Episode #10: Tina-Karen Pusse on Jordan Peterson, Identity Politics and the Online Culture Wars

The provocative and inflammatory punditry of Jordan Peterson is coming to Ireland.

In this interview, Tina-Karen Pusse sketches and critiques the politics of libertarianism and the New Right and anti-feminism that will draw crowds to Dublin’s 3Arena on 14 July.

‘Winning the War of Ideas’ will feature Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, and Douglas Murray.  Anticipating the event, Tina-Karen Pusse describes how the hard-science fetishism of the first two speakers translates into faulty and inflammatory political analysis, while the third is a run-of-the-mill British reactionary.

She shows how a broad platform of anti-intellectualism is being constructed on foundations made up of psychology, evolutionary biology and racial thinking.  She also suggests reasons why Peterson and Harris have developed such a following among young men, particularly those suffering from depression.  High rates of depression among young men are not due, as Peterson claims, to feminist encroachment into the traditional cultural role of men, rather to the pressure of living in neoliberal precarity.

Listeners interested in this topic might like to go back to our interview with Angela Nagle, who is an acknowledged authority on the online culture wars. You can listen to that episode here.

An alternative, earlier event devoted to critical discussion of the online culture wars will be held on 6 July, in NUI Galway.  Details of that event, which is being organised by Gender Arc are here.  It is free of charge and open to the public.

Tina Karen Pusse is Lecturer in German Literature at NUI Galway. She has published a monograph, articles, edited volumes and periodicals in the areas of gender studies, modern German poetry, fictional autobiographies, the theory of laughter, and more recently, ecocriticism. Her latest book is From Ego to Eco: Mapping Shifts from Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism, published by Brill.

She is on the coordinating committee of Gender ARC, a research alliance between NUI Galway and University of Limerick, a member of the Ecocriticism in Ireland network, and a board member of the German Studies Association in Ireland.

5 Replies to “Episode #10: Tina-Karen Pusse on Jordan Peterson, Identity Politics and the Online Culture Wars”

  1. David Quinn says:

    For the record not everybody planning to attend the 3 arena next week is a “depressed young male”. (I suppose that is predictable enough that somebody committed to identity politics would dismiss their opponents in such a manner).

    It is telling that you avoided addressing the Cathy Newman interview. The reason for Peterson’s wide appeal is encapsulated in that fiasco.

    People are sick of being lectured to by the left-wing PC authoritarian media and are delighted to see somebody with the necessary credentials pull them up on their misinformed, ideological haranguing.

    1. Tina says:

      That is exactly the type of generalisation that you yourself complain about. I said very clearly that this label only applies to a certain “cohort” of his followers (in fact, JP himself stated numerous times that he wanted to help this group), not that ALL of them belong in that cohort. In fact I also stated that many of them come from a disillusioned left. Why would I need to discuss or defend Cathy Newman? I have nothing in common with her, other than my gender. You are doing exactly the same thing that you accuse the me of – boxing people in groups and then demanding that they stand in for mistakes of people that were boxed into the same group (at random) by you.

    2. liam says:

      Jordon Saltpetreson is a blatant crank, spoofer and a lightweight. he’ll be found out. Enforced monogamy? His thesis is an impossible morality tale.

  2. Some good points in the podcast, particularly the longer it went on. Though I would disagree on a few fronts, some of which are covered at http://www.theirishpenguin.com/2018/07/23/on-sam-harris-jordan-peterson-and-douglas-murray-at-dublins-3arena.html

  3. Eamonn says:

    Great discussion, Peterson is a very interesting character. I admit that I find some of what he says very compelling, particularly his lecture series on architypes and Jung. His views on Marxism are incredibly reductive and simplistic for the most part, however, he is not necessarily anti-left. His main issue is that the social sciences are completely dominated by the left and that this has led to ideological siloing, but even more worryingly, from his perspective, a shift to the extreme radical left. However, he does state that society needs the left because hierarchies, even competency hierarchies, veer towards corruption; Peterson says we need the left to keep this in check. But he also feels society, and universities, which he views as a litmus for society, need the right. Peterson argues that because those on the right- and he means centre right and centre left- veers towards conscientiousness they complement those on the left who tend to be more creative, but less conscientious. I don’t think Peterson is on the right, I think he is part libertarian part contrarian. He believes very strongly in the sovereignty of the individual, and he despises any ideology that places the group above the individual. Unfortunately, this means he is automatically hostile to any view or idea that foregrounds group identity, whatever that ideology might be.

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