I think I’ve pinned down exactly what Jordan Peterson meant when he said,
Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that.
We know Jordan Peterson always chooses his words very carefully. We know he cares about millennials and young people in general. My previous analysis about just not looking at magazine covers was, I think, not deep enough: I do not think that was what he meant when he introduced the idea of “authoritarian tolerance”, and I think that term is the key to his argument. It sounds like a contradition in terms to say some tolerance is authoritarian, but he is exactly spot on. Post-modernists don’t want you to think subjectively — how else could they pit groups against each other, after all?—but you know post-modernism is a despotic swamp of subjectivism. They triumph in defying definition. You are no doubt familiar with the nebulous, nice-sounding terms: “Lived experience”, “my truth”, “be tolerant”, “diversity is our strength”, etc.
Why is that level of subjective thought allowed (nay, enforced, as Jordan points out!), but the idea of subjectively determining for yourself whether someone is beautiful is not allowed? Peterson is raising a very serious concern, and exposing the hypocrisy of post-modernism in very few words. It’s actually impressive.
My only criticism is that by choosing just a few more well-crafted words, he could have been much more precise. People immediately assumed he was merely criticizing the model on the cover of the magazine; this is merely surface-level. Peterson doesn’t work at surface-levrl, so his tweet deserves much more thought.
For all its flaws, Twitter is good at building “iron-man” arguments, because contrarians love to contradict in comment sections. But Twitter also encourages brevity, sometimes at the expense of clarity, and the moral here may be that, when given the choice between concise and precise, it’s always best to choose precise; ideas in every form are critical to a dynamic society, but they must be carefully and completely targeted for maximum effect. 💐
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Author: Lydia Leitermann 💐
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