Jordan Peterson

Peter Hitchens is one of the few pundits to whom I am addicted. His backhanded praise, and forehanded dismissal of Jordan Peterson in the Spectator (here), is the best thing I’ve seen on Greater Parkdale’s now world-famous cult leader. He purports to envy Peterson’s many YouTube successes, and laments market failure in his own persona, as Prophet of Doom. I have long regretted the greater attention given to Peter’s late brother Christopher Hitchens, whose bestselling brand of Trotskyite Neoconservativism was remorselessly shallow. Peter has occasional depths.

I have been repeatedly asked for my own opinion of Peterson, and have repeatedly offered what I call “enthusiastically faint praise.” That is, I celebrate his courageous, in-yer-face resistance to the witches and warlocks at the local University, and love watching him destroy his enemies in electronic gladiator duels. I would gladly bestow a “KC” on him (my award for “kamikaze of the culture wars”). I would not call him a Reactionary, however: my highest decoration. (Below Saint and Martyr, but I leave those recognitions to Holy Church).

And this because, he is actually a liberal. A good old-fashioned one, to be sure, with much sensible advice I remember from my own late beloved father. Should we peel his outer porcupine layer, as we might shell a rambutan, we find soft and delectable meat inside — just the thing if, like a contemporary university student, one is lost in the woods and searching for a survival food. (Awkward to handle but easy to catch; I have a campfire recipe for porcupine, with chestnuts.)

He is not, and does not claim to be, Christian. His lectures on biblical texts are Jungian blather — the man was after all trained as a shrink — but not maliciously so. He is a diligent independent reader, however, of a shortlist of standard Western classics, who can be no more intimidated by the Lit majors than he is by the campus gestapo, and this is hugely to his credit. He is a man who sincerely seeks truth, wherever he finds it lurking, so I wouldn’t say he won’t end up Catholic; but for the foreseeable future he is a good old-fashioned liberal, fallen upon these evil days.

And a godsend to his students, if only for the example he puts before them of a man with brains and guts. My own impression, of the generation he is teaching, is of heartbreaking loss. Even those who don’t come from broken homes, give the impression that they do, and the few who come to higher education with any store of basic education were self-taught. Many are quite smart, of course, but that is a gift of nature. They can be outwardly annoying in their hormonal attraction to various activist lunacies, but if you get one separated from the mob, you may find some touching humility. Even the worst are often not really bad. Lost, rather. But by the time they are processed to the mortar board, too many have been found, by the devil.

I do not wonder at the avalanche of fan mail under which Peterson groans. (He looks sleep-deprived.) He is playing father to thousands, especially of these orphan-boys, and sometimes also to the orphan-girls. They’d never seen a man before, and now that they have, they would like to meet another. This is all to the good.

He is a light, I gather, chiefly to the males; to the females less directly. The modern girl has little use for the modern boy, except to fetch things; she rightly condemns him for being both a wuss and an insensitive oaf (while remaining blind to her own deficiencies). She longs for something more like a knight, though may settle for a worm or a thug in frustration. She wants a man, and Professor Peterson is at least trying to increase the supply. God must love him for that.


From a former Peterson groupie in California: “He is building a cargo cult. He looks at Christendom and wants meaning back. He is ignorant of where it came from. So he tries rebuilding the symptoms without the cause. He rejects nihilism but has nothing solid to put in its place. So bamboo runways and air traffic control towers spring up. Young men deprived of the civilization we have lost think it is great, but unless they turn to Christ, it will be as useless as a bamboo runway.”