“One can readily see why someone who has committed any part of his life to fighting ‘white privilege’ today would resent Peterson personally.”
Editor’s Note: In light of the recent news regarding the Penguin Random House controversy as reported in Vice, this article has been republished from June.
Savage Messiah, I think it is best to let Peterson himself introduce the subject, “I explore the dreadful socio-political consequences of the individual inauthentic life: the degeneration of society into nihilism or totalitarianism, often of the most murderous sort, employing as an example the work/death camps of the Soviet Union.”o understand why people hate Dr. Jordan Peterson, the subject of my recent book
Available on YouTube, this introduction describes a 2017 lecture Peterson gave at the University of Toronto called “2017 Personality 13: Existentialism via Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag.” And, when we get right down to it, hatred is a personal thing. For instance, those who fear or are disgusted by the Soviet death camps hate Joseph Stalin, who created them. It’s personal.
So when Peterson exposes the Stalinist mindset of today’s popular “woke” culture, it evokes a deeply hateful reaction. The fact that he will not back down or even soften his accusations escalates the hatred of the woke to the nihilistic rage we see being acted out on America’s streets today. This is, after all, evidence of how accurate Peterson has been all along.
Peterson suffers the pointed rage of these groups because he knows exactly who they are, their personalities, and where they come from ideologically.
Peterson’s thorough historical knowledge and detailed analysis of the tyrant’s personality leaves little room for rebuttal from its modern exemplars, whom Peterson calls “postmodern neo-Marxists.” These include Third Wave feminists, Black Lives Matter activists, and transgender zealots, the three legs of woke culture. Peterson suffers the pointed rage of these groups because he knows exactly who they are, their personalities, and where they come from ideologically. In effect, Peterson knows them better than they know themselves, and he knows they are akin to “…very, very seriously bad people,” such as Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.
For instance, the modern popular concept of “privilege” (as in “white privilege”) was first used to identify the most successful Soviet peasants called kulaks who were, “…regarded as ‘privileged’ and, therefore, as enemies of the state. And it didn’t matter if it was your father, or your grandfather, or your great-grandfather who happened to be ‘privileged,’ but the mere fact that you were a member of that group was sufficient reason to put you into a camp,” lectured Peterson.
Peterson continued, “So the Soviets really implemented and perfected the idea of class and ethnicity based guilt, and it’s a very bad road to walk down, and it’s something that we’re very much engaged in at the moment.”
So one can readily see why someone who has committed any part of his life to fighting “white privilege” today would resent Peterson personally. To these historical illiterati, Peterson is clearly a white supremacist. But it goes even deeper than this; it goes all the way back to the American generation that first adopted the Marxist and Communist doctrines and taught them to their children. They are the leftist radicals of the 1960’s, the Yippies, the Woodstock Generation, and these groups were the ones completely unable to process former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s electoral defeat.
The outpouring of genuine grief and rage at Secretary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election of 2016 was an accurate measure of the generational hatred that was soon directed at Peterson. He became “the man” in the vernacular of that vanished Aquarian Age and a “capitalist pig” to these aging provocateurs—not to mention a “transphobic piece of s—” to their children and grandchildren for his unwavering adherence to biological facts regarding transgenderism. As Peterson bore down to the nub of their Neo-Marxist belief system in his university lectures, the universities themselves, his life-long workplaces, turned hostile.
Speaking out against any of the three pillars of woke culture, as Peterson energetically does, was suddenly an offense against the collective. And Peterson was having absolutely none of that.
The universities, themselves the traditional defenders of free speech, had become riddled with the ideologies Peterson takes aim at. The universities also became home to crippling speech codes. Speaking out against any of the three pillars of woke culture, as Peterson energetically does, was suddenly an offense against the collective. And Peterson was having absolutely none of that.
Even as his academic colleagues demurred and capitulated to the woke Komsomol, Peterson not only stood defiant, he counter-attacked. He understood wokeness correctly as intellectual warfare against the foundational Judeo-Christian values of Western civilization and knew from history that only gulags awaited the faint-hearted. And so the battle was joined, with Peterson and his adherents at the front. In this current culture war, apparently there will be no quarter given. One culture will die, and many lives are likely to be ruined, even in victory.
Jim Proser is the author of Savage Messiah: How Dr. Jordan Peterson Is Saving Western Civilization.