I think we’re seeing that craving for individual responsibility and a renaissance of masculinity manifest strongly in the MGTOW community and Jordan Peterson devotees, to start.
I am not a Peterson devotee, because I’m generally allergic to “self-help” and I don’t particularly like Jung. But that analogy (individual responsibility / group empathy) was raked directly from Peterson. It may have originated elsewhere, but that’s where I heard it. He does say some very interesting stuff, and I definitely think his intellectual empire is basically built around being a dad to people (men and women) who either didn’t have a dad, or didn’t have a good one.
The thing that strikes me as most impressive about his rise, is that so many people are throwing everything they can to “stop him,” from violent protests to misquotes to media hack pieces, and all he’s really saying if you listen closely is stuff that should be obvious to anyone with what I’d consider to be an appropriate upbringing.
He trolls feminists a bit, and I understand why, but I feel of late that his original approach of sticking to what’s explicitly true is fading as his patreon account grows.
What I’d really like to see is an acknowledgement of some kind of balance and nuance between science and self-constructed identity. Can we allow a modicum of biology into the conversation about identity — using thought leaders like Jung — without reducing people down to roles dictated by their genitals? This is the trap I see a lot of anti-feminists falling into: their arguments and logic are sound, but they express problematic lack of empathy by extrapolating that into prescriptive conclusions which deny others agency — e.g. “women are biologically designed to be happiest at home raising children.”
I think individualism provides this, and I think the trap you mention is on display on both sides of the fence. The people to follow in this space in my opinion are Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, because they are perpetually clear that evolutionary biology gives propensities but not prescriptions. Propensities do not deny agency, but deeply understanding propensities allows us to better understand our own agencies and adapt them to a changing landscape.
What tremendously frustrates me on the left hand side of the fence is when feminists hear a scientist talk about a propensity, mischaracterize that propensity as a prescription, and attack the scientist for undermining their agency. That flawed argumentative form is deeply rooted in modern feminist media, and it’s not helping anyone.
My frustrations with the IDW crowd are similar to my frustrations with the gun debate, honestly. I feel very deeply like there’s a literal language barrier. When I watched the Damore memo reverberate through my friends, it was tremendously obvious to me that two people could read the same words and come away with completely opposite understandings of what he was saying. That’s not possible unless the words themselves mean different things to different people. This problem can’t be resolved with dialog if the dialog itself is being filtered to have different meanings. We need a lexicon, or a Babelfish or something, going back to your space of nerd reference.
I’d love to read your thoughts on this vein in a full article. It’s such a necessary conversation, IMO.
Honestly, I could probably get a lot of traffic from such an article, but it’s someplace I’m a bit scared to stick my toe in the water in an official capacity, purely because of the vitriol associated with it. I had to build a secret Facebook group just to have honest and open discussions about Peterson and cohorts, because of the general level of handwaving freakoutery. The description of that group is “a place to talk about things without Antifa burning our houses down.” These sorts of discussions have been made dangerous to have at all.