Jordan Peterson discusses the Nazis in comparison with communists

How does one make the moral distinction, Peterson asks, between the Nazis and the comms, with the person posing the original question actually using the term “socialism” which shows that in his mind there is no distinction worth worrying about? The video shows Peterson’s answer. But here’s a hint about his answer: I really really like what he says.

Which brings to mind this quote from John Stuart Mill:

Apart from the peculiar tenets of individual thinkers, there is also in the world at large an increasing inclination to stretch unduly the powers of society over the individual, both by the force of opinion and even by that of legislation. And as the tendency of all the changes taking place in the world is to strengthen society, and diminish the power of the individual, this encroachment is not one of the evils which tend spontaneously to disappear, but on the contrary, to grow more and more formidable. This disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or as fellow-citizens, to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feelings incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything but want of power; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a stronger barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.

Mill wrote that 150 years ago. Just think how much more applicable and terrifying all that is today. If you haven’t read On Liberty, you should.

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29 Responses to Jordan Peterson discusses the Nazis in comparison with communists

  1. Rafe Champion

    You also want to a read the first volume of Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies on Plato and the way his totalitarian ideas permeate the western intellectual woodwork. Recall the saying that Western philosophy is footnotes to Plato! His recipe for collective justice is manifest in “social justice” (collective guilt) at the root of identity politics.

  2. None

    As I have always said: the state has a natural tendency towards authoritarianism.

  3. struth

    It’s not complicated Mr Peterson, you are just far too academic of mind, and surroundings. to allow yourself to simplify what indeed is simple.

    Say “National SOCIALIST” Mr Peterson.
    You can do it mate.
    Then none of it is complicated at all, and you will see it all clearly.

    Right wing is not at all about Hierarchy, Mr Peterson, but I did note that you used to work for and with socialists, so , typically, you haven’t been able to clear your mind totally of the fog of socialism.

    To me he is a good bloke, and destroys his detractors, but politically he is basically, Andrew Bolt.

  4. egg_

    politically he is basically, Andrew Bolt.

    Typical academic – a (retro) analyst – not a strategist.

  5. John Comnenus

    The reason all of these collectivist ideas are equally bad and dangerous is quite simple. First you pit collective group against another collective group. For Hitler it was racial groups, for Stalin it was class enemies. The point is to create an “in group” and an “out group”. The out group must be assigned collective blame for societies ills. Then, social or collectivist justice demands collectivist punishment. As sure as night follows day, collective punishment is demanded to remedy collective blame. Crime must be punished!

    Typically collective punishment is encouraged by State owned media and leading “public intellectuals”. It is then typically carried out by the same courts and enforced by the same police who were previously pillars of society. History records that few police or judges resign on principle, and most comply out of fear and justify their actions as applying the law. The great mass always are just “following order”.

    As Lenin explained in his conveyor belt theory of radicalising people, one starts by making future radicals commit small crimes for the cause. Once they start committing crimes they rapidly become radicalised as the leading, most violent and radical elements of the “in group”.

    Now look at recent high profile examples of the behaviour of law enforcement and the judiciary here and in America. Be very afraid.

  6. Ubique

    Maybe one person in 500 knows that the Soviet Communists and Germany’s National Socialists signed a pact to partition Europe between them just a week before the start of WWII; and that the Russians invaded Poland from the East on 17 September 1939 just 16 days after the German National Socialists had attacked from the West.

  7. Shane

    Ubique, #comment-2950873
    the explanation is really simple, the remaining 499 out of 500 people definitely don’t want to know awkward facts like that.
    Just because someone has 2 eyes, ears , etc & look relatively normal, doesn’t mean that they have a brain that is willing to ask questions, much less think or have a brain that is wired up correctly.
    “Panem et Circenses” is just so much easier & doesn’t hurt ones head as much.

  8. Old School Conservative

    Why listen to Peterson? After all, Bolt enjoys criticising him and giving Milo a forum to extend that criticism.
    From the perspective of those two detractors, Peterson’s ideas must be invalid.

    I detect some professional jealousy from Bolt and Milo.

  9. IainC

    Pretty simple, Nazis were National Socialists, Marxists were International Socialists. To look at it another way, national fascism versus international fascism. It’s all a matter of perspective. In the modern versions of each socialist strand, there is virtually no practical difference, except that current Marxists despise Jews and the proletariat a lot more than do neo-Nazis. Not sure if they appreciate the irony.

  10. stackja

    Federal elections were held in Germany on 5 March 1933, after the Nazi seizure of power on 30 January and just six days after the Reichstag fire. Wikipedia

    Joseph Stalin Died: 5 March 1953, Kuntsevo Dacha. Wikipedia

  11. Mark M

    “It’s hard to accuse Republicans of trying to smear Democrats as Soviet-style socialists when the current front-runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination is an actual socialist who spent his honeymoon in the USSR.

    From his support for socialized medicine to backing the big-government Green New Deal, describing Bernie Sanders as ‘socialist’ isn’t name-calling. It’s reading from his resume.”

    via intsapundit:
    Socialist Bernie Sanders is Trump’s dream Democrat

  12. Read the book American Betrayal by Diana West

    Long excerpt here from Chapter 1

    Interesting that “McCarthy style pressure” is often invoked – yet the Venona Intercepts showed McCarthy was substantially correct 27May14

    A few pages from American Betrayal by Diana West re Western blindness to Stalin’s 1932-33 Terror Famine 26Oct15

  13. Confused Old Misfit

    I detect some professional jealousy from Bolt and Milo.

    With Bolt it is because Peterson is much smarter and Bolt knows it.
    With Milo it is because Peterson can say things with a clarity and definition that eludes Milo.

  14. Ubique

    “[The German-Soviet invasion of Poland was] an example of cooperation of socialist nations against Anglo-French imperialism.”

    An appeal issued by the Communist International on October 7, 1939 – the 22 Anniversary of the October Revolution

  15. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Milo, Peterson and Bolt are all good in the own ways. Credit to all, for having a go. If there is minor sniping, then just let it be. Support them all; pick a fave if you must. At least they are getting some thinking started, if not concluded quite as purists (realists?) might wish.

    John Comenos and Struth are both correct. Firstly, John’s point about creating in-groups and out-groups. Totalitarianism 101 there. Then Struth’s point about the collectivist economic control. That’s always there too: Statism.

    History is the great educator, the what happened? where? when? and why? We have, however, lost any dated history completely in our schools with regard to major world events. Such questions are only asked and answered in social group and ‘climatic environmental’ terms, where the explanatory force is inherent ‘racism’ or ‘patriarchy’ or ‘greed’, examined with a very Marxist focus concerning historical and current ‘power relationships’ defined overall by an evil force called capitalism. No subtlety there at all, for it is quite blatant in its propagandist simplicity.

  16. max

    there is some glitch in software

    Jordan Peterson Addresses Socialist Intellectuals
    Davie Addison
    Published on Apr 13, 2018

  17. Dr Fred Lenin

    I always compare politics with a clock face , the further to the left or right you go the closer you get to six,the exact opposite of 12 ,which is the centre . The differences between the nazis and bolsheviks was , the Russians had revolted against the aristoracy and land owners with few industrialists ,while the Germans embraced crony capitalism like the left do today . In Russia the aparatchiks were not capitalist inclined they had no history of this ,the Germans were much inclined that way , just as the left is today . Look at the Clinton gang and our own Hawke ,Keating ,Rudd , Giliard , all very wealthy , came from nothing ,Shorten has similar plans for himself without a doubt . Extremism is the home of Unprincipled dshits ,just look at the records.

  18. min

    Dr Stephen Hicks, who unfortunately did not sell enough tickets for his recent tour here, tackles the same subject. A professor of Philosophy and another Canadian, he explains the rise of Marxism and Postmodernism and the problems created in today’s society as it is promulgated by the elites. At a recent lecture in Poland he describes the Philosphy that came out of German culture and how it led to National Socialists and the comparison with Communism on YouTube . Sorry I cannot put it here for you. I am organising a Saturday get together to show it on our theatre screen with friends who had bought tickets .
    Happy for any Melbourne Cats to come ,Sincs has my email for time address etc and the password to get in .
    Not as much security as for Jordan Peterson but still a secure venue.

  19. I listened to Peterson and although he knew communist dictatorships killed many more people than the Nazis did – he never mentioned that the USA Govt & Public Service was infested with Reds and USSR agents starting in 1930’s after FDR recognized the USSR in 1933. Harry Hopkins said to be a KGB agent was in the closest daily contact with FDR for years in WWII.
    On page 112 of American Betrayal Hanson Baldwin is mentioned a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who in 1949 published a short book setting out “four great and false premises of WWII”.
    1) that the USSR had abandoned its policy of World “revolution”;
    2) Stalin was a benevolent leader and true U.S. ally – good ole Uncle Joe!!;
    3) even during the latter stages of the war, the Soviets might seek a separate peace with a (then retreating) Nazi Germany;
    4) entreating the Soviets, unnecessarily, to join the war against a tottering Japan, oblivious to the dangers of Soviet hegemonic pursuits in Asia.

    If you google – hanson baldwin four great and false premises of WWII – the top link –
    includes various arguments explored in – American Betrayal – and the 2nd link takes you to text from American Betrayal

  20. Tel

    Peterson is a nice guy, but he waffles too much. He’s not wrong, but he doesn’t get the point across.

    The greatest historian (some would say, the only historian) is a guy called Victor.

    The crimes of the losing side got carefully documented (by Victor) and photographed, and publicized and are taught over and over to generations of kids. The crimes of the winning side got downplayed (including allied firestorm bombings, destruction of civilian infrastructure, internment camps, the nuke drops, and also the many murders of both Lenin and Stalin, plus handing prisoners over to Stalin to also be murdered). These things got moved under the heading of “couldn’t be helped” and Victor went right back to pointing the finger at the losing side.

    To make things even less balanced, most of the Western intellectuals, and journalists have been sympathetic to Communism for probably the last 100 years, and those guys just make stuff up … they don’t even bother playing the highlight / lowlight game, they simply retell the narrative they way they like it. So Stalin and Mao could hide their crimes relatively easily. Any teaching about the evils of socialism has been erased from the schools long ago.

  21. Linden

    Yes Elizabeth, I was recently poopooed by (defacto family) young mothers complaining about bullying etc online. I said it would help the young ones to read some history to begin to understand how people had to struggle through some of the most horrific events known; especially WW2. And maybe learning about peoples struggles, that could be of help in dealing with this modern crap of bullying online and bullying in general etc. I got howled down good and proper, no compassion heartless, you don’t know what is like today, you never had the internet at their age etc. They choose to completely ignore the fact that elderly senior folk have lived through a fair share of life’s experiences and do understand, no way~jose. I was thoroughly ridiculed for suggesting that reading anything about history was a good thing. Back in those history days they never had the internet!! go figure

  22. Mater

    Even in 1943 tens of thousands of refugees from the Soviet provinces trailed along behind the retreating German army-anything was better than remaining under Communism.

    – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago Vol 3 (P 29)

    There is no way of sidestepping this comparison: both the years and the methods coincide too closely. And the comparison occurred even more naturally to those who had passed through the hands of both the Gestapo and the MGB.
    One of these was Yevgeny Ivanovich Divnich, an emigre and preacher of Orthodox Christianity. The Gestapo accused him of Communist activities among Russian workers in Germany, and the MGB charged him with having ties to the international bourgeoisie. Divnich’s verdict was unfavorable to the MGB.
    He was tortured by both, but the Gestapo was nonetheless trying to get at the truth, and when the accusation did not hold up, Divnich was released. The MGB wasn’t interested in the truth and had no intention of letting anyone out of its grip once he was arrested.

    – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago Vol 1 (P 145)

  23. Linden

    There is a very interesting book titled, Beyond the Call, only recently published. Came about when the son of a former US bomber pilot found all of his old war memorabilia, and discovered some fascinating things about his actual war time activities in Europe between the retreating German armies and the Russians late in the war. The Russians had no pity for anybody.

  24. J.H.

    Stalin killed about 10 million Ukrainians during his Collectivization policies of the early 1930’s….. Stalin had already deliberately starved to death more Ukrainians than Hitler would kill Jews ten years later. Stalin also mass murdered the entire Polish officer corp after his co invasion of Poland with Nazi Germany…. etc and so forth.

    The most dangerous country and ethnicity to be in the 1930’s and 40’s was Ukrainian, right up there with the Jews…. Stalin murdered them during the Holodomor , Hitler then murdered them after he finished invading them, then Stalin enacted vengeance upon them once more.

    Poor Ukrainians are still copping it in the neck from Russian interference in their affairs to this very day.

  25. Iampeter

    And as the tendency of all the changes taking place in the world is to strengthen society, and diminish the power of the individual, this encroachment is not one of the evils which tend spontaneously to disappear, but on the contrary, to grow more and more formidable. This disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or as fellow-citizens, to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feelings incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything but want of power; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a stronger barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.

    But this is what you and the overwhelming majority of cat posters support. Society over the individual. The collective over the individual. Etc. People here are quite vocal about this and quite explicit.
    Why are you posting this quote, when you know you and your readers here are not on the side of individual rights?

  26. Kneel

    “Why are you posting this quote,…”

    To encourage discussion – you know, where people go back and forth and attempt to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

    But of course, this sort of thing is unacceptable to you, as you have made plain many times – whatever your ideas are, you will not tolerate any questioning or changes, and anyone who disagrees is a fool (at least in your estimation). So the question isn’t why this was posted in the first place, but instead, why you bother with your one-sided rants here at all – a place for discussion and debate seems anathema to your disposition. Logically, you should find a place where frequent contributors are more in line with your beliefs – perhaps getup would better suit you, as they have the same “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” attitude you so regularly display here.

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