Often on the left we complain that the modern right doesn’t really engage Marx on his ideas. But its not just Marx, its really any ideas left of center (or any idea that cant be put into a meme, infographic, or be shouted at them by a youtube personality).
The reason Jordan Peterson doesn’t read Marx is because he has a pragmatist epistemology – it is ‘true‘ if it produces a society of human flourishing. Once you understand this is the angle JP is coming from, his insane position of not needing to read and/or understand the ideas of his opponents to ‘know that they are wrong’ makes sense. Marxism produced stalinism and the gorillions, therefore not only is it morally wrong, but it is FALSE in the Petersonian sense. It doesn’t matter if Marx literally wrote angelic prose, and tomes of wisdom which extended human intellectual understanding to the star trek age (and for all Peterson knows, he very well could have, as hes never read Marx outside the communist manifesto, ONCE, as part of his debate with Zizek). Because Marx’s thoughts (or at least what he thinks are Marx’s thoughts) lead to bad consequences, they must be UNTRUE. The actual content of what Marx said, advocated, or theorized is irrelevant - hes wrong either way.
Obviously this is not compatible with a scientific materialist worldview. If faced with the old “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still fall?” question, Peterson would really be forced to say that the statement “the tree fell” is untrue because the tree falling or not falling didnt directly help human flourishing either way. As far as the crazy archetypes he believes in, they are simply unnecessary to explain history or society and a simple application of occams razor should suffice for that. Also his ideas of Chaos versus Order are really tautological since every time people accuse him of using his preference for order over chaos to shit on feminism, etc. He and his fans just say well chaos is good sometimes too. Saying that society is made up of two things that are both equally important and are needed at different times is literally contributing nothing.
Now as for why his fans dislike Marx and subscribe to this idea: simply, they are dunning krugers who are too lazy to read and think about ideas deeply and just want a daddy with a veneer of academic respectability to tell them the people/ideas they are already predisposed to hate are bad.
Marx = gorillions and also SJWs = Marx and theyre all bad. A huge portion of the rational skeptic crowd switched from LE LOGIC N SCIENCE meme to petersonism so quickly you would get whiplash.
They could go from logic and rationality one second, to crazy jungian dragons and witches the next, without a second thought about how these two things are diametrically opposed, simply because they are using “retcon reasoning”. They have a conclusion in search of an answer, and just want to be validated in their hating of SJWS. If logic, science, and rationality owns the libs one day, then thats good. If they have a new meme that owns the sjws now, even better. They really need to just admit that it was never about logic, reason, and rationality, it was about the need of guys with mediocre intelligence and a lot of free time to win arguments on the internet and look superior by any means or intellectual gymnastics necessary. They simply want their preconceived ideas validated by someone, and they don’t really care what line of thought that person uses to get there.
Say what you want about the ancaps and their libertarian icons of Mises, Hayek, and Bahm-Bawerk. As much as they straw-manned and misunderstood Marx, at least they had the decency to try to read Marx, or at least pretend like they had read him.