Dear Prof Peterson:
I have had the pleasure of following you prior to your meteoric rise to fame, and applaud your courageous battle to free society from the excesses of political correctness. This is my humble attempt to help you in your mission.
In your recent Big Think talk titled, "The fatal flaw lurking in American Leftist Politics," and in the subsequent Munk Debate on the issue, "What you call political correctness, I call progress," you challenged the mainstream left to identify the red line that fellow leftists shouldn't cross, and for which they must be called out if they do.
Before continuing, readers need to be aware that you are not anti-left. Like Ying and Yang, both left and right are needed for a healthy, free, progressive society. The serious problems result from the extremes. Your battle against the radical left is not because it is inherently more dangerous than the radical right, but because unlike the right, which has pushed claims of racial superiority beyond the pale of acceptability, the left has yet to take any corresponding stand. But because the social sciences have become almost entirely dominated by the left, potentially harmful radical left policies are being advanced with little or no resistance.
Where is the catastrophe?
Despite your phenomenal popularity in recent months, there is a stumbling block preventing your doomsday warnings from being taken more seriously by the public. It's that people wonder, Where is the catastrophe?
You regularly refer to the scores of millions killed by the tyrannical ideological regimes of the twentieth century – Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China. You warn that it can happen again, here. But where is the evidence? All the leftists are doing is advancing the wellbeing of non-heterosexuals and other "oppressed" groups. What's the big deal? Where are the death squads? Who is being hurt?
It is important, therefore, to open the public's eyes to the tangible harm of political correctness. Citing that we can be fired for criticizing it may not be enough. As long as we toe the party line, our jobs will be safe. People are willing to pay a premium for safety. So you'll need to show where the blood is. Perhaps I'll help you see it.
Your proposed boundary
Prof Peterson, you propose that the proper taboo for the left should be equality of outcome based on group identity, rather than equality of opportunity, which is a laudable goal.
This is, indeed, a worthwhile boundary to fight for. Yet it may be too limited. If equality of outcome becomes taboo, you may discover other boundaries the left should not be crossing.
I posit that there is a more basic "fatal flaw of the left" – actually, two fatal flaws. There are two lines the left has crossed. Each crossing is harmful, but the combination is catastrophic. These flaws should be so obvious that even leftists should accept them once lights are pointed on them.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
5 posts so far.