Dr. Jordan Peterson is a psychologist who has achieved fame (some would say “infamy”) for standing up to SJWs in a very robust manner. If you haven’t yet seen his interview with Cathy Newman of Channel 4 in the UK, it’s a must-see video.
He presents facts that are unassailable. So, SJWs the world over are doing what they can to try to take him down. Instead of facts, which they do not have, they are going with deceitful smears, which they have in abundance.
Tabatha Southey writes a particularly nasty hit-piece in Macleans which is a great example of what is wrong with leftist media today. Here is a summary:
- She calls him “a belle of the alt-right”. Precisely what number and what percentage of his audience is “alt-right”, according to what evidence? Precisely what percentage of “alt-right” people pay attention to Dr. Jordan, according to what evidence? None given.
- She misrepresents his position on gender pronouns. He has said that he will not use made-up pronouns if they are mandated by the government. His issue is with compelled speech and made-up grammar. Ms. Southey’s example of being asked to call her parents’ friends “Auntie” does not apply, because the government did not compel her to use that term, and because “Auntie” is not a made-up pronoun.
- Dr. Peterson is concerned about “Postmodern neo-Marxism”, because he maintains that this dangerous ideology is the foundation of the radical left today. Although Ms. Southey mocks Dr. Peterson’s concern about Postmodern neo-Marxism, she does not actually give any evidence that he is wrong. (Dr. Peterson recommends the book Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen R. C. Hicks, which is an eye-opening book, and very well-researched.)
- She uses a rhetorical trick to imply that a concern about a falling birthrate is equal to wanting to “secure a future for our white children.” She implies that being concerned about black rioters is equal to calling for a “white ethnostate”. Again, she misrepresents Dr. Peterson’s position.
- She engages in juvenile name-calling (e.g. “Jordan Pea-Headerson”, “Jordi”, “J-man”, “Dr. Jordan Eggman”, “Dr. Pettyson”, “Jordan Petersonny-don’t go-away-I-am-here-all-alone”, “Jordan Buttercup Peterson”, “Petersonshine”, “J. Pete the Beet”) and pretends that this is equivalent to Dr. Peterson’s refusal to use made-up pronouns compelled by government. However, Dr. Peterson is not on record refusing to call people by their names. Names are not pronouns. Names can be made-up and still be names. Pronouns are a fixed grammatical category of speech. Perhaps Ms. Southey needs some remedial grammar instruction.
And on and on. However, she does say one interesting thing, and fortunately it isn’t necessary to go beyond the headline to get the basic idea. She proposes “the niche he has found… is that Jordan Peterson is the stupid man’s smart person.” She apparently means this to be an insult. And since she has called Dr. Peterson “the belle of the alt-right”, the “alt-right” is presumably what she means by the “stupid man”.
Now, she does not give evidence that any of this is actually true. Is the “alt-right” stupid? Are they Dr. Peterson’s primary audience?
I do not believe this to be true, but let’s play along and say she’s right, and Dr. Peterson has found a way to reach “stupid” people and get them to pay attention to smart ideas. This is actually a really good thing.
In this interview (starting around 32:00), Jordan Peterson, who has studied and spoken against Hitler for three decades, is asked how he is a thorn in the side of the alt-right. He replies, “… I’ve had thousands of letters from people who were tempted by the blandishments of the radical right who’ve moved towards the reasonable center as a consequence of watching my videos and listening to what I have to say.”
So this is the happy consequence of a “smart person” who can reach the “stupid man” and give him smart ideas. It makes the “stupid” man smart. We need a lot more smart people for “stupid” men.
Later in the same interview (around 35:15) Dr. Peterson says, “Look. Last night,… I was at this talk I gave and about 1000 people came and about 500 of them stayed afterwards and most of them were young men…. And just one of them after the other comes up to me and they shake my hand and they say, ‘Look, I’ve been listening to what you’ve been saying for six months and it’s changed my life! … I was depressed, I was addicted to drugs, my relationships weren’t working out, I was hopeless, I didn’t have any goal. I started cleaning up my room and telling the truth, and working hard on myself, and it’s really working! And I just want to thank you for helping me.”
This is much preferable to the enterprise of getting smart people to pay attention to stupid ideas, which is what the SJWs are doing. It is really stupid to say that an idea has more or less merit depending on the group identity of the person who says it. It is really stupid to say that if two groups of individuals have unequal outcomes, this is necessarily a result of discrimination (without considering other causes). It is really stupid to pay attention to a test that purports to measure “unconscious bias“, yet the test has been shown to be neither reliable nor valid. And yet the SJWs have enticed legions of “smart people” to pay attention to these stupid ideas! They have gotten entire university departments to push stupid ideas to smart people!
So here’s a thought: Let’s stop getting smart people to think stupidly, and instead put more energy into getting “stupid” people to think smartly!
Now, I have been showing the consequence of accepting Ms. Southey’s assertion that Jordan Peterson’s audience is composed of stupid men. However, as I said, I do not actually believe this to be true. I have read many comments by Jordan Peterson’s supporters, and by and large, I find their comments to be intelligent, on average.
I think that many of Peterson’s supporters are young men who have suffered from a lack of decent leadership in their lives. From the sound of it, many of them are depressed and have other issues. Well, guess what? “More than 30 studies have linked higher intelligence to mental health disorders including major depression….” There’s a very good chance that actually, Peterson’s followers are SMARTER than average.
Ms. Southey is not alone amongst Dr. Peterson’s leftist critics for disparaging his audience. Isn’t it interesting that the far left, which often prides itself on its compassion, is so lacking in compassion for depressed young men.
I also notice from comments on Peterson’s video that his supporters include women, and older men, and trans people, and people from non-white cultures.