I’ve written before about Jordan Peterson. The guy who thinks if women don’t want harassment at work they shouldn’t wear makeup. That identity politics is bad except the male supremacist kind he practices. That lobsters are proof that the male-dominated hierarchies we live with are natural. And that we can fix the problem of incel terrorism by enforced monogamy. “Violent attacks are what happens when men do not have partners…The cure for that is monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.” If we don’t enforce monogamy, the rich, powerful men will hog all the women to themselves and so all the lower-class males will wind up lonely, frustrated and ready to lash out.
Unsurprisingly, this generated a lot of blowback, so Peterson quickly retrenched. He wasn’t suggesting something equivalent to government redistribution of women (even if he did talk about enforced monogamy as analogous to economic redistribution) and anyone who assumed that enforced monogamy meant anything of the sort was just ignorant! What he mans is “socially-promoted, culturally-inculcated monogamy because it’s an effective means of regulating female reproduction” (so the babies live, not because he’s male supremacist or anything) and aggression. That’s why monogamy exists, “pair-bonded marriages constituting, as they do, a human universal.” (if you overlook all the societies where it isn’t)
If Peterson is simply saying society should value monogamy, well it does. Hasn’t he noticed? Society promotes marriage and monogamy in everything from ads for diamonds to rom-coms. It’s strongly inculcated in us, more so than some periods in a past when a man having a mistress was part of being rich and successful. So either he doesn’t have a solution or he’s suggesting a solution that involves somehow pushing women to be monogamous without getting government involved. He doesn’t suggest how that would work — massive slut-shaming? — probably because any solution is going to be more sexist than he wants to look.
Because let’s face it, unless women have no choice, they’re unlikely to pair off with incels. Not (contrary to incels’ own belief) because they’re hideous trolls but because they celebrate the deaths of 10-year-old girls. And long to enslave women. And revere mass murderer Elliott Rodger. It’s hard to see many women jumping at the chance to shack up with these guys. And I don’t see the incels going for it unless they got a hottie — fat women having sex is one of their triggers.
Peterson pretends getting married is the only alternative to more incel violence (a revised version of George Gilder — Peterson ain’t original) but plenty of married men murder and kill their spouses. And astonishingly plenty of lonely men walk around not feeling the urge to kill or brutalize the people around them.
Nor, as pointed out here, is there any real evidence that alpha males will suck up all the available women leaving none for the incels (Echidne makes the same point). This has been a conservative argument against sexual freedom for years (like I said, not original): if people were free to arrange any marital situation they liked, the rich would have big harems and the rest of us (“us,” of course, is men) would be crying in our beer. The possibility that lots of women wouldn’t want that arrangement — that having a tenth or a hundredth of a man’s affection isn’t attractive, even if the sultan is rich and supports them — never figures in. Women are just the helpless puppets of their genetic drive to breed with superior men.
Peterson has the same ability lots of self-help gurus do, to recycle cliches and make them sound deep. But recycled baloney is still baloney.
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