Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

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Belle
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Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:01 am

Annoyingly, Dr. Peterson is still being referred to as Mr. Peterson. Some manners from the mainstream media, if you please!! His qualifications are discussed in the first minutes of this discussion program. (And you can tell what a bad person he is by the looks on the faces of young people at 1:55:30.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT_YSPxxFJk

Jordan Peterson and Conservatism’s Rebirth
The psychologist and YouTube star has brought the concepts of order and tradition back to our intellectual discourse.
By Yoram Hazony
June 15, 2018 6:32 p.m. ET

Jordan Peterson doesn’t seem to think of himself as a conservative. Yet there he is, standing in the space once inhabited by conservative thinkers such as G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley Jr. and Irving Kristol. Addressing a public that seems incapable of discussing anything but freedom, Mr. Peterson presents himself unmistakably as a philosophical advocate of order. His bestselling book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” makes sense of ideas like the “hierarchy of place, position and authority,” as well as people’s most basic attachments to “tribe, religion, hearth, home and country” and “the flag of the nation.” The startling success of his elevated arguments for the importance of order has made him the most significant conservative thinker to appear in the English-speaking world in a generation.

Mr. Peterson, 56, is a University of Toronto professor and a clinical psychologist. Over the past two years he has rocketed to fame, especially online and in contentious TV interviews. To his detractors, he might as well be Donald Trump. He has been criticized for the supposed banality of his theories, for his rambling and provocative rhetoric, and for his association with online self-help products. He has suffered, too, the familiar accusations of sexism and racism.

From what I have seen, these charges are baseless. But even if Mr. Peterson is imperfect, that shouldn’t distract from the important argument he has advanced—or from its implications for a possible revival in conservative thought. The place to begin, as his publishing house will no doubt be pleased to hear, is with “12 Rules for Life,” which is a worthy and worthwhile introduction to his philosophy.

Departing from the prevailing Marxist and liberal doctrines, Mr. Peterson relentlessly maintains that the hierarchical structure of society is hard-wired into human nature and therefore inevitable: “The dominance hierarchy, however social or cultural it might appear, has been around for some half a billion years. It’s permanent.” Moreover, young men and women (but especially men) tend to be healthy and productive only when they have found their place working their way up a hierarchy they respect. When they fail to do so, they become rudderless and sick, worthless to those around them, sometimes aimlessly violent.

In viewing political and social hierarchies as inevitable, Mr. Peterson may seem to be defending whoever happens to be powerful. But he’s doing nothing of the kind. He rejects the Marxist claim that traditional hierarchies are only about the self-interested pursuit of power. Human beings like having power, Mr. Peterson acknowledges. Yet the desire for it also drives them to develop the kinds of abilities their societies value. In a well-ordered society, high status often is a reward conferred for doing things that actually need to be done and done well: defending the state, producing things people need, enlarging the sphere of knowledge.


Mr. Peterson does not deny the Marxist charge that society oppresses individuals. “Culture is an oppressive structure,” he writes. “It’s always been that way. It’s a fundamental, universal existential reality.” But he breaks with prevailing political thought when he argues that the suffering involved in conforming to tradition may be worth it. When a father disciplines his son, he interferes with the boy’s freedom, painfully forcing him into accepted patterns of behavior and thought. “But if the father does not take such action,” Mr. Peterson says, “he merely lets his son remain Peter Pan, the eternal Boy, King of the Lost Boys, Ruler of the non-existent Neverland.”

Similarly, Mr. Peterson insists it is “necessary and desirable for religions to have a dogmatic element.” This provides a stable worldview that allows a young person to become “a properly disciplined person” and “a well-forged tool.”

Yet this is not, for Mr. Peterson, the highest human aspiration. It is merely the first necessary step along a path toward maturity, toward an ever more refined uniqueness and individuality. The individuality he describes emerges over decades from an original personality forged through painful discipline. The alternative, he writes, is to remain “an adult two-year old” who goes to pieces in the face of any adversity and for whom “softness and harmlessness become the only consciously acceptable virtues.”

Like other conservative thinkers before him, Mr. Peterson’s interest in tradition flows from an appreciation of the weakness of the individual’s capacity for reason. We all think we understand a great deal, he tells his readers, but this is an illusion. What we perceive instead is a “radical, functional, unconscious simplification of the world—and it’s almost impossible for us not to mistake it for the world itself.”

Given the unreliability of our own thinking, Mr. Peterson recommends beginning with tried and tested ideas: “It is reasonable to do what other people have always done, unless we have a very good reason not to.” Maturity demands that we set out to “rediscover the values of our culture—veiled from us by our ignorance, hidden in the dusty treasure-trove of the past—rescue them, and integrate them into our own lives.”

In Western countries, that effort at rediscovery leads to one place. “The Bible,” Mr. Peterson writes, “is, for better or worse, the foundational document of Western civilization.” It is the ultimate source of our understanding of good and evil. Its appearance uprooted the ancient view that the powerful had the right simply to take ownership of the weak, a change that was “nothing short of a miracle.” The Bible challenged, and eventually defeated, a world in which the murder of human beings for entertainment, infanticide, slavery and prostitution were simply the way things had to be.

As many readers have pointed out, Nietzsche’s critique of Enlightenment philosophy—he once called Kant “that catastrophic spider”—is everywhere in Mr. Peterson’s thought, even in his writing style. It is felt in his calls to “step forward to take your place in the dominance hierarchy,” and to “dare to be dangerous.” It is felt in risqué pronouncements such as this: “Men have to toughen up. Men demand it, and women want it.”

A famous passage from Nietzsche describes the destruction of the belief in God as the greatest cataclysm mankind has ever faced: “What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing?”

Mr. Peterson chronicles the misery of individuals now drifting through this “infinite nothing.” But he rejects Nietzsche’s atheism, along with the conclusion that we can make our own values. In telling readers to return to the Bible, Mr. Peterson seeks to rechain the earth to its sun. That seems impossible. Yet a vast audience has demonstrated a willingness, at least, to try.

For Mr. Peterson, the death of God was followed inevitably by a quick descent into hell. During the “terrible twentieth century,” as he calls it, “we discovered something worse, much worse, than the aristocracy and corrupt religious beliefs that communism and fascism sought so rationally to supplant.” The Holocaust and the gulag, he argues, are sufficient to define evil for us, and “the good is whatever stops such things from happening.”

That is perfectly good Old Testament-style reasoning. Mr. Peterson adds Christian tropes such as the need for an “act of faith,” an “irrational commitment to the essential goodness” of things, a recognition that although “life is suffering,” sacrificing ourselves, as if on the cross, is pleasing to God.

Mr. Peterson’s intellectual framework has its weaknesses. He invokes recent social science (and its jargon) with a confidence that is at times naive. His often brilliant “12 Rules for Life” is littered with Heideggerian rubbish about “the betterment of Being,” in places where a thinker of Mr. Peterson’s abilities should have seen the need for a more disciplined effort to understand God. He lacks Nietzsche’s alertness to the ways in which the great religious traditions contradict one another, leading their adherents toward very different lives. Thus while Mr. Peterson is quite a good reader of the Bible, it is at times maddening to watch him import alien ideas into scripture—for instance, that the chaos preceding the creation was “female”—so as to fill out a supposed archetypal symmetry.

Nonetheless, what Mr. Peterson has achieved is impressive. In his writings and public appearances, he has made a formidable case that order—and not just freedom—is a fundamental human need, one now foolishly neglected. He is compelling in arguing that the order today’s deconstructed society so desperately lacks can be reintroduced, even now, through a renewed engagement with the Bible and inherited religious tradition.

Before Mr. Peterson, there was no solid evidence that a broad public would ever again be interested in an argument for political order. For more than a generation, Western political discourse has been roughly divided into two camps. Marxists are sharply aware of the status hierarchies that make up society, but they are ideologically committed to overthrowing them. Liberals (both the progressive and classical varieties) tend to be altogether oblivious to the hierarchical and tribal character of political life. They know they’re supposed to praise “civil society,” but the Enlightenment concepts they use to think about the individual and the state prevent them from recognizing the basic structures of the political order, what purposes they serve, and how they must be maintained.

In short, modern political discourse is noteworthy for the gaping hollow where there ought to be conservatives—institutions and public figures with something important to teach about political order and how to build it up for everyone’s benefit. Into this opening Mr. Peterson has ventured.

Perhaps without fully intending to do so, he has given the dynamic duo of Marxism and liberalism a hard shove, while shining a light on the devastation these utopian theories are wreaking in Western countries. He has demarcated a large area in which only conservative political and social thought can help. His efforts have provided reason to believe that a significant demand for conservative ideas still lives under the frozen wastes of our intellectual landscape.

If so, then Mr. Peterson’s appearance may be the harbinger of a broader rebirth. His book is a natural complement to important recent works such as Ryszard Legutko’s “The Demon in Democracy,” Patrick Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed” and Amy Chua’s “Political Tribes.” Representing divergent political perspectives, these works nevertheless share Mr. Peterson’s project of getting past the Marxist and liberal frameworks and confronting our trained incapacity to see human beings and human societies for what they really are. As the long-awaited revival of conservative political thought finally gets under way, there may be much more of this to come.

Mr. Hazony is author of “The Virtue of Nationalism,” forthcoming Sept. 4 from Basic.

John F
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by John F » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:01 am

Liberalism is not a "utopian theory." It's not really a theory at all. It is a way of thinking and behaving based on respect for the well-being and feelings of others in contradiction to what passes for conservatism in America today, and it is certainly not "wreaking devastation in Western countries." That's nonsense. I'm not surprised that the Wall Street Journal, as conservative a mainstream newspaper as we have here, signs on (or at least Yoram Hazony does) to what he calls "conservatism's rebirth."

In this country, self-proclaimed conservatism was reborn long ago, beginning perhaps in 1964 with the nomination of Barry Goldwater for president, and his famous defense of what many considered his extreme political conservatism that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

You've said you aren't interested in American politics, but one of Peterson's main themes is political order, and that is precisely what is lacking with the rise to power of Donald Trump and, before that, the Republican Party in Congress, avowed conservatives, who several times have shut down the federal government.
Belle wrote:Annoyingly, Dr. Peterson is still being referred to as Mr. Peterson. Some manners from the mainstream media, if you please!!
This is normal in the mainstream media, at least in the U.S. You may be annoyed by it but I doubt many Americans are. Even calling him just Peterson without the Mr. is not particularly discourteous, any more than calling Roosevelt by his last name without always prefixing it with his title of president.
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:35 am

I have noticed PBS Thirteen has put on a new version of Buckley's Firing Line--watched 1 episode-while finding she was not on my side of the politics she sure was more civilized than our Trump and his hatchetman Rudi! Regards, Len

https://www.wnet.org/blog/news/margaret ... -june-pbs/

jserraglio
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:44 am

John F wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:01 am
Liberalism is not a "utopian theory." It's not really a theory at all. It is a way of thinking and behaving . . . .
I agree. Liberal and conservative thinking and behavior is at its best when it puts moralizing aside and gets down to cases.

Here the notable "New-Deal liberal" (her words) and political scientist Theda Skocpol does just that brilliantly with the "Koch Effect", the impact of the donor network on American politics today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MSwsp5GMIg&t=347s



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHYFKABVy9g&t=952s

Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

jbuck919
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:29 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:01 am
Annoyingly, Dr. Peterson is still being referred to as Mr. Peterson. Some manners from the mainstream media, if you please!!
How about The Reverend Dr. Peterson? :roll:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by John F » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:34 am

Herr Doktor Peterson? Or if he earned two doctorates, Herr Doktor Doktor Peterson?
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:20 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:29 am
Belle wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:01 am
Annoyingly, Dr. Peterson is still being referred to as Mr. Peterson. Some manners from the mainstream media, if you please!!
How about The Reverend Dr. Peterson? :roll:
I thought that moniker more suitable to the preaching Barrack Obama.

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:21 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:34 am
Herr Doktor Peterson? Or if he earned two doctorates, Herr Doktor Doktor Peterson?
Professor Dr. Peterson and his MANY other qualifications including, but not limited to, advising the UN would be more appropriate.

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:22 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:01 am
Liberalism is not a "utopian theory." It's not really a theory at all. It is a way of thinking and behaving based on respect for the well-being and feelings of others in contradiction to what passes for conservatism in America today, and it is certainly not "wreaking devastation in Western countries." That's nonsense. I'm not surprised that the Wall Street Journal, as conservative a mainstream newspaper as we have here, signs on (or at least Yoram Hazony does) to what he calls "conservatism's rebirth."

In this country, self-proclaimed conservatism was reborn long ago, beginning perhaps in 1964 with the nomination of Barry Goldwater for president, and his famous defense of what many considered his extreme political conservatism that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

You've said you aren't interested in American politics, but one of Peterson's main themes is political order, and that is precisely what is lacking with the rise to power of Donald Trump and, before that, the Republican Party in Congress, avowed conservatives, who several times have shut down the federal government.
Belle wrote:Annoyingly, Dr. Peterson is still being referred to as Mr. Peterson. Some manners from the mainstream media, if you please!!
This is normal in the mainstream media, at least in the U.S. You may be annoyed by it but I doubt many Americans are. Even calling him just Peterson without the Mr. is not particularly discourteous, any more than calling Roosevelt by his last name without always prefixing it with his title of president.
I wonder, then, why you so tenaciously cling to Dr. King!!??

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:24 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:44 am
John F wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:01 am
Liberalism is not a "utopian theory." It's not really a theory at all. It is a way of thinking and behaving . . . .
I agree. Liberal and conservative thinking and behavior is at its best when it puts moralizing aside and gets down to cases.

Here the notable "New-Deal liberal" (her words) and political scientist Theda Skocpol does just that brilliantly with the "Koch Effect", the impact of the donor network on American politics today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MSwsp5GMIg&t=347s



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHYFKABVy9g&t=952s

Puts moralizing aside in favour of sanctimony, as the modern Left does so well. A lot of people have now reverted to calling themselves "classical liberals" as they don't want to be associated with the modern, censorious, sanctimonious, dictatorial type.
Last edited by Belle on Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jserraglio
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:36 pm

Puts moralizing aside in favour of sanctimony, as the modern Left does so well.
Sanctimony? A clear case here of the pot holding the kettle up to ridicule.

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:42 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:36 pm
Puts moralizing aside in favour of sanctimony, as the modern Left does so well.
Sanctimony? A clear case here of the pot holding the kettle up to ridicule.
Give me an absolute break!! A bit of honesty, if you please.

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11027

Some can afford to duck and weave endlessly:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/us/h ... cants.html

In summary, wider reading required!!

jserraglio
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:52 pm

You generalize in an accusatory tone about an entire group, then ask for a break when your statement is challenged.

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:53 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:52 pm
You generalize in an accusatory tone about an entire group, then ask for a break when your statement is challenged.
Now that IS priceless!! Take a look back at lots of your other posts, including those on Pope Francis.

You might be interested in this, though:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-ch ... 1528152876

jserraglio
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:55 pm

And a hectoring tone as well.

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:40 pm

"Hectoring" is precisely how I'd describe the modern left too. On that we agree.

Recently I watched one hour interview with the excellent Dr. Thomas Sowell; for "The Rubin Report". It would be worth watching this and to hear Dr. Sowell's response to Dave's question about why this man - born into poverty and living his early life in Harlem - abandoned the Left. His answer was instructive: "facts".

We are never going to agree on this. I put the Dr. Peterson article there because I figured that it came from the mainstream media and was worth reading. The Bari Weiss article in NYT about the Intellectual Dark Web has been very influential too. The IDW is a train coming down the tracks at high speed and is unstoppable.

This is also an example of how compassion can go too far and end in tears:

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/ar ... yhCT6czaUk

lennygoran
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:33 pm

Belle wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:20 pm
I thought that moniker more suitable to the preaching Barrack Obama.
Belle if only he could have run for a third term-the best we've had in 50 years. Regards, Len :D

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:57 am

lennygoran wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:33 pm
Belle wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:20 pm
I thought that moniker more suitable to the preaching Barrack Obama.
Belle if only he could have run for a third term-the best we've had in 50 years. Regards, Len :D
Whatever floats your boat, as they say in Australia. Or, in your case, grows your flowers!!

lennygoran
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by lennygoran » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:41 am

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:57 am
Whatever floats your boat, as they say in Australia. Or, in your case, grows your flowers!!
Belle right now my boat--the USA--is sinking. :( And I'm sure doing a better job of weeding my garden then Trump is doing with his so-called weeding the swamp-just ask Ivanka, Jared and Pruitt! Regards, Len :lol:

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:11 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:41 am
Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:57 am
Whatever floats your boat, as they say in Australia. Or, in your case, grows your flowers!!
Belle right now my boat--the USA--is sinking. :( And I'm sure doing a better job of weeding my garden then Trump is doing with his so-called weeding the swamp-just ask Ivanka, Jared and Pruitt! Regards, Len :lol:
I was thinking more of tulips, aspidistras and bluebells!!! :lol: Last night on a quiz program I learned that Koi could live up to 40 years. What legacy plans have you got in place for yours, Len?? :mrgreen:

I'm not interested in party politics per se, but hugely interested in great ideas, minds, people. Here's one of them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ivf9jrXGAY

lennygoran
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by lennygoran » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:27 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:11 pm
Last night on a quiz program I learned that Koi could live up to 40 years. What legacy plans have you got in place for yours, Len?? :mrgreen:
Belle they can live longer!
"Koi have been reported to achieve ages of 100–200 years. One famous scarlet koi named "Hanako" was owned by several individuals, the last of whom was Dr. Komei Koshihara. In July 1974, a study of the growth rings of one of the koi's scales reported that Hanako was 225 years old."

Not in my garden pond though-not with guys like this around! Regards, Len :(

Image

Image

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:50 am

What ARE they? Perhaps you should get a cat!!!

lennygoran
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:42 am

Belle wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:50 am
What ARE they? Perhaps you should get a cat!!!
Belle great blue herons-then there are the snakes! Regards, Len :(

Image

Belle
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by Belle » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:24 pm

Good god; it's hideous. You must be standing guard each day with your savage dog at the ready! :lol:

lennygoran
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Re: Dr. Peterson and the re-birth of Conservatism: WSJ

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:24 am

Belle wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:24 pm
Good god; it's hideous. You must be standing guard each day with your savage dog at the ready! :lol:
Belle still not nearly as hideous as the poison ivy all over the garden! Regards, Len :(

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