Friday, February 8, 2019

Trans-National Con-servatism

It's not just here in Trumpistan. Authoritarian far Right Con-servatism is a global pathology, infecting large swaths of humanity with resentment, fear and hate.

For a change, I thought I'd analyze one of the Right's Canadian propagandists who is more clever and articulate, and offers a smoother pitch than the echo chamber of low-brow, hate spewing, white nationalist thuggish Americans like Limbaugh, Breitbart and FOX(R).

Peterson is intelligent, and he presents a calm and rational demeanor. These attributes are perfect for propagandists who target an audience outside the base. As numerous youtube videos indicate, Peterson, like Ben Shapiro, can easily outmaneuver less bright or emotional college students, their favorite prey for indoctrination.

Peterson had to frame conservative limits of intolerance with a Jew denouncing Nazis and William Buckley, "because Buckley, when he put out his conservative magazine, the David Duke types kind of attached themselves to it, and he said, “No, here’s the boundary. You guys are on the wrong side of the boundary. I’m not with you.” And Ben Shapiro recently did this, for example, as well in the aftermath of the Charlottesville incident."

Well Buckley's long gone, and he sure as hell would not have voted for Trump or denied climate science. And for obvious reasons there are not many white nationalist Jews. But like Ben Stein, they love to play their "commie card" against liberals. And they have their share of far Right authoritarian personalities in Israel, like the corrupt Netanyahu and his Likud Party.

Con-servatism isn't necessarily anti-Semitic or white nationalist. Their bigotry extends outward from their particular group. We have Nation of Islam bigots in the US. And I've never seen a European white nationalist, or Canadian such as Peterson, attack universal healthcare as some fatal leap into Stalinism. Those are just manifestations defined by the native culture and geography of the con. They are still authoritarian to the core. They all fear and demonize liberals, progressivism, equality, and multi-culturalism. They all have more difficulty with different cultures, the unknown, nuance, ambiguity, and uncertainty.

It's not just an American disorder. It is global. It is why there is war, and institutionalized bigotry and cruelty. Right wing British amygdalas are just as over-active as Right wing American amygdalas. This has been measured.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Canadian Con-Servatism?

Con-servatism, like white nationalism, is hardly native to only the United States. Other forms of extremist far Right ideology span the globe. 

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the modern American far Right and its innate anti-democratic, anti-general welfare, anti-regulatory, and anti-tax positions. 

I’ve shown they are against all of these provisions that are embedded into our Constitution, because none of them adhere to their opinions and world-view. 

Yet somehow they deem themselves to be the only “true” Constitutionalists.

Let’s step back and take a broader look at a proponent of conservatism from outside the US, and see how he adheres to, or differs from, his American cousins.

Prominent conservative Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson represents such a respected voice of conservatism, at least to fellow travelers on both sides of the border.

He takes two important positions that conform with the American far Right. He said he would have voted for Trump, but admitted Hillary was more conservative regarding the status quo. This moves him beyond the domain of traditional conservatism. 

His other significant ideological position is denial of global warming. "You can't trust the (global warming) data because too much ideology is involved". 

Interestingly he seems unconcerned with the peer review process of science, and the political ideology of the Republican Party and their polluting corporate owners.

Now we’ve established some similarities in American and Canadian con-servative beliefs.

Next, we’ll examine Peterson’s perspective on other ideological positions.

As I have documented abundantly, the Right loves to define the Left. Often this requires them to unilaterally define terms. Peterson is no exception.

In this case we have Peterson’s discussion of:

The fatal flaw lurking in American leftist politics: What is liberal America's big, and possibly fatal, mistake? Failing to recognize its own extremists.”

He knows just what's wrong with our thinking. True to form he quickly conflates American liberals with Marxist ideologues:

“But the force that’s driving the activism is mostly the Marxism rather than the post-modernism. It’s more like an intellectual gloss to hide the fact that a discredited economic theory is being used to fuel an educational movement and to produce activists.”

In other words, the same old “Commies control higher education” hysteria.

He employs this tunnel vision to reach the conclusion that “the Left” wants to impose a Russian or Chinese style communist dictatorship. In fact, the Left strongly supports voter rights,  democracy, and fair representation. Somehow that is ignored.

He went so far as to invoke French Marxists from the 1960s as counterparts to American progressives. Same old same old. Liberals are just commies or commie wannbes.

There’s so much evidence that had come pouring in from the former Soviet Union, from the Soviet Union at that point, and from Maoist China, of the absolutely devastating consequences of the doctrine that it was impossible to be apologetic for it by that point in time.

So the French intellectuals in particular just pulled off a sleight of hand and transformed Marxism into post-modern identity politics. And we’ve seen the consequence of that. It’s not good. It’s a devolution into a kind of tribalism that will tear us apart on the Left and on the Right.”

It’s interesting how selective he needs be in order to ignore FOX(R) and hate radio’s responsibility in their own identity politics and tribalism that is tearing us apart. 

Damn those French intellectuals!

Let’s go with Mirriam-Webster’s definition of Identity Politics: “politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.”

Dare I suggest the white nationalism of Trump’s base is “identity politics”? Ignoring this appears to be more selective interpretation. Or is it just simple projection?

Peterson goes on to suggest the Right has boundaries of decency the Left ignores. Um, Trump???

Never mind. He wants to make this point:

On the Right, I think we’ve identified markers for people who have gone too far in their ideological presuppositions. And it looks to me like the marker we’ve identified is racial superiority. I think we’ve known that probably since the end of World War II, but we saw a pretty good example of it in the 1960s with William Buckley, because Buckley, when he put out his conservative magazine, the David Duke types kind of attached themselves to it, and he said, ‘No, here’s the boundary. You guys are on the wrong side of the boundary. I’m not with you.’ And Ben Shapiro recently did this, for example, as well in the aftermath of the Charlottesville incident.

Of course we’d expect a conservative Jew to condemn Nazis.

So what’s interesting is that on the conservative side of the spectrum we’ve figured out how to box-in the radicals and say, “No, you’re outside the domain of acceptable opinion.”

Right. Except the racist birther he would have voted for called those in the Tiki Parade, “very fine people”. Trump denied knowing who David Duke was, and only after public outcry, he reluctantly “disavowed” him. And that man is supported by his party and over a third of the country.

And what about the lack of basic human decency and honesty on the Right? Apparently Trump’s endless stream of lies and threats to lock up his opponent are not “outside the domain of acceptable opinion.”

Let’s look at that projection again:

What is liberal America's big, and possibly fatal, mistake? Failing to recognize its own extremists.

Peterson continues:

Now here’s the issue: We know that things can go too far on the Right and we know that things can go too far on the Left. But we don’t know what the markers are for going too far on the Left.

At least he admits he doesn’t know, so that’s being honest.

How difficult would it be for him to find liberals condemning violent protests? How difficult would it be for him to find liberals condemning Stalinism, Maoism and communist dictators?

Does he think we advocate for that? Is his field of vision that narrow? 

Apparently. “Liberals are commies” is much easier to suggest to the willfully blind ideologues on the Right.

And I would say that it’s ethically incumbent on those who are liberal or Left-leaning to identify the markers of pathological extremism on the Left and to distinguish themselves from the people who hold those pathological viewpoints. And I don’t see that that’s being done. And I think that’s a colossal ethical failure, and it may doom the liberal-Left project.

Perhaps he doesn’t WANT to see it. I would suggest that is a “colossal ethical failure” on his part. And Trump gets a pass...

To his credit, Peterson does want to show us he “gets it”.

The Lefties have their point. They’re driven fundamentally by a horror of inequality and the catastrophes that inequality produces—and fair enough, because inequality is a massive social force and it does produce, it can produce, catastrophic consequences. So to be concerned about that politically is reasonable. But we do know that that concern can go too far... The doctrine of equality of outcome.

And where is this “doctrine” proposed? Apparently demanding equal pay for women doing the same work as men “can go too far”.

You cannot win if you play identity politics. (Trump did just that.) There’s a bunch of reasons like—here’s one: “Let’s push for equality of outcome.” All right, who measures it? “A bureaucracy.” You have to set up a bureaucratic inquisition to ensure that that’s the case...An example of equality of outcome are attempts being made now to implement the legislative necessity to eliminate the gender pay gap. You have to set up a bureaucratic inquisition to ensure that that’s the case.

In the case of the gender pay gap, a paycheck measures it. As with minimum wages, simple legislation would ensure it. Nobody I know is advocating “a bureaucracy” to measure it. In fact it is already measured.

It seems the word “equality” threatens the Right. As it should, They have a long history of enforcing voter inequality, income inequality, economic inequality, and social inequality.

If “equality of outcome” is limited to equal pay for equal work, we are guilty. It’s just basic fairness. But propagandists on the Right have gone so far as to accuse the Left of wanting "equality of outcome" as equal pay across all occupations.

They’re dishonest and/or delusional, of course. And that is the fatal flaw in conservative ideology.