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Monday, January 22, 2018

Takeaway from the Peterson Interview: The Anti-Conceptual Left

James Delingpole of Breitbart writes:
If you loathe the cant, self-righteousness, and stupidity of the regressive left, then you’ll love this train wreck of an interview. It’s the most satisfying piece of poetic justice since the Comet came unstuck in that tunnel in Atlas Shrugged.
I couldn't agree more.  This interview is truly a work of art, and while one could probably write a treatise analyzing it, one important takeaway, which I blogged about recently, is the phenomenon of the conceptual versus the anti-conceptual mind. 

For example, in questioning Peterson about the so-called gender pay gap, Newman asks if this gap indicates that women are being "dominated and excluded by men," a standard charge of left-wing feminists.  Peterson immediately answers the question by seeking to understand the observable fact to which she is referring.  He cites multivariate analysis which indicates that it doesn't exist in the simple way that Newman presents it.  He explains that when you break down the causes (the reasons) why gaps exist, there are demonstrable factors that explain it that also show that gender is a small factor.  While being constantly interrupted, he says:
If you are any social scientist worth your salt, you never do a univariate analysis.  If there is a pay gap, we break it down by age,  by occupation, by interest, by personality...There are multiple reasons...the claim that the wage gap between men and women is only due to sex is wrong, and it is wrong, and there is no doubt about this.  
Newman demonstrates her anti-conceptual mentality by refusing to grasp the method that Peterson follows.  Essentially, she continually ignores or evades his reasoning, mindlessly attaching herself to one word or fragment of his statement which she then tangentially relates to some PC cliche. At one point, while Peterson attempts to elucidate the primary causes, which have nothing to do with gender bias, she flat out says,"I'm not saying why it [the wage gap] exists, but it exists."
Peterson: "But you have to say why it exists."
Newman: "But do you agree that is not fair?"  
Peterson: "It depends on why it is happening."  
This is a recurring theme.  Peterson tries to explain the causes of an observable fact before jumping to any conclusions or evaluating the morality of those causes, while she wishes to take the fact alone as prima facie evidence of her own preconceived judgment: "There is a pay gap, therefore men are oppressing women."

In a previous post, I observed that this anti-conceptual method is endemic to the left and accounts for most of their own political positions.
They apply this approach to every issue. Someone doesn't have health care insurance? No need to look at why a particular individual doesn't have insurance - no need to study how current policy has affected the marketplace and made it more expensive or lower quality - no need to look at the unintended consequences of any new policy. The fact is that "someone doesn't have health care so we ("we" meaning someone else besides them) must provide it (by force if necessary, and it's always necessary)." Someone doesn't have a house - "give them housing!" Someone doesn't make enough money - "raise the wage!" Someone used a gun to murder - "ban the gun!" Someone drove a car into pedestrians - "ban the ....oh, even we're not that stupid" - next thing!...
Why is this?  To the left, seeking causes is irrelevant because causes are preordained in their Marxist perspective.  These days, that means people are determined by their class, gender, and ethnicity.  Every political issue is only about brute power - the haves vs the have-nots, the oppressors vs the oppressed. They don't want to hear about multivariate analysis or principles of morality or government.  In fact, they regard that kind of thinking (human reason) as itself emanating from white male privilege. Consequently, the leftist mind is stunted at birth as it were, leaving its zombie disciples in a position not to have a reasoned discussion nor to debate in the pursuit of truth (causes), but only to harangue and attack dissenters. What's important to the left is the intention of the individual. Since they know already why some injustice exists (the patriarchy, capitalism, racism, etc.), simply believing in doing something, anything (activism) that involves legislation X, or law Y, or regulation Z is paramount. The specifics, the relationship to rights, and the unintended consequences be damned.

This interview demonstrates a frightening trend.  When reason breaks down as a method of persuasion, we do not need multivariate analysis to tell us what happens next.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nailed it.