He’s not alt-right, he’s not a white nationalist, and he’s not a misogynist. He is a bestselling author, an inspiration for many to live fuller, more deeply contemplative lives, and a doting husband and father.
Jordan Peterson, a soft-spoken Canadian professor whose voice is often humorously compared to that of Kermit the Frog, has a growing list of enemies on the political left. Coming into fame initially for rejecting the notion of compelled speech with punitive outcomes over an expanded list of gender pronouns, he has since moved on to become a purveyor of philosophy pertaining to every element of a life examined.
A recent article illustrates the most recent controversy embroiling the clinical psychologist cum public intellectual, coming in the form of a hit piece written by Nellie Bowles of The New York Times titled “Jordan Peterson: Custodian of the Patriarchy.” The snide and mocking tone permeating the article attempts to undermine Dr. Peterson’s credibility at every turn, conjuring accusations of hypocrisy from everything up to and including the iconoclast’s choice of home decor.
“Mr. Peterson’s home is a carefully curated house of horror. He has filled it with a sprawl of art that covers the walls from floor to ceiling. Most of it is communist propaganda from the Soviet Union (execution scenes, soldiers looking noble) — a constant reminder, he says, of atrocities and oppression. He wants to feel their imprisonment, though he lives here on a quiet residential street in Toronto and is quite free.”
And so on and so forth, with Bowles going on to attempt to misconstrue Peterson’s arguments in child-like fashion, misrepresenting his argument of archetypes and archetypal constancy as a simple obsession with fairy tales and ghost stories, infantilizing a philosophical precept older than most. The most damning misconstrual put forth by the NYT hit piece on Peterson is illuminated in depth by David Marcus of The Federalist.
“The Times article makes it appear that Peterson means somehow women will be forced into sex they don’t want to have, calling his ideas about ‘enforced monogamy’ absurd. The reaction to that line has been swift and damning. But that’s not what he is talking about at all. He is talking about societal norms that value monogamy and work to enforce it.”
Nowhere does Peterson imply that women are chattel, slaves, or second-class citizens – the round-the-back insinuation is made by an artful collage by Bowles and company. On the contrary, Peterson has often decried the misogynistic current of major world religions, from Islam to Christianity, and has been married faithfully to his wife for nearly 30 years. Several of his YouTube videos profile their loving – and notably symbiotic – relationship, yet these proofs fall on deaf ears when it comes to commentators from what is left of the political Left.
Hosted on Jezebel, a former Gawker property before Gawker was defeated in court by the tag-team of Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) and his financier Peter Thiel, comes the most recent and most desperate salvo to come yet. Attempting rhetorical contortions to associate Dr. Peterson with the unhappy men known only as incels or “involuntary celibates” (a term only recently entering the mainstream lexicon after Alek Minassian rode down nearly a dozen people in a van attack on Peterson’s home turf of Toronto ), Jezebel’s Whitney Kimball goes on a fully personal tirade against a man she has never met. Using a pull-quote that in and of itself was flatly erroneous, Kimball seeks to cast Peterson as a disturbed and predatory creature rather than as a thoughtful and principled man of ideas.
“With my howling banshee shriek, I recommend you this New York Times profile of Jordan Peterson, a popular psychologist-turned-self-help guru and member of the Intellectual Dark Web of anti-‘PC’ warriors for sexless men and whites who’ve fallen victim to ‘forced diversity.’ He posits that women have sex with the men so the men do not kill. The result is chilling and slightly nauseating. This is the stuff of nightmares:
“Over his bed is a painting celebrating electrification in the Soviet Union. On the wall across from it is a hyper-realistic painting of two nude women with swords.
“My hands are clammy. My blood has run cold.”
This reads more like second-rate crime fiction than honest reporting and indicates a great degree of desperation coming from an increasingly unhinged political left. Dr. Peterson is famous for quoting Alexandr Solzhenitsyn to the point where it could be considered a man-crush, so deep is the homage that the professor owes to the Nobel Prize-winning author whom had witnessed a lifetime of Soviet barbarism and lived to tell the world about it. To claim that Jordan Peterson’s fascination with artifacts and testaments from that historical period is emblematic of his actual beliefs, rather than a reminder of how important it is to avoid reiteration of those evils, is intentionally disingenuous and deceptive. The article closes with a piece of purple prose that seems more fitting in a pulp fantasy rather than any semblance of an objective profile of the professor and his thought.
“Say no more. Night has fallen, and now my slimy spider-like body will creep out from the shadowy swamp to perform the wedded utilitarian sex that is my duty, as I hiss: come hither, my king.”
Peterson’s response to his critics could be summed up by a retort posted to his blog.
“My critics’ abject ignorance of the relevant literature does not equate to evidence of my totalitarian or misogynist leanings. I might also add: anyone serious about decreasing violence against women (or violence in general) might think twice about dismissing the utility of monogamy (and social support for the monogamous tendency) as a means to attain that end.”
With his recent blockbuster novel 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos having reached the top of the bestseller’s lists and a nearly six-figure monthly income from individual supporters and patrons willing to open their wallets to hear more from an intellectual with the right words which can and do resonate with persons from all political walks of life, Peterson has become dangerous to establishment leftists and their politically-correct stranglehold on media narratives. No longer will feelings trump reason, nor emotive fictions replace historical fact and essential truths.
Dr. Jordan Peterson scares the far-left because they cannot scare him. Nor can they control, shame, or silence his followers. Given that these tactics have been used to create and maintain an echo chamber of discourse in academia and the popular news media for some time, the rising star of a man who can throw off these chains and show others how to do the same has got to be abjectly terrifying.
What scares his detractors is the man Jordan Peterson actually is – not the monster they claim him to be.