In her efforts to trade punches with the popular intellectual, the GQ journalist bit off more than she could chew, leaving with her tail between her legs.
For nearly two hours, University of Toronto Professor of Psychology and bestselling author Jordan Peterson sat down with New Statesman journalist and feminist writer Helen Lewis with the intention of discussing his rise to prominence, his book 12 Rules for Life, and his thoughts on gender, feminism, and the concept of patriarchy. In reality, despite her seemingly welcoming and professional attitude, what took place was Lewis’s absolute intellectual meltdown.
From the outset it is clear that she has a singular goal in mind: to break the powerful intellect before her and catch him in a contradiction. This would surely be the big “public” win left-leaning intellectuals needed.
Prior attempts have seen Peterson simply chew up and spit out his ideologically-driven opponents, almost invariably leading to him being slandered as a racist, a bigot, and a “little white man” from the likes of liberal hack and frequent CNN guest Michael Eric Dyson (during one debate). He’s been called right-wing by the Guardian, even to an appalling degree by intentional mischaracterization during an NBC Nightly News piece (all posted on Youtube). Most recently, he has endured more harsh words from Swedish feminists, only to be immediately vindicated by the Swedish public.In the GQ interview posted on Youtube (soon to hit 3 million views), Lewis attempts on several occasions to outwit Peterson, yet ends up worse for wear, as one Youtube user gratisversus puts it in the comment section below the video: “[Lewis] is a great example of how a highly articulate, conventionally intelligent and educated person can be completely ignorant.”
While this may seem harsh (good old anonymity to blame!), after sitting through the video (and we commiserate with Peterson along the way) it is easy to understand the sentiment.
Here is a journalist who has read English at St. Peter’s College and received a post-graduate degree in newspaper journalism from London’s City University. We can give her the benefit of doubt of being bright. However, while spending the entire time trying to “out-articulate” (a new sport among the left it seems) her opponent (this is surely how she perceived him), she fails in offering any substance to her argument other than “the patriarchy is tyrannical”, as it “holds women back”.
Peterson fires back at Lewis by reminding her that “equality of opportunity and equality of outcome are two very different things […] There are a lot of people in the world who are sick and tired of their desire to move forward in the world and to achieve something, to take their place as adults, males, let’s say, who are under the weight of accusations that their ambition and forthrightness are a manifestation of something that’s fundamentally tyrannical […] It’s not doing anyone any good. And it’s also not true. It’s really a terrible thing to do to young men […] That’s why they are bailing out of universities like mad. There won’t be a man left in the social sciences in 10 years. It’s an inhospitable place, precisely because of this doctrine.”
I just got goosebumps.
Further, Lewis says she believes consistency in thinking is a positive thing that an ideology can bring to a person’s life and criticizes Peterson for having seemingly contradictory beliefs: “I don’t see how your belief in God tessellates with your insistence on pure science.” Peterson once again admonishes Lewis for setting up a straw man: “What insistence on pure science? […] I don’t say anything about the scientific status of God […] There is a realm of values and a realm of facts, and in the realm of facts, science reigns supreme. In the realm of values, it does not. So you have to look elsewhere. That is what the Humanities were for… before they got hijacked by ideologues.”
Finally, unable to play the polite gentlemen under attack any longer, Peterson lets loose: “You were talking about needing to have consistency in ideology. But I’m not hearing what you think; but how you are able to represent the ideology you were taught. And it’s not that interesting, because I don’t know anything about you. I could replace you with someone else who thinks the same way. And that means, you’re not here.”
The deep political division in the West is like a crack in the sidewalk, and every now and then we see a blade of grass sprout up. In remarkable fashion, this noble outlier in academia uses his training in psychology as a foundation, his decades-long experience as a clinical psychologist and university professor, and his profoundly clear thinking, to elaborate a worldview that puts humans squarely back in the objective realm of the animal kingdom, i.e. where biology reigns supreme. He even makes a point to remind us that we are so connected to the animal kingdom that anti-depressants work the same way on lobsters as they do in humans, with the key link being an uptake in serotonin.
However, he believes what separates us most from our crustacean counterparts (other than just their beady eyes and huge pincers, roll eyes here) is our governments and institutions, which symbolize the order that we have created out of our primordial chaos. He stresses that these systems arose in large part thanks to our innate sense of compassion and justice. But yes, this does include Darwinian hierarchies of the strongest and smartest (a sticking point of the many feminist and otherwise liberal critics who attack Peterson for his opposition to the dangerous socialist notion of equality of outcome, which at its most extreme estimates has led to more than 50 million deaths in the Soviet Union and over 100 million in China).But shouldn’t the best and brightest be successful in this world? Shouldn’t these people be at the heads of institutions? That seems just, right? Everyone should get a fair shake in life; but the scapegoating and victimization tactics of the left don’t even warrant the pat on the back they so desperately seek.
Peterson also places our inalienable rights, most importantly the protection of freedom of speech and expression, on the highest pedestal. That means absolutely no compelled speech, which is what got Peterson in hot water in the first place with the Canadian Human Rights’ Tribunal, as he refused to adhere to the University of Toronto’s policy on discrimination which compels the usage of LBGTQ pronouns (and has now unsurprisingly spread to US academia).
Peterson underscores that there is no scientific backing behind gender fluidity and that such compelled subjectivity is dangerously indicative of an ideologically driven state apparatus. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be nice and respect one another. But you shouldn’t lose your job for being “rude”; or worse, end up being branded a bigot or a misogynist and be blacklisted from your profession altogether.
Always underscoring the need to take comfort in our humanity in the face of such frustrating conflict, Peterson charmingly advises us in his book 12 Rules for Life to seek out a stray animal and pet it: “And maybe when you are going for a walk and your head is spinning a cat will show up and if you pay attention to it then you will get a reminder for just fifteen seconds that the wonder of Being might make up for the ineradicable suffering that accompanies it. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.”
Unmistakably the words of a monster.
Peterson is clearly a man with a heart but also a mission — and that is to better his fellow human. He has helped 100’s if not 1000’s of people overcome their worst fears and obstacles in life with his psychiatric counsel. In a time of increasingly incompetent, ideologically driven mainstream media (with the likes of the Michael E. Dysons and Helen Lewises of the world), our youth (and unfortunately many of our elders) should heed a voice like Peterson’s, one not able to be bought off by politicians or silenced with threats. He is hated equally on both political extremes, yet millions upon millions continue to watch his videos and buy his books. Why is this?
Simply put: Peterson’s rational compassion continues to be a brave beacon in the increasingly dim, irrational night sky of humanity.
The views and opinions expressed by the contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.