Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and his panel of six renowned scholars take a deep dive into the Ten Commandments and relate them to important topics of today, including virtue signaling and the dangers of social media in the tenth episode of “Exodus,” released Wednesday on DailyWire+.
Continuing their study of Exodus, the second book of the Bible and Torah, Peterson and his roundtable discuss the last five commandments and how they apply spiritually, philosophically, and morally to our lives today. In a conversation on bearing false witness, Peterson argues that anonymity in social media is a significant factor in attempts to destroy reputations in the current culture.
“Part of what’s pathologized social media at the moment, and this is why I’ve been objecting to at least a certain kind of anonymity, is that you can cast out reputational aspersions,” Peterson said. “I’ve talked to a bunch of psychologists about this recently because we’ve been looking at what personality attributes go along with online reputation savaging.”
“They’re exactly what you’d expect: It’s narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism,” Peterson said, adding that sadism was added recently because the other three attributes “weren’t bitter enough.”
Peterson believes that social media and virtualization contribute to bearing false witness, something that would likely continue with the number of social media users increasing yearly. Making matters worse, Peterson says, is that there is no punishment for this type of bearing of false witness, which only enables more of it.
Throughout the episode, in which Peterson and the panel state that the commandments should be viewed as enabling principles, not a series of constraints, the topic of virtue signaling in today’s world comes up, which Peterson and the panel connect back to the importance of reputation.
“The reason that people are so motivated to do that is because once you can abstract an ethic, there’s actually nothing that’s more valuable than your reputation,” Peterson says. “It’s the thing upon which all the trades that you engage in with everyone else depends.”
Peterson says that getting a reputation falsely and savaging reputations without cause are both “real crimes.” Dr. Stephen Blackwood, President of Ralston College, elaborates on Peterson’s comment, adding that he believes savaging reputations is worse. “To have an ill-gotten reputation, that’s bad, but to take away someone’s actually earned reputation…”
“It’s a battle between two devils,” Peterson jumped in.
In addition to Blackwood, Peterson is joined by social critic Os Guinness; Cambridge assistant professor James Orr; President of Hillsdale College Larry Arnn; Christian thinker Jonathan Pageau; and PragerU founder Dennis Prager. Select future episodes will include Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro.
This is the second of eight episodes in the series, which explores the importance of Exodus as explained by theological and literary scholars and shows why the book remains significant thousands of years after being written.
One episode will be released each week. For a deep dive into the first five commandments, you can watch episode nine here. Additionally, Peterson’s documentary “Logos & Literacy” — which explores the Museum of the Bible and the Bible’s impact on society — is available on DailyWire+.
You can watch the new episode of “Exodus” here.