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Jordan Peterson’s flounce

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Jordan Peterson has quit his tenured position on the University of Toronto faculty, and boy oh boy does he want you to know it’s because of the New Stalinism, aka Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which is Destroying Western Civilization:

My qualified and supremely trained heterosexual white male graduate students (and I’ve had many others, by the way) face a negligible chance of being offered university research positions, despite stellar scientific dossiers. This is partly because of Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity mandates (my preferred acronym: DIE). These have been imposed universally in academia, despite the fact that university hiring committees had already done everything reasonable for all the years of my career, and then some, to ensure that no qualified “minority” candidates were ever overlooked. My students are also partly unacceptable precisely because they are my students. I am academic persona non grata, because of my unacceptable philosophical positions. And this isn’t just some inconvenience. These facts rendered my job morally untenable. How can I accept prospective researchers and train them in good conscience knowing their employment prospects to be minimal?

Second reason: This is one of many issues of appalling ideology currently demolishing the universities and, downstream, the general culture. Not least because there simply is not enough qualified BIPOC people in the pipeline to meet diversity targets quickly enough (BIPOC: black, indigenous and people of colour, for those of you not in the knowing woke). This has been common knowledge among any remotely truthful academic who has served on a hiring committee for the last three decades. This means we’re out to produce a generation of researchers utterly unqualified for the job. And we’ve seen what that means already in the horrible grievance studies “disciplines.” That, combined with the death of objective testing, has compromised the universities so badly that it can hardly be overstated. And what happens in the universities eventually colours everything. As we have discovered.

And if you think this is just a problem at the crazy universities, where crazy people jam DEI down the throats of innocent white totally heterosexual manful and masculine men, boy are you wrong:

And for those of you who think that I am overstating the case, or that this is something limited in some trivial sense to the universities, consider some other examples: This report from Hollywood, cliched hotbed of “liberal” sentiment, for example, indicates just how far this has gone. In 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscar people) embarked on a five-year plan (does that ring any historical bells?) “to diversify our organization and expand our definition of the best,” They did so in an attempt which included developing “new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars,” to, hypothetically, “better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.” What fruit has this initiative, offspring of the DIE ideology, borne? According to a recent article, penned by Peter Kiefer and Peter Savodnik, but posted on former NY Times’ journalist Bari Weiss’s Common Sense website (and Weiss left the Times, because of the intrusion of radical left ideology into that newspaper, just as Tara Henley did recently, vis a vis the CBC): “We spoke to more than 25 writers, directors, and producers — all of whom identify as liberal, and all of whom described a pervasive fear of running afoul of the new dogma. … How to survive the revolution? By becoming its most ardent supporter. … Suddenly, every conversation with every agent or head of content started with: Is anyone BIPOC attached to this?”

And this is everywhere — and if you don’t see it, your head is either in the sand or shoved somewhere far more unmentionable. CBS, for example, has literally mandated that every writers’ room be at least 40 per cent BIPOC in 2021 (50 per cent in 2022).

Peterson’s rant isn’t completely wrongheaded in every detail: for example, there are good reasons to be suspicious of the actual value of canned DEI “trainings” of university faculty, conducted by HR people whose qualifications for undertaking such interventions are often questionable or non-existent. Addressing structural discrimination isn’t an easy or straightforward thing. But this is all a very easy and straightforward subject as far Jordan Peterson, academic expert in social psychology, is concerned:

Need I point out that this is insane ? Even the benighted New York Times has its doubts. A headline from August 11, 2021: Are Workplace Diversity Programs Doing More Harm than Good? In a word, yes.

This is actually a complicated issue, but Best Selling Author and YouTube Personality Jordan Peterson doesn’t do complexity anymore.

Which brings up the awkward point that for several years now Jordan Peterson seems to have had a more than full-time job doing stuff which is only very loosely or not at all connected to his professional obligations as a member of a university faculty. I more than suspect that he’s quitting because his actual job — Best Selling Author and YouTube Personality etc. etc. — has made his putative job as an academic increasingly burdensome, so he’s dumping the latter in the most self-dramatizing performance of utterly fake martyrdom possible (See Weiss, Bari, and the New York Times for a master class in the discipline).

As to the substance of Peterson’s rant, here’s a question I’d like to ask him: Does he think standards in academia, Hollywood, the corporate world — he has a diatribe about that too in there — are lower now than they were a few decades ago, when essentially all the powerful and high-paying jobs in these fields were reserved for white men? I mean that seems pretty implausible, doesn’t it? (Or maybe not: if you’re a big fan of white supremacy and patriarchy it probably seems self-evidentially true).

I’ve spent almost all of the last 45 years or so in academia, as a student and then a faculty member, and it’s obvious to me that hiring standards for faculty, as well as admissions standards for students at selective universities, are astronomically higher than they were in the mid-1970s, when the very first clammy pincers of the dreaded affirmative action lobster began to close upon the heretofore chummy world of Pure Merit-Based Decision Making. This is a product of the fact that, to the extent that you open elite positions to the entire population — we of course are barely beginning to do this — there are going to be vastly more great people available for good or great jobs than there are such jobs to be filled.

As for Hollywood, note that the self-evidently insane idea that 40% of the writers’ room at CBS should be non-white is being promulgated in a nation where (checks notes) approximately 40% of the general population, and considerably more than 40% of the population in age cohorts that dominate writers rooms, is in fact non-white, assuming Hispanic/Latino people aren’t white, which I’m pretty sure they aren’t in the Peterson Cinematic Universe.

The chef’s kiss is that you’ll never guess who Peterson’s ultimate authority for the craziness of all this is. He quotes the social critic in question at length:

The advocates of so-called ‘social progress’ believe they are introducing humanity to some kind of a new and better consciousness. Godspeed, hoist the flags, as we say, go right ahead. The only thing that I want to say now is that their prescriptions are not new at all. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already. After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also said that they would change existing ways and customs, and not just political and economic ones, but the very notion of human morality and the foundations of a healthy society. The destruction of age-old values, religion, and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones — all this was proclaimed progress and, by the way, was widely supported around the world back then and was quite fashionable, same as today. By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs.

This, I believe, should call to mind some of what we are witnessing now. Looking at what is happening in a number of Western countries, we are amazed to see the domestic practices — which we, fortunately, have left, I hope — in the distant past. The fight for equality and against discrimination has turned into aggressive dogmatism bordering on absurdity, when the works of the great authors of the past — such as Shakespeare — are no longer taught at schools or universities, because their ideas are believed to be backward. The classics are declared backward and ignorant of the importance of gender or race. In Hollywood, memos are distributed about proper storytelling and how many characters of what color or gender should be in a movie. This is even worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

See if you can guess who that is before you click on the link to Peterson’s article.

And by all means, pass the tanning butter.

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