Monday, December 12, 2016

Peterson on Biopolitics

Jordan Peterson gave this really good interview with Rebel media with regard to the origin of Social Justice Warriors. It's a very good talk because Peterson is able to expand upon several topics that this blog has touched upon in the past.

In the past, this blog has tried to raise awareness on the subject of System 1 and System 2 thinking. System 1 thinking, the "low effort cognitive state" is strongly influenced by personality and disposition, System 2 being less so. As Peterson--and his assistant--point out in this video, the dividing lines between Conservative and Liberal are based primarily in their dispositional states. In other words, for most people the political divide is as a result of motivated "low effort cognition" and is not the product of dispassionate reasoning on the various aspect of the political economy.  What this means is that politics, for many is an instinctive response, something Orwell directly alluded to when he wrote, "Ingsoc bellyfeel good."

Prior to the First World War, when at least in Europe, power was held by the ruling cultured and educated elite, there was a good chance that political decision making had a degree of rationality about it. However, with the democratisation of the West, the enfranchisement of the masses has meant that when it comes to political decision making, the center of gravity has drifted from the rational to the instinctual.  For the majority, Left and Right are "bellyfeel"--intuitive--associations.

Peterson also goes into the dispositional states which lead to totalitarian personality types, especially with the need for order. Interestingly, Peterson recounts how the Frankfurt school was able to influence psychology in denying outright the existence left wing authoritarianism which has hampered the study of it. This in turn ties nicely with Griffin's recognition that our understanding of Fascism has been strongly influenced by the Marxist nature of academia.

What's really interesting is the how the "maternal" dispositional type steers politics to the Left, or more significantly to "compassionate" societies.  From a biopolitical perspective, Testosterone is the hormone of the Right and Estrogen the hormone of the Left.  Restricting the democratic vote to men resulted in a battle between High T and low T, adding women to the franchise, shifted it profoundly towards "compassionate" big government. That's universal suffrage for you.

Peterson recognises that there are a lot of similarities between Left wing and Right wing totalitarians. The Right aims at homogeneity by exclusion, whereas the Left aim at homogeneity by inclusion. The important point here is that action is strongly influenced by biologically inherited disposition modified by environment.

Peterson recognises that that people see the world through their temperament and some are able to get beyond it, but as the work of  Stanovich, Kahneman and Tversky demonstrate, very few are capable of rationality.  The "temperamental" lens, I think, should be a foundational instrument of the Dissident Right with regards to analyzing the effects of democratic movements in the 20th Century.

It's a very good presentation which I'd strongly recommend my readers to view.