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Political Editors / Apr. 10, 2019

Jordan Peterson on Why Socialism Is Attractive

"The problem with the radical left is that it assumes that all hierarchies are tyrannical."

Excerpts of Jordan Peterson’s remarks in a discussion he had with The Daily Signal’s Genevieve Wood:

It’s easy to understand why people are emotionally drawn to the ideals of socialism, let’s say the left, because it draws its fundamental motivational source from a primary compassion that is always there in human beings, and so that proclivity for sensitivity to that political message will never go away. It’s important to understand that. You have to give the devil his due, unfortunately.

The problem with the radical left is that it assumes that all hierarchies are tyrannical, and it makes no distinction between them. And that’s an absolute catastrophe because there’s plenty of sins on the conscience of the West as a civilization. But we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and there are far worse places. … People also don’t understand that, and they also don’t understand this is something that’s of particular importance.

They also don’t understand … the knowledge of how rapidly we’re making economic improvements around the world, in the developing world, for example, how fast that’s happening. That is not well distributed knowledge, that between the year 2000 and the year 2012, the rate of absolute poverty in the world fell by 50%.

I am not a fan of the radical left. And I understand the motivations on the radical left, both on the postmodernist end and on the more Marxist end. Because of that, I’m a relatively effective critic, and that makes me very unpopular. And that’s fine because … because what people are being taught, that’s emerged from that brand of absurd and surreal philosophy, is of no utility as a guiding light to anyone.

It’s a catastrophe to take young people in their formative years, when they’re trying to catalyze their adult identity, and to tear the substructure out from underneath them and leave them bereaved. I do believe that that’s what the universities—on the humanities end, and to some degree on the social science end—fundamentally manage to achieve.

I don’t admire that. I think there’s something deeply sadistic about that. There’s something deeply anti-human about that, and it presents itself in the guise of moral virtue, which makes it even worse. Well, that’s why people don’t like me.

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