Les Moulins de Mon Cœur

So the original French title of the song “Windmills of Your Mind” translates as “Windmills of My Heart”. Somebody with more talent than I could probably spin that factlet out into a lengthy essay on the difference between the Continental and Analytic strands of philosophy in the Twentieth Century.

Instead it behooves me to bow to the inevitable wheel within a wheel and present to you like a tunnel within a tunnel, like a turd within a loo, Vox Day reviewing Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules for Life. Regular Link and Archive Link.

Fairs fair, I’ll concede to agree with a lot of what Vox Day writes about Peterson here. Elsewhere, Vox is going further off the rails trying to dismantle Peterson’s theory of truth. Of course, Peterson doesn’t actually have a theory of truth, he’s just spouting the first thing that comes into his head and then covering up the mess with argle-bargle. Vox’s main concern is that Peterson is offering a heretical alternative to Vox’s more extreme position on the question of ‘how pro-fascism can we be without admitting it’. Peterson I’ll grant is somebody who really doesn’t want to be a fascist but for reasons best known to him has accepted a whole pile of premises which makes him susceptible to right wing authoritarianism. Is ‘fascist ideation’ a concept? I feel uneasy just making up a term by adding ‘ideation’ to it.

“However, the more sophisticated reader cannot help but notice that Peterson does not follow his own rules, particularly the three which relate to speaking precisely, telling the truth, and getting one’s own house in order before trying to fix the world.”

Correct and I think this is the most obvious and negating of Peterson’s book. He fails on all three fronts in the book itself and even more broadly when you look at his wider statements, videos etc.

This next paragraph by Vox Day also is hard to disagree with:

“Peterson is an engaging and accessible writer when he is simply recounting events of the past or relating experiences from his own life. He is a sympathetic author, and he effectively communicates the way in which the tragedy and suffering he has experienced throughout his life have made a deep impression on his psyche. It is when he tries to wax profound and articulate his underlying philosophy that his writing invariably wades into a swamp of nonsensical name-dropping that is less Jungian than Joycean, a meandering waking stream of consciousness that not only fails to substantially support the nominal premise, but often bears no relationship to it whatsoever.”

After that Vox’s review becomes less insightful. His agenda here is to try and negate the influence of Peterson on people within Vox Day’s target audience – the ideologically adrift anti-left seeking order. His capacity to critique Peterson is limited by his inability to address many of Peterson’s more silly ideas because Vox shares many of them (e.g. IQ essentialism, dominance hierarchies as the main tool for analysing society etc.)

Vox correctly points out that Peterson is not a conventional Christian but then neither is Vox Day. He also says that Peterson is not of the right but fails to explain how he is of either the centre or the left. Vox is closer to understanding Peterson when he focuses on his essential incoherence but pushes on as if the contradictions Peterson pushes don’t matter and a single message can be divined within the details.

Who is worse? Vox is a clearer writer when it comes to non-fiction but then he says much worse things than Peterson does but then again Peterson seems to be a more prevelant gateway drug for this nonsense. It’s just a layers of appaling really…it’s like…it’s like…

Like a fascist reviewing fascists,
Like a heel reviewing heels,
Like some nonsense written clearly,
Like some similie on wheels,
Like some appalling human being
With a mega-selling book,
Like a wannabe sci-fi author,
With a podgy skin-head look,
Like a tunnel in a tunnel with a tunnel underneath,
Like a really boring lecture on the nature of belief,
Like a song with too many lyrics,
Like Canadian academe,
Like you really hate this party,
But you don’t want to make a scene,
Like the windmills that you start,
In the Netherlands of your heart.

 

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61 comments

  1. Mark Hepworth

    How can you review Peterson and not mention the lobsters, eh?

    My main reaction is still that VD and Peterson are welcome to each other.

    On a more meta level it’s interesting to see how VD tries to cast out a dangerous opponent in the game of attracting the disaffected of the right. It’s almost like he’s trying to immunise his followers against Peterson. He asserts Peterson isn’t a Christian but doesn’t really back it up, and then he quotes Peterson’s badly mixed metaphor about the garden of Eden without comment so as to let the amateur Christian philosophers among his followers pull it apart without him having to do so. Based on the early comments it worked like a charm.

    (And just because VD *has* to be VD, comment #25 on the archive link is deeply disturbing)

    Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Hepworth

        And now a tweet wanders across my timeline saying that VD was a guest of Alex Jones to talk about Peterson a few days ago? I assume this is some sort of miniature anti-Peterson tour, where the aim is to get Peterson to admits that VD exists?

        Liked by 4 people

      • camestrosfelapton

        Yes, I nearly included a link to the You Tube video of it but then decided that it was TOO MUCH 🙂 As a crossover event it’s not infinity war. Mainly just whining.

        Essentially the hypothesis is the Big Evil Conspiracy funds Ben Shapiro & Peterson to attack the true-believers-of-truth from the left of the right and also funds Richard Spencer to attack the true-believers-of-truth from the right of the right.

        Mind you minor kudos to Vox for coining the term “Jordanetics” (Jordan+dianetics see?)

        Like

      • Space Oddity

        Oh, no. Peterson actually has tried to debate with Beale.

        Because he’s, you know, an egotistical nitwit who can’t pass on a challenge.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Cora

        It’s Infinity War, if it involved only Thanos and a bunch of other Marvel villains.

        Well, the Red Skull and Loki were in Infinity War, but Loki actually redeemed himself…

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lurkertype

        Thanos has a lot of steadfast followers, had one idea/plan, and actually achieved what he set out to do, exactly as he first stated. Big difference.

        Also, although his big idea was cruel, I at least understood it the whole way through. He expressed it very clearly.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Kathodus

      @Mark Hepworth
      “He asserts Peterson isn’t a Christian but doesn’t really back it up”

      This brings up the question, in my mind at least – has VD ever shown any indication at all of any sort of Christian beliefs? Even adherence to one particular orthodoxy or other within the Christian mythos? He seems even less Christian than JDA (who links to videos of himself reading biblical passages on his website). I can’t recall seeing VD mention Christianity as anything other than an element of his Identity politics, or as an us vs. them thing against Islam.

      Liked by 3 people

      • camestrosfelapton

        That’s a good question. He’s not Catholic and from an evangelical background but he seems close to the Catholic far-right in lots of ways. He talks about ‘The Fall’ a lot (um, not Mark E Smith’s band) and some of what he says sounds vaguely Gnostic at times. He apparently goes to church but otherwise I really couldn’t say in what sense he is ‘christian’ other than as a label.

        I haven’t read his book on atheism because I thought it would be particularly dull. I suspect he avoids discussing theology to deeply other than to say why people he doesn’t like are wrong because he wants a broad base of ‘christian’ supporters.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Hepworth

        “I suspect he avoids discussing theology to deeply other than to say why people he doesn’t like are wrong because he wants a broad base of ‘christian’ supporters”

        I think that nails it – most of the religious comments I’ve heard from him are *negative* ones about other people being wrongBelievers.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mark Hepworth

        Speaking generally, I don’t think anyone’s religion needs to be performative to be true.

        I don’t really pay attention to people’s religious beliefs except to the extent that they get used to impact the real world, so when e.g. VD tries to stake out some variety of the “defender of the Christian West” position to help him achieve harmful results then the fact that he’s not representative of mainstream Christians and doesn’t behave in a particularly “Christian” way becomes relevant, but otherwise who cares?

        I believe he does belong to a specific branch of Christian beliefs, somewhat fundamentalist in nature, and he’s written a book about (/against) atheism, but I can’t recall the details and lack the urge to google it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • camestrosfelapton

        True but given that he places himself in philosophical & theological arguments, I think his personal theology is of relevance.

        Lots (most?) of people with religious faith don’t have a deeply thought through theological stance because it’s just not needed or relevant to the religious dimension of their lives (ie it is more spiritual and/or communal and faith driven.)

        Like

      • Kathodus

        @Mark Hepworth
        “Speaking generally, I don’t think anyone’s religion needs to be performative to be true.”

        I agree. I don’t see any problem with calling out false Christians. I mean, Hell, the Christian Bible does it… That, plus false Christians and false prophets have been able to commit a whole lot of atrocities in the name of their claimed faith.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Regular Commenter

        I thought I had read he identified as Christian Dominionist, like Mel Gibson and his father? I remember once reading a review of that renamed his film The Passion of the Christ as The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre. Opus Dei and all that jazz. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jenora Feuer

        @Regular Commenter:
        I think Gibson pere et fils aren’t so much Dominionists as they are Sedevacantists… those are the Catholics who literally believe they are more Catholic than the pope, because to their minds there hasn’t actually been a valid Pope since the Second Vatican Council in then 1960s, when the Vatican committed the heresy of modernism.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Regular Commenter

        @Jenora Feuer — I’ve never heard that term Sedevacantist before, thanks for mentioning it! Just read a bit about it.

        Like

      • Jenora Feuer

        @Regular Commenter:
        You’re welcome. Yeah, unless religious schisms are your thing, it’s not a well-known term. The Catholic Church sure doesn’t want to talk about it, for obvious reasons. Some of these people are just upset that the Catholic Church admitted that other religions might have points and that insisting on being the One True Way was becoming counter-productive. The Catholic Church has actually been becoming more liberal over the last century, albeit rather slowly (heck, John Paul II apologized for the Church’s hands-off co-operation with the Nazis during WWII and was making peace overtures to Jewish groups); it’s had its own ‘conservative backlash’ as a result.

        @Kathodus:
        Which brings us back to the original point… Robert Beale, VD’s father, is a tax protester and borderline Sovereign Citizen type who insisted at trial that he answered only to ‘the Lord Jesus Christ’, and who basically tried to treat his business as if it were a church. (This, of course, failed utterly.) It seems like VD’s religion is pretty much that particularly virulent strain of ‘non-denominational’ Christianity in the U.S. that has long been far more about Dominionist politics than it has been about the actual religion.

        That said, I’m hardly an expert about what goes on in his head, and I don’t really want to try to be. I do agree with Camestros that he’s actually (annoyingly) right about Peterson here, even if for bad reasons.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Space Oddity

        Beale’s an anti-Trinitarianist and shows some elements of monophysitism in his conception of Christ. His conception of the “Fallen world” is extreme Augustinianism that shades into the Gnosticism–and it is arguably the least bizarre part of his half-baked theological stew. (Augustinianism, after all, is the defining belief of most Protestant faiths.) And finally, he’s snuck a lot white supremacist cludge in to explain how his racist beliefs are what true Christians should believe. His strange fetish for the medievals seems to be more about loving their authoritarianism and their firm belief that everything they thought was right and perfectly rational than agreeing with most of their theology. In other words, he’s there for the outfits.

        Liked by 3 people

      • michaeleochaidh

        I’d argue Robert Beale is a full-fledged sovereign citizen. Remember, he was part of a common-law court that tried to intimidate the judge in his tax case (for which he was convicted in addition to tax evasion).

        Liked by 2 people

      • William R.

        Camestros: “He apparently goes to church but otherwise I really couldn’t say in what sense he is ‘christian’ other than as a label.”

        I can’t picture him deigning to attend any church in which he’s not the one wearing the vestments and standing at the pulpit.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lurkertype

        @Space Oddity: Which is extra-interesting is that the few remaining Monophysite churches are very much NOT Western; indeed, a bunch of them are in… places where the average melanin level is higher than Teddy would like.

        Western churches are all solidly t’other, and also reject the duality of Gnosticism which he likes. Neither Monophysites nor Gnostics did real well in his beloved Middle Ages. He’d have been tied to a stake and charbroiled back then, your Western medieval types being solidly Roman Catholic.

        Must be tough on him living in a nominally Catholic country, where they don’t go in for the American evangelical fetish of the Rapture, Tribulation, and all that. Although I get the impression that most of the Italians aren’t real observant nowadays, it’s more cultural.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jenora Feuer

        @Space Oddity, Lurkertype:
        I’d forgotten about the anti-Trinitarianism part. I wonder if there’s a streak of that in American ‘non-denominational’ evangelicalism due to the rather strong ‘anti-papist’ bent. Some of that crowd have been calling the Pope the Anti-Christ for at least a century.

        @michaeleochaidh:
        Good point. I think he started off only borderline, and went deeper into it as his tax troubles increased (mostly self-inflicted), eventually ending up in full ‘why does nobody appreciate my genius?’ mode.

        (I like the RationalWiki page for him, which adds at the end ‘He is the father of WorldNetDaily columnist Vox Day (Theodore Beale) and makes his misogynist douchebag offspring look the model of lucidity by comparison.’)

        Liked by 3 people

      • Lurkertype

        @Jenora: Aw, RationalWiki undersold Teddy — they forgot the racist and homophobic part! And the fascism! Still, major points for mentioning the misogynist thing prominently, and for the snark.

        Sedevecantists like the Gibsons (hmm… also racist, sexist, homophobic, and Catholic-flavor Dominionism) are fussed about everything Vatican II did, including allowing Mass to be said in local languages that people can understand, instead of Latin.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jessica

    When criminal gangs battle other criminal gangs, may police forces describe the situation using the phrase “A$$hole against A$$hole”. We have that situation developing here, and I truly can’t see where the downside might be as long as there’s no collateral damage.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Jenora Feuer

      Problem is, as with the criminal gangs situation, ‘no collateral damage’ is almost never guaranteed. The equivalents of ‘hazing rituals’ to become part of the ‘in crowd’ often involve collateral damage.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jessica

        Luckily the most likely collateral damage resulting from a fight between two alt-right wannabes will be to other alt-right wannabes. I find that I can live with that.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Kat Goodwin

    So Beale loves Peterson because Peterson’s burst up top of the get the right’s money platform (thank the lobsters,) gives Beale an opportunity to move up the ladder by “weighing in” on Peterson. I imagine quite a few of the grifters don’t like Peterson too much — he’s a professor and in psychology, he’s Canadian, he’s too vague to be useful for conspiracy theories, etc. But he’s still useful, lending an “expert” credence to bigoted myths and dreams of feudal glory, so it won’t be a down and dirty fight.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lurkertype

      You’re suggesting Teddy’s riding Peterson’s coattails to get on the wingnut welfare wagon.
      Gosh, that never happened with him before with any project, did it?
      Is he now expecting all his dead elk to abjure Lobsterman while simultaneously going “NOTICE ME SENPAI PETERSON!!!” at every chance?
      Perish the thought.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kat Goodwin

        I don’t know that Beale is that in it for the money — he’s well off, I believe, if having to be exiled from the U.S. to keep it. Although Peterson bringing in as much money as they say he is might still be tempting to try and draw some of it Beale’s way. But it’s more a power/status thing, I would expect. Beale is climbing up the ladder of right-wing punditry. He’s hampered a bit by not being able to go to the U.S. physically and probably being seen as something of an outsider to the European right, but if he’s getting quoted in Wired and getting to phone in on Alex Jones’ show, then he’s moved up a notch. And one way to do that is to declare a Freeze Peach emergency from liberals — difficult for Beale to do from Europe — or comment on your fellows, which I believe Beale has done before. Peterson is both boon and sore point competition for a lot on the right punditry in North America, so talking to him and about him drives traffic, if you do it right. But it won’t be a full repudiation. It will be that Peterson is off-base, a poser, a “Canadian” and establishment. What Beale wants is to be on that list with the NYTimes photo shoot. Peterson was on it, so yeah, Beale can use his coattails to ride higher, theoretically.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Space Oddity

        Right. Beale doesn’t do this for the money–he’s actually very shit at running this as a business. He does it for the sweet, sweet attention.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Lurkertype

        The money would be “proof” of his uber galactic lord-ness. But yes, he’s in it for the egoboo and attention (notice meeee!). Peterson’s getting all the attention now, so he’s gotta go after that. Any moolah would be accepted, though, and put to the cause of stealing Hugo nominations replacing Wikipedia … something.

        Even if he isn’t collecting wingnut welfare (except inherited), he wants to be on that wagon sooo bad.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Lurkertype

    I think “fascist ideation” is a perfectly cromulent term. Wouldn’t be surprised if someone else had coined it previously.

    The filk version is quite well done also, although I’m itching to fix some of the scansion. (Last line would be better as “in the Holland of your heart”) But all the points for “podgy skinhead look”.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. lenorarose

    So if I’m leaving a comment just to get further notifications here, do I still get to say “Godstalk”?

    (I *Had* Camestros on a notify me of all new posts and some specific threads, and it all stopped.)

    Like

  6. Kat Goodwin

    Africans and Arabs and Asians were all firmly part of the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire and European life for millennia. Europe was regularly overrun by conquering Asian tribes, which is why the eugenicists had to go from whining about pure “white” Nordicness to Euroasian genes. There were black Caesars, the Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Sicilians, Corsicans and various groups that became the Greeks were all not “white.” The Spanish went and bred with the Irish, who bred with everybody east of them, etc. If you know the tiniest bit of European history, the entire idea is ridiculous. All to keep up a lie invented 400 years ago to do what Europeans do best — steal land, stuff and slave labor. They were voracious thugs, thieves and smugglers. Their looting of the New World after stealing guns from China put them ahead at the dawn of industrialization and let them pay people from more advanced cultures to build them things. And then they produced kids through them. Europeans are the biggest mutts on the planet.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lurkertype

      In the US, the Irish weren’t white until recently — but that’s b/c they were a subjugated people. Jews still aren’t white to Birchers et al. Jesus wouldn’t make it past TSA, with all that Middle Eastern swarthiness about him.

      After the Berber and Moor invasions of Europe, Europe got a whole lot browner; they also did after conquering various African and Asian people. English food would be completely dire if they hadn’t stomped into India and Africa.

      The only people who aren’t all mixed up and remain pure Homo sapiens are sub-Saharan Africans. Everybody else was doin’ it with Neanderthals and/or Denisovans. Even the indigenous Australians, who were pretty damn isolated till recently.

      Liked by 2 people