An interview with Jordan Peterson, who believes in witches and dragons

Thank you, the poor man’s Merriam Webster…

We must live in the same world; where I come from being reasonable and acting rational has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with individual personality traits.


Yes. This part is especially good:

Peterson makes ominous-sounding (and seemingly false) generalizations and yet builds in caveats so that nobody can accuse him of endorsing the thing it sounds like he’s endorsing.

This is the same thing that happens with his discussions of nice guys and cruelty. He’ll say that people who are too nice will get taken advantage of, and talk about the importance of being capable of cruelty, which certainly sounds like it’s encouraging people to be sadistic dicks, but then he’ll insist that actually he’s not talking about being cruel he’s talking about being able to be cruel (you idiot, how could you not see the difference?) and he’s not against nice people, he’s just saying that the weak shall perish. And because you can “pick your Peterson,” those who watch his YouTube videos can take very different messages from the same set of words. A video about hitting women, in which Peterson never endorses hitting women, has the following among its most highly-upvoted comments:

  • My great grandmother once told me “Never hit a women, but you can sure as hell hit her back”. (upvoted 660 times)
    shoudnt hit anyone but if someone attacks you you can defend your self, even if it is a woman (upvoted 745 times)
    I would never hit a lady. An aggressive bitch is another question. (upvoted 576 times)
    The original ethic was that a gentleman should never hit a lady. At the point that a woman threatens you or your own, she is definitely not a lady. Being a lady, like being a gentleman, requires civility, grace, respect, and a personal responsibility for one’s own behaviour.
    Peterson didn’t say that he would never hit a woman. He only implied that every woman he had ever hit is dead.
    I believe women deserve rights…. and lefts!!! (upvoted 550 times)

If people who follow you seem to say things like this a lot, you should probably think hard about why you’re attracting this kind of audience. It’s not that Peterson is endorsing violence, but because he’s a Rorschach test who can be interpreted many ways, his lectures about the chaotic female and the necessity of strength and the capacity for cruelty provide ready material to those seeking philosophical rationalizations for aggression.


I never said you did.

That part of my comment wasn’t directed at you, which is why I quoted the person whose comment I was addressing.


That’s generic and uncontroversial advice, as yet unburdened by Peterson’s insistence that doing so requires embracing certain noxious assumptions about gender and racial differences. That burden is always added quickly with Peterson’s stuff (as it is with the Cult of $cientology and other self-help scams, all of which offer the same nostrums before piling on the woo to draw in the suckers).

Peterson’s fan base is mainly young white cisgender males who feel entitled to sex with the women of their choice, career success, good grades, etc. Instead of examining the personal shortcomings and economic rigging that are the root causes of the situations they resent they instead immediately grasp at Peterson’s narrative of false victimhood at the hands of a society that rejects “traditional values” and gender and race “norms.”

A truly strong individual – male or female – does not see combat via harnessed aggression as the only way to address malicious attacks. Peterson and his followers, in contrast, take it as a given that an aggro response is the natural and proper one for a “real man” to take.

Note again the audience to whom he preaches. A sense of entitlement (especially one based in weakly supported just-so stories about one’s gender or race) does not usually result in a positive contribution to society or to an individual relationship.


Chaos is symbolically associated with the feminine

And if you symbolically associated a dog’s tail with a leg, how many legs does it have?


Yeah, it is; for a prime example of a self help guide that isn’t condescending, coddling, or self-centered, I’d much sooner recommend Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements;

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do the best you can.

Here’s this loquacious “genius” explaining that white privilege “isn’t real,” in part because it’s no more significant a factor in a person’s life than other categorical memberships, like say, athleticism (yeah right). And because the person who first popularized the idea by setting out admittedly provisional and personal examples of it (her name, actually, is Peggy McIntosh), used just that, merely personal examples, instead of conducting a full-blown study on many human subjects.

He blasts away at “postmodernism,” “Marxism,” “the intersectionalists” and other rightwing shibboleths, failing to demonstrate a solid understanding of what any such ideas or their adherents actually have to say. A sympathetic audience chuckles along, happy to have someone who sounds so smart blasting away at their favorite “cultural elite” targets.

Christ, what a pandering asshole.


Haha. Good point. “A trait of truly masculine men, to me, is being driven by reason, not emotion.”

Does that sound better?

Time is irreplaceable.

Only because you used a clarifier to indicate that was your personal opinion.

The idea itself is still rather problematic.


So you’re willing to admit this is a subjective statement of belief, not an objective statement of reality?

And what do you call women who that are “driven by reason?” Truly masculine women?

FWIW, my mother is the most eminently reasonable person I know. Has she been struck with a lifelong case of dysphoria? Last I checked, she was fairly convinced of her womanhood. Is she confused?


Well, I may not agree with many of the things this guy has said, if his prodding gave you an epiphany to do better and salvage your relationship with your wife and is making a positive change for you and your loved ones, I call that a win.

Though I guess I would just caution that advice that worked for one aspect, doesn’t mean some of the reset of his ideas isn’t bogus.

I admit I am not familiar with this advice in this area, but I believe it is similar to other works out there, some of them with a Christian slant that I am familiar with. The taking responsibility and doing the right thing, etc. For the life of me I can’t remember the very popular book out there about this sort of thing, but I can picture the cover… There is a Catholic series called “That man is You” that is similar (though I understand if one isn’t religious, there are other non-religious works saying the same thing.)

Anyway, my point being is that this sort of method to better oneself isn’t unique to Jordan Peterson. So don’t feel like you have to die on that hill. And again, kudos on making a positive difference. Real change in ones life is very hard.


I did so in the original quote. Please read it again (as you did quote it). Also, read the end part of that very same paragraph, where I said:

However, am I say that that’s how women act? Before someone infers as much, let me say: no.

I only said what I said, and not what one reads into what I didn’t explicitly say. Sorry for the confusion.

That’s fair.

I understand completely that most people of good intent simply do not have the time to be emotionally distracted.

However, based upon studies such as Bob Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians, it is important to understand the rationalizations of people’s thought-processes.

You beat me to it.

It’s not a matter of avoiding indoctrination, it’s just a matter of not wasting good time and energy.


From the what I’ve read of him so far Peterson’s interpretation of mythology is glib, shallow and cherry-picked, and expert reaction to his discussion of other topics makes me think he’s of equal quality there. I saw someone on twitter call him a right-wing Deepak Chopra and that sounds about right.


So much for the tolerant left!


Leftists are socialists, and Paglia does not consider herself a socialist. Nor does she use socialist rhetoric; she’s a hardline second wave feminist - which has nothing to do with policies of economic import. I’m astonished, then, that you consider her to be “extreme left” when she’s a capitalist just like Jordaddy


I understand, and that is a perfectly useful response.

People in general will obviously want to spend more time on things they agree with, rather than refuting things they disagree with.

Really? We all know the internet can be wrong, but I simply will link to the Wikipedia entry with citations. You can read it yourself:

Paglia characterizes herself as a libertarian.[62][69] She opposes laws against prostitution, pornography, drugs, and abortion, and is also opposed to affirmative action laws.[70][71] Some of her views have been characterized as conservative.[10] She is critical of current transgender discourse[20] and has long rejected what she describes as “the political agenda that has slowly accrued” around the issue of climate change.[72] In a 2017 interview with The Weekly Standard, Paglia stated, “It is certainly ironic how liberals who posture as defenders of science when it comes to global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence) flee all reference to biology when it comes to gender.”[20]

Paglia criticized Bill Clinton for not resigning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which she says “paralyzed the government for two years, leading directly to our blindsiding by 9/11”.[73] In the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign she voted for the Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, “[because] I detest the arrogant, corrupt superstructure of the Democratic Party, with which I remain stubbornly registered.”[73]

In the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Paglia supported John Kerry; and in 2008, she supported Barack Obama.[74] In 2012, she supported Green Party candidate Jill Stein.[75] Paglia was highly critical of 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling her a “fraud” and a “liar”.[76] Paglia refused to support either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, indicating in a March column that if Hillary Clinton won the Democratic Party’s nomination she would either cast a write-in vote for Bernie Sanders or else vote for Green Party candidate Stein, as she did in 2012.[77] Paglia later clarified in a statement that she would vote for Stein.[78] In 2017 she stated that is a registered Democrat, who voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary and for Jill Stein in the 2016 general election.[20]

So where’s the “extreme left” in all that?


She’s not heterosexual. I figure that’s it.