My radar was alerted by Peterson's overt right-wing slant. He early on saw the hypocrisy of the NDP mentality, not so much liking the poor, but resenting the rich. Ouch! A cute anecdote of right wingers is that Marx didn't want everyone to be poor, but to be rich. That is doubtful. Marx wanted people to be free of work, "to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner."**
Yes, redistributing wealth to make society more equal isn't the silver bullet to make everyone happy/ free, but studies show that societies with more equal distribution are far happier.***
His blanket hatred of Marx, confusing the neomarxist gender 'warriors' with Marx, leaves a big gap in his social theory. It is urban civilization, leading to overcentralization and increased maldistribution, that leads to tyranny and capitalist globalization. That is Marx, and is 'hardwired' into unmediated social evolution. Capitalism makes Genghis Khan scientific and the role accessible to many khans, Hitler the 20th-century version, Trump a 21st-century wannabe, playing with the nuclear button, strutting his hardwired alpha pretensions, terrifying us all.
Better small groups, giving more room for talent to develop. There is a higher ratio of creatives in rural settings (Peterson a fine example), and greater contentment, longer lives. Small is beautiful. That is the essence of Marx. His blueprint for a bright future is to put the giants of industry under state control, and let small producers carry out economic production without exploitation.
Not bread alone
Rather than rejecting Marx and socialism, as Peterson seems to be doing, we can take a leaf from his other major point: man does not live by bread alone. Spirituality is also hardwired into us, as Peterson argues. He described himself as a classic British liberal, a philosophical pragmatist. He lost his socialist faith in 1980 as a teen, taking no inspiration from the fading Soviet alternative to capitalism, mired in the Cold War and Afghanistan. Sad, as that was the era of Thatcher, TINA and neoliberalism, and there is no understanding of imperialism here as the motive behind today's crises. Bootstraps are all well and good, but you won't solve the world's problems with 12 Rules.
His concept of Christianity is to imitate Christ, for him meaning "something like you need to take responsibility for the evil in the world as if you were responsible for it to understand that you determine the direction of the world, whether it's toward heaven or hell". Yes, the devil is at work and we must recognize it and fight it.
More on religion
Peterson's homilies are all worthwhile, and are full of anecdotes from his work as a therapist and his wide knowledge of philosophy and psychology:
*Treat yourself like someone you must care for.
*Make friends with people who want the best for you.
*Compare yourself to yesterday (not to someone else today).
*Don't let children do what makes you dislike them.
*Set your own house in order first.
*Pursue the meaningful, not the expedient.
*Tell the truth or at least don't lie.