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The Munk Debate and the Perils of Tribalism

“[Y]ou’re a mean mad white man and the viciousness is evident.”
Michael Eric Dyson

The Munk Debates is a semi-annual series of debates that take place in front of an audience of 3,000 people at the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Two panellists argue in favour of a motion and two argue against it. Audience members vote on the motion before and after the debate, and the side that shifts the most votes in its favour is declared the winner.

The most recent instalment took place last Friday. It was titled: “Political Correctness—Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress…” The pro side consisted of sociologist Michael Eric Dyson and journalist Michelle Goldberg, while the con side consisted of comedian Stephen Fry and psychologist Jordan Peterson. All four are prominent authors and social critics. The debate was broadcast in both Canada and the United States, was streamed online through thousands of channels, and has received almost two million views on YouTube (across a few different channels) as I write this.

The debate was remarkable for one particular reason, which I’ll focus on in this piece. I’ve watched hundreds of academic debates over the past decade or so—on YouTube and elsewhere—starting with some of the early ‘New Atheist’ debates on religion and then moving on to politics, philosophy, and many other topics. Yet I’ve never seen one where a participant used derogatory racialised language as part of their debate strategy. Until this one.

Half an hour into the debate, Dyson made the following statement: “[I] ain’t seen nobody be a bigger snowflake than white men who complain.” An hour in, he said the following to Peterson: “Why the rage, bruh, you’re doing well, but you’re a mean mad white man.” When Peterson objected, Dyson responded with this: “The mean mad white comment was not predicated upon my historical excavation of your past, it’s based upon the evident vitriol with which you speak and the denial of a sense of equanimity among combatants in an argument. So I’m saying again, you’re a mean mad white man and the viciousness is evident.”

It’s indisputable, I think, that if Peterson had called Dyson a mean mad black man or had made derogative opinionated statements about black men, the moderator or other panellists would have objected. But here they said nothing. This is an obvious asymmetry: the panellists were debating difficult and important ideas in a competitive setting, yet Dyson was able to use racialised barbs to play to the crowd and get under Peterson’s skin.

Dyson is a sociology professor who by his own admission teaches French philosophers Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, both difficult thinkers. He didn’t need special rules. So why did he get them anyway?

***

Dyson’s defence was essentially this: by racialising the conversation, he makes Peterson—and the audience—aware of the ways in which people of colour are forcibly collectivised by oppressive societal structures that are invisible to white people. He said: “When I added race to that, I was talking about the historically evinced inability to acknowledge others’ pains equally to the one that they’re presently enduring,” and earlier in the discussion said: “[I]dentity politics has been generated as a bête noire of the right and yet the right doesn’t understand the degree to which identity has been foisted upon black people and brown people and people of colour, from the very beginning on women and transpeople.”

This defence didn’t have much of an effect on Peterson, who during his opening statement had said: “Obviously, human beings have an individual element and a collective element, a group element let’s say, the question is what story should be paramount.” So while it’s possible Peterson underestimates certain forms of group identity, he never denied people were subject to them. His claim was that people on the left overemphasise them, and he appeared to think Dyson’s barbs were a further step in the wrong direction.

This tied into Peterson’s warnings about collectivism. He argued that the collectivist narrative is: “a strange pastiche of postmodernism and neo-Marxism, and its fundamental claim is that, no, you’re not essentially an individual, you’re essentially a member of a group,” and that: “the proper way to view the world is as a battleground between different groups of power.” In Peterson’s view, this is dangerous because not only does it produce conflict amongst the groups that initially adopt this mindset, but there’s also a danger of creating tribalism on the Right. Peterson and Fry both stressed this during the debate.

***

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who Peterson mentioned during the debate, has been a vocal proponent of the view that continuously subjecting students to identity group discourse produces a tribal mindset where students learn to see the world in terms of ingroups and outgroups. In other words, there’s a fine line between making people aware of their identities and sharpening their identities—or even producing new ones—through combative discourse. Peterson and Haidt have been arguing for some time that academia, especially the humanities, have gone too far towards the latter. Stoking group conflict is dangerous because you might not be able to control it once it has become inflamed.

In my opinion, while Dyson accused Peterson of being blind to his privilege and to various forms of enforced group identity and oppression, many on the political left also have blind spots, and I think this explains in part why Peterson is often dismissed so easily. Peterson’s work in personality research and clinical practice has arguably given him a better understanding of the broader population than most academics who tend to work and live in environments with predominantly like-minded people. (Although it should be noted that Dyson is a minister as well as an academic.)

For this reason, many academics might underestimate the extent to which most people don’t view the world through a lens of universalism and egalitarianism. For many people, tribalism isn’t a means to achieve equality, it’s at the core of their worldview. So when they feel their identity threatened, they’re going to fight back, regardless of whether academics think that they are privileged—they simply don’t see the world through that lens.

Tribalism isn’t a toy and academics who think they can regulate it up and down like a set of dials to determine who’s in which group and who can say what about whom are playing with fire. Theoretically, emphasising group identities and allowing marginalised groups to make derogatory remarks about other groups while strictly prohibiting the reverse might be an effective levelling technique that leads to more equality. In practice, though, there’s a real risk of it boiling over into serious conflict.

It seems to me that the audience felt the same way. The first time Dyson made a derogatory racialised remark about Peterson they laughed and clapped. The second time, a spattering of claps was quickly overshadowed by boos. When the votes came in after the debate, Peterson and Fry won handily.

There was a bright spot though. Dyson asked Peterson to come with him to a black Baptist church, and Peterson agreed.

 

Uri Harris is a freelance writer with a MSc in Business and Economics. He can be followed on Twitter @safeortrue

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72 Comments

  1. JackbeThimble says

    It’s frankly weird to call this a debate- the only one who seemed to be interested in actually debating was Stephen Fry. Jordan Peterson was lecturing, Michael Dyson was bloviating and Michelle Goldberg pretty much admitted that she didn’t actually agree with the motion he was supposed to be defending and was just there to attack Peterson. It’s also worth noting that Dysons attempt to ‘Play the crowd’ failed miserably- they loudly booed him when he doubled down on insulting Peterson.

    • Alys Williams says

      I agree entirely Jack. I thought both Dyson and Goldberg very weak and off topic. For me, Stephen Fry came out slightly ahead of good Dr. Peterson but all in all an entertaining hour or so.

    • Puggles says

      Michael Dyson tarred and feathered himself as an imbecile. Debate are about arguments and rebuttals and I’ll have to relisten if he even provided one of either. The “progressive” PC lefties have isolated themselves so much they have lost the plot.

    • Ben Weeks says

      For a brief moment Dyson’s conscience appeared to be flickering. I hoped he’d back down and apologize for his use of insult. But at that moment Peterson went on the attack. Dyson seemed to harden his heart and rationalize his ad hominem. A bigger man would have repented and moved to gentleness and humility. He’d have treated others as he wishes to be treated.

      One might expect a minister of Jesus to “Love God and love his neighbour as himself.” As this was Jesus’ distillation for the entire mosaic law into it’s greatest commandment. It is hard but a follower of Jesus would seek to emulate and embody Jesus teaching. Jesus too embodied enemy love and forgiveness—which also seem conspicuously absent from Dyson’s praxis. French thinkers who reject God appear to hold more authority for him. Perhaps Dyson’s functional saviour is not Jesus at all.

  2. Sam says

    It’s a creditable effort, but you’re being too charitable to Michael Eric Dyson. You’ve probably identified the best possible interpretation of Dyson’s racialised non-argument, but strangely Dyson actually makes less sense when quoted in full context. Stephen Fry was correct to identify the style and substance of Dyson as that of a huckster.

  3. Mark says

    “It’s indisputable, I think, that if Peterson had called Dyson a mean mad black man or had made derogative opinionated statements about black men, the moderator or other panellists would have objected. But here they said nothing”.

    I gave this exact feedback via email to the event organisers. I received a pleasant “thank you” email in reply.

    I’m glad the post-debate audience results were 70% against the motion.

    My biggest piece of feedback, however, was this: I was looking forward to a Canadian argument for political correctness. I felt much of the debate was taken over by American racial politics, which was a shame. Likewise, I was annoyed the pro motion couldn’t see the world through anything but the usual postmodern “oppressors” vs. “oppressed”.

    • Puggles says

      “I was looking forward to a Canadian argument for political correctness.” I believe everybody was hoping for the same thing.

      If only George Carlin were still alive “Political correctness is America’s newest form of intolerance, and it is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance.”

      • Eric Friesen says

        The political correctness that matters most is that which overlaps with common decency and politeness. The rest is part of somebody elses effort to receive the dignity they feel is part of their due.

        The fact is that a small %age of us have a very good understanding of the world we live in and we know better than to say or do anything that would open us to attack on political correctness or any other grounds. We work away in politics, academia, the professions, upper management in gov’t and the private sector. Broadly speaking, we respond similarly to events such as the election of Trump. You can find many of us in the moderated NYtimes comment sections.

        The real problems with racism, nativism, tribalism, etc is that most of the folks harboring these views have no idea what they want done with whoever it is that they don’t like or they really want something truly horrifying done and will never say it.

        • Alan Schenk says

          Apart from the breathtaking arrogance that your small % comment exhibits, which is not unexpected given your predilection for the New York Times, you clearly have not taken in Mr Harris’ comment on Tribalism and that for many it is a worldview that is not interested in your much vaunted globalism. If minorities see themselves through the lens of tribalism, oftentimes based upon their ethnicity that in and of itself is not considered something bad, but rather something to be proud of and celebrated. When did you decide that nativism was evil and that it is akin to racism? This citizen of the world hypocrisy liberals continue to hammer on denies people an identity based upon their heritage and culture and requires replacement with what exactly?

    • Ryan says

      Mark
      I agree totally. It drives me insane when debates or arguments are based on the political state in America while here in Canada it is not the same. And to pretend that it is the same is ridiculous.

  4. Robert Paulson says

    Michael Eric Dyson is engaged in a type of rhetorical performance art. He reminds of Cornell West. Both play this “wise black preacher man” character and deliberately deploy homey mannerisms and the tone of the black preacher style. Note the way Dyson’s cadence rose and fell in that melodically characteristic southern preacher style. It almost seemed like he was expecting to hear “amen” from the audience. Its pure hucksterism, although I’m sure he is used to this sort of thing working on gullible white liberals who equate blackness with wisdom.

    • eric winters says

      He was certainly performing some sort of act.

      I don’t know why attending a black church would affect Peterson. In fact, I’m not sure it’s a good idea if he wants to maintain his congregation… I do now know who is telling some black people in church that “God hates white people.” A conversation I had with someone on Facebook several weeks ago was quite illuminating/depressing about what’s being discussed in some black communities…

  5. Mark Turpin says

    I want to make an off-topic comment on the Peterson of recent months and the Peterson of, say, the Bible videos, who, in my opinion, delivered to us a series of spectacular and gripping performances.

    In the Bible videos he was improvisational, willing to risk being wrong in the attempt to articulate complex ideas; he was not necessarily an authority, he was simply a very very smart man vulnerable to all the humiliations of standing on a stage to say what he thought—and sincerely, without actorly bullshit ie. Stephen Fry.

    I doubt the media has paid as much attention to those videos as they should have. Most of them are two hours long. I am not shorting Peterson’s thought, his construction of the world—I’m only saying that he himself has been a remarkably talented conduit for his message and that gift, to some degree, has been obscured by the constant fencing with the media that he has been required to do. He’s done a pretty damn good job, absolutely. Singlehandedly saying words the media loathes to hear.

    Of recent months, he has been embattled almost every day. Someone asks: Do you believe in God? And instead of saying: What a slovenly question, Peterson is forced, by circumstance, to take it seriously. And the idiot, who congratulates himself on his rationality, goes off to pat himself on the back for being such a keen debater.

    Now, Peterson is expected to have a position on every question of the day—like a fucking politician. Ok, I guess this is what happens when you get famous overnight. I’m sure some of us love Peterson, the Master Swordsman, who skewered Cathy Newman. I myself was cheering. But I don’t want to lose sight of what got me on this train in the first place, and what has been mostly ignored by the media. I hope Peterson doesn’t forget it either. Sometimes, not being sure is the strongest position you can hold.

    • Absolutely agree. When he was preaching to the choir, or at least the open minded, he could speak from the heart. Now that he’s been thrust into the public square, surrounded by raging (because threatened) progs, he has little choice but to speak from the head, I hope he can do both and keep it together. He should at least avoid NYT interviews.

      • Michael Johnston says

        I find myself worrying about Jordan Peterson on a personal level. I’m grateful that he seems to have a very loving and supportive family, but he looks tired. And who wouldn’t be? He’s aged a lot in the last year. It makes me sad because he’s given me – and many thousands of others – a lot. Yet he’s subjected to incredibly unfair and ignorant treatment in the media. I hope he knows when it’s time to take a holiday. He certainly deserves it and no-one can take the sort of pressure he’s under without some respite.

    • Morgan says

      So long as Peterson doesn’t have to take responsibility for her own actions, right? Everything he does wrong is someone else’s fault. I’m sure that’s a point of view Peterson would support.

  6. The actual amount of people that agree with someone like Eric Dyson more then very occasionally is quite small but influential in journalism and academics. In pure population sense I would put it under 20% that buys all of the bilge he spews. He is, in fact, nothing but a race baiting huckster.

  7. I agree with your observation that the normal moderation standards weren’t upheld. But It think it only helped Dyson sink his own ship.
    Peterson had framed the problem with political correctness (collectivism over individualism, the intellectual and practical errors that come with that) and Dyson helped make Peterson’s case.

  8. Owen Morgan says

    Peterson was maybe getting a little too excited in making his original points. Obviously, Dyson’s quite provocative use of the “mean, mad white man” barb demonstrated his willingness to use exactly the type of stereotype he would rail against. In truth, he’s really only concerned about racial barbs against black Americans. A principled objection to the spiteful stereotyping of others apparently isn’t for him. Maybe try … “do unto others” Professor. It might even help you win a debate or two. I’m guessing the moderator knew the audience – in my book it was fine to let the offender stew in his own juice.

  9. NickG says

    Theoretically, emphasising group identities and allowing marginalised groups to make derogatory remarks about other groups while strictly prohibiting the reverse might be an effective levelling technique that leads to more equality. In practice, though, there’s a real risk of it boiling over into serious conflict.n practice, though, there’s a real risk of it boiling over into serious conflict.

    No, this is already happening, what hasn’t started yet is any serious white backlash, as night follows day this WILL happen.

    There was a bright spot though. Dyson asked Peterson to come with him to a black Baptist church, and Peterson agreed.

    That wasn’t a bright spot, that was a manipulative power play by Dyson.

    • Charles White says

      I wonder if the weekend demonstrations at Whitehall is the beginning of the backlash you predict.

      I know little about Tommy Robinson beyond his 2017 Justice For Chelsea campaign. However it does seem pretty dystopian for someone to be arrested, judged and sentenced within hours without being allowed access to family or his regular lawyer, then a publicity ban on the story on top of that.

      The demonstrations, while inspired by Robinson’s situation, may be more about the infringement of basic rights.

      • Robinson’s as much a race huckster as Dyson and was arrested for breaking the conditions of his suspended sentence.

        If he didn’t agree with those conditions he shouldn’t have accepted them at the time.

        • Susan says

          He was not arrested for breaking the conditions of his suspended sentence. It was a “breach of the peace”- Livestreaming in front of a courthouse after the trial phase of 10 gang “groomers” was over. Only his crew was on the street. Watch the video.
          This was clearly a political arrest-1984 Oceania in the UK

        • Peter says

          Well that’s certainly a lazy and easily disproved statement. You work for the BBC?

      • Sydney says

        @Charles White, Please do a deep dive into Tommy Robinson. He’s neither ‘race huckster’ (his personal friends include those of all cultures; and his bottom lines are evident from his own videos and interviews with people like Gad Saad and others) nor choir boy. Yes, the speed with which the UK system had him arrested, charged, tried, and imprisoned carried more than a whiff of Russia, China, UAE, what-have-you. Don’t buy oversimplifications of this issue. It goes deep from current ‘Muslim Rape Gangs’ to the systemic pedophilia within the upper levels of UK society going back many decades. No hyperbole, but Robinson is a fall-guy and may end up dead as a result of sticking his head out too far. [Sorry, this was off-topic re the Munk Debate.]

      • Sydney says

        @Charles White, Further on Tommy Robinson, if I may, (and Quillette really ought to be publishing on this important issue that is linked in many ways to the North American IDW), I just ran across a new and interesting piece today (although there are now scores of videos on the TR arrest, jailing, and reporting gag-order): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8CPF1mK9Fo

        • Michael Rowland says

          I watched that video last night. It paints a pretty grim picture for Great Britain. I’m sad that things seem to be heading in the wrong direction in GB. All countries in the Western world should be watching and taking heed of the loss of free speech that seems to be happening there. There very well may be a kind of revolution brewing, and it won’t be pretty.

          • eric winters says

            The West is eating itself. We no longer agree on (or follow) the first principles that made it work. It’s been dead, but only now do we smell the rot. I suspect it’s too late to avert the fall.

    • Jeremy Smith says

      The derogatory remarks have been happening for decades. Now it’s open hate against whites. It’s a ridiculous statement that, theoretically, derogatory remarks leads to more equality. All it does is normalizes hate speech and action among the marginalized group. Look at the blacks who are associated with anti-semite, ant-white Louis Farrakhan, they are getting away with their association. And here’s his latest tweet from Sunday –

      “Why should there be an end to him (White man)? Because his nature is not in harmony with the nature of God.”

      • eric winters says

        If only there was some solution that could finally solve the white problem….

  10. Daniel says

    It should also be noted that “minister” Dyson has been married three times, and he is separated from this, his third wife. I’m not so sure he has what could be termed “a sufficiently rigorously religious” perspective.

  11. Darren, Nottingham says

    I think Shelby Steele’s concepts of “white guilt” and post abolition “shame” shed the most light here – he brings sensitive psychological analysis to topics the right (ie the non regressive left) want to approach with “facts”. If one thing is clear the regressive left is a psychological phenomenon, it is not suited to “debating”.
    You cannot address black rage and feminist rage via a debate. Feminism today sometimes looks like boundary seeking behaviour in young children. At other times it sounds like sexual frustration. BLM – for me – has undertones quietly whispering “please help us”. The SJW safe space thing sounds like a form of PTSD.
    The last thing the regressive left needs is “refuting”, it needs something else …

  12. asdf says

    “the proper way to view the world is as a battleground between different groups of power.”

    It is.

    “Theoretically, emphasising group identities and allowing marginalised groups to make derogatory remarks about other groups while strictly prohibiting the reverse might be an effective levelling technique that leads to more equality.”

    There are no marginalized groups. There are groups with low average genetic ability that are experiencing unequal outcomes in the world today. It’s nobodies fault and nobody should feel guilty. However, such groups have realized they can use ethnic solidarity and weaponized guilt to ransom the superior group out of goodies they can’t make themselves. The superior group grows tired of this and tries to form its own group for defense.

    • Skip says

      🙂 “Such groups have realized they can use ethnic solidarity and weaponized guilt to ransom the superior group out of goodies they can’t make themselves.” I guess those “low average genetic ability” groups have some smarts.

    • There are wide variations in ability within any group and there will always be retards within any group who cling to the idea that their group’s higher average ability means that they themselves must be smarter.

      Your IQ is your IQ. If you are as thick as pig shit belonging to a group with a statistically higher average than another doesn’t make your IQ any higher.

      • asdf says

        Having a high IQ doesn’t mean you can accomplish anything if you are surrounded by hostiles. None of us can do anything on our own. Groups accomplish things. Groups win wars. Groups form companies. Groups live in communities. Groups win elections.

        Individuals don’t get admitted to Harvard with 200 point higher SAT scores then blacks, but blacks acting as a group do get that slot. Acting as a group > acting as an individual.

        A hostile group is taking advantage of you and your only response is “I’d rather get used and abused without recourse by people that hate me then cooperate with a group that shares my interests.” You might as well be one dude fighting an entire Roman Legion and going “look at me I’m such a good fighter” before you get stabbed from ten different directions.

    • brian jackson says

      “There are groups with low average genetic ability”..
      ” the superior group grows tired of this.. ”
      asdf.
      Here is a link to help you understand the connection between your racism and your low IQ.
      http://theconversation.com/the-strange-links-between-intelligence-and-prejudice-81155
      It would be very interesting indeed to see the results of a true test of your own intelligence. The intellectual content of your comments suggests you would struggle to break the 100 mark.
      Btw. Cheating on a home IQ test doesn’t count!

    • Alex Russell says

      “There are no marginalized groups”.

      Wow. This may be true in very small parts of the world, but as a blanket statement is is obviously incorrect. You are saying that the Rohingya are not a”marginalized” group? Try being an atheist in Saudi Arabia – I’m pretty sure you would be marginalized pretty quickly. Or just be a women in great swaths of the world.

      I do believe that the level of racism in the USA is overstated by the Regressive Left, but to say there are “No Marginalized groups” is just as wrong as saying that all issues for minorities are caused by “white privilege”.

  13. Skip says

    It seems to me an event like this has a high probability of turning into “intellectual” performance art, and nobody’s better at it than Peterson and Dyson.

    • Michael Rowland says

      I hope that doesn’t happen, and I don’t think it will. One thing that might prevent it is that unlike Dr. Dyson, Dr. Peterson speaks in much more measured and thoughtful ways. Dyson, on the other hand, spouts ideology and “word salad.” He purposefully obfuscates the argument. This is not an equal intellectual match-up, in my opinion. Peterson will continue to win the argument in any future debates with Dyson.

    • Peter says

      Dyson wasn’t intellectual. He was a verbose and pompous charlatan. He made about two points repeatedly and tried to charm the audience by rephrasing them in ways that sounded how I imagine an intellectual would sound if written by a bad writer. He made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

  14. mattw06992014 says

    I really hated this debate. Normally, I like to hear Jordan Peterson debate but the two on the left were just horrible debaters in my opinion. Dyson was exceptionally bad. Neither person on the left could move the ball down the field because they were so unfocused. That’s why they lost the debate according to the poll results of the audience.

    Did anybody actually define political correctness? Perhaps it might have helped if each person gave a short definition.

  15. Charles White says

    When I watched the debate, I experienced the same frustration that Stephen Fry articulated. The debate did not address the question but devolved to a personalized political debate, primarily due to the pro side. Goldberg kept mentioning Trump as if that would be the key winning debate point.

    I only watched the debate based on two assumptions. First being the question would be addressed and an exchange of ideas would occur. Second, that the pro side would have equal capability to the con side. I had never been aware of either Dyson or Goldberg before this debate, but made the assumption the debate organizers would invite two debaters of the quality of Fry and Peterson. I agree with Jack at the top of the comment stream that Fry was the only true debater.

    • Joseph Rio says

      I thought Fry made listening worthwhile.

  16. Michael Rowland says

    I watched this debate, and I also reviewed some analysis about it on YouTube. Pretty much everyone, including myself have the same take as the author of this analysis. I’ve become familiar with Dr. Peterson’s theories and political viewpoints, so he did not surprise me in the least. What I found new and refreshing was Mr. Fry’s performance. Mr. Fry’s politics seem to be Classical Liberal. He was very critical of the Dyson/Goldberg team’s arguments. That was what I thought refreshing. At one point, toward the end, he even went as far as to say that Dyson appeared as a “snake oil salesman.” As I have long suspected, the Postmodern Leftists have been overwhelming the Classical Liberals of the Democratic Party–at the Party’s peril. Until the Classical Liberals regain control, I’m afraid the Democrats will continue their downward spiral toward irrelevance .

    • Skip says

      Sometime in the 1930’s the great American humorist Will Rogers said, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” From a practical standpoint, I don’t think you can ever expect the Democratic Party to have a unifying political ideology, its tent is too big. The same is pretty much true of the Republican Party, though it claims to have a conservative/libertarian ethos. With the advent of Trump it found it’s base really doesn’t go along with this, at least not with the “small government” mantra insofar as it might adversely impact SS, Medicare, or any other government program from which it realizes it benefits. Politics is situational and generally driven by expediency, and things change over time.

      BTW, if you watch MSNBC at all please note its assigned place for interviews in the Capitol is right in front of a statue of Will Rogers. Ironic, no? 🙂

      • Michael Rowland says

        About the Democratic Party being too big: This folds into what JBP was talking about when he observed that the liberals could not seem to set a hard, fast boundary to define when they “go too far.” To me, that is a valid point.

  17. Proponents of identity group politics know that they must combat a white identity reaction. The “white privilege” propaganda is an attempt to stigmatize white identification by characterizing it as an embrace of privilege, hence, white supremacy, hence, KKK. The propaganda also confuses a lack of negative reactions with positivity, or privilege. People of European ancestry are largely responsible for Western Civilization in its present form, so it is natural that they will have a certain standing where their civilization prevails, just as the Chinese, for example, have a certain standing where their civilization prevails.

    • Skip says

      I agree, but those “standings” are eroding rapidly in a globalized, diversified world. Those decrying and attempting to halt such changes are generally known as reactionaries.

      I’m not making any value judgments here, only pointing out the direction of things as the present time.

  18. dirk says

    I don’t think DEBATE was the right word to call it, it was more a DIALOGUE. A debate is a discussion of people who differ 10 or 20 degrees, a Dialogue where the difference is 180 degrees, and , from the beginning on, there isn’t the slightest hope on some sort of compromise or common understanding. I think, Peterson knew this very well, but, good of him to appear, nonetheless, sometimes, the medium, the show, the floor, the appearance is the message.

    • Skip says

      A small point, dirk, but why was it good for Peterson to appear but not any of the others? Fanboyism is never a good place from which to start.

      • dirk says

        Imagine Skip that Jordan would have said: “You are a mean black man, and the viciousness is evident”, just imagine. I had never heard of Dyson and the lady, and Peterson I just know now for 2 months, hoho, what a relieve. Stephen Fry I know from English comedy, not from discussions, but he did quite well, I understand. I am a fan of Jordan, just because I know him best as a debater. But I also can feel for Cathy Newman, she did her best, and was a fierce defender of what she thought was correct, besides, laughed timidly and said “Y’ve got me there”.Great!!

        • Michael Rowland says

          The “Gotcha” moment was a diamond for me. One: Peterson drove his point home, but Two: Cathy Newman almost endeared herself to me by being slightly embarrassed and humble.

  19. ga gamba says

    “Who are you talking about? Jordan Peterson? Trending number one on Twitter. Jordan Peterson? With an international best seller. Why the rage, bruh? You’re doing well…

    By the same measure Dyson is doing very well too. He’s highly educated, is a tenured professor at a prestigious university, has published numerous books, regularly appears on TV and radio broadcasts, is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and a contributing editor for New Republic. His views are warmly embraced and given prominence by those who dominate the culture capital and public sense making. Dyson and Peterson are close in age, have been in academia for roughy the same number of years, each has published dozens of papers and books (Dyson 72 and Peterson 130), and both have thousands of citations (Dyson 4120 and Peterson 9704).

    Why the rage, bruv? Dyson says: “We are challenging inequality. We are challenging the refusal to see me as an individual. When we overcome that, have at it, we’re all equal.” Hold on. How did all of Dyson’s accomplishments happen? Where was this refusal to see him as an individual that he mentions? Did his teachers, advisors, mentors, hiring and tenure committees, publishers, and producers not see him as an intelligent individual but rather as the avatar for all black people? “We need a black chap or they’ll keep complaining.” Was he the beneficiary of tokenism? Unlike Dyson, I don’t have the ability to read minds or see through others’ eyeballs, but given he’s not stuck in a system that condemned him to menial labour, it appears many gave him a shot, presumably based on his individual talents, and he’s made the most of it.

    Notice the switch from not only opportunity, which Dyson received, and outcome, which Dyson has maximised, but he now states he’s not seen as an individual based on no empirical measure at all. The goal posts keep getting moved. It’s simply an assertion, and by the merit of his skin colour alone it’s taken by many as valid. Let’s assume Dyson is clairvoyant and that he knows all the white people in his life haven’t seen him as equal. Has it stopped him? No. Nothing in the systems and the institutions exist to do so. In fact, they are structured and operate presently under the belief that he’s being oppressed and therefore barriers, even unconscious ones, are taken to exist and are policed. We’re battling phantoms.

    Later in the debate Dyson said: “I have come to city – I don’t know if there are lot of black people out here… not sure – but I constantly come to places and spaces that are not my natural habitat… but I often go into hostile spaces where people will not vote for my particular viewpoint […] When I come into areas like this, I understand my back is up against the wall.”

    Is his natural habitat not Georgetown and other university lecture halls, on stages, and in broadcast studios?

    Appreciate the revealed prejudice of this statement. He walks onto the stage convinced the people (not onesie twosie) dislike him, that he’s facing a hostile crowd, and that his back is up against the wall like he’s been pursued and cornered. Other than the jeering of him at one point, when he doubled down on the racialised smear against Peterson by restating it, the audience treated him respectfully, even charitably, the entire evening. This was an unfair attack on the audience. And it too was racialised because it came from his belief it was predominately white and, by so, they wouldn’t give him a fair shake.

    Dyson’s mind is polluted. Some may argue it’s society that dumped noxious sludge into it, but this view denies Dyson is intelligent enough to understand his own thoughts and words and removes agency from him. His power comes from playing on white guilt, and listening to him I find the same tepid broth of complaints about not being “respected” and “celebrated”. Seeing the results of the post-debate poll, his gambit failed. Just as accusations of racism are less likely to pain whites nowadays because they’ve been overplayed, I suspect the white-guilt strategy is becoming less and less well received and effective. Evidence of this being the night’s the most well-received comment when Fry called out Dyson’s “huckstering snake oil pulpit talk” in his closing remarks.

    • Skip says

      ga gamba, I noticed the italics and must ask if you know what HTML formatting tags this site accepts? TIA for your response.

      • ga gamba says

        Yeah, I botched an italics tag by not properly closing the ending one with the / . The ability to preview before submitting or edit a comment for a few minutes would certainly help me.

        The tags used are set by the greater and less than signs. You may use italics with an i, bold with a b, and embed a hyperlink with the opening tag a href=”url “>text and then close the tag. I think you may embed two hyperlinks in a comment without the comment getting stuck in moderation. A work around to provide more links is to cease using the attribute tag by substituting www(dot)name(dot)com. I guess strike may also be used, but is it HTML 4’s strike or HTML 5’s s I don’t know. I tested both here and after submitting my comment I’ll know.

        https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element is a list of all the elements, but most aren’t too useful for comments.

  20. Skip says

    This is just a test:
    italic
    bold
    superscript10

    For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by…
    1.2 million members in the United States ….

    link to Reuters

    • ga gamba says

      Oh, I should have scrolled down more. You figured it out.

      • Skip says

        Thanks. It’s always important to focus on style over content. 🙂 Cheers

  21. I think that it is tragic that the left has so lost its way. I am left of centre but consider the modern identity politics driven left to be dangerous. This is why we have Trump and Brexit. The left has driven voters to protest vote to extreme levels. I bet that even the AdF in Germany has many former liberals voting for it.

  22. Tribalism beget more of the same. “I really don’t know how you ask white people not to be white in the world we’re creating,” [Glen] Loury cautions. “How are there not white interests in a world where there are these other interests?”

    • asdf says

      If they can get to 51%, it won’t matter what white interests are. They will impose whatever order they desire by force, as they have done in those locals where they have numerical superiority.

  23. Joaquim C says

    what an embarassing debate…sigh… two educated pep against two mental problematic persons…
    sad…

  24. Raymond says

    To see white men complain of the rest not appreciating themselves as individuals, and further raising fears of collectivity being dangerous for society is mystifying. I want to be sympathetic to such a perspective but a crucial detail has been left out. Much effort has been put forth by what we can politely call “majority groups” into establishing the inferiority of those outside the group. Not just an occasional negative interaction like being called a slur or being bumped on the sidewalk. The power of science, the military, law, markets, philosophy, religion, both practical and mythic foundations of civilization have been routinely called in to affirm and impose inferior status upon these now asked to behave as individuals.

    The conflict is clear. Those in the majority are able to hold themselves in a sort of balance between individual and group member, with an individual identity predominating and group membership an intellectual exercise. But the minority, for his own safety and possible progress, must always remember his status in the outgroup and his individual identity is an afterthought. The minority seems psychotic, unbalanced, militant and hysterical. The majority seems reasoned, scientific, moral, equanimous. That is the nature of power and nothing else.

    Now that minority groups are getting angry and organized the danger of this necessary tribalism is pointed out. The cultural minority groups asserting themselves are blamed for the existence of their overbearing identity, when it has been aggressively imposed from the outside for (depending on the group) generations to millennia. The king tut-tuts the greasy rioting peasants for behaving as uncultured barbarians. He checks rebels for spreading murderous ideologies as if his own unchecked supremacy is not from the same dumpster.

    It’s a little embarrassing to read these types of libertarian laments of the inevitable fallout of Western power struggles. If you plant a cherry tree sapling one year 10 years later when you want apples, the tree will still give cherries. It will give cherries when your great grandson wants oranges and when his great grandson wants pears. So it is with civilizations depending on ethnic cleansing, genocides, chattel slavery, disenfranchisement of women, imprispnment and execution of homosexuals and oppression of the working class. The slaver’s grandson reaps both reward and curse from his grandfather’s forays into nation building.

    The most embarrassing part is the transparent threat that if the minorities don’t back down, Nazis and Klansmen will be set on them again. If they don’t take the carrot of nice talks with well-meaning libertarians, the stick of fascists will put them in line.

    • Peter says

      To warn someone is not the same as threatening them. If you are so deluded as to think that JP is threatening people with the KKK, then you are truly a lost cause and completely out of touch with reality.

      Dyson, of course, doesn’t seem to be having any trouble in this awful system. Was he the only apple seed? Or is he the one making sure all the other seeds think they can only ever be cherries?

  25. Northern Observer says

    So it is with civilizations depending on ethnic cleansing, genocides, chattel slavery, disenfranchisement of women, imprisonment and execution of homosexuals and oppression of the working class.

    But that’s the rub isn’t it. It’s all relative. This explains the well known phenomena of African immigrants to North America, who upon arrival work hard, acculturate as best they can and build a life for themselves. They then look at their AA brothers and sisters with their victim narratives and shake their heads, often with contempt. Honey, you have no idea what ethnic cleansing genocide slavery disenfranchisement imprisonment and oppression are. You have no f-ing idea, and these 19th century statues of white man you spit on today, if they had anything to do with the society we live in today, well then they weren’t all bad. You want to see bad, come back to Africa with me.

    The leftist narrative of shame and oppression, the grand narrative of the evil European, is a childish cartoon of biased fictions, one that has been weaponized into a revenge fantasy for the ever New Left. It is almost as if the European descendants of the World having failed to believe properly in The Revolution and implement the Utopia must now be destroyed and replaced for their lack of vision. It’s sick, it’s untruthful and it will harm humanity.
    Anti colonialism has been revealed as nothing but racism, and illiberal racism at that.
    We are slowly learning this. We are slowly waking up.

    Dyson is a spokesperson for this malevolent way of thinking and being, and we see him for who he is.

  26. William Allen says

    When all else fails and is silly, resort to accusations of racism and white privilege. That is Dyson’s and his ilk’s MO. He is a despicable example of the cottage industry of race baiting that enriches Jackson, Sharpton, et al. Are there any black academics who contribute to our culture rather than tear it down constantly?

    • Tim says

      Yes. Thomas Sowell. Great man, you should check him out on youtube…

  27. The minute that race-baiting Dyson started attacking Peterson’s character and race, I realized I wasn’t watching a debate. Who picks the speakers for this series? Whomever decided on having Dyson on that stage should be booted…or future “debates” will become irrelevant.

  28. “I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil.”

    Web Du Bois

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