Jordan Peterson took the intellectual world by storm in 2016, bursting on the scene in a way not seen by a non-leftist thinker since Allan Bloom in the late 1980s. His idiosyncratic mix of Jungian psychology, existential philosophy, and common-sense self-help advice (also lobsters!) as expressed in his best-seller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, is hard to sort out at times.

Glenn Ellmers, one of our favorite recent authors (who also got a long notice from Thomas Byrne Edsall’s latest New York Times column this week), took a deep dive into “the Jordan Peterson phenomenon” in the Claremont Review of Books back in 2018, having attended one of Peterson’s live appearances in Washington DC. Above all, we marvel at how Peterson cooly flummoxes his critics and media interlocutors, as in the justly notorious TV interview with the obtuse Cathy Newman in Britain in 2018.

One thing the enthusiastic response to Peterson demonstrates is how large is the void of sensible intellectual and moral thought available especially to young people. Peterson’s capacious and eclectic approach to communicating is an implicit reproach to conservatives who reside too narrowly in policy wonkery and stale cliches. Can Peterson be imitated or replicated? Probably not, but there are some general lessons to be learned from his example.

Did you know there is actually a Jordan Peterson drinking song? It was the obvious choice for exit music for a podcast organized around whisky.

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There are 3 comments.

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  1. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie Watkins

    I’m somewhat confused as to what the actual critique of Peterson is. The discussion sounded a bit like standard-order university-based historians going after David McCullough but without the usual disparagement. My problem—and it’s probably because I have not read the article Ellmers wrote—is that I never heard the formal critique I expected to hear after the many implied buts. . . .

    That said, I like and listen to Peterson’s podcast but usually not for very long because his line of questioning is often too obtuse for my tastes. Get him on a rant about what Trudeau’s doing to freedom of speech in Canada, though, and he gets to the heart of it far far better than most conservative writers, especially those who focus on social aspects rather than the principles they espouse.


    • #1
  2. Dr.Guido Member

    @LeslieWatkins is exactly correct especially about Trudeau.

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  3. James Hageman Coolidge
    James Hageman

    Your bump music is the best.

    • #3
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