Never mistake Postmodern neo-Marxism for Cultural Marxism

Tabatha Southey at MacLeans explains about Jordan Peterson.

“Postmodern neo-Marxism” is Peterson’s nemesis, and the best way to explain what postmodern neo-Marxism is, is to explain what it is not—that is, it is entirely distinct from the concept of “cultural Marxism.”

“Cultural Marxism” is a conspiracy theory holding that an international cabal of Marxist academics, realizing that traditional Marxism is unlikely to triumph any time soon, is out to destroy Western civilization by undermining its cultural values. “Postmodern neo-Marxism,” on the other hand, is a conspiracy theory holding that an international cabal of Marxist academics, realizing that traditional Marxism is unlikely to triumph any time soon, is out to destroy Western civilization by undermining its cultural values with “cultural” taken out of the name so it doesn’t sound quite so similar to the literal Nazi conspiracy theory of “cultural Bolshevism.”

Ha. good to know. I’ve wondered in the past what “Cultural Marxism” might be, without feeling motivated enough to google it. It was a popular epithet among the he-man skeptics for awhile…or maybe still is.

To be clear, Jordan Peterson is not a neo-Nazi, but there’s a reason he’s as popular as he is on the alt-right. You’ll never hear him use the phrase “We must secure a future for our white children”; what you will hear him say is that, while there does appear to be a causal relationship between empowering women and economic growth, we have to consider whether this is good for society, “‘’cause the birth rate is plummeting.” He doesn’t call for a “white ethnostate,” but he does retweet Daily Caller articles with opening lines like: “Yet again an American city is being torn apart by black rioters.” He has dedicated two-and-a-half-hour-long YouTube videos to “identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege.”

A Peter Boghossian type, in other words, except he’s had way more success at making it pay.

As far as I can tell, Jordie—and not the cool “Geordi” from Star Trek either— rewards the devotion of his Patreon patsies with regular rants against “political correctness,” and relationship advice I can only call “Angry Oprah Says.” For USD $29.99, Petersonites can get access to the Self Authoring Suite (a USD $119.92 value!). Those looking for further opportunities to give him money can pay USD $9.99 for “100 question phrases” which “can be found, along with similar question sets, elsewhere on the web” so that they might learn how your personality compares to 10,000 others.

Pro tip: just take a personality test from the back of an issue of Glamour; you’ll only be out about five bucks, and you might find a free perfume sample.

He also gives book recommendations apparently drawn from a high-school English-class reading list. If somehow you missed them, Mistress Peterson is the portal to such obscure works as Animal FarmOfMice and Men, and that cornerstone of the Western canon, Flowers for Algernon.

There is no polite way to put this, but since Peterson claims that “If you worry about hurting people’s feelings and disturbing the social structure, you’re not going to put your ideas forward,” I’m just going to say it: Spend half an hour on his website, sit through a few of his interminable videos, and you realize that what he has going for him, the niche he has found—he never seems to say “know” where he could instead say “cognizant of”—is that Jordan Peterson is the stupid man’s smart person.

That too is familiar. The he-man skeptics seem to be fatally drawn to them.

It’s easy to assume Peterson is deserving of respect. A lot of what he says sounds, on the surface, like serious thought. It’s easy to laugh at him: after all, most of what he says is, after fifteen seconds’ consideration, completely inane. But in between his long rambling pseudo-academic takes on common self-help advice and his weird fixation on Disney movies, is a dreadfully serious message.

What he’s telling you is that certain people—most of them women and minorities—are trying to destroy not only our freedom to spite nonbinary university students for kicks, but all of Western civilization and the idea of objective truth itself. He’s telling you that when someone tells you racism is still a problem and that something should be done about it, they are, at best, a dupe and, at worst, part of a Marxist conspiracy to destroy your way of life.

Ice cream, Mandrake? Children’s ice cream?

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