Peterson keeps claiming individualism is key, as opposed to collectivism. It’s one of the countless things he doesn’t get: ↑↑ individualism PUSHES the wheel of ↑↑ collectivism. Our heritage is civic engagement (CIVIC VIRTUE) not individualism, even in Ecclesia (church).
Let’s elaborate: The greeks where quite accurate in their definitions. If many celebrity psychologists are idiots…. then what’s the etymology of the word “idiot”? If we don’t understand this, we can’t understand anything about CIVIC VIRTUE.
Idiot: From Old French from Latin idiota ‘ignorant person’, from Greek ΙΔΙΩΤΗΣ. ΙΔΙΩΤΗΣ: The private individual = ignorant person = absorbed in his individuality & doesn’t participate in ecclesia of demos (the gathering of people) or later in ecclesia (church).
Legal review: There isn’t such a thing as “human rights”, it’s an illusion. e.g. “the right to work” translated in communism as forced labor. Instead there is such thing as LAW that guarantees
(a) public order &
(b) certain liberties or privileges, perceived often as “rights”.
Legal review: The MAIN purpose of any modern legal system is NOT to serve justice nor “human rights” but to guarantee public ORDER. That’s why the “ultimate law” is always a separate military law, restricting liberties & rights, enforced when ORDER is in danger.
Legal review: The part of law called as “subjective law” contains all the articles that give certain liberties (freedoms) to the subjects (the people) when public order is not in danger.
Dictatorships shrink the “subjective law” e.g. the liberty of expression.
So, the legal system recognises an ASYMMETRY between the State (holding increased powers & privileges) and the subjects, the people.
The “social contract” (by Rousseau) is a tacit acceptance in a republic, a contract by the people to exchange [some] liberty for order.
In the west we talk about “politicians” today. Why? They became a separate class! How? In cultures of individualism people don’t participate in civic life, and they “de facto” [legal term] surrender the privileges of soft power & hard power to political cast (oligarchy).
For comparison, back in 1689 when “The Bill of Rights” was passed, Isaac Newton was a member of the parliament!
Newton, was NOT a politician, he was an active citizen (personal responsibility), like so many other active citizens that founded modern parliamentary republics.
INDIVIDUALITY is a privilege of parliamentary republics, guaranteed by “subjective law”. But this creates a NEGATIVE FEEDBACK LOOP:
↑ rights –> ↑ individuality –> ↑ people don’t participate in civic life (no civic virtue) –> elite hijacks institutions –> ↓ rights
To summarise all this complexity, the greeks named “individual” as “idiot”, the ultimate synonym of stupidity. When free citizens wilfully surrender [de facto] their civic rights to an elite (oligarchy) or tyrant, that consolidate their power with new laws [de jure].
Plutarch noticed that tyrants visited villages making sure people stayed occupied their PRIVATE / INDIVIDUAL businesses. Ancient tyrants promoted one thing: individuality and one-per-one negotiation. It’s ironic that Peterson teaches this as “glory” of western civilisation.
According to Plutarch Tyrants manipulate people by making “butter out of milk”. How? By manipulating individuals to blindly follow their narrow self-interest in collective outbursts (collectivism). That’s how tyrants consolidated power: ↑ individuality –> ↑ collectivism
When someone asked Demaratus, Spartan King, why the Spartans disgrace those who throw away their shields but NOT those who abandon their helmets? he answered: helmet is used for their our own safety but the shield for the safety of all [the whole line].
That’s why, even today in modern times, the synonym of traitor is “ρίψασπις”, the person who drops his own shield, putting in danger the whole group. Keeping his helmet (personal, individual safety) is worthless.