The Right Way to Argue

Mitch Horowitz
2 min readJun 25, 2018

As a critical admirer of Jordan Peterson, I greatly appreciate this piece, not only because it is learned in content but also in tone. It shows us how to argue again. It shows us how to argue as mature beings.

Now, I sympathize with Peterson less because of his too-ready emphasis on Marxism and the French deconstructionists, but because his advice takes a back-to-basics approach to ethics, which can greatly aid the individual in times of need, and serve as a stabilizing factor in life.

Those critics who focus on the “simplistic” nature of Peterson’s advice get it all wrong. Certain “simple” ideas, such as not lying, are felt in their profundity only in application. When you apply them you are placed in front of some of life’s deepest questions, which you can follow or flee, as you return to the persistency of your effort. That is a life worth living.

I am very glad that this author noted Peterson’s own conflicts about economic Marxism, which I share. Peterson was a young activist in Canada’s democratic socialist party; I might have even met him at one of their youth conferences which I attended as an American visitor from the Democratic Socialists of America. Peterson recognizes, and has retained, Marx’s critique that capitalism innately brings inequalities of distribution, which we as social beings can do something about (and hopefully not make matters worse). I wish Peterson did more to emphasize that he, like me, retains a kind of Hardy Boys Marxism, and that not all of Marx directs us into the Hobbesian pit he detects in modern life.

So, bravo, again for a wonderful piece. I learned a great deal from it — and it is the kind of critique that I hope the subject himself could learn something from. I believe the author is correct about the misdirection of some of the emphases of this greatly important contemporary voice.

Mitch Horowitz

"Treats esoteric ideas & movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness"-Washington Post | PEN Award-winning historian | Censored in China