- by Gitabushi
I recently wrote about my opinion of Vox Day, as part of completing an assignment from a friend to read his book, ‘Jordanetics,” to see if I would be convinced Jordan B. Peterson is a con man.
I ended up convinced that Vox Day is a con man.
However, I now think I have a little bit more to add to that.
To be honest, I rushed through my first response. Partly because I was just irritated with having read what felt like a steaming load of nonsense, but partly because I wanted to discharge the obligation. But I kept thinking about it, and I think there are a few more points I want to make.
First, Vox Day gives his own “12 Rules.” The most charitable take is that if he’s going to spend a book criticizing JBP’s 12 Rules, he should have his own. The churlish take is that he wanted to demonstrate his superior intelligence by providing a list better than JBP’s.
Actually, Vox Day’s list isn’t bad.
- Embrace the Iron
- Take the wheel
- Be the friend you want to have
- Envision perfection and pursue excellence
- Put a ring on it
- Set your face against evil
- Do what is right
- Tell the truth in kindness
- Learn the easy way
- Believe the mirror
- Get back on the horse
- Find a best friend
But at best, Vox Day doesn’t realize what JBP’s purpose is; at worst, Vox Day simply doesn’t care. Because this list is largely inaccessible to the people JBP is trying to reach. “Put a ring on it,” indeed. One of things JBP is addressing is males who cannot attract a woman, because their life is in chaos. “Take the wheel.” The whole point of JBP’s teachings are to help males learn that they can take the wheel, and to avoid disaster when they try. You can’t just tell them to take the wheel; you have to teach them to walk before they can run.
So Vox Day’s rules aren’t bad, they just reveal that Vox Day doesn’t comprehend JBP.
This is a problem.
It indicates that Vox Day is criticizing JBP because JBP’s advice doesn’t apply to Vox Day.
It may even indicate that JBP’s concepts threaten Vox Day in some way.
Vox claims to be very, very smart, and expensively educated. We aren’t told exactly what “expensive” means to Vox Day, but based on his writing, he isn’t very highly educated. It seems very likely to me that he never continued past a baccalaureate.
To characterize Vox Day’s fundamental error that underlies his entire book, his choices demonstrate that he has no interest in constructing a compelling argument, but feels it is sufficient to merely make a plausible one.
You see this error in several places. As I pointed out in the last post on this topic, he comes up with a single plausible argument why Ben Shapiro would get his work promoted over Vox Day’s. Having found that single plausible argument, he assumes and declares it must be true. He makes little attempt to consider other reasons. He doesn’t address all the potential challenges to his theory. He makes his claim, explains why he thinks that, and stops.
This is undergraduate level thinking: “Here’s what I think, and why.” Period. End of thought.
Studying for a Master’s Degree, providing a single plausible explanation isn’t enough. You must make a case for why your view is the most compelling. You must provide multiple chains of logic that support your view, and address competing arguments. Heck, the first thing you have to learn is to recognize that there *are* competing arguments.
Vox Day rarely take that step, and certainly doesn’t do so in any systematic effort.
For all the problems in our education system with Marxist indoctrination, this is one reason I still recommend people go to college, and in some cases, study for their Master’s. Education teaches you better ways of thinking, understanding, and arguing.
Elementary education is mostly (or should be) rote learning.
Secondary education is about regurgitation of what you are told, but with more complexity than just memorized tables.
Undergraduate education is about demonstrating that you understand what you are taught, that you can understand arguments that are made for or against something; to research what others think; to analyze and come to basic conclusions.
Graduate education is about synthesizing conclusions: sorting through existing knowledge to find new connections and new conclusions. Your master’s thesis should result in new conclusions and new understandings of existing knowledge, and learning to make arguments to support your new conclusions, so they can be accepted as accurate.
Post-graduate (doctoral) education is all about creating *new* knowledge: researching, experimenting, and studying to find accurate knowledge that was either not known, or was an incorrect conclusion.
Vox Day’s writing never gets beyond the Undergraduate level.
I can tell he’s intelligent. But his intelligence hasn’t been trained or honed into useful application.
His argument is, in a nutshell: “I’m smart and accomplished. I don’t like JBP’s teachings. Therefore, no one should.”
But let’s look deeper at that first claim.
One of Vox Day’s claims is that JBP’s advice is for Gamma males. Elsewhere, he says JBP is a confirmed Gamma male.
The last time, I criticized Vox Day as not understanding that the high status/low status lobster is just one paradigm of how life works, and JBP likely was saying to reject that paradigm, and *not* to try to end up at a mediocre status of not being bullied, yet not being a high status lobster, either.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Vox Day embraces the paradigm of Bully or Be Bullied because he fancies himself an Alpha Male, and wants to enjoy that status. Naturally, he would resist encouraging people to reject that paradigm: what good is it to have high status if people don’t recognize that status?
Look at the things Vox Day points to for credibility to criticize JBP and to claim the right to dismiss Jordan and his followers as Gamma males:
- National Merit Finalist. Who is going to know what this means, except for those vying for it (i.e., geeks)?
- Game designer. Who cares, except for geeks?
- Member of “successful” techno band. Main claim to fame was being on a Mortal Kombat soundtrack. More geekness.
- Started a Science Fiction publishing house. Geeks.
- Nationally syndicated writer. Okay, this one doesn’t seem related to geeks.
These are not things to be sneered at, but clearly aren’t accomplishments most people would recognize as providing credibility to criticize the works of a popular Self-Help guru with a PhD in Psychology.
To be sure, you don’t really need credentials to criticize ideas. You merely need enough of a platform to promulgate your ideas and criticisms of ideas, and let the ideas speak for themselves.
I think Vox Day provides his accomplishments as credentials for two related reasons. First, he has a sense his criticisms aren’t compelling, and so wants to claim a status that elevates him above JBP. In a sense, it is a dick-measuring contest. “Pay no attention to his ideas. My dick is bigger than his. You can tell this because I have a hot wife.” Second, he is signalling to an audience that is actually receptive to that sort of posturing. What sort of person would be convinced by the “I have a hot wife” argument? Gamma males. Which is why I emphasized the geekness above.
So when Vox Day is arguing that JBP is a Gamma male preaching to other Gamma males, he’s actually making a Beta male gambit to maintain his standing as leader of Gamma males. He can’t understand that a true Alpha male wouldn’t give a crap about JBP, they’d just go get laid.
And this all goes back to Vox Day being the con man in the scenario. He doesn’t understand the needs of low status males, has absolutely zero interest in helping them improve their lives. His entire criticism of JBP is predicated on maintaining his preferred world order, with Vox Day as an Alpha Male with a bunch of lower status males in their proper position as subordinate to, and in admiration of, Vox Day.
This is Vox Day’s con. He is attempting to protect the brand that is Vox Day.
I wish him good luck.