Peterson & The Ideology Of History: I

Peterson & The Ideology Of History: I

history is often used to justify all sorts of political positions and ideologies this use of history however is almost always accompanied by distortions and half-truths and nowhere is a sort of deception more apparent and popular than the rhetoric of jordan Peterson they now famous clinical psychologist from the University of Toronto Peterson uses the history of the 20th century he's over simplified version of it that is to attack what he calls identity politics and collectivism the target of most of Peterson's attacks while the former Marxist Leninist dictatorships of the 20th century yet almost everything he says about them is either completely wrong or oversimplified this is in spite of the fact that he proudly proclaims that he studied the totalitarian regimes for over four decades I studied totalitarianism for a very long time that's been for decades and well the historical events that Peterson frequently brings up without properly understanding is a Soviet Famine of 1933 no food out to Siberia where there was no place to live and so that they were packed into houses you know maybe they had a square metre each to live in and all their children died of typhoid and and and many of them froze to death many many people died millions of people died as a consequence of the dekulakization at least in in as a consequence of its total effect so what happened then was that there wasn't any food produced and so then six million Ukrainians starved to death in the 1920s which is something you never hear about right you never hear about that why do you never hear about that that's a question worth asking no Peters don't know the answer to that question if he'd actually don't have the reading keep claims that I've done the reason we don't hear about it is because that's not how it happened in the Soviet Union during the 1920s they were still debated within the party about how to deal with the issue of collectivization Trotsky as well as Bukharan or both opposed to Stalin's position of forced collectivization and advocated the voluntary route eventually though Trotsky in the left opposition would be exiled and Bukharan will be outmaneuvered by Stalin with the help of Molotov and Kaganovich after this Stalin would move to the policy of decolonization which is what Peterson is talking about the background to all this was a great crisis of 1928 to put it briefly the state simply wasn't getting enough grain from the countryside because the peasantry liked almost any reason to give up much other grain to begin with Peterson is right in saying productive farmers were in many cases driven from the land or worse but he's wrong as saying that this caused the famine although there was no food being produced because of this historians Stephen we Croft and Robert Davies explain the causes of the famine in their book the years of hunger the famine was largely a product of two factors the poor harvest of 1932 and the intense strain put on rural areas by the state we carton Davies explain that the fundamental cause out of the Terrier ation of Agriculture in nineteen twenty eight to thirty three was the unremitting state pressure on rural resources following the grain crisis in the winter of 1927 2:28 investment in industry which already exceeded the pre-war level approximately doubled between 1927 and 28 in 1930 simultaneously State grain collections increased from 11 million tonnes after the 1927 harvest to 16 million tonnes after the 1929 harvest even though the 1929 harvest was lower than the harvest of 1927 we crossed in Daviess then say and the conclusion of their book that the background to the famine is not simply that Soviet agricultural policies were derived from Bolshevik ideology though ideology played its part they were also shaped by the Russian pre-revolutionary past the experiences of the Civil War the international situation intransigent circumstances of geography and the weather and the modus operandi the Soviet system as it was established under Stalin they were formulated by men with little formal education and loaded knowledge of agriculture above all they were a consequence of a decision to industrialize this peasant country at breakneck speed by reducing the causes of the faman to simply the removal of some of the more productive farmers Peterson only exposes his lack of engagement with the current historiography while at the same time sacrificing any and all precision the sort of rather lazy explanation has the added benefit of not requiring Peterson's actually retos been written about the a condense that causes down to one thing which falls in line with his ideological commitment to the purrito distribution Peterson has also attempted to show that Stalin's destructive collectivization was on aberration but the direct result of the latter's marxist convictions but like many other things he's got it backwards in fact solids use of brutal methods to collectivize agriculture it's just one example of his Mis readings of the work of Marx and Engels as a historian Ronald Stoney states in his book the Soviet experiment a plaintive article by croup Skye stated early 1929 at Stalin's methods of dealing with the peasants or contrary both to Marxist tradition as expressed by angles who stated our task in relation to the small peasants will consists first and foremost in converting their private production and private ownership it's a collective production and ownership not however by forceful means but by example and by offering social aid for this purpose and so Lenin's own views who similarly stated the transition to collective cultivation must be carried out by the proletarian state power with the utmost caution and gradualness by force of example without the slightest constraint on the middle peasantry similarly Peterson's contention which he says is proven by Solzhenitsyn that Lenin would have been as brutal as Stalin is repudiated by historian and political scientists Robert V Daniels who was quoted by Sony in the same book stating regardless of its labels the Stalinist regime no longer representing the same movement that took power in 1917 other remarks made by Peterson about Soviet agriculture are just as incorrect anyways the reason I'm telling you about that is because after the peasants were were granted their land and started to become farmers a tiny minority of them became extremely successful and those people produced almost all of the food for Russia and the Ukraine so what happened in the 1920s when bloody Lenin came along and collectivized the farms was that they defined the kulaks who were these tiny minority of successful farmers who maybe had a brick house and were able to hire a couple of people and had some land and some livestock and were their very productive people they define them as socially unfriendly elements and they sent groups of intellectuals out into the towns to collectivize the farms and so the idea was that well would pool your land and and everyone would farm it collectively and the land was taken away of course from the tiny minority of people who are actually productive and had actually managed to own much of the the most baffling thing about this clip is that it wasn't Lenin who collectivized the farms but actually quite the opposite after the Russian Civil War and the Kronstadt rebellion Len proposed the new economic policy or any fee the NEP was Lenin's attempt to revitalize the economy after the disastrous policy of war communism and actually introduced market mechanisms into the economy this is a far cry from the period of grain requisitions that characterized the collectivization of the 1930s in fact this was the closest the country had been to a mixed economy the fact that Peterson seems to mix up when Lenin and Stalin or the heads of state and what policies were enacted by which calls into question what little authority he has on the topic of Soviet history Peterson's lack of historical research is made even more apparent when he talks about Mao's China million people end up dead in battlefields and you know that doesn't count the Stalin massacres or a mile who were you know made Hitler in some sense look like an absolute amateur I mean Stalin starved six million people to death in the Ukraine in the 1930s he was just warming up you know I don't know how many how many of you have heard of the Ukraine famine how many of you haven't yeah well think about that you know how many of you knew mile killed a hundred million people how many of you didn't yeah well you might think about why you don't know that you know you know about the damn Nazis but you don't know about the horrors that the Communists perpetrated it's worth thinking about why because the Communists especially the Maoist mad those people were brutal so it's really important like of all the things we could possibly learn psychologically from the 20th century and is what these characters in the 50s we're concentrating on it's like okay again the students don't know about this because like his claims by the Soviet Famine this narrative is heavily misinformed leaving aside the fact that he literally mixes up the Great Leap Forward and a Cultural Revolution the most ridiculous part of the claim is that Mao killed a hundred million people during the Great in fact Petersen uses a slide argue mouths a bigger monster than Hitler I can only extrapolate from this that Peterson doesn't understand the difference between a policy engineered to facilitate that systematic destruction of a whole people and a famine that was an unintended consequence of policy failures or that he's simply ignorant of the history behind yet another catastrophe this famine like the Soviet famine was multifaceted in his causes some of these causes include the creation of the large-scale people's communes and the communal mess halls the mess halls in particular contributed heavily to the depletion of food Maurice Meisner one of the most renowned historians of Chinese history mentions in his book Mao's China and after the typhoons caused unprecedented flooding in South China and layouting droughts afflicted the middle and lower reaches of the yellow river whose flow was reduced by two-thirds and pests afflicted wide areas of the countryside more than 60% of the cultivated area suffered from flood or drought and agricultural production plummeted couple this with the more wasteful projects like the backyard furnaces that drew labour away from agriculture and famine begins to haunt the countryside however despite what Peterson may believe many of these things were not first implemented by Mao in fact the first of the communes backyard furnaces and mess halls were formed independently of a central state which led scholars such as mobile Gao to the conclusion that the policy failure as a result of the policy implementation process released by the dramatic decentralization design meant that the Great Leap Forward disaster was as logical as it was inevitable all this is not to say that Mao and the central leadership bear no responsibility for the famine now himself took responsibility for the catastrophe but to claim that Mao purposely killed these people is his honest at best Galla states in the previously quoted text constructing china that when the reality hit them the CCP leadership especially Mao himself quickly moved to address problems arising from having large collective communes the reason the response came so late will do to the illusion of abundance the central leadership had about the levels of food what is called the winds of exaggeration well the tendency for party cadres over report or exaggerate the amount of grain that provinces were producing during the Great Leap Forward this and the shift of state attention to foreign rather than domestic affairs with a sino-soviet split occurring constitutes the most important aspects of a famine lastly the claim that a hundred million people died in the Great Leap Forward is completely wrong even anti-communist historians like Frank decoder whom Peterson even references in his book 12 rules for life put the death toll at around forty five million and others range from ten to thirty million Peterson expects us to believe this figures more than double that because he wrote a book by Solzhenitsyn another glaring display of Peterson's moralism and a historicism could be seen when he talks about the Marxist movement of the mid to late 20th century the most erroneous for these statements is his claim that by the 1960s you couldn't be a human being or have any ethical decency and still be a Marxist and then what happened was the post modernists came onto the scene and they were all Marxists but they couldn't be Marxist anymore because you couldn't be a Marxist and claimed that you were a human being by the end of the 1960s and so they I think what they did was in the late 60s and early 70s they were avowed Marxist some way way after anyone with any shred of ethical decency had stopped being a Marxist by that time even jean-paul Sartre had woken up enough to figure out that the Soviets had ushered in the not only were there plenty of Marxists after the 1960s including Louie al to Sarah on the relief of Gaeta Bowl Eric Hobsbawm and Gil glucose but they were all heavily critical of the USSR and Stalin to say that someone like LaFave or also ser who risked their lives fighting against the Nazis in the French resistant movement during World War two have no ethical decency is one of the most arrogant implications and apologists for Empire like Peters and can make it's also been saved by Peterson that's so on the left frequently compare him to people like Hitler and he's rightly outraged by this sort of behavior the argument these left-wing radical types can't even get their damn insults straight it's like really I'm like Milo you know us or Hitler you know what kind of thinking is that and first of all to use the casual comparison to someone like Hitler I think that's an appalling ethical crime you you use that accusation under very very specific circumstances when something extraordinary extraordinarily serious and dangerous has happened because otherwise you risk diluting the currency of the comparison but peers and himself has diluted the comparison just like the Liberals he's criticizing people even now because it's like the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution are celebrating Lenin like that's not good that's like celebrating Hitler okay I'm dead serious about that it's not good not only is this comparison untenable since Lenin and even Stalin never enacted a policy of deliberate murder against a race that they deemed inferior like Hitler did but it shows how desperate Peterson is to draw parallels between the far left and far right and how little he knows about the history he so often talks about historians Moshe Lewin and he and Kershaw State in their book Stalinism and Nazism the Hitler's Holocaust was the only example history offers to date of a deliberate policy aimed at the total physical destruction of every member of an ethnic group there was no equivalent of this under Stalinism to overlook such a glaring difference is something that would not be expected from someone who's read about totalitarian regimes for four decades of course it can't be denied that Lenin had a disproportionate amount of power but how we use it was mostly in reaction to real threats such as the white army and its Western allies in times of immense political confusion and upheaval it should also be noted that Lenin and the early months of the bush of the government and I said many democratic and progressive laws including the abolition of private land ownership while calling for village land committees to redistribute to land among the peasants creation of elected factory committees the head of power to supervise industrial enterprises the abolition of ranks and hierarchical greetings in the army and coordination of military formations to elected Committees of soldiers which had the power to elect their own officers and the replacement of all judicial institutions with people's course whose judges were chosen by the working people with special revolutionary tribunals which were elected by the Soviets to deal with crimes such as sabotage and other counter-revolutionary activities all of these decrees by the soviet government are documented by historian Jeffrey Hosking in his book the first socialist society of course there were also measures taken that be more authoritarian such as the formation of the Cheka which was essentially a secret police and some of the democratic decrees such as the military committees previously mentioned will be dissolved during the Civil War but there's nonetheless demonstrates that Lenin was at least a sincere revolutionary and that many of the authoritarian policies stemmed more from a need to react against external threats the devotions ideological dogma but why does a man who claims I've studied these regimes make mistakes that could be easily corrected by reading an intro textbook the answer to this becomes obvious after you watch enough videos of Peterson the only source he consistently cites for Soviet history is a Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn it was in fact not a historian in fact it seems that Peterson has no real interest in reading what's been written by actual historians about the Soviet Union and if you don't believe me just take a look at this reddit comment left by Peterson himself after he was called out for reproducing such an instance erroneous estimate of 60 million people dead in the Soviet gulag he tells a person commenting that the figures are from social distance book but in the same comment and seemingly Annika Lee Peterson tells the person to decide for himself whether social nitin is more credible than the Soviet archives which he has put in quotation marks I can only deduce from this that Peterson doesn't trust the archives since they were left by the evil Soviet empire but if this is actually his position he has to discard almost all the new material has been written by historians about the Soviet regime since it's all overwhelmingly based on the archives Pearson's attitude towards the archives was once shared by the historian Robert conquest who are the first truly in-depth account of the great purges of the 1930s however when the archives were opened and scholars began to question his high figures for internal repression such as the number of inmates in the gulags he routinely claimed that the archival sources used against him unreliable this prompted fellow historians Getty and Ritter's born as quoted by Stephen Wheatcroft writing in the journal Europe Asia studies to write it is astonishing that at the moment when we finally have massive internal documentation more detailed than anything that Nazis left scholars would continue to speculate on alternative realities and not occupy themselves with the existing voluminous records we Croft then went on to say I share their astonishment in fact four years later the grounds first on ashram are even greater than they were in 1992 much more material has now appeared from the archives and more Western scholars are becoming familiar with these materials but curiously many influential books are being produced for the general readership that are continuing to subscribe to the fantasy that literary sources which confirm conquest view are superior to the mass archival materials with regard to social myths in his work on the Gulag Archipelago is of course not based on archival sources and has been described by sunny as fiction and quasi historical in his book red flag unfurled his credibility as well as Petersons is further damaged by his beyond ludicrous claim that 100 million people perished in the Great Leap Forward

One thought on “Peterson & The Ideology Of History: I

  1. I didn't watch it yet, but you took him out of context, you need to watch all of his videos, and you need to clean your room. Joking aside, I'm hoping to see more.

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