Education despite universities

Caitlin Flanagan writes in this month’s Atlantic about why Jordan Peterson is so important. What it points to is that a liberal education is now being offered on Youtube, and not in university.

The young men voted for Hillary, they called home in shock when Trump won, they talked about flipping the House, and they followed Peterson to other podcasts—to Sam Harris and Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan. What they were getting from these lectures and discussions, often lengthy and often on arcane subjects, was perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics they had heard in their lives.

That might seem like a small thing, but it’s not. With identity politics off the table, it was possible to talk about all kinds of things—religion, philosophy, history, myth—in a different way. They could have a direct experience with ideas, not one mediated by ideology. All of these young people, without quite realizing it, were joining a huge group of American college students who were pursuing a parallel curriculum, right under the noses of the people who were delivering their official educations.

“They could have a direct experience with ideas, not one mediated by ideology.”

Further, Flanagan writes:

But there is no coherent reason for the left’s obliterating and irrational hatred of Jordan Peterson. What, then, accounts for it?

It is because the left, while it currently seems ascendant in our houses of culture and art, has in fact entered its decadent late phase, and it is deeply vulnerable. The left is afraid not of Peterson, but of the ideas he promotes, which are completely inconsistent with identity politics of any kind.

They – reasonable, moderate centrists – are starting to wake up. That is my conclusion from the publication and writing of this article. They have understood the bankruptcy of the cultural Left and they are starting to see their children have realized this too.


Post Script:

She could have included Ben Shapiro, and Victor Davis Hanson in this list of educational shows or speakers.

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I find this Jordan Peterson dislike interesting because for all the words he speaks he is a globalist and at least as far left as the average liberal.


I don’t think so. He has often argued in favour of individual sovereignty, individual responsibility and the role of the individual within society. That would make him right-of-centre. Progressives and the alt-right view society as a composite of identity groups which he has specifically denounced on several occasions.


Citing Alastair Roberts from the above cited podcast:

He believes in Christianity as a true myth. He sees it as a myth that has weight within the world, but not as something that actually occurred historically in the way that we would believe that it did.

He’s also speaking as someone who is a Jungian. As a Jungian, he’s very much concerned about the collective subconscious, about things like archetypes. So his concept of chaos and order, male and female, all these sorts of things, are very much bound up, not with primarily Christian understandings of these things, but with the Jungian understandings. Now, those can be very helpful and informative, but we need to be aware, we need to understand, where he’s coming from there.

He’s a Darwinian who, in many ways, is taking the concept of evolution further, and dealing with it in the very context of human meaning structures. He thinks those are evolved structures too — not just human physiology, but our very meaning structures. His Jungianism is inflected by Darwinianism, and so that’s another thing to bear into account.

He’s a strong individualist — not in the sense of the way that we usually use that term, but as someone who believes that things must start with the individual.

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