We should think carefully before insulting Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson appears regularly in my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Some of it is good, most of it is bad. A lot of it is people making disparaging comments about him without any further explanation or details.

I don’t know what to make of him. Given there is such divided opinion, I tried to form one. But his YouTube video lectures were so long and boring that I soon gave up. So, the jury is still out. But my thoughts aren’t important. What is important is how those who don’t like him express their opinions.

If you’re going to attack him, make sure you do it with valid evidence-based arguments, and not simply name calling. Those who would choose the latter, clearly have a short memory.

It’s no surprise that people opt for this. It’s the predominant strategy of the left. We don’t attack the right best on the weaknesses of their arguments. Most of us seem too scared to do that but instead shout “you’re a racist! Shut up! You’re oppressing me!” And why not? It has been very effective in silencing a lot of people.

Occasionally, though, someone comes along he doesn’t care what we think of him and won’t shut up.

People like Nigel Farage. Farage doesn’t listen when you call him a racist and doesn’t shut up when you say his views are offensive. He just keeps making arguments. They’re not good arguments. But he makes them, and because we’re not making the counter-arguments, he beat us in the EU referendum.

And even more notably, Donald Trump. Nobody could believe that someone who hates Muslims and grabs women’s vaginas could possibly be elected US President. But when we told him “shut up you sexist racist arsehole” he just kept going because he understood that well-off white people vote way more than oppressed minorities and therefore, if you want to win an election, it’s okay to go on saying you’re going to oppress minorities in the interests of white people.

And he won. He’s now the president of the United States. The actual president. Not some comedy figure-head president as Stewart Lee would say. The actual, real president.

Jordan Peterson doesn’t give a shit what you think, either. His campaign is called “Professors Against Political Correctness”. He has said openly that he doesn’t respect trans people because he thinks it is a mental illness. It’s like he went out to go find the least PC thing he could possibly say just to annoy the left. He isn’t going to be silenced by us calling him out on it.

But what he is doing, like Trump did, is to speak to a very powerful group (white men) and telling them what they want to hear: that they don’t need to feel guilty for all the privilege they have and that they don’t deserve to be attacked. We white men are not under attack, of course, but to anyone who has enjoyed a lot of privilege and is now having that em>slightly eroded, it feels that way.

Worse, not only has he found this audience, but he is able to galvanise them by saying “look at how the left attack us: the attack is real and there is the evidence. They call us names and try to shut us up, but we keep speaking out!”

It worked for Farage. It worked for Trump. And if you call Jordan Peterson names, rather than dealing with the issues, it will work for him, too. How much support do you want to give him?

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2018 at 11:00 am and is filed under Religion & Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.