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The Alpha Male Syndrome

I watched a Jordan Peterson video — and I did not like it. The Alpha Male Syndrome is concerning

Photo by Luigi Boccardo / Unsplash

I went incognito with my browsing for 15 minutes. I watched a Jordan Peterson video, perhaps for the first time ever — barring the full-fledged debate he had with Slavoj Zizek, where the latter, in all his jumpiness, did a slam dunk on Peterson. I knew very well that I did not want more videos of the Canadian psychologist recommended to me — and that is why I went incognito.

A few months back, I started rigorously scouting for any and every explainer on sports. I was thrilled by the sight of critical analyses that drew the parallels between sports and politics, how the beauty in movement is reflective of the masculine-feminine divide, and so on. The theories and snippets were many and I loved every bit of this non-athletic side of sports. But, just as I started watching more and more of these, YouTube did a 'funny' thing. It assumed that I might want to watch a little bit of Andrew Tate too. And that Alpha Male quotes might be of interest to me. I’d hit ‘do not recommend’. But the same videos popped up again on my feed. If no one knew about how intrinsically masculine the sporting field is, the recommendations were proof that this was indeed an expected link. If you watched football — American or otherwise — or basketball it meant that you maybe had a soft spot for the idea of an absolute male identity. If you do have that soft spot, chances are, you believe in Jordan Peterson's strong declaration that patriarchy is a lie spun by feminists.

The Assertive Voice

Jordan Peterson is a strong believer that we must turn to the past. I understand how nostalgia can be a strong feeling. While watching a movie that was made in the 1980s, you might think to yourself, "I wish I was living in those times — look at all that absence of hustle!" But, you wouldn't actually pursue a winding back of time. It is one moment in the past that you attach nostalgia to; and in that one moment, the adversities that were common to those times are pretty much eclipsed. That is how overwhelming the sense of nostalgia can be even for a thing that you have not personally experienced before. However, Peterson's nostalgia is tied to a past where you find the forced hysteria making a comeback — women are meant to signify chaos, and men, equilibrium (which includes discipline and everything elegant). Feminism has not argued for an anti-male discourse or advocated hate against other genders. But anti-feminists like Peterson are clearly hell-bent on calling activism a deliberate attack on the discipline that men are bound to usher in. He calls it an 'assault' — and yet says elsewhere, "be a force for good in the world, and that will be the adventure of your life." Jordan Peterson starts off his Daily Wire podcast with this line, among many others that are just thrown at the listener. The tone is more assertive than persuasive — and that is when you ought to realize that this man cannot actually be teaching you how to lead your life!

The Case of a Hundred Petersons

A couple of minutes into the episode on "Imposing Limits on the Woke?", Christopher Rufo goes on to talk about the left-wing media writers and producers actually being discreet supporters of the conservative ideology. Rufo does say that they disagree with his assertive and aggressive — even barbarian — way of putting things forward. But, you get the overall idea about what these podcasters and YouTube philosophers are systematically getting at: the anti-establishment has apparently become the establishment and in this, the whole lot of American leaders have essentially become 'devastatingly' influenced by critical theory.

There are two issues here.

One, critical theory, be it for caste, race, or class, is a necessity that puts things into perspective, especially when discrimination is rampant in a nation as diverse as the US. DEI is important, and so is teaching inclusivity in schools. Children must be taught young to engage with society in a constructive way than find differences to poke at and maim.

Two, people need to stop reveling in the apparent number of closeted partisan admirers. This is now becoming almost as relevant as the speck of dust that you just blew off your screen. It is an easy argument to make when you run out of support or points — you can scream out loud, "everybody is on my side", but that does not help anybody's case. Peterson says that they're all acting from a place of pure cowardice. While he does this, he also belittles situational dilemma and this appeared strangest to me considering the fact that he is a psychologist.

There are a lot of loose ends in the arguments that they try to make. But that isn't even half of what constitutes the problem with 'Alpha Males'. This is one Jordan Peterson. A hundred more are out there, liking his videos, following his advice to the T, and consistently practicing the toxic strain of masculinity in their daily lives. They might be holding cigars in their hand and driving Bugattis. The biggest issue is this number. For Peterson, the idea of a left-radical 5% controlling the establishment is a clear violation of democratic principles. For him, majoritarianism is the only solution to get rid of the left's 'bureaucratic infiltration'.

However, how do numbers guarantee that one is right? In Peterson's ideal world, the bad eggs would be in majority.



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