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Excerpts from 12 Rules for Life an Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B Peterson, 2018
Christianity and Socialism
The Christian doctrine elevated the individual soul, placing slave and master and commoner alike on the same metaphysical footing, rendering them equal before God and the law.
The society produced by Christianity was far less barbaric than the pagan – even the Roman – ones it replaced. Christian society at least recognized that feeding slaves to ravenous lions for the purpose of entertainment was wrong .. it objected to infanticide, to prostitution, and to the principle that might means right … it separated church from state, so that all-too-human emperors could no longer claim the veneration due to gods.
In 1984 … I was truly plagued with doubt. I had outgrown the shallow Christianity of my youth by the time I could understand the fundamentals of Darwinian theory. After that, I could not distinguish the basic elements of Christian beliefs from wishful thinking. The socialism that soon afterward became so attractive to me as an alternative proved equally unsubstantial; with time, I came to understand, through the great George Orwell, that much of such thinking found its motivation in hatred of the rich and successful, instead of true regard for the poor. Besides, the socialists were more intrinsically capitalist than the capitalists. They believed just as strongly in money. They just thought that if different people had the money, the problems plaguing humanity would vanish. This is simply untrue.
Just what happened in the twentieth century, anyway? How was it that so many tens of millions had to die, sacrificed to the new dogmas and ideologies? How was it that we discovered something worse, much worse, than the aristocracy and corrupt religious beliefs that communism and fascism sought so rationally to supplant?
Truth and Lies
You can use words to manipulate the world into delivering what you want. This is what it means to “act politically”. This is spin … it’s the speech people engage in when they attempt to influence and manipulate others … Typical calculated ends might include “to impose my ideological beliefs”, “to prove that I am (or was) right”, “to appear competent”, “to ratchet myself up the dominance hierarchy”, “to avoid responsibility (or its twin, “to garner credit for others actions”) … “to garner the benefits of martyrdom”, “to justify my cynicism”, “to rationalize my antisocial outlook” … “to appear as the sainted one”.
If you betray yourself, if you say untrue things, if you act out a lie, you weaken your character. If you have a weak character, then adversity will mow you down when it appears … you will find yourself doing terrible things. Only the most cynical, hopeless philosophy insists that reality could be improved through falsification.
It is the greatest temptation of the rational faculty to glorify its own capacity and its own productions and claim that in the face of its theories nothing transcendent or outside its domain need exist. This means all important facts have been discovered. This means nothing important remains unknown … That is what totalitarian means: Everything that needs to be discovered has been discovered. Everything will unfold precisely as planned. All problems will vanish, forever, once the perfect system is accepted.