Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us


So, you might remember a series of posts I did about Jordan Peterson, now famous psychology professor from Canada, about his philosophy of life. I wrote about him here and here and here.

You might also remember that Jordan Peterson was invited to the podcast of Sam Harris, of which I wrote about here and elaborated here. That podcast made me very, very conflicted. Because I think that Peterson is right, and Harris is wrong. But Peterson makes absolutely no sense in the podcasts, neither the first or second; while Harris is eloquent and logical and just sounds smarter. Or at the very least easier to understand. Peterson just sounds like a broken record of a snake's oil salesman pitch. But make no mistake about it: Peterson is right. Harris is wrong. The problem is he isn't capable of explaining it in a way that makes sense so that he can win the argument. Now they made a second podcast; and while it's better, it's still far from persuasive.

Well, allow me to win the argument for him. And I'll do it for 1% of his Patreon salary. Nah, I'll do it for free. Sam Harris deserves being proved wrong. That's the least I can do for his good cadence of speech and the clarity of his thought.

So the two men are basically arguing about ethics: how should human people behave in society. Peterson goes on his by now familiar shtick about evolution and lobster serotonin and archetypes and Horus and Set. Harris answers that all that's very good as biology or history perhaps; but not as ethics. We're trying to come up with a system of morals, with rules of behavior; an accurate explanation of human nature, to the extent that Peterson's explanation is accurate, doesn't help there. And that's because really existing humans have had, and some still have, pretty fucked up systems of morality. Read some ethnographies and you'll find out plenty of stone age tribes with unbelievably stupid religions (i.e. beliefs about ghosts and stuff) and appalling behavior towards one another. My personal favorite are the lip plate wearers in East Africa. And of course, Harris is an outspoken enemy of Islam; and surely if you're an Enlightened, blue-pill, 1960s guy, Muslim societies today are in general quite appalling.

Harris' argument, which you can listen to from about 48:00 in the Youtube clip, is that appalling societies just have "failed science". Their religion is a way of figuring things out: but they're wrong. They're mistaken, and so they do bad things, and their societies suck. If they only knew the truth, the Scientific Truth as discovered by Western Civilization, their societies would flourish and they'd all be as nice as Scott Alexander at a gaypride parade.

This argument is, of course, as old as sin. It's moral intellectualism. That's Socrates' idea. People do bad things because they are ignorant. We should strive to know more so that we can be good. How do we know more? By asking questions and having a Socratic dialogue. Rince, repeat, then have Socrates executed for being annoying as hell.

It doesn't occur to Harris that, even granting the Whig theory of history, that humankind progressed from ignorance to wisdom on a straight line, and things get better that way, that truth needs to be sold . There's this thing in linguistics called diachrony and synchrony. Diachrony is watching the evolution of a language through time. Synchrony is watching to a language as it currently exists. You can take a synchronic look at the world today: and you'll see that while Western Civilization has used Science™ to get to this pinnacle of wisdom and morality, there are plenty of other societies out there who aren't buying it. They could buy it. Some even were buying it 50 years ago. But they're not buying it now. And they're right there, looking at us, kinda envying our technology and our wealth: but they're still not buying it. These guys are out there and they don't give a crap about we knowing the truth while they are suffering in falsehood.

And why aren't they buying it? Peterson should have explained this to him. I guess it's what he wanted to explain to him all along. The guy is a creative one and he very often finds it hard to put things into words. He should speak less and write more. He'd find it easier to make coherent arguments. Alas he gets paid infinite times more to speak than I get paid to write, so I don't blame him there. But the point is that the Scientific Truth does not matter when you try to arrange a society. Not only it does not matter; pervasive knowledge of truth quite likely is deleterious for societal harmony. You basically can't have a society, not a long-lasting one anyway, if the truth is widely known.

You may have noticed that after centuries of the scientific method; most people, i.e. 70% of the population don't give a crap. Homeopathy is still around. People believe in all sort of crap; and they're not even consistent about it. Why don't people care about the truth? Because, as Peterson said, what people care about is what their biological drives have them care about; and those biological drives have evolved over millions of years. What they tell us to care about is what people across age and culture care about; and you can discover that by reading their myths and stories. What they care about is the survival of the tribe as a unit, i.e. the resiliency of their society. What makes the group function. And sex; how to get those picky annoying women to notice you individually. Here, I spared you 20 hours of Jordan Peterson's Youtube clips. That is his argument.

Actually Sam Harris makes his own counterargument when he claims that the fact of human evolution has no place in a system of ethics, because if so anybody who understood Darwin would spend his whole life in a sperm bank so that he could have the maximum number of descendants. Yes, indeed. A society which placed high value on scientific knowledge would have people do exactly that. People want to win. Certainly guys want to win. But a society in which people understood in very clear terms that human females only mate with high-status men, and the status is a zero-sum game; well that wouldn't be a very cooperative society, would it. And so humans have evolved to put a lid over all that stuff, which is kinda obvious when you think about it. But seeing the obvious is not what human nature is about. We wouldn't be here if it were. Human nature is about coming up with bullshit, believing it and sticking to it, so that we can all get along.

Now there's a lot of ways of getting along. Some people put 10 inch diameter plates inside our lower lips. Some people have women wear burkas while they shove their dicks in the anus of 12 year old boys. Some give high public status to women, while actually paying money to high-IQ code monkeys, who then can't get laid, then dress like women so they can get the status, and allow this men to use the women's restroom, which women hate but can't complain because... I'm not really sure about that one.

Sam Harris wants a new system of ethics: well then he first must understand how systems of ethics came to exist. Peterson knows something about that. Then you can argue, indeed, that some ways of getting along are better than others. But the truth argument just doesn't make sense. You can't just drop the truth on a stone age tribe and expect they'll come out next day as Californian 140 IQ Jews. Two reasons for that. The present American culture that Harris finds so dear wasn't produced by the truth. It was produced by the Blue Pill. Which contains some truth, and a lot of made up unfalsifiable crap. That is, a lot of religion. And, as it happens, the society the blue pill produced is collapsing before our eyes. Peterson knows something about that too.

What we need is two things. One, ironically, is what Harris says he wants, but doesn't actually want. The truth. The red pill. The other is some other stuff, not quite true, to put inside the red pill and make it sweeter. Else people won't take it. People like sweet pills. That's how we evolved.

By the way it's the content of this second pill that Peterson wants to call "truth". That which works. And yeah, ok, you can put that on the package. That's probably good salesmanship. But first we have to make it. And you sure as hell shouldn't be telling people at this stage that what we call truth isn't really the truth.


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  • "This argument is, of course, as old as sin. It’s moral intellectualism. That’s Socrates’ idea. People do bad things because they are ignorant. We should strive to know more so that we can be good. How do we know more? By asking questions and having a Socratic dialogue. Rince, repeat, then have Socrates executed for being annoying as hell." I feel compelled to come to Socrates' defense, at least a little bit. Or rather, Plato's. Whenever I read any of these passages in Plato where Socrates talks about or asks about how to be virtuous, and constructs it as a kind of knowledge, I always consider that he's being esoteric. By which I mean he intends for this explanation to remain hidden from the masses and to only be imparted to his inner circle of students. That's not because the idea is dangerous (though it is), but because the idea is only even potentially right about the sorts of people who could read and enjoy Plato. Plato's not making claims about the way the great mass of humanity works, but only about how the best of the best of the aristocracy works (or can work, or should work). To be blunt, he's not saying people are capable of changing their minds and their ways based upon reason, but that SOME people are, and that those same people are the true philosophers. Witness counter-examples in Meno and Euthyphro, one of whom inquires but does not change, and the other of whom never even bothers. This is often confused because at the same time (and often in the same place) Plato claims that all people, from slaves to sophists to oracles to rhapsodists, are capable of reason and knowledge. But he doesn't (I don't think) make the claim that all of these people are capable of following the Good by the light of Reason (or by the light of Reason alone). Of course there are still important ways in which he is wrong. I'm just not convinced that he's guilty of the mistake you pin on him. Not exactly. (Honesty check: this is a self-flattering position to take on the matter.)

    • The problem with moral intellectualism is that it provides the excuse for funding the educational establishment. I'm sure if he saw our universities he would agree to change the argument.

      • That seems doubly wrong to me. First off, let's underline this: Rhetocrates is saying _Socrates wasn't a "moral intellectualist"_, and I agree. Socrates was an expert at exposing the inchoate errors of his companions by taking those errors seriously and treating them as consistent doctrines. But secondly, when Socrates gets down to explaining _what makes people behave morally or immorally_, he says it's the structure of their psyche plus years and years of training in the customs of their tribe, its myths, and even its characteristic musical rhythms. Which doesn't sound like a moral intellectualist account at all, hm? And given that that is what Socrates thinks educational establishments do (which sounds pretty accurate to me...), moral intellectualism would even justify education funding anyway.

      • Spandrell, I don't disagree about its role in our current political milieu. I don't exactly see what that has to do with what I said, though.

        • Even granting Plato was esoteric, the fact is that he sold more knowledge as the way to achieving better social morality. The thing with esotericism is that the common people are never let in the joke; so they will argue for more education in general.

      • Wow I was surprised to read anyone thought Harris was more eloquent in the second discussion. I left feeling the exact opposite. I could concede that Harris is easier to understand the same way a plain hamburger patty is easier to understand compared to a four course meal at Eleven Madison Park. I was literally thinking "man this guy is lapping Harris" as I was listening. Peterson's explanations, knowledge base, methodology and conclusions where so much more complex and nuanced than Harris clumsy yea but "Islam is THE mother load of bad ideas If only they would listen to reason" ( forget for a moment that the base of his "reason" are the Judeo-Christian principles of morality) as Peterson alluded at one point. I think you're right though Harris needs to sell his ideas better if he wants to supplant religion with his version of reason. Unfortunately he's to conceited and deems religious people stupid rather than religion as the winner in a competition for ideas that actually work the best for the practical purposes their day to day lives. The odd thing does he think there where no ideas that Christianity or Islam had to supplant. The allure of their ideas won out through every era of technological advancement and continue to do so. They beat out ideas when people had risk their lives walking village to village and Harris has the internet and still can't make a dent lol

  • Socrates' argument is only subtly wrong. He believed that folk would change what they want if they were better informed. But, per Hume, what folk want is pre-rational. Arational. Preferences are essentially brute facts of conscious beings. However, cooperation is almost always rational, defection irrational. If folk knew more, they would change how they get what they want, and the change would be eucivic. However, seeing in the moment how cooperation is rational often has IQ thresholds. Folk have tried quote 'deontologies' to fix this, rules that even dumbos can understand and follow, that are good enough. But then the smarties realize the rules are irrational...and conclude morality is irrational, instead of the particular set of rules. More precisely, when a midwit wants to defect, they can notice the rule is wrong and justify it to themselves. And anyway, the underclass, which has the real issue with defection, can't even follow the simplified rules. Deontology is thusly unstable. Ref: read today's newspaper. The obvious solution is explicit elitism. Different rulesets for different folk, depending on their ability to recognize the rationality of cooperation. This appears to be particularly vulnerable to Sophism. Hence I expect there's no solution. Plain steel!Socrates one is best. Just let the lower classes drown in their own filth, because the alternative is letting everyone drown in their own filth.

    • I'd disagree. The best solution proposed to date, so far as I can see it, is the Scholastic idea of the will. (Pre-Luther, thanks very much.) This differs significantly from Hegelian conscience by being rooted in the objective truth and goodness of God, but differs from neoPlatonist moral intellectualism (cf Plotinus) by nevertheless being a personal, non-rational movement of the individual spirit (informed, of course, by culture and background). Which leaves me puzzled as to the exact meaning of your comment, since I'm pretty sure you're all aboard the Scholastic philosophy train. Maybe I've misunderstood?

      • How is Scholastic philosophy not a deontology and thus subject to the same theoretical problems?

    • Caste systems were quite strong against Sophism. 17th Japan had one; China didn't. China had orders of magnitude more sophism than Japan. Not even close.

        • On the contrary, I think it's rather defensible to suggest Hanjals are the most accepting of caste systems. The caveat being: They must be foreign imports.

        • Hajnals already have a caste system. It's not quite hereditary yet, but give it a couple more decades. The OVs may resent the Bs, but resenting higher caste bastards behind their back is normal for the lower castes (don't tell me XVII century Japanese peasants didn't resent the samurai), as is higher castes despising the lower caste brutes while paying lip service to the notion that all castes have their role to play.

          • It's already noticeably hereditary. For instance, the multi-generational "protection" guys, soldiers and police officers, already have a distinct phenotype. Also, something like 80% of children with the innate ability to make it through Cathedral institutions and be minted Bs are descendents of Bs themselves. That number is going up all the time, and has been since McGeorge Bundy and Nathan Pusey made Harvard admissions "merit-based" in the 50s and 60s.

    • Cooperation is not "almost always" rational, or the teeming hordes of Third-World monkeys would almost always cooperate. Laws and religion are just patch updates; if cooperation were so great as you claim, natural selection would swoop in and within a millennia or two the Third World would be just as nice and trustworthy as the First. In other words, it would have happened by now. So why not? Because tournament mating is zero sum, always and forever. If cooperation is "let's both help each other and be a lot better off" and defection is "I'll screw you and be little bit off and you'll be a lot worse off", defection isn't just about bettering yourself, it's about _putting down the other guy_, smiling, laughing, and sucking a stolen lollipop while grinding your newly-subjugated Darwinian competitor into the dirt with your boot-heel. The solution remains the same as it always was and forever will be: one man, one woman, for life, no exceptions.

      • Low IQs don't into the long term. I can analytically prove it. If the evidence looks wrong to you, it means you don't understand the evidence.

        • Cooperation, altruism, and time preference are independent of raw intelligence (IQ) if Gnon demands it.

          • "Space flight is biologically possible if Gnon demands it." I expect to see whales farting themselves to the stars any day now.

            • NEAsians: high IQ, no altruism, no social trust, no communal property. Across China, in innumerable apartment complexes of well-off Party apparatchiks, the residents spend literally years traveling in their pitch-black elevators because the elevator lights are burnt out. If they spent the $3 for the light bulb, their neighbors would be getting it for free. If they're they're lucky, a white guy moves in, and fixes it.

        • Cooperation is complicated, and made more complicated by subtle forms of defection. A religion that lays down a bunch of rules that provide a framework for cooperation and then says "God commanded this"is helpful And one of the biggest things is the no coveting rule, which we have substantially abandoned. Coveting has become the highest of virtues.

          • The underclass isn't even smart enough to avoid the obvious forms of defection. It is easier to destroy than to create. As IQ rises into the midwit range, the subtle forms of defection become visible before the corresponding subtle forms of cooperation. The no coveting rule was abandoned because the mid-high wit can understand the flaws of the no-coveting rule, but not the truth which should replace it. Subsequently, the coveting behaviour of the mid-high becomes high status and thus cascades through the lower IQ orders via mimicry. Or rather, it can understand it, but only the way carpenters become numerate. Though hard work, which they see no incentive to perform, unlike the way the carpenter gets fired if they can't weigh and measure.

            • Intelligence tends to go along with prosocial traits because, for the most part, the intelligence was selected for by the same selective pressures as the prosocial traits. If natural selection decides to select for hyperintelligent evil, Futurama yourself a millennium or two into the future, and see the hyperintelligent evil you shall.

  • A reasonable, and ancient, interpretation of original sin is that it gives rise to all the unpleasant truths of evolutionary psychology and economics. Capitalism is right not because every socialist experiment fails horribly, but because God ordained private property in the means of production and that a man should work for his own bread and the bread of his family. Socialist experiments fail because the experimenters "think themselves wiser than God" Socialism is wrong because it is heresy and sinful pride, not because no one person knows how to make a pencil. Socialists are wicked because they set themselves above God, rather than wicked because they set themselves above the kulak who knows how to farm and the businessman who makes pencils. Women are rightly subordinate to men and naturally inclined to be subordinate to their husbands because of the punishment of Eve, not because rebellious women who become lawyers and CEOs have markedly fewer offspring than humble women who submit to their husbands, not because natural selection produced women with an inclination towards men who can make them obey and submit. If men realize that women go for the few highest status males, and that female perceptions of status are alarmingly primitive (the guy in the corner office is apt to miss out, while the guy in prison for rape, murder and such scores like a bandit) then things are likely to become difficult, with men dropping out except for those that engage in organized violence to overthrow our society. The cure for that, is of course, seizing and redistributing the means of reproduction. You price control pussy down, and then deal with the resulting shortage by rationing to one per customer. But for this to work you have to understand that chastity and monogamy are male plots against women, which have to be imposed patriarchally by men on women against their vigorous resistance. The blue pill, that women are just naturally angels led to Victorians failing to control their women, which led to the welfare state (Oliver Twist was bastard) Old Christianity already provides moral truths consistent with what a few high IQ philosophers understand society needs.

  • There are some additional sources of insight in this debate. There is Robert Pirsig's concepts of dynamic and static quality - Both are needed. The dynamic quality for seeing the brand new and the static quality (tradition) for maintaining it. Interestingly both Pirsig and Peterson get a lot of inspiration from the american pragmatist tradition. The other is fairly straightforward - skin in the game patchwork. If liberals seek to invite refugees, then let them invite them into the liberal patch alone. The reactionary patch isn't affected.

    • >The other is fairly straightforward – skin in the game patchwork. If liberals seek to invite refugees, then let them invite them into the liberal patch alone. The reactionary patch isn’t affected. The problem with this is that you're assuming liberal patch just want's a social experiment based on genuine affection for the refugees. Many liberals are quite honest in their determination to subdue their native opponents, therefor if you allow them to import a Mameluke army, it could soon be mobilized against the reactionary patch. Even assuming some or most of the liberal patch was not operating under those pretenses, it would not be difficult to imagine an overwhelmed liberal patch falling into the hands of imported militant elements and thereby becoming a major threat to reactionary patch.

  • >We’re trying to come up with a system of morals "Come up with a system of morals"? You're coming on the tail end of about 225 years of guys trying to do that, from Rousseau to Comte all the way to the present "ethicists." All the results thus far have been awful, and a lot of those guys had more brainpower than anything one can see on the alt right today. Sure you want to keep throwing good money after bad? >And that’s because really existing humans have had, and some still have, pretty fucked up systems of morality. No need to go to the Sudan or the Aztec empire for examples. In the US, 50 million babies have been aborted in the last 50 years, and old people get stashed in senior citizen homes to rot alive and be abused by nurses' aides, and the rest of the West is no different. All built according to scientific social engineering principles, designed by the brightest minds around. >Their religion is a way of figuring things out: but they’re wrong. They’re mistaken, and so they do bad things, and their societies suck. First they suck, then they go extinct, at a speed proportional to how badly they suck. >It doesn’t occur to Harris that, even granting the Whig theory of history, that humankind progressed from ignorance to wisdom on a straight line, and things get better that way, that truth needs to be sold . No, truth needs to be sought and suffered for. That which can be sold is not truth, by definition, and the truth can't outsell a lie. Why do you think the biggest religion of the modern world is Hollywood? >You basically can’t have a society, not a long-lasting one anyway, if the truth is widely known. This is Plato's theory-the Noble Lie. Strangely, the Greeks did not do very well applying it, and neither did any of their modern-day descendants (the populist governments of the 19th and 20th centuries all subscribed to it in one way or another, and I think the elitist societies which run the modern West like Skull and Bones and Rhodes' group all did quite explicitly.) I think it's the opposite-you can't have a successful and long-lasting society which is NOT based on everyone knowing the truth. >You may have noticed that after centuries of the scientific method; most people, i.e. 70% of the population don’t give a crap. Homeopathy is still around. Right-despite the scientific method being blasted out of every megaphone, people persist in distrusting it. This is a sign of popular wisdom, actually. Throughout most of the existence of modern medicine, it was more likely to kill you than doing nothing or using some sort of placebo-based treatment. I'm talking about puerperal fever and things of that sort. Things have not gotten much better outside of trauma medicine, obstetrics and surgery. Pharmacological research is irredeemably garbaged up by pharma companies' marketing and bribery: Staying away from doctors and medicine except for emergency events and childbirth is a sign of intelligence. I am also reminded of a college professor of mine, an Idiot, Yet Intellectual, who went on at length about game theory, and how us religious settlers are behaving in a non-game-theoretical way. Eventually, he complained about how his wife also did not behave game-theoretically, and how this perplexed him. >But a society in which people understood in very clear terms that human females only mate with high-status men, and the status is a zero-sum game; well that wouldn’t be a very cooperative society, would it. This would be a very stupid society, because it would be based on the sort of lie that only guys who buy PUA e-books are dumb enough to believe. Human females actually mate with all sorts of men, of all sorts of status, for all sorts of reasons. The kind that only mate with high status males are idiotic prostitutes and do not tend to raise many children to functional, reproductive adulthood. A man's status changes throughout his life and generally men have more children earlier on, before they gain significant wealth and power. Actually, anyone who had read his Darwin would understand that. For instance, in Descent of Man, when he discusses lek-based mating systems in birds, he talks about how occasionally, the female will elope with a younger and less spectacular specimen while the mature and spectacular males are absorbed in their contests. How much more humans! >Sam Harris wants a new system of ethics: well then he first must understand how systems of ethics came to exist. Peterson knows something about that. No, he doesn't. He has a bunch of just-so stories: How The Elephant Got His Trunk, and How The Lobster Got Hooked On Serotonin. >You can’t just drop the truth on a stone age tribe and expect they’ll come out next day as Californian 140 IQ Jews. You can, however, drop seductive lies on Californian 140 IQ Jews and expect that in a few generations they will go extinct. And for high-IQ people, positivism is the most seductive lie, which is why it does so well in the Ivy Leagues. >anybody who understood Darwin would spend his whole life in a sperm bank so that he could have the maximum number of descendants. Have you ever read Darwin? Honestly, please. "Say what you will about National Socialism, dude, at least it was an ethos." Darwin doesn't discuss maximizing the number of one's descendants as an ethical goal, and certainly didn't live in a way that suggests that he saw this as his ethical goal. Further, evolutionary fitness is determined in the long term. You'd be better off having ten kids with one woman and raising them in a system of ethics and morals which would maximize the odds of each one having ten kids and raising them in the same system of ethics and morals, etc., then spawning 1000 kids with various childless lesbians wielding turkey basters, since the vast majority of those kids would grow up dysfunctional and childless, and in a few generations, there would be little genetic trace of you left.

      • I don't think anybody is selling the truth, because it's not for sale. Get it through your head-what is for sale is, by definition, not the truth. Don't you ever open the Tao Te Ching? There are ways to get to the truth, and I do think the Torah is the right way to get to a truth that can be used by a nation (not individual stoics and hermits.) I'm not a fan of Peterson because his philosophy is just-so stories, most recently addressed by Stove in his Evolutionary Fairy Tales, and prior to that, Carlyle (when he talks about Pig Philosophy.) If I wanted that stuff, I think Scott Adams sells it in a more entertaining form.

        • I'm more into Zhuangzi. So know it's "a" truth, huh. Good one. You may have noticed that the stories that Peterson is telling are your stories. He deals on Old Testament stuff. You could show some appreciation.

          • If a used car dealer quotes the Bible in order to move product, should we be flattered? I'm not much into dealership. As for "a truth"-this is not something new. One midrash (allegorical tradition) says "the Torah has 70 faces." Another says this: "Rabbi Shimon said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, came to create Adam, the ministering angels formed themselves into groups and parties, some of them saying, 'Let him be created/ whilst others urged, 'Let him not be created'. Thus it is written, Love and Truth fought together, Righteousness and Peace combated each other (Ps. lxxxv, n) 1 : Love said, 'Let him be created, because he will dispense acts of love'; Truth said, 'Let him not be created, because he is compounded of falsehood' ; Righteousness said, 'Let him be created, because he will perform righteous deeds'; Peace said, 'Let him not be created, because he is full of strife.' What did the Lord do? He took Truth and cast it to the ground. Said the ministering angels before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe ! Why dost Thou despise Thy seal? Let Truth arise from the earth!' Hence it is written, Let truth spring up from the earth." In other words, there is a truth which is shattered into many pieces by the reality in which we exist, as a necessary condition of our existence as men. But truth does exist.

              • I doubt in 2000 years anyone will care what you, me or Jordan Peterson had to say. If Rabbi Shimon's words are still studied today, it's because there is something to them. Oh, look, another 5000 word NrX manifesto!

                • "are studied". Oh, passive voice. Studied by whom? By his co-ethnics. His words are part of the canon of a stubborn ethnocentric tribe. To the extent that I have any readers is because some people would like to share with me a stubborn ethnocentric tribe. Not likely, I'll grant you. But who knows.

                  • Well, they have to be studied by somebody, they can't study themselves. And you have it backwards: our stubborn "ethnocentric" (whatever that means-we have Jews who look like you, and Jews who look like your Asian spouse) tribe has continued in existence since the time or Rabbi Shimon because we continue to study his words and those of his colleagues, and implement them. Many thousands of other stubborn ethnocentric tribes have come and go. To the extent that you have readers, it's because you have something new and interesting to write. But it's getting pretty repetitive lately-Gnon, Jordan Peterson, etc.

            • Rabbi Shimon is not studied today. Rather he is used as a hook on which twenty first century rabbis hang twenty first century Judaism, to give their rapidly mutating faith the appearance of age.

              • Thank you for your incisive and profound analysis, James! As a Jew, I never knew how corrupt and stupid we were until you opened my eyes. Perhaps you'll expand more on your other revolutionary thesis of how prepubescent girls come on to you all the time? And perhaps more on your grand predictions of how President Trump will launch a military coup and declare a monarchy in March? A man of such depth (and breadth) should share it more with the world.

                  • I'm referring to things James has said in public on his blog. Why is it snarky to bring them up? If you allow James to say that Jews are, as a nation, dishonest and stupid (incapable of even understanding what our own texts say,) why do you object to me bringing up other things James has said so that others can judge whether to take him seriously in this case? It's your blog and your rules, of course, and if you prefer me to comment elsewhere-no problem, the Internet is a big place-let me know. But be consistent.

                    • Oh fucking please. Jim didn't say that. He may have implied that, but that is none of my business. You on the other hand mocked him quite overtly. And that's bad manners. I do sympathize with your Ordeal of Civility, but try to reconduct your snark in a way acceptable in Christian society.

                    • > If you allow James to say that Jews are, as a nation, dishonest and stupid (incapable of even understanding what our own texts say) You are perfectly capable of understanding your own texts, but regrettably are outstandingly clever in torturing them to say whatever you want them to say today, with a disturbing lack of concern for what you tortured them to say yesterday.

                  • He implied it quite clearly, and explicitly stated it below (excuse me, I guess we're not stupid but rather just very cleverly dishonest.) My mockery consisted in mentioning his wildly wrong prognoses and also claims that prepubescent girls routinely signal their sexual availability to him. Do either of these make you slightly uncomfortable or weigh your judgement? I don't know what Christian society you're running here-I thought you were a freethinking Gnonian? It's amazing that the various earnest representatives of the Cathedral like Aaronson and Alexander have freer comments sections than you do. How about this: I'm going to continue commenting as I feel appropriate. It raises my serotonin, and just like a lobster, I enjoy it. And if you'd like to ban me, just say so, and you can enjoy a comments section free of my snark.

                  • The Shabbat had been over for hours. You know I wouldn't violate it to argue with you guys-that's the death penalty!

            • What kind do of truth is it, and how does one achieve it? It seems to me that you talk of something approaching Kierkegaard's subjective truth, i.e. a faith that requires objective uncertainty and inwardness in order to exist. Not the pragmatist truth of what works, but a passionate, individual one - it is a bit confusing when people converse using unclear and different definitions, yes?

              • The truth of the Torah is the absolute and unconditioned truth, which goes beyond the objective and subjective. The fact that we can only gather pieces of it, as can be seen from the above midrash, doesn't make it less true; being engaged in the activity of honestly finding it through the Torah is what keeps us alive as a people. So it is pragmatic. And it is also individual-it has 70 faces, as mentioned above, it has mystical and rationalistic interpretations, and it has different sets of commandments for men, women, kings, priests, judges, warriors, farmers and merchants, slaves and free men, for Jews and non-Jews, etc. Which doesn't mean that it's subjective in the sense that for some people pig is kosher and you can go for a drive on Shabbat, in the sense that Protestantism is subjective and for some people Jesus is a Communist and for others he's a Puritan merchant.

                • > being engaged in the activity of honestly finding it through the Torah is what keeps us alive as a people. The activity that I see is torturing the text of previous text tortures of the torah to make it consistent with the exile society of each generation, so that every time the dominant culture changes, the torah changes. This is not honest, not respectful to your holy texts, and it develops in Jews a tendency to treat promises, bets, citations used in arguments, and contracts in the same disrespectful fashion as they treat their holy books. When someone gets pissed with you for reinterpreting the content of a citation in the same manner as you reinterpret your holy books, this does not reflect well on your treatment of your holy books. Jews do display some resistance to the dominant culture, but in the course of necessary accommodation, stand the Torah on its head and make it do somersaults. You should have issued one new meta rule: That Jews in exile shall respect the moral requirements of current exile society and that rabbis can temporarily issue new rules reflecting 2017, temporarily overriding Torah. But instead you dig into the Torah and discover that Moses on the mountain top received 2017 orally from God and that early iron age cattle herders lived according to 2017 rules. Protestants decided that they would simply allow themselves to reinterpret the bible and take guidance from the holy spirit without regard for the previous two thousand years of interpretation and guidance from the holy spirit, which position had and is continuing to have very bad consequences, though perhaps not quite as bad as Roman Catholics having a heretic for a pope, but Jews were too clever by half, and proceeded to have it both ways: that today's rabbinic consensus could make black white, up down, and evil good regardless of yesterday's rabbinic consensus, and that the rabbis were supposedly not doing any of that. That the rabbis are supposedly not doing any of that does slow your accommodation to the twenty first century slightly, but not by much. The defect of the protestant position is that it provides no resistance at all to modernity. The Roman Catholic position gives a single point of failure where the State Department can and does apply pressure. The Jewish position does give rather more resistance to modernity than the protestant position, but has the defect that it results in the notorious Jewish tendency to creatively interpret bets, contracts, and citations.

                  • Man, you really must have missed me since I left your blog comments section due to your continued dishonesty. Tell you what, pay up that bottle you owe me and I'll give you the privilege of a conversation.

                    • You owe me a bottle, because exactly as I predicted orthodox Jews yielded on gay marriage while pretending they are not yielding. The deal was that I win if there is something that looks rather like gay marriage in something that looks rather like an orthodox synagogue, and the orthodox fail to scream and shout that it is not so. What the orthodox Jews are doing is preserving a fig leaf of ambiguity so that they can be good progressives to the Cathedral and good Jews to the congregation - which is as I predicted. The fig leaf will wither up and fail to conceal anything, but will never be quite discarded, just as Jews combined the legal substance and outward form of Christian marriage with the legal formality of a bill of sale and never quite discarded the bill of sale. They quietly and furtively tell their congregation it is not orthodox Jewish gay marriage - but not so loudly that the Cathedral might hear them.

                  • I am not criticizing Judaism because I have it in for Jews. I am criticizing Judaism because you just claimed to be faithful to your holy books - unlike protestants who get to approach their holy books fresh every year, and unlike Roman Catholics, whose Vatican has been subservient to the dominant political power ever since Rome was sacked by Charles the fifth, and is today subservient to the state department, which is subservient to Harvard, hence the Pope kisses the feet of AIDS infested homosexual transvestite prostitutes. On the whole, I would rather have a text torturer than someone who kisses the feet of gay whores or someone who adopts black kids as a status symbol and celebrates single mothers, but I don't like text torture either.

                  • That's the problem with your pathological dishonesty-it makes you incapable of imagining that honesty exists. You lost the bet, which was that there would be no Orthodox gay marriage performed by last September, and are now attempting to redefine the meaning of the words "Orthodox" and "marriage" (surprised that you haven't yet started redefining the meaning of "gay" and "September") while accusing Jews of dishonesty. Anyway, how are you doing fending off all those prepubescent girls harassing you? Hanging in there?

                    • You, and the entire orthodox community, are doing in relation to gay marriage exactly what I predicted you would do when I made the bet, which was not a difficult prediction, because Jews have done the same thing with every other adoption and acceptance of the dominant culture since AD 400,

                    • Orthodox Jewish rabbis are mighty comfortable with something that looks enough like gay marriage in something that looks enough like an orthodox synagogue to keep the Cathedral off their backs, and when sufficient time passes, it will be part of the Oral Law that God gave Moses on the mountain top.

                  • Repeating lies does not make them more convincing. The bet was that there would be no Orthodox Jewish gay marriage. There has been no Orthodox Jewish gay marriage. Stop lying. Again-are you successfully resisting those prepubescent girls sexually harassing you?

                    • > The bet was that there would be no Orthodox Jewish gay marriage. Liar The bet was that there would be something that looked suspiciously like Orthodox Jewish gay marriage, and Orthodox Jewish rabbis would fail to draw a bright line separating themselves and Orthodox Judaism from it. No bright line, therefore I win the bet.

                    • Why would I have bet that Jews would do something different this time from what they have done every other time that they have quietly and furtively accommodated to the dominant culture of the day?

                  • Not only are you a liar, but you are a dumb liar. Anyone can read the bet: Dear alt right, this is your would be Grand Inquisitor: a dirtbag pedophile with zero integrity. Good luck!

                    • This is your standard method of lying, and distinctively Jewish Chutzpah. You cite a source and claim it supports you, when in fact it disproves you. In the comment you link to I say: "So, if the Cathedral announces a gay marriage in an orthodox synagogue, and the orthodox fail to draw a bright line excluding that synagogue, then the Cathedral wins even if the story is completely made up." The Cathedral has announced gay marriage in an orthodox synagogue, and the Orthodox are not drawing a bright line excluding that synagogue.

                  • Victory condition: "So, victory condition for the Cathedral is that they loudly announce gay marriage in orthodox synagogue, and the Rabbinical Council of America fail to deny it, fail to deny that synagogue is orthodox..." Okay, so what's the example of the Cathedral gaymarriage victory? Please provide sauce.

                    • I had in mind this: The orthodox did nuke it, draw a bright line against it, and declare it non orthodox back in 2011. There has not been any recent nuking and bright lining, which is why I argued that I had won - but neither has there been any exceptionally vigorous Cathedral victory celebrations that would have required further nuking and bright line drawing Examining the activities of Eshel (Orthodox Jews for cuckolding Jewish Orthodoxy), it now looks to me that they decided to go quiet and fold their tents, whereas what I thought had happened was that they were continuing to be noisy, and the regular Orthodox had gone quiet. So, for lack of sufficiently noisy Cathedral victory celebration that would have necessitated further comparably noisy bright light drawing by the orthodox, I guess that B did in fact win the bet - there was no vigorous bright line drawing, but neither was there any loud victory celebration that would have required further vigorous bright line drawing. OK B, you win, I was wrong. And I am sorry for ignoring the evidence you presented that I was wrong, but I have gotten in the habit of ignoring the evidence you present since our run in on the elephantine scrolls. Send me your address and whisky preferences in private email.

                  • I'd like an apology on your blog, given that most of the exchange took place there. I prefer Ardbeg, please send after Pesach (17 April) as I am forbidden from owning leaven products during the holiday. Will send address presently.

                • Jim, I like you and admire you, but Avi Weiss is not Orthodox, the "rabbis" and "rabbas" (or whatever they're called) that he certifies at his school (YCT) are not Orthodox, nobody takes him or his people seriously, and nobody in Boro Park has even heard of him -- other than those few who are no doubt horrified. That "Open Orthodoxy" business is just a gimmick that allows Progressives/SWPLs to feel Progressively virtuous in another way.

                  • Sure. Now let us hear the Rabbis that actually are Orthodox say that in a manner that the Cathedral might hear and understand. Something like "No one who conducts something that looks rather like gay marriage is an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, and no synagogue where Gays are allowed to engage in public gay stuff in the synagogue is an Orthodox synagogue." And then they excommunicate by name anyone involved in gay stuff who might be thought to be orthodox. That would clear up all this highly convenient confusion. Back when Obama opposed gay marriage they did say stuff like that, but I have not heard it from them recently.

                • @BaruchK Meh, you could get the same richness and depth through an ongoing, multi-generational ethnocentric exegesis of Three Blind Mice. Everything is a pareidolic mirror, everything is the "Word of God," even the babble of a child or the wind fluting through the mountains and forests.

    • No need to go to the Sudan or the Aztec empire for examples. In the US, 50 million babies have been aborted in the last 50 years, and old people get stashed in senior citizen homes to rot alive and be abused by nurses’ aides, and the rest of the West is no different. All built according to scientific social engineering principles, designed by the brightest minds around. Thanks for saying this; I wish I'd read it more often. Along with elders, babies and children are the other categories of people who get abused, while their abuse gets no attention. I speak from personal experience here. As a toddler and even teenager (and for someone with my personality, even some years after coming of age) you are at the mercy of what family and relatives chance has assigned to you. Of the constant blackmail and de facto captivity the elders are subject to in my backward country I'd rather not tell. Basically, their sons and daughters strive to get to host their parents at their own house. Why? Because they'll cash their retirement pensions personally, and will psychologically abuse their parents till they agree to write a will biased in favor of the hosting son/daughter. In return, they will "care" for them; an odd kind of care, given that it is non-consensual (we are talking of elders who no longer have enough health to protect themselves or live on their own). Then, for fear that they could "update" the will, wrongdoing such as forbidding them to have contacts with their other sons/daughters over the telephone begin. If there are no other sons/daughters to be seen as threats for the inheritance, what happens is misadvised elders who donate their real estate to their adoring hosts find themselves kicked away, forgotten, and relegated into one of those senior houses you mention. This is the normal in a South American (average IQ = 90) society for low-class, and also middle-class families. Then you turn on the TV and hear presenters and opinion-makers and law experts and human rights experts lamenting how their stomachs are hurting that day because somewhere a "male" told a bad word to a woman, or slapped her. While I know what happens to millions of defenceless youth and elders (and the presenters, opinion makers, law experts and human rights experts must know it too, mustn't them?). But the young and the very old buy and vote little, they are uninteresting customers.

    • You can, however, drop seductive lies on Californian 140 IQ Jews and expect that in a few generations they will go extinct. And for high-IQ people, positivism is the most seductive lie, which is why it does so well in the Ivy Leagues. Who'll drop those lies on them? 150 IQ Jews? Can't think of anybody else. But actually, 140 IQ people of the non-machine-like mind type (people capable of actual thought, I mean) are great at self-sabotaging, they hardly need any aid. I think it’s the opposite-you can’t have a successful and long-lasting society which is NOT based on everyone knowing the truth. That is the wrongest statement anybody talking of mankind could ever make. Deception and self-deception are what humans need breathe together with oxygen in order to live.

      • Educational and media institutions will drop those lies on them. You don't need to be a genius to lie to smart people, you just need to be a professional liar, or successfully have deceived yourself, and be in a position of influence. Deception works until the society practicing it runs into another society which is less deceived. How do you think those Conquistadors took over?

  • I heard the second interview but not the first one. The problem with Peterson is that his own worldview has placed him in a difficult rhetorical situation, leaving him unable to "win the argument" against Harris in the way this blog post suggests. He can't just say "we have to settle on something that seems true by way of convention" or anything like that. His whole point here is that we absolutely must strive towards the truth, and he can't stray from that. He won't go anywhere near that area. Plus, I agree with Harris that Peterson has screwed up by claiming that morality is straightforwardly reducible to evolution. It isn't. It never was. If that were the case, then Jared Diamond would be right to say that the invention of agriculture was the greatest mistake the human race ever made, because the revolution of scale made things less predictable. Is that value judgment correct? Only if you place quantity over quality. Evolution is a model that implicitly does this. It's a theory that helpfully but imperfectly explains why we still do a bunch of goofy caveman stuff; it doesn't offer any answers for the question of what any of us should actually do about it. If I were in this kind of discussion, I would immediately go the route of demonstrating to Harris that his own assumptions about the good are based on faith rather than reason. Harris decries cultures that have practiced human sacrifice. I would ask, "How do you know that that was bad?" Harris feels that we should strive to eliminate conflict and suffering. I would ask, "How are you sure that conflict and suffering aren't things that we crave? Because they make you say 'owee'?" and, further, "Why is knowing the truth so great?" and so on. So by refusing to conform to Harris's set of moral assumptions and demonstrating their lack of academic rigor, one can start fresh, from the standpoint of what humans need to satisfy their primitive appetites rather than ought to have to satisfy their ideals, because what they consider 'the greater good' is so often based on whimsical guesswork anyhow, and we at least have some sense of what we as animals need. But that's not the kind of interview that Peterson would have want to do. His whole thing is, he wants to encourage people to have certainty about something. He isn't prepared to crap all over the few faith-based notions that Harris has left. It also isn't the kind of argument that Harris would want to have, because he understands that there has to be some common ground established before any discussion can get underway. So the interview more or less had to come to a Mexican standoff, with the two people exchanging niceties and agreeing to disagree (more or less). Peterson isn't exactly prepared to stonewall anyone in the way that he would need to do, like Bartleby the Scrivener or something. Here's a zany thought: perhaps it has occurred to Peterson that Harris agrees with him entirely but is even better at adhering to Peterson's own value system than Peterson is. Maybe Harris knows that "truth" that he promotes so heavily has only an accidental relationship with actual truth, and in fact has taken on its own mystical definition that supersedes the basic one. Perhaps Harris is content to peddle this "truth" of his because he has quietly assented to Peterson's understanding that the truth is defined by its conventional and pragmatic value as "what works," and Harris is set with the task of making the "truth" work. Maybe the way to make an arational value system work is to just go with the preferred semiotic of the community that surrounds you (i.e. the Whig view of history, Dewey-esque scientism, the importance of "rationality" and "truth") and stfu about Darwin, because even mentioning evolution cheapens the whole idea you're trying to promote and just makes you look like a relativistic nihilist goon. Maybe Harris is like Kierkegaard's boring and bourgeois "knight of faith," moreso than Peterson. Just a thought.

    • Yes, indeed. But in pragmatic terms, Darwinism is the best way to strike at the contradictions of the enemy, i.e. Progressivism.

      • Which is why I'm starting to realize that the group or person that successfully delegitimizes the hallowed catechism of Progressivism is not going to be the same group or person that puts something better in its place.

        • The Grand Inquisitor will not need to all that sincerely believe what we put in its place, but the Archbishop will likely need to be genuine.

          • Jim, is your writing style consciously developed, or instinctual? You have hidden some incredibly subtle points in your writing lately (and maybe for all time, but I didn't notice them until recently?), and while I know you like to take a piss out of the tribe, there is a not insignificant amount of similar writing in Talmud.

  • This is a great post, and a great discussion. It's taken me a few days to figure out something to add that hopefully will be worth the time it takes to read it. Full disclosure: I haven't watched this most recent debate, because I don't believe it relevant. Peterson and Harris do not seem to both understand their disagreement (which is that Harris' truths are no longer tethered to a deeper truth, for reasons that we can explain, but are unacceptable to Harris and his ilk). One or more red pills (deep, asocial truths) exist in the core of any religion. This is true for Greek Paganism, Aztec blood sacrifice paganism, Eastern god-free religions, Karaite/Sadducee Judaism, Rabbinic/Pharisee Judaism, Christianity of all flavors, and even Islam, in its way. This tautology established, the "We need a new religion" truth can be broken down into a manageable project. Moldbug did not just critique Cathedral governance, ultimately. He identified that imperial structure is no longer likely to confer fitness (thanks to nukes and automation). The trends in both governance and religion, for the past 3000 years, have been towards empire, and universalism. I believe that Moldbug was correct in anticipating neocameralism, and I believe that our religions are going to mirror this transition (as Gnon likely wills). Therefore, if we are going to build a NRx religion, it will be founded on the idea of searching out the deep truths, packaging them specifically in ways that local populations can swallow, and keeping them vague enough that Gnon can have his way with them. We don't need a new religion, we need thousands of them (at least), optimized to local populations and environments.

    • I'm a patchwork-skeptic. We're not seeing secession, we are seeing ever greater concentration of power, and the internet-enhanced surveillance abilities of the state aren't making it any weaker. Then again, there's Brexit. So who knows. But nukes and automation don't point to devolution, they point to larger integration.

      • I'm a skeptic until someone figures out how to fix the IQ shredder (Land doesn't think we need to, but I'm skeptical there as well). That said, we're definitely seeing patchwork already, just not in a happy way. Baltimore no longer is under the jurisdiction of DC. What religion do the true leaders of Baltimore keep? Looks a bit like African animism to me. What religion does /pol keep? There are definitely articles of faith in that thede; let's call it a proto religion (praise kek). You're right, of course, that the state is getting stronger, but that seems to be inspiring escalating levels of factionalism (which is often born of holiness ratcheting). My working theory is that density free time x genetic modifier = rate of holiness escalation / factionalism. I'm probably wrong, but we'll probably find out in the next decade or two.

      • Superficially, we're seeing ever-greater concentration of power, but when we look beyond the surface, it's actually devolution of power. The Internet is a prime example of the devolution of power, specifically social power, in fact the most significant of powers. 3D printing of small objects is going to radically devolve power. There are derivative technologies of 3D printing that will radically devolve power, namely the printing of houses and automated gardening. With solar, the power to distribute energy is devolving. Computers and computer software have evolved to the point that push-button mesh networks using off-the-shelf tech is well within the realm of possibility, should the state try to crack down on the Internet. Capable killer robots may very well devolve power, as the main killer feature of the killer robot is the automated, accurate, and reliable turret. Most importantly, when we look at basic life services, for example security services for normal citizens, what we see is that even the Brahmins — perhaps especially the Brahmins — are increasingly using private security, either private (gated, if not in skyscraper complexes) communities, or actual literal private guards. This speaks to the fact that the security apparatus of the state, its most important function, is declining in competence even for its highest status, most important citizens.

        • There's an excellent book by Samuel Francis, Leviathan and its Enemies, which I can relate with your point. There's an excellent post by Moldbug where he uses the word "IQology". There's going to be an increasingly broad upper caste, yes, and their personal power will diminish. The managerial state (which includes "public servants", NGOistas, professors, MSM journalists, ...) is run by managers, and as it increases its reach (which it does in order to increase its power) it needs more managers. How and if this can be good news for the 99.9% though, is another matter, and I can see no way it can frankly.

          • Moreover: technological progress makes managing the state machine harder and more, more intelligent managers are needed. Francis also thought (he was writing in the late 80s and early 90s!) that people in this caste do their best to increase complexity, for it increases their power. For example, the No Child Left Behind kind of stuff provides a wealth of jobs and a mountain of funds, plus power. And that is the only reason behind it, says Francis, who sees every "idea" and "value" in the mind of they who have power as rationalization (I agree with him, but this doesn't probably matter). So these people, and their organizations, are on a never-ending hunt for social problems to fix... or, often, to invent and then fix. Because when the problem's got to be fixed, it will be their job to do so. Part of the fixing is "bringing democracy" and "our values" to foreign distant lands, of course. Technology (and progress in things like neurology -> mind manipulation) are only going to widen the Brahmins - 99% gap. Try asking normal people about the IMF, World Bank, those things called "NGOs", the Supreme Court, the FED, the bodies that actually hold the power to govern in other words, and see how they will have no idea about what those are, do, and why they matter. Just like in the past centuries, "people" don't even know who, what governs them and how. Looks like it's Gnon's will, after all, and no access to the Internet, no hundreds of TV channels and news papers, nothing can alter this. They are "a social species", after all :)

        • 3D printing of small objects is so far nothing impressive. Either the three d printer does not do 3D, but two and a little bit dimensions, or its printing material is similar to the stuff extruded by a hot melt glue gun and is insufficiently robust for any useful purpose, or else it is limited to extremely small objects with not very much detail. However it plausible that actually useful 3D printing is near. Back in the Victorian era, you could produce any item of Victorian technology with a reasonably small workshop - and could produce another small workshop. We are nowhere near the situation where a workshop containing a 3D printers, or a set of 3D printers specialized to various tasks, can produce another workshop containing 3D printers, and I don't think 3D printing is going to result in radical decentralization until we achieve that.

  • I haven't read about what Peterson has said, but from what you described we already have better names for his definition of "truth": "social reality" / "social truth" / "post-truth politics". His attempt to redefine "truth" [which should properly mean rational, scientific truth] is itself a construction of social truth.

  • jordan peeterson is a mixed bag. right about IQ and SJWs...but wrong in other regards. Misdiagnoses problem

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