Weekly Digest: An Evening with Jordan Peterson
Welcome to my weekly digest for April 8, 2022.
For new subscribers, this contains a roundup of my recent writings and podcasts, as well as links to the best articles from around the web this week. You can control what emails you get from me by visiting your account page.
My next monthly longform newsletter drops on Monday morning. It’s about the “managerial revolution.”
The will be no digest next week in honor of Good Friday.
Content and Media Mentions
Miles Smith mentioned my work in his World op-ed on the self-hating evangelical scholar complex.
New this week:
Conservatives Don’t Do Research (Subscriber Only) - I argue that while conservatives are very good at policy papers and op-eds, they do remarkably little primary or ethnographic research, which allows the left to set the frame on every issue from the word Go.
My podcast this week is on immigration, chaos and order. It’s a follow-up on my previous demographic podcast about declining immigration levels and what the right immigration policy should be. Subscribers can read the transcript.
At American Reformer, Cory Higdon asks whether there can be an infinite liberty of conscience. It looks at religious liberty and early Rhode Island. (I used to live in Rhode Island and wrote a 2014 feature article on the state for City Journal that may be of interest).
On April 19th at 2pm ET I will be conducting a live interview with Andrew Crapuchettes, founder of the job board Red Balloon. Red Balloon was originally created to match workers with companies that did not have vaccine mandates. We’ll be discussing today’s job market. Watch live or on replay at Youtube.
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The End of Attacks on Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson spoke this week in Indianapolis. A friend of mine who attended had this to say.
I went to see Jordan Peterson last night in Indy. I wanted to see both his condition and why he’s no longer being attacked by the Left. His condition seemed OK—thin physically, but generally mentally competent, when asked a question, for example. But his speech was basically word salad—meandering, seemed to lose the thread not infrequently, not memorable in any way. And the answer, I think, to why he’s no longer attacked by the Left, is that in no way, shape, or form was anything he said either pitched to men or resonant with men. Instead, it was musing on “what is truth” and “can you get an ought from an is” and “I was talking with Richard Dawkins about whether his own presuppositions were scientific.” My read is that either on purpose, or under the malign influence of his daughter, he has curbed his message to men in order not to be personally attacked again (which he has said was extremely bad for him and part of his breakdown). He had a few shout-outs to center-right hot buttons, but they were merely tacked on, not essential to his speech in any way.
Digital. Human. Life.
Political and media theorist James Poulos has launched a new web and print magazine called Return on human life in the digital age (or, as he’s put it elsewhere, on the digital politics of spiritual war). Check it out. This is an initiative of New Founding, where I am also working on men’s lifestyle publications.
Best of the Web
The Wall Street Journal: Why So Many Women in Middle Age Are on Antidepressants - the authors should have sliced the data by race as white women have far higher antidepressant use rates than other racial groups.
The New York Times writes about couples who got divorced but still live together.
Richard Hanania says you should have kids.
Hertz argues that since people are having smaller families, we need to ask ourselves how to replace the meaning they used to find in children, siblings, and cousins by encouraging them to find ways “to care for people who are not necessarily linked to them by blood.” To me, this sounds like asking “how can we enjoy eating in a world where we have dulled our sense of taste?” or “how can we enjoy sexual pleasure after we’ve castrated ourselves?” Blood relations, and the pair bonds that help create them, are not one form of social connectedness we can just exchange for something else once we don’t want to bother with the hassle of getting married and making babies anymore. Procreation and family formation are the evolutionary reasons love exists in the first place, and there is little to suggest that we can replace these things through government sponsored initiatives that seek to connect us to those we are not either having sex with or related to.
This pessimism comes at a moment when we might expect the opposite. After all, one could say that we’re living in a golden age of sexual freedom. The average age of first marriage is rising; it’s more acceptable than ever to remain single or pursue a wide variety of relationship styles. A majority of the public finds premarital sex acceptable; birth control for women is widely available and, with health insurance, often free. Sex positivity is celebrated in progressive circles, with sexual adventurousness championed and inhibition often looked down on. We have breached the ramparts of repression, and the wall of silence that prevented us from expressing our sexuality has, for the most part, fallen.
Getting rid of the old rules and replacing them with the norm of consent was supposed to make us happy. Instead, many people today feel a bit … lost.
I put this book excerpt in the “ethical sex” category. It’s someone who wants to find a way to keep sexual promiscuity without the downsides. It won’t work.