Jordan Peterson Says We Should Make Ourselves Dangerous

James Morganelli talks about this at the Federalist.

But the interview takes a turn after Peterson says, “It’s very helpful for people to hear that they should make themselves competent and dangerous and take their proper place in the world.”

Stossel scoffs, “Competent and dangerous? Why dangerous?”

“There’s nothing to you otherwise,” Peterson replies. “If you’re not a formidable force, there’s no morality in your self-control. If you’re incapable of violence, not being violent isn’t a virtue.
Morganelli agrees and reflects on this idea and draws out the ethical principles at play in deciding to use violence. I'm not sure we would all agree with his conclusions, but the discussion is interesting.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Perhaps that is why we have the single instance of Jesus beating the moneylenders out of the temple, to show that it was possible and what it was reserved for in the final judgement.

Grim said...

It’s been fourteen years ago I wrote on this.

E Hines said...

There's a practical matter: if you're not dangerous, you're a pushover. And a moral matter: if you're not dangerous, all those for whom you're responsible are vulnerable.

Eric Hines

douglas said...

Mr. Hines, morally, in addition to that I'd argue you've also placed greater temptation in front of those challenged with controlling themselves by being vulnerable. It's wrong to tempt people unnecessarily.

Tom said...

Grim, although I don't think I'd read that post before, I know we've discussed the importance of old men being dangerous here before. This article resonated, and so I thought I'd bring it here as well.

The next question, then, is how to go about it? How should we make ourselves dangerous? I have to admit, I used to be, but I've rusted. I need to start working to repair and develop this again.

E Hines said...

Douglas, I agree up to a point. It is wrong to tempt someone, but that does not absolve the someone of his responsibility to not yield to the temptation. And, I claim, the larger responsibility is on the temptee, not the tempter. The one is well aware of the temptation he faces, the other may not be aware of the temptation he offers.

Tom, one way to make ourselves dangerous as individuals is to learn to fight--which, properly, includes learning the judgment of when not to inflict violence. I've learned some skill with karate, some more serious skill with Krav Maga, and I'm reasonably facile with handguns. And learn to make ourselves dangerous as groups--with the same judgment constraint.

That latter will be a generational task: we've lost a lot of sense of community with which to teach our children. I grew up in an environment (common both to Dinky Town, Iowa, and Large City, Illinois) where all the neighborhood yards, both front and back, blended together into a common playground. This was in addition to, and often at the preferential expense of, formal city parks. Now I live in a typical neighborhood that has privacy fences walling off the back yards from each other and hedges or other fancy landscaping lining front yard lead walks and therewith isolating the front yards, too. And the kids are on their cell phones or video games, interacting with each other virtually instead of physically, so they never really get to know each other.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

In terms of practice, for the older man who hasn't studied martial arts his whole life it's too late to become a Master of Kung Fu. (That might still be an ideal for any readers who are young enough to aspire to mastery.) Practically, if you're taking it up in middle age you're going to need weapons. So, too, will any women of any age who want to be dangerous.

Many people point out that handguns have a unique utility for older or weaker people who aspire to asserting their equality against younger, stronger people. If that's the road you want to take, there's an endless supply of tactical training courses on the subject to choose from.

I still think that blades are, for many, a worthwhile choice. The blade is a good equalizer if you train with it: it gives reach, increases the power of strikes and thrusts exponentially, and thus can allow you to strive with skill against youth and strength. You also won't have to worry about negligent discharges, or ricochets, or overpenetrating rounds hurting someone you didn't know was there.

The main thing, though, is to develop one's virtues. The real advantages of a mature character are that you have had years to work on developing courage, self-control, self-discipline, moderation. Put these things to work for yourself, and you'll have numerous advantages in a conflict against a younger man driven by hormones and self-doubt. Your capacity for virtue will allow you to train seriously in whichever weapon you select.

It should also allow you to think more clearly in stressful circumstances. That is where your real capacity to use your dangerousness to control the situation and improve the outcomes will arise.

E Hines said...

Without intending to discount the utility of blades--particularly knives--I am the weapon; everything else are just tools. Besides, most people are born with 10 weapons on their person, and those weapons are still there, for the most part, in older men and women.

I also don't entirely agree that for the older man who hasn't studied martial arts his whole life it's too late to become a Master of King Fu. I took up Krav in my 50s (which may or may not be "old age"). While Krav isn't necessarily a martial art--it's more like organized brawling--I am pretty good at it. More importantly, though, it's not necessary to be a Master in most fights because most assailants aren't that good at fighting. An old man, with training and discipline, and the virtues of which you speak, can prevail in most fights he might encounter.

Including against the man with a knife, who generally will be outgunned 10-1, unless he truly knows what he's doing.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

"It is the people who can do nothing who find nothing to do, and the secret to happiness in this world is not only to be useful, but to be forever elevating one's uses."

--Sarah Orne Jewett