Credo ut intelligam

It is difficult to describe the crisis I have been living through these past several weeks.

The drawing by my office door
Short version: Don’t call out the Devil if you aren’t ready to bout

Alternative short version: “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” —1 Corinthians 1:20

There has been much bitterness. There have been feelings of betrayal. There have been feelings of being lied to while watching people whom I thought were my supporters fall away.

Friends warn me about overreacting. At which I overreact.

“Academic freedom means nothing if the faculty do not stand up for it.”

I believed that. Someone whom I have trusted my entire academic career told me that. I still believe it—but do my colleagues?

“Any sufficiently advanced intelligence is indistinguishable from insanity.”

I heard someone say that recently on his livestream. Someone whom my friends tell me I should be wary of associating myself with because he has been called the same names I have over the past several years.

Three weeks ago I found this note tucked behind a drawing that I had posted by my office door.


I posted the letter on my social media and my friends got a good laugh out of it. I told my dean and chair about the letter, and the campus police sent an officer round that evening to take a statement from me. Colleagues from around the world wrote to me, expressing dismay that I should be receiving such missives.

And nothing happened.

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” —Kevin Spacey, in The Usual Suspects

How do you know you aren’t crazy when all around you people are telling you that you are seeing things that aren’t there? And that you are missing things that are?

My friends and I did an episode on Three Kraters Symposium about Vox Day’s book on Jordan Peterson. Milo wrote the Foreword. You know what I think about Milo. You can probably guess what I think about Professor Peterson from the posts I did about him this past year.

My friends disagree.

We recorded our episode on Peterson the evening of the same day I found the letter tucked behind the Bulbasaur. I gave my statement to the campus police officer minutes before we started recording.

Vox Day did a blogpost about our episode and then came over to our YouTube channel to weigh in.

My friends disagreed with him, too.

My favorite comment on Vox Day’s blogpost about our episode

My take on Professor Peterson, short version: He speaks in a way that leaves people guessing. He refuses to define terms and/or offers definitions that shift according to the audience to whom he is speaking. People project onto him what they want to believe he has said, which is why they become so defensive when people like Vox Day and Milo (and me) call him out.

Judging from the responses I have seen to our video, some agree with Vox and Milo, even if they don’t like either of them.

Some insist that Peterson is not a Christian.

Others insist that he is.

Why should it be so difficult to tell?

My take on Professor Peterson, slightly longer version: His theology, such as it is, derives ultimately from Ludwig Feuerbach. The whole point of Feuerbach’s theology is to insist that human beings project themselves onto an imaginary Being they call “God,” whom they then imagine works back on them.

In much the same way, Professor Peterson’s followers project themselves onto Professor Peterson, to whom they look as their father-figure who then tells them what to do.

“When man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.”—G.K. Chesterton (attributed)

“If you drive out explicit theology from public education, you get not no theology, but only bad theology, theology never properly examined as such.”—Rachel Fulton Brown, “Why Milo Scares Students—and Faculty Even More”

Back in the Middle Ages, Anselm of Canterbury prayed to God to help him understand how to find Him:
Teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me, when I seek you, for I cannot seek you, except you teach me, nor find you, except you reveal yourself. Let me seek you in longing, let me long for you in seeking; let me find you in love, and love you in finding. 
Lord, I acknowledge and I thank you that you have created me in this your image, in order that I may be mindful of you, may conceive of you, and love you; but that image has been so consumed and wasted away by vices, and obscured by the smoke of wrong-doing, that it cannot achieve that for which it was made, except you renew it, and create it anew. 
I do not endeavor, O Lord, to penetrate your sublimity, for in no wise do I compare my understanding with that; but I long to understand in some degree your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, —that unless I believed, I should not understand.
The modern world has no use for such a prayer. In the modern world, Reason is believed to be paramount. It is the argument that the New Atheists use: something that cannot be proven by reason cannot be true, while those who seek in faith are blind.

I get this a lot on Twitter these days.



Owen Benjamin has described Professor Peterson as a “wizard,” by which he means someone who uses language to affect reality.

Vox Day makes a similar argument in his book. Professor Peterson’s Eighth Rule is Tell the Truth—Or, At Least, Don’t Lie. But, as Vox shows, Professor Peterson regularly lies about things he himself has said. Vox gives the example of Peterson’s comments on the Joe Rogan Experience when he claimed not to have slept for 25 days. I have written about the way in which Peterson claimed not to know Milo when he had been talking about him regularly for the better part of two years.

What does Professor Peterson’s eighth rule really mean, according to Vox?
The Eighth Principle of Jordanetics: You can speak a new world into existence through lies.
How did we get to the place where those of us arguing in favor of the existence of nations are called racist even when nothing that we say in this context has anything to do with race? How did we get to the place where those of us arguing that abortion is the intentional killing of a living creature are called delusional when the whole point about abortion is that if you don’t have one when you get pregnant you will have a baby? How did we get to the place where those of us arguing in favor of Christianity as against other theological traditions are called phobic simply for pointing out the real differences between the traditions? How did we get to the place where those of us arguing in favor of the virtues of the towns are called white supremacist, again, when nothing in our argument has anything to do with race?

The answer is simple: we—by which I mean, “we moderns”—have rejected Revelation.

“For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this I also believe, —that unless I believed, I should not understand.” —Anselm of Canterbury

One of the readers of Vox Day’s blog wrote to me and recommended a book he thought I would like: Fr. Seraphim Rose’s Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age (1994). The problem, according to Fr. Seraphim, is not with postmodernism or political correctness or any of the fashionable boogeymen of the day. It is with modernity itself and its embrace of nihilism, the conviction that there is no such thing as truth, only “truths” which cannot be proven except empirically.

Professor Peterson uses a similar definition of “truth”:
The moral relativists ask: what do you mean by should? Here’s how you should act: Act in a way so that things are good for you like they would be for someone you’re taking care of. But they have to be good for you in a way that’s also good for your family, and they have to be good for you and your family also in a way that’s good for society (and maybe even good for the broader environment if you can manage that), so it’s balanced at all those levels. And it has to be good for you, your family, and society right now, AND next week, AND next month, AND a year from now, AND ten years from now. It’s this harmonious balancing of multiple layers of Being simultaneously, and that’s a Darwinian reality, I would say. Your brain is actually attuned to tell you when you are doing that. And the way it tells you is that it reveals that what you’re doing is meaningful. That’s the sign. Your nervous system is adapted to do this. It’s adapted to exist on the edge between order and chaos. Chaos is where things are so complex that you can’t handle it, and order is where things are so rigid that it’s too restrictive. In between that, there’s a place. It’s a place that’s meaningful. It’s where you’re partly stabilized, and partly curious. You’re operating in a manner that increases your scope of knowledge, so you’re inquiring and growing, and at the same time you’re stabilizing and renewing you, your family, society, nature; now, next week, next month, and next year. When you have an intimation of meaning, then you know you’re there....  Lies and deception destroy people’s lives. When they start telling the truth and acting it out, things get a lot better.
Truth is something you act on. You know that it is true when your life improves—“and that’s a Darwinian reality.”

I agree with Professor Peterson that it is important to tell the truth. Based on Milo’s and my experience over the past several years, I do not agree with his criterion for determining what is truth—for otherwise why would I be getting hate mail tucked into the Pokémon by my office door? Hint: Notice how what Professor Peterson is actually suggesting: truth is what makes you fit in because it is the way you achieve “balance.”

I am struggling now with how to make clear the things that I see thanks to my faith. For a time, I believed as others do that Professor Peterson was speaking in a way that pointed, like Anselm’s, to God. But the more I listened to him, the more I realized that it was my own faith I was projecting onto him, not something that he himself shared.

Vox Day calls Professor Peterson’s use of Christianity “his own personal Trojan Horse, with all manner of occult heresies lurking within.” Here I am inclined to agree. As I argued last winter, I think at best Professor Peterson is a Pelagian; at worst, well, it remains to be seen.

The problem is, how do I know? How do I know that I am not now projecting onto him the same kind of lies that others have projected onto Milo and me?

“Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil: and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. But if I say the truth, you believe me not.”—John 8:43-45

Again, back in the Middle Ages, Christians would know.
And if you should ask me how one can know that the visitation is from the devil and not from me, I would answer you that this is the sign: 
If it is the devil who has come to visit the mind under the guise of light, the soul experiences gladness at his coming. But the longer he stays, the more gladness gives way to weariness and darkness and pricking as the mind becomes clouded over by his presence within. 
But when the soul is truly visited by me, eternal Truth, she experiences holy fear at the first encounter. And with this fear comes gladness and security, along with a gentle prudence that does not doubt even while it doubts, but through self-knowledge considers itself unworthy... 
This, then, is how the soul can tell whether she is being visited by me or by the devil: In my visitation she will find fear at the beginning; but in the middle and at the end, gladness and a hunger for virtue. 
When it is the devil, however, the beginning is happy, but then the soul is left in spiritual confusion and darkness. Now I have warned you by giving you the sign, so that the soul, if she chooses to behave humbly and prudently, cannot be deluded. The one deluded will be the soul who chooses to travel only with the imperfect love of her own consolation rather than of my affection. —St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue, chapter 71 (trans. Suzanne Noffke, OP)
Two years ago, writing about the riots that accompanied Milo’s attempts to speak truth on college campuses, I argued that we in academia were experiencing a crisis of faith, at which colleagues around the country declared me hateful, not to mention wrong. At that point, I still believed that it was possible to argue against their perceptions of him on the basis of evidence. Two years and many blogposts later, I have come to the conclusion that my optimism was misplaced. My colleagues in academia—including whoever wrote the letter left by my office door—are no more capable of hearing what I say about Milo (my most “monstrous” associate) than they are of hearing what I say about Mary because they do not have faith.

They have ears but they cannot hear; they have eyes but they cannot see.

That Twitter thread where Sarah Woods and D.E.M. decided I was delusional? It went on for weeks, with Ms. Woods arguing that Jesus was a rape baby and Mary the victim of a pedophile, me arguing that the whole point of the Incarnation was that Mary gave her consent. Ms. Woods and I literally inhabit different realities, she one in which Christianity is to blame for the evils of teen pregnancy and the submission of women, myself one in which Christianity is the sole tradition in which women have been recognized as equals with men, made in the image and likeness of God and endowed with free will—thus the doctrine of consent on which Ms. Wood bases her critique of the Annunciation.

There is no middle ground, one or the other of us must be wrong.

That thread, too, began the same day on which I received the letter by my office door, the same day on which my friends and I did our episode about Vox Day’s critique of Jordan Peterson.

I kept hoping that someone would come to my rescue. I kept hoping that there would be some response from my colleagues about the letter that I received, other than sending the campus police officer to take a statement. I kept hoping that I could convince my friends in Three Kraters that what I had seen in Professor Peterson’s (lack of) theology was real. I kept hoping that someone would back me up in my argument on Twitter (although, to be fair, I kept that thread going as much for my own amusement as for the need to practice my arguments; plus, as I told Ms. Wood, I also hoped to keep it going long enough to wish her “Merry Christmas” on the day).

Day after day after day. And no help came.

Until Christmas. More precisely, until midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, when at last, after weeks going without communion (thanks to a fencing tournament and holiday travel—I know, big mistake!), I made it to church.

And I was no longer alone.

How do Christians explain to those without faith what it means to see the world as a creature of God?

How do we explain the joy that we experience in knowing ourselves to be creatures of God, made in His image and likeness in order to praise and enjoy Him?

How do we fight the constant temptation to give into the world and to the pressure to conform to its promises which we know are lies?

How do we show them the way to the truth which passes all understanding on whose foundations the world was made?

Milo knows what is at stake. It is the reason he has not given up, despite everything.

Because he believes, as I believe, that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

If only there were some way to help others understand what—and whom—it is we see.




You gotta laugh. God made us that way.

For my continuing adventures with Milo and Mary, go here and here. For my arguments about Professor Peterson’s theology, particularly his misunderstanding of the feminine, go here. For my continuing efforts to convince my colleagues in academia that Western civilization is worth defending, go here

Comments

  1. I had the privilege of sitting in on one of your lectures years ago. It made an enduring impression. You are a true warrior and a great intellect, Professor. I will be writing to the Dean about how you’ve been treated. I don’t know if at the end of all this we’ll find ourselves clutching the last remains of Western civilization or only handfuls of dust, but I do know it’s our privilege to be in this fight alongside people like you. Deus vult!

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    1. Thank you! I agree—better to be in the fight than not! As Milo would put it, “Risus et bellum!”

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  2. A lot to unpack and some discussion points could go really into the philosophical reeds.

    I watched the entire 3Kraters video and thought you made fair points well argued. (by far your point I most objected to was the moment where you mocked Peterson's scholarship and my objection has nothing to do with Peterson but we can argue that in another thread if you wish) But I noticed (which Paul also noted in his video reply) that you started the stream declaring JBP a disappointed marxist materialist, only towards the end of the stream to then declare him a mystic.

    (Yes, I have read the Screwtape Letters - it's not yet relevant to the point I'm leading to assuming you're still reading and haven't already dashed off a reply.)

    Here's the thing: by a strict reading, that's a contradiction. You just proposed two thoughts that can't work together. NOW there are multiple ways that these two thoughts can be harmonized. The catch is: Is there any method I can apply to you, which you have also extended to Peterson?

    After all our Lord's words in Matthew 7:2 warned us that: "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." If you say you were using some poetry or turns of phrase or ordinary speech to express your points, then why doesn't the same apply to Peterson? If you write a followup post or have written a post elsewhere further explaining your thoughts and walking through the connecting logic train, then why doesn't Peterson's followup post to the Kavanaugh tweet count? Is there any benefit of the doubt or charitable interpretation I can extend to your words, which you have extended to Peterson's? This isn't even rhetorical. I haven't had the time to go over everything you have written in detail so I would not be surprised if there is a passage where you extend him charity. Only on my initial impression does it strike me that by the exacting standard you condemn Peterson, do you also stand condemned.

    Note also that this is my principle issue with Vox Day as by the standards he applies to Peterson, Vox then is every bit the liar, narcissist, and cultist that Peterson is - more so even. Indeed I checked the video when I found him saying "These losers couldn't argue or debate their way out of a paper bag with a hole in the bottom." because I had a bet he would be wrong. Indeed I found you and the other Kraters to be generally good arguers and debaters and didn't regret watching the whole thing.

    Keep up your good fights and the next time someone accuses you of being a witch* quote to them Screwtape proposes a toast: "For suspicion often creates what it expects. ('Since, whatever I do, the neighbors are going to think me a witch, or a Communist agent, I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, and become one in reality.') As a result we now have an intelligentsia which, though very small, is very useful to the cause of Hell. "

    *I use "witch" not just because the modern day trial so resemble the meme of witch trials, but also because the accusations are frequently summed up as "some kind of '-ist'." And that sounds a lot like witch.

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    1. Thanks, Nate, much to chew on here! You might be interested to read the series of posts I did on Professor Peterson's exchange with Cathy Newman (see January-February 2018, listed in the page “The Lady and the Logos”).

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  3. Dear Dr. Brown,
    The professional world in which you must necessarily maneuver is hostile to you, Vox and Milo. But there is a whole host of us common men and women who pray for you and admire your commitment to the Truth. We may lack the intellectual horsepower to achieve academic credentials, but faith in the truth of God's mercies is an education all in itself. It leads to the really hard, unexpected and often unpleasant truths. As one of those who is a commoner - especially from the perspective of your oh so wise credentialed opponents, there is an entire mass of humanity, past and present, who stand by your side. And although this may help you little as you struggle against the outright falsehoods launched by your peers, it may serve to encourage your heart.

    G.K. Chesterton gave more credence to those who dealt with life and the world from the inside, than those rationalist who falsely believe they view things independently. Like Chesterton, you are the friend of humanity.... though some privileged humans paint you as the enemy and themselves as your victims.

    It seems evident that there are some lies that one must be really intelligent to believe. We commoners see them being spewed all the time from the halls of higher learning. Thank You for standing for Truth!

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    1. Thank you, Roger, it is comforting indeed knowing I have your support!

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  4. Oh Rachel. .... I knew you were being persecuted but had no idea the depth! Your insights on this blog are dead on! I'm not an academic with credentials; but I can pray, I can let you know of my support, I can encourage you to keep up the good fight. I can remind you we are out here, each fighting our own little battles in the same war. Stay the course.

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    1. Thank you, Pamela! I am most grateful for your prayers!

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  5. Hey Rachel long time no talk. Not since I was last active on the JPB advanced study group. Well now you know why I left :D
    Good on you, I am happy and supportive in this, and more than a little embarrassed when I crapped all over your first critiques of Peterson. (You were right btw I didn't know the material as well as I should and was still sold on his apparently standing up against c-16.) Peterson turned very dark shortly after that. His legions of internet fans became even more insane and unbearable, the JPB advanced study group was the only sane JPB discussion I ever found. I argue that the JBP advanced study group made it harder for us to see where JPB was being evil, as we were doing our own thing and just referencing back to jbp when it was convenient or relevant, which means in many ways he was a handy authority figure to project our own musings on. Anyway I realized he's a globalists and controlled opposition and vanished from the FB group. Never thought I'd see you guys again and I am very glad to see you powering on.

    Don't stop, you are helping to restore our civilization. The crazies smashing it down will continue to harass you, they harass all of us, but they definitely harass you more than myself these days so stay strong and know that we both support you and rely on people like you. If it brings any comfort there is no reality where our ideas don't eventually overcome all this crap, what is fit survives as the unfit ways collapse when tested, we are operating with truth and morality which is inherently more fit than feel good lies about our societies, so even if we are all killed and humanity falls back into a few hundred years of this same crap eventually we will come out of it as the dead wood goes up in flames.

    I'm reading your blog again (Though I never really left)
    PS: Its Kyle Tremblay.

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    1. Good to be back in touch! I left the study group some time ago (oddly, I can't remember exactly when), but I am happy to hear some of what I said there helped you. Yes, most of what went on even in that group was projection—it had almost nothing to do with anything Peterson himself said. I had been in several FB JBP groups before that, but left them quite rapidly once the cultist nature of their attention to JBP became clear.

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  6. Dear Rachel,

    Nearly a year ago I shared with you a short story I had written. It was a silly little piece mocking the Leftists hit pieces against Jordan Peterson. You liked the story and were kind enough to post it on your Facebook platform. At the time I held favorable views of Peterson and I believe you did, too - which was why I thought you would appreciate the story. My views concerning Jordan Peterson have changed considerably since then - to the point that I can't help but cringe whenever I think of that short story I had written in his defense.

    I won't go into the many reasons why I am longer regard JBP and his work favorably; I just wanted to let you know that I think you nailed it with the whole projection thing. JBP really does has a way of drawing projections upon himself, especially when he speaks.

    I certainly fell into that trap myself. I wrote a blog post called "A Black Hole and a Mirror where I rather clumsily describe the effects JBP exerts. It's interesting that your description of his schtick is similar to mine (although you nailed with far more clarity and conciseness than I did)! If you feel so inclined, I invite you to give my brief thoughts on the subject a read: https://www.francisberger.com/bergers-blog/jordan-peterson-a-mirror-and-a-black-hole

    I hope your Christmas was a merry one. Best wishes for the New Year. God bless.

    Francis

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    1. “Keep one thing in mind irrespective of the conclusions you ultimately draw - black holes are peculiar things.

      “No light escapes them.”

      Amen.

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    2. Hey Rachel, another deep and thoughtful post, I never fully embraced Peterson but then I haven't utterly cast him into the eighth circle of hell either. But then I'm the same way with Milo as well. I tend to 'graze', taking what is good and sweet and leaving that which I find bitter or tasteless. Peterson uses Christianity and indeed other faiths as it suits his needs while Milo can be a bit over the top and beyond the pale. I know where he is coming from and to whom he is speaking, but that limits his reach a bit, though his pro-life address at California Polytechnic State University is one of the most powerful delivered by anyone. If anyone hasn't seen it -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gv3xPifTEE
      God is the only one in whom I can place my unbounded trust.
      What I find most distressing is that it has become impossible in academia to have fundamental differences with someone and remain cordial and collegial -- we've lost the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, to find an idea wrong without finding the person that holds that idea to be evil. And that is a tragedy. It is a tragedy that your co-workers, I hesitate to call them colleagues as they don't seem to be collegial, don't see that their free speech and academic freedom is safe only if they are willing to not only defend your free speech and academic freedom, but to defend and protect you not only with the campus police but with their own words and actions. Their day will come when the nihilistic fascists of postmodernism (please see Richard Worlin, "The Seduction of Unreason", another from whom I graze, he's a bit too enamored of the Enlightenment to see that Faith and Reason are not incompatible, but his analysis of the fascistic tendencies of the Neo-Marxist left is spot on.) come after your faint defenders as the cycle of purging their "enemies" continues.

      Reversing Wm. T. Sherman's statement of Grant - You know wherever you are that I think of you, and if you got in a tight place I would come if alive.

      Doc

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    3. I agree: my colleagues don't see that they are going to be next. No institutions are going to be allowed to stand, that is the whole point of postmodernism.

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  7. Hello Fencing Bear,

    I have become a big fan of yours in the last couple of months. I am a Catholic too and worked at a University for a number of years conducting research. I’m so sorry for what you are going through and I have a bit of experience with that as well (although your case is more severe). I will pray for you and your enemies too. As far as JBP goes, I am a selective fan. Like you, I have problems with his definitions of God and truth. I agree that I think he’s a Pelagian as well. However, I really doubt he’s a globalist. He’s said on a number of occasions that “bigness”, whether it be government or business leads to failure and there is a video of him discussing globalism and comparing it to the Tower of Babel. I don’t think he’s a fan of globalism. There is another video of him discussing his 12 principles for conservatives that demonstrate this as well. If you’d like, I can provide links to those videos. Im not a fan of Vox Day either. Vox has problems with his own premises and assumptions about race and culture that I think are wrong. I think his followers have a cult mentality as well. That doesn’t necessarily make him dishonest but I do think he is wrong. The same can be said for JBP. They both espouse views that cannot be reconciled with the Catholic faith. I’d love to talk about this more if you have the time! I’m praying for you and for Peterson as well. Welcome to the Church by the way!!

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    1. It is nice to meet you, Aaron! In my own experience, Professor Peterson's followers have a much more cultish mentality than Vox Day's—Vox's have been sending me reading recommendations in theology and history, whereas Peterson's have typically argued that I don't know what I am talking about without giving me proper evidence. I followed Peterson closely for about a year, but lost confidence in him when he deplatformed Faith Goldy and then, of course, Milo. If he isn't a fan of globalism, he isn't a fan of nationalism either. I don't know what that makes him, although it fits with what Vox says about his always trying to find a Middle Way.

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    2. Thank you for your reply! What he did to Goldy and Milo was pretty bad. I have never been a part of any JBP facebook groups or chat rooms so I didn't have that experience. However, I believe you when you say they are cult-like. Like I said before, I have never been impressed with his God and truth definitions. They are very Darwinian and subjective. I never listened to his Biblical lecture series or his Maps of Meaning series because I didn't quite trust his sources. I was impressed by his (initial) courage and how he laid out his thoughts. I also liked how he was able to define post-modernism so clearly. I was a fan of his myth comparisons even though they tended to be a bit syncretic. I am glad he pointed out Jonathan Pageau to everyone as well. I also appreciated his willingness to admit when he is out of his depth on a topic. Finally, I liked him because I wasn't hearing anything close to what he was saying from the Church Hierarchy. I think the fame and adulation he has received has driven him a bit nuts. I think he truly believes that he can save everyone. As far as the nationalism vs globalism debate goes, I think he definitely leans more towards nationalism given his 12 principles for conservatives talk. I am not sure what to make of the debate myself. I am not a globalist in the post-modernist/socialist/leftist sense, but I might be in the Catholic sense. Christ did say to go forth and baptize all nations in His Name (paraphrasing). I firmly believe that everyone on the planet should be Catholic. The Church was and is very good at converting people while maintaining the good parts of their cultures and national sovereignty. It was the Catholic Church, not skin color, that created and unified Europe. A common Baptism unites us in a far deeper sense than race or ethnicity. Religion is the basis of culture and race disappears when you have a common culture (attributed to you haha). So I think there is a Middle Way after all.

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    3. Oh, I agree! The problem is that we are trying to have a world founded on the ideals of Christianity without faith in God. Modernity in all its ideological forms (liberalism included) is parasitic on Christianity. Our problem is with lack of faith, without which all human institutions serve only worldly—therefore imperfect—ends.

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    4. I agree completely! The unfortunate thing is that the Church (the wellspring of culture) has conpromised with modernity in many ways. From Church teaching to liturgy to discipline (I’m a traditionalist if you hadn’t guessed). Not to mention the horrific abuse scandals. She has been unable to change the course of the culture due to these compromises. And as far as nationalism and populism go, there is a very interesting article from First Things that I just read. Here’s the article: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/05/restraining-populism. It’s a bit of a cautionary tale. I believe nationalism itself is a product of modernity, unless I’m mistaken. Thanks again for talking to me! I hope you don’t mind me saying you are a Catholic, non-problematic version of JBP. You should keep trying to talk to him and pray for his conversion!

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    5. I don’t mind! And I agree—nationalism is part of the modernist mix, too, although the Bible does speak of “nations” in the old sense of “peoples.”

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    6. In my own experience, Professor Peterson's followers have a much more cultish mentality than Vox Day's—Vox's have been sending me reading recommendations in theology and history, whereas Peterson's have typically argued that I don't know what I am talking about without giving me proper evidence.

      That's interesting because my experience has been flipped. But then again, this is the age of the internet so if you were to look in any sizable group of people you'll probably be able to find a non-0 amount of anything you want. Heck I think there was once a cult-like thing around My Little Pony. (though I will note that when Vox Day linked to your video he called you all losers who couldn't argue and debate with no evidence so... maybe a wash?)

      I will also note some frustration with conservatives being frequently baffled by the Peterson phenomenon when they should be the ones who "get it" completely. (thus far I've found 1 podcast that has - though I agree with much of what Aaron Irber) It's like watching a bunch of doctors looking at a person with a large laceration on his arm and saying, "we have no idea what's wrong with him."

      If he isn't a fan of globalism, he isn't a fan of nationalism either. I don't know what that makes him, although it fits with what Vox says about his always trying to find a Middle Way.

      That does remind me of something I forgot earlier. I was bugged also in the discussion when you claimed that just once you wished Peterson would show sympathy for nationalism - and then mentioned his words about universalism in the 2nd Shapiro/Rubin when it was that moment in that discussion (either right before or after, i forget which) that Peterson says he has sympathy for nationalism almost word for word.

      He has also mentioned the need for ideologies to establish their boundaries - and he's right. As the saying goes: the difference between medicine and poison is dosage. If one believes that their idea or philosophy cannot be abused or exploited or go wrong in any way, one is lying to themself. To quote CS Lewis: "He [Satan] always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worst. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them."

      And yes, even individualism can go awry. As the Bible constantly reminds us: humility.

      Delete
  8. Rachel,
    That unsigned note tacked on your door reeks with fear and utter lack of confidence. It must require the highest and most special credentials to act that way. Is there a Masters degree in Cowardice or something? These well degreed 'liberals' are nothing of the sort. It seems that the death of liberalism will be the onset of ever more 'liberalism' until the only things left standing are the chimneys of fallen Institutions.

    Stay strong Rachel. They fear you!

    Robert

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  9. Thanks for another insightful post! Sorry about the nastigram! The Overton windom keeps moving ever more to the left, rendering any divergence from the orthodoxy as "racism". It's funny to me that progressives render themselves secular - we are clearly witnessing the rise of a new religion, rendering the old gods (Jefferson, Washington, Churchill, etc.) as demons ("white racists"), burning down the old statues and temples, identifying new saints (Obama, Kaepernick, blah, blah) and developing new figures of speech and rituals (self-audit to identify one's "privilege", reaching the nirvana state of being "woke", etc.). There's also a strong magical belief in the supernatural, as a sort of extreme supremacy of the mind over the body - wish thy sex to be such and such, and there you are, a trans-something.

    On the bright side, despite the insidious advance of the cult of "diversity" into corporate HR departments, outside of academia most people still behave like normal, ordinary people who love their country and wish to preserve their heritage and civilization. Keep on writing!

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  10. I am sorry to read all this. I have just discovered your work and really like what I've seen. I disagree about Jordan Peterson, although I see where you get the idea and am NO fan of Feuerbach -- to me Peterson seems in danger of becoming what you think he is. To me, he seems to be the sort of person who thinks about things so much he can never actually get beyond thinking about them -- he thinks about psychology and Jung and symbolism and the way we do use myth and knowledge and faith to ever GET TO the knowledge and faith part (I was once there myself). He just approaches them forever, like the proverbial arrow that only goes halfway to the target, then halfway, then halfway forever, further away the closer it gets. Real things cannot do this, but our thinking can, and a person who does this to himself is pitiable. I think people - especially men - look to him for answers because he at least gets the practical things, and says so, and people have been told for so long that there are no answers (and certainly not any in religion) that they don't even know where to look and are astonished at even the IDEA of answers. I hope that he will be able to get beyond the mental nets he weaves for himself, but I don't see him as an existential threat to anyone or anything. There are real threats. I can't believe you got a note like that, I don't know what I would do if I got one. I don't know you or your immediate situation but I would hesitate to conclude that these things are related except in the general sense that the whole world seems to be at odds these days and, it seems to me, many people are suspicious of the wrong people because we know very well that we should be suspicious but we can't always tell of whom. I see many similar things going on, on many different fronts. There is a force trying to make us all distrust each other so that we can't band together -- one of the oldest tricks in the book, because it works so well. I would say "stay close to Christ and take what comes," but I'm pretty sure that is what you intend to do already, so I will just say again that I'm sorry to hear this and will pray for you. I look forward to reading all your books.

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    Replies
    1. If you are curious, the full backstory on that note is on the page “MedievalGate.” https://fencingbearatprayer.blogspot.com/p/medievalgate.html?m=1

      Delete
    2. I have read a lot of it -- oh boy -- and I am not trying to argue with you, only saying (as someone outside it) that this same thing seems to be going on everywhere. People in the middle of each particular controversy understandably concentrate on the people involved in it, but it seems to me that there is something bigger going on, something trying to get us all to concentrate on our own particular controversies and be suspicious of and fight each other, so that we can never band together. I am very worried about this. Perhaps I overshared my worries on what is, after all, your page! If so I am sorry. I am really enjoying reading all your online things and looking forward to reading your books. I saw your interview on Patrick Coffin and have no idea why I have not heard of you before now, given all your interests and publications!!

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    3. I actually agree. My experience is typical, not unique.

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  11. Rachael, I see you are listed as one of numerous panelists? Hope you enjoy the conference with some right thinking people. https://www.nas.org/articles/registration_is_now_open_for_disgrace_shame_punishment_and_redemption_in_am

    Robert

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  12. Dear Dr Brown,

    The comment/series of questions I have for this post is too long for here and in the first instance I posted at the 3K Symposium YouTube video mentioned in this blog. (about Jordanetics) It is under the name Virginia Charlotte. I am working my way through some of your older blogs and while I do not claim to understand the Milo phenomenon/semi-devotion/defense, I do appreciate the insights you have about what JBP may be up to. This blog post states many of the misgivings I have started to sense about the Jordan Juggernaut. Thank you for your efforts.

    VC.

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    Replies
    1. I would be interested to hear your further comments!

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  13. Fencing Bear: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I remain interested. I appreciate how JBP has helped me to realize many things, but I'm also alert for, um, cultish possibilities. I found nothing useful from Vox, his argumentation left me cold. Peterson's exaggerations while talking to Rogan and his foolish tweets are disappointing, but not alarming, to me. But then, I'd never heard of Feuerbach, and this is fascinating. I hope to take the good and leave the bad -- which means I need a deep understanding of... of... of exactly what Peterson is attempting. So the Crowley aspects are a concern. Please continue to analyze these things; I'll be reading. You have a unique and valuable perspective. Again, thank you!

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  14. Rachel

    I cannot express how sad I feel to hear from you how shamefully you are being treated. We have never met, but from your writings and videos I feel a tremendous warmth and respect for you. I am not, as my friends will tell you, a hugging sort of man. Nevertheless, after reading one of your posts or watching you in a video I feel a strong urge to give you a big hug!

    I hope you can get through this. I wish there was something more I could do to make the world more sane and loving, but I hope this expression of my support gives you a tiny boost in dealing with all your troubles.

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  15. Jordan Peterson has helped a lot of people to stop being lazy and start making their lives better. His definition of truth does not offer anything that could ruin a person's life.

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  16. Hello Ms. F.B.

    I'm writing having just found your blog through a YouTube video by Janice Fiamengo of the University of Ottowa. This is the second post I read after your now dated "Three Cheers for White Men." This past Christmas I attended my usual church in my usual fashion: alone. On the stage a projection of the words: "You are not alone" shown on the screen until the service started. This was meant as a comment on prayer, that God is always there. In this article, I can tell you know that and it does not seem you need reminding. What I feel compelled to say is that other people are too. I am humbled by how genuinely you have expressed your concerns in this post. Although I am just a stranger, I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you.

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  17. I saw you on the Patrick Coffin show and you seemed to make sense, so I tought I'd check out your blog. Anthony Hulse.

    ReplyDelete

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Thank you for taking the time to respond to my blog post. I look forward to hearing what you think!

F.B.

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