Episode 65 – Jordan Peterson on anarchy

Jordan Peterson on anarchy

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Jordan Peterson has come to some fame (or notoriety) following his admirable refusal to go along with the militant politically correct culture.  Dave Rubin recently had him on his show, the Rubin Report, to talk about this upcoming book.  Rubin followed the interview with some audience questions.  One of the questions was about anarchy and what Peterson’s thoughts were on it.  While he’s a very intelligent man and normally pretty thoughtful, Jordan Peterson on anarchy was disappointing.

He’s a thought leader with a following that takes him very seriously, so it’s important that we don’t allow all of the good things he says and does to silence ourselves when we have disagreements.

Here’s the transcript of the question and the part of the answer we want to discuss:

Rubin: Hi, Jordan Peterson, I believe there’s a growing number of ancaps, free market anarchists, that are trying to influence society.  I would like to know your opinion on them and how we should keep them from thrusting us into chaos.

Peterson: Well, you can’t get rid of government because government is just an expression of the necessity for groups of people to reach a consensus about how they’re going to behave.  There’s no getting rid of that.  Family has a government.  If it doesn’t, it has unspoken rules.  And there’s a ritual, so if there’s no government, it’s ritual.  But families are actually better when some of the government—governing principles are articulated.  To get to the proper place usually means to balance a number of competing forces.  It isn’t like, “Well no government and everything will be okay.”   It’s like, “No, sorry, that isn’t, it isn’t that simple.”  And nothing is that simple, that’s why I’m not a fan of ideologues.  It’s like ideologues have the same answer to every question.  It’s like, well, that’s the same as not thinking.  Generally it turns out that things are very, very complicated and you have to take them apart in detail, and then you have to solve a small part of the problem.  And that’s hard.  It’s like everything is like fixing a military helicopter.  There’s a lot of parts.  And you don’t understand most of them and you’ll make it worse if you don’t know what you’re doing.  And so, those movements, like anarchists or progressives, it’s like no.  It’s too complicated. 

Rubin: Yeah, it’s interesting ‘cause I’ve had a couple ancaps on here.  Intellectually, I love the exercise of how much could we chop away from the government, but, for me at least, as someone who believes we have to have some level of government, the chaos that we would go through and the pain and probably bloodshed and God knows what else, just wouldn’t be worth even getting there.  But I like the idea.

Give us a listen to hear how we respond to Peterson’s objections to anarchy.

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