Jordan Peterson has rapidly gained fame for his ability seriously to annoy the Left-wing establishment, particularly in academia and the media. His interview with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman where they clashed so memorably is just the latest example of his ability to disrupt Leftist orthodoxies. He first attracted widespread attention for his refusal to use what he saw as politically mandated and false language when addressing transgender people. Peterson saw his position as something that simply had to be defended, whatever the post-modern Left and its allies could throw at him. It was an intellectual Stalingrad. He stood directly in the path of the Gramscian ‘long march through the institutions’ and refused to budge. He became a hero.

But Peterson is more dangerous to the post-modernist Left as he fights them at the most fundamental level, attacking the building blocks of their ideology. As a professor of psychology he has put himself in conflict with them on one of the deepest human questions of all. Where do we draw the line between our genetic inheritance and our environment in considering the outcomes we achieve in life, both for individuals and groups? This battle contests ground essential to cultural Marxist ideology and the academic subjects it has effectively taken over.

The Left has stretched and politicised the old debates of nature versus nurture – seeing people not as the result of a complex interplay between their genes and the world they inhabit, but as ‘social constructs’, their biology and heredity being of little importance to how they live and behave. These debates underlie many questions of social policy and politics, with the Marxist viewpoint dominating much of academia and the media, rippling outwards and controlling much of polite opinion. Those who hold opposing views are condemned as unenlightened or bigots.

Of course Peterson isn’t the first intellectual to challenge these ideas and to champion the hard science of how our genetics and biology affect who we are and what we do with our lives. Many of Peterson’s arguments are uncontroversial to specialists in the relevant fields, but the dominance of Left-leaning ideas within sections of the media means that the public are often unaware of this.

Prominent in the fightback against the social constructionists was psychologist Steven Pinker. His 2002 book The Blank Slate: is a must-read for anyone who opposes cultural Marxism. Pinker demonstrates how much of a human is built before birth and how those who can’t accept this are guilty of almost magical thinking about how we function. But, importantly, he also argues powerfully that innate differences do not justify giving people, either as individuals or by group membership, different levels of moral value.

Peterson picks up this fight in the age of social media and reaches a new audience. Direct and clear, he deploys great erudition and uses the experience gained in years of clinical practice as a psychologist and hard biological realities to demolish his opponents. On gender differences he wrong-foots opponents, who itch to dismiss him as sexist, by insisting on the absolute equality of worth between men and women, and that basic respect and dignity are due to everyone. No doubt to the surprise of the Marxist student warriors who have tried to ban him from stages, labelling him a ‘transphobic piece of sh*t’, he extends this respect to people who are transgender. Peterson has many transgender supporters, who just want to be left alone to get on with their lives, seeing Peterson as their defender against exploitation by social justice warriors keen to use them as a cross between cannon fodder and a battering ram in their various political crusades.

Peterson is equally clear with other issues such as the heritability of intelligence and the importance of IQ. Just what IQ means and why some people score better than others in IQ tests are issues that have long been fought over within academia. Again, Peterson is brutal in using facts to batter his opponents.

Away from his specialisms in psychology, he is equally ferocious and knowledgeable. His list of what he sees as the most important books to be read shows his strong sense of history and the darker side of politics. His first undergraduate degree was in political science. Perhaps that is an odd start to the academic career of a psychologist, but it might help explain how he can so clearly see the threat and destructive power of post-modernist ideas and make the connections that many more innocent scientists might miss.

On most issues, he can show real skill as a debater or communicator, picking out quirky facts or ideas that grab your attention and lodge in your head. In the C4 clash, Cathy Newman made a real error in attempting to mock Peterson for using the example of lobsters to make an argument about the innateness of social hierarchies and how they are not just the creation of a wicked capitalist system. Newman seemed to think this was good ammunition – surely you can’t compare people to lobsters. But the attack left Peterson unbothered. He not only easily won the point (although there are reputable scientists who disagree with his analysis) – but his argument will stick in viewers’ minds long after they have forgotten Newman’s sneering.

Peterson makes tremendous use of social media. His Facebook page links to a wealth of well-chosen and intriguing material and he delights in linking to items that are critical of him, showing no fear of his enemies. On YouTube, he is clear, engaging and enjoyably combative. Rare glimpses of hesitancy and awkwardness only add to his appeal.

His YouTube channel now has nearly 300 videos, quite apart from the myriad clips uploaded by fans. His range is immense: from the personal problems that make up much of modern life, to the myths and foundational stories of our civilisation, via the battles to defend freedom against the evils of totalitarianism. You don’t have to agree with everything Peterson says to enjoy this great reservoir of work, and spare evenings can easily be lost surfing his content.

As Peterson’s status as a modern guru grows around the world, we should remember that heroes can sometimes end up as disappointments. Ideas matter more than people. Nevertheless, his ability as a communicator, particularly to younger people, makes him a tremendous asset to the cause of opposing Marxism and post-modernism in all their manifestations. You might not share all of his views, some of his arguments might be flawed, but it is rare to find a champion with such appeal and articulacy, unbothered by bien-pensant conformity. Someone who rouses such anger and contempt among Marxists must surely be a good thing. We should plug him as hard as we can.

73 COMMENTS

  1. He is King Leonidas vs the hordes of left-leaning academics and politicians in Canada. Together with his posse of “300” they might be able to stop and reverse the onslaught on freedom of speech, religion, and the traditional family.

  2. He is enormously refreshing on the awful cult of victimhood, pointing out that there’s always something wrong with all of us. Never mind that, he says to his students, use your considerable intelligence and grow up! Be responsible for yourselves and dependable for other people, that’s how to change the world for the better. And they love it.

  3. The modern left are known not to listen to serious debate and conversation but to keep a sharp ear out for buzz words – trigger words they can pick up on and use to attack. Newman did that in her interview with Peterson. She didn’t grasp the majority of what Peterson was saying (probably because she didn’t understand it) but leaped, in typical lefty gazelle mode, at any buzz words leading Peterson to constantly repeat ‘I didn’t say that.’
    Personally, I’d say long may it continue. It makes them look incredibly stupid and enhances the claims of people like Peterson. You know, I’d never heard of the guy until the furore that came out of that interview but I may just give his book a look now.

      • I see what you did there and I laughed long and loud – bravo.
        Actually, the older I get, the more I admire Mr Burns from the Simpsons: his uber-capitalist rants and utterances have started to make me think there’s always been a dissident voice in the writing team, fed up of the phoniness and hypocrisy of liberalism. Who’d have thought I’d be thanking Channel Four for its courage and bravery in broadcasting such thoughts?

      • No, I was generalising with regards to how left wing broadcasters treat people with ideas that contradict their own.

  4. The more the right elevate him the more the left will try to diminish him and trivialise the impact of that interview and his “cut the crap” philosophy. It reveals just how much he has rattled them, even here.

    • He may be elevated by the silent right but the voices of the mainstream left will win over as usual. He may get the hits on YouTube but the mainstream media, which has the monopoly in the West, has the loudest voice from which the minority left can point and shriek and decry Peterson as the misogynist they claim him to be.
      Until, we get more right on conservatives into the mainstream, all we have are a few fringe sites to pump our fists into the air.

  5. Within hours of the now (in)famous interview the MSM were labelling Professor Peterson “controversial”. One wonders whether these so-called “journalists” actually watched and understood what he said, or were merely influenced by social media.If stating facts and truth-telling is “controversial” then Orwell was right when he said it would become a revolutionary act.

    Vive la révolution!

    • Everything Trump says and does is also labelled “controversial”. I think even his use of the bathroom is likely to be “controversial”. It’s leftist code for “we don’t like it but we are not going to explain why; instead we invite you not to like it either, and you should look for ways of criticising or opposing it.”

      • I suppose it is inevitable when you consider the NUJ is about as Far-Left as it is possible to go….woe betide any hack who steps outside the box…

      • Yes, I find this use of ‘controversial’ to be annoying. Most things are controversial, take any viewpoint and you will be able to find someone who opposes it and therefore generating controversy. Yet, when used by the BBC (for example) it tends to mean “but we don’t agree with that here”. They’ll refer to Trump as a controversial President, but not Mugabe. I find that odd, and rather irritating.

        • “Controversial” is a way of flagging wrong-speakers, people who go against the bien pensant consensus.

      • There was an interview in last week’s Sunday Times magazine with Georgina Toffolo where the interviewer stated that her politics were ‘controversial.’ What was the controversy, you may ask? Simple. She is a conservative.

      • Yes PP! I think you are being very polite when you say they ‘Invite’ you join in their tosh, to be honest. I heard one Feminazi telling one of the Ladies who do the Hostess/Darts/Boxing etc Presenting Girls that she was very wrong to do the job, should not be doing it etc., etc., etc. More like trying to bully than Invite? We have to make a stand against these people. (R2 JVine 29/01 about 1.45pm if youu want to hear the ‘discussion’)

    • They labelled Farage as “divisive” but never Sturgeon who wants to break up the United Kingdom and divided Scotland. No-one in the British media ever calls out that crap.

    • “Controversial” and “divisive” are adjectives applied to people who the BBC or the Guardian disapproves of. In contrast people like Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott are not controversial or divisive.

    • Some say we have JRM in the UK, but Peterson has the great advantage that his learning is real, and he is not a preening narcissist.

  6. “make the connections that many more innocent scientists might miss.”
    Most of them want to keep their jobs and grants and can do without the agro!

  7. It would be nice if his voice was heard above the noise but unfortunately he is more like a Canute figure shouting into the wind.
    We have allowed the cancer to spread too far and the prognosis isn’t good.

  8. Full praise to Cathy Newman! Thanks to her being so useless, Jordan Peterson’s fame has been propelled upwards even further. We all owe her a big thank you.

  9. Genes nor environment have any bearing on our ability to choose our values and principles even if we must take them into consideration they aren’t the ultimate determinant of our actions. Jordan Peterson and his Lobsters – rubbish. That’s why I struggle with Peterson.

  10. Jordan Peterson has never had an original thought in his life. If you want an argument against votes at 16, then you could scarcely do better than the fact that it would enfranchise the boys who had read so little as to imagine that he had. We associate right-wing intellectuals with the Continent, and to a lesser extent with the United States. The Right in the English-speaking world complains endlessly that it is excluded from academic life. Do not believe a word of it.

    Those academics who decide to become rich and famous in late middle age by appearing to turn right always were like that. They probably think that they have been keeping their heads down until they had been given tenure or what have you. But the reality is that everyone always knew. As much as anything else, overly extravagant professions of liberal or Marxist opinion are always telltale signs of something else.

    Bored of the relative poverty, the relative obscurity and the relative pretence, each of them eventually publishes his edition of The Book. Jordan Peterson’s is the latest Book, but it is always the same Book. The flavour of the month is called that for a reason. Adolescent taste is fickle. Luckily, though, the target audience is always too young to have read the last Book, the last write-up of right-wing tabloid boilerplate in vaguely academic language. Six months ago, no one had ever heard of Jordan Peterson. In a year’s time, few will remember him. But he will have been a pop star for about as long as most pop stars had ever lasted.

    On the Continent, and to a lesser extent in the United States, there are continuous, living traditions of out and proud right-wing academia and wider intellectual life, from apprenticeship to the Olympian heights. But in Britain, in the American academic and artistic mainstream, and in what was once the Old Commonwealth, there is an insistence on pretending to have been pretending to have been a liberal or a kind of Marxist until the obvious is stated as if it were some sort of male menopause.

    • I only recently became fully aware of Mr. Peterson’s work and opinions and think I am in agreement with much of what he says, it is certainly worth futher listening and reading. The point I wanted to make is that I have known quite a lot of Gay/Transgender people since the mid 60’s when it was still not legal. The majority of the mostly Men I have known really do just want to be left alone to get on with their lives. All this fuss and quite a lot of adverse publicity about something that has been part of Life since whenever is, even now, in bad taste to genuine Gay people. They know who and what/how they feel, they do not need ‘Spokesmen/women’ to speak for them, they are embarrassed by the issues of the Cake/Bakery and all the publicity that brought, the sharing of a Double Bed the B&B issue brought about, Policemen tottering around in High heels with painted nails and so on is vulger to most of the quietly genuinely Gay people. Their Family and Friends, the people who really matter to them know who and what they are, love them as friends and as people, treat them as normaly as they themselves feel, untill the Brigade of Permantly Offended decide to interfere in their lives. In my opinion the innermost feelings of friends matter a great deal more than making public, virtue signalling proclamationns about people who have every right to live their lives as they want, are happy and cause no trouble to anyone? They were quite happy with Civil Partnerships to protect each other in Law, none bar one couple I know wanted to get Married because in their opinion they were already as Married as they were ever likely to be. Daviid Cameron caused a problem where none existed as, I think has the Canadian Gov.

      • Congratulations on a reasoned and , dare I say it , sensible attitude to all such matters . The genuine bigots , homophobes , transphobes etc , are those who use people to push their own usually hate – filled agendas forward .

  11. “He first attracted widespread attention for his refusal to use what he saw as politically mandated and false language when addressing transgender people.”

    Another day and another attack by CW on the trannie, and what’s worse is that it isn’t even true !

    Jordan Peterson has made it absolutely crystal clear that he is against the trannie bashing people who so often post on these issues and is quite prepared to accept their need to change gender and to deal with them in a sympathetic manner.

    What he is not prepared to do is to accept the entirely fallacious left wing idiocy that is gender fluidity which has nothing what so ever to do with transgender issues.

    If you cannot understand this basic issue then your post is entirely valueless hate based bigotry – yet again.

    Here is what Jordan Peterson so effectively objected to (I suggest you don’t read this Ollie it might be a bit advanced)

    Some genderqueer people prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns. Usage of singular ‘they’, ‘their’ and ‘them’ is common; and ze, sie, hir, co, and ey are used as well. Some others prefer the conventional gender-specific pronouns ‘her’ or ‘him’, prefer to be referred to alternately as ‘he’ and ‘she’, or prefer to use only their name and not use pronouns at all. Many genderqueer people prefer additional neutral language, such as the title ‘Mx.’ instead of Mr. or Ms.

    Peterson maintains there are two genders and that forcing someone to use these invented pronouns under threat of law is oppression. That is what it is about and the invented ‘gender queer’ has no connection at all the transgender people.

    • On your high horse again about transgender. The writer is actually commenting on Peterson’s refusal to bow to cultural Marxism. This started with him refusing to use the insane pronouns proscribed by the Canadian Govt.

      • Tricia this has nothing to do with transgender and Peterson in his Spectator article made clear his approval of trans issues, to find his position misrepresented in yet another attack is just plain wrong.

        The Canadian govt hasn’t proscribed these terms, they have done the reverse making their use compulsory. Peterson has objected to the attack on freedom of speech, the most troubling this about all this is the way the Left are now suggesting that Free Speech is a ‘right wing’ thing and they are committed to destroying it.

        • He has not shown his approval of Trans issues. He believes in biological reality. And freedom of thought.
          I made a typo error and meant prescribed by the Canadian Government.

    • People can use whatever language they like, of course. If you “speak in tongues” you must depend on there being somebody present who can understand you. If you wish to be understood you must speak a language which is actually a means of communication.

  12. Who is this Jordan Peterson, serious question. His name has been mentioned
    constantly on sites. I’m not that out of the flow of things, well I didn’t think so.

  13. Good article, Ollie. Like you I see fellow Canadian Steven Pinker’s ‘Blank Slate’ as an important precursor to the phenomenon that is Jordan Peterson. To some extent JP is just the right man at the right time, so we should honour others who have tried to tame the science-denying, destructive cultural Marxists who have too easily overrun our institutions.

    • Thanks Niall. I think Pinker is much neglected, but he doesn’t seem to link his conclusions to politics so he gets missed out!. btw – enjoyed your review

  14. Jordan has exactly the right kind of enemies. This is the only acid test required today.
    1. Do the BBC hate you?
    2. Do the lefty papers and academics, quangos and all the beautiful people ;want you gone and howled down?

    Of course he`s nowhere near Enoch Powell Status-the very gold standard of lefty terrors and bile.
    But he made a good start, Funnily enough we need to look out for our Tommies, Jaydens, Katies, Anne Maries and Douglas`s-these are “home-grown radicals” in that even telling some relatively polite home truths these days gets you reviled.
    You wonder why Channel 4 didn`t roll up their Persian rug and scoot on up to Birmingham after this debacle.
    Newman only showed that flighty headed self righteous and overpaid snowflakes only end up being as confused, screechy and downright flummoxed by a bit of logic, reason and insight. Just what he was saying-and the experiment worked.

  15. Agree with your assessment Mr Wright. Peterson has been a very influential in a couple of ways for a very large number of people internationally since becoming aware of his principled stance against the demands of radical postmodern queers and their gender bending, anti-free speech tirades, at the end of 2016.

    First he has encouraged thinking about the future, badly if necessary and then making small incremental steps to achieve that future. More powerful than it sounds but I tried it and benefits have been reaped, been exercising, tidying up more and dealing with old issues. Profound life changing success has also been experienced and expressed by those who have tried to implement his deep and very experienced expert advice. There are regular postings from people on his twitter. You can see why this riles Marxists. They prefer group identity over individual sovereignty.

    Secondly he helps immensely with understanding the roots of the purposely confusing, unclear, contradictory philosophical soup which comprises ‘political correctness’. In the end it looks like Marxism, the oppressor (bad) and oppressed (good). This seems to be the winning ideology in all cases around PC conformance. Any action which aims at the destruction of western values and traditions ‘wins’. Any oppressed group ‘wins’. Any opposition even if you were part of the oppressed ‘loses’. No diversity, inclusion or equality for dissenters who are outcast like a cult disowns their followers – unless you are an ideologue in which case the ‘crimes’ are downplayed. PC is an old ideology wrapped in slippery sophistry and tied up with nice sounding words.

    Peterson provides a credible intellectual pathway through the murky, ugly chaos post-modernism has brought. The Marxist leftists burrowed within it have been rumbled and are shown to be ideological fellow travellers of the most henious, totalitarian states the world has known. Yes, lets plug him more and help “Rescue your father (culture) from the belly of the beast”.

  16. Great article. I agree vehemently with Peterson on many issues but disagree strongly with him on others. That said he has my utmost respect as a principled man who was willing to put his career on the line to stand up against post modernist fanatics. He is speaking for many people when he defends all that is good about western civilisation as well as defending the biological reality that men and women are different.

  17. Agree with all that – but are we all too late?

    Since practically all the most influential industries, such as media, Hollywood, news and politics have been pretty much taken over by, or are in fear of, the cultural Marxists who have become dominant over the last few years, is there any hope at all that solitary figures like Peterson can slow the spread of socialist puritanism such as this in our societies?

    I’m serious, as in seriously worried.

    The only resource we have is the vote, because you certainly can’t argue or debate anymore. As they inexorably take control over our language and outlaw so much of it the best option is to keep quiet, unless you want to enter into very unpleasant territory and be labelled a bigot for ever more.

    But since voting against them, Brexit, Trump, Tories etc, only seems to enrage them further and in fact, make them even worse, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea either. Look at how it all seems to have got worse since these votes.

    Maybe the only option – if you can call it that, I think it’s more like fate – is that they get their own way and live in their socialist utopia for a bit. Then perhaps the reality of the ensuing nightmare might wake a few of them up so they change things themselves from within.

    Because they’re never going to listen to us in a million yeas. Facts spoken by us don’t register with them at all. Peterson hasn’t changed a single lefty mind I’d wager. Only a good dose of the change they seem to crave will have any effect. But it will be like chemotherapy, as in take a long time and be thoroughly unpleasant.

    I hope I’m wrong but when you have even the Tory party being influenced by this guff (see Justine Greening as an example) then I don’t see much hope I’m afraid.

    • On a more upbeat note, I do believe that many of the young are, despite leftist “educational” indoctrination, listening to the man. In fact they hold him in high esteem. This needs celebrating.

      • Yes, and I agree with that but having people agree with Peterson is one thing, translating that into policy which affects reality and winds back all the pernicious changes brought about by the left-wing zombie army is another.

        Cheer Peterson all you like – and I do -but we aren’t on councils, in government or running the bbc are we?

        • Yes and no.
          If Paterson influences young people, as he is doing, giving them the intellectual tools they need to reject the brainwashing of the media etc, then the pushback will be greatly assisted. If nothing else his arguments can temper the extremes that they want to push us towards. Moreover let’s hope he inspires other academics and thinkers to speak their minds, using facts and reason.
          Just to give an example, the total transformation of the religious geography of Europe was started by one brave man who decided to speak out truthfully, namely Martin Luther. Indeed I suspect that most cultural changes start with one courageous freethinker !

Comments are closed.