Dr. Peterson is a controversial figure, no doubt about it; but he frequently says things that are worth listening to. This is one of those times.
Update: The original clip I linked to seems to have disappeared. Instead, I am linking to a Daily Wire article which features a link to the full-length interview. Here is a transcript (from that post) of the section I highlighted in my original post:
Peterson takes on [GQ interviewer] Lewis’ claim that western civilization is still a “male-dominated society.”
“Our culture confuses men’s desire for achievement and competence with the patriarchal desire for tyrannical power. And that’s a big mistake,” says Peterson (comments start around the 4:00 mark). Lewis uses this comment as a jumping off point for the discussion of Peterson’s arguments against the modern feminist concept of the patriarchy as a “male-dominated society.” When she asks him to define what he means by patriarchy, Peterson responds with a question: “Well, in what sense is our society male-dominated?”
“The fact that the vast majority of wealth is owned by men, the vast majority of capital is owned by men, women do more unpaid labor…” Lewis replies.
“That’s a very tiny of proportion of men,” Peterson interjects. “A huge proportion of people who are seriously disaffected are men; most people in prison are men; most people who are on the street are men; most victims of violent crime are men; most people who commit suicide are men; most people who die in wars are men; people who do worse in school are men. Where’s the dominance here, precisely? What you are doing is taking a tiny substrata of hyper-successful men and using that to represent the entire structure of Western society. There’s nothing about that that’s vaguely appropriate.”
But Lewis isn’t ready to give up. She goes on (this transcript is lightly edited from a Red State blog-post),
[Lewis] “But I could say equally that most rape victims are women.”
[Peterson] “You could say that… but that doesn’t provide any evidence… of a male-dominated patriarchy.”
[Lewis] “But there are almost no women who rape men…”
N.B. This is not entirely true, by the way! A recent (2017) article appearing in Scientific Ameican, among others, notes that “the CDC’s nationally representative data revealed that over one year, men and women were equally likely to experience nonconsensual sex, and most male victims reported female perpetrators.” But back to Lewis and Peterson:
[Peterson] “Well, yes…but that doesn’t mean that Western culture is a male-dominated patriarchy. The fact that there are asymmetries has nothing to do with your basic argument. This is a trope that people just accept: Western society is a male-dominated patriarchy… No, it’s not. That’s not true.”
Indeed. The fact is that, while some “asymmetries” or inequalities may remain, there is not and probably never has been in history a society in which there is more equality between the sexes than in the modern West. I am sorry to put it so harshly, but anyone who fails to realize that has blinders on.
Now, one can argue, and some have, as to whether or not this often-enforced “equality” (if the modern West is dominated by anyone, it is the “liberal” Left, and its ideological presuppositions and agendas) is necessarily and always a good thing! But the idea that we are a male-dominated patriarchy simply does not bear scrutiny. That is a straw-man created to further the Left’s desire for still more and greater power.
Read the articles, watch the video, and draw your own conclusions!