Jonathan Kay: On Jordan Peterson and his critics

National Post
Jordan Peterson National Post | James Alexander Michie

Prof. Jordan Peterson in March 2018. Craig Robertson/Postmedia/File

Jordan Bernt Peterson is a clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of Canadian psychology. His main areas of study are abnormal, social and personality psychology, with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological beliefs, and the evaluation and improvement of personality and work performance. He teaches at the University of Toronto.

It should be noted that he published his first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief in 1999 and is available for free on his personal website. His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was published in January 2018.

He currently has a YouTube channel in which he publishes the recordings of his classes, among other content. In 2016, Peterson published a series of videos in which he criticized the political correctness and the C-16 bill of the Canadian government. Consequently, from these videos, he began to receive significant media attention.


It has been said that while Peterson’s staunch fans and fiery critics are in the proverbial throats of others on social networks, they are opposite sides of the same basic post-Christian phenomenon.

Surely Peterson does not consider himself as any kind of prophet. In fact, in a recently published documentary about him, “The Rise of Jordan Peterson”, he reveals that he was obsessed with the nature of evil from an early age but also shows that he is much more interested in analyzing these phenomena as an academic and author, instead of proselytizing any type of totalizing creed to free humanity from suffering. Even so, surely the powerful reaction that attracts both his most devoted followers and his most vicious detractors owes something to the tragic atmosphere that sometimes characterizes his speech style.

And it is necessary to say that each progressive Canadian columnist took turns writing what was more or less the same column that criticized Peterson.

Likewise, as Peterson himself has discussed, we are living in a post-Christian era, and many people now turn to politics, academia, activism and, sometimes, even their YouTube autoplay feed, looking for figures that can play the role of prophet or demon Ersatz. For some, it’s Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or Greta Thunberg. For others, it is Jordan Peterson.

Now you could say that ironically, anti-Petersonians now seem much more fanatical than Peterson’s most loyal fans. This became clear in recent days, when some of Peterson’s critics, including, surprisingly, a professor at the University of Ottawa, went online to express their satisfaction that Peterson is being treated for dependence on benzodiazepine, a drug against the anxiety. It was a surprisingly macabre response.

Source: Jonathan Kay | National Post

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