Jordan Peterson is Wrong About the Jewish Question

In an effort to portray his detractors as conspiracy theorists, Peterson ignores the crux of the Alt Right argument on the JQ.

Jordan Peterson is Wrong About the Jewish Question

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fan of Dr. Jordan Peterson. His message about “cleaning your room” is spot on—everyone should seek to get their personal lives in order before they focus too heavily on activism. What he said about the power of speaking the truth helped forever change my life—it led me to embrace more radical ideas and advocate for them at great personal cost. And despite Peterson’s unverified claims about how he turned “thousands” of young men away from the alt-right, I know of several friends who followed a similar path from Peterson to more dissident right-wing ideas—and none who went the other way.

Regardless, the point here is that I have great respect for Jordan Peterson. But my respect for him did make his recent blog post about the Jewish Question so much more disappointing to me. Not because I disagree with Peterson on this issue—I can handle disagreement with others just fine, and to be honest I expect him to hold the views that he does because if he didn’t, he’d almost certainly get kicked off of Google, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and every credit card payment processor, lose positive coverage from Fox News, and probably get prosecuted for some kind of “hate speech” in Canada. In short, I don’t expect everyone to agree on the Jewish Question, and I don’t expect those who do to publicly come out and discuss it, because the personal cost of doing so is often too great.

No, it wasn’t my disagreement with Dr. Peterson that I found disappointing, but rather the unfair and, quite frankly, emotionally unhinged way that he covered the Jewish Question. Instead of giving his views in a fair and respectful manner, he was quick to poison the well by implying that anyone who disagrees with him is an evil pathological loser who believes in crazy conspiracy theories. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In other words, Dr. Peterson relies on personal attacks, psychologizing, straw men, and false alternatives to make his flimsy case regarding Jewish success in modern Western societies. So let’s delve into what Dr. Peterson wrote (All emphases added).

“The players of identity politics on the far right continue ever-so-pathologically to beat the anti-Semitic drum, pointing to the over-representation of Jews in positions of authority, competence and influence (including revolutionary movements). I’m called upon—sometimes publicly, sometimes on social media platforms—to comment on such matters, and criticized when I hesitate to do so (although God only knows why I would hesitate 🙂

So let’s take apart the far-right claims:

First, psychologically speaking: why do the reactionary conspiracy theorists even bother?”

Okay, let’s stop right here. This is exactly what I’m talking about. Take note of how Dr. Peterson sets up a false alternative, right from the get-go: you’re either with me or you’re a pathologically anti-Semitic reactionary conspiracy theorist. What kind of image does this terminology evoke in your head?

You can’t, in the world that Dr. Peterson sets up here, disagree with him on the Jewish Question and not want to murder millions of people. You can’t recognize the problem with Jewish influence on society and want some kind of peaceful resolution to it. No, you must be a pathologically murderous prick if you disagree with Peterson here.

In other words, Dr. Peterson doesn’t leave any room for nuance or respectful disagreement. He doesn’t sound like an academic at all, but like a left-wing SJW demagogue who wants to purge all thought-criminals off of the face of this earth.

“This is a straightforward matter. If you’re misguided enough to play identity politics, whether on the left or the right, then you require a victim (in the right-wing case, European culture or some variant) and a perpetrator (Jews). Otherwise you can’t play the game (a YouTube video I made explicating the rules can be found here). Once you determine to play, however, you benefit in a number of ways. You can claim responsibility for the accomplishments of your group you feel racially/ethnically akin to without actually having to accomplish anything yourself. That’s convenient. You can identify with the hypothetical victimization of that group and feel sorry for yourself and pleased at your compassion simultaneously. Another unearned victory. You simplify your world radically, as well. All the problems you face now have a cause, and a single one, so you can dispense with the unpleasant difficulty of thinking things through in detail. Bonus. Furthermore, and most reprehensibly: you now have someone to hate (and, what’s worse, with a good conscience) so your unrecognized resentment and cowardly and incompetent failure to deal with the world forthrightly can find a target, and you can feel morally superior in your consequent persecution (see Germany, Nazi for further evidence and information).”

Here, Dr. Peterson continues with his psychologizing, but this time, in addition to being pathologically anti-Semitic reactionary conspiracy theorists, everyone who disagrees with him is also a loser. To Peterson, anyone who holds any nationalistic views does so solely because they haven’t accomplished enough in their own lives.

Peterson locks out the possibility of simply loving your country, your culture, and your people because they’re yours. He locks out the possibility of people wanting to keep their people and their culture around for generations to come because they enjoy it and because they want their children and their grandchildren to enjoy it. No, in Peterson’s world, you either agree with him or you’re a loser.

The problem is this simply doesn’t match up with reality. Many in the alt-right and the broader dissident right are young men in high school and college. But those of us who are older tend to be rather successful—at least the ones who haven’t been doxxed and driven out of their careers. All of my alt-right friends are college graduates and most are computer programmers, lawyers, mortgage bankers, engineers, and so on. Those who don’t work in these fields often work in skilled trades.

This isn’t some group of losers. As Dr. Steven Pinker noted, alt-righters are “highly literate, highly intelligent” and “internet savvy, media savvy.”

I think Dr. Peterson knows this—he knows better. He is purposefully and dishonestly trying to intellectually bully his fans who may have some nationalist inclinations, and this rather disgusting aspect of his work ought to be called out.

Peterson tries to paint a picture where people on the alt-right, or just those who recognize problems with Jewish influence, somehow think that Jews are behind everything. It’s a caricature of what people actually believe. Peterson is trying to paint a picture where everyone who disagrees with him believes in something similar to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This simply isn’t the case.

I don’t know of anyone who believes in some kind of Protocols-type Jewish conspiracy. Most on the alt-right recognize that predominantly Jewish movements like Boasianism, Freudianism, Communism, the Frankfurt School, and so on wouldn’t have had the hugely negative impact that they did without some level of Gentile complicity. But that doesn’t mean that we should bury our heads in the sand and ignore Jewish influence, which is exactly what Peterson wants you to do.

Again, no nuance is allowed in Peterson’s world. But let’s get into the meat of his claims:

“Second, in what manner (if any) are such claims true? Well, Jews are genuinely over-represented in positions of authority, competence and influence. New York Jews, in particular, snap up a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes (see this Times of Israel article), and Jews are disproportionately eligible for admission at elite universities, where they, along with Asians, tend to be discriminated against (see this Newsweek article). It’s possible that we should be happy about this, rather than annoyed: is the fact that smart people are working hard for our mutual advancement really something to feel upset? What, exactly, is the preferable alternative? In any case, the radical/identity-politics right wingers regard such accomplishment as evidence of a conspiracy. It hardly needs to be said that although conspiracies do occasionally occur, conspiracy theories are the lowest form of intellectual enterprise. Is there another, more credible explanation? Yes. Three well-documented factors in fact appear to be at play:

a) The significantly higher than average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews (see this article in the Economist for a credible layman’s analysis; for a scientific take (one of many) see Gregory Cochran’s work: abstract and full paper). Consider that IQ is the most powerful single determinant of long-term socioeconomic success and influence (my lab has published on this issue). Consider also that the effect of a mean or average difference in IQ is dramatically increased at the tails of the distribution, so that a 10-15 point difference produces increasingly large inequalities in group representation in proportion to the degree that a given job requires higher general cognitive ability. This means that proportional Jewish over-representation increases as the demand for IQ increases. Simply put: if a very complex job or role requires an IQ of 145, three standard deviations above the mean and characteristic of less than one percent of the general population, then a group with a higher average IQ will be exceptionally over-represented in such enterprises.”

Finally! Peterson makes a substantive point—he doesn’t solely rely on poisoning the well, psychologizing, and so on. Unfortunately for Peterson, his statement is testable, and the empirical results don’t back up his claims. Jews aren’t over-represented in positions of “authority, competence and influence” solely because of their high IQ.

As Ron Unz, himself a Jew, notes in The Myth of American Meritocracy, “approximately 65–70 percent of America’s highest ability students are non-Jewish whites, well over ten times the Jewish total of under 6 percent.” Despite this, Jews make up a much higher proportion of Ivy League students, who go on to make up America’s political and financial elite. As Unz notes later:

“Each year, the Ivy League colleges enroll almost 10,000 American whites and Asians, of whom over 3000 are Jewish. Meanwhile, each year the NMS Corporation selects and publicly names America’s highest-ability 16,000 graduating seniors; of these, fewer than 1000 are Jewish, while almost 15,000 are non-Jewish whites and Asians. Even if every single one of these high-ability Jewish students applied to and enrolled at the Ivy League—with none going to any of America’s other 3000 colleges—Ivy League admissions officers are obviously still dipping rather deep into the lower reaches of the Jewish ability-pool, instead of easily drawing from some 15,000 other publicly identified candidates of far greater ability but different ethnicity.”

In other words, the number of Jews are greatly over-represented in elite schools, and that over-representation has nothing to do with their high average IQ or good academic achievements. Ivy League schools discriminate against Asians and Whites in favor of far less academically qualified Jewish students. Of course, this discrimination at the college level is at least partially responsible for how successful Jews become later in life.

Now Peterson, based on the bad faith arguments he made in his blog post, would probably have us believe that Unz is arguing that a tiny cabal of Jewish elites gather in smoke-filled backrooms to plan how they will discriminate against the goyim. Of course, Unz’s argument is far more nuanced. In his essay, he argues that admissions officers at colleges—who are often Jewish themselves—subconsciously exert their own biases in the admissions process. In other words, they exert an in-group preference subconsciously.

If we see, via statistics, how drastically this subconscious bias and in-group preference changes the ethnic make-up of Ivy League students, then how do you think it effects the ethnic make-up of major corporations, media companies, and so on? Isn’t it reasonable to assume that Jews exert an undue influence there as well?

Anyway, this discrimination isn’t even the main problem that the alt-right and their fellow travelers have with Jewish influence. Our main issue is how Jews lead far-left political and social movements that are extremely destructive to the foundations of Western Civilization. I named some examples before, which are worth reiterating: Communism, Boasianism, Freudianism, and the Frankfurt School.

A detailed explanation of this would take a whole book, but Peterson does not dispute this; he concedes that the vast majority of the leaders of these far-left movements were Jewish. Instead, he attempts to explain Jewish involvement and leadership of these movements with their high IQ:

“b) The relationship between IQ and Big Five trait Openness to Experience. Openness to Experience is one of the five cardinal personality traits (Wikipedia will fill you in rapidly if you need more info). Openness to Experience has often been considered the reflection of general cognitive ability or intelligence in personality. It’s what you are referring to when you describe someone as thoughtful, smart, artistic or philosophical. People with high IQs tend overwhelmingly to be higher in trait Openness to Experience (particularly in the Openness to Experience aspect of Intellect (Dr. Colin DeYoung’s lab spearheaded a paper on this issue).

c) The relationship between Openness to Experience and political liberalism: Political affiliation is importantly associated with personality. Conservatives/right-wingers tend to be high in Conscientiousness (particularly in the Conscientiousness aspect of Orderliness) and low in Openness to Experience while liberals/left-wingers tend to  have the reverse pattern (low Conscientiousness (particularly aspect Orderliness) and high Openness to Experience. The story is somewhat more complicated than that (which we also reviewed), but that covers the basics.

So, what’s the story? 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. The effect of this group difference (approximately the difference between the typical high school student and the typical state college student) is magnified for occupations/interests that require high general cognitive ability. Equal over-representation may also occur in political movements associated with the left, because high IQ is associated with Openness to Experience, which is in turn associated with liberal/left-leaning political proclivities.”

Get it? No conspiracy! Again, Peterson makes the mistake of arguing against a straw man.

No one is arguing for some Protocols of the Elders of Zion type conspiracy, where Jewish elites secretly plan the destruction of Western Civilization. Rather, the alt-right and their fellow travelers argue that Jewish leftism is something rather innate to their cultural and social identity. But don’t take our word for it!

Here’s what a Jewish leader had to say about why Jews supported gay marriage“Jews—as people who value equality, value civil rights, and have a long historical understanding of what it means to be discriminated against.”

This is how a Jewish leader explained Jewish support for open borders: “We cannot remain silent as Muslim refugees are turned away just for being Muslim, just as we could not stand idly by when the US turned away Jewish refugees fleeing Germany during the 1930s and 40s. Our history and our values, as Jews and as Americans, require us to fight this illegal and immoral new policy with every tool at our disposal—including litigation.”

Here’s how a Jewish leader explained Jewish support for the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement“It resonates with Jews because we have the opportunity to combine our history of oppression and our current power to help those most affected today.”

Notice how all of these appeals are couched in Jewish social identity, not just a religious identity, but also their ethnic identity as a people?

This isn’t a recent phenomenon either. Other far-left political and social movements like the Frankfurt School (which spawned critical theory and what many today call “Cultural Marxism”), was also led and supported by Jews who were open about their Jewishness and how their ethnic/social identity influenced their political thought.

And while Peterson’s explanation for Jewish over-representation in left-wing movements may explain part of the story, it certainly doesn’t explain why Jews are so wildly over-represented in left-wing movements. Again, if high IQ is correlated with openness, and openness is correlated with liberal political views, then why were the vast majority of Frankfurt School theorists Jewish? Why were so many communists Jewish, from Karl Marx to Rosa Luxemburg to Leon Trotsky to a vastly disproportionate number of Poland’s post-WW2 Soviet government? We could go down a list of similar anti-Western, anti-traditional movements and notice a similar vast over-representation of Jews.

This over-representation cannot simply be explained by high IQ and openness—if that were the case, these movements would still be predominantly gentile, since there are more high-IQ gentile Whites than there are high-IQ Jews. Just as in the case of college admissions and economic success, Peterson’s argument falls short. The more likely explanation here—the explanation of the alt-right, of academics like Dr. Kevin MacDonald, and of Jewish leftists themselves—is that Jewish support for left-wing movements is inherent in their social identity as Jews.

It is this truth that we must confront if we want to effectively counter the destructive radical left-wing movements that are tearing up the foundations of Western Civilization: the truth that these movements are virtually always led, financed, and supported by a disproportionate amount of Jews, and that this disproportionate support is mostly due to their social identity. In other words, Jews are a foreign elite in Western society—an elite who earned their status through graft and ethnic nepotism, and who use their power to the detriment of the host countries in which they live in.

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