Sir Roger Scruton/Dr. Jordan B. Peterson: Apprehending the Transcendent
Scruton comments: “The old way of teaching the humanities was as objects of love. This is what I have loved. This is what previous generations have loved who handed it on to me. Here. Try it out and you will love it too. Whereas the postmodern curriculum is a curriculum of hatred. It’s directed against our cultural inheritance.”
Peterson, describing that postmodern point of view: “This is the best of what the best of us could produce and it’s nothing. Why should you bother?”
When asked why someone would adopt a man-hating ideology, Scruton suggests that with a loss of a culturally inherited religious tradition and church attendance feminists feel something to be lacking in their lives but do not know what it is. They then surmise that it has been stolen from them. They look at people who seem to be at peace with themselves and the world, the socially successful, who seem fairly content, and imagine it is they who have taken it.
“Social” justice, Peterson comments, is motivated far more by the hatred of the rich and successful than by love and compassion for the poor.
The feeling that something is missing and it has been stolen from one is related to Girard’s point that we can end up wanting someone else’s being. Hating ourselves and lamenting our condition we look at our neighbor and imagine that he has the divine inheritance and we want to exchange our being for another’s. The other person serves as a mimetic model, but also as an obstacle. It is not possible to be that neighbor because he is occupying that existential space, generating hatred and resentment towards him.
Since one’s position in most hierarchies is based on competence, e.g., the hierarchy of plumbers, dismantling hierarchies means promoting the incompetent at the expense of the more accomplished. Allowing very smart and motivated people to be successful means that some people will become very rich, increasing inequality. But societies that permit this end up richer than those that do not. It is a good use of resources to provide them for those who can make the most of them and all will tend to benefit from the resulting success of scientists, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, etc.
Jordan Peterson notes that nurses are also remunerated and accorded status within a hierarchy. Are they part of the patriarchy? If not, why not? Is it only men who participate in patriarchy? Are the older more experienced nurses oppressing the younger ones? What is the difference between hierarchies of women versus hierarchies of men? None? Yes. So it would seem.
Feminism tends to denigrate all things associated with femininity. Since masculinity is the only other option, women want to seize this for themselves, only to find men already possess the lion’s share of the masculine traits. Men are both a mimetic model and an obstacle. Men are imagined to be the Tyrant King – creators of the patriarchy. And this turns women into the Evil Queen – the emasculating woman who seeks to denigrate men, to despise what they have done and to express contempt for half of the human race. It is imagined that all men’s achievements have been at the expense of women, excluding them from sharing in the treasure of accomplishment. It is true that necessary sex role divisions in the past will have had some dampening effect on female cultural achievement but less so than imagined. Evidence that men are illegitimate usurpers of women, it is imagined, can be seen by looking at those who have accomplished the most and have reached the heights of social status.
The fact is that men disproportionately occupy positions at both extremes – among the most successful and the least successful; in the bell curve “tails.”
Men are one standard deviation more aggressive than women. This makes very little difference with regard to most people. But it means that nearly all the most violent offenders are males – existing in the tails as outliers.
Men are 93% of prisoners, 60% of homeless, die younger, graduate from high school and college less frequently, suffer from hypertension, diabetes more, commit suicide at many times the rate of women, suffer from autism more frequently, and make up the majority of the severely mentally retarded.
Male intelligence is more widely dispersed than women – though the sexes have the same average intelligence. There are more at the top and more at the bottom. There is no reason to think this will ever change.
The thing is that both men and women care more about the welfare of women. Tania Reynolds in Half Hour of Heterodoxy points out that this holds true cross-culturally and she has the currently unpublished scientific research to prove it. It seems to be hard-wired into us. Women are biologically smaller and weaker than men, they are very vulnerable when pregnant and their mobility is restricted with little, helpless children to look after. Their lives are more important biologically because one man can impregnate many women, but a woman can only have one child at a time. If the female population is greatly reduced, the community will likely perish. Male life is thus regarded as cheap by comparison, and we send men off to fight in our wars.
C’est le vie. There is not necessarily any problem with this. It only becomes one when men and women start comparing hard luck stories. Both sexes are likely to side with women. A harm inflicted on a woman is simply regarded as worse than the same degree of harm suffered by a man.
Thus, feminism has a kind of siren call – inviting us to dash the relationship between the sexes on the rocks. Pointing at the men who occupy the very worst positions in society just has very little appeal and produces little concern or empathy.
After reading When One Sex Attacks the Other, Both Lose, one male student wrote “This article was so long and sexist, I couldn’t read it. Down with the patriarchy. You need to spend more time listening to the complaints of women, mate.” (The “mate” was thrown in as a gratuitous insult of over-familiarity connected to my Down Under origins since it is hardly an Americanism.) He also objected to my updated article on Why Men Earn More about the so-called wage gap. But all he could come up with was that it was not fair that women tend to spend more time on child-raising duties. Since women are more people oriented than men and are not judged by their job-related social status as much as men this is unlikely to change.
His confession that he had not actually bothered to read the article of course eliminates him from those who have any right to criticize it. The use of labels instead of arguments and resort to childish slogans are also illegitimate rhetorical moves.
A couple of the female students also objected to my argument that men and women have not in fact been at war with each other since the human species has existed, with the male sex devoting itself to the oppression of women. To fail to characterize men as acting exclusively or predominately in a hateful manner towards women since the human race began is currently regarded as “hate speech.” For evidence, see the protests of Warren Farrell’s lectures at a the University of Toronto.
One female student objected that “toxic masculinity” only refers to men who suppress their emotions in a way that conforms to social pressure to do so. The problem is that people who use this hateful phrase do not go on to describe beautiful, admirable, wonderful masculinity. At this moment in time, in discourse of this type, the only adjective ever uttered or written in this regard is the pejorative. The student claimed that this was a fair point.
Never mentioned is the fact that a surgeon, a paramedic, a soldier, a fireman will all quite appropriately suppress their emotions in times of crisis when fulfilling their savior role. Being “in touch with your feelings” is nice in some situations and pathological in others. And it is true that men who make very good saviors might be the very same ones who have trouble expressing emotion with their wives or girlfriends.
Anecdotally, I know two men who were excellent at confrontations. One had to defend his wife in no uncertain terms on a bus in Turkey from persistent unwanted sexual advances from a stranger. According to their wives, both men are terrible at discussing or even identifying their feelings or the feelings of their wives. It is difficult to be all things to all people. Simply eliminating so-called “toxic” masculinity would be likely to have undesirable unforeseen consequences were it even to be possible.
One thought that I had inspired by these reactions was that none of the students who embraced the “patriarchy” narrative can possibly have had a good relationship with their fathers. The idea that this male student comes from a well-functioning two parent family and that he has a really magnificent relationship with his dad seems extremely unlikely. It seems impossible that they go hunting together or that they share a love for astronomy and have spent countless hours examining the heavens and sharing knowledge from books on the subject. In my case, it would include reading to my son and supervising his music practice and with my father, discussing philosophy and theology and comparing ideas.
Just logically and emotionally – how could anyone claim that men suck while loving their father? At the very least, in their eyes, the father in order to be lovable would have to agree that men suck. Thus the father would hate his sons and the sons would hate their dads. No good relationship can be based on mutual contempt and hatred.
Anecdotally, two women I know have extrapolated from their own dads to all men, and the entire relationship between the sexes.
One woman had a very psychopathic sounding father who terrorized the entire family. She would be woken by him grabbing her by the hair and pulling. He would beat up his wife while the family watched. Despite otherwise being fairly conservative these experiences seem to have given her a very jaundiced view of the history of men and women.
Another woman had a father who worked all day and came home for dinner and to relax. The trouble was that his wife had also worked all day and then cooked that dinner and continued on into the evening with childcare duties. That was not fair. However, it is also not the norm in any society that I know of. It seemed to be the result of traditional sex roles not changing sufficiently for the new communist society that demanded that women worked outside the home.
With regard to the male student who imagines that I am unfamiliar with women’s complaints one of the things that gives him the upper hand in some ways is that he is presenting himself as a champion and defender of women. Ironically, he is conforming to the traditional male better than me. He is chivalrous and I am not. He is the knight in shining armor riding to rescue the damsel in distress and I am not. So indeed, I do feel on the back foot and am sensitive to the charge of lacking sensitivity!
It is he who is fulfilling the traditional role of men as the protector (and provider) for women, at least rhetorically. Of course, since he rejects this role as “sexist” his behavior is a performative contradiction AKA hypocritical.
What he has not noticed is that the first order of business for him should be to commit suicide since all men, without exception, belong to the oppressor class. Identity politics means judging someone by their immutable characteristics, not by his actions or character. There is no such thing as a good man on this view. Feminists do not look at each man as an individual and decide whether his actions have helped or hurt women – all men are condemned to the flames as participants in the imaginary patriarchy.
My argument that countless myths provide a more positive and accurate picture of the relationship between men and women; Adam and Eve, Plato’s myth of the globular origins of man, Heaven and Earth being separated to make a space for creatures to live and missing each other – as one frequently based on mutual love – and that men and women historically have needed to pull together just to get by and did not have the time or luxury of mutual antagonism, all of that is regarded as hateful. Men and women exist in a state of mutual dependence and, frequently, love.
In the past and today, intact families with a married father and mother who live together and cooperate in raising children have a much better track record according to just about every metric, than children raised by a single parent. Violence and drug use are reduced, eventual income is increased, classroom behavior and educational performance is improved, susceptibility to being bullied is reduced. 80% of violent offenders come from single parent families.
This notion is supposed to make me a sexist and a hater, while those who characterize the entire history of the sexes as entirely evil are what? Enlightened bringers of joy and happiness?
Self-flagellation and claims of mea culpa just for being male are the prerequisite to being the defender and protector of women in this context. But an emasculated, self-loathing male is in no position to help anyone; male or female. Logically, the only way of helping the world would be to rid it of his existence.
How odd to be judged by traditional standards of being the champion and defender of women by someone who utterly rejects that men have anything to contribute in that regard. But, like most other males, it is somewhat painful to be characterized as failing to live up to this ideal.
 I am told that Gustav Le Bon made similar comments.
 Peterson makes such points in the video.
Apparently, the word “patriarchy” started out life as a neutral description. Feminists have adapted it as part of a man-hating worldview.