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A Jordan Peterson Biographer Missing the Mark – Merion West

Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:48 pm

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Jim Prosers new biography on Jordan Peterson portrays him as a Christlike figure plagued by personal demons. Yet the real devil here is in the details.

What does one say about Jim Prosers new biography of Jordan Peterson, Savage Messiah: How Dr. Jordan Peterson Is Saving Western Civilization? The first thing is that its not a biography, at least not in the modern sense of Boswells Life of Samuel Johnsona text thats extensive leveraging of archival records, eye-witness accounts, and interviews effectively bestowed the genre with a veneer of objectivity thats defined it ever since. By contrast, what Proser offers us hereas can be inferred from the titleis essentially a Christ allegory: one in which Peterson is portrayed as being the lone individual capable of saving Judeo-Christian Enlightenment values from the vipers of postmodern neo-Marxism, resurgent since the anti-Western movement of Occupy Wall Street. And should one dispute Petersons candidacy for comparison with Christ on the grounds that the latter was put to death for his sermons whereas the former has become rich off of them, Proser constantly reassures us of the mental anguish Peterson has endured on account of neo-Marxist aggression, which at one point, literally surrounded him, invaded his classroom, threatened his career and the future stability of his family.

Given the apocalyptic sense of importance Proser assigns to Peterson, many readers may be curious as to just who he is. In 2016, Peterson first attracted widespread notoriety for his publication of a video on YouTube, Professor Against Political Correctness: Part 1. The video, which featured Petersons voiceimagine Kermit the Frog trying to evince the air of a truth-telling patriarchdubbed over a handful of black-and-white PowerPoint slides, was austere. It was also factually dubious: in it, for instance, Petersona Canadian, who currently teaches at the University of Torontoconfuses Canadian jurisdictions, waxing on about the threat posed to academic freedom by the Canadian governments effort to legislatively protect gender-nonconforming individuals seemingly unaware that his own vocation falls under provincial mandate. Naturally, few noticed, and Petersons was able to parlay his burgeoning star as a professor capable of legitimating the intellectual pretensions of the alt-right into a best-selling book two years later, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. 12 Rules for Life, which builds on Petersons efforts to map Jungian archetypes onto neuroscience in his earlier book Maps of Meaning isat bottoma pop psychology book sprinkled with a few inchoate philosophy references (Peterson succeeds in misreading numerous thinkers throughout the book, including Heidegger and Derrida). However, by this point, the question of Petersons academic bona fides was largely a moot one. His nonstop polemicizing against the leftwhose ideology he coined the neologism postmodern neo-Marxism to describe, sloppily compounding differences a more rigorous thinker wouldve bothered to delineatesupported by his nonstop lecture tours, had already resonated with a mass audience. 12 Rules was just the tour souvenir.

That Petersons elevation to fame occurred relatively recently poses a distinct problem to Proser as a biographer. Jordan Peterson is 57 years oldhardly an upstart. Yet as he was not a public figure prior to his fiftieth year, writing a genuinely comprehensive biography wouldve required undertaking substantial research to supplement Petersons own accounts (part of the appeal of Petersons books and lectures lies in the way he frequently recounts stories supplied from personal experience). But whether out of laziness (or whether out of a desire not to impinge upon the soupcon of prophecy Peterson has built up around himself), Proser instead elects to use the books first half to furnish his readers with an assemblage of chronologically organized anecdotes about Petersons life derived from none other than Peterson (and virtually all readily available elsewhere). The best thing that can be said about this part of the book is thatin so far as the events in question occurred prior to his transformation into the public intellectual par excellence of the Rightits impossible to say categorically that theyre wrong (though one does get the sense that taking them at face value would be a bit like seeing a long cut of Purple Rain and mistaking it for authentic biography). The worst thing that can be said is that Proser here does the exact opposite of what a biographer should do, inflating Petersons personal mythology rather than slicing through it.

The word mythology is not used here loosely. Peterson, who believes that the world is not made of matter but out of what mattersdeep, brohas in his past works compared his travails to those of mythological and religious figures. Given that Peterson makes clear in Maps of Meaning that he believes there is a symmetry between neurobiological structures and mythic archetypes, it can be argued that this is less preposterous than it seems (even as this argument itself is complicated by the fact that the mythological examples Peterson makes to use it are disproportionately Western). For Proser, however, it is not enough that Peterson simply be an avatar of common experience. Instead, his stress on Petersons world-historical confrontation with SJWs (social justice warriors) infuses even his relaying of the events of Petersons early life. When Peterson refuses to go to church and rejects religion, he, may have felt something like Dantes Inferno. When he experienced depression as a young man, he was, Odysseus traveling through the land of the dead to learn of his future. To top it all off, in Prosers account, Peterson was dogged as a youth by none other than Satan (!) himself, who decided to,be patient with the young man who was so bright and seemed so enthusiastic. Not that his patience was infinite: after Peterson interrupts a college drinking party by shouting about God and war and love and other things he didnt know a lot about, the, Prince abandoned his drunken prospect to suffer in his well-deserved vomit. These kinds of descriptions, coupled with the books title, make you wonder if Proser hasnt forsaken the vocation to which he wouldve been best disposed: that of a metal lyricist.

Petersons reception during the early stages of his academic career, was, as Proser explains, not much different than the one he encountered assailing besotted college students with his philosophic theses at house parties. At least so far as his colleagues were concerned. After serving as an assistant professor at Harvard for five years, Peterson failed to acquire a tenured position there due to, in his own words, a lack of presence of mindwhatever that means. Even at the University of Toronto, a prestigious albeit considerably less prestigious institution, Peterson was nearly rejected by the psychology departments search committee on the grounds that he was too eccentric. Throughout his description of these events, Proser is so committed to portraying Peterson as a concentrate of titanic significance that he fails to countenance the possibility that his academic work just might not be that good. But while hardly a model of intellectual rigor, whats also clear from this part of the book is the way that Petersons indisputable skills as an orator furnished him with opportunities well above his academic station. At Harvard, he purportedly built up a cult following among his studentswho also nominated him for the Levenson Teaching Award in 1998, which he subsequently won. And a few years into his stint at the University of Toronto, he landed a gig delivering lectures on Maps of Meaning for a publicly-funded broadcaster, TVOntario (which also invited him to frequently serve as in interlocutor on The Agenda with Steve Paikin). Predictably, Proser fails to notice the irony thatwhile Peterson frequently rails against the oppressive diktats thrust upon him by politically correct government apparatchikshe is also a product of government, having received a quotient of support throughout his career denied to many of the postmodern neo-Marxists whom he regularly decries.

Its at this point in Prosers bookas Petersons public visibility begins to increasethat it degenerates into deep nonsense. Absent extensive research, and unmoored from the coming-of-age narrative that undergirds its first half, the latter part of Savage Messiah is a mess of phrases copied verbatim from public websites, tidbits of Petersons lectures, and Prosers crass polemicizing. Much of it is, moreover, factually inaccurate. The competition for the worst burst of prose in Savage Messiah is a fierce one. But in Prosers description of the political ascent of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we seem to have found a winner:

Arriving just in time, young Justin ascended quickly to the leadership of the NDP. Then riding the wave of progressive outrage over the repeated defeat of their agenda and the rise of traditionalist voices like Jordan Peterson, he led the Liberal Party to a sweeping national victory in 2015. The Liberal Party went from third place with 36 seats to a dominating 184 seats, the largest increase by a party ever in a federal election. He was sworn in as prime minister of Canada on November 4, 2015.

To be clear, the Liberal Party and NDP (New Democratic Party, though Proser elsewhere refers to it in the text as the National Democratic Party) are, in fact, completely different political organizations. Nor is this the only example of Proser sloppily conflating different political traditions: at another point, he declares that Sartre and French pro-fascist writer Louis-Ferdinand Cline as exponents of different forms of Marxism (though perhaps Cline is indicted here because he actuallyunlike Peterson or Prosertook the time to read Capital). And for the coup de grace, we learn that anti-fascist Antifa fighters are none other than the modern-day version of the violent Black Shirts, the voluntary, paramilitary wing of Benito Mussolinis Fascist Party of Italy. Oh, and in case you wondering: the cause of the violence of Antifa is possibly the theory of toxic masculinity.

Whats disturbing about these kinds of claimsapart from the fact they made it by an actual copy editoris that its not clear that describing them as errors fully does justice to the mind in question. Some may be oversights. But one also harbors the suspicion that Proser is so in the thrall of a conspiratorial vertigo that he thinks hes offering up the unvarnished truth. This speaks to the fundamental flaw of Savage Messiah: that it never even momentarily allows the facts to stand alone. Of course, narrative structuration is the essence of biography, and it would be unreasonable to expect any author to not bring some kind of predisposition to a project dedicated to a figure as divisive as Peterson. But if Prosers goal is to honor Petersons work, his exaggeratedly hagiographic approach actually has the opposite effect. If Petersons brilliance is so self-evident, why is it necessary for Proser toin arguably the most surreal moment in a book rife with themcite student ratings on in order to attempt to discredit one of his ideological opponents? Moreover, one gets the sense that Proser, who identifies openly as a follower of Petersons work, has not even fully assimilated it. Where Peterson, for instance, has criticized the adoption of identity politics by both the right and leftalbeit been more severe in his condemnations of the latterProser is alarmed by an product review that refers to a two-decade-old journal as, seeking to abolish the white race. Likewise, where Peterson couches his misogyny in improperly applied statistical data, Proserwhos elsewhere described women as having a last fable dayis hardly so discreet. For him, should we examine the subtext of one of Petersons lectures, it is clear that its not right-wing authoritarians, but women who most wanted to control speech.

Savage Messiah is a colossal embarrassment. But if its most disquieting passages can credibly pass themselves off as analyses of Petersons work, is it solely Prosers? Petersons has mastered the art of disavowal: of selectively deploying statistical data in order to infer bigotries he then can subsequently distance himself from. This book is just another example: as Proser explains in the books epilogue, Peterson gave it his assentbut never in a way that would impede him from later disowning its contents. Maybe, then, its not Peterson but, rather, Proser who manifests the archetypal traits of the Messiah. Jesus, after all, let himself be pinned down.

Conrad Bongard Hamilton is a PhD student based at Paris 8 University, currently pursuing research on non-human agency in the work of Karl Marx under the supervision of Catherine Malabou. He is a contributor to the text What is Post-Modern Conservatism, as well as the author of a forthcoming book, Dialectic of Escape: A Conceptual History of Video Games. He can be reached at, and a catalogue of his writings can be found on

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A Jordan Peterson Biographer Missing the Mark - Merion West

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February 23rd, 2020 at 12:48 pm

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Jordan Peterson: the One Who Helped Me When I Most Needed It – Merion West

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Im not a disciple of Dr. Petersons. But he has inspired and helped to heal me with his words, and I admire him most for the example that hes set with his own life: the courage to stand up, with shoulders back and face the darkness.

Fred Hammon, a sixty-five-year-old bass player and mechanical engineer living in Los Angeles, was the subject of Tony D. Senatores November, 2019Merion Westarticle The Best Argument For Jordan Peterson: My Friend, Fred.

Hammon discovered Jordan Peterson by chance on the Internet one day, while caring for his wife who is suffering fromFrontotemporal dementia. Upon seeing Petersons lecture where he describeshow his father-in-law lovingly cared for his wife during an illness, Hammon was particularly struck by Petersons advice to,stand up straight and fully face the darkness, and what you discover is at the darkest part is the brightest light. Hammon describes this as a transformative moment for him, which led him to re-center his own approach to taking care of his wife and dealing with his own sadness at witnessing the state of his wifes health.

Hammon, who self-identifies as a centrist liberal and was influenced by the counterculture movement of the 1960s, does not consider himself a disciple of Petersons. Rather, he simply finds some of his Petersons lessons and advice to be intensely helpful in his own life. In light of the discussions generated by Senatores article about Hammon, as well as Jordan Petersons own recent health issues, Hammon joinsMerion West to provide more background on his relationship to Jordan Petersons work.

Mr. Hammon, you were the subject of a widely-read Merion West article in November about how Jordan Peterson personally helped you so much. Can you briefly explain how Jordan Petersons work has been so impactful in your life?

From when I first was exposed to Jordan Peterson, I liked him. Sometimes, of course, its hard to know when someone is mirroring your own thoughts but just saying it betteror is actually providing you with new information in a way that resonates and inspires. As far as helping me, Im going through the most difficult chapter of my life so far. My wife is suffering from and ultimately dying from the advanced stages of Frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

I had been living in fear and hopelessness, as well as from guilt for not being able to save her. I had pretty much shut down in many aspects of my life and started drinking a lot in order to avoid the day-to-day terror. If you read the article in November, you already know the story about me hearing Jordan talk about standing up and facing that horror head on with courage and seeing a brightness beyond. I believe him when he says that what it is that I need to find is to be found precisely there. It has helped to pull me out of my despair. Im functioning much better and looking for value, as opposed to throwing in the towel and dying along with wife.

I realized that I can be of no real use to her if I continued to circle that drain. I now think more about how I can help her on her journey and find sweetness and value along the way. It still isnt easy, but Ive managed to crawl a good way out of depths of that hole that I was living in, and hearing Jordan Petersons advice was very important for doing that.

In a sense, Tony Senatore, the author of that article, asserted that so many criticisms written about Jordan Peterson are academic or theoretical; however, the fact of the matter is that Petersons work is practically helping many peopleand that latter point ought to take precedence. Is this a view you share?

If you mean that the proof is in the pudding so to speakI suppose. People listen to Jordan Peterson, and they find him inspirational in positive ways. Im not an academic; Im not in a position to judge Jordan Peterson along those lines, and neither, for that matter, are most of his critics. Beyond that, if you take the time to review his lectures and debates, he answers a lot of the questions posed by his critics, if people would listen. He spends a lot of his time answering tough questions. I wish he werent so ill at present. I enjoying hearing him debate his detractors.

From a football blogger citing Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll as problematic because of having invited Jordan Peterson to talk to his team, to efforts to draw a connection between Peterson and Nazis, to the vitriol Peterson received when his recent health problems came to light, what is driving this anger towards Peterson?

This is asking me to understand the mind of some people on the Left who get angry and highly emotional towards anyone who holds an opinion just to the right of theirs. When he gets slammed by university humanities professors like the one who was gloating over his illness, my first reaction is: The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Its as if they fear that they cant defend themselves against his arguments using reasoned language, so, instead, they express hatred and vitriol towards him.

As we have learned recently, Jordan Peterson has, unfortunately, been undergoing a number of health issues in the past few months. Is there anything you would say to other people wholike youhave found Petersons work so impactful and are trying to deal with learning about his health issues?

Jordan Peterson is human, and, therefore, he is both vulnerable and fallible. He has neverin my recollectionever claimed to be anything other than that. He often sounds like he thinks that hes right all the time and comes off with arrogance, but then he admits to changing his mind mid-lecture sometimes after hearing his own thoughts said out loud. It happens in debates too, in real time, when he is presented with a better argument. Ive seen it.

The man is intellectually honest, in my opinion, which doesnt mean that hes right. Hes been open about his depression and health issues. How can he not be seen as anything other than courageous or, at the very least, admirable given, what hes been doing with his life: both helping people who need help, as well as courageously being open about his own health issues?

In addition to the points you already mentioned, are there any other lessons from Jordan Peterson that you think have the potential to be particularly helpful to other peopleand not just young peoplebut perhaps people of all ages?

Im not a disciple of Dr. Petersons. But he has inspired and helped to heal me with his words, and I admire him most for the example that hes set with his own life: the courage to stand up, with shoulders back and face the darkness. The first time I ever noticed him, he was doing precisely that. Hes not perfect, and I would warn anybody against those kinds of perceptions. Its his own life. That doesnt take away from his good examples and advice.

Im a pretty good bass player now, and I might even inspire some younger bass players locally; but, there will become a point when Im not as good. Having said that, I wish Jordan the best on his recovery, and I expect more lectures and writings from him. No pressure.

Editors note: If you would like to share an account of how Jordan Peterson has helped you, please get in touch with us at

Articles authored or co-authored by Staff.

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Jordan Peterson: the One Who Helped Me When I Most Needed It - Merion West

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February 23rd, 2020 at 12:48 pm

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‘He could’ve killed somebody’: Victim in Boise 11-car hit-and-run crash reacts to wild video –

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Video shows the driver of a yellow Mustang dragging a truck through a downtown Boise parking garage on Valentine's Day.

BOISE, Idaho A driver accused of causing extensive damage to multiple vehicles in a downtown Boise parking garage, should not have been behind the wheel, according to Idaho court records.

The driver of the Ford Mustang was caught on camera dragging a truck while hitting 10 other cars in the hit-and-run crash on Friday, Feb. 14.

The video, provided to KTVB by Jordan Peterson, has been making the rounds on social media.

He could've killed somebody, that really freaks me out, said Paul Pacheco, the owner of the truck seen dragged in the video.

Less than 24 hours after Fridays hit-and-run, police identified Demariea Dawkins as the Mustangs owner and a person of interest. On Tuesday, they called him a suspect.

According to Idaho Court Records, a judge sentenced Dawkins to seven years probation after he pleaded guilty to DUI and resisting arrest in Ada County in 2018. Records also show Dawkins driver's license was suspended for five years.

He knew what he was doing, he was purposely ramming my truck into other cars to get it unhooked off of his car, Pacheco said. So that's how the other 11 cars got taken out in the process in the garage.

Pacheco and his wife were downtown for Valentine's Day when they realized they forgot something in their truck.

When we got off the elevator, there were cops everywhere, there was debris everywhere, Pacheco said.

He first thought someone stole his truck, but later spoke with police and saw the video.

"When I saw the condition of it, what went through my mind was how can people be this way? It's frustrating, it hurts, Pacheco said.

Boise Police later found the mustang abandoned, but Dawkins was nowhere in sight.

As of Tuesday, police told KTVB, they still don't have Dawkins in custody but say once they do, he'll likely be arrested.

We are going to be charging him with multiple charges, one count of reckless driving, one count of driving with an open container and 11 counts of leaving the scene of an accident, due to the 11 vehicles that were damaged at the scene, BPD Sgt. Loren Hilliard said.

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'He could've killed somebody': Victim in Boise 11-car hit-and-run crash reacts to wild video -

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Feb. 18: The story of Bombardier could have been easily avoided. Readers react to Bombardiers fortunes, facial recognition, Jordan Peterson, plus…

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A Bombardier advertising board is pictured in front of a SBB CFF Swiss railway train at the station in Bern, Switzerland, Oct. 24, 2019.

Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

Re Democracy Gets Schooled In Quebec (Editorial, Feb. 14): It is with sadness that we are witnessing the demise of school boards in Quebec. School boards are one of Canadas oldest forms of democracy and, despite their occasional flaws, have permitted local priorities to be addressed in our school systems. Now, such initiatives in one province must emanate from the bureaucracy in Quebec City.

Would a provincial government ever have introduced French Immersion in elementary schools? It was a school board in Saint-Lambert, Que., that pioneered this, responding to demands of parents wanting to ensure their children would be able to participate in a bilingual country.

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This led to boards in Ottawa and elsewhere to pick up on what has proven to be a very popular and successful program.

Provincial control of curriculum, testing, teacher negotiations and funding has, over the years, reduced the scope of school boards to innovate. Now, with Quebecs example, they look to be an endangered species.

Alex Cullen Ottawa

While Section 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does offer guarantees of minority language instruction across the country, it makes no specific mention of the right to elect and maintain minority linguistic school boards.

In Mahe v. Alberta from 1990, the Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the clause implicitly gave this right. It concluded that Section 23 clearly encompasses a right to management and control and in some circumstances warrant an independent school board. However, these circumstances were never clearly outlined nor defined.

Moreover, history shows that in any case, since 1982, successive Quebec governments have shown no compunction in attempts to ride roughshod over Charter rights whenever it suits a purpose. Now that French boards will be legally abolished, it will surely only be a matter of time before those pesky English boards suffer the same fate.

History shows that centralized government control of education has remained a major objective in Quebec since the days of la Rvolution tranquille. With all school boards gone, that aim would come to fruition, and along with it another nail in the coffin of the Anglo community in Quebec.

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Alan Scrivener Cornwall, Ont.

Re Bombardier To Depart Commercial Plane Business (Report on Business, Feb. 14): Imagine if Canada had invested more than $1-billion into medical research and the hospitals to house it, instead of supporting Bombardiers airplanes. Quebec would have first-rate hospitals full of first-rate professionals, and we would have a very useful result of such an investment.

Could we keep this idea in mind for future use of public money? We will always need hospitals.

Barbara Klunder Toronto

Re Family Control Preserved Bombardiers Independence But At Huge Cost (Online, Feb. 7): The story of Bombardier, a great Canadian business that looks to have lost its way, could have been easily avoided. I do work in succession planning and corporate culture, and this seems like a classic case of the founding family not having the insight to plan for bright new leaders to further build a strong culture of innovation and global competitiveness.

Sometimes, family-run businesses in this country lose sight of their critical stewardship and the need to embrace change, along with deeper commitments to preserving Canadian identity and protecting taxpayer investments where government money is involved. I find it heartbreaking, to say the least.

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The C-series (now renamed the Airbus A220) is one of the most sophisticated aircraft flying, built from the ground up in Canada. Now, our Canadian engineers are left to work for the other guys. Airbus scored big on this with a bargain-basement price.

Alexander Lutchin CEO, Executive Coach Global; Toronto

Re Toronto Police Chief Orders Officers To Stop Using Clearview AI Software (Feb. 14): If this software can be used to catch and incriminate those involved in child torture or pornography videos, I say to hell with privacy concerns. Sometimes we have to submit to things for the common good.

Alison Dennis Kingston

It is well documented that eyewitness testimony is notoriously inaccurate, fraught with human error and complicated by individual bias, even when it is sincere. So what is a police service to do? If a reliable application in the artificial-intelligence toolbox can be more accurate, why not put it to good use?

Lets say we perfect facial-recognition software to the point where it dependably separates multiple sets of identical twins, then it is ready.

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Honouring offenders rights to privacy should be lower on the rights and freedoms hierarchy than the right to safety. Might there be abuse of the application? Of course. That is why it should be regulated.

Hugh McKechnie Newmarket, Ont.

Re In The Ghoulish World Of Online Snark, Toasting To Metastasis Is A Virtue (Feb. 13): I believe columnist Robyn Urback is right to to criticize how social media weaponizes the illnesses of outspoken persons for odious gotcha payback, falsely framing it as karmic justice. Serious critics of Jordan Petersons exclusionary ideology should know better and separate his person from his public persona.

When a public person becomes sick, their humanity should deserve our cathartic pity. Instead of defaulting to ill will and schadenfreude, we should identify with the sufferer and express compassionate solidarity. If ad hominem attacks are wrong in debates over ideas, then they should be wrong when involving ailments. In battle, doctors are known for treating the wounded enemy with the same dedication afforded their own. As current events show, there is no connection between good ideas and good health.

When it comes to illness, we should all be on the side of goodwill toward others. The state of his ideas is a different matter worthy of rigorous disagreement. I wish Mr. Peterson well his ideas, like everyone elses, need a healthy defence.

Tony DAndrea Toronto

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I believe the online virtue of schadenfreude points to something even more disturbing: We hypocritically prize ourselves as a society intolerant of hatred, while at the same time indulging in it. The only issue becomes who or what should be its proper target: the right or left? Conservatives or liberals? Jordan Peterson or his opponents?

To hate at all is to corrupt ones soul. Disagreeing or even condemning others should only be justifiable in so far as we dont lose sight of their humanity. And thats what happens when we hate the antithesis of genuine virtue.

Paul Salvatori Toronto

Robyn Urbacks column reminded me of graffiti I once read on the wall of a university washroom stall when I was a grad student. It read: God is dead, signed Nietzsche. Below that was written: Nietzsche is dead, signed God.

Frank Foulkes Toronto

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Feb. 18: The story of Bombardier could have been easily avoided. Readers react to Bombardiers fortunes, facial recognition, Jordan Peterson, plus...

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Should we suppress Holocaust deniers – or expose them to scorn? –

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Last Monday night, BBC2 aired of one of the weirdest and most horribly gripping documentariesI've ever watched.

ComedianDavid Baddiel presented Confronting Holocaust Denial and even before the programme went out, people were complaining that he was "giving a platform" to Holocaust deniers.

The controversy went back and forth in the English papers and everyone took a side.

That the Holocaust happened is, of course, not up for debate. But Holocaust denial is something that should be debated wherever it is confronted.

As I've repeatedly argued in this column, the best way to destroy a stupid argument is not to suppress it, as some believe, but to debate it in the open and expose its flaws for all the world to see.

Baddiel, the son of Jews who fled Nazi Germany, was determined to explore the motivations behind this most pernicious of lies, while others argued that giving these odious people a stage would simply encourage people to follow the deniers.

As he travelled through eastern Europe, it became clear that denial remains strong in some formerly occupied countries because they simply don't want to confront their own role in the single greatest crime in human history.

In a weird way, the motivations of some of those people made a degree of horrible sense - if you think your grandfather was a hero of the partisans and fought against the Nazis, would you really want to know that he was actually a collaborator who forced Jews on to cattle trucks?

That's not to excuse this position, but at least it comes from a place of very human frailty - the reluctance to condemn your grandparents.

But the other form of Holocaust denial, the ideological one, is far more dangerous.

Baddiel met Deborah Lipstadt, who beat the Holocaust denying historian David Irving in a famous libel trial. Her lawyer argued that giving any denier airtime was simply giving them publicity and urged the comedian to refrain from doing so.

Baddiel refused, so who was he going to meet? An unreconstructed neo-Nazi? Irving, or one of his supporters?

Um, no. In fact - and this is where the weird bit kicks in - he travelled to Ennis in Clare, of all places, to meet Dermot Mulqueen, the man arrested in 2015 for putting an axe through a TV to protest against Holocaust Memorial Day - as you do.

The decision to interview Mulqueen was an inspired one. Rather than giving oxygen to hatred, he gave Mulqueen enough rope to hang his ideas. And what batty ideas they were.

He claimed that Auschwitz was a holiday camp with swimming pools and bakeries. He asserted that it was impossible to burn that many bodies (it wasn't). He even repeated the old blood libel that Jews eat Christian babies. He also said one of the reasons why the Holocaust never happened was because Jewish people drive German cars.

Funny enough, Sarah Silverman - when she was still funny - used to have a song called 'Jewish People Driving German Cars.'

Not that our hero would know that. I doubt he spends much time listening to potty-mouthed Jewish comedians.

Rather than being confronted by some sinister but strangely convincing Revisionist, Baddiel met someone who came across as deeply sad and truly pathetic.

Rather than being intrigued by his ideas, anyone watching would have been forced into laughter.

Rather than taking on 'the Jew' and winning, Mulqueen was exposed as complete buffoon.

While there's nothing funny about his ideas, he came across as laughably weak and frightened, happy to spend his days immersed in conspiracy theories - the perfect way for an idiot to think he's an intellectual.

I've interviewed Holocaust survivors in Ireland, and I've dined with many of them in Israel. You just sit there in stunned silence and hope that you don't break down as they talk about what happened to them. Even listening to them is a difficult experience, and the scale of the horrors they endured is just too incomprehensible for the rest of us to process.

But here's the thing - did Mulqueen make me ashamed to be Irish? That was the response from many Irish people who had watched, jaws agape, as he spoke about the 'Holohoax'.

People were quick to express their 'shame' and 'embarrassment'. Numerous messages were sent to Baddiel from Irish people apologising and expressing their revulsion.

That's an undoubtedly sincere reaction but it's the wrong one.

Mulqueen represents nobody but himself. He doesn't speak for the rest of us because the rest of us look at him with scorn and contempt.

In fact, expressions of collective shame feed into the idea of collective responsibility - and we all know how that ends up.

But Baddiel proved his point - by dragging these people away from their chat rooms and exposing them to facts, they always make fools of themselves.

Remember - you should never make a martyr out of a moron.


Should we suppress Holocaust deniers - or expose them to scorn? -

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Jordan Peterson – Wikipedia

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Canadian clinical psychologist

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormal, social, and personality psychology,[1] with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief[2] and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.[3]

Peterson has bachelor's degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at McGill from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Harvard University, where he was an assistant professor in the psychology department.[4][5] In 1998, he returned to Canada to become a faculty member in the psychology department at the University of Toronto, where he eventually became a full professor.[6]

Peterson's first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999), examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in the regulation of emotion, creation of meaning, and several other topics such as motivation for genocide.[7][8][9] His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was published in January 2018.[4][10][11]

In 2016, Peterson released a series[12] of YouTube videos criticizing political correctness and the Canadian government's Bill C-16, "An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code". The act added "gender identity and expression" as a prohibited ground of discrimination,[a][13] which Peterson characterised as an introduction of compelled speech into law,[14][15][16] although legal experts have disagreed.[17] He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.[4][10][11] Several writers have associated Peterson with an "Intellectual Dark Web".[18][19][20][21][22]

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962.[23] He grew up in Fairview, Alberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace (Edmonton).[24] He was the eldest of three children born to Walter and Beverley Peterson. Beverley was a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter was a school teacher.[25][26] His middle name is Bernt ( BAIR-nt),[27] after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[28]

When Peterson was 13, he was introduced to the writings of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ayn Rand by his school librarian Sandy Notley (the mother of Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th Premier of Alberta).[29] He worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party. He saw his experience of disillusionment resonating with Orwell's diagnosis, in The Road to Wigan Pier, of "the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist" who "didn't like the poor; they just hated the rich".[25][30] He left the NDP at age 18.[31]

After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature.[2] He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in political science in 1982.[31] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe. There he began studying the psychological origins of the Cold War, 20th-century European totalitarianism,[2][32] and the works of Carl Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[25] and Fyodor Dostoevsky.[32] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984.[33] In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill's Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.[2][34]

From July 1993 to June 1998,[1] Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[31] Two former PhD students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz recalled that Peterson's lectures were already highly admired by the students.[4] In July 1998, he returned to Canada and eventually became a full professor at the University of Toronto.[1][33]

Peterson's areas of study and research are in the fields of psychopharmacology, abnormal, neuro, clinical, personality, social, industrial and organizational,[1]religious, ideological,[2]political, and creativity psychology.[3] Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers[35] and has been cited almost 8,000 times as of mid-2017.[36]

For most of his career, Peterson had maintained a clinical practice, seeing about 20 people a week. He had been active on social media, and in September 2016 he released a series of videos in which he criticized Bill C-16.[12][29][37] As a result of new projects, he decided to put the clinical practice on hold in 2017[10] and temporarily stopped teaching as of 2018.[26][38]

In June 2018, Peterson debated with Sam Harris at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver while moderated by Bret Weinstein, and again in July at the 3Arena in Dublin and The O2 Arena in London while moderated by Douglas Murray, over the topic of religion and God.[39][40] In April 2019, Peterson debated professor Slavoj iek at the Sony Centre in Toronto over happiness under capitalism versus Marxism.[41][42]

In 1999 Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaning, form beliefs and make narratives using ideas from various fields including mythology, religion, literature, philosophy and psychology in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[31][5][43]

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, explore the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification[31]) that eventually results in killing and pathological atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide.[31][5][43] He considers that an "analysis of the world's religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality".[43]Jungian archetypes play an important role in the book.[4]

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on Peterson's book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario.[25][33][44]

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson's second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The work contains abstract ethical principles about life, in a more accessible style than Maps of Meaning.[10][4][11] To promote the book, Peterson went on a world tour.[45][46][47] As part of the tour, Peterson was interviewed in the UK by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News which generated considerable attention.[48][49][50] The book topped bestselling lists in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the US, and the United Kingdom.[51][52][53] As of January 2019, Peterson is working on a sequel to 12 Rules for Life.[54]

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures ("Personality and Its Transformations", "Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief"[55]) and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 1.8 million subscribers and his videos have received more than 65 million views as of August 2018.[37][56] In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. He used funds received on the crowdfunding website Patreon after he became embroiled in the Bill C-16 controversy in September 2016. His funding through Patreon has increased from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017, more than $50,000 by July 2017, and over $80,000 by May 2018.[29][37][57][58] In December 2018, Peterson decided to delete his Patreon account after Patreon's bans of political personalities who were violating Patreon's terms of service regarding hate speech.[59][60]

Peterson has appeared on many podcasts, conversational series, as well other online shows.[56][61] In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has included academic guests such as Camille Paglia, Martin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker.[62] On his YouTube channel he has interviewed Stephen Hicks, Richard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others.[62] In March 2019, the podcast joined the Westwood One network with Peterson's daughter as a co-host on some episodes.[63] Peterson supported engineer James Damore in his action against Google.[11]

In May 2017, Peterson began The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories,[64] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Book of Genesis as patterns of behavior ostensibly vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[11]

In March 2019, Peterson had his invitation of a visiting fellowship at Cambridge University rescinded. He had previously said that the fellowship would give him "the opportunity to talk to religious experts of all types for a couple of months", and that the new lectures would have been on Book of Exodus.[65] A spokesperson for the University said that there was "no place" for anyone who could not uphold the "inclusive environment" of the university.[66] After a week, the vice-chancellor Stephen Toope explained that it was due to a photograph with a man wearing an Islamophobic shirt.[67] The Cambridge University Students' Union released a statement of relief, considering the invitation "a political act to ... legitimise figures such as Peterson" and that his work and views are not "representative of the student body".[68] Peterson called the decision a "deeply unfortunate ... error of judgement" and expressed regret that the Divinity Faculty had submitted to an "ill-informed, ignorant and ideologically-addled mob".[69][70]

In 2005, Peterson and his colleagues set up a for-profit company to provide and produce a writing therapy program with a series of online writing exercises.[71] Titled the Self Authoring Suite,[25] it includes the Past Authoring Program (a guided autobiography); two Present Authoring Programs which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well as since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[72][73] The programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto.[4] Peterson's co-authored 2015 study showed significant reduction in ethnic and gender-group differences in performance, especially among ethnic minority male students.[73][74] According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.[25]

Peterson has characterized himself as a "classic British liberal",[32][75][76] and as a "traditionalist".[77] He has stated that he is commonly mistaken to be right wing,[56] as, for example, The New York Times has described Peterson as "conservative-leaning",[78] and The Washington Post has described him as "conservative".[79] Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Yoram Hazony stated, "The startling success of his elevated arguments for the importance of order has made him the most significant conservative thinker to appear in the English-speaking world in a generation."[80] Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs opines that Peterson has been seen "as everything from a fascist apologist to an Enlightenment liberal, because his vacuous words are a kind of Rorschach test onto which countless interpretations can be projected."[81]

Peterson's critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernism, postmodern feminism, white privilege, cultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[61][82]

Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said Peterson's opponents had "underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society's institutions",[83] while in The Spectator, Tim Lott stated Peterson became "an outspoken critic of mainstream academia".[32] Peterson's social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail noted: "few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won".[37]

According to his studyconducted with one of his students, Christine Brophyof the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: "PC-egalitarianism" and "PC-authoritarianism", which is a manifestation of "offense sensitivity".[84] Jason McBride claims Peterson places classical liberals in the first type, and places so-called social justice warriors, who he says "weaponize compassion", in the second.[25][2] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[84]

Peterson considers that the universities should be held as among the most responsible for the wave of political correctness which appeared in North America and Europe.[37] According to Peterson, he watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s. In his view the humanities have become corrupt and less reliant on science. Instead of "intelligent conversation, we are having an ideological conversation". From his own experience as a professor, he states that the students who are coming to his classes are uneducated about and unaware of the mass exterminations and other crimes against humanity perpetrated by Stalinism and Maoism, which were not given the same attention as fascism and Nazism. He also says that "instead of being ennobled or inculcated into the proper culture, the last vestiges of structure are stripped from [the students] by post-modernism and neo-Marxism, which defines everything in terms of relativism and power".[32][85][86]

Peterson, 2017[85]

Peterson says that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s[82] have built upon and extended certain core tenets of Marxism and communism while simultaneously appearing to disavow both ideologies. He says that it is difficult to understand contemporary Western society without considering the influence of a strain of postmodernist thought that migrated from France to the United States through the English department at Yale University. He states that certain academics in the humanities:[85]

... started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name.... The people who hold this doctrinethis radical, postmodern, communitarian doctrine that makes racial identity or sexual identity or gender identity or some kind of group identity paramountthey've got control over most low-to-mid level bureaucratic structures, and many governments as well.

Peterson's perspective on the influence of postmodernism on North American humanities departments has been compared to Cultural Marxist conspiracy theories.[51][87][88][89]

Peterson says that "disciplines like women's studies should be defunded" and advises freshman students to avoid subjects like sociology, anthropology, English literature, ethnic studies, and racial studies, as well as other fields of study he believes are corrupted by the neo-Marxist ideology.[90][91][92] He says that these fields, under the pretense of academic inquiry, propagate unscientific methods, fraudulent peer-review processes for academic journals, publications that garner zero citations,[93] cult-like behaviour,[91]safe-spaces,[90] and radical left-wing political activism for students.[82] Peterson has proposed launching a website which uses artificial intelligence to identify and showcase the amount of ideologization in specific courses. He announced in November 2017 that he had temporarily postponed the project as "it might add excessively to current polarization".[94][95]

Peterson has criticized the use of the term "white privilege", stating that "being called out on their white privilege, identified with a particular racial group and then made to suffer the consequences of the existence of that racial group and its hypothetical crimes, and that sort of thing has to come to a stop.... [It's] racist in its extreme".[82] In regard to identity politics, while the "left plays them on behalf of the oppressed, let's say, and the right tends to play them on behalf of nationalism and ethnic pride", he considers them "equally dangerous" and that what should be emphasized instead are individualism and individual responsibility.[96] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating the concept promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[97]

On September 27, 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled "Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law".[29][14] In the video, he stated he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty, saying it fell under compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government's Bill C-16, which proposed to add "gender identity or expression" as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the hate speech laws in Canada.[14][98]

He stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free-speech implications if the Criminal Code is amended, as he claimed he could then be prosecuted under provincial human-rights laws if he refuses to call a transgender student or faculty member by the individual's preferred pronoun.[15] Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments, paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed "directly or indirectly" as offensive, "whether intentionally or unintentionally".[16] Other academics and lawyers challenged Peterson's interpretation of C-16.[15]

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty, and labour unions; critics accused Peterson of "helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive" and of "fundamentally mischaracterising" the law.[99][29] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[100][101][102] When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said "it would depend on how they asked me[...] If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no[...] If I could have a conversation like the one we're having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level".[102] Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill and explained why he publicly made a stand against it:

I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words "zhe" and "zher." These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.

I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. I wrote a book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, on the topic, which explores how ideologies hijack language and belief. As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modern universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen. Period.[103]

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him that he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.[104][29]

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he shifted his position on Bill C-16, from support to opposition, after meeting with Peterson and discussing it.[105] Peterson's analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[106] In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[36] A media-relations adviser for SSHRC said, "Committees assess only the information contained in the application."[107] In response, Rebel News launched an Indiegogo campaign on Peterson's behalf.[108] The campaign raised C$195,000 by its end on May 6, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[109] In May 2017, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Canadian Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs hearing. He was one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak about the bill.[106]

In November 2017, Lindsay Shepherd, the teaching assistant in a Wilfrid Laurier University first-year communications course, was censured by her professors for showing a segment of The Agenda, which featured Peterson debating Bill C-16 with another professor, during a classroom discussion about pronouns.[110][111][112] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a "toxic climate", being compared to a "speech by Hitler",[30] and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[113] The censure was later withdrawn and both the professors and the university formally apologized.[114][115][116] The events were criticized by Peterson, as well as several newspaper editorial boards[117][118][119] and national newspaper columnists[120][121][122][123] as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. In June 2018, Peterson filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against Wilfrid Laurier University, arguing that three staff members of the university had maliciously defamed him by making negative comments about him behind closed doors.[124] As of September2018,[update] Wilfrid Laurier had asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that it was ironic for a purported advocate of free speech to attempt to curtail free speech.[125]

Peterson has argued that there is an ongoing "crisis of masculinity" and "backlash against masculinity" in which the "masculine spirit is under assault".[24][126][127][128] He has argued that feminism and policies such as no-fault divorce have had adverse effects on gender relations and have destabilized society.[126] He has argued that the left characterises the existing societal hierarchy as an "oppressive patriarchy" but "dont want to admit that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence."[24] Peterson has said that men without partners are likely to become violent, and has noted that male violence is reduced in societies wherein monogamy is a social norm.[24][126] He has attributed the rise of Donald Trump and far-right European politicians to what he says is a negative reaction to a push to "feminize" men, saying "If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology."[129] He attracted considerable attention over a 2018 Channel 4 interview where he clashed with interviewer Cathy Newman on the topic of the gender pay gap.[130][131] Peterson disputed the contention that the disparity was solely due to sexual discrimination.[131][132][133]

Peterson doubts the scientific consensus on climate change,[134][135] saying he is "very skeptical of the models that are used to predict climate change,"[136] and that "[y]ou can't trust the data because too much ideology is involved".[135][137]

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989.[29] The couple have one daughter and one son.[25][29]

In a 2017 interview, Peterson was asked if he was a Christian; he responded, "I suppose the most straight-forward answer to that is yes".[138] When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: "I think the proper response to that is No, but I'm afraid He might exist".[10] Writing for The Spectator, Tim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung's philosophy of religion and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Sren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said that Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos and posits that life would be meaningless without this duality.[32]

Starting around 2000, Peterson began collecting Soviet-era paintings.[30] The paintings are displayed in his house as a reminder of the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art, and as examples of how idealistic visions can become totalitarian oppression and horror.[4][38] In 2016, Peterson became an honorary member of the extended family of Charles Joseph, a Kwakwaka'wakw artist, and was given the name Alestalagie ('Great Seeker').[30][139]

In late 2016, Peterson went on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables to control severe depression and an autoimmune disorder, including psoriasis and uveitis.[26][140] In mid-2018 he stopped eating vegetables, and continued eating only beef (see carnivore diet).[141] In 2019, Peterson entered a rehabilitation facility after experiencing symptoms of physical withdrawal when he stopped taking clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug. He had begun taking the drug upon his doctor's recommendation following his wife's cancer diagnosis.[142][143][144] In early 2020, his daughter revealed that he had spent the previous year struggling with addiction to benzodiazepine tranquilizers and had gone to Russia for an experimental treatment that included a medically induced coma. He was neurologically damaged and unable to type or walk unaided.[145]

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Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist and anti-political-correctness crusader, has checked himself in to rehab in New York, his daughter has revealed.

The 12 Rules for Life author has sought help trying to get off the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam, his daughter Mikhaila Peterson said in a video posted to her YouTube account Thursday.

Ive never seen my dad like this, the 27-year-old diet blogger said in the eight-and-a-half-minute video. Hes having a miserable time of it. It breaks my heart.

The elder Peterson, 57, began taking the addictive medication to deal with stress from his wifes battle with cancer and other health problems earlier this year, his daughter said.

He tried to quit cold-turkey over the summer after his wife, Tammy Roberts, miraculously recovered from complications with a kidney surgery, Mikhaila said.

But he went through horrific physical withdrawal that has left him looking like a lost puppy, she said.

He decided to check himself into a place because he didnt want to stress mom out, wanted to get off of this as quickly as possible, and honestly needs the medical help, said Mikhaila, who has used her YouTube channel to promote her all-meat Lion Diet.

Peterson is getting weaned off clonazepam at the unidentified rehab facility with other drugs that will help abate the withdrawal, Mikhaila said.

She added that she had a similar withdrawal struggle when she tried to get off Oxycontin as a teenager. At one point it made her feel like ants were crawling upside down under my skin, she recalled.

Peterson has gained international fame for his strident critiques of academic safe spaces and feminism, as well as his refusal to use transgender peoples preferred pronouns.

The controversial University of Toronto professor has been open about his previous struggles with depression, which he has battled since his teen years.

Hes said he beat it back with the meat-heavy diet his daughter encouraged him to adopt. Cutting out greens altogether improved both his mental and physical health, he said in an interview last year.

Im better now probably than Ive ever been in my life, and I havent been taking anti-depressants for a whole year, Peterson said in a July 2018 episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

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Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are the psychology of religious and ideological belief, and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.

From 1993 to 1997, Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse, and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals. Afterwards, he returned to Canada and took up a post as a professor at the University of Toronto.

In 1999, Routledge published Peterson's Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, describes a comprehensive theory for how we construct meaning, represented by the mythical process of the exploratory hero, and provides an interpretation of religious and mythical models of reality presented in a way that is compatible with modern scientific understanding of how the brain works. It synthesizes ideas drawn from narratives in mythology, religion, literature and philosophy, as well as research from neuropsychology, in "the classic, old-fashioned tradition of social science."

Peterson's primary goal was to examine why individuals, not simply groups, engage in social conflict, and to model the path individuals take that results in atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide. Peterson considers himself a pragmatist, and uses science and neuropsychology to examine and learn from the belief systems of the past and vice versa, but his theory is primarily phenomenological. In the book, he explores the origins of evil, and also posits that an analysis of the world's religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality.

Harvey Shepard, writing in the Religion column of the Montreal Gazette, stated: "To me, the book reflects its author's profound moral sense and vast erudition in areas ranging from clinical psychology to scripture and a good deal of personal soul searching. ... Peterson's vision is both fully informed by current scientific and pragmatic methods, and in important ways deeply conservative and traditional."

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on his book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario. He has also appeared on that network on shows such as Big Ideas, and as a frequent guest and essayist on The Agenda with Steve Paikin since 2008.

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures ("Personality and Its Transformations", "Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief") and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 600,000 subscribers and his videos have received more than 35 million views as of January 2018. He has also appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, The Gavin McInnes Show, Steven Crowder's Louder with Crowder, Dave Rubin's The Rubin Report, Stefan Molyneux's Freedomain Radio, h3h3Productions's H3 Podcast, Sam Harris's Waking Up podcast, Gad Saad's The Saad Truth series and other online shows. In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has 37 episodes as of January 10, 2018, including academic guests such as Camille Paglia, Martin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker, while on his channel he has also interviewed Stephen Hicks, Richard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others. In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto.

Peterson with his colleagues Robert O. Pihl, Daniel Higgins, and Michaela Schippers produced a writing therapy program with series of online writing exercises, titled the Self Authoring Suite. It includes the Past Authoring Program, a guided autobiography; two Present Authoring Programs, which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program, which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. The Self Authoring Programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto. Pennebaker demonstrated that writing about traumatic or uncertain events and situations improved mental and physical health, while Latham demonstrated that personal planning exercises help make people more productive. According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.

In May 2017 he started new project, titled "The psychological significance of the Biblical stories", a series of live theatre lectures in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Genesis as patterns of behaviour vital for both personal, social and cultural stability.

His upcoming book "12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos" will be released on January 23rd, 2018. It was released in the UK on January 16th. Dr. Peterson is currently on tour throughout North America, Europe and Australia.

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Jordan Peterson, has become one of the best-known Canadians of this generation. In the intellectual category, hes easily the largest international phenomenon since Marshall McLuhan. . . . By combining knowledge of the past with a full-hearted optimism and a generous attitude toward his readers and listeners, Peterson generates an impressive level of intellectual firepower. Robert Fulford, National Post

Like the best intellectual polymaths, Peterson invites his readers to embark on their own intellectual, spiritual and ideological journeys into the many topics and disciplines he touches on. Its a counter-intuitive strategy for a population hooked on the instant gratification of ideological conformity and social media likes, but if Peterson is right, you have nothing to lose but your own misery. Toronto Star In a different intellectual league. . . . Peterson can take the most difficult ideas and make them entertaining. This may be why his YouTube videos have had 35 million views.He is fast becoming the closest that academia has to a rock star.The Observer

Grow up and man up is the message from this rock-star psychologist. . . . [A] hardline self-help manual of self-reliance, good behaviour, self-betterment and individualism that probably reflects his childhood in rural Canada in the 1960s. As with all self-help manuals, theres always a kernel of truth. Formerly a Harvard professor, now at the University of Toronto, Peterson retains that whiff of cowboy philosophyone essay is a homily on doing one thing every day to improve yourself. Another, on bringing up little children to behave, is excellent. [Peterson] twirls ideas around like a magician. Melanie Reid,The Times

You dont have to agree with [Petersons politics] to like this book for, once you discard the self-help label, it becomes fascinating. Peterson is brilliant on many subjects. . . . So what we have here is a baggy, aggressive, in-your-face, get-real book that, ultimately, is an attempt to lead us back to what Peterson sees as the true, the beautiful and the goodi.e. God. In the highest possible sense of the term, I suppose it is a self-help book. . . . Either way, its a rocky read, but nobody ever said God was easy. Bryan Appleyard, The Times

One of the mosteclectic and stimulatingpublic intellectuals at large today,fearless and impassioned. The Guardian

Someone with not only humanity and humour, but serious depth and substance. . . .Peterson has a truly cosmopolitan and omnivorous intellect, but one that recognizes that things need grounding in a home if they are ever going to be meaningfully grasped. . . . As well as being funny, there is a burning sincerity to the man which only the most withered cynic could suspect. The Spectator

Peterson has become a kind of secular prophet who, in an era of lobotomized conformism, thinks out of the box. . . .His message is overwhelmingly vital.Melanie Philips,The Times

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Is Jordan Peterson the New Ayn Rand? – Merion West

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I compare Peterson with Ayn Rand becauseas I read this bookher name constantly came to my mind (she is mentioned only once in the book).

The Left has long had intellectual gurus with cult-like followings: from Derrida to Foucault to Sartre to iek. This is a less frequent occurrence on the Right, so there are fewer intellectual gurus to be found there. Perhaps the last such figure was Ayn Rand, and, even thoughshe has been dead for more than three decades, her views remain quite influential for some young people.So, the time is ripe for a new right-wing intellectual guru, and it seems Jordan Peterson is playing that role.

If you are a male college student, you might not mind watching Petersons long lectures on Solzhenitsynor reading his technical articles on the psychology of alcoholism. However, the rest of us would prefer to have a ready-made concise CliffNotes version of his ideas, chiefly to judge whether this Peterson fellow is actually worth all of the fuss that accompanies him. Jim Proser provides such a guide in Savage Messiah: How Dr. Jordan Peterson Is Saving Western Civilization. It is a nice intellectual biography, written in a very engaging style; it is never dumbed-down yet full of anecdotes. It also quotes extensively from Petersons own books, lectures, and interviews.

I compare Peterson with Ayn Rand becauseas I read this bookher name constantly came to my mind (she is mentioned only once in the book). In Atlas Shrugged, the boogeyman is socialism, and the dominant theme of that very long book is individuals rejecting herd-mentality and taking responsibility for their own actions; Atlas is the mythological hero, who embraces this ideal by taking the world on his shoulders. In Prosers portrayal, Peterson is similarly fascinated with Atlas, as this excerpt from one of his lectures demonstrates: This is an old representation, right? Atlas with the world. Well, its a representation that says that thats the proper way to live, right? [It] is to pick up a load thats heavy enough so that if you carry it you have some self-respect.

Points along these lines may sound more like self-help motivational coaching than insightful scholarship. And indeed, throughout Prosers book, one may sympathize with Peterson, but I still wonder what all the hand-wringing surrounding him is all about. Dont misunderstand me, Peterson is a legitimate scholar, but I can think of many, many contemporary intellectuals that have far more interesting things to say.

Now, maybe Petersons singularity is that he struck a chord in the right place at the right time. Political correctness and identity politics have gone too far, and free speech does appear to be under siege at many North American universities. As Proser tells the story, Peterson courageously has taken a stand against of all this. Kudos to him for that. However, I worry that there is something darker lurking underneath Petersons crusade.

Apart from Ayn Rand, the other author that constantly came to mind as I read the book was Nietzsche. Proser paints Peterson as some sort of bermensch, a figure who in his youth lifted weights, a roughneck, a frontier cowboy from the lonely Alberta oilfields he grew up fighting for his place in a wolf pack of tough guys. And, now, Peterson has become this savage intellectual, who exists beyond the mediocrity of the restand thrives by killing the dragons of chaos, fighting hard to reestablish order.

Now, of course, Nietzsche was not guilty of the way his philosophy was abused by the Nazis. But, I do give credence to the thesis that his ideas did sow the seeds of totalitarianism.If you worry so much about being a Superman, then ultimately it is not so hard to conclude that weaklings must simply disappear from the face of the Earth.Likewise, I worry thatunderneath all the talk about responsibility, order, and anti-political correctnessthere may be something more sinister going on with Peterson.

Proser presents Peterson as a champion of the Enlightenment, who prioritizes science over ideology, and calls a spade a spade by reminding liberals that gender differences are real. That may very well be, but I doubt Peterson is really committed to the Enlightenment and its true liberal spirit. Actually, I think Matt McManus hits it on the head when he claims that Peterson is much closer aligned with postmodernism and the counter-Enlightenment than he would be willing to admit. The Enlightenment turned its back on faith and Christianity as a whole; Peterson says he does not believe in God, but he, very confusingly, seems to think religion will always be necessaryand that atheism inevitably leads to many depravities. The Enlightenment was cosmopolitan and had little patience for nationalism; by contrast, the counter-Enlightenment provided the intellectual rationale for modern nationalism, and Peterson is similarlyunhappyabout what he calls globalism. The Enlightenment had little patience for pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo; by contrast, Peterson seems to think that people who painted snakes in antiquity already knew about DNA

But, perhaps the more worrying aspect of Peterson is his obsession with what he calls neo-Marxism and its alleged pernicious infiltration of our civilization. This is the dominant theme of Prosers book. Yes, there are some fools in North American universities, and Peterson does a public service by confronting them. But, to believe that these clueless college students are actually a threat to Western civilization (and that Peterson is a kind of Medieval knight who must slew the terrifying monsters) is hyperbole. If History is any guide, totalitarianism begins with hyperbole about the dangers of particular people, whether it is Jews, the bourgeoisie, or the Kafir. Of course, Communism killed millions of people, but to obsess over it may actually pave the way for new forms of totalitarianism. Those youngsters who are fascinated with Peterson should know that Stalinism and McCarthyism are cut from the same clothand, unfortunately, Petersons obsession with neo-Marxism (whatever that means) is dangerously close to the kind of intellectual cleansing that infamous Senator from Wisconsin senator aspired towards.

Precisely because Peterson has this illiberal bone, nasty people can become very fond of him. The Alt-right is a case in point. Of course, one ought never be charged with a crime on the basis of association (again, one cannot entirely blame Auschwitz on Nietzsche). But in the case of Peterson, it should at least give pause that his ideas are being used to push for someeyebrow-raising agendas. While he still has a chance to escape such guilt by associations, Peterson must try harder to disavow some of the tendentious readings that people make of his words.

Proser has written a nice book, but he also makes for an example of someone who wants to use Peterson for his own agenda of ultraconservatism and American triumphalism. Take, for instance, his views on American imperialism. In the book, there is constant mention of the Soviet Evil Empire but no mention whatsoever of any American Empire. Proser scolds Noam Chomsky for saying that, the United States also wiped out communist uprisings in Latin America with the methods of Heinrich Himmlers extermination squads. Well, like it or not, Chomsky is right this time. The United States illegal involvement in Nicaragua(and other countries south of Rio Grande) was intended to wipe out communist uprisings. Proserin dismissing offhandedly this comparisonignores that the School of the Americas run by the CIA taught Latin American dictatorships how to torture in order to suppress communist movements.

Proser is so far to the right, that he thinks that Obama was, the de facto leader of the left since his election in 2008. Proser even claims that, Jordan [Peterson] recognized the election of Barack Obama and explosion of Occupy Wall Street as clear demonstrations that a radical Marxist storm had surged and was aiming to collapse Western traditions as it had before. I do not know if Peterson actually thought this; however, if he did, then there is something wrong with him. To think that Barack Obama, who bailed out banks and Wall Street belongs in the same category with Occupy Wall Street is nothing more than unhealthy conspiratorial thinking.

One can easily guess Prosers political views by looking at which thinkers he invokes and approves of. When speaking of the Intellectual Dark Web, he mentions respectable names such as Sam Harris, Joe Rogan, and Ben Shapiro. But then, he includes Glenn Beck. Seriously? The same guy who rants about George Soros and toys with conspiracy theories over and over again? Someone who not only toys withbut rather fully embracesall sorts of conspiracy theories is Alex Jones. And Proser does seem to have a soft spot for him, too: Alex Jones would fall to de-platforming as social media monopolies Facebook, Google, and Twitter revealed themselves to be in the progressive camp by using the new standard hate speech is not free speech to throttle conservative, or as Jordan [Peterson] described himself, traditionalist voices.

It is nice to have someone to give young adults advice about discipline, order, and responsibility. It is also nice to have a professor on television telling woke crusaders that the State has no right to force people to use specific pronounsand that not everything is about race. But, if by talking so much about the Gulag, you forget about Guantanamo, we have a problem. No, I do not claim moral equivalency; the Gulag was certainly worse. But, I cannot emphasize enough that obsession with Stalinism can lead to McCarthyismor the Patriot Actand Peterson needs to think harder about how to prevent this.

He still has time to avoid going down the path of Ayn Rand. In her case, one can understand how closely witnessing the horrors of the Russian Revolution led to her extremist views. By contrast, Peterson has had the privilege of living in democratic nations his entire life. Sure, he has reason to strongly object to Communism, but his own unchecked views may be promoting a world that few sensible people would want. I worry thatin the endthis famous quotation by John Rogers may also apply to Petersons work: There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year olds life:The Lord of the RingsandAtlas Shrugged.One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Dr. Gabriel Andrade is a university professor. He has previously contributed to Areo Magazine and DePauw Universitys The Prindle Post. His twitter is@gandrade80

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Is Jordan Peterson the New Ayn Rand? - Merion West

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February 15th, 2020 at 2:56 am

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