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The real Prince Charles, heir to the British throne

The real Prince Charles, heir to the British throne  By Tom Bower, the Daily Mail, 18 March 2018

“Nobody knows what utter hell it is to be Prince of Wales,” Charles said in November 2004. His idea of hell, it must be said, is unlikely to be shared by most of his future subjects.

Take, for example, accounts of what it is like to have Prince Charles come to stay for the weekend.

Before a visit to one friend in North-East England, he sent his staff ahead a day early with a truck carrying furniture to replace the perfectly appropriate fittings in the guest rooms, according to The Daily Mail.

And not just the odd chest of drawers: the truck contained nothing less than Charles and Camilla’s complete bedrooms, including the Prince’s orthopaedic bed, along with his own linen.

His staff had also made sure to pack a small radio, Charles’s own lavatory seat, rolls of Kleenex Premium Comfort lavatory paper, Laphroaig whisky and bottled water (for both bedrooms), plus two landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.

The next delivery to arrive was his food — organic, of course. His hosts decided, despite their enjoyment of his company, not to invite him again.

Their experience was less distressing, however, than that of the family asked to host Charles for a long weekend on the Welsh borders.

Over the preceding months, they’d invited many friends for the four meals at which he’d preside; they’d also hired staff and ordered in masses of food and flowers.

But on the Friday afternoon of Charles’s expected arrival, there was a call from St James’s Palace to offer regrets. Under pressure of business, the Prince could not arrive until Saturday morning.

The following day, the same official telephoned to offer regrets for Saturday lunch, but gave the assurance that Charles would arrive for dinner. Then, that afternoon, the whole visit was cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

The considerable waste and disappointment were not mitigated when Charles later revealed to his stricken hostess the reason for his cancellation. He had felt unable to abandon the beauty of his sunlit garden at Highgrove, he said.

His travelling staff include a butler, two valets, chef, private secretary, typist and bodyguards. Photo / Getty Images

For about six months of every year, the heir to the throne enjoyed a unique lifestyle in beautiful places, either in seclusion or with friends.

Although his travelling staff (a butler, two valets, chef, private secretary, typist and bodyguards) could anticipate most of his movements between his six homes, the only definite confirmation of his final destination, especially to his hosts, would be the arrival of a truck carrying suitcases, furniture and food.

There then followed endless telephone calls with his staff as he changed his mind about his future plans and projects.

For four months every year he lived in Scotland, where he expected people to visit him from London, usually at their own expense.

Sometimes, he travelled abroad. After the death of the Queen Mother in March 2002, for instance, he flew to Greece to stay for three days on his own in a monastery on Mount Athos.

Unfortunately, someone took a photograph that showed the Prince stepping off a boat with a butler and a remarkable amount of luggage in tow — certainly far more than anyone could need for a few days’ meditation.

The image didn’t exactly chime with the theme of the imminent Jubilee celebrations: to emphasise the monarchy’s relevance in modern Britain. Charles’s staff could see this, even if he couldn’t.

Julia Cleverdon, an executive on one of his charities, stuck the photo on her office wall and wrote, with risky irony: “We’re off to Mt Athos with 43 pieces of luggage.”

The Prince’s other free weeks were likely to be divided between well-off friends. At Chatsworth, the 175-room home of his beloved Debo Mitford, the Duchess of Devonshire, Charles and Camilla would be assigned a whole wing for up to three weeks.

During the shooting season, the Prince opted for the company of Gerald Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, at either Eaton Hall, near Chester, or at the Duke’s shooting lodge in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.

In between, he stayed at Garrowby, the home of the Earl and Countess of Halifax in Yorkshire, and with Chips and Sarah Keswick in Invermark, Scotland.

Even his personal policeman was roped in to cater to his comfort. If the Prince had to attend a function, the policeman would arrive with a flask containing a pre-mixed Martini. This would then be handed over to the host’s butler along with a special glass that Charles insisted on using.

And if he was expected to sit for a meal, the host would be informed in advance that an aide would be delivering a bag containing the Prince’s food. This was in complete contrast with the Queen, who always ate what everyone else was having.

None of this petulant behaviour would be on show, however, when Charles emerged in public. On those occasions, he’d show what appeared to be genuine interest in people and events.

Few outsiders could guess, commented one adviser, whether or not he was “just putting on a game face”.

Sir Christopher Airy, who became his private secretary in 1990, was once reprimanded for suggesting to Charles that a forthcoming visit was “your duty”. The Prince shouted at him: “Duty is what I live — an intolerable burden.”

Prince Charles and Camilla travel in style. Photo / Getty Images

At home, his demands were constant, which meant an assistant had to be on call in Charles’s office until he went to sleep.

All his aides were subject to familiar daily tirades. “Even my office is not the right temperature,” he’d moan. “Why do I have to put up with this? It makes my life so unbearable.”

Sir John Riddell, his private secretary for five years from 1985, once told a colleague that Charles was better suited to being a second-hand car salesman than a royal prince.

“Every time I made the office work,” Riddell observed, “the Prince f***ed it up again.

“He comes in, complains that his office is ‘useless’ and people cannot spell and the world is so unfair, then says: ‘This is part of the intolerable burden I put up with. This incompetence!'”

When Charles entertained at home, everything was geared to his own habits and convenience. Dinner would be served to guests at 8pm, but he wouldn’t arrive until 8.15pm, because he’d decided against eating a first course.

It was fine, therefore, for dinner guests to start without him. Not at breakfast, though: visitors to Highgrove were cautioned by Camilla not to begin eating before the Prince appeared.

He was also unusually particular about his gardens at Highgrove. Because he refused to use pesticides, he employed four gardeners who would lie, nose-down, on a trailer pulled by a slow-moving Land Rover to pluck out weeds.

In addition, retired Indian servicemen were deployed to prowl through the undergrowth at night with torches and handpick slugs from the leaves of plants.

Charles also gave rein to extravagance in his office, where he employed an individual private secretary for each of his interests — including the charities, architecture, complementary medicine and the environment.

And anyone visiting the office at St James’s Palace would be escorted to it by no fewer than three footmen, each responsible for a short segment of corridor.

A weekend with the Prince at Sandringham, meanwhile, can be a decidedly odd experience. One group of writers and journalists, invited five years ago, arrived to find that each of them had been assigned a servant.

Friday after dinner was listed as a cinema night. The chosen film was Robert Altman’s Gosford Park, depicting upstairs/downstairs life to an audience surrounded by the reality of that social order. The film became a regular feature of Charles’s culture weekends.

Michael Fawcett, the Prince’s former valet and fixer, supervised the placing of chairs in front of a screen in the ballroom. In the front row were two throne-like armchairs for Charles and Camilla.

Soon everyone was seated, and servants entered with silver platters of ice cream. The film started. Charles and Camilla instantly fell asleep, and the ice cream slowly melted away.

On Saturday, the guests took a walk with Charles, during which he spoke about his belief in a sustainable environment. They were careful to avoid debate: their host, they had been cautioned, was easily offended.

“People think I’m bonkers, crackers,” Charles groaned suddenly, in the middle of a field. “Do you think I’m mad?” he asked, in a manner that forbade a positive reply.

The two-hour walk ended back at the house, where the guests were served tea.

“Right, we’re off,” Charles announced, striding out of the house after a quick cup. Jumping into his Aston Martin, he drove at breakneck speed down narrow, twisting lanes, reassured that police motorcyclists had cleared other traffic.

His guests followed in a fleet of gleaming Land Rovers, arriving at Charles’s local church in time to hear a short concert.

On Sunday, female guests had been instructed to wear appropriate hats and gloves for a trip to the local Anglican church, St Mary the Virgin and St Mary Magdalen. The two who chose to go to mass at a nearby Roman Catholic church felt Charles’s displeasure.

By Sunday dinner, some of the guests had become puzzled about their host. His habit of commandeering a small bowl of olive oil just for himself provoked one visitor to recount a story of Charles during a recent trip to India.

Prince Charles’ Highgrove home in Tetbury, England. Photo / Getty Images

The Prince had invited the banking heir Lord billionaires to be rounded up to accompany him. During the tour, a sumptuous lunch was held in a maharaja’s palace.

Unexpectedly, a loaf of Italian bread was placed on the table. As an American billionaire reached out to take a piece, Charles shouted: “No, that’s mine! Only for me!”

In reply to that story, another visitor recalled that on a previous weekend at Sandringham, a guest had brought Charles a truffle as a gift. To everyone’s envy, Charles did not share the delicacy at dinner but kept it to himself.

As they listened to these curious tales, Charles’s guests did not laugh; there was merely bewilderment.

At the end of the Sandringham weekend — the guests were asked not to leave until the Monday morning — some were told to leave £150 in cash for the staff, or to visit the estate’s souvenir shop.

Most would tell their friends that Charles seemed genuine, but that the weekend was surreal.

Those who know him have often asked themselves why Prince Charles is so extraordinarily self-indulgent. Why can’t he be more like his mother, who lives without complaint under leaky roofs and in rooms that haven’t been repainted since her Coronation?

In 2006, for instance, Charles used the royal train simply to travel to Penrith to visit a pub — at a cost of £18,916 ($36,544) — as part of his ‘pub in the hub’ initiative to revitalise village life.

And he spent £20,980 ($40,530) for a day trip by plane from Scotland to Lincolnshire to watch William receive his RAF wings.

By contrast, the Queen travelled by train — courtesy of First Capital Connect — to Sandringham at Christmas. Her ticket cost £50, instead of the £15,000 her journey would have cost by the royal train.

Some have speculated that Charles’s extravagance is a kind of revenge on the Duke of Edinburgh, for sending him to Gordonstoun in Scotland during his formative years. The Prince loathed the school’s Spartan regime, but his father insisted he stay there to complete his secondary education.

The other mystery is why Charles has never seemed to appreciate his great good fortune. Instead, he has given vent so frequently to resentment that one friend has dubbed him “an Olympian whinger”.

With a personal income of millions from the Duchy of Cornwall (£16.3 million ($31.5million) in 2007 alone) he could afford to indulge his slightest whim — yet even that didn’t satisfy him.

One evening, the Prince was particularly maudlin at a dinner hosted by a billionaire in Klosters, Switzerland, for a number of the super-rich. When they’d finished eating, Charles huddled in a corner with King Constantine of Greece. “We pulled the short straw,” sighed the Prince.

Compared with others in the room, he complained, both he and the King were stuck for cash. In his case, he explained, the Duchy of Cornwall administrators would repeatedly tell him what he couldn’t afford to do.

In fact, Charles doesn’t have to answer to anyone over his use of the duchy’s income.

At the time of his complaint, among his 124 staff — most of them paid for by taxpayers — were four valets.

Why four for one man? So that two would always be available to help him change his clothes, which he did up to five times every day.

It could be argued that it is his association with billionaires that has made Charles so dissatisfied with his lot. During a recent after-dinner speech at Waddesdon Manor, Lord Rothschild’s Buckinghamshire home, Charles complained that his host employed more gardeners than himself — 15 against his nine.

Fortunately, the public were unaware of such gripes. His staff, however, began to realise that his extravagance was threatening to undermine his public image.

To counter this, Michael Fawcett told a charity donor: “His Royal Highness lives modestly. He hasn’t got a yacht and doesn’t eat lunch.”

This had the benefit of being partly true: Charles has never bought a yacht and prefers not to eat lunch — though he could easily afford both.

More worryingly, the Prince’s then private secretary Sir Michael Peat decided to brief a journalist that “Charles does not enjoy a champagne and caviar lifestyle”.

Contrary to the public’s perception, he continued, the Prince possessed only one car, and did not even own his own home.

In reality, Charles had access to a fleet of at least six cars, including two Aston Martins, a Bentley, an Audi, a Range Rover and a Land Rover.

Prince Charles. Photo / Getty Images

And Peat’s quibble about the legal ownership of the six homes variously occupied by the Prince (Clarence House, Highgrove, Birkhall, the Castle of Mey, Balmoral and Sandringham) was clearly disingenuous.

Among other things Peat failed to mention was that when Charles moved into Clarence House, in 2003, the cost of refurbishment had soared from £3 million towards £6 million — all funded by the taxpayer.

Or that the 15-bedroom Castle of Mey, had been rebuilt with the help of a £1 million gift from Julia Kauffman, a Canadian-born heiress living in Kansas City.

Foreign Office officials, however, were well aware of the Prince’s tendency to demand the best of everything, without dipping into his own pocket.

Indeed, relations with the heir to the throne became increasingly strained as he continued to insist on travelling on private planes, especially to the Continent.

After one particularly nasty spat, Charles reluctantly agreed to fly commercial in Europe. But on his return, he refused ever again to take a BA plane.

“He wanted the convenience — and not to mix with hoi polloi,” observed one mandarin dryly.

‘What’s this!’ asked Charles. ‘Clingfilm, darling’

By the third anniversary of the Prince’s marriage, Charles and Camilla’s domestic life had settled into a happy routine. Although the staff occasionally heard arguments, the Duchess of Cornwall had become Charles’s anchor and protector.

But even she could sometimes be amused by his loftiness. “I’ve been on the Tube, you know,” he once told a friend after they’d returned from the theatre to Clarence House for dinner.

“Yes, but only to open a line,” was the accurate riposte. That same evening, Camilla had told the staff to leave salads and cold cuts of meat on the sideboard.

“Let’s see what’s for dinner,” said Charles after finishing his martini. He walked into the dining room and shrieked.

Fearing the worst, Camilla dashed in after him. “What’s this?” asked her husband, pointing at the food.

“It’s cling film, darling,” she replied.

There’s little Charles loves more than his garden at Highgrove in Gloucestershire, which is why he prefers to live there rather than in London.

Although it’s a two-hour drive from the capital, he often summons people from London for the briefest of meetings — and regularly keeps them waiting. Very few refuse.

The outstanding garden, more than 35 years in the making, was designed by a succession of experts.

Molly Salisbury, Rosemary Verey, Miriam Rothschild, Julian and Isabel Bannerman, one after another, were enlisted to fill the landscape with trees, hedges, wildflowers, fountains, rare breeds of farm animals and architectural features, all blended into a romantic safe haven.

In return, the heir to the throne offered conditional gratitude. Professional gardeners were divided about the extent of Charles’s own contribution.

The art historian and noted gardener Sir Roy Strong was summoned to advise on the cultivation of hedges. He spent days with his own gardener perfecting his ideas.

At the end, he submitted his employee’s bill for £1,000 — and was never asked to return, or even thanked.

‘He’s shocked by the sight of an invoice,’ Strong noted. ‘So, he likes people who don’t charge for their services.’

One of the few people known to have rebuffed the Prince was Lucian Freud. Would he swap one of his oils — worth millions of pounds — for one of Charles’s watercolours, he was asked?

‘I don’t want one of your rotten paintings,’ Freud replied.


The good old days

The good old days  By Fred Reed,, 27 February 2017

OK, so why is the country falling apart? Specifically, why are kids blowing each other away? America has become a source of wonder the world over with its Columbines and hundreds and hundreds of dead in Chicago and Baltimore and its burning cities and riots. Other advanced countries don’t do these things.

America didn’t either until recently.   Why now? Something has changed, or some things. What?  People under forty have never seen the country when it was sane. Let me point out things that have changed, at risk of sounding like a boilerplate cadger: “By cracky, wen I was a boy, we could amuse ourselves for hours with just a piece of string and a couple of sticks.” Let’s compare today with the Fifties and Sixties. I mean this as sociology, not nostalgisizing.

I think that a combination of social changes have led to tremendous stress on today’s kids that my generation did not suffer. To wit:

In my rural Virginia school, there was no racial tension. We were all white: teachers, students, parents.

The black kids went to their own school, Ralph Bunche. We had virtually no contact with each other. There was no hostility, just no contact. The academic gap didn’t exist in the absence of contact. Integration would prove cruel when it came. and the black kid s sank to the bottom. The causes can be argued, but the fact cannot.

There was no black crime to speak of or, as far as I knew any black crime. Certainly blacks did not shoot each other, or anybody. Neither did we. The reasons I suspect were similar.

Divorce was extremely rare, so we all had parents. Whether it is better that unhappy couples stay together or that they divorce can be argued, but they then did stay together. It made a large difference in outcomes if one accepts the statistics. The welfare programs of the Great Society had not yet destroyed the black family, which I speculate accounted in part for low crime.

Drugs did not exist. These appeared only with the Sixties. A few of us had heard of marijuana. I read a clandestine copy of The Naked Lunch. That was it. We drank a lot of beer.

In the entire school I remember only one, moderately fat kid. Why? Because, I  will guess, we were very physically active. The school had PE classes, football and basketball teams, and so on. In summer kids aboard Dahlgren spent their days at the base swimming pool or swimming in Machodoc “Creek”{{it was perhaps three-quarters of a mile wide–bicycling, canoeing- playing tennis. The country kids chopped cord wood, lifted hay. There was ice skating for hours in winter. Gloria, my best girl, got up at four a.m. to help her father pull crab pots on the Potomac, Though feminine, she probably could have thrown a Volkswagen over a four-store building. Again, I offer this not as nostalgia but as biological fact with effects.

Physical fitness  has. I suspect  psychological consequences. For example, ADHD did not exist. Boys are competitive, physical animals full of wild energy and need–need–to work it off. Boredom and enforced inactivity are awful for them.  Two or three hours daily of fast-break pick-up basketball did this. If you force boys to sit rigidly in school, with no recess or only physically limited play, they will be miserable. If you then force them to take Ritalin, an approximate amphetamine, they will be miserable with modified brain chemistry. I don’t think this is a good idea.

Sex and, I think, its psychological consequences were different then. We were aware of sex. I am not sure we were aware of anything else. But the culture was such that, first, young girls, middle school, say, were sexually (very) off limits. When barely pubescent girls are taken advantage of by boys of seventeen or of thirty-five, the emotional effects are devastating. By contrast, boys hoped desperately to be taken advantage of.

The de facto social theory was that girls should remain virgins until married. I  think few really believed this, and certainly many girls did not. However the necessity of pretending, plus the fear of pregnancy in those pre-pill days, allowed girls to say “no.” if they chose. The Pill, backed up by abortion, would make girls into commodities. If Sally said no, Mary wouldn’t, and boys, churning jhrmone wads, would go with Mary. Thus girls lost control of the sexual economy and the respect that went with it. More stress.

Anorexia and bulimia did not exist. We didn’t know the words. Both look to me like a reaction to stress.

Uncertainty is a formidable source of stress. We had little uncertainty as to our futures in the sense that the young do  today. We assumed, correctly, that jobs would be available for us. For kids who were not going on in school, there were jobs at Dahlgren, the local naval base,  as secretaries or guards or maintenance personnel, federal jobs with benefits. More remotely, Detroit was paying what seemed to us astronomical wages. Those of us in the college track, which meant those whose parents were grads and those who had high SATs, knew we could work in whatever field we had chosen. Starbucks and living in our parents’ basements never crossed our minds.

Social mobility existed, and girls had not yet been taught they were victims. Of my graduating class of sixty, two girls became physicists and my buddy Franklin, of non-college family an electronics engineer. Sherry a year  behind me, a nuclear biologist. All, I think, of non-college families. There must have been others.

Extremely important, I think, was that the school was apolitical. We didn’t know that it was. School was where you learned algebra and geography, or at least learned at them. The teachers, both men and women, assumed this. The white kids were not endlessly told that they were reprehensible and the cause of the world’s problems.  The boys were not told that masculinity was toxic. Hysteria over imaginary rape was well in the future. Little boys were not dragged from school by the police for drawing a soldier with a rifle. The idea of having police in a school would seem insane when it first appeared.

More speculatively: My wife Violeta recently commented that the young today seem about ten years younger than their age. There may be something go this. At least in the media and academic worlds, people in their mid-thirties  remind me of the young of the Sixties, displaying what appear to be the same hormonal rebellion and sanctimony. It has also seeped into high school. There is the same anger, the same search for grievance,  the same adolescent posturing.

I think feminism plays a large part in the collapse of society in general and specifically in pushing boys over the edge. In my school years boys were allowed to be boys. Neither sex was denigrated. Doing so would have occurred to nobody. Then came a prejudice against boys, powerful today

All of this affected society in its entirety, but especially white boys. They are constantly told that being white is shameful, that any masculine interest is pathological, that they are rapists in waiting. They are subjected to torturous boredom and inactivity, and drugged when they respond poorly. They go to schools that do not like them and that stack the deck against them. Many are fatherless. All have access to psychoactive drugs.

Add it up.


Listening is good for our soul

Listening is good for our soul  By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 24 February 2018

Why has an obscure Canadian academic become a phenomenon across the Anglosphere? The man seems genuinely surprised at his 18-month transformation. Hence his tweet asking why so many people have watched the interview he did on Britain’s Channel 4. On March 8, Jordan Peterson kicks off his Australian speaking tour. At sold-out events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane he will talk about his bestselling book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

One way to explain this rise of a man who has been described as a cowboy psychologist and an egghead who gives practical advice is that he drives many on the left bonkers.

There are at least a dozen reasons for this, but this is a column, not a book, so here are six.

Reason 1. Peterson reckons that listening is good for our soul and even better for human progress. Sounds banal, but in an age when campus outrage and an angry mob mentality have seeped into our broader culture, listening to those we disagree with is a truly revolutionary message.

The University of Toronto psychology professor is old school. He gathers information and builds knowledge the Socratic way, by listening and testing ideas. That’s how he developed a fascination with why totalitarian regimes murdered millions in the quest for utopia. He’s suspicious of ideology, dogma and the doctrinaire. Ideology is dangerous, he says, because it’s too certain about things and doesn’t allow for dissent.

Moral relativism is equally dangerous because it makes no judgments and is blind to the greatness of Western civilisation. Human beings need a moral compass. The demise of religion has left a vacuum, and it has been filled by rigid ideologues and nihilistic moral relativists. Well-timed, given so many millennials are bunkering down with socialism or moral relativism.

If you want to ignore Peterson, that’s your right. But he is a symbol of what’s rotten within parts of our culture. When he speaks, his critics try to howl him down. Students scream over him, university administrators try to censor him.

Last year, Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Ontario’s Wilfrid Laurier University, played one of Peterson’s YouTube videos in a communications class. In a meeting with university honchos, one professor, Nathan Rambukkana, accused her of breaking Canadian law and creating a toxic environment for students. Another said her decision to show a Peterson debate clip was akin to the Nazis relying on free speech. The meeting was taped. It’s literally crazy. An uproar led the university to apologise to Shepherd.

Some of this explains why, as of Thursday, Peterson’s cracker interview with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman has attracted 7.4 million views since it aired on January 17. Sure, some of us have watched it more than once, because it’s funny, it’s serious and it ought to be shown in the first lesson of a journalism 101 course.

As reported in Inquirer last month, the interview is a 30-minutes precis of what happens when you don’t listen. Peterson was calm, measured, respectful. He used science and evidence when explaining the differences between men and women. He raised obvious questions about dogma on the gender pay gap. And he smiled politely when a woman who brought him on to her show wasn’t interested in listening.

There are now memes about Newman’s closed-ears interviewing style. Like this one. Peterson: “Women want strong and competent men.” Newman: “So what you’re saying is women are incompetent.” And this. Peterson: “I’m a clinical psychologist.” Newman: “So what you’re saying is I need therapy.” But none is as humiliating as the interview.

Reason 2
. Peterson believes in free speech. He’s worried about the illiberal direction of modernity, not just on campus. That’s another reason this solid-gold cultural disrupter, with a quiet but firm tone, drives many on the left nuts. The professor attracted headlines at home in Canada when he said he wouldn’t abide by Bill C-16, introduced in May 2016, amending the Canadian Human Rights Act and making it illegal to use the wrong pronoun. It became law last June. Peterson baulked at being told by the state to use the pronoun “ze” for transgender people. He said if someone asked him to use it for them, he’s a polite guy and he’d do it. But when the state tells you what to say, the state has crossed the line into forced speech.

Reason 3. Peterson is a force because he’s also damn good at getting his message across. He uses our most important stories, drawing from history, psychology, neuroscience, mythology, poetry and the Bible to explain his thinking.

The man described as an “ardent prairie preacher” grew up in the small town of Fairview, Alberta, watched some of his friends succeed while others ended up drug addicts. He spent years searching for answers to big questions such as what makes life more meaningful and, going back a step, why meaning even matters.

His 12 Rules book, extracted in Inquirer earlier this month, sprang from an online free-for-all forum called Quora, where anyone could ask questions and provide answers. His answers attracted a huge online crowd, then a curious publisher, and this week his book is topping Amazon’s bestseller list in Australia.

Why storytelling matters calls for a divergence. Last December Jonathan Sachs, a rabbi and member of Britain’s House of Lords, said we need an army to defend a country. And to defend our civilisation we need a conversation between generations. “We need to teach our children the story of which we and they are a part, and we need to trust them to go further than we did, when they come to write their own chapter,” he said.

This is not woolly idealism, Sachs said. “It’s hard-headed pragmatism.” Understanding our own story, our history, where we went wrong and what we got right, allows children to face the challenges and the chaos of a rapidly changing world. “We need to give our children an internalised moral satellite navigation system so that they can find their way across the undiscovered country called the future,” he said.

Peterson is a navigation system with a twangy Canadian accent, trying to direct us towards meaning. Wrong way, go back, he’ll tell you when you’re heading down a dead-end street.

Reason 4. Peterson is secretly feared by utopians on the left. Life is full of unexpected and unavoidable suffering, he says. We get sick, we get betrayed, we lose jobs and friends and a sense of order. Get used to it. Deal with it.

This starting premise is where he departs so spectacularly from cultural Marxists. The utopian imaginings of socialism and communism created great suffering. So stop dreaming, Peterson says, accept that life can be hard. Accept, too, that each of us is capable of being monstrous and marvellous in all our human complexity. And make choices about that. Accept individual responsibility.

Start by standing up straight because it can “encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence”. If people around you see you as strong and capable and calm, you might too — and vice versa.

Face your problems with honesty, he says. Choose friends who are good for you. Pursue what’s meaningful rather than what’s expedient. It’s the kind of advice given a generation ago when people talked more about responsibilities than rights and parents warned their children that life is tough. Today it offends our rights culture, not to mention our mollycoddling parenting. So three cheers for common sense from this Canadian disrupter.

Reason 5. Get your own house in order before you start lecturing others or presuming to know how to fix other problems. Peterson’s message is a direct challenge to two particularly rank strains of modernity: victimhood and virtue-signalling. Both are cop-outs. Much harder, and more important, says Peterson, is to fix what you can at home because if we all did this there would be fewer victims and less misery in the world.

Reason 6. Men need to grow the hell up, he says. A whiny guy who blames others for his poor life choices is of no use to himself, no use to women, no use to children and no use to a world that has prospered from those who take responsibility. A boy who never grows up can’t possibly deal with the periods of chaos we all must face. And parents shouldn’t bother children when they’re skateboarding, meaning let them take risks so they can manage them as adults.

Maybe now you’re seeing why the mild-mannered Canadian psychologist is attracting brickbats and bouquets.

Those living in a women’s studies world can’t bear him and wail about him entrenching the patriarchy. Men especially want to listen to him, and plenty of women, to be fair, because he makes a reasoned case, based on evolutionary science and evidence, for men to be men, in all their masculine complexity. The “patriarchy” hasn’t hampered human progress, he says, but helped it.

Peterson, who is the only member of his department to maintain a clinical practice, draws on his work with patients when he says that being “agreeable” doesn’t drive achievement. Instead, it’s being assertive, even aggressive.

And there’s this. He said recently he has figured out how to monetise social justice warriors. The more they scream and go crazy over what he says, the more money he makes.

They just keep feeding him material to work with and he’s making a motza each month from a crowdsourcing fund that pays for his YouTube videos.

If this information leads some of them to change their tune, it will mean they have listened after all.


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January 2015

About Peter Senior

I'm a very experienced and pragmatic management consultant. I've reviewed and led the restructuring of many organisations - large and small corporations and Government Departments, much of the time as President of the New Zealand Institute of Management Consultants. Before that I was General Manager of a major NZ newspaper; earlier, an analyst for IBM UK. I gained an honours degree in engineering at London University, and studied management at Cambridge University. This wide range of experience has left me frustrated: I continue to see too many examples of really bad management. Sometimes small easily fixed issues; sometimes fundamental faults; and sometimes really tricky problems. Mostly these issues can be fixed using a mixture of common sense, 'management 101' and applying lessons from years of management experience. Unfortunately, all too often, politics, bureaucracy and daft government regulations get in the way; internal factors such as poor culture and out-of-date strategies are often evident. So what's gone wrong, and why, and most importantly, how to fix 'it'? I hope there are like-minded people 'out there' who will share their thoughts enabling 'us' to improve some significant management failures that affect the general public. If you just accept bad management, you don't have the right to complain! If you'd like to share thoughts on any aspects of management, send me an email to . My latest project has the interim title 'You’ve been conned. Much of what you were taught and read is largely irrelevant, misleading or plain wrong – this is the REAL story of life: past, present and our possible future.' The working paper so far comprises 105 pages, many listing references and interim conclusions. The main problem is finding sufficient credible evidence, and realising the more Iearn, the more I realise I don't know!
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