipping burgers at McDonalds, do you?!” I’d be so rich that I wouldn’t have to work a day in my life!

        If people these days act like manual labor’s beneath them, it’s because they honestly believe it, because that’s what they’ve been told every day of their life.

        • Jay Leno was famously informed by his High School adviser that there were great opportunities at McDonald’s. And I gather he was a pretty damned good auto-mechanic while still trying to catch a break at comedy clubs.

          Anybody ever look into the requirements for becoming a High School guidance counselor?

          • A pulse and the right piece of paper, I think.

          • Only one I know of is willingness to lie while seeming very earnest, if you think the person will not make waves when they discover the lie.

            Mine found out that she’d misjudged me on that one.
            (Calculus class; I wanted to take it, but I knew I would need a teacher, not someone just reading from the book. She swore that the “math teacher” we had who refused to do anything but that would NOT be teaching it. He walked in next fall, I walked right back out the door. She wisely did not try to argue.)

        • “Go to college or your life is WASTED!” and “if you get pregnant, your life is OVER!”

          Hm.

          Maybe that is why so many folks are obnoxious about finding new things for pregnant women to avoid….

        • Mike Houst

          I’ve got nothing against manual labor per se. I do have a big problem with doing someone else’s manual labor while they get all the credit for it.

      • A few years ago, I visited a small factory owned by a startup in which I’m an investor…about 70 employees, in Ohio. The operations manager remarked that most of the workers were good at their jobs, but few of them were interested in promotion to a supervisor position.

        No sure how common this phenomenon is in the US…I would have thought of it as more a British class-solidarity thing.

        • I don’t know… I’m happy to have learned that my current employer offers a promotion track that’s basically “You’ve been doing this set of tasks for a while and are demonstrably good at it” and does not involve having to Manage People.

          • Yes, that’s a valid point….certainly, an engineer or a financial analyst should be able to get substantially promoted without going into managing people, it that’s what he wants, and for an hourly worker (say, someone operating a sprayer in the plant I mentioned) there may be an option to move to more-skilled and higher-paid work (machine setup, maybe) rather than becoming a supervisor. But when there is a shortage of people willing to take more responsible jobs, it’s worrisome.

            • Years ago I had a (then-retired) neighbor who told Beloved Spouse and I about an effort at his old job to promote him from chemistry lab worker to manager. He turned it down, giving the argument that the offered raise wasn’t enough to give up what he enjoyed doing and take on tasks he’d despise doing — and that they were not likely to triple his salary to put up with such crap as would be entailed.

              Don’t think of it as a promotion, think of it as a job offer and evaluate and negotiate from that perspective. If you wouldn’t leave your job at company A for a different, less to your taste job at company B, why leave your job at company A for a different, less to your taste job at company A?

            • Spend long enough finding out that “greater responsibility” doesn’t come with any kind of power to actually do anything about what you’re being held responsible for, and it burns out the supply.

            • In part because the “responsibility” is more blame. A technical career can be heavily entrenched in responsibility. Subject matter expert and similar things mean that you get it right or it all goes south. Meanwhile management is merely updating PowerPoint charts to hand up the chain because the only thing the suits are interested in are the cherry picked, meaningless metrics. So instead of solving problems you spend all your time trying to explain situations to people whose job almost depends on them not understanding and solving.

              I don’t mind having to lead a team to a goal. I don’t want to play the level of politics management has to.

        • My sister in retail refused promotion to manager for years because the hours and responsibility added were not balanced by the increased (miserly) pay.

          • Niece found out the hard way. Oregon requires retail to insure that commission is at least minimum wage for sales clerks. Most good ones make more than minimum wage; the ones that don’t are usually let go. However, managers are given a salary + commission. But their responsibilities are such the latter is rarely achievable, ultimately means, on average, they are making LESS money than they were before. For some reason, retailers locally (Gap/Penny’s/etc.) have a difficult time keeping sales managers.

        • The urge to quote excerpts from “The Peter Principle” is strong.

    • Lots of people are geniuses. Not many of them can lead or innovate worth a damn.

      • Smart C-suite occupiers set up programs to identify the real geniuses and get them moved into “Advanced Project” or “Strategic R&D” groups, out of the regular rat race in recognition of the particular characteristics of the really smart ones.

    • “…he is not a genius nor an innovator nor a leader of men…”

      True. But there’s honor in standing firm in the phalanx, too.

    • Civilization is maintained by the best efforts of millions of everyday people. You need not be an innovator, a genius, or a leader of men, to be important to society.

      I had an uncle who never married or had children but he worked for the post office doing special delivery 2d shift and weeknights.

  7. “It has certain advantages, like not having the entire tribe look over your shoulder and call out hints for everything, from what pet you keep to what kind of house to buy, or how to cook cabbage. ”

    Okay, maybe it’s just me, but what this has me picturing is someone sitting there trying to play solitaire on his computer while about 100 people stand behind him yelling, “Red seven on the black eight! Red seven on the black eight!”

    • THAT is my family to a T.

    • Terry Sanders

      I once proposed an RPG based on the Sixties TV show SEARCH. You know–Hugh O’Brian, Tony Franciosa and Doug McClure as super agents with Burgess Meridith as the annoying know-it-all in constsnt contact through an ear implant, a cufflink tricorder, and a battery of technical experts?

      My reasoning was, kibitzing should have accompanying responsibilities. If somebody stands around critiquing, the GM hands him some notes and says “Welcome to PROBE Control. You’re in charge of Medical readouts.” 🙂

    • You numbskulls, that’s the ace of spades

  8. Professor Peterson doesn’t sound that much more different than the rest of us. Trying to make sense and order out of chaos, with a tool bag essentially randomly assembled. That the Progressive Left appear to hate his guts speaks well of his conclusions and teaching.

    Regarding the old American Pioneer culture of individualism, I think that arose out of the fact that the pioneers didn’t have any family to fall back on. They were all still across the ocean in Europe, or across the Appalachians on the east coast, or the wrong side of the Mississippi, or the Great Plains, or the Rockies, Sierras, or Cascades. It was only you, or if you were lucky at the time, your neighbors, to rely on when trouble reared its head.

    Not to sound negative, but beware of achieving your goals. If you set the bar too low, you lose your purpose once they are accomplished. Too high, and you risk discouragement and nihilism. Lose your purpose, and all too often I see people lose any desire to keep on living, and usually don’t for long. I want to suggest that you should choose goals like you’re supposed to choose investments; as many as you can get in the bucket, and of maximum diversity. Short term, that you can complete to reinforce your sense of worth and accomplishment, that allow you to decide on and add new ones; middle term, that hopefully eventually become short term; and of course the long term ones.

    And don’t neglect the contingency or conditional purposes. Things that you are resolved to doing at the risk of your own life. I think it’s one of those things that the ‘Johnny-come-latelies’ to New Hampshire don’t understand about the second half of General Stark’s toast (probably because it won’t all fit on the license plate), “Death is not the worst of evils.”

    Do you think that one of the attractions of horror movies to today’s youth and young ‘adults, and probably not-so-young adults is because they like the idea of standing behind the characters yelling, “Don’t split up! Don’t go into the cellar when the lights aren’t working! Don’t go into the haunted mansion. Don’t enter the alien space craft that looks like something took a bite out it.” That urge to control others obviously needs some outlet if they can’t play the politics game.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      That urge to control others?

      Not really IMO.

      It can be the “urge” to try to help “people who don’t know what they’re doing”. 😉

      Which can be related to “seeing somebody who’s more an idiot than themselves”. 👿

    • About those who yell at movie characters: it’s a WHOLE LOT easier to identify baddies and traps when you’re watching a movie than when you can’t see them in advance…

      • On the other hand, really, how many of us here can say we never spend our time yelling at people who will never hear us about the mistakes they’re walking into?

  9. I’ve always hated that Lennon song as a paean to nihilism.

    • I confess to not having always hated that song; I’ve only hated it since about October 1971.

      • Took you a full month to hate it? I’m impressed with your restraint and your charity!

        • It has pretty music

          • Feather Blade

            Not really. It’s terribly repetitive and AFAICT, explicitly designed to put the listener into an entranced state.

            Which makes it easier to for the lyrics to be unconsciously integrated into the listener’s psyche.

            It is an evil song, music and lyrics.

        • It took a full month for me to hear it. I undeniably hated it from the first listening.

          There isn’t actually anything to like about it, is there? Oh sure, technically proficient, but that also applies to everything put out by the Archies except the Archies’ oeuvre only maintained your already existent level of stupidity, they didn’t deepen it.

          Heck, Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” was as jejune a sentiment but far more interesting tune and performance.

          As the saying goes, “Imagine” had a banal lyric, dolorous tune and isn’t actually easy to dance to; I’d give it about a twenty-three.

          • Why did he record such a bad song? Was he a member of the artistic community that decided that only ugly was worth working on? It’s also a negative song.

            • According to the Wiki entry I scanned for the release date Lennon was inspired by Yoko Ono’s poems.

              Inspired, driven mad, to-may-toe, to-mah-toe.

            • If the meaning wasn’t so horrible, it would be a pretty enough song.

              It does hit that wall like a guy who is technically highly attractive, but you know enough about him that you really can’t see it anymore.

      • I’ve always hated it. It came out before i was born.

    • Over and above the message, the vocal track is whiny and pretty darned boring to listen to. Give me Skynyrd any time…

    • It’s kind of ironic that they played it over the end credits of “The Killing Fields”. I don’t know if it was unintentional irony, or a pointed comment.

  10. “and why he drives them to a frenzy such that they feel the need to do daft things, like try to break into the place where he’s going to speak, carrying a garrotte.”

    Not that I disagree with your thesis, but I think a second contributing factor has been the Left’s instinctive love of fatuous melodrama. It would isn’t enough to loudly protest, they must commit (wildly idiotic) Revolutionary Acts like setting an ROTC building on fire, or carrying a garotte to an opposing event as if they were ‘Trashman, Agent of the Sixth International!’.

    • They think they have to upstage 1968, however they imagine 1968 to have been.

      • I was amused by the “Recreate ’68” thing at first. Did they not know? McGovern lost. And Chicago… well, went Chicago.

        • McGovern was ‘72. ‘68 plus dropping the voting age (‘71) created the conditions that allowed the lunatics to take over the Democrat party. They promptly nominated McGovern, who lost hugely. This pissed them off so badly that they took after Nixon (who they despised anyway, ever since he defeated Helen Douglas for Governor of California) over behavior that both preceeding Democrat Presidents had indulged in routinely.

          Was Watergate and the coverup a crime? Certainly. Was it also SOP for the Democrat Left? It still is.

          Anyway; ‘72.

          • I highly recommend Hunter S Thompson’s book on the topic- “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72”- and Tim Crouse’s accompanying “The Boys on the Bus”. Good in a “know your enemy” way.

          • I liked the outrage over Nixon “bugging the Oval Office.” That was the system that JFK had installed, and remained through LBJ’s terms. Which was a replacement for the system FDR had put in, though only Eisenhower had made much use of that system.

            You can find some of the recordings on archive.org. Just like the Nixon tapes, the’re mostly “eh wut?” “F***” and “huh?”

            You’d think lawyers would value precision in speech, but when discussing important matters of state and war they often sounded like one side of a hip-hop phone call.

            • Nixon violated Rule 1: thou shall not get caught.
              The thing that gets me about Watergate is how incompetent the people involved in the break in were, and how many elementary mistakes were made. Things like not “sterilizing*” the people involved, taping the door locks so the tape doesn’t show, or not having cut outs between the people doing the bad stuff and the CRP.

              *removing bits of incriminating evidence such as bits of paper with names & phone numbers. Not removing other “bits”.

              • You would almost think they wanted to get caught…
                In reality, it was probably so sloppy BECAUSE the Democrats had always gotten away with even more high-handed behavior; they just forgot that the media and Deep State (it existed even then) would cover for the Dems, and not for Nixon (or any other Republican, actually).

                • The two governmental misuses I remember hearing about we’re that Nixon wanted the IRS to audit his enemies and fbi to act as an enforcer at some level. We have examples of both in last few years and likely dozens of others that are just papered over.

                  • The FBI routinely provided such services for each Current Incumbent. However, Hoover and Nixon had a personal beef going back to Nixon embarrassing the Bureau over the Alger Hiss matter. The Feebs *really* don’t like having their face rubbed in their failures.

          • My mistake. “Hubert Who?” Humphrey lost.

            • “Once he shone on his own, now he sits home alone, and waits for the phone to ring…”

          • Part of the 1972 convention activities included throwing the establisment Dems out. Richard J Daley was head of the Illinois contingent, and to borrow a phrase from Anna Russell’s “Analysis of the Ring [of the Nibelungen]”, “he was frightfully annoyed”.In Alberich’s case, he cursed the ring. In Daley’s case, we went for straight revenge.

            As memory serves, the Illinois Dem party sat on its hands for the general election; the progs got Walker elected governor (he did the “police riot” review of the Chicago convention), though in the rich tradition of Illinois governors, he eventually went to prison.

            FWIW, McGovern campaigned on the U of I campus downstate. He came across as a bit nasty, making crude jokes about a questioner who had extremely large breasts. Gee, where have I heard about such behavior, lately?

    • Burning down Sociology and * Studies buildings might improve a few colleges – but only if they were kept from rebuilding.

      • Rebuilding is good. Provides jobs. Just make the arsonists pony up the dough for it. Might take a while, since they’re not likely to have income earning jobs themselves.

      • Burning buildings is seldom a good idea inside your own territory. A building sized fire is never really under anyone’s control. That’s the dirty little secret of Kent State that the Left never talks about;the night before the Guard was sent in the ‘Protesters’ had set fire to the ROTC building and interfered with firefighters on the scene.

        Now, those little idiots doubtless thought of the fire in symbolic terms…but that made it even more vital to shut the ‘Protest’ down before they comitted another ‘symbolic’ act that killed a few hundred people.

        I think somebody in authority knew that local police were overmatched, that the State Cops (bluemcollar types with scant patience with Lefty twits) would bust heads and probably kill a dozen or so, and hoped the sight of men in military uniforms with guns would wake the students up to the fact that playtime was over.

        Alas, the students were too stupid for that.

        Four dead is still better than most of the possible outcomes.

        • But are college and university campuses really America territory anymore? Are they not, in truth, under the control of America’s most pernicious of domestic enemies, Progressivism?

          • In 1972 they were not yet competely under the pernicious control of the Progressive Left…witness that there was still an ROTS building on campus.

            • I’m talking about now. If we just burned all of them down, would anything of value be lost that couldn’t be replaced?

              • Oddly, yes. Universities have ALWAYS been havens for social and political idiocy. Various elites maintain them for exactly that reason. Nevertheless, they are also almost always havens for genuine scholars. Burn down the buildings and you destroy those scholar’s research notes, half-finished manuscripts, etc..

                Also, college campuses are oftn in close proximity to towns, coties, or woodlands that couls get destroyed if the fores ran out of control.

                No, if you want to deal with collegiate moonbattery, go the Ward Churchill route. Investigate their research practices; my bet to s they can’t stand up to scrutiny. And that would leave them with a lifeting of asking the Proles they despise “do you want fries with that”

                Much better than killing them.

              • Mike Houst

                Just don’t burn down the engineering, medical, and sciences buildings.

          • Mike Houst

            That’s why I’m not too upset at the idea of fires.

        • And audio recordings prove the guard troops were actually taking gunfire before they opened fire.

          As far as I’ve ever been able to find out, they didn’t even have smoke grenades to generate some concealment.

          Few US military units in that draftee era that would have been able to retreat in good order in the open taking fire while not firing back.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            My understanding is that they had rifles and CS, and wind conditions were not right for CS.

          • and the left is trying to claim it ‘may have been doors slamming’

            • Back in the days of old-time radio drama, when they want to create the sound of a gun shot they often used a slamming door, so of course that must be it.

        • None of them tried burning anything in Arkansas.

          Of course, we have our quaint hillbilly ways. State law specifically allows use of “deadly force” to prevent murder, rape, and arson.

          What’s that? Yes, “America is not a monoculture.”

  11. Interesting and relevant comment from a Rich Galen (Newt’s replacement as director of GOPAC) about the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner:

    We all need reinforcement that what we do is of value. And one of the ways we do that is to be around other people who want to believe that what they do is of value.
    https://www.mullings.com/04-30-18.htm

    Even if we’re just fans of silly fantasy we like to convene and argue over which silly fantasies are best.

  12. I’ve known my purpose for a relatively long time, now. Looking back, I think I identified it in my early teens. My goal has always been to have a family and provide my children with the same advantages I had when growing up (or as close to them as I can get). And if this goal reflects a patriarchal view of the world, then so be it.

    Honestly, in some areas, I’ve not succeeded (and probably will not succeed) as well as my father did in terms of earning money to support such a goal. (My mom was a stay-at-home mom for the most part. After going to good public schools in expensive/elite suburbs, I graduated from college and a joint law/business graduate program with $0 debt and some assets, having also always managed (via family connections in some of those years) to procure various summer jobs which provided me some additional professional training. Net/net, from some perspectives, I really started the race ahead.) On the other hand, to date, I managed to avoid his problems with alcohol and have had the additional expense of putting my fully bilingual+ daughters through private school.

    I did modify the plan somewhat along the way, of course. Among other things, I promised my wife, before we actually got married, that we’d bring them our children up in the Catholic faith. Suffice it to say that both were been baptized in my wife’s home town where we got married, each had their first communion and subsequently were been confirmed in the Church, so I’m not doing too badly on that front. Once again, not perfect, but not too badly from my perspective.

    I’m not sure what my next goals will be after I get my kids launched. By then, I guess the next steps are figuring out retirement (been saving for it) and spoiling the grand-kids, assuming I’m lucky enough to have them and see them.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Yes. Lets see:

      1. As good as or better than folks (either side). — Granted we both had careers, where mothers were homemakers until youngest in school or HS.

      OTOH was not suddenly shocked into minimum pay work because spouse had a stroke at 50 & could no longer work (dad), or died (BIL & grandfather), or just walked out (other BIL). Mom had never worked a full time job, neither had dad’s mom (she still had 4 youngest at home). One SIL was a pediatric nurse before kids & the other was a certified Accountant. Or had to work past 70 because not enough money (grandparents & a couple of co-workers from my last job).

      Plus we both participated as volunteers in sports & scouts. Only our mothers got to do that.

      2. Retire on or before 60. Granted hubby was 64 when I retired, but he did retire at 59. So did I, just 5 years later.

      3. Pay off our student loans; okay took full 10 years, but the loans were for 4% & saving interest was at 12%. Sorry. Me first.

      4. Save for kids college & got him through (with his help) without loans, without affecting retirement.

      5. Own home (with bank). Transportation covered.

      1 – 5. Yes 100%. Success for any definition of success.

  13. “He still falls for leftist lies that “inequality is very bad””

    Uh, no. JP points out (repeatedly) that inequality is the normal state of the world, if only because of the Pareto distribution, and that dominance and competence hierarchies are not only normal but universal (having evolved over 300 million years ago).

    He’s also said (repeatedly) that “equity” is perhaps the most destructive concept ever, and that if your kids are being taught “equity” at school — find a different school, or at least confront the teacher about it. (Y’all need to hear JP when he gets to ranting against Marxism and its enforced equity. He can go on for 20 minutes without drawing breath.)

    Side note: there seems to be a concerted astroturf happening against Peterson, as suddenly there are hordes of anti-JP videos (they came up rather all at once in my Suggesteds, which is downright odd) and people quoting media sources that misquote JP. I take this to mean he’s becoming genuinely effective against the Left.

    • I take this to mean he’s becoming genuinely effective against the Left.

      Against both the Ctrl-Left and Alt-Right, given the directions I’m seeing the attacks come from.

    • No. I actually saw him in a video saying we had growing inequality and it was bad for the soul.

      • I don’t know the rest of the context, but he does have a point– simply on the temptation to evil.

        That’s why not being ‘flashy’ is often considered a virtue, and bragging bad– it tempts others into sin.

      • I also saw another video in which he criticized the level of inequality we currently have. Made some historical analogy with why it’s bad.

        I remember thinking at the time, “Well, nobody’s gonna share all of my views. But for as much as this guy rails against Marxism, it’s disappointing to hear him accept one of their ground rules.”

      • Which is not at all the same thing as desiring or enforcing equity. And I’d say he’s not wrong — it’s not good for us to have so much inequality, even if only because some people will succumb to envy, or privation, or excess. But that doesn’t mean he’s for enforced equality (“equity”), or that he doesn’t recognise inequality as a natural state that largely cannot be fixed (at least not without gulags, and he’s said as much).

        • Sometimes, when making an argument, it is useful to concede various irrelevant points in order to prep the audience for acceptance of your primary thesis. During the 2016 campaign Scott Adams often wrote about this as “pacing” and claimed it a critical persuasive ploy.

          Inequality is unquestionably bad if only because it enables charlatans to use it as a distraction from more critical concerns.

          • Yeah, he’s really good at drawing people into looking at the backside of what they thought were their settled views. Might be because he himself went through a socialist phase when he was young, but quickly noticed that socialists didn’t actually want to uplift the common man; they just hated “rich people”.

    • > I take this to mean he’s becoming genuinely effective against the Left.

      He had the #1 best-selling nonfiction book on Amazon for months. It’s still at #2 (got knocked off by Comey’s drivel). More importantly, it’s also #2 on the most-read list.

      You’re damned right he’s effective.

      • First and only time I’ve bought a book on pre-order… about two minutes after it was announced.

        BTW he’s going to be doing the audiobook himself, since the clamor went that we want to hear it in his own voice. Hopefully that’ll be his Lecturing Voice, not his Reading Stuff Voice.

  14. William O. B'Livion

    > He still falls for leftist lies that “inequality is very bad”

    Part of this is that there is (or there is an assertion that there is) a strong relationship between GINI coefficient and levels of interpersonal violence. Peterson asserts that this is true at any geographic granularity.

    At the same time he is a strong believer in the Pareto Distribution/Power Law graphs when it comes to both economic and…let’s call it “talent” distribution.

    The thing is that inequality IS natural. And so is violence. Chimps engage in violence, both the sort of “punch in the face” kind, and warfare.

    But “natural” doesn’t mean good, right?

    If it is accurate that the GINI coefficient is a *accurate* predictor of violence, the question is *why*, and *what to do about it*.

    One theory is that it’s tied to social hierarchies and “normal” mating behavior. Historically 80 percent of females reproduce. Only 40 percent of males do so (allegedly–it’s social science).

    So males on the lower end of the dominance hierarchy face a double whammy–they have trouble finding mates that don’t tag them as bottom of the barrel, and they don’t have any sort of family structure to root them.

    Engaging in violence allows them to climb (somewhat) the social hierarchy (at least in the eyes of a certain sort of mate), and can bring in some economic gain–which also allows them to advance up the hierarchy.

    There are a bunch of questions that fall from that:

    1) Is GINI a proxy for something else in this case? In the US there is significant potential for an individual to rise up the social hierarchy, but often people are held back by sub-cultural norms. Also it is increasingly difficult for someone with low System 2 intelligence to find a job that lets them “succeed”.

    2) Violence is “natural”, and has been a part of human life since we differentiated from the other great apes. Before even. Given that, what level of violence do we “accept” as part of society, and if we’re going to accept the sorts of levels we’re seeing now, how do we tell the “lower classes” to “deal with it” because the upper classes will just hire help to sort it out.

    3) Does wealth transfer fix that violence problem? I suspect not because IT DOESN’T SOLVE THE HIERARCHY PROBLEM, it just sets the bottom end a little higher.

    • “But “natural” doesn’t mean good, right?“

      No, indeed. ‘Natural’ is one of my pet hates. We are social apes. For us, ‘Natural’ is sitting in trees, picking parasites off of our relatives, and plotting to murder the Alpha and all his offspring so we can rape his females.

      You can keep ‘Natural’.

    • One theory is that it’s tied to social hierarchies and “normal” mating behavior. Historically 80 percent of females reproduce. Only 40 percent of males do so (allegedly–it’s social science).

      Dug around trying to find an original citation for that– after the mess of finding out that several of the “infidelity” studies used a known bad method of identifying paternity (blood test; even if it didn’t screw up, turns out that they didn’t know as much about inheritance as they thought) — and I found a mention of the actual study! Which was done by Florida State University’s psychology department, and tried to figure out what percent were male vs female. No idea what kind of a sample they did, but given the source it was probably a student-led study, and sampled other students.

      • No selection bias possible there, is there?

        • Goodness, no, everybody knows that American college students studying psychology are an absolutely random and normal sampling of humanity as a whole! 😉

      • Too lazy to go root it up, but the info I’ve heard was based on DNA studies, not in social, uh, sciences, and did indeed show a large skew toward a lot of males not gettin’ any.

        • Still depends on how they figured that– because a very obvious, very recent reason that you’d have indications of one husband, and five or six wives, without polygamy is because of a recent trend where women tend to die in childbirth while males tend to die as young children.

          You could get an illusion of very limited male ancestry if you’re looking at the Y chromosome because of a higher rate of malignant mutations. (It’s not that you’ve got fewer male ancestors, it’s that the genes that don’t kill off most of the male offspring are a small selection.)

          A lot of it would be assumptions going into how they “read” the DNA, honestly– they can’t even tell Thomas Jefferson from his nephew, genetically, so if you have one grandfather that tended towards sons, it’s going to give the illusion of a much smaller selection.

          Oh, thought of another one– aren’t those XYY guys who can have children identified because they only have sons?

          Would the evidence also be explained by the genetics looked at having less initial diversity? (Y is much smaller than X, so that could be another confounder.)

          ****

          Science: conclusions may not be as clear as they appear. 😀

      • William O. B'Livion

        There’s been several studies along these lines that all come out with *about* the same number.

        Some have looked at DNA, some have used other methods.

        Thing is, until Christianity, polygamy was common world wide, so even though you had a majority of one man one woman relationships, it doesn’t take many “marriages” where one man has 3 or more wives to severely distort things. Add in higher rates of male death through the late 20s and the numbers start to make sense.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          “Common world-wide”.

          Yes, but before Christianity began the Greek-Roman world had strongly moved away from multiple wives and the Jewish world had decided that “multiple wives” weren’t a good idea.

          • The Greek-Roman world ran on mistresses and kept women. Latin countries still do.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              And you “proved my point”. 😉

              “mistresses and kept women” aren’t wives and have/do exist even in Christian societies.

              My point was that some cultures had moved away from multiple wives even before Christianity “entered the scene”.

              • yes, but the move away makes NO change in the odds of fathering a child.

              • snelson134

                I think you and Sarah are using different levels of “wife”; you’re defining it by legal title vs the actual relationship. It’s the reason Christ said adultery was the only grounds God would accept for divorce; once you’ve committed it, the other partner becomes a “wife” too, breaking that exclusive relationship.

                • Huh?

                  *digs around*

                  Oh. Translation disagreement rooted in KJV’s translation of Matthew 19:9’s used of “porneia.”

                  Comment not deleted unposted because the existence of a word like “porneia” is strangely amusing. 🙂

          • and the Jewish world had decided that “multiple wives” weren’t a good idea

            Still the most brilliant bit of psychology I have ever seen… require that any gift you give your new wife also be given to all those before– and before you know it, folks only have one wife.

            Brilliant because it uses both good and bad in human nature for its end, without penalizing the good or rewarding the bad.

        • A two-word argument on this: Genghis Khan. With one-quarter of the human race bearing his DNA* it is going to skew the sample no matter how large.

          *Not gonna look it up. Got doctor office appointment in an hour and they refuse to start without me.

          • *Not gonna look it up. Got doctor office appointment in an hour and they refuse to start without me.

            Do they actually show up on time? Mine have a standing requirement that I show up about half an hour before they possibly can…..

            • For certain values of on time. There’s more than one reason I always carry a book with at least one hundred pages remaining unread.

              OTOH, insurance required I switch to a new pharmacy chain and the doc sent my prescription to a branch 550+ miles away in Ocala, FL.

          • That’s one of the things I was thinking of– because we can’t actually tell how many generations there were between him and Current Modern Sample, so we’re left estimating.

            Same issue comes up with those women who we know had 8 or 9 husbands, and children by all of them– you’ve got a rather large sample with all the same X markers, now how many generations until they meet up?

          • They claim countless millions for Mohammed too.

            • Oh, goodness, now that one would be a REAL pain to figure out… if Thomas Jefferson’s nephew is close enough we can’t figure it out from here, then a culture where first-cousin-marriage is pretty dang normal is going to be an insanely painful mess.

        • So link them.

          I found that citation– with the study itself actually removed, and no publication data– after hunting for an actual study.

          That is similar to the pattern looking for “humans only use 10% of their brains,” “famines are a sign of having too many children,” “over-crowding causes violence,” etc.

    • Not really higher. It just lowers everyone a bit.

  15. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Everyone hear about Bibi’s speech on Iran’s violations of Obama’s unilateral surrender?

    • Earlier today, in fact.

    • Read about it a couple hours beforehand. HT: Washington Examiner.

      In other news, Hillary’s campaign chair remains a few degrees aft the breeze. Seriously, who would even let this guy walk their dog?

      John Podesta on ‘Ancient Aliens’: Hillary Clinton would have declassified UFO information
      Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman was on cable television Friday night peddling conspiracy theories about extraterrestrial life forms, and nobody seems to have noticed.

      In fairness, I didn’t really believe it until I saw it either. But there he was, John Podesta, speaking gravely over a foreboding soundtrack, lending his very earnest insights to “Ancient Aliens” on The History Channel. ( Don’t tell Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa ).

      [SNIP]

      … provided an opening for another of the episode’s commentators to claim, “The CIA and the Pentagon, they were worried about Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, all the statements she was making, winning the presidency, and going to the Pentagon and basically saying, ‘You are going to give me the information I need to disclose the extraterrestrial presence or I’m gonna fire every single one of you.’”

      Which, in turn, set up another expert nicely to insist with dramatic flair: “John Podesta was trying to get ready to open up that we’re not alone in the universe. All of that crashed when a different person became president of the United States.”

      “November 8, 2016: Donald Trump was elected as America’s next president,” the History Channel’s narrator intones. “There would be no disclosure of the secret UFO files.”

      So, was Trump’s election really secured by scheming puppetmasters in Russia? Or were those strings perhaps pulled from a little further out of this world by aliens hoping to shield their species from exposure to our planet at this strange moment in time?

      • Well, of course she would’ve.

        One of the few really human moments I saw with her was when she geeked out a little over UFOs. (Had the most up to date terminology, I can’t remember what it is.)

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Does anyone seriously think that TRUMP, of all people, could possibly keep quiet about something like that? 😀

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Hillary is a human eating lizard. Trump and Boehner are really orange skinned aliens from Kappa Tucanae. The Moon Ferrets keep Moon Rabbit populations in check. Trump doesn’t know he was adopted, and doesn’t have the intellectual curiosity to find out the real truth about the UFOs. How does a space alien have children with humans? That’s tied to the dark secret behind Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

          More seriously, while impulsive loudmouth Trump models are fairly persuasive, I’m not one hundred percent confident, and would not trust them in a matter I really cared about. For all that the Ufologist’s interests bore me, I can’t blame them for not considering Trump’s behavior really persuasive evidence.

        • Mike Houst

          Ahem. “Deep State.” They’d never brief him on it.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Sometimes the DoD neglects to tell high ranking officials things because they don’t need to know. Given the current stew in D.C. I wouldn’t be surprised if information is being withheld from the Twitterer In Chief until he “needs to know”.

    • Best live show I’ve watched all year.

    • As much of the speech itself as I’ve found so far:

      I read him as dead-serious and truthful here. And when it comes to the ME, I trust Israeli intelligence above our own — after all they’re the guys most likely to take a nuke up the nose if their neighbors get to squabbling with atoms. (At least after Saudi Arabia, which is Iran’s real target. Someone else pointed out that Iran funded the ‘revolt’ in Yemen.)

      • Mike Houst

        What really seems to rile the anti-Semitics is when you mention that Israel has had nukes for over 5 decades, and the means to deliver them precisely; and haven’t once tried to turn any of their neighbor’s cities into glassy parking lots, even when taking out their nuke facilities. Yet we’re fairly certain that once a Muslim nation gets nukes, and a reliable way to deliver on target, that they’ll uses them once they think they have enough of them.

  16. “‘Duty’ is the most sublime word in the English language.” – Lee.

  17. The Culture War has trenches? Do we all need to toss an extra dollar in Sarah’s tip jar this May in order to buy her an entrenching tool, or is she already so dug in that any deeper would drop her into Hades?

    Report from the Trenches of the Culture War
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Forty years ago, a much younger Sarah stood outside a language arts classroom where the teacher had stopped her to tell her that she was getting a B+, but if she would only sign up for the Communist Party, she’d have an A.

    I believe back then, being myself and rather uncouth, I told her what she could do with her A. But I knew why she thought I’d sign. I’d started the course with one certainty: communism was evil. The teacher, who was a member of the Communist Party, had deployed mockery, berating, and faux facts and made the class – normally a favorite – a living hell. Then when I started crying (she didn’t know that when I cry I’m holding back the berserker) she turned faux nice and started telling me how she admired my passion, and we weren’t so different, and we were both “passionate” (and I was just wrong). I was fourteen. I wasn’t a hero. I figured out it was easier to pretend to go along. And so she thought her tactic had worked and I was ripe for the “conversion.” Which is why my response at the end of the year shocked her so much.

    However, I’d learned one of the tactics of the left when they’re in power—and why they fool many into thinking that they’re the “nice guy” and also why many people believe there is no discrimination against anyone to the right of Lenin in fields the left controls.

    People with perfectly good heads will not use them and will instead assume that the fact the leftists play “good cop” once they think they’ve scared the dissident enough means these leftists were always good people and more concerned about ideas than fact.

    I didn’t think of any of this for many years until I found myself reading this article about an incident at the University of Nebraska.

    For those who don’t want to go into it, what happened was this: A student, Kaitlyn Mullen, a 19-year-old sophomore, volunteered to represent Turning Point USA on campus. And by represent, I mean she had a little folding table and called out to people about whether they believed in liberty or whether they thought the government was too large.

    You know, I’ve put one kid through undergrad, and another almost, and I couldn’t step foot in their college and not be hailed by some in-your-face political cause or other, whether it was the so-called rape crisis or outright campaigning for a political candidate. A leftist candidate, of course. Now, granted, neither of my kids even went near the University of Nebraska. Nor have I. On the other hand, this has been my experience at just about every institution of higher education I did go near for all the decades of my life. If you go onto a university campus as a conservative or a libertarian, or anyone, in fact, to the right of Lenin (perhaps these days Stalin or maybe even Mao) you know you are in enemy territory because all the signs and symbols referring to politics or society are leftist ones, and you’re made to feel under siege. …

    • Sometimes I think I have trench foot.

    • B+? The Portuguese Commies were positively benevolent compared to the Southern Baptists. I had a teacher who marked a 100% scores as Cs because we didn’t go to the right church. The school administrators and the county school board were 100% OK with that. It took intervention from the state Department of Education before I could get properly recorded grades.

      They got their revenge by putting “troublemaker” in my records. I’d change to a new school, and after a few months I’d get sent to :”counseling”, where they’d tell me they’d just gotten around to looking at my files, and they were going to be watching me very closely…

      • I had perfect grades in tests and writing pieces, and had always had.

      • Due to the age of the text I originally learned from and perhaps persistence of terminology, I still see B+ not as a grade, or blood type, but high voltage – even though I’ve never actually encountered a ‘B’ battery.

    • William O. B'Livion

      Maxim 44.
      If it will blow a hole in the ground, it will double as an entrenching tool.

  18. The airline I worked at decided to hire an ‘actual experienced airline executive’ as COO. I looked at his bio in the company paper and noted, with trepidation, that *none* of the airlines he’d worked with before still existed. By the end of the year, neither did ours.

  19. Highlander

    I am closely watching the phenomenon of the Marxist/Progressives becoming aware of and now turning viciously on Peterson. Because, at a gut level, I think he is a symbol of hope in the hopelessness that is modernity and the Left.

  20. Whatever it was, they had something that mattered to them more than their own lives and their transitory fulfillment.
    I’ll post again John Stuart Mill’s quote – but just one piece this time:
    The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
    You nailed it, Sarah, with “Nothing to kill or die for = nothing to live for.”

    Sadly, that’s what post-modernism is all about: destroying the value of everything anyone has ever killed or died for. And, yes, while the seed might have been planted long before, WW1 is when the beast burst forth and took its place in the sun.

  21. Ms. Hoyt:  I am retired Army. I came to grips a long time ago re: the short list of what I would be willing to kill or die for. *Living* for something/someone has always been more difficult, both conceptually and practically. (I lack deep patience.) Until I read your post this morning, and now I am embarrassed to confess that it had never occurred to me that living for something/someone is still expending your life, just on the installment plan. Thank you for a moment of clarity.

  22. I really like ath, but from time to time there is a transcendent post.
    This is one.