Who’s Afraid of Jordan Peterson?

According to Caitlin Flanagan, the Left is Afraid

In an Atlantic article “Why the Left is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson,” writer Caitlin Flanagan takes us into her home, where her own son has recently grown captivated by the prairie-born clinical psychologist.

Two years ago, I walked downstairs and saw one of my teenage sons watching a strange YouTube video on the television.

“What is that?” I asked.

He turned to me earnestly and explained, “It’s a psychology professor at the University of Toronto talking about Canadian law.”

… That night, my son tried to explain the thing to me, but it was a buzzing in my ear, and I wanted to talk about something more interesting. It didn’t matter; it turned out a number of his friends—all of them like him: progressive Democrats, with the full range of social positions you would expect of adolescents growing up in liberal households in blue-bubble Los Angeles—had watched the video as well, and they talked about it to one another.

The boys graduated from high school and went off to colleges where they were exposed to the kind of policed discourse that dominates American campuses. They did not make waves; they did not confront the students who were raging about cultural appropriation and violent speech; in fact, they forged close friendships with many of them. They studied and wrote essays and—in their dorm rooms, on the bus to away games, while they were working out—began listening to more and more podcasts and lectures by this man, Jordan Peterson. __ The Atlantic

These bright boys of good leftist households were naturally curious about the larger world of ideas — a larger world which is denied to them by their university professors and administrators, on the whole.

Because all of this was happening silently, called down from satellites and poured in through earbuds—and not on campus free-speech zones where it could be monitored, shouted down, and reported to the appropriate authorities—the left was late in realizing what an enormous problem it was becoming for it. It was like the 1960s, when kids were getting radicalized before their parents realized they’d quit glee club. And it was not just college students. Not by a long shot.

… The alarms sounded when Peterson published what quickly became a massive bestseller, 12 Rules for Life, because books are something that the left recognizes as drivers of culture. The book became the occasion for vicious profiles and editorials, but it was difficult to attack the work on ideological grounds, because it was an apolitical self-help book that was at once more literary and more helpful than most, and that was moreover a commercial success. All of this frustrated the critics. It’s just common sense! they would say, in one arch way or another, and that in itself was telling: Why were they so angry about common sense?

The critics knew the book was a bestseller, but they couldn’t really grasp its reach because people like them weren’t reading it, and because it did not originally appear on The New York Times’s list, as it was first published in Canada. However, it is often the bestselling nonfiction book on Amazon, and—perhaps more important—its audiobook has been a massive seller. As with Peterson’s podcasts and videos, the audience is made up of people who are busy with their lives—folding laundry, driving commercial trucks on long hauls, sitting in traffic from cubicle to home, exercising. This book was putting words to deeply held feelings that many of them had not been able to express before. __ Caitlin Flanagan

Ever since 12 Rules for Life was published in January 2018, leftist writers and interviewers have been trying to destroy Peterson. But nothing seems to work, and Peterson simply becomes better known and better liked with every week that passes.

Most of the anger directed against Peterson by mainstream lefties has a political basis. That seems odd, since only a vanishingly small portion of 12 Rules for Life has anything to do with politics. Apparently to leftists, everything is political.

What the angry, frightened leftists seem to be defending is the entrenched and wealthy institutions which currently suffer under leftist conquest — such as the universities. Peterson has plenty of accusations to level against the university.

In fact, anyone who has been paying attention has a lot of bad things to say about higher education:

Western education institutions now generally and self-evidently serve not as robust developers of young minds and souls, but of a ridiculously expensive, careerist version of virtue signaling. Schools and colleges routinely graduate people who can hardly read or do math at even an eighth grade level. Large percentages of would-be teachers, all of whom graduated high school and college, cannot pass licensing exams typically set at approximately a fifth- to eighth-grade level that completely ignore key competencies such as knowledge of how to teach reading.

I regularly field articles from people with advanced humanities degrees who ought to have flunked fifth-grade writing. Just about every professor at a non-elite institution can tell similar stories, and even at elite institutions can clearly tell the marked differences in students admitted due to affirmative action, which can be the equivalent of an artificial 400-point SAT score boost. __ Federalist

Under Obama, the US government-educational-industrial complex had gone to rot very quickly. The corruption in modern higher education is blatant and massive, and largely overlooked by almost everyone. But the stakes are too high to overlook the stinking pile of corruption any longer. And so when people of rising popularity such as Jordan Peterson say bad things about such cash cows and indoctrination centres of the left as the modern university, leftists tend to become riled — and fearful.

It is relatively easy to homeschool these days, with the help of the many online educational aids now available. It is also easy to get the equivalent of a first-class university education online, at very low cost. Then, if the youngster is intelligent and ambitious, he can start his own business and work for himself.

If he is bound to work in a field where he must work for an institution, then the university credential is needed. But even in such cases, it is possible to use online resources to minimise the amount of money the university can extort from him.

The left is afraid of Jordan Peterson because he tells the truth about collectivist corruption in schools and in society at large. If people know the truth, they may do some things in the future that will make the election of Donald Trump look like the epitome of political correctness and virtue signaling.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Be Dangerous. Be very Dangerous.

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11 Responses to Who’s Afraid of Jordan Peterson?

  1. JPW says:

    I would answer Vox Day.

  2. Abelard Lindsey says:

    I agree that Jordan Peterson is a useful tool against leftist groupthink. However, certain factions on the right have an issue with him as well. Jordan Peterson rejects group identity politics whereas the alt-right embraces them. This is a fair enough objection. On the other hand, certain religious right factions reject Jordan Peterson over what appears to be little more than fine points of religious esotericism.

  3. bob sykes says:

    Both Adam Piggott and Vox Day think Peterson is a leftist. Both despise him and regularly criticize him.

    Who knows who Peterson is?

    It is fair to say the alt-right or dissident right embraces identitarian politics, but it should be pointed out that the Progressives have done so for decades, and they insist on imposing it on all of us. The alt-right merely accepted the inevitable before the cuckservatives. The cuckservatives still do not know what the game is.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Did you really ask “Who knows who Peterson is?” Perhaps it was a rhetorical question.

      Some people may be hiding behind the limelight of celebrity, but Peterson is out there in plain sight. He gives two to three hour lectures impromptu without notes. He has placed hundreds of hours of personally revealing lectures free online given at Harvard, U. Toronto, for Ontario public TV, and at various guest venues around the world. He has over a hundred hours of interviews online by people determined to trip him up and take him down.

      He welcomes all kinds of strangers into his home in order to tell his life story and his personal discoveries in the fields of clinical psychology, research psychology, the teaching of psychology, evolutionary psychology, and probably a lot of things he would do better to keep quiet about. He does not hide.

      Leftists are certainly afraid of Peterson’s potential influence, and alt.right figures are jealous of his success and hate that Peterson does not care to indulge in their particular perversion. Many religious people dislike Peterson because he is not a “true believer” like them, and many atheists hate him because he is unwilling to discard all traditional folkways and myths. He must be doing something right! 😉

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      As I said, the alt-right criticism of Jordan Peterson is fair enough (even if I personally do not agree with it). However, calling Peterson a leftist is nuttiness. Peterson is too much an advocate of individualism to ever be a leftist. If anything, the alt-right could be considered more “leftist” than Peterson because the alt-right is as collectivist in certain respects as the left. Remember, the real political spectrum is individualism at one end and collectivism at the other. A political spectrum with different shades of collectivism at both ends is a worthless metric.

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      Criticism of Jordan Peterson from the right seems to be over two points. The first is the legitimacy of identity politics, which is a legitimate issue of honest intellectual debate. The second seems to be one of esoteric reliigous minutie, which is just plain silliness.

  4. Its a matter of context. In Canadian academia he’s a right wing extremist. In the US he is a moderate leftist.

  5. Craig says:

    I’ve listened to his lectures and read 12 Rules for Life and I find absolutely nothing extreme about Peterson. He may stumble on finer points of religion and some bits of of his historical anecdotes but he is pointed in the right direction and is eminently fair in his assessments of marxism, post modernism, identity politics from a ‘classical’ liberal viewpoint.

    The fact that he appeals to young men (confused young men) is a potential game changer, since there has been a massive inspirational void for the last two generations of young men.

    To our host’s point he puts himself out there and does not shy away from those critical of him. He speaks carefully as to not devolve into self-sabotage – I wish him well and hope he does not burn out.

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