Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Bromance Alert: Kanye West and ... Jordan Peterson?

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Bromance Alert: Kanye West and ... Jordan Peterson?

Article excerpt

Bromance alert: Kanye West and ... Jordan Peterson?

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This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

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Author: David Chandross, Professor: Education, Ryerson University

Kanye West, the hip hop star married to Kim Kardashian, has come out in support of U.S. President Donald Trump.

That was bad enough for many Americans who abhor Trump, particularly following the president's defence of white supremacists in the aftermath of the violence last summer in Charlottesville, Va.

The Kanye ire is such that rapper and record producer Daz Dillinger called on The Crips, the infamous L.A.-based gang, to assault the rapper for his pro-Trump stance. Kanye is now surrounded by security guards for protection and has a restraining order against Dillinger.

Making matters worse? Kanye has also signalled his admiration for Jordan Peterson, the controversial University of Toronto professor who is the hero of those who have dubbed themselves lobsters -- Peterson fans who believe, as he does, that political correctness has spiralled out of control.

It's all exploding into the perfect celebrity storm. The Apprentice: Existentialist Edition is now ready to launch.

And it's all over a simple idea, something called post-modernism. The call for violence against Kanye is the result of arguing about something that isn't even real.

How so? It's impossible to identify Kanye's "crime," or Peterson's, other than they reserve the right to offend. And apparently, offence is good enough reason to incite violence against someone.

Freedom of speech battle

All of this is about freedom of speech, but that prerogative seems to have been hijacked by the political right. For example, those on the extreme right want to deny Muslims entry into the United States and also want the freedom to slander them. This open door to inflammatory or even hate speech is hardly what lies at the heart of academic freedom.

The problems arise due to the fact that white supremacists, including the Ku Klux Klan, have embraced Trump. At the same time, they've found a philosophy in Peterson's work that's compatible with Trump's anti-fact bias.

It's not that Peterson is against facts, it's that he appeals to people who do not require them to form an idea -- including, apparently, Kanye West, who recently suggested that slavery was a choice.

Peterson argues that we're all captives in a post-modern world, one in which nothing has more meaning that anything else. The issue is that his adherents are not informed enough to compare his philosophies with competing ideas.

There are other ways to frame our present social "philosophy." There is the work of Socrates on metanoia, which means changing your behaviour to be a better you. Aristotle taught us about eudaimonia, which is an ancient way of talking about flourishing in life. …

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