Dr. Jordan Peterson has an important message for all of us.
How To Change the World Properly
This was triggered in part by something I read recently by Jonathan Haidt. Jonathan Haidt is the professor of ethical leadership at the NYU Stern School of Business, and he’s been a very astute commentator recently on some of the political battles that have been going on in the social sciences. He has noted, for example, that there is very little political diversity in the views of social scientists, and perhaps even less on the part of people in the humanities. Haidt recently wrote something where he claimed that universities have to decide between social justice and truth. And on the side of truth he puts a philosopher named John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher, who said:
“He who knows only his side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.”
And then Haidt juxtaposes John Stuart Mill with Karl Marx, who said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” Haidt considers Marx the patron saint of Social Justice University, which is oriented around changing the world in part by overthrowing power structures and privilege. It sees political diversity as an obstacle to action. Mill, on the other hand, according to Haidt, is the patron saint of what he calls Truth U, which sees truth as a process in which flawed individuals challenge each other’s biased and incomplete reasoning, and in the process all become smarter.
Haidt points out that Truth University dies when it becomes intellectually uniform or politically orthodox. This is in part my call, along with Jonathan Haid, for young people to join Truth University.
But there’s a problem, and that is that young people want to change the world. That’s part of what Piaget, the developmental psychologist, called the “Messianic stage,” and there’s some real utility in that. We’re social creatures, and as we construct ourselves and formulate ourselves and bring our own character into being, predicated on our biological platform or biological being, we also simultaneously have to integrate, adjust to, and negotiate with society, which sometimes needs to be changed. The structure of society has to be preserved, but it has to be updated and improved as it moves forward.
Note that John Stuart Mill, who Jordan Peterson asserts is “on the side of truth” is also the original SJW. Do you still seriously doubt that this occult-obsessed addict is a gatekeeping snake?
“Society should treat all equally well who have deserved equally well of it, that is, who have deserved equally well absolutely. This is the highest abstract standard of social and distributive justice; towards which all institutions, and the efforts of all virtuous citizens should be made in the utmost degree to converge.”
—John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, 1861