There are plenty of reasons for individual readers to dislike Jordan Peterson. He’s a Jungian and that isn’t your cup of tea; he is, by his own admission, a very serious person and you think he should lighten up now and then; you find him boring; you’re not interested in either identity politics or in the arguments against it. There are many legitimate reasons to disagree with him on a number of subjects, and many people of good will do. But there is no coherent reason for the left’s obliterating and irrational hatred of Jordan Peterson. What, then, accounts for it?
It is because the left, while it currently seems ascendant in our houses of culture and art, has in fact entered its decadent late phase, and it is deeply vulnerable. The left is afraid not of Peterson, but of the ideas he promotes, which are completely inconsistent with identity politics of any kind.
It’s a very interesting article about the rise of podcasts and vloggers and the threat they present to the media status quo, especially by appealing to ordinary people who aren’t interested in the Twitter wars or other cerebral junk food. By temperament, I’m not optimistic that the Peterson phenomenon, for example, is heralding a bright new cultural dawn in which citizens gather around the smartphone to listen to in-depth, respectful, three-hour discussions of philosophy and history while blithely ignoring the increasingly hysterical diktats from the cultural clerisy about how there are fifty-seven genders but politics is binary, and if you’re not with us, you’re against us. But I agree that there is indeed something happening here, and what it is ain’t exactly clear, so I am slightly hopeful. I myself am not really one for podcasts, but I’ve said before how enthralling I found Peterson’s interviews with Joe Rogan, and I’m starting to enjoy listening to more of Glenn Loury’s interviews while working, so who knows, maybe I’ll get there eventually.
As for the identity-politics left being on its deathbed, well, we’ll see, but that is surely an obituary I would read with great pleasure. Given that it was largely coterminous with the baby-boom generation, and given how gracelessly that cohort has resisted the natural progression toward senescence and death, I think we can assume that identity politics will likewise jettison every last shred of dignity in an attempt to cling to life indefinitely. A pillow over its face would be more merciful than it deserves, really.