Social Justice Issues and Reality

Social Justice Issues and Reality

I’m currently writing a longer article on the themes touched on by Paul Gottfried in his magnificent Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt, and I came across the following quote. I find this particularly important because it’s something that I’ve noticed myself but haven’t quite been able to put into words.

[Richard] Rorty also contends that there is no use asking about “the way the world is” apart from human decisions that affect that world (whatever it may ultimately be). Those who like Plato have posed metaphysical questions were often pushing “authoritarian,” “theocentric” agendas. It is therefore better to work toward improving human affairs than to speculate about the nature of reality. Like self-described pluralists and multiculturalists, Rorty does not shrink back from talking about “social justice” or from identifying that preferred value with those he fancies, although he does insist, like his idol John Dewey, that objective reality is a “relic of Platonic other-worldliness.”

This is a good example of why Jordan Peterson was making little traction with Cathy Newman in the now viral interview. It isn’t just some cheap shot against leftists to say “your views aren’t based in reality.” Sometimes, however, this is a real point: they don’t consider the world as it is. Here is what I said about the Peterson/Newman dual:

Part of the reason for [why there are more male CEOs in the FTSE 100], Peterson explains, is that men tend to have a personality better suited for adapting to the fierce nature of big business competition. It’s an incredibly pressuring world in which individuals do almost anything to get to the top– blood, sweat, tears, exhaustion, bribes, blackmail, and so on. That’s just the way it is. Not only do men seem to be more representative of people with such a personality, there seems to be an increased willingness by men, compared to women, to endure such conditions. Hence, the make-up of the gender representation in these positions. If women are going to achieve these positions and engage in the ferocious battles for corporate power, they need to adopt these traits. This is what Peterson was indicating he has helped women do. This means that Peterson is a realist. He sees the way things are, and he observes that he has prospective clients who want help adapting, and he helps them do it.

Cathy Newman, on the other hand, besides being flustered that Peterson had the audacity to explain the way things are, responded with something to this effect: well what if we can change the culture of the corporate world such that they adapted more of a feminine-friendly environment? Peterson responded as an objective scientist: go for it. I’m just dealing with things as they are.

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