The radical Left is afraid of Jordan Peterson and they have good cause. Peterson, a 56 year-old psychology professor at the University of Toronto, who in the past two years has become an Internet sensation by refusing to bend the knee to Canadian speech codes, has the purveyors of political correctness wetting their collective pants by exposing the sham and shoddy “academic” work on which their victim- and grievance-mongering ideology stands. But there is more.
First and foremost, Peterson goes where others on the Right cannot and will not. He wins people on the Left over – not by insulting them, as Rush Limbaugh and others do – but by encouraging discourse and making both radicals on the Left and Right think deeply. There is something to be said for a person who can publicly outdebate the obnoxiously ostentatious race-baiting blowhard, Michael Eric Dyson of MSNBC, while earning the respect and admiration of hard-core Democrat Bill Maher.
Jordan Peterson is no ideologue. His runaway international bestseller, “12 Rules For Life,” is more of a self-improvement guide than a political primer. To be sure, Peterson is a staunch defender of the West from those who view our western traditions as nothing but an outgrowth of an oppressive and tyrannical white-male patriarchy. He challenges his detractors, who hold western societies up against the ideals of an unattainable Utopia, to come up with a better society in which the rights of women and minorities are more ensured and competence and productivity are achieved.
Mr. Peterson puts emphasis on the individual, and not on the group. He deplores identity politics both on the Left and the Right and claims to have rescued many young folks from the clutches of the Alt-Right. On the other hand, by challenging the stranglehold of “post-modernists and neo-Marxists” who have perverted the humanities and social sciences in most universities in North America, he believes ideological polarization will subside and real conversations between Left and Right will be made possible.
Peterson sees the Right as a protector of “human hierarchies, which are necessary to get things done,” and the Left as an advocate for those who are displaced and marginalized when those hierarchies inevitably turn corrupt and tyrannical. To ensure a “healthy tension” in a well-functioning productive and protective society, there must be dialogue between the Right and the Left, but Peterson maintains that the current climate dominated by politically-correct speech codes render that impossible.
Is it any wonder then, that millions of young people hungry for meaningful discussions, are listening to his youtube videos away from campus free-speech zones where they could be monitored and shouted down by the usual suspects on the Far Left? Open-minded progressives respect the fact that Mr. Peterson is a renowned clinical psychologist who studied at Harvard and can adeptly marshal scientific data and findings to dispel the lunacy of the Left, such as gender being a mere social construct. His hour-long talks with other members of the “Intellectual Dark Web” such as Sam Harris and David Rubin provide perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics that millions of students have ever heard in their lives.
Finally, Jordan Peterson understands the technological revolution that has made his ascent possible, while causing the slow death of the print and broadcast media. He is developing an online university that will break the monopoly enjoyed by Left in formulating young minds. And it is precisely for that reason that the hardcore Left fears and loathes him.