Ye Olde Skull & Lobster: Reading Vox Day So You Don’t Have To: Part N+1

When P.Z. Myers is cited positively and unironically by Vox Day, you know there’s something amiss with the universe. There’s heresy in the air and right-on-right attacks going down.

On the one hand, we have Jordan Peterson: transphobic right-wing purveyor of semi-coherent self-help books for people frightened by women going to university. On the other hand, we have Vox Day: a man who regards the terrorist child-murder Anders Brevik as a hero and who pushes a violent nationalism based on pseudo-scientific race theories. While we could see Peterson as at least being more moderate than Day, we can’t ignore that Peterson is a kind of gateway drug into the morass of confused thinking based on male resentment at a changing society. What Vox has in toxicity, Peterson has twice as much in reach.

Who is the more appalling of the two? Perhaps we need another candidate…

[more appalling people after the fold]

The introduction to Vox Day’s “Jordanetics”, a polemic attacking the Canadian academic, is written by Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo was once a media favourite like Peterson but having alienated conservatives with remarks on child sexuality, Milo is now a has-been with cancelled tours and a diminishing profile. Still, you might think that professional jealousy aside, Yiannopoulos would avoid attacks on Peterson. After all Peterson is good for business, bringing in more lost souls looking for direction with his gospel of tidy rooms and misogyny. However, Peterson has sinned and both Yiannopoulos and Day are keen to enumerate his sins.

For Yiannopoulos, Peterson’s sin is Faith Goldy.

Goldy is a Canadian ‘political commentator’ i.e. a far-right activist who presents themselves as being a reporter on events. Goldy presents herself as reporting on the far-right, while actually acting as a promoter of extremist causes. Notably, she covered the 2017 Charlottesville neo-Nazi ‘Unite the Right’ rally and not long after took part in a neo-Nazi podcast. These actions (and previous stunts) had led to the gradual removal of support for Goldy from various platforms and sponsors. Among this mass withdrawal of support for Goldy by less extreme conservatives, was Peterson. Over to Milo’s version of events:

“Remember Faith Goldy? She was booted from a conference line-up by Peterson, who un-personed his fellow panelist with a classic mealy-mouthed non-explanation, insinuating that she was “too hot a property.” Goldy has made some mistakes, appearing on podcasts with unsavory characters. I would not personally appear on the Daily Stormer podcast, especially not in the wake of Charlottesville. But she is not, as far as I can tell, a racist. Peterson himself said, “I don’t believe she’s a reprehensible person.” But he went ahead and killed her career anyway. Peterson made her untouchable—persona non grata—and he did so knowing what the consequences to her life would be. After all, if you’re too much for the “extreme” Jordan Peterson, you must really be beyond the pale, right? Goldy has since been physically assaulted by protesters.”

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 116-122). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

Goldy is, as far as I can tell, a racist but then my standards are luckily not those of Milo Yiannopoulos. More to the point the basic dilemma of trying to review this book is made manifest before we’ve even left the introduction. These are bickering and inconsistent arguments made in bad faith about people who act in bad faith towards one another. Peterson was right to disassociate himself from Goldy, but then he was wrong to associate himself with her in the first place but his own confused views on ‘free speech’ is exactly why he was associating with her and if he’d thought that through Peterson wouldn’t have the media career he currently has. Meanwhile Yiannopoulos then falsely blames Peterson for all the subsequent problems that Goldy faced as if the only thing that ‘killed’ her ‘career’ was Peterson.

It’s just layers of terrible people being terrible. A mess of characters who each have tried to make a living flirting with fascism to show how edgy and free-thinking they are by promoting ideologies that demand conformity of thought and behaviour. It’s easy to end up defending Peterson against Yiannopoulos’s accusations but tracking through Peterson’s decisions leads to the only rational, ethical conclusion being that Peterson really shouldn’t be the phenomenon that he is. He should have quit his role in disgust with himself a long time ago. Milo’s point is false and exaggerated and even crypto-crypto-facsists should have limits & standards but there is a cascade here that Milo recognises and Peterson does not. Peterson isn’t very different from Goldy, he just hides it better (including from himself).

So we are stepping into a morass and before doing so it is worth asking whether we should. Why wade through a cesspool when there’s a clear warning sign at the edge of the cesspool (the author name and the cover photo and the intro author’s name) indicating that this is a toxic cesspool of ideas that are bad in multiple dimensions: ethically, factually, logically and psychologically. But I want to see where the cracks are and what foments division.

Which takes me to the second sin that Yiannopoulos levels at Peterson. I say ‘second’ but it comes first in the introduction:

“Peterson’s watershed was a tweet he must now bitterly regret sending, because it gave the game away entirely. He said Brett Kavanaugh should accept his Supreme Court nomination and then quit. Peterson, apparently forgetting everything he knew about the feral Left, claimed that this might somehow soothe the activist wing of the Democrat Party into treating the rest of us with a bit more civility. Ugh, come off it. I remember thinking to myself, Jordan Peterson of all people cannot possibly believe this. And no amount of thrashing around on social media afterwards, claiming he was just engaging in a thought experiment, has persuaded anyone that he was just floating an idea out there.”

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 67-71). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

I think for both Yiannopoulos and Day, Peterson’s Kavanaugh’s Tweet is not the same kind of sin against their orthodoxy as Peterson distancing himself from Goldy. By the time Peterson posted his idiosyncratic take on the Kavanaugh hearings, he was already been attacked by Vox Day. This particular sin is Day and Yiannopoulos elevating a confused idea into ammunition to discredit Peterson. It also illustrates a problem that both Yiannopoulos and Day have with critiquing Peterson. The bulk of their critique is to repeat what left-wing critics of Peterson have already said and hence they need at least SOMETHING that is distinctly of the right to attack Peterson with. Of course, neither of them can say “the SJWs are right about Peterson”.

Here’s Yiannopoulos again:

“When he’s limiting himself to Tony Robbins-style self-help, Peterson’s prescriptions won’t do you any harm.”

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 105-106). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

I didn’t write that exact sentence in the essays I wrote on Jordan Peterson but I could have done. There’s nothing spooky about Yiannopoulos or Day ending up writing similar critiques of Peterson as I have or many others have because the obvious issues with Peterson are obvious. Likewise, both Yiannopoulos and Day highlight:

  • Peterson’s confusing writing style makes it very difficult to describe what he is saying
  • The apparent practical advice of the “rules” don’t match the actual content of the chapters in ’12 Rules for Life’
  • Peterson appears to describe very specific psychological problems he has as universals truths about people
  • Peterson’s supporters don’t seem to have read what he wrote nor can they explain it (focusing instead on the ‘rules’ in general)
  • That Peterson gets his facts wrong frequently
  • He often cites papers, books etc that actually say the opposite of what he is claiming
  • Citations, when you check them, often turn out to be to his other works
  • He often contradicts himself or obscures what he is saying
  • He often appeals to evolutionary psychology but he doesn’t seem to understand evolution (or psychology, despite being a professor of psychology)
  • His arguments are often mystical in nature
  • Lobsters? Really?

The simplest and perhaps most appropriate response to Peterson is to say “This doesn’t make sense. None of this makes any sense.”

Which takes me back to Kavanaugh. Day raises all of the issues above but he can’t say that the left’s critique of Peterson was correct. He also needs at least some arguments to attack Peterson from the right.

Even so, Day can’t avoid treading over ground already covered by the left. That includes citing biologist and atheist P.Z.Myers:

“The metaphor for the chapter begins with lobsters. Peterson illustrates the primal nature of creatures as they jockey for social position. The winning lobster, who attracts the best and most females, gains material advantage and social position, quite literally stands tall against his fellow lobsters. Then, arguing that human social order predates humanity because we are direct inheritors of the social hierarchy of crustaceans and share common ancestry with them, Peterson asserts that the Dominance Hierarchy is the primary architecture of society. Peterson’s reliance upon evolutionary theory here reveals his ignorance of it, for as biologist P.Z. Myers points out, his idea is not consistent with current evolutionary history.”

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 1293-1299). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

For Day to not just concede that Myers is right about something but to borrow his authority to defend his argument is remarkable. I think the very first time I read about Vox Day was on P.Z.Myers blog, possibly in this post:

I’d forgotten that Myers described Day back in 2012 as a “sick puppy”: a phrase that would presage later events. However, Myers has been pointing out Day’s obnoxiousness for longer than that:

I should note, that this is a good thing (as far as it goes). When confronted with absurdities and falsehoods, Day has to turn to scientific authorities and at least some semblance of truth. Day and Peterson have a weird symmetry here.

  • Peterson is a purveyor of rightwing nonsense but accepts that he needs to at least appear to concede ground to common standards of decency (e.g. Goldy’s neo-Nazi connections being a step to far).
  • Vox Day is a purveyor of rightwing nonsense and feels no need to concede ground to common standards of decency BUT he does feel like he has to at least make an attempt to look like he is making rational arguments

Neither Peterson nor Day actually have a rational ideology and both push an ideology that either is or leads to species of fascism based on misogyny. However, the veneers they apply are different. Peterson pretends to be centrist, liberal and mainstream but makes little effort to look rational. Day pretends to be fact-based, logical and rational but makes little effort to look reasonable. In the world of crypto-fascist punditry, there’s a need to distinguish your product from the other feller’s.

Which takes us to anti-Semitism.

We’ve seen two sins so far that Day uses to distance him from Peterson: Goldy and Kavanaugh. However, the trigger for Day’s ongoing campaign against Peterson was a third issue: Peterson trying to attack anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on the right. Here is Day quoting Peterson:

“No conspiracy. Get it? No conspiracy. Jewish people are over-represented in positions of competence and authority because, as a group, they have a higher mean IQ…. There is no evidence whatsoever that Ashkenazi Jews are over-represented in any occupations/interests for reasons other than intelligence and the associated effects of intelligence on personality and political belief. Thus, no conspiratorial claims based on ethnic identity need to be given credence.”

Jordan Peterson ‘On the so called Jewsish Question’ quoted In: Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 172-175). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

Peterson’s argument is wrong fractally. It’s wrong in so many ways but at least we can say his intentions weren’t terrible. It is essentially a racist argument in the sense of directly promoting a racial theory of social outcomes. Peterson has advanced before the idea that IQ is primarily genetic (i.e. Peterson isn’t using IQ here to simply imply better educational experiences or environment for a particular social group) and that IQ is intelligence (rather than a proxy for it) and that IQ causally relates to socioeconomic outcomes. I shan’t debunk all that here and I’ve covered why that is all mistaken in plenty of posts prior. However, while broadly racist, Peterson’s argument is trying to not be anti-Semitic. Of course there’s not a way to be broadly racist in a way that does NOT promote prejudice against ethnic minorities but I’ll need to also leave that aside for the moment because I need to look at Day’s argument.

Day himself also believes in the broad racial theory of IQ Peterson is making use of here. However, Day also believes in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Indeed, he thinks he is sort of a victim of collusion or least wasn’t granted the same advantages as a former peer of his. It’s time for yet another appalling person to add to our roster: Ben Shapiro.

Here’s Day again:

The problem was that having been nationally syndicated twice in my youth, first by Chronicle Features and then by Universal Press Syndicate, I knew perfectly well that some individuals of a certain persuasion, such as Ben Shapiro, just to provide a specific name, had been systematically promoted, presumably due to their ethnic identity, at the expense of more intelligent, more successful, and more popular colleagues. In my experience, Peterson’s statement was flat-out wrong. For example, when Ben Shapiro and I were both writing for WorldNetDaily in the early 2000s, I was the third-most-read weekly columnist there, behind Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter. Ben Shapiro, on the other hand, wasn’t even in the top ten; if I recall correctly, his column readership numbers usually came in towards the bottom of the top twenty and averaged less than one-third of my own and one-fifth of Pat Buchanan’s. But while Ann Coulter and I were both signed to the elite Universal Press Syndicate, the less discriminating Creators Syndicate not only passed over most of the WND columnists who were observably more popular than Ben Shapiro, they told newspaper editors that they had to take Shapiro’s column if those editors wanted to run columns by other, more popular columnists syndicated by Creators in their newspapers.

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 176-186). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

Like Peterson, Vox Day is keen to point out that he isn’t an anti-Semite, although as we can see he definitely does believe in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. That Ben Shapiro got wider syndication than he did might have something to do with Shapiro’s columns being less stridently obnoxiously rightwing and hence having a potentially wider audience can’t be the case in Day’s view because Shapiro’s columns weren’t that popular at World Net Daily – a far-right news outlet. It’s never easy to tell with Vox which bits are genuine beliefs on his part and which are calculated deceptions but I think this is unfiltered Day here. Now, for all I know, Shapiro may have all sorts of family connections or people doing special favours for him but his success or otherwise isn’t a manifest counter-example to Peterson’s claim.

But, as I said Peterson is fractally wrong here. He is right that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are nonsense but Peterson doesn’t have a way of saying that they are nonsense that isn’t fallacious because that would require Peterson to acknowledge that social outcomes arise out of complex, interrelated social effects and behaviours. Because if Peterson DID acknowledge that then he’d have to acknowledge that systemtic sexism and racism might actually be things that impact people even in circumstances where decision makers aren’t overtly or knowingly racist or sexist.

Luckily for Day, Peterson’s multilayered errors extend into the details of the argument he uses. That’s handy for Day because he really wants to debunk Peterson’s argument without debunking the underlying theory that IQ determines social outcomes. Peterson’s claims about the mean IQ of Ashkenazi Jews aren’t true (I mean, they aren’t true in many ways but they are specifically not true in a specific way). That allows Day to use maths! He’s so proud of his specific debunking that it gets its own appendix at the end of the book. He’s also so pleased with himself that he provides this unwitting comment which I feel like framing with a space where it says “Jordan Peterson”

That was the point at which I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jordan Peterson was a charlatan, an intellectual fraud, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing. An honest man, a genuine intellectual, simply does not make errors of that magnitude, then promptly proceed to make even bigger errors after being publicly called out and corrected. That’s what a con man who is attempting to salvage his con does. That’s what someone who is dedicated to deceiving his audience does.

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 213-217). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

That’s just one of many unwittingly ironic quotes from Day about Peterson that applies so easily to Day himself or to his friends such as Mike Cernovich, Stefan Molyneaux or, indeed, Milo Yiannopoulis. It is grifters all the way down.

Speaking of grift, I’ll take a moment to note that Chapter 2 of this book nominally by Vox Day is primarily a cut and paste of negative comments from Peterson supporters to one of Day’s videos.

Following are a list of comments left on my YouTube channel, Darkstream by Vox Day, each in response to one of the 17 aforementioned videos. They are all reasonably representative of the positions being taken by the pro-Peterson commenters;

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 512-514). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

Seriously, what follows is rambling quotes from YouTube and that is the majority of the chapter! The chapter that follows that (Chapter 3) is a rambling transcript of one of Vox Day’s video’s about Peterson, padded out with some more of the comments left behind on YouTube.

Can you guess what Chapter 4 is? Did you say “Is it positive comments to Vox Day’s video cut and pasted from YouTube”? You did? Well done! Who is so foolish to read this stuff? Oh, um, I am.

So is it actually heresy that Vox Day is chasing here or is it simply money? After all Peterson and things Peterson related is big business and it is big business among Vox Day’s target market: disaffected men who feel victimised by women. The Peterson bandwagon would be a hard one for Vox Day to jump on in a supportive way, which leaves the only other option of attacking Peterson and letting his outraged fans fuel Day’s marketing.

As I’ve noted before, with motives and particularly with the ideology v grift motives of the alt-right, Ockham’s razor doesn’t apply. Multiple causes should be assumed rather than just the simplest. There’s always a money-making dimension as well as an ideological one.

I’ve tried to give a sense of the dimensions of Vox Day’s critique of Jordan Peterson. One part is criticism that is familiar (essentially that Peterson is incoherent & dishonest) and another part is that Peterson is insufficiently right wing/secretly leftwing (Day claims Peterson is a Marxist). These two parts don’t need much further illustration. The valid arguments day uses have been better put by others and the political argument is just a new version of Day’s usual attacks on conservatives he feels are insufficiently rabid.

However, there is a third dimension to Day’s critique, which for want of a better word I’ll call ‘occult’. ‘Occult’ works in two ways here. Firstly Day contends that there is a hidden meaning in Peterson’s work and secondly Day contends that it is demonic. Again, neither of these should be surprising to anybody familiar with Day’s writing. To be fair to Day reading Peterson is likely to make anybody wonder what Peterson is really trying to say. Day is correct that the common sense rules that Peterson promotes in 12 Rules for Life, have very little to do with the text contained in the chapters about each rule. Obscurity is part of Peterson’s con – to appear to be profound by being opaque. Day recognises this but goes further.

I think, that actually Peterson doesn’t know what he is trying to say in much of what he writes. His writing appears garbled because it is garbled and trying to decipher his meaning beyond his basic prejudices is like trying to decipher a code that reads “qwertyuiop” We can reach rational conclusions from such a code (i.e. that somebody or there cat pressed the top row of the keyboard in order) but we can’t read the code in the normal sense. Peterson’s writing gives us insight into aspects of his psychological state, his fears and his prejudices but not much else. Vox Day though takes a different tack. Vox is looking for demons.

The demonic looms large on the alt-right. We’ve seen claims that demons are controlling the left or that witchcraft is rampant. Vox Day has a particular fixation on Alestier Crowley, the infamous English magician, seeing his demonic influence everywhere including in Disney:

“As I’ve told my children, Let It Go is an expression of pure Crowleyian evil; it doesn’t even rise to the less evil version of W. Somerset Maugham, as there is no due regard for civic mores.”

“Disney is run by literal satanists preaching Alastair Crowley’s “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” to children. They are one of the primary engine’s of the West’s degeneracy and decline. It is not an accident that everything they touch, in every industry, turns into morally radioactive slime.”

Now Disney and Frozen are things on which both Peterson and Day might find common cause. However, Day is on a literal witch hunt.

“Peterson’s philosophy shares a number of components with that of esoteric religious figures, including L. Ron Hubbard, Aleister Crowley and Helena Blavatsky. His 12 Rules for Life rely upon some of their fundamental tenets, although, again, he hides them beneath commonplace metaphors and large quantities of word-salad. Over the course of the book, you gradually begin to recognize when he is attempting to sneak one of them past you.”

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 1239-1242). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

To be fair to Day, he’s not wholly wrong. I also argued that Peterson’s work fits within a framework of writing and beliefs that does connect with L.Ron Hubbard and Helena Blavatsky. (see ) However, the connection is magical thinking about willpower that doesn’t necessarily imply active belief in the occult. Those same strands that connect Peterson and W.B.Yeats directly also indirectly connect with Ayn Rand and Donald Trump…and probably to Vox Day.

Vox Day is looking for a more literal satanism.

“In Peterson’s philosophy, the world is fallen into evil due to the actions of men. If men acted benevolently by staying inside their own heads and limiting their actions to their imaginations, Paradise on Earth would be the result. It is hard not to notice the overt parallels to Aleister Crowley’s Satatnic philosophy. Like Peterson, Aleister Crowley also believed that Heaven could be constructed on Earth, but only if enough men managed to master themselves.”

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 1964-1967). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

And also:

“Ironically, Peterson’s perspective is darker than that of the notorious Satanists, for Peterson cannot even conceive of the joy of life in a world of suffering and pain. And while Peterson’s defenders will undoubtedly be tempted to question the connection between Peterson’s philosophy with the Thelemite beliefs of the infamous “Beast 666” sex magickian and master of the Ordo Templar Orientis, or with the controversial founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, the spiritual connections are undeniable.”

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 1978-1981). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

And also:

It is here that Peterson identifies how Rule 10 empowers his student to cast magical spells upon reality, to give structure to chaos and re-establish order though one’s speech. By speaking carefully, by speaking precisely, we can reorder reality to our preference. But should we speak carelessly or imprecisely, the spell will not work. Crowley’s spells were defined in a similar manner. Illustration:

It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take “magical weapons”, pen, ink, and paper; I write “incantations” –these sentences– in the “magical language” i.e. that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth “spirits”, such as printers, publishers, booksellers, and so forth, and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of MAGICK by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will. —Aleister Crowley, MAGICK

Time and time and time again throughout Rule 10, Peterson asserts that the use of precise and specific words in the face of chaos will prove to be its antidote. Peterson considers precise speech, the sort of speech that makes material manifest, that isolates and separates things from their unknowable histories, to be a white magic.

Day, Vox. Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker (Kindle Locations 2470-2481). Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

To say that Peterson employs magical thinking (which he does) shouldn’t be confused with saying that Peterson believes in magic. I don’t think Peterson’s thoughts and beliefs are sufficiently coherent for him to actually believe in magic in any serious sense. Day is over-extrapolating here, although certainly 20th century occultism is part of the blended plum-pudding milkshake that Peterson pours liberally into his work. The error Day is making is assuming that these clumps of matter are the signal in the noise rather than just the noise made by Peterson’s dysfunctional thinking.

Having said that…I wouldn’t be surprised if Peterson heads off in a more overtly spiritual/occult direction in the next phase of his existence as a pundit.

I don’t normally do conclusions well here because I use this blog to get thoughts out of my head. However, having spent time reading too much by Jordan Peterson and too much by Vox Day and then reading Vox Day reading Peterson, I feel I should arrive at a point. The point is where I started: this is just layers of appalling people argue about the right way to be appalling people.

I don’t believe that truth and goodness are the same thing or that logic alone is needed for sound ethics or that the scientific method, properly applied, leads to a deeper enlightenment. However, there’s a kind of comfort in seeing that appalling people will eschew both ethics and the instruments of reason but cannot live without either. There’s an implication that reality has a bias towards not being a shitty person. Even Day and Peterson try to claim that they think that also while actively engaged in deceiving themselves and others.

1 Rule for Life: Honesty is a virtue – to yourself and others.

53 responses to “Ye Olde Skull & Lobster: Reading Vox Day So You Don’t Have To: Part N+1”

  1. That was a crazy leap off the deep end. What the Hell? Day seems to be trying to be multiple kinds of crazy at once. He used to just be a simple, shameless liar and a neo-Nazi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe, I think it was sort of Day trying to keep his shit together and try a quasi-rational debunking of Peterson…it’s just he doesn’t really have the skill set for that and he is trying to fight a huge cloud of gibberwaffle. Now he’s all covered in sticky gibberwaffle and is running around saying “look at all this gibberwaffle!” 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

    • Ted also has to keep upping the ante in order to keep his followers happy—in addition to trying to get new ones. The line is always changing.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Personally, I think this is a good illustration of how you can take the boy out of Fundie-AM Radioland, but you can’t take the Fundie-AM Radioland out of the boy. Beale remains a child of the 1980s Fundamentalist Christian culture he was raised in, and all its strange conspiracy theories and hysterias, no matter how much he dresses it up in internet troll jargon coupled in bad philosophy readings. This is probably why he’s so much more invested in QAnon and “The Storm” than most of the alt-right crowd–it hits his sweet spot.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It always comes down to demons and the devil with these people, does it? They seem to think they’re living in the 1970s/80s satanic cult horror paperback.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Those demons are sure busy, though I wonder why they want to possess such unpleasant people. If I were a demon, I’d find someone nicer to possess.


    • Cora, I think it’s prima facie evidence you are not a demon that you have no wish to spend any time with unpleasant people. Demons by nature of their job would seem to wish to spend eternity in their company…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I think your important point came in the middle:

    flirting with fascism to show how edgy and free-thinking they are by promoting ideologies that demand conformity of thought and behaviour.

    He’s certainly made Peterson look better, for certain values of better. I don’t recall Peterson invoking the supernatural to explain the behavior of liberals (or lobsters). Yet.

    Teddy Boy’s right about Peterson’s theories being badly-argued crap, but wrong about everything else. And what took Mr. Sooper Genyus so long to realize this, eh? He could have written this earlier, when Peterson was getting all the press and sold more/gotten more exposure for his hot take.

    I know little about Ben Shapiro, other than everything of his I’ve read is odious, but his advantages over Teddy would seem to be that he’s a bit less toxic, lives in a media hub of the US (therefore is available for appearances, both in person and on TV) and most importantly better educated, younger, and much more photogenic. All of which has NOTHING to do with his religion. He could be of any faith and those advantages of location, education, age, and looks would still apply to his rise among the right-wing punditry.

    (You used way too much British understatement regarding the comments that got Milo persona non grata’ed. He said he was in favor of child molestation, Teddy’s bete noire. Strange bedfellows indeed.)

    Whargarble and gibberwaffle, indeed.


    • Before we start thinking Peterson is an ok guy we should all remember that on his appearance on the UK’s Question Time he defended hate speech – he’s just as bad as Teddy; he just dresses better.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ugh, Pat Beuchanon.
    On another note, I don’t understand why people like Ben Shapiro support right wing Conservatives who would just as quickly turn on them for being Jewish.
    He can’t not know that it exists on his side, it’s pretty blatant in some cases, yet he continues to push the broader ideology of the right.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jewish people siding with far right racists is one of those things I really don’t get, but it happens. I can think of at least two examples in Germany, one a journalist/pundit and one a Jewish group inside a far right racist party.


  5. I also think Ben Shapiro did have some connections in the industry — his mother worked in the business? I might be remembering this wrong. I think I read it on Atrios’s blog way back when. If I recall correctly (and I might not) she both got him his first job *and* funded him at first.


      • The Right Wing punditsphere is such an incestuous community that if it were a person, it would be Charles II of Spain.

        Liked by 12 people

      • Well, thank you. I do strive for wit, and occasionally, I succeed at it.

        But to build on my earlier statements–for the average Right Wing pundit, getting a completely unwarranted job as a columnist to kickstart their career thanks to a parent/mentor/friend isn’t the exception, it’s the rule. And I’m not just talking about bush-leaguers like Beale, or even the supporting players like Shapiro–I’m talking about important figures like William Kristol.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ben Shapiro may be an annoying twerp, but there’s no evidence he got his job spouting right-wing drivel thanks to his family connections (beyond his dad writing pseudonymous puff pieces).


  6. As for why Ben supports the Right when the Right hates Jews, it’s the same reason Ann Coulter supports the Right when the Right hates women, and the Log Cabin Republicans and so on: there are always people who think if they will be accepted because they’re not like THOSE OTHER PEOPLE. They’re one of the “good ones.”

    It’s the like girls in high school who hung around with the misogynist guys and went around saying how they hated other girls, and how all their friends were men. They assumed the guys they hung with thought they were cool, honorary men. Yeah, no. As far as Vox Day is concerned, Ben’s a Jew just as much as my kid is, and a Log Cabin Republican is still gay, and Ann Coulter still belongs in the kitchen, with the rest of the useless, ignorant girls.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think of them as the naive communist dupes in a 1950s anti-commie drama who wind up falling out a window or in front of a car when they realize they picked the wrong side (“No, I was loyal! You can’t do this!”).
      Alternatively it may be completely calculated, at least with some of them. Playing a right-wing hatemonger has worked out very well for Coulter; she may be gambling that the gains from being a goodlooking blonde who shits on other women outweigh the risk of reaching the tipping point where male supremacy wins and she loses all her rights.

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    • The gender studies class I took explained this as a kind of sub-franchise for connected members of the groups they disenfranchised, like the women’s auxiliary of the men-only country club. They get to be “better” than most of their class (from the POV of the club), and they get some mini-privilege or other that certifies it. In exchange, they keep backing an organization that is pretty much anti-them.

      Reminds me of Ladies Against Women. I wonder if they’re still around. They were performance art, and if they weren’t all portrayed by men, they were so well festooned with overstated fem signifiers that they might as well have been in drag.

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    • My experience having known (and found myself arguing with) Log Cabin Republican types over the years is that there is a lot of the kind of co-dependence you see in people who refuse to leave an abusive relationship: this unshakeable belief that if they love the abuser enough the abuser will love them back. There is the mini-privilege thing, but there seems to be a lot of self-loathing and delusion going on as well.

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      • I think that there is a big element of the Sunk Cost Fallacy going on there as well. If they admit that they are on the receiving end of the abusive/ exclusionary/ bigoted behavior (and have been all along), then they are admitting that they got taken in — that they’re a sucker, that a big part of their life is based on believing a lie — and for many people, it’s easier to continue with the self-deception than it is to admit that and tear down the foundations of their world, and have to start completely over.

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    • And, of course, Vox’s allies don’t take the “I’m a Native American, honest” schtick seriously. No-one on the right actually classes him as the non-white immigrant that he claims to be when it suit him.

      Unlike the actual women or Jews or gay people that the right has as pets, he knows he can drop that cloak the moment it stops being useful for him.

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  7. this is just layers of appalling people argue about the right way to be appalling people.

    Well let’s be fair, that’s all the Alt-right has to support their side. They haven’t got facts, they haven’t got logic and they certainly haven’t got much in the way of useful intelligence.

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  8. Regarding Faith Goldy, she actually ran for Mayor here in Toronto in the last election, apparently trying to tap into the same sort of electorate that had elected both Rob and Doug Ford.

    She came in third place, but considering that the percentages for the people running basically went 63/23/3/2/… there were only two people who were treated as serious candidates, and she wasn’t one of them.

    Regarding occultism, this reminds me of the classic Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons which has a whole section about occultism and the attitudes about it (specifically as a result of John C. Wright’s comments)

    Also, apparently one of the contributors at the Daily Stormer thinks burning witches again would be a good idea. This is the sort of thing that happens with people raised on a steady diet of conspiracy theories…

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      • Canada has a long tradition of this sort of thought in some quarters, which is why you have such things as the Albertan and British Columbian Social Credit Provincial governments in the nation’s history.

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      • For the Canadian alt-right, well, there are a few things to consider. One of them is the same sort of ‘people with horrible views can now find each other and fester together’ aspect that drives the alt-right in general. Another is the fact that Canada is far more drenched in U.S.-driven culture than any other country that isn’t the U.S. (Heck, some of the biggest TV stations here in Canada just re-broadcast U.S. shows with Canadian commercials; not only do they spend less money than the stations that try to make their own Canadian content, they get more viewers, because they get to piggyback off the advertising and buzz from the U.S.) A lot of the alt-right here use exactly the same sorts of conspiracy theories as in the U.S., even though things like the sovereign citizen movement are often based off U.S.-specific laws and arguments.

        This shouldn’t entirely be surprising, because people who get into that sort of mindset aren’t necessarily focused on reality at all, much less the specific reality of the country they’re living in.

        A lot of the core of the alt-right here is around Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media, which used to have both Faith Goldy and Gavin McInnes (of ‘The Proud Boys’) as contributors. Rebel Media was created after the previous ‘Sun News Network’ (a.k.a. Fox News North) eventually crashed and burned. Rebel Media was deliberately created to be more of a Breitbart-style operation; the much lower up-front costs would make it much harder to shut down than an actual TV network. Sun Media was kind of the cradle for this: to give you an idea of the level of discourse, I should note that the Toronto Sun still had a ‘page three girl’ up into the 1990s, though later on the ‘Sunshine Girl’ was moved further back into the sports section of the paper.

        As Space Oddity notes, Canada does have a fairly long tradition of this, mostly but hardly uniquely in the west, but a lot of the more recent spikes are pretty obviously people jealous of how well ‘their side’ is doing in the U.S. and trying to piggyback off of that.


        • It’s interesting how much of the right is media related. I mean obviously there a famous left wing journos and pundits but they aren’t typically a nexus of organisation or quasi-movements.

          I wonder also how far right media organisations have drifted in general.

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      • We also have lots of immigrants. *Lots* of immigrants.

        I’m even one of them, although as a white guy and an American I’m not one of the immigrants they’re scared of.


        • Know the feeling- surprising how often I’ve had to remind an Australian that when they say ‘immigrants’ that I am one. Buttttt of course a Pom doesn’t count no matter how recently they arrived to a bigot

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    • During the shrieks that Kavanaugh was the victim of a witch hunt I kept pointing out to my right-wing friends that the far right is engaged in a literal witch hunt and they don’t seem at all bothered by it.

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  9. Ah, this is so helpful and explains much, thank you.

    What we loosely call the alt-right is a wide coalition of different groups with varying and over-lapping agendas — neo-Nazis, American neo-Confederates, American 2nd amendment amosexuals, anti-Muslim and eugenics loving atheists, far right theocrats of various stripes and sects not all of them Christian, European far right groups seeking totalitarianism and various forms of nationalism, right wing media doing general propaganda,

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    • I was trying to write something and my computer glitched up on your blog. Sigh, let me try to finish that. Anyway, there are a lot of groups — the alt-right is really just the far right but they are only united by one plank — that because of slow, small advancements in civil rights, culturally first and economically and politically after, the dominance hierarchies that make civilizations supposedly great have declined, corrupting and declining the civilizations and exposing them to threats within and without that destroy their righteous and biologically/religiously/ideologically ordained dominance. In the western, white supremacist democracies, the far/alt right views the culprits as non-whites getting more equality instead of accepting an inferior place in service to the superior white folk (who are superior on merit and values, natch, and rightly own all the cultures as they like; ) and women both white and non-white getting more equality instead of accepting an inferior place in service to men from giving their labor to being sex dolls, etc.

      The view of equality-seeking women as the downfall unites all the far right in cultures, white supremacy and non-white supremacy, as well as the lip service communist dictatorships, etc., and is the big recruiting tool, followed by white supremacy in the western white dominated societies. (LGBTQ prejudice, harassment and repression is a popular target and good for recruitment, but inconsistent across factions and usually LGBTQ civil rights efforts are regarded as an outgrowth symptom of feminism and weakening dominance hierarchies, while basic prejudiced tolerance of LGBTQ is often touted by the far right in western democracies as an example of superiority over non-white Muslim societies, etc. )

      Beale is a far right Catholic warrior viewing white supremacy (and male supremacy) as a natural and divinely annointed order that raises western Christian civilizations above all others and in a war of dominance against the “eastern” civilizations and various types of brown people, such as (some) Middle Eastern Muslims, flexibly applied. As such, Jews are useful in getting to ultimate dominance but a threat to far right Catholic/Christian dominance if they usurp. And Shapiro, who uses the Jews are useful for the Apocalypse beliefs of fundy Christians to join planks and grifts with fundy Christians, has usurped, getting much further in the right wing media sphere than Beale. Milo is still joined with Steve Bannon, part of a faction heavily into white western supremacy, anti-Muslim wars to maintain white supremacy, and joining American and European white supremacists in a political civilization fight for the globe and the west that sometimes veers into far right Christiandom as part of the fight but also flexibly suspends it when needed. Milo’s job is to be a mercenary gadfly and defend selected conservative pundits and extra far right (neo-Nazi) deplorables like neo-Nazi Goldy as being unfairly persecuted by over-reaching leftists.

      Peterson is a far right Canadian eugenics loving academic who has been able to use psychology techniques like positive visualization with a vague Christian mysticism gloss and openly state dominance hierarchies are thus biologically natural (and probably divinely created,) primarily sexism but also a dose of white supremacist Manifest Destiny, while waving off the violent use of force necessary to maintain such ideas as the operating systems of society. I.e. he advocated making women slaves of incels but couldn’t really explain how you’d do that without violent slavery and rape of women, waving it away as not really an issue. His main audience are men who are angry at women seeking equality (uppity,) for whom he provides therapeutic support and a gloss of academic intellectualism for the sexism, along with a branch group of fundy Christians who like that he keeps some of the far right Christianity philosophy in rather than more atheistic far right eugenics.

      But Peterson does not want to be seen as purely a theocrat and definitely not as a neo-Nazi, again advocating violent genocide. He classified the Jews as not only helpful but essentially white enough to not be worth going after. He condemned Goldy as going too far in white supremacism into neo-Nazism. It is a regular tactic with the Canadian far right — see Gavin McInnes who has at times been buddies with Peterson. They are flexible about it but Peterson is trying to be talk show mainstream, so he has limits he doesn’t want to cross.

      For Beale, that makes Peterson a target for declaring restrictions on his speech, that Peterson has dominated as an authority (and a Canadian!) criticizing other far right figures on going too far, especially as anti-Semitic attacks and memes are currently the hot tool in the playbook for recruitment. So Beale denounces the very successful Peterson as not an authority and a corrupted sneak, in theocratic terms, and altogether too buddy with Shapiro, a corrupt Jewish sneak who took Beale’s advancement. And apparently he has some backing from Bannon’s faction who I guess finds Peterson in the way. It is a lot of jockeying about. It’s less interesting about Beale and more interesting about Milo/Bannon in relation to Peterson.

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      • Ah, I thought he was a Catholic in the Catholic League area from stuff people had said, but fundy Christian same neighborhood, more American. He’s decidedly in the theocrat section and the eugenics section, religious chapter. Beale isn’t really the interesting one in the net — what Bannon and his backers who manipulated multiple elections, Brexit vote, etc. are up to is more critical. If Milo was lent out to write a forward against Peterson for Beale’s diatribe, that’s more interesting about what’s going on with Peterson and other key factions of the far right. Peterson may have run into being a problem for some of the alt right coalition. You’d think they’d be totally embracing him as a star of their “Dark Web” but obviously there are some divisions there.


        • Well the ‘intellectual dark web’ people included Ben Shapiro and overall I think it’s like Sad Puppies versus Rabid Puppies- same but different & they get to claim to be moderate & reasonable because their pro-genocide arguments are more nuanced etc etc


      • Right, Shapiro is bigger than Beale, as is Peterson, so that explains a lot of Beale’s animosity, as well as his attempt to jockey himself to the top of Comicsgate. But the more important question is, do the Mercers, etc. have a problem with Peterson (they don’t seem to really with Shapiro,) and is that problem actually a problem, believing that he’s interfering with their far right western democracies political coalition, or just staged in-fighting? How embraced is Peterson by other major factions? The problem for a lot of these guys is that they’ve had to link racism hierarchy to the sexism hierarchy grift because of players like Bannon. And when they try to back off the racism/fascism side of it, they run into losing audience and position in the right o’sphere.

        The issue is whether players are ganging up on Peterson, rather than just another of Beale’s grudge rants. But your quotes and analysis do explain why Beale got obsessed with Peterson — it’s more about Shapiro.

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  10. Ahh, you’ve left me in total suspense! You stopped describing Day’s book at…Chapter 4!! =)


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