Jordan Peterson Is Back, And He's Still An Idiot
Picture it: Planet Earth, 2020.
For months, right-wing lunatics across the United States (and, to be fair, in the stupider parts of other countries) have declared pretty much all scientists "the enemy" because of how only "the enemy" would try to take away their freedom not only by telling them that there is a deadly pandemic in the first place, but also by recommending they do things to decrease the amount of people who die from it. They've been hollering hither and yon about how any vaccines created by these scientists will surely be a ploy to Mark of the Beast everyone.
And, in the midst of all of this, Jordan Peterson, the lobster man himself, emerges (we guess) from benzo detox to rail against the activists who would try to disparage the hard work of "hard scientists."
Is he upset about how anti-maskers have dismissed Dr. Anthony Fauci and literally every other epidemiologist on earth? Or the way right-wingers in general constantly dismiss scientists who don't tell them what they want to hear? No, he is not.
But you can tell how importantly he feels about this particular issue by the absolute melodrama with which he begins his screed. Don't skip ahead here, because you're really gonna want to take your time and try to guess what the hell it is he's on about.
So many messages of appalling idiocy, detestable envy, and envy embarrassing to behold, crossed my desk in the last fortnight that I found myself in the rare position of having too much to record — a writer's dream. But that content also indicated that the bell is tolling, and that I am one of those for whom the death knell sounds.
I have watched the universities of the Western world devour themselves in a myriad of fatal errors over the last two decades, and take little pleasure in observing the inevitable unfold. It is a failing of human reason, with all its limitations, ego, and pretensions, to serve as Cassandra; to derive a certain satisfaction in watching the ship whose demise was foretold breach its hull on rocks hidden from all other observers. The self-righteous pleasure of "I told you so," is, however, of little comfort when the icy water wends its way around ankle, knee and thigh, threatening to swamp everything still retaining its incalculable and unlikely value, even if it simultaneously makes short shrift of the ignorance and willful blindness that is frequently part and parcel of the death of something once great.
Is this Camille? Is he a 19th century courtesan dying of syphilis? Is Robert Taylor gonna be showing up soon?
No, he is not.
All of this build-up, all of this drama, is because a chemist, Dr. Tomas Hudlicky of Brock University in Ontario, wrote an article for the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie about how diversity in the chemistry field was just ruining everything and resulting in women and minorities getting "preferential status." People complained, the journal pulled the article, suspended the editors who approved it, and apologized for it:
"This was a clear mistake and we deeply apologize. At best, it was poor judgment and at worst, it highlights the bias displayed in our field and many others."
It was poor judgment. It was also very poor editing, for what that is worth. Here are two of the more ridiculous passages:
Diversity of work force. In the last two decades, many groups and/or individuals have been designated with "preferential status." This is in spite of the fact that the percentage of women and minorities in academia and the pharmaceutical indutry [sic] has greatly increased. it follows that, in a social equilibrium, preferrential [sic] treatment of one group leads to disadvantages for another. New ideologies have appeared and influenced hiring practices, promotion, funding and recognition of certain groups. Each candidate should have an equal opportunity to secure a position, regardless of personal identification/categorization. The rise and emphasis on hiring practices that suggest or even mandate equality in terms of absolute numbers of people in specific subgroups is counter-productive if it results in discrimination against the most meritorious candidates. Such practice affects the format of interviews and has led to the emergence of mandatory "training workshops" on gender equity, inclusion, diversity and discrimination.
What if I told you that you could have a diverse workforce and a meritocracy at the very same time? It is actually very easy to achieve when you don't automatically assume white men are universally the most "meritorious."
An example of focusing on "underrepresented minorities" can be seen in the recently established "Power Hour" at Gordon Research Conferences. While this effort is commendable in order to increase the participation of women in science it diminishes the contributions by men (or any other group). Universities have established various centers for "Equity, Diversity and Inclusion", complete with mandatory seminars and training. These issues have influenced hiring practices to the point where the candidate's inclusion in one of the preferred social groups may override his or her qualifications.
Well, clearly, this guy needs some more seminars. Yes, when women and minorities are treated equally, white men lose a lot of the very nice benefits that once came with being white men. Boohoo.
Diversity, for what it's worth, is just as beneficial to those hiring as those being hired. Diversity — like having someone who knows what a tampon looks like in your police department or news room — is what prevents this kind of embarrassing shit from happening:
BREAKING: Sources tell me an off duty LAPD officer allegedly found a tampon halfway thru his Frappuccino at a Starb… https://t.co/6Qkoi4OVgO— Bill Melugin (@Bill Melugin)1592883474.0
Anyway, you can probably guess how this story goes. Peterson is very upset that a "Twitter mob" came after Hudlicky when he was just saying things that are absolutely true, according to Jordan Peterson. He took great pains to present Hudlicky as vastly superior to these "trolls," citing his many accomplishments and published papers and what have you.
Twitter seems to exist primarily for the purpose of generating mobs — composed primarily of individuals who are hungry for blood and desiring to bask in the joys of reasonably risk-free reputation destruction, revenge and self-righteousness. Furthermore, as far as Twitter mobs go, those who complained about the Angewandte Chemie publication were by no means numerous, constituting perhaps less than a dozen.[...]
The Twitter trolls who objected to this opinion nonetheless reacted as if Hudlicky had said that efforts to "diversify" hiring and student selection were definitively harmful, and this is simply untrue.
Allow me to introduce you to the "Twitter troll" Peterson used an example. One of the mob who must just be very envious of Hudlicky and also probably brainwashed by political correctness.
This is Carolyn Bertozzi.
Can someone email me the pdf or screen shots - they took down the article before I saw this. I am incredulous at t… https://t.co/2qnbDTD5GZ— Carolyn Bertozzi (@Carolyn Bertozzi)1591369099.0
Carolyn Bertozzi is a Stanford chemist, one of the scientists that other scientists believe may be up for the Nobel prize in chemistry this year, for creating the field of bioorthogonal chemistry. The guy she's quote tweeting is Matthew Cliffe, an Oxford-trained chemistry fellow at the University of Nottingham. It seems like they are probably not stupid people, nor are they Twitter trolls. In fact, it seems they are Hudlicky's peers, calling him out for being ignorant, and pointing out that this kind of crap really doesn't belong in a scientific journal. Surely, Hudlicky can find a different outlet for his musings on how hard white dudes have it in STEM fields. Like one of the incel boards. Or Quillette.
It's understandable. Hudlicky and Jordan Peterson don't want to have to think about things like "Diversity, Inclusion and Equality." They liked things better when they didn't have to worry about insulting their students or getting any flack for surrounding themselves with mentees they felt most comfortable with, who just happened to be mostly other white dudes. Life was easier for them when they didn't. It was nicer, for them anyway. And boy! It sure was nice to get to fully believe they got everything they ever got in life because they deserved it the most. That there were not people who have what they now call "preferential status" who were better qualified and more meritorious than they were, but who didn't get anywhere because of guys like them.
But those days are over. And they're just gonna have to suck it up.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse