We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
That business of letting people weaponize guilt against you is awfully important. We'd better figure out what we really believe our duty is and mean it, or we'll be at the mercy of people who have crazy ideas about duty. Why should we accept a stranger's notion of duty, particularly when his own life and the system he supports is a horrifying, dysfunctional mess?
What I love about Jordan Peterson, and why I continue to listen to him speak, is that central message "It's on you." Yes, societies can be deranged and can exert dysfunctional forces on their members and perpetuate injustices, but nothing can change the fact that only individuals act. Peterson says we'd better be as ethical as we are powerful. When the state acts, it acts through individuals, those wielding small powers and those wielding large ones.
I've long been accustomed to think about how a Hitler or a Stalin or a Pol Pot induces others to act according to his vile scheme. More locally and concretely, I think about 19 police officers standing around in a hallway in Uvalde. We have personal duties that are not delegable and not subject to nullification by any human authority. For the rest of our lives, as Thomas Harris would say, we'll be a person who did the right thing or a person who did not. C.S. Lewis would say, for eternity we will be a soul that obeyed God or one that did not. Our choice is our identity.
Peterson always raises the right issue. Of course we should seek to improve society, but we should never do it primarily by assigning fault and duties to others. It has to start with what we are personally willing to do. If we can then enlist others in the same effort, excellent. You want to feed the poor? Do it. Sell your car and buy food for the homeless. Stop asking your neighbor to do it for you. Tell the truth. Do your duty, and the rest will follow. You're in charge of you.
Singular elements are 1 minute starting at 30:28 and the last 2 minutes. In the first, he gets to the heart of freedom of speech and its necessity in freedom of thought. And in the last is his appeal to professors to abandon their project to demoralize the youth (to save the planet).
From the middle minute:
Then the next question is, well, what do you do once you receive the answer? And the answer is, well, if you can think then you use internal speech to dissect the answer, which is what you do, for example, you encourage your students to do if they're writing an essay. You know, they lay out a proposition and then you hope they can take the proposition apart. And essentially if they are, what they're doing is they're transforming themselves into avatars, speaking avatars of two different viewpoints. So you have the speaker for the proposition and then you have the critic, and maybe you lay out the dialogue between them. And that constitutes the body of the essay. And you have to be bloody sophisticated to manage that, because it means that you have to divide yourself in some sense into two avatars that are oppositional. And then you have to allow yourself to be the battle space between them. That, and people have to be trained to do that. That's what universities are supposed to do. It's really hard. What people generally do instead of that is talk to other people. And that's how they organize themselves, by talking to other people.
When people speak of the value of the university, they are speaking of that right there, but not all programs taught than. And in recent decades, fewer and fewer programs and professors have even tolerated that.