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Thank you for Taking Our Thoughts on Jordan Peterson Seriously

But good or bad, the extent of discourse around Myth and Mayhem at Merion West would have been edifying for any author, and we are very pleased the book has generated such interest and strong feelings, even before its release.”

This week marks the release of our book Myth and Mayhem: A Leftist Critique of Jordan Peterson with Zero Books (available here). It is authored by Conrad Hamilton, Marion Trejo, Ben Burgis, and me—with an introduction by Slavoj Žižek. The initial previews of the book at Merion West and elsewhere have sparked a spirited debate on the controversial academic’s work and influence. Many have been angered that we have chosen to criticize Peterson, but a surprising number of people have also defended our work. Many have accused us of not understanding Peterson’s work, misrepresenting it, or presenting valid but ultimately unnecessary criticisms. Our defenders have commended the detailed nature of our arguments and our references to specific texts and positions presented by Peterson. These defenders have criticized our accusers for not bothering to actually respond to what we say but simply reacting to the mere thought that anyone would criticize the Canadian psychologist. At times, the quality of discourse has been very high, though, frustratingly, a great deal of it has descended into rhetorical grandstanding and empty polemics. But good or bad, the extent of discourse around Myth and Mayhem at Merion West would have been edifying for any author, and we are very pleased the book has generated such interest and strong feelings, even before its release.  

The authors have enjoyed many of the engagements, including with those who disagree with us. We look forward to many more fruitful debates and discussions in the coming months.

Given this, we wanted to take the opportunity to call for submissions to our website, which is intended as both a forum for discussing the book and a place for more general debates about Peterson’s work, its virtues, and, of course, its limitations. Submissions do not need to respond directly to our book—so long as they address or criticize relevant topics. We are especially interested in commentators who can defend different strands of left-wing critical theory (such as feminism, Marxism, and queer theory) from Petersonian-type objections. Anyone who is interested in writing a piece defending Peterson is also welcome to submit an article so long as it is well-reasoned and well-written. Being able to situate Peterson’s work in the broader intellectual history of disputes between the Left and Right (particularly through comparisons with other conservative and reactionary ideas) would be ideal. We will not be accepting polemics from any side of the political spectrum; analytical rigor and specificity are vital qualities. With that in mind, make sure to refer to specific texts, lectures, or other relevant material. Footnotes are not required, but hyperlinks or in-text references to books and articles are helpful. Our hope is that this website will be useful to those intrigued or angered by Peterson’s work—and to those who are looking for undogmatic approaches that run the gamut of opinions. 

In closing, we want to thank the editors and community at Merion West one final time for the interest in Myth and Mayhem. The help and feedback have been invaluable and often spirited. The authors have enjoyed many of the engagements, including with those who disagree with us. We look forward to many more fruitful debates and discussions in the coming months.

Matt McManus is Professor of Politics and International Relations at Tec de Monterrey, and the author of Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law and The Rise of Post-Modern Conservatism. His new projects include co-authoring a critical monograph on Jordan Peterson and a book on liberal rights for Palgrave MacMillan. Matt can be reached at mattmcmanus300@gmail.com or added on twitter vie @mattpolprof

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Mark
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Mark

drjordanbpeterson.ca… seriously, guys? Impersonating Peterson. This is low, even lower than I thought ideologues such as McManus would go. The fact that the authors need to deal with Peterson in an ideologically possessed manner (“left-wing critique”) says all we need to know. The authors are unable to take on Peterson’s ideas without their own ideological basis. McManus’s misrepresentation, lies, and out of context statements of Peterson’s work have been debunked in the comment section of every article he’s written on this website.

But the grift remains strong, right, Matt?

Number of Jordan Peterson’s subscribers on YouTube: 2.65 million.

Number of people who will read this book: 17.

This is why I gave up on the Left.

Benjamin Perez
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Benjamin Perez

Michael Shermer’s critical piece on Jordan Peterson, in his new book, Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist, is very much worth reading.

rick burcik
Guest
rick burcik

Mark,
I do not think you are being totally fair in your declaration that Prof. McManus is an ideologue. He is clearly a committed progressive activist but I have not found him to be dogmatic, fanatical, or peremptory. Instead, I have found that he is willing to read contrary ideas and consider their merit. In my view, it does not do us on the right much good to stoop to name-calling. If McManus dissembled in his new book we are much better off pointing out his error and urging him to correct the record. You should instead show exactly where Matt McManus took Peterson’s words out of context and thereby embarrass McManus. In the future please try my approach. It works and it avoids ad hominins.

rick burcik
Guest
rick burcik

I have not yet read this new book but I have read Slavoj Zizek’s introduction and while Prof. Zizek mentions political correctness over a dozen times he did not reveal that in 2018 a survey of 8,000 American citizens found that fully 80% felt that PC is a problem in our country and that only 8% (mostly self-identified “Progressive Activists”) reported that they “love” PC. Did any of the other contributors raise these startling figures in their respective essays?
As an aside, this survey also found the following regarding “Progressive Activists”:
94% say that govt. should provide for everyone.
94% say that Whites start off with an advantage and
91% say that men start out with an advantage,

Conrad Hamilton
Guest
Conrad Hamilton

Zizek is anti-PC in the extreme, by the way, in case that wasn’t clear

rick burcik
Guest
rick burcik

Mr. Hamilton,
I got that about Zizek but could you please answer my question? Did any of you raise the statistic that I cited in any of your essays?

Matt
Guest
Matt

I

would Like to See Mc Manu’s in a
Debate with Peterson.

Fred
Guest
Fred

In the talk with McManus and the capitalist Stefan Molyneux, Stefan pointed out how McManus, in deed, is more of a capitalist than he.
McManus finally produces an article with a clear point–selling his book.

Dionysus
Guest
Dionysus

You think you’re being taken seriously, McManus? Lol

simon brown
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simon brown

I love the inherent assumption that a piece written by someone defending Jordan Peterson is likely to be poorly written. No such concerns regarding anyone submitting articles “defending left wing critical theory.”

Presumably the underlying assumption here is that anyone with a left wing bent is more likely to have received a college education? Think a while about the stultifying implications of that.

Clive Pinder
Guest
Clive Pinder

milestone. 1%. That’s all. Matt, do you have the courage of your convictions, let alone you powers of persuasion?

Matt
Guest
Matt

I would like to see McManus in a debait with Peterson .

Spencer Tidwell
Guest
Spencer Tidwell

Not only are you wrong, you’re stupid

rick burcik
Guest
rick burcik

Mr. Tidwell,
Kindly read my reply to Mark. Thank you.