Dear Professor Peterson,
I started following you three years ago. I had been looking for more information about Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. Google suggested your Personality course on YouTube, which, I have to say, was a precious discovery at that time. I believe it helped me to see the complexity behind many processes in life and revisit my approach to some crucial spheres, including my family and relationships with God.
I’m deeply grateful for your intellectual investment in humanity, your readiness to talk about challenging topics, and the advice you kindly share with millions worldwide. However, your latest video about the war in Ukraine shook the ground a little and made me write this text.
I appreciate how you try to get to the point regarding the situation in Ukraine. I believe it might be hard for internationals to understand the cause and the long-term outcome. I see how conservatives and liberals in the US struggle with this topic, and I admire every action to investigate the reasons and the consequences in the smallest detail possible. I saw your very first video about the war with Frederick Kagan. I notice some significant shift in your analysis of the issue and possible solutions as we progress along this terrible war. I understand your references to Professor Mershmayer, who is a reputable expert on foreign policy. I checked Mershmayer’s lectures, and if I may add, I believe he speaks purely from the US perspective with very little taking into account the historical context of the issue. Is Ukraine the falt of NATO? It might be to some extent, but it sounds like an exaggeration to expand this point to one of the main causes of the war. It would provoke serious unrest for the US if Russia allocates her missiles in Сuba, as Professor Mershmayer points out. It may be also true to say that the US forces won’t go to kill citizens of Cuba on a massive scale, as happened in Bucha and other places in Ukraine. This fact alone puts Russia on a completely different level of analysis.
Ukraine always has been Russia’s biggest concern, far before NATO appeared on the horizon. You can check it by following the history of Ukraine-Russia relations. I kindly ask you to read the speech The Ukrainian Question and its Importance to Great Britain by British journalist Lancelot Lawton. He delivered it in the House of Commons of the British Parliament in 1935, almost 100 years ago. The meeting was devoted to the rising instability in Eastern Europe. Lawton mentioned in that speech how Russia deliberately had been trying to make Kyivska Rus part of its history, although Moskivia (Russia) appeared centuries later. Kyivska Rus was the first period of Ukrainian independence. But the Russian historical lie justifies its myth that Russia is a legitimate successor of the Eastern Roman Empire and the future Third Rome. At that time, Kyivska Rus had relations with the Eastern Roman Empire; one of Kyivska Rus leaders Volodymyr the Great baptized Ukrainians and brought Christianity to our lands. The imperial ambition made the Russian leaders attempt to destroy Ukraine as a separate state for centuries. As Lawton stressed, “The Ukrainian nation is a reality that has at least a thousand years of authentic history. No nation has fought as hard as the Ukrainians to assert their independence; the Ukrainian land is soaked in blood.”
When Russia started the war in Ukraine, it threw the world in a terrible turmoil of figuring out “who was first.” This logic has purely imperial reasoning behind it and has very little to do with the reality of the world we live in today. If we justify Russia’s expansionism should we accept a continuous cycle of countries revisiting everything that is a reliable political and international order established by the efforts of the generations before? How far would we go? For instance, Vikings are the very first to open the American continent. Does that mean that Scandinavian countries should expand their territories to everything Vikings possibly conquered hundreds of years ago? Should Italy check its approach to the sovereign lands that were once Roman Empire? Mussolini can be quite a good example of attempting to do something like that. Where do we have to stop if we don’t want to turn this world into a disaster? But everything is justified, in Russian postmodern thinking, because they are fighting for a semi-polar world in which they can be the dominant power.
I’m grateful you mentioned Alexander Dugin, a Russian philosopher who has been Putin’s adviser for a long time. Mister Dugin seems to be a well-educated man, speaking quite well in English and analyzing the diverse range of philosophical topics easily. I heard in some of your videos that postmodernism is a transformation of marxism. Postmodernists delicately change workers and their masters, which was the case in communism, by bringing the oppressor vs oppressed. Postmodernists justify everything as power and as a power struggle. That’s exactly what mister Dugin and his team of so-called intellectuals are doing.
BBC has a thought-provoking interview with Dugin that proves it. He mentions during the interview that “Everything is relative,” that’s why “we have our special Russian truth.” Russian truth is the ultimate truth; only war can decide who is right if opinions differ. He goes further by saying, “Postmodernism teaches us to understand sociology. What is a total fact, according to Durkheim, a founder of sociology? Durkheim affirmed that a total fact is a fact that society believes in.” Perfect postmodern thinking! The truth is a question of belief which is the only way to define it. Dugin quotes Nitsche and “God is dead” in his latest posts on Telegram. Dugin justifies everything to make his Eurasian theory successful. Wasn’t it the same in the most terrible totalitarian states? Wasn’t it the same problem Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment faced when he decided that a person can violate whatever rules for a good mission? Russians violate the order and kill because they have their “noble” Russian truth, and the Orthodox church can only submit to it. Why not, if God is dead?
Your message also touches on the Ukrainian language situation, and I have to say, I find this video the least accurate here. I’ve learned from you that people have to choose words very carefully. If words still matter in the current situation, I don’t quite understand why you decide to say Ukraine uses “draconian measures” regarding Russian-speaking people.
The current state of affairs shows quite the opposite: People fleeing from Eastern Ukraine, as a consequence of the Russian invasion, often speak Russian. They have been using this language for decades; it was their free will and decision. It’s not true that Zelensky represents Ukrainian-speaking citizens, which is statistically impossible. In 2019, Zelensky won the elections with 73,22% of support against 24,45% gained by Petro Poroshenko. If you check the Ukrainian election map, you’ll see that it’s green except for the Lviv region. Green was the color of Zelenskyi’s campaign. The main Russian-speaking regions are green; they supported Zelensky.
You connect the decadence of the west with the situation in Ukraine. I understand your point: The state that can’t define who is a man and who is a woman, that destroys free speech on a massive scale, and universities are proof of this, where race matters more than anything else, more than qualification and professionalism, is not healthy. Russian intellectuals know these Western flaws. They use them for their propaganda machine to work. But they destroy everything that could potentially help them to become the desired power. We can elaborate on whether Russia’s conservatives can be a voice in the world that tends to reverse truth on many common-sense questions. But is that perspective still attainable after Russia’s mass murder in Bucha in early spring? The horrible photos shocked the world.
Russians are destroying everything with their postmodern vision, as extreme liberals attempt to do in the US. What is the difference between left and right when both sides go off the rails and become completely woke or radical?
As you close your video, you try to suggest some solutions that seem rather general and unspecific. I agree it might not be the goal of the video itself. However, if I may ask, Professor Peterson, do you still think postponed conflict is even more serious conflict? Honestly, I don’t see any possible way this war could have been prevented. Because it’s not about NATO, but about specific Russian truth which some significant part of the world dares not to accept as the truth, THEIR truth! But Ukraine is a sovereign country; its citizens have some voice in this horrible and devastating reality. This voice stands out on the battlefield.
Lancelot Lawton mentioned one more important point in his speech: “In “Mein Kampf,” Hitler plainly said that Germany must turn away from the West and that her first aim must be to expand Eastwards into Russian lands. Since he came to power all his declarations and many of his actions have been in harmony with the passage cited. One of his chief lieutenants, Rosenberg, himself a Baltic German, is an open advocate of annexing Ukraine to Germany.” Do you see any parallels?
Russian propaganda says Russia must move away from the West. Then they conquer Ukraine. What should the civilized world do in this case? I leave this question open, but as Thomas Sowell mentioned in his excellent book Intellectuals and Society, “Reality does not go away when it is ignored.”
Read the full piece here: https://www.dailywire.com/news/russia…
Dr Jordan B Peterson lists the reasons why we’re seeing an extended conflict in Ukraine, and explains why a culture war in the West has fueled the Russian fire.
0:00 Russia Vs. Ukraine Or Civil War In The West?
9:04 The Caspian Sea
20:12 Does qualification even matter?
38:30 The Consequences
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