Why Jordan Peterson matters
Unwavering free speech heroes are hard to come by when the left is silencing their messages on social media, in entertainment, in the news, on campuses, and even on the streets. But Dr. Jordan Peterson is willing to go to jail before he will allow his speech to be interfered with, especially as it pertains to pronoun use and trans "misgendering." He will not refer to a man in drag as "she," and he refuses to use the "proper" pronouns for a woman who claims to be a man. He said he will never do it because, far from being free speech, pronoun use and "gendering" are in fact compelled speech.
Peterson lost his tenured job at the University of Toronto because he dared to swim across the deadly current of political correctness regarding pronouns. It is to his credit that he is now reaching millions more people online with his cultural, political, theological, and environmental opinions than he could ever have hoped to reach in the classroom.
His private clinical psychology practice also had to be shelved so that Peterson could go on European tours with Dave Rubin as Peterson brought his countercultural take on life, marriage, responsibility, and other matters. He has sold out venues everywhere he has gone. Why? Because he is bringing a new no-nonsense message to (mainly) younger people that what they have been led to believe about life is totally wrong: life is hard, life is suffering, life has meaning only with responsibility. This is the polar opposite of what the left promotes, which is "You are wonderful, you can be anything you want to be, you deserve to have self-esteem and no pushback."
Peterson's message, by contrast, is work hard to get what you want and take a second look at your priorities. Take the burden on your own shoulders. Grow up. Think instead of react. Work hard. Such messages are not welcomed by the left, but a huge number of young people across the culture are responding to Peterson's tough love approach.
Peterson is a groundbreaker in today's chaotic, perverse culture. Regarding "toxic masculinity," he will not tolerate the term unless it is to defang it. He wants people who use the phrase to define it. Few can, without tacitly admitting there's such a thing as "toxic femininity."
Peterson's two bestsellers, 12 Rules for Life and 12 More Rules for Life, have appealed to huge, diverse swathes of the population. His books give practical advice for people seeking meaning and success. For example, "I don't know how you can go out and protest the structure of the entire economic system if you can't keep your room organized," and "stand up straight with your shoulders back." He cautions against terms like "you can be anything you want to be" with the warning that some people who want to be airline pilots or surgeons will never be intellectually or otherwise equipped to do it. This is revolutionary thinking in a culture where young people are told they are entitled to be and get whatever they want. Peterson says, in essence, get a grip.
Dr. Peterson is also important because he has taken the groundbreaking step of creating a 17-part series on the Book of Exodus for Daily Wire Plus. Each two-hour (or thereabouts) gathering of six religious thinkers is an intellectual feast. They discuss in depth matters such as how Exodus should be viewed ethically, theologically, morally, symbolically, politically, and in terms of freedom. It is a stunning series. Peterson is breaking new ground outside the Church to bring these matters to all people. It is important because it makes viewers view life, spirituality, the world, and our culture in wholly different ways.
Peterson matters because he is reshaping the nature of public discourse. Instead of five-minute TV interviews of some popular figure in our culture, we now get to hear about them from their own mouths for at least one and a half hours, often two or more. He presents figures with whom he disagrees and with whom he agrees and is never unpleasant.
Peterson filmed a superb two-hour-plus interview with Chloe Cole, a young woman who detransitioned. It is heartbreaking.
The latest in-depth interview is with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and is two hours of RFK's opinions and ideas, much of which I do not buy, but you can make your own decision. It's on the pay side of Daily Wire Plus, a superb channel for conservatives. Peterson's interview is important because RFK is running for POTUS, and few others will present an unbiased figure-it-out-for-yourself interview.
I pray Dr. Peterson stays well and continues his visionary work doing what few others are doing.
Image: Gage Skidmore.