Jordan Peterson doesn’t seem too happy about a new piece in the New York Review of Books by one Pankaj Mishra titled “Jordan Peterson & Fascist Mysticism”.
You arrogant, racist son of a bitch Pankaj Mishra: How dare you accuse me of “harmlessly romancing the noble savage.” That’s how you refer to my friend Charles Joseph (https://t.co/uF5XV2DVXx), who I’ve worked with for 15 years? https://t.co/s8fqE1M7D7
— Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) March 20, 2018
Pankaj Mishra seems a real piece of work: an Indian Other feted by the all the usual, progressive, self-loathing, whites who comprise academic award committees. He writes for all the right (New York) magazines (e.g., The New Yorker, NYT, New York Review of Books, etc.) and loves to castigate white males as oppressive. He has previously accused Niall Ferguson of… drumroll… “racism”. You get the idea.
Mishra has nothing but contempt and disdain for Peterson, and he shows remarkable hostility and immaturity throughout the piece (“Packaged for people brought up on BuzzFeed listicles, Peterson’s brand of intellectual populism…”)
One can’t help but think Mishra has an intense envy of, and jealousy towards, Peterson’s meteoric rise:
It is imperative to ask why and how this obscure Canadian academic, who insists that gender and class hierarchies are ordained by nature and validated by science, has suddenly come to be hailed as the West’s most influential public intellectual. For his apotheosis speaks of a crisis that is at least as deep as the one signified by Donald Trump’s unexpected leadership of the free world.
Gotta get the Trump reference in there. (I believe there is an unwritten rule in liberal publications that every article about white men contain at least one such reference.)
Anyone familiar with Peterson’s work (particular his Maps of Meaning book and series of lectures) will know what a huge influence Carl Jung has been on his thought. And this really gets Mishra’s goat. With stinging rebuke, Mishra writes:
Such evidently eternal truths are not on offer anymore at a modern university; Jung’s speculations have been largely discredited.
Alas, this sentence says more about the pathetic, P.C. state of the modern campus than it does the status of Jung’s work on mythology.
But Peterson, armed with his “maps of meaning” (the title of his previous book), has only contempt for his fellow academics who tend to emphasize the socially constructed and provisional nature of our perceptions. As with Jung, he presents some idiosyncratic quasi-religious opinions as empirical science, frequently appealing to evolutionary psychology to support his ancient wisdom.
Everyone knows perception is socially constructed. Duh! And evolutionary psychology?! Good Lord!
Then Mishra proceeds to get really nasty. He characterizes JP’s work as “right-wing pieties seductively mythologized for our current lost generations.”
And check out the pure hatred dripping from Mishra’s pen in passages like this:
Peterson himself credits his intellectual awakening to the Cold War, when he began to ponder deeply such “evils associated with belief” as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, and became a close reader of Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. This is a common intellectual trajectory among Western right-wingers who swear by Solzhenitsyn and tend to imply that belief in egalitarianism leads straight to the guillotine or the Gulag… Peterson confirms his membership of this far-right sect by never identifying the evils caused by belief in profit, or Mammon: slavery, genocide, and imperialism.
Ah yes, like Marxism/Freudianism/Feminism, one of the Radical Left’s favorite triumvirates is ‘slavery, genocide, and imperialism’, which according to the Left is strictly the historical domain of Cis-Het White Men. These things didn’t exist before the White Man came.
Reactionary white men will surely be thrilled by Peterson’s loathing for “social justice warriors” and his claim that divorce laws should not have been liberalized in the 1960s. Those embattled against political correctness on university campuses will heartily endorse Peterson’s claim that “there are whole disciplines in universities forthrightly hostile towards men.” Islamophobes will take heart from his speculation that “feminists avoid criticizing Islam because they unconsciously long for masculine dominance.” Libertarians will cheer Peterson’s glorification of the individual striver, and his stern message to the left-behinds (“Maybe it’s not the world that’s at fault. Maybe it’s you. You’ve failed to make the mark.”). The demagogues of our age don’t read much; but, as they ruthlessly crack down on refugees and immigrants, they can derive much philosophical backup from Peterson’s sub-chapter headings: “Compassion as a vice” and “Toughen up, you weasel.”
Wow. Someone needs to take an Anger Management class.
Mishra then traces JP’s allure back to the 19th century where “sinister correlation between intellectual exhortations to toughen up and strongmen politics”.
This was a period during which intellectual quacks flourished by hawking creeds of redemption and purification while political and economic crises deepened and faith in democracy and capitalism faltered.
You can smell the F-word coming around the corner…
We then see how Mishra’s deep antipathy against Jung appears to be due to his own ethnocentricism, which is okay for him, but not for whites:
This new object of belief tended to be exotically and esoterically pre-modern. The East, and India in particular, turned into a screen on which needy Westerners projected their fantasies; Jung, among many others, went on tediously about the Indian’s timeless—and feminine—self.
Things are starting to become clear.
In reaction to modernism, Mishra writes, enlightenment hustlers set up shop in the early 20th century:
Jung spun his own variations on this evidently ancestral unconscious. Such conceptually foggy categories as “spirit” and “intuition” acquired broad currency; Peterson’s favorite words, being and chaos, started to appear in capital letters. Peterson’s own lineage among these healers of modern man’s soul can be traced through his repeatedly invoked influences: not only Carl Jung, but also Mircea Eliade, the Romanian scholar of religion, and Joseph Campbell, a professor at Sarah Lawrence College, who, like Peterson, combined a conventional academic career with mass-market musings on heroic individuals.
The “desperation of meaninglessness” widely felt in the late nineteenth century, seemed especially desperate in the years following two world wars and the Holocaust. Jung, Eliade, and Campbell, all credentialed by university education, met a general bewilderment by suggesting the existence of a secret, almost gnostic, knowledge of the world. Claiming to throw light into recessed places in the human unconscious, they acquired immense and fanatically loyal fan clubs. Campbell’s 1988 television interviews with Bill Moyers provoked a particularly extraordinary response. As with Peterson, this popularizer of archaic myths, who believed that “Marxist philosophy had overtaken the university in America,” was remarkably in tune with contemporary prejudices. “Follow your own bliss,” he urged an audience that, during an era of neoconservative upsurge, was ready to be reassured that some profound ancient wisdom lay behind Ayn Rand’s paeans to unfettered individualism.
Now it just seems like Mishra is taking every ‘implicitly white’ theory and theorist he despises (Jung, Eliade, Campbell, libertarianism) and throwing them all into a blender, that he can then splash onto the canvas, in the form of this screed.
The first line of the next paragraph is the one that really got under JP’s skin:
Peterson may seem the latest in a long line of eggheads pretentiously but harmlessly romancing the noble savage. But it is worth remembering that Jung recklessly generalized about the superior “Aryan soul” and the inferior “Jewish psyche” and was initially sympathetic to the Nazis. Mircea Eliade was a devotee of Romania’s fascistic Iron Guard. Campbell’s loathing of “Marxist” academics at his college concealed a virulent loathing of Jews and blacks. Solzhenitsyn, Peterson’s revered mentor, was a zealous Russian expansionist, who denounced Ukraine’s independence and hailed Vladimir Putin as the right man to lead Russia’s overdue regeneration.
There’s some good links there, folks.
Mishra then makes a most extraordinary assertion:
Indeed, the modern fascination with myth has never been free from an illiberal and anti-democratic agenda.
Yes, he seems to equate the study of myth (or, more specifically, the celebration of myth) as crypto-fascism. And it’s not just a crypto-fascism taking place among Evil Whites:
Richard Wagner, along with many German nationalists, became notorious for using myth to regenerate the volk and stoke hatred of the aliens—largely Jews—who he thought polluted the pure community rooted in blood and soil. By the early twentieth century, ethnic-racial chauvinists everywhere—Hindu supremacists in India as well as Catholic ultra-nationalists in France—were offering visions to uprooted peoples of a rooted organic society in which hierarchies and values had been stable. As Karla Poewe points out in New Religions and the Nazis (2005), political cultists would typically mix “pieces of Yogic and Abrahamic traditions” with “popular notions of science—or rather pseudo-science—such as concepts of ‘race,’ ‘eugenics,’ or ‘evolution.’” It was this opportunistic amalgam of ideas that helped nourish “new mythologies of would-be totalitarian regimes.”
The celebrated Pankaj Mishra, toast of the town in NYC cocktail parties, believes the very concepts of ‘race’, ‘eugenics’, and even ‘evolution’ are pseudo-science. That is where we are in 2018.
Of JP’s earnest attempt to reassert a healthy and respectful sense of masculinity in today’s lost young men, Mishra writes:
Peterson rails today against “softness,” arguing that men have been “pushed too hard to feminize.”…
Like Peterson, many of these hyper-masculinist thinkers saw compassion as a vice and urged insecure men to harden their hearts against the weak (women and minorities) on the grounds that the latter were biologically and culturally inferior.
Man, what a paranoid persecution complex. At this point, we have some weird-ass projection going on here.
Mishra concludes his piece with the intellectual equivalent of an SJW screaming “Nazi!” in your face:
It was against this (eerily familiar) background—a “revolt against the modern world,” as the title of Evola’s 1934 book put it—that demagogues emerged so quickly in twentieth-century Europe and managed to exalt national and racial myths as the true source of individual and collective health. The drastic individual makeover demanded by the visionaries turned out to require a mass, coerced retreat from failed liberal modernity into an idealized traditional realm of myth and ritual.
In the end, deskbound pedants and fantasists helped bring about, in Thomas Mann’s words in 1936, an extensive “moral devastation” with their “worship of the unconscious”—that “knows no values, no good or evil, no morality.” Nothing less than the foundations for knowledge and ethics, politics and science, collapsed, ultimately triggering the cataclysms of the twentieth century: two world wars, totalitarian regimes, and the Holocaust. It is no exaggeration to say that we are in the midst of a similar intellectual and moral breakdown, one that seems to presage a great calamity. Peterson calls it, correctly, “psychological and social dissolution.” But he is a disturbing symptom of the malaise to which he promises a cure.
That someone as benign, pro-individualist, and critical of white identitarianism as Jordan Peterson is being described as fascist shows you how far down the P.C. rabbit hole we’ve gone.
And it shows no sign of stopping.
We have not yet reached the bottom.