The dark & twisty side to Jordan’s rhetoric on this pleasant-sounding-advice in “12 Rules for Life”, becomes more evident the further you read, and the deeper you go into the patterns of social media posting that Jordan focuses on. What starts as “sort yourself out, so you can effect change in the world better”, becomes by the end of the chapter “put your house in PERFECT ORDER”, and morphs on social media into a narrative that paints “SJWs” as Nietzschean tarantulas.
Seriously, Jordan has grabbed onto the powerful passage in Thus Spake Zarathustra, in which Nietzsche outlines his theory of the ego-driven, power-seeking Helper-Tyrant. And Jordan seems to believe that this critique applies to the army of Social Justice Warriors and Radical Leftists that he sees out there in the world, insidiously infilitrating the education system, the humanities, the activism world. He rails against those self-righteous, holier-than-thou Helpers who pretend to be do-gooders but in reality, are civilization’s slimy underbelly, wolves in sheep’s clothing, wannabe-Tyrants masquerading as Good Samaritans.
And again, OF COURSE there is some truth to this! Some part of what we get out of helping others ARE the kick-backs to the ego — you feel powerful, ‘grounded’, wise, etc., when you can extenfd your largesse and be there for others. And you receive others’ gratitude and thanks. It feels good! And there ARE abusive “Helpers” out there, for sure. It is a classic, archetypal, pattern — the person who overcompensates for their less-than-great self-image by presenting an overly-polished self to the world. The “nice” person who is really an asshole-in-disguise. The “pillar of the community”, who is a terror to his wife and kids, and yells at anyone who stands up to him, cuts him off in traffic, forgets his latte, etc..
It makes sense, right? We don’t have to get all Freudian, or Jungian, or Nietzschean. It’s not hard to understand how much it sucks when a person experiences themselves, ‘deep down inside,’ as worthless, a piece of garbage to be tossed aside, a Nothing to be overlooked and ignored, someone who just doesn’t have what it takes, someone who never rose to their potential. Wouldn’t it be better to convince everybody (and maybe even yourself!), that you are a moral hero? Wouldn’t it feel better to pass judgement on Society, complaining about the injustices caused by the greedy 1%? To feel more “woke” than the other guy?
Keyboard warriors and ‘social critics’ abound. And aren’t some of them disempowered people, lashing out at the system?
So, sure, some of Helping is mere ego-feeding and power-grabbing. But are “SJWs” just a bunch of these tarantulas? Really?
But I’ve seen the videos! Those Social Justice Warrior snowflakes are craaaazy! I’ve seen them, chanting and shit, shouting people down, not letting people talk, being so ‘afraid’ of views that they find “offensive” that they won’t even engage in rational discussion with people. THEY are the dictators! Those activists! Those radical Leftists! …..I’ve seen the videos!!
Yeah, I’ve seen the videos too. Lots of them. Read stories. Watched them on the news. Watched videos of Jordan DESTROYING such people in Q&A ‘debates’ at his talks. Read about potential doxxing and harrassing, a person showing up with a garrote at a talk of his. ……There’s lots of crazy going around…
Let’s follow Jordan’s lead here, and use Reason for a moment. How many “activists” are there? How many people go to protests? Climate marches? How many feminists are out there? Environmentalists? People with “progressive” or “leftist” values?
I don’t know how many exactly. How about “a lot?” Like, a HUUUUGE number. Millions, anyway. Jordan has spun a tale in which these movements are SUFFUSED with crazy ideologues, PostModernNeoMarxists, Radical Leftists — “Tarantulas.” And they’re so dumb, they don’t understand Really Basic Things that Jordan understands. Like the “Pareto principle.”
But I’m sure that at least 95% of TEN YEAR OLDS understand this principle, if you ask them the right way and don’t call it the “Pareto principle.” People are not that dumb. They might not be perfect thinkers, they might not know the educated-lingo. But people aren’t dumb. But you see, the thing is, if even a small minority of people DON’T understand the Pareto Principle, or don’t apply it properly in some moment of their own reasoning, then…..well then you’ll find LOTS of evidence that lets you say, “Those people are dumb! They don’t even understand the Pareto principle!”
Do you think ANY of these millions of people are going to be unhinged at times? Are going to get caught up in the emotions of the moment? Are going to make bad judgement calls? Or be mentally ill? Delusional? Or be “tarantulas”? Or verbally inarticulate? Or get intimidated in a public Q&A session with a famous, powerful dude and stumble over their words or have their minds freeze and say stupid things?
Of course they are! Those are ridiculous, absurd questions. It’s like asking if there will be ANY low-IQ people in the oppressed communities? ANY really tall people? Left-handers? Justin Bieber fans? People who think they saw Jesus in a piece of toast?
Any big enough group of people is going to have SOME who are seriously unstable, unhealthy, deluded, or otherwise don’t have their houses in perfect order. There will even be some who go and steal shit from other people’s houses, and then burn them down just out of spite.
Some Muslims ARE terrorists. Some Buddhists ARE violent. Some Christians protest at funerals of fallen soldiers, because “God Hates Fags” and 9/11 was God’s judgement on the US for its tolerance of homosexuality. Some Black people ARE criminals. Some priests rape little boys. Some hockey coaches are abusive and perverse. Some schoolteachers bang their students. Some cops are power-tripping racists. ……All of these things have SOME truth in them, because if you search a big enough sample of people, you’re gonna find all sorts of ‘crazy’ in there.
Therefore, yes, I’m sure there are lots of “Social Justice Warriors” who are deluded, who struggle with self-esteem and end up grabbing for power and self-worth through their activism. It is statistically impossible for it to be otherwise. Heck, probably a fair chunk of EVERY GROUP is doing that. Have you ever heard of a CEO or middle-manager who is a total jerk? Did you ever watch The Office?
Painting the ‘activist’ communities with this one colour and pretending like it is somehow a problem specific to them is just plain…lying! This is where Jordan breaks his own rules. He’s not “telling the truth”. He’s actively feeding a dangerous mis-representation of the parts of the world who disagree with him. If he’s not careful and reins this in, he risks becoming the Tarantula. Many people think he already is. I don’t. But man, it’s a slippery slope from the pedestal he’s put himself on, all perfectly-sorted out as he must be to criticize society as he does.
So don’t kid yourself for a second thinking that these power-dynamics, the resentment and jealousy and all the rest that comprises the tarantula, characterizes some sort of dysfunctional under-class, any more than jealousy and resentment and backstabbing and general awfulness also characterizes any other “class” in society.
Who DOES have their house in perfect order anyway? How can you tell? Because their house is clean and organized? No way man. I have known way too many people with clean houses and messed up personal lives, addiction problems, depression, anger issues, terrible parenting, and god knows what else. How about those who are successful in business? In their careers? Are there any examples out there, of successful people who are disasters in their personal lives? Or who do Bad Things in the world? …..hahahahahahaha…..little joke there.
You show me the “class” of people who you think have their house in perfect order, and let’s see who these people are and whether the rest of us think we should actually trust them with the fate of us all.
There ain’t too many Perfect People out there, and if we’re waiting for THEM to riiiise up, when they’re (not) living on their knees, they’ll riiiise up….like Hamilton and Jefferson and Aaron Burr (sir), and start a revolution to fix the world, then we’re doomed.