Monday, 12 March 2018

Dare we let boys be boys?

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It’s pretty daunting to know after all these years that you have now become one of the most despised components of the human race. Elderly white Anglo-Saxon men are blamed for most of the evils of the world which include among other things racism and misogyny. The ‘me too’ and ‘times up’ brigade have us well in their sights, particularly if we’re heterosexual.

Even the old conservative party we once relied on to perpetuate our orthodox views elects a youngster of Maori descent to lead the opposition who then threatens to fill his front bench with members of the fairer sex. Our last bastion of self-defence, after the departure of Key and English, was Stephen Joyce, but he throws a hissy fit and leaves the tent and in so doing, us to the wolves.

However help may be on the horizon. Harvard professor of psychiatry Jordan B. Peterson has recently written a bestseller called: The 12 rules for life: an antidote to chaos.

The book offers common-sense advice and Peterson is also famous for what he says on his You Tube channel particularly about the role of men in society.

He says men in the West are suffering a crisis of masculinity because they are encouraged from birth by an apologetic culture to believe that traditionally masculine qualities - strength, aggression, self-reliance - are negative and destructive, while feminine qualities - willingness to co-operate for example, are the way forward for the human race.

“This,” he says, “Is so stupid it’s hard to know where to begin. Forcing men to become more agreeable and less competitive will be the death of them and all of us.”

That’s not all he says. Peterson touches every button: he thinks social justice warriors are mostly faking it, and he can’t abide virtue-signallers. He thinks intellectuals are mainly arrogant. He is not fond of humanities courses. He blames the left-wing academics for the mumbo-jumbo that infects public life. He can’t see the point of woman’s studies and he believes that universities are obsessed not with “intelligent conversation, but instead with having ideological conversations.”

He is also a Christian. He takes seriously the idea that God made the rules and that human beings are programmed to feel wretched when they break them.

There is obviously a real hunger for his message. Peterson’s You Tube channel has 60,000 subscribers. As of a couple of weeks ago he had 10 of the top 10 higher education podcasts on iTunes. He makes $40,000 a month from the crowdsourcing website Patreon and he reckons his audience is 90 per cent male.

His book is primarily aimed at young men. He encourages them to free themselves as quickly as possible of the burdens of their childhood and to accept the failings of their parents who probably did their best. He urges them to take control of their lives, “because when you’re carrying a burden or living a lie you’re suppressing who you really are, and so much of what you could be will never be forced to come forward.”

Everyone’s favourite line has to do with how life is going to kill you, so you might as well do the most magnificent thing you can think of. This particular bit of advice has become controversial, though I can’t for the life of me think why.

Peterson has faced the usual revolt, campaigns to stop him speaking publically, campaigns to stop him getting university funding; all par for the course for anyone who doesn’t tow the left-wing line in academia.

We never had this advice when we were young, we didn’t need to. In this topsy-turvy world I just hope it’s not too late.

“At my age I don’t get wolf whistles anymore, but when I did years ago it always cheered me up! I never viewed it as ‘harassment’ or a bloody ‘hate crime’”. - Leigh Miller


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