Jordan Peterson’s distinction between PC Egalitarian and PC authoritarian

Clare Graves’ MEME theory involved asking subjects to describe their conception of a “successful” person. Beck and Cowan subsequently color coded the resulting developmental levels in their book Spiral Dynamics. Blue MEME  is the fundamentalist with black and white moral conceptions. Blue divides the world into true believers who are saved and the dissenters who are damned. It is “you’re either with us or against us.”

Green MEME is the liberal egalitarian obsessed with equality. Since social structures and developmental theories involve hierarchies and the liberal hates hierarchies, social structures end up being jettisoned. One instance of this was when the radicals took over the university in the 1960s and demanded new courses reflecting Green ideology. The students schooled the professors, erasing the appropriate hierarchy.

Jordan Peterson, the anti-political correctness Toronto professor, distinguishes between PC egalitarian and PC authoritarian. He claims the PC authoritarian is conscientious and likes rules; and has low verbal and cognitive ability. The PC egalitarian, on the other hand, is high in motherly compassion and verbal ability. The PC authoritarian favors censorship and punishment for breaking the rules. The PC egalitarian has high verbal ability and responds positively to the PC authoritarian’s claims of being assaulted by unwelcome speech. She then comes up with post hoc justifications for why the PC-a’s demands are legitimate.

One idea in MEME theory is that although an idea may be generated at the higher Green level, it can be pursued at a lower MEME. So, political correctness divides the world into the saved and the damned. It takes Green compassion and interprets it in a Blue fashion. The compassionate desire to avoid “hurt feelings” gets turned into an Orwellian nightmare.

Green MEME tends toward destruction. The exclusive focus on Agape, turns a legitimate aspect of love into a sloppy solvent leading to the elimination of better and worse, including morality. Liberalism heads to the kind of license described in Brave New World. One contradiction of the “anything goes” ethos involves the extreme condemnation of anyone who does not play along; replete with punitive boards of inquiry and the like.

I’m not sure whether the distinction between the PC egalitarian and PC authoritarian can really be maintained. What do you think?

45 thoughts on “Jordan Peterson’s distinction between PC Egalitarian and PC authoritarian

  1. Pingback: Jordan Peterson’s distinction between PC Egalitarian and PC authoritarian | Aus-Alt-Right

  2. I wanted to say anybody who wants to see people censored and punished for breaking moral rules can’t be all bad, and that there might be a little bit of light in the blue-PC forest after all. Then I remembered that this sort of ideology is as exactly and paradoxically egalitarian as it is authoritarian. Like its Puritanical ancestors, it pitilessly holds everybody to the same, exactingly high standard; it doesn’t have a paternalistic bone in its body. A very complex phenomenon, hard to pin down in terms of neat and tidy divisions.

  3. Pingback: Jordan Peterson’s distinction between PC Egalitarian and PC authoritarian | Reaction Times

  4. This helps explain both why left liberals tend to score low on Jonathan Haidt’s purity measure, yet seem to end up supporting all sorts of purity rules. There is a small but very definite subset of left liberals that are highly into purity and they really know how to push the buttons of low purity liberals.

  5. Richard, supposing your analysis to be true (and why not?), or Beck and Cowan’s and Peterson’s analyses to be true (and why not?), what would be the practical consequence? If I were confronted by a crowd of zombies, and I knew theoretically that zombies came in two types, Grue and Bleen, what difference would it make to my situation? Would it affect the question which zombies I should behead first?

  6. We can all probably agree that the present incarnation of PC culture is not ideal. However, PC-ism is still a legitimate reaction against something that came before which was found to be unacceptable. Obviously the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Let’s not throw the baby out with the conservative or PC bathwater.

    • @ winstonscrooge – found unacceptable to whom? Political correctness involves an awful lot of lying and Voegelinian second reality. If there are, for instance, differences between men and women – dimorphism – then we mustn’t mention them or they are to be denied and damn the evidence. I’m afraid I don’t see PC’ness as a legitimate reaction to anything.

      • Mr. Cocks, it’s not a “supposed” state of affairs, it’s reality – the world we actually live in vs. Winston’s world that he wrongly believes the authorities can correct by force, or the threat of force.

        In that belief he contradicts himself like all liberals do (sorry Winston, but you are a liberal like most of the rest of us once were) because the liberal ideology is self-contradictory and ultimately insane, as has been pointed out here countless times.

        Not more than a couple weeks ago, if memory serves, Winston is arguing that correcting illicit behavior through shame and a kind of force is illegitimate methodology since it doesn’t effect a heart change. So according to Winston (and as others pointed out) we have no alternative than to establish one governing rule for society – the rule that there are no rules; anything goes! Whereas here he’s arguing the exact opposite regarding enforcement of PCism. I sincerely hope Winston grows out of that; it’s a horribly confusing state of affairs and negatively affects *everyone* one who embraces it has an influence over. It is a primary reason many modern families are severely dysfunctional, and America is in the cesspit!

  7. The notion that PC is ‘a reaction against the unequal treatment of minorities’ is, in my opinion, not true. It is, rather, an exploitation of this perception, an exercise in power under the guise of justice and fuelled by ignorance.

    • @ mickvet – Yes. The liberal believes in “equality,” whatever that is supposed to mean. If one group through sheer hard work or for any other reason out performs another group, the worse performing group must be suffering from discrimination, says the liberal. If one group gets imprisoned more, it can’t be because they are committing more crime, but because of the unequal application of the law. Equality of result is the goal, but only vis-a-vis white men. If blacks, or women, or whoever, out perform white men in some area, then that is due to their hard work and superior ability. (Football, basketball) Likewise, there is the denial of dimorphism in employment. 75% of psychology majors are women. Not a problem. 28% of philosophy majors are women – suddenly a problem and the result of discrimination. The idea that people freely choose their majors is forgotten.

  8. Peterson’s graduate student Christine Brophy says something really interesting about three minutes into the “Where do SJWs Come From” Interview: Namely that her research has correlated the politically correct mentality with a high degree of “disgust sensitivity.” (I believe that is her term.) To the extent that I grasp her point (she is nervous and gets a bit lost in her exposition) “disgust sensitivity” is non-conceptual and irrational. Brophy doesn’t say so, but “disgust sensitivity” therefore would resemble a primitive tribal taboo.

  9. Faced with blue and green “zombies” (I prefer the term “enemies,” less dehumanizing) you behead the blues (the warrior-class).They lead the charge and pose a more immediate threat than the greens (the priest class)

    The problem is that calling a blue a PC police or an SJW is weak abuse. It’s essentially saying, “Hey! You discriminate against discriminators!” It’s tit-for-tat name calling, worthy of an elementary school playground. You’ve let them set the rules.

    A more deadly attack would target their core value: progress. This is why assaults like Moldbug’s have been so effective. They show this “progress” to really be decay.

    To make this more concrete, it’s weak to say, “You discriminate against religious people.” It’s more effective to say something like, “You are a symptom of decline worthy of late Rome.” Such an attack exposes the blues as actually weak and the greens as actually un-educated.

  10. This Peterson stuff is merely another flashy reconstruction of the creation myth of Liberalism to which the intellectual right is lead author in the Narrative.

    • Dear Editor…

      By removing the scare quotes, you have granted concreteness to the very “things” in which a concreteness is in dispute. So now you have muddled the language in order to communicate with a dull mass which actually believes that liberalism was created because an intellectual right says so…

      Of course, it is all false* and the editor is trying to make sure “it” stays true and so s/he removes the quotes that would signify a fundamental dispute between antithetical worldview speaking one language..

      * Liberalism is actually self-annihilation and self-annihilation can’t be created and that some say self-annihilation can be created just refutes that that some are of a right intellect.

      [There was no intention on the part of the Editor to make sure of anything. All that was done was to remove scare quotes and All Cap words. If that changed the meaning of the text – the Editor could not be sure whether or not it did, for the comment was just as unintelligible after the edits as it had been before – then the text was not clear enough. – Ed.]

      [This present comment, by contrast, is relatively clear. – Ed.]

  11. Terry Morris – I am not in favor of PC. My only point is that I understand where it comes from. And yes I do not believe shame is a good means of producing well adjusted people. It creates a dysfunctional society.

    • The term politically correct was used first by Marx and his followers in the 1840s to describe their own ideological purity and to designate, by the negation, those heretics who strayed from that purity.

      • PC goes back earlier than Marx. Marx changed the name of Illuminism to Communism. Illuminism is Jacobinism. I’ll quote from Hippolyte Taine, The French Revolution, vol. 2 [1878] not paginated, section IV, (

        In Rousseau’s own words, the “Contrat Social” prescribes “the complete alienation to the community of each associate and all his rights,” every individual surrendering himself wholly, “just as he may actually be, he himself and all his powers of which his possessions form a part,” so that the State, not only the recognised owner of property, but of minds and bodies as well, may forcibly and legitimately impose on every member of it such education, form of worship, religious faith, opinions, and sympathies as it deems best. [19]

        Political or religious fanaticism, any theological or philosophical channel in which truth flows, always has its source in some ardent longing, some secret passion, some accumulation of intense, painful desire to which a theory affords an outlet; in the Jacobin, as well as in the Puritan, there is a fountain-head of this description. What feeds this source with the Puritan is the anxieties of a disturbed conscience which, forming for itself some idea of perfect justice, becomes rigid and multiplies the commandments it believes that God has promulgated; on being constrained to disobey these it rebels, and, to impose them on others, it becomes tyrannical even to despotism. The first effort of the Puritan, however, wholly internal, is self-control; before becoming political he becomes moral. With the Jacobin, on the contrary, the first precept is not moral, but political; it is not his duties which he exaggerates but his rights, while his doctrine, instead of being a prick to his conscience, flatters his pride.

        In their memoirs and even down to their epitaphs, Barbaroux, Buzot, Pétion, Roland, and Madame Roland24 give themselves certificates [437] of virtue, and would pass for Plutarch’s characters, if we could take their word for it. This infatuation is always on the increase, from the Girondists to the Montagnards. St. Just, at the age of twenty-four, and merely a private individual, is already consumed with suppressed ambition. Marat says: “I believe that I have exhausted every combination of the human intellect in relation to morality, philosophy and political science.” Robespierre, from the beginning to the end of the Revolution, is always, in his own eyes, Robespierre the unique, the one pure man, the infallible and the impeccable; no man ever burnt to himself the incense of his own praise so constantly and so directly.—Self-conceit thus drains the cup of theory to the bottom, however distasteful its dregs and however fatal its poison to those who even defy its nausea for the sake of swallowing it. Since it is virtue, no one may reject its dictates without committing a crime. Thus construed, the theory divides Frenchmen into two groups—one consisting of aristocrats, fanatics, egoists, the corrupt, bad citizens in short, and the other patriots, philosophers, and the virtuous—that is to say, those belonging to the sect. [25] (Jacobins)

        PC is the dedication to the party line of the Illuminati (Jacobin, Communist, Democratic Party) dictatorship by the presumption of superior virtue for embracing the fanatical passion and vision of totalitarian government and leaving aside any presumed rights stemming from other political systems.

    • Its roots lie in Marxism nevertheless.

      Winston, I have a question regarding the shame issue: do you believe that all men (meaning all mankind) are equally disposed to respond well to non-confrontational and “loving” forms of correction?

      The law is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. Only unjust laws are a terror to the righteous. Likewise with shame as a method of controlling or restricting shameful behavior amongst those not particularly disposed to goodness or righteousness. Refusal to identify shameful behavior as such creates dysfunctional societies. E.g., modern America, etc…

      Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a *reproach* to any people.

      • Maybe not. But I do know that there are people who sadistically enjoy shaming others under the guise of morality. They will never admit to this of course. Moreover the act of shaming another most of the time creates a new person who sadistically enjoys shaming.

      • It is my opinion based on experience (particularly in comment sections) that “most” is correct but I will agree to amend that word to “much” for the sake of discussion.

      • Well thanks, I guess, but I don’t know how it furthers the discussion to substitute a word far less definitive than the original word.

        But in any case I am interested in learning more about how you have developed this understanding *from discussion forums* that “most of the time” (or much of the time – whichever you prefer) a new sadistic shamer is created from having been subjected to shaming himself.

        So you’re following these people throughout the entire transformation from … non-sadistic, non-shamer victim to sadistic shaming bully?

      • That shame creates a bad person “x of the time” and should therefore be altogether mothballed, is a utilitarian argument.

        If shame of sin created a thousand monsters I would rejoice if it created just one saint.

      • What kind of a question is that, and how does it possibly serve to further the discussion? What difference would it make to you how I answered the question, Winston? You’ve already indicated that you project sadistic enjoyment on persons who deny it. I had a feeling that is what you were getting at in any case.

      • @ Terry Morris and winstonscrooge: Two points. Pre-conventional moral development is motivated by fear of punishment and hope of reward. Thus one is acting for nonmoral reasons. This is the situation of young children and morally retarded adults. The latter are scary because they will act immorally if they think they can get away with it. Removing free will from actions means that questions of moral goodness and blame fall away. I cannot be praised for my good actions nor blamed for my bad, if both are performed under duress. So, motivation is key. Proper moral maturation will involve freely making the right choices rather than coercion. For the recalcitrant minority, however, coercion is necessary. Winstonscrooge seems to be concerned that “shaming” is bullying someone into good behavior and that’s a problem. That would depend on whether someone is pre-conventional, conventional or post-conventional in terms of moral development. He is right that metaphysically, one must be free to do wrong if one is to take credit for doing right. In practice, we need laws and stringent suppression of those with no developed moral sense for our own protection. For those of us with no such proclivities and with more moral motives, the existence of the law is neither here nor there concerning our lack of interest in committing murder.

        When winstonscrooge talks about “shaming” he is actually talking about scapegoating. This involves the relentless piling on of the lynch mob, bonding in shared hatred around the victim. This is sadistic in the sense that the people involved are deriving great enjoyment in their shared persecution of the vile victim. It’s not so much “shaming” that is the problem, as scapegoating. I suspect that both you, Terry Morris, and you, winstonscrooge, can agree that scapegoating is an ever present human tendency and is evil.

        A hilarious way of resolving your dispute would be if the two of you were to revile me – bonding in shared hatred towards your common enemy.

      • “A hilarious way of resolving your dispute would be if the two of you were to revile me – bonding in shared hatred towards your common enemy.”

        Ha, ha! Let me set up a facebook account and “friend” Winston, and we’ll get right to work on that.

  12. Richard, I think that is mostly right although we see a lot of shame being passed down in families generation to generation (especially when alcoholism is involved). This is done mostly unconsciously but it makes the next generation more likely to want to repeat the same behavior on their children thus creating a self replicating sequence.

    Anyway, I have no wish to argue with anyone here except Thordaddy so I’m happy to end it here. Thank you for the exit ramp!

  13. PC-a, if it is a thing, strikes me as basically just another example of how most people are naturally traditionalist. The perversion and incoherency of modern conservatives, or right-liberals, is that they are keeping a tradition of rebellion and liberalism. Similarly, “PC authoritarians” are conserving a tradition of political correctness.

    The situation is fraught with irony. Folks keeping good traditions are heavily weighted toward those who were willing to break at least somewhat from the tradition their parents handed them. Conscious authoritarians have rebelled against the governing liberal consensus. Faithful Catholics must often disregard the (generally non-authoritative) words of the Pope and other bishops. Examples could be multiplied.

  14. There is no difference between PC egalitarians and PC authoritarians when it concerns people who merely play the victim card, they are both political strategies, the first serves to rally for supporters and the second serves to claim political victory over the ‘oppressors’. This strategy has strong links with narcissist pathology, it deploys the typical antagonistic tactics of ‘shaming’, ‘victimhood’ and ‘gaslighting’.


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