Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?

Tabatha Southey delves into University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson’s work and finds his secret sauce—and what makes his work unnerving

Jordan Peterson during his lecture at University of Toronto. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Jordan Peterson during his lecture at University of Toronto. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson was in the news this week—and one imagines this makes the university sad. Peterson first made the news and became a belle of the alt-right when, in September 2016, he announced that he would not use a student’s preferred pronoun if he were asked to, except that he might if he felt the request was “genuine,” and no one had asked him that anyway.

What that poor man has been through.

Needless to say, in an economy as desperately short of leadership and ideas as the alt-right’s is, Peterson’s stock went through the roof. He currently has legions of fans hanging on his every YouTubed word; he’s now hauling in around USD $50,000 a month through crowdfunding.

As a child, I was always a bit uncomfortable when my parents’ friends asked me to call them “Auntie.” I was pretty sure there was no peer-reviewed literature supporting this familial relationship, but it never occurred to me to attempt to politicize, let alone monetize, my unease. I certainly never accused “Auntie June” of trying to undermine Western civilization in the service of a post-modern neo-Marxist agenda every time she brought over a casserole. I wouldn’t have gotten any pudding.

“Postmodern neo-Marxism” is Peterson’s nemesis, and the best way to explain what postmodern neo-Marxism is, is to explain what it is not—that is, it is entirely distinct from the concept of “cultural Marxism.”

“Cultural Marxism” is a conspiracy theory holding that an international cabal of Marxist academics, realizing that traditional Marxism is unlikely to triumph any time soon, is out to destroy Western civilization by undermining its cultural values. “Postmodern neo-Marxism,” on the other hand, is a conspiracy theory holding that an international cabal of Marxist academics, realizing that traditional Marxism is unlikely to triumph any time soon, is out to destroy Western civilization by undermining its cultural values with “cultural” taken out of the name so it doesn’t sound quite so similar to the literal Nazi conspiracy theory of “cultural Bolshevism.”

To be clear, Jordan Peterson is not a neo-Nazi, but there’s a reason he’s as popular as he is on the alt-right. You’ll never hear him use the phrase “We must secure a future for our white children”; what you will hear him say is that, while there does appear to be a causal relationship between empowering women and economic growth, we have to consider whether this is good for society, “‘’cause the birth rate is plummeting.” He doesn’t call for a “white ethnostate,” but he does retweet Daily Caller articles with opening lines like: “Yet again an American city is being torn apart by black rioters.” He has dedicated two-and-a-half-hour-long YouTube videos to “identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege.”

READ MORE: Jordan Peterson and the big mistake of university censors

Now, as I’ve said, I failed to get in on the ground floor of the “not using a person’s chosen address” industry which, in a simpler time, was known as “calling people names” and was considered bad manners. But since calling a certain University of Toronto professor “Jordan Pea-Headerson” is apparently the only thing standing between us and non-stop collectivist potato farming, I’ll do my part for the resistance.

Western civilization is, after all, a delicate thing. Today you agree to call Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston “Audrey Hepburn,” tomorrow we’re all fighting over water and gasoline in a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Even worse, some social justice warlord will ask you to call him “Immortan Joe,” and that’s not your real name, Joseph.

As far as I can tell, Jordie—and not the cool “Geordi” from Star Trek either— rewards the devotion of his Patreon patsies with regular rants against “political correctness,” and relationship advice I can only call “Angry Oprah Says.” For USD $29.99, Petersonites can get access to the Self Authoring Suite (a USD $119.92 value!). Those looking for further opportunities to give him money can pay USD $9.99 for “100 question phrases” which “can be found, along with similar question sets, elsewhere on the web” so that they might learn how your personality compares to 10,000 others.

Pro tip: just take a personality test from the back of an issue of Glamour; you’ll only be out about five bucks, and you might find a free perfume sample.

He also gives book recommendations apparently drawn from a high-school English-class reading list. If somehow you missed them, Mistress Peterson is the portal to such obscure works as Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, and that cornerstone of the Western canon, Flowers for Algernon.

There is no polite way to put this, but since Peterson claims that “If you worry about hurting people’s feelings and disturbing the social structure, you’re not going to put your ideas forward,” I’m just going to say it: Spend half an hour on his website, sit through a few of his interminable videos, and you realize that what he has going for him, the niche he has found—he never seems to say “know” where he could instead say “cognizant of”—is that Jordan Peterson is the stupid man’s smart person.

Peterson’s videos go on and on. It’s like opening up a tab for one of those bird’s nest webcams at the height of its popularity: Lots of people are watching, you feel like you should too, but nothing is happening. You keep checking back, the viewer numbers have risen, but the scene is just so grey and drab. You can make out a white object on your screen that may or may not be cracking up, but as time goes on you start to think, “This thing was not incubated properly.”

Watching his videos, it’s easy to conclude that Dr. Jordan Eggman exhibits the first documented case of the male-cry voice. Maybe he wouldn’t need to repeat himself quite so much, maybe he’d be more convincing when explaining things like men are helpless before “crazy women” and “harpies” because it’s not socially acceptable for men to hit women and that this is “undermining the masculine power of the culture” in a way that will prove “fatal” if he didn’t sound quite so much like Gwyneth Paltrow accepting her Oscar for Shakespeare in Love.

It was a video that brought J-man back into the news this week. In July, he posted a video on his YouTube page laying out a plan to launch a website on which students and parents could have courses rated for them by artificial intelligence that could detect a “postmodern cult course.” His aim, he explained, was to cut off “the supply to the people that are running the indoctrination cults.” Ultimately, the champion of free speech said, he hoped the project would shut down whole departments that upset him.

MORE: The death of free speech? Come on.

One has to wonder why Dr. Pettyson felt the need to resort to artificial intelligence. He’s already concluded that the entire fields of “women’s studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies groups” “have to go,”and that sociology, anthropology, English literature, and education are all “corrupt.”

Surely a concerned student, or parent (I note Jordan Petersonny-don’t go-away-I-am-here-all-alone’s oft-expressed concern about overprotective parents is suspended when the terrifying prospect of ANT208, “Medical Anthropology: an Evolutionary Perspective on Human Health,” hovers into view) need only enter the name of the professor teaching a course. If that name isn’t “Jordan B. Peterson,” the class is probably a post-modern neo-Marxist brainwashing scheme.

Understandably, this plan to unleash grumpy-old-man Skynet on the academic world caused concern amongst his peers. The University of Toronto Faculty Association released a statement on Friday condemning Peterson’s website plan, without naming him directly; the group said it was “alarmed to learn that a web site may be under construction that is designed to place under surveillance certain kinds of academic content.”

No one can objectively look at the level of hyperbole used by Jordan Buttercup Peterson and his fanbase and not acknowledge that the Faculty Association’s concern is justified. I wouldn’t want to be a department at the end of those more than 500,000 Youtube subscribers and more than 250,000 Twitter followers.

But you can breathe easy, neo-Marxist conspirators for whom there is “nothing but power” and who, says Petersonshine, are motivated only to ”accrue all the power to them”—the plan has been put on hiatus until he can find a way to avoid adding “excessively to current polarization.” Two days after the faculty association’s statement, J. Pete the Beet announced that he had consulted a Twitter poll and decided to shelve the plan.

“I was going to put an end to your pomo-Marxist plotting once and for all but a third of respondents to a Twitter poll advised against it, so you’re safe… for now!” cried the last great defender of masculine Western civilization.

But woe betide those fields that have abandoned serious inquiry and empirical evidence and have become cult-like: Guru Jordan will vanquish you—just as soon as he’s done prepping his course, Psychology 434: Maps of Meaning.

In this rigorously academic course, students learn how “every experience that you have had contains information. If you have fully processed the information in that experience, (1) its recollection will no longer produce negative emotion and (2) you have learned everything you need to know from it.”

I’m hard-pressed to find a course on Chaucer that comes this close to promising to clear my thetans.

It’s easy to assume Peterson is deserving of respect. A lot of what he says sounds, on the surface, like serious thought. It’s easy to laugh at him: after all, most of what he says is, after fifteen seconds’ consideration, completely inane. But in between his long rambling pseudo-academic takes on common self-help advice and his weird fixation on Disney movies, is a dreadfully serious message.

What he’s telling you is that certain people—most of them women and minorities—are trying to destroy not only our freedom to spite nonbinary university students for kicks, but all of Western civilization and the idea of objective truth itself. He’s telling you that when someone tells you racism is still a problem and that something should be done about it, they are, at best, a dupe and, at worst, part of a Marxist conspiracy to destroy your way of life.

Peterson says he only thinks of it as a “non-violent war.” But when you insist the stakes are that high, the opposition that pernicious, who’s to say where the chips will fall?



Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?

  1. A “humour writer” pretending to be an intellectual can’t lay a glove on Peterson. You just proved it. “Petersonshine.” Quite the zinger that.

    • Lame, Southey. Trying to bolster your faux intellectualism with over-wrought attempts at pithy put-downs demonstrates that you’ve chosen to not give a moment’s thought to give any of what Peterson is talking about.
      The attacks on free speech, the rise of fake fields of study, the rabid enforcement of speech codes, etc., within our institutions of higher learning are all echoes of past socialist tyrannies. From Stalin to Hitler to Mao, all of these things happened in the societies they were building, and all ended badly.
      The idea that words like “he” and “she” are indicative of a despotic patriarchy should be treated with derision for its outright absurdity. The notion that someone should be treated like a criminal for resisting that idea should be met with outright hostility and harsh contempt. The idea of “non-binary” gender is a false construct that can only be held if one ignores long-established platforms across multiple scientific disciplines. (Interestingly, one is more likely to encounter the Loch Ness monster than one is to encounter a “non-binary gender” theorist who would fail to describe someone such as myself, who doesn’t believe the anthropogenic global warming dogma, as anti-science.)
      Sorry, Southey. You’re either intellectually addled by your own education, or you’re willfully ignorant of the ugly historical precedents being re-visited upon us.

      • This defense is so overwrought and desperate that I am unsure if it is parody or serious. Whichever of the two it is, it’s hilarious. thank you.

        • I felt the same about your entire “article”

        • Again, in your response to the commenter, you have failed to refute or even attempt to challenge his arguments. Nothing but ad hominem. “Overwrought and desperate”, “parody or serious”, “hilarious”. Not an argument in sight. This isn’t journalism, it’s the opposite: apologia for power. Shame on you.

      • Hear! Hear!

        • This escalated quickly. :)

      • The irony of your comment is that Peterson is wanting to surveill university courses and rate them according to the content of “culturally Marxist” ideas, based on the belief that the thoughts and arguments presented within them are too dangerous for us to permit university students to be exposed to them. Your own admission that recent ideas about gender pronouns are not even worthy of consideration–only contempt–suggests that you are not really interested in academic freedom either but rather having your own vision of “correct thinking/belief” enforced on others.

        The more I read the comments on issues like this, the more it seems like “freedom of speech” is a red herring…or better yet, a political prize. It always seems like people’s calls for protecting speech also happens to require eliminating the speech of those pesky academics saying things one doesn’t like.

    • So those who lack intellectual heft come here to crow about their poor woebegone put upon old white male crusader! Evident by their content quality the same virus runs through their synapses. But all moths are drawn to the same flame.

      • Hmm. No need to use adjectives of old, white, or male.

        That speaks volumes to your indoctrination.

        • And clearly you must be indoctrinated if your thought process even attempts to counter any opinion created by old, white, males in support of other old, white, males. They are after all, the masters of the universe and how dare you think otherwise.

          • Congratulations on proving his point.
            On the other side of the matter your clicke only disavowed lena dunhan for standing in for due process, completely ignored her self’professed rape of a white guy, attempt to throw a linch mob on a black guy for making himself too difficult to rape, self-professed molesting of her 11yo sister while she was 17 and other slew of shitty behaviors.

      • So Camille Paglia, who is a feminist lesbian, and a seasoned intellectual who could circles around your perspective, also shares many of his views. Time to get a new hobby and actually learn about the world, instead of whatever it is you’re doing here.

        • Feminist lesbian? That pretty much sums things up wouldn’t you say?

          • Not every lesbian is a feminists and vice versa.
            I know plenty of sensible lesbians.

        • I love watching both of them on YouTube – they have differences, but they are respectful differences and each challenge the other to defend their positions – thereby learning from each other. What a concept. Something that Tabitha should learn. In fact it would be great to see Tabitha to take on either Jordan or Camilla – Tabitha would be slaughtered by either or both.

          The purpose of this article is to not explore where Jordan stands on issues or his viewpoints, but rather to slam the alt-right (which BTW no one can define so the revert to old white men shorthand to label it) and to justify why Jordan should not be allowed, under any circumstances, to infect the young minds that the progressive left is trying very hard to capture with their silliness. I doubt that will work.

          • well said.

    • So , because I respect Dr. Peterson and what he has to say, you call me along with close to million people from around the world stupid? Isn’t that name calling? And you don’t know me or any of those people at all or my academic level. I will tell you one thing, that it takes a good base of knowledge in psychology, history, literature, and philosophy in order to be able to understand and process what the man has to say. I used to respect your magazine, but this is not a journalism. It is a hit piece. I don’t know how much lower you can go. I am officially done with you. You are not worth any more of my time…

      • sums it up, thanks.

    • This article is disappointing because there are legitimate reasons to criticize Peterson and his rhetoric but Ms. Southey’s analysis reads like one big strawman. It seems like the author briefly skimmed over some of Peterson’s content, already prejudiced against anything he could say because of how media has reported on him, and decided to make fun of his tone and a charicature version of his beliefs instead of trying to keep an open mind and engage with it. Like I said, there are legitimate reasons to dislike the guy. He fails to disavow the extremist elements of his fanbase and he has a fairly shallow and biased understanding of what postmodernism is. But to say that he’s alt right or a transphobic crank is just misinformed.

      • Agreed. I don’t agree with everything he says but there are some valid points he makes. The name calling as a transphobe or that he is alt right is character assassination by association and irrational and immoral.
        By the way ALL understanding has bias including postmodernism. In fact that is that is a central claim as a theory of critical thought.
        “Postmodernism is a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.”

        I agree we all have a bias, BUT we can try to be more objective and use reason to mediate differences. Postmodern thought disagrees with this which is why I think they are not reasonable nor persuasive. It is something that Peterson points out quite well I might add.

        • Good post, Hangman. I’m curious where you got the definition of “postmodern” – i.e., the material you put in quotes.

          I do wonder, however, if postmodern thought in fact “disagrees” as you say, with the possibility of the seeking and application of objectivity and reason in making judgments in the mediation of differences. I’m thinking particularly of the thought of Paul Ricoeur (and possibly even Gadamer). I don’t think Ricoeur (or Gadamer) would suggest such a thing.

    • agreed.

    • Some who is content to play games with someone’s name should be careful, especially someone with a name like Tabatha.

    • It just is so amusing to see those trying to tear down Peterson prove him correct when he says that today’s products of humanities (although I’m not sure Ms. Southey ever completed her university level education) or social sciences faculties are emerging uneducated. Since Ms. Southey apparently was never taught what Cultural Marxism actually was perhaps she should read Duke University’s 1997 book on British Cultural Marxism: (Duke is not an “alt-right” institution – far from it!) The desperation of those wed to the ideas which Peterson criticizes is caused by the very fact that he is an extremely well-educated scholar with real-world experience. Always check his critics’ CV against his – so far, I haven’t found an article written by anyone whose CV comes even close to his.

    • Ms. Southey — An enjoyable piece of sarcasm, and you hit Peterson hard, by cynically so: perhaps the biggest trouble with him, as I’ve seen, is his certainty, particularly his certainty given the fields he employs: Jungian psychology, the philosophies of Nietzsche, and the unconditional myths of the European world. These are fascinatingly fun studies, and may indeed (far be it from me to conclude) reveal a wisdom for us, but they are not, as some would say, falsifiable. Yet, he is insistent that he is a scientist. This is enough to begin doubting his certainties. That he is forever raising his voice may reveal, as Bertrand Russel once quipped, that he has no certainty what he says is true: “mathematicians”, Russel said, “never raise their voices.”

      Yet, what he has to say about the freedoms to speak as one wishes, and such freedom’s importance, may in fact be on the mark. If this we can agree on, then I laud you, Ms. Southey, for chastising Peterson, and doing it well. I was only hoping for a little more of an attack on his thinking, not his advertising. I suppose that may have been boring, though.

  2. So, calling a friend of the family “auntie” is the same as some SJW who demands that you call them a completely made-up pronoun like xe or xir for political reasons, because they think that their gender is “socially constructed”?

    LOL. The author is drowning in the kool aide.

    • I bet you got really upset when people started using Ms.

      • I think Peterson’s point is that people starting using “Ms.” by their own accord. They weren’t legislated to do so, unlike the policy tabled that got Jordan so riled up in the first place. Peterson has repeatedly stated that he would adopt a new term, organically, the way any smith would adopt a new useful tool.

        I have enjoyed his maps of meaning lectures, but I have written to him expressing concern at his nonchalance over his popularity with extremists… although your broad dismissal of everything he says is not helpful at all.

        I understand part of your job is about click-baiting, but perhaps if you weren’t so disingenuous and venal, you could have started a real conversation.

        • If a person takes unpopular stances that go against the progressive grain, he is bound to find popularity among “extremists”. That should be no concern to him at all. I describe the sky as blue, the grass as green, and the sun as bright. It concerns me not the least that even the most disgusting Hitler-loving extremist would agree with all three of those characterizations.

          For too long, people have shied away from certain viewpoints just because “right wing extremists” might agree with them. That’s just dumb. You don’t dump valid ideas because some “deplorables” share a coincidental mindset on those ideas.

          • Very well written comment. I agree. There seems to be a hysterical reaction from certain people and this article is another example of misunderstanding some of his points and very shallow,knee jerk dismissive thinking. Even worse was the attempt at satire or humour with the name calling.
            What do you get when you cross a columnist and post modern theory? A humorless piece that nobody understands. Try that one. Its objectively better and funnier.

            The worst thing is that the summary of Peterson’s argument is dead wrong. Post modernism DOES attack the notion of objective truth. Explicitly. You haven’t done your homework Southey. Unprofessional.

      • I am a Ms., thank you very much! Don’t you dare call me a Mrs. even though I am married. The difference between you and me, my dear( a feminist) is that I would never support the state punishing a person for NOT using it.

        • My name is Maureen, if people want to label me as something I will accept Queen of the World.

          • Sorry, that’s taken … by Ms. Southey. ;-(

  3. This is absolutely hilarious and spot on. Prepare for the indignant huffs of his easily offended acolytes.

  4. I thought Macleans was still trying to be a serious news organization.

    • They left that pursuit years ago.

    • OMG, is MacClean’s frickin serious posting this?

    • I came to say the same thing. First the G&M calling people stupid, now Macleans. Then I realized Tabitha is a G&M reject that Macleans seems to have picked up.
      I guess they have given up even trying.

  5. The claim that “gender is a social construct” is itself quite blatantly a social construct. This irony is completely lost on the PC parrots. Polly want a cracker?

    • “Well have you considered maybe that I’m rubber and you’re glue?” -you

      Give me a break dude.

  6. So it is, think like us or you are a fool, bulletproof logic

  7. So Mclean’s is now fine with hiring literal internet trolls who proclaim watching 15 minutes of videos justifies hurling invective at one of Canada’s leading thinkers? “Neo Nazi?” Since when is Maclean’s the propaganda arm for the Canadian fascists? How about tackling him on substance? How about criticising what Dr Jordan Peterson’s insight is bringing to the national dialogue. That might be useful or at least maintain a modicum of credibility for the magazine. How about reading one of his books, maybe even spending 15 minutes reading one of his books, then try us again.

    • Well said.

      • Dan-agree. A whole lot of drivel and stupidity evident in this article.

    • Have you ever actually read one of his books? They are basically unreadable. Full of pumped up, over wrought pedagogy.I invite you to attempt Maps of Meaning …565 pages of twaddle. Author was deeply disappointed it was not nominated for a Governor Generals Award when published in 1999. Peterson suffers from the disease of academic entitlement … enraged that his early work was consigned to the dustbins, he’s now dreamed up an area of thought that he hopes will make him relevant. What it really does is just expose him as one more pathetic white male academic who desperately desires attention.

      • Again with the nonsense of attacking people based on personal traits or skin color. This is what upset me about this article. Macleans should be above framing the most important debate of our time with superficial criticism and name calling. This article is designed to distract, with hyperbole and bullying, from the real converstion. Whether you agree with him or not, Dr Peterson talks about some very real and important things. Not to mention discarding his positions based on the color of his skin serves to support Dr Peterson’s position on the root of compelled speech. Our thinkers, especially the counter current, need to be praised or criticized on the value of their ideas, either at their conception or their impact. But to discount this conversation based on someone’s skin color is so blatantly harmful to our society. Dr Peterson deserves credit for his courage to challenge significant ideas taking hold in the beauracracy and drag them out into the public square. Why can’t we turn the page on the personal attacks and get to the heart of this conversation? Dr Peterson is saying compelled speech is wrong and it’s place in government has only ever led to tyranny. I would challenge any writer for Macleans to make a coherent argument against this idea. That’s an interesting conversation.

        PS thanks for asking, I never took his course, but stumbled upon his youtube lecture on Maps of Meaning, then purchased his book. In my view complex ideas, but easily readable. It tackles fundamental questions of our existence from a completely original position. These ideas have been an ongoing revelation to me personally. Highly recommend! Also Kindle is half price off hard cover which I thought was more accessible.

    • “How about criticising what Dr Jordan Peterson’s insight is bringing to the national dialogue”
      What “insight”?

      • Snark doesn’t replace argument. You seem awfully eager to demonstrate your own rather dull intellect. That probably isn’t something you should advertise. Although in today’s watered down universities you’ll probably do just fine.

  8. I’m not really sure what the point of this article is, I read the article in its entirety twice and still don’t know what the point is. The whole thing is nothing just childish jabs at Peterson because you don’t agree with what he’s saying. There’s no substance to the whole of this article, but plenty of sweet zingers like, “He also gives book recommendations apparently drawn from a high-school English-class reading list. If somehow you missed them, Mistress Peterson is the portal to such obscure works as Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, and that cornerstone of the Western canon, Flowers for Algernon.” Yes and also 45 other books, but please cherry pick what he’s said or done to make yourself feel good.

    • Her article is typical of the left. You either agree with them fully or you’re stupid, a racist, a white supremacist and any other slurs that comes to their mind.

    • Funny she objects to those books. Those books are already taught in high schools, which at least in this one respect, makes Peterson boringly mainstream. Seems he can’t win. Say something that goes against the grain, Tabatha hates him. Recommend something benign and mainstream, Tabatha ridicules him. I suppose that’s what happens when middling intellects pretend to some higher plane of thought. Pretending to be smart is like pretending to be sober. She just can’t see all the ways she’s contradicting herself, because she’s not capable.

      • No, she just points out the hucksterism of charging money for a list of books that are already taught in high school.

        • It’s a recommended reading list you dumbass. He isn’t charging anything for it. His links all go to Amazon. I bet you followed Southey when she was at the Globe and Mail too.

          • And as the referrer, Peterson gets commissioned by Amazon.

          • So by that logic anyone who makes a few bucks from Google AdSense or Amazon referrals is suspect in some way, and is likely a member of the alt-right.

  9. Well my comment to this article is the same as it would be to the extremes on either end.

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    ― S.G. Tallentyre, The Friends of Voltaire

    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
    ― George Orwell

  10. When you resort to name calling, you are threatened by a person, and in this case ideas. The author has clearly lived in an echo chamber her whole life and has only ever had her ideas reinforced by peers. When her ideas are challenged she resorts to dismissive and sexist comments proving she is actually quite ok with sexism when it is in her favor.

    • Your insistence that others call Peterson by some pronoun that he has made up is nothing but neo-Marxism. What you deride as “name calling” is free speech!! Stop censoring!!!

  11. There’s a great deal to criticize in Peterson’s work. You hit on none of hit. You were lazy, sniping and foolish. This could have been written by Jezebel or some other online rag….yet you chose to do it here. Gross.

  12. Tabatha, this was truly laborious to read.

    Why don’t you just some out and say it. “Dr. Jordan Peterson is a cunt and I don’t like him because he’s mean”. There it is, your entire article, in one sentence.

    I can’t imagine the mental gymnastics you must have gone through to call Jordan Peterson “alt-right”. It may come as a surprise to you, but not everything the alt-right agrees with is made to be “alt-right”. If they drink Dasani water, that doesn’t make Dasani alt-right. If the alt-right decides that ‘The Bachelor’ is the best show on television, it doesn’t make ‘The Bachelor’ alt-right.
    What you’re doing here, which is fairly common, is you’re bolstering your idea that “Jordan Peterson is a bad guy” with fallacy in lieu of fact.

    The point you’re trying to make isn’t a point at all, it’s a feeling. Because you feel like it’s true, you can conjure up all sorts of emotional statements to support that feeling. In the end, your lack of anything resembling a cerebral argument lends itself to your chosen opposition.

    As an aside, you could have written this piece on any number of alt-right scumbags and likely would have been able to scrape together a valid argument, but instead you chose someone fairly benign and as a result, you’ve made the editorial equivalent of milk toast. It’s not particularly offensive, albeit overtly lukewarm which is an offense in it’s own right, and one is left with a sense that watching a youtube cat video would have, perhaps, been a better use of time.

    • Yes, Tabitha, I just have to agree with “Dr. Masterson” here and mansplain and be an all around anonymous, patronizing douche, too. I mean really, how dare you criticize the esteemed Dr. Jordan Peterson. Don’t you know that he once taught at Harvard? Don’t you know that anyone with a doctorate cannot possibly be racist, sexist or prejudiced in the least? Tabitha, what is wrong with you? How dare you use your finely honed powers of perception and sleight of hand to wage a war of words against this covertly racist, sexist man baby? Who are you to pierce the veil of this intellectual giant who walks among us. Really, Tabitha. I expected so much more; a cerebral argument with lots of big words would have been much more effective. And p.s. you ought to know that hanging around with white supremacists and posing for pictures with them while displaying white supremacist iconography does not make one remotely white supremacist or even someone who supports the alt-right. Seriously, Tabitha, have you no appreciation for irony?

      • If Tabatha had a point to make here, she should have hired someone else to write the article.

      • So the previous commenter criticizes the article for doing nothing more than name-calling, and your response to that person is… wait for it… name-calling.

        You are so brutally unaware of your own mental programming it’s hilarious.

        • Every single commenter who has shown up here to defend Tabatha has done the same thing. Two generations of progressives have grown up thinking that expressing disdain is the same thing as contributing to a discussion. That snark equals commentary. That put-downs equal debate. That childish slogans represent deep philosophical truths. Mental illness on campus has been increasing for 2 generations now as well. That is no coincidence. An academic environment catering to sick dysfunctional minds will attract exactly that.

  13. ‘Peterson first made the news and became a belle of the alt-right when, in September 2016, he announced that he would not use a student’s preferred pronoun if he were asked to’. When your second sentence is a smear combined with a lie. Well done!

    • I fact-checked her statement and it is indeed accurate.

      • You’re cute.

  14. Let me break it down into conservative language. Southey says ” You white old bitter man and your little band of followers are so feckin lame! Crawl under the racist rock that spawned you and pizz off!.

  15. Is Tabatha Southey the smart man’s dumb person?

  16. First, the stupid man’s smart person is Reza Aslan.

    Second, if this writer had spent half as much time examining and challenging her own preconceptions as she spent coming up with fifteen ways to turn Dr. Peterson’s name into a joke, she might have learned something.

    I have a hope that is resurrected whenever I come into contact with someone like the author of this article: Tabatha Southey, I sincerely hope that some day, you become as funny as you think you are. THEN, and only then will you be justified in writing with the self-assured tone you’ve taken here.

    Until then, examine the dark parts of yourself, and pay a little closer attention to a man who has spent over thirty years helping people tackle the hardest problems humans come up against. There’s a reason why the majority of his students, after completing his course, write him and tell him that it was the most important and transformative course they’re ever taken.

    • Xenu is grateful for your kind words

  17. Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?
    Is Tabatha Southey the stupid women’s smart person?
    Worst article I’ve ever read. No citations, evidence or grace. Teen magazine material.

    • you made it past the second sentence? I dunno when they’re smearing and lying off the bat like that, I just immediately close the window… or skip to the comments for a laugh.

    • That’s an insult to teen magazines. Take it back!

  18. I guess I should add that Tabatha Southey just signed her name to the permanent internet list of #ProfessionalLiars #ProfessionalLiar #InternetLiar #InternetLiars

  19. This article feels like it was written by a petulant child.

    Instead of addressing or even outlining ANY arguments Prof. Peterson has made over the course of the past year, the author has instead cherry picked quips (from over 500 hours of lectures) and sensationalized both the message and the context. I wouldn’t expect anything else from such mediocre journalist.

    If anybody is interested in getting an actual overview of Jordan Peterson’s teachings, rather than reading the writings of a pseudo-intellectual, listen to his podcasts with Joe Rogan.

    • Look Jimmy we get that your feelings are hurt, but this is not the first time Petey has been around. I am sure we are all familiar.

    • Yes and as every good posturing, pseudo-intellectual knows, “podcasts with Joe Rogan” are the height of academia.

  20. I had the same idea about names in relation to Peterson. If he knew someone named Bob that changed his name to Mike would he refuse to acknowledge the new name? I doubt it. So then why be so uptight about someone that wants to name their gender? His ranting about bill C16 is also way off base since no one is going to go to jail for refusing to acknowledge someone’s gender. The “stupid man’s smart person” line has been used with Trump but I guess it kind of fits better for Peterson. I do think Peterson is pretty smart, it’s just that he’s taken his intelligent down a dead end street.

    • A name isn’t a gender, nor does it change our language.

    • “ one is going to go to jail for refusing to acknowledge someone’s gender”. It’s only a matter of time before C – 16 is used to test this in court.

    • OH come now, you can’t equate someone changing their name with asking us to use in some cases made up pro nouns for them. That is not even the worst part, it’s having the HRC putting it in as policy. You can name your self identified gender anything you want, but you shouldn’t then have the power of the Gov supporting you in doing so and punishing those that don’t. All of the people like yourself that at this point don’t see the Free Speech threat in this are going to be like a deer in the headlights when this same type of thing hits on something that they care about. Sometimes you need to break out of your echo chamber and look at both sides of an issue.

    • “Taken his intelligent down a dead end street” to explain? That’s quite contrary to what the “journalist” here is suggesting anyway.. and I don’t think “Bob” or “Mike” are the pro only a referred to in bill C16 at all

      • Sorry, *pronouns

  21. It would have been easier for you to title the article “Things Tabatha Doesn’t Like Are Stupid”

    • The right wing populists not to be confused with moderate conservatives believe in accepting others, and the right wing populists want to stay in their silos and attack people and claim they are fighting for Western civilization when they themselves encouraged immigration in the past and free trade and globalization. Their hypocrisy is astounding.

  22. Maclean, Please see this article and realize it is this type of stuff that caused me to cancel my subscription. I was a client for years. Never again, if you continue to put out garbage like Taatha wrote here.

    • This sounds a lot like “Waaaaaaaaa”. Take your toys and go home… quietly. Nobody cares.

      • Do you have something to contribute here? Care to share it with us? I’m not seeing it.

        • Jordan Peterson is a prop of the right wing to far-right in Canada in that he wants to attack trans people and in essence label them as mentally unstable and that they should seek help.

  23. Nice job of combining smug with tedious.
    We don’t deserve you. You’re so superior. How do you make shouldering such heavy burdens appear so effortless?

  24. If you don’t want to use “auntie”, should you be forced under the threat of criminal conviction? That is what bill C – 16, could do with respect to gender pronouns. That is what Mr Peterson is fighting. The author calls him a fascist?

  25. Dr. Peterson is a long-tenured and extensively published academic. Southey is not.

    • Why is his faculty and administration so embarrassed by him then?

      • You mean the gender studies profs?

        • There is nothing wrong with gender studies because the fact is it is coming and learning about the future is something we should be enlightened about. The right wing opposed gay marriage and even centre-right people like the old PC party were progressive enough to understand and get ahead of the curve. Clearly, Peterson appears to be like the neanderthals and want to accept white supremacy, attacking the trans agenda, attack the gay agenda, and be about division.

      • If he’s not being disowned by his university faculty and admin, he’s failing. Why would anyone seek or want approval from a bunch of academics who do nothing but echo each other. Brilliant thinkers from Nassim Taleb to Steven Pinker (two guys who hate each other by the way) have dismissed the last 100 years of liberal arts academia as completely useless. Guys like Peterson make it slightly less useless for the lucky few who get to take a class with him.

  26. Yes, Tabatha, western civilization is fragile. That’s why some people felt they had to leave Zimbabwe.

  27. This is exactly the level of discourse that Peterson deserves. Thank you.

  28. Rex Murphy has a piece tangentially involving Peterson:


    Assuming the article is accurate, I have to say that I agree with R Murphy’s opinion re Wilfrid Laurier University’s treatment of Lindsay Shepherd.

  29. Tabatha Southey clearly intends to take down Professor Jordan Peterson but ends up, like one of Peterson’s lobsters, snapping furiously at something she doesn’t understand. In similar fashion, her attempt to put Peterson down with humour fails completely because she’s just not very funny.

    It’s true, as Southey writes, that Peterson’s YouTube series on the Bible stories are long and sometimes difficult to grasp. I attribute this to my own very limited understanding of Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, and Jung, as well as recent scientific discoveries about how much human behaviour is linked to our primate ancestors.

    Southey is unwilling or incapable of understanding Peterson’s rationalist interpretation of these breakthroughs and, instead, attempts to dismiss him as the “belle of the alt-right”. This is another cringe-worthy attempt at humour as well as a slur. Peterson decries Nazism as much as he decries Stalinism as the monstrous outcomes of secular ideology gone amok.

    MacLean’s readers should ignore the silly superficiality of Tabatha Southey and view Peterson’s YouTube videos for themselves. In my view, Peterson advocates for truth, individuality, hard work, and conscientiousness. But beware: Peterson can be hard work. Southey failed if, indeed, she even tried. You can do better.

    • “Peterson’s YouTube series on the Bible stories are long and sometimes difficult to grasp.”

      Umm, that’s not because Peterson is smart. Think about what you’re saying here.

  30. Jordan Peterson’s “h-index,” is considered exceptional.

    The h-index is the result of physicist Jorge Hirsch’s attempt to measure the quality of scientists, not just the number of times he or she was published.

    In other words, both productivity and impact are measured.

    According to Hirsch, after 20 years of research, an h-index of 20 is good, 40 outstanding; Peterson’s score is 49. His total citation count is almost 8,000.

  31. That is stunning number of lies, misperceptions and slanders in a short period of time.

    • Just wondering Russell if you have any actual facts to back up your opinion or is just all based on feelings? I note it’s much easier to debate with someone if you know what facts they are using as their starting point.

    • Sorry first day commenting on MacLeans, Russell you were referring to the actual article weren’t you, not the post directly above yours. That makes more sense.. my apologies

  32. Wow Tabitha, that was awful. Truly idiotic and childish. A completely unfair smear of Peterson. It’s a cowardly form of attack to go after his disingenuously inflated ties to the alt-right, while completely ignoring any intellectual substance of his philosophical positions. Your amount of condescending nicknames for JP are just pathetic. Be a better writer. Ditch the ad hominem.

    You are saltier than the Pacific Ocean and it’s hilarious.

    • “Your amount of condescending nicknames for JP are just pathetic” says the pathetic manbaby trying desperately not to be one, but failing miserably. It’s so “unfair” to call a racist a racist or a sexist a sexist. “Waaaaaa you’re childish, you’re an idiot, Tabitha!! Sniff, sniff. I’m going home. Cancel my subscription, Maclean’s!!! Waaaaaa…” That’s what you lot sound like—beta males with very tedious and obvious inferiority complexes.

      • The supercilious tone of your posts is not justified by the content. At all. Your reference to beta males is laughable. You’re exemplifying classic beta male behaviour – calling names online behind the safety of a screen, where you know you will never have to back up your words with either intellect or actions. You should replace your eagle avatar with a sparrow. A starving one-legged sparrow. Your hero Tabatha isn’t smart enough to take on the likes of Peterson, and you’re not smart enough to see it.

  33. I lost count of all anti-Peterson pieces I have read, but I they all follow the same pattern: despicable prof inspires alt right with toxic ideas which oppress women and minorities. Ah, and he is greedy pulling 50K$ a month from his zombie supporters. Not even once did I read a half decent counter argument to his main ideas. It is all whining and name calling. Nothing different in this piece.
    I was glad to see Southey gone from the G&M, my Saturday mornings are now much more pleasant. Now Macleans choses to lobotomize their readers. We will see how they like it.

    • Shallow attention-seekers like Southey live for social media attention. How many followers they have – and how many fawning admirers express their approval online (tee hee – so funny Tabatha!) are the currency by which they measure their relevance. It is natural, then, for her to take on Peterson’s massive Twitter and Youtube following. She is seething with jealousy.

  34. Goodness, is this honestly what passes as journalism these days? As a believer in free speech I defend her right to say it. But I would think she would be embarrassed to have her name attached to in the public eye. So many personal attacks, name calling and truly intellectual dishonesty in her representation of what JBP is actually talking about. Is it possible it’s just satire and I’m taking it too seriously? I hope so.. none the less it was brutal to get through.

  35. On a map of Meaning, this article falls sharply off the edge of the word.

    Didn’t need to read it (but I did) to predict that the writer would pull the usual far-left straw man tactics of oversimplifying and petty name calling in the absence of any real, defensible arguments.

    • Yup. Pretty much. Beautifully written ad hominem, but nothing in the way of substance.

      Why bother presenting a real argument when a cutesy personal jab or ten will do?

  36. Wow. So many words and not a single counterargument. Now that’s talent.

  37. It’s not nice to call June “June” when she wants to be called “auntie,” even though she’s not your auntie. It’s not nice to call Jordan Peterson “Petersonshine,” or “J. Pete the Beet,” or “Dr. Pettyson,” even though his name is Jordan Peterson. You know what else it’s not? Illegal!

    You just gave Peterson a taste of his own medicine — you called him a bunch of names he doesn’t want to be called; you ascribed to him labels he doesn’t identify with. And yet … you are not being accused of hate speech, you are not being dragged before a human rights commission and fined, your job is not at risk, you are not being smeared as a nazi, a phobe, a member of the alt-right, you are not being assailed by a crowd of enraged protestors chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, these hateful writers have got to go!” And yet … if you were to write this same article about another person you didn’t like, who also happened to be trans, and you misgendered that person in your article in the same way you purposefully and petulantly misnamed Peterson here, it is very likely all those things would happen to you. And you seriously don’t see a problem with that?

    Manners do not need to be legislated. Being a jerk should not be a lock-up-able offence. You are a writer. Freedom of expression should be something you are willing to fight or write to the death for not something you’ll just sneer and smear away because you don’t like the person who’s doing the expressing or the things being expressed. Something very wrong and very illiberal is happening here. Clothing an attack on freedom of speech in concern for the downtrodden does not make it right. Every witch, every heretic, every Jew who was ever murdered was murdered out of that same concern — for the helpless, the victims, the innocent, the good. It does not make it right.

  38. Wow, as a feminist woman who deeply appreciates Peterson’s work and finds it immensely valuable I am appalled at this sneering smear piece. The lack of thoughtful analysis is disturbing. The author never learned to construct arguments coherently. She’s created a straw man to knock down so she never has to actually grapple with Peterson’s theories. And from a brief search it appears she has a history of unethical and morally repugnant “journalism.”

  39. Thanks Tabitha for doing your part to contribute to shoddy journalism concealed in humor. I would gladly pick apart your misrepresentation of Peterson’s opinions because your article will likely be the only exposure many people will have of his views but I’m just too tired right now. Oh, and thanks for reinforcing my current low opinion of stale, old mainstream publications like Macleans.

    • Actually it’s humour and never pretends to conceal itself as journalism. That’s what you are pretending.

      • No, humour is funny. This was not. And she makes a very serious charge a the end about the possibility that Peterson is fomenting a potentially violent revolt by the alt-right.

  40. I am not surprised that 95% of the comments on this article were negative. The author deserved every bit of that for writing an article to demonstrate an ill attempt at humour through name calling but with absolutely nothing of substance! Does MacLean’s still have an editor?

  41. Jeez, why do I get sucked in so easily….To reinforce a previous poster’s comment, I, too, am a lefty feminist who deeply admires Jordan Peterson, Tabitha. Why? How could this be, you might ask or maybe not. Easily answered. Ms. is my preferred title. I will be very upset if you call me Mrs. I am an individual first. To see me only as an extension of my husband is a grave insult to me. But, wait for it Tabitha, I could never support the state or an institution punishing a co-worker/teacher/worker for not using Ms. To me, that is by far the worse injustice. Freedom of thought, conscience and speech, I hold dear. Commenters, please do not post that this is a straw man argument. I may throw up if I hear that term again. Just Google “deplatforming” to find the many North American and British examples; the teacher who accidentally used the wrong pronoun and the consequences:the number of pronouns in New York State (50 I think); video of Evergreen College. There are more than enough examples for even a toad to know this is more than one isolated case.

  42. Most intellectualy lazy piece of writing I’ve seen in a while. Basically namecalling because the author does not like what Dr. Peterson says, not a single serious discussion of any ideas.
    I especially enjoyed this gem: “It’s easy to laugh at him: after all, most of what he says is, after fifteen seconds’ consideration, completely inane.”
    If you’re going to disagree with someone, at least think about it for more than a few seconds, and then maybe, maybe, you’ll be able to formulate some sort of logically coherent response. The author of this article openly admits that she lacks the attention span and intellect to do any of it, and this is the best she could come up with:
    – Jordan Buttercup Peterson
    – Jordie
    – Dr. Jordan Eggman
    – Guru Jordan
    – Jordan Petersonny
    – Mistress Peterson
    – Dr. Pettyson
    – Petersonshine
    – J. Pete the Beet
    Top level insults, bravo! On one side, a professor of psychology who has hundreds of hours of published videos discussing philosophy, psychology, science, politics… on the other… this. Go cry alone in a corner like the massive failure you are.

  43. I am sure you can sink lower in journalism if you really try, but you have to try hard. This article is mostly a personal attack on Dr. Peterson. (And on me. I don’t think I’m stupid. I got two master’s degrees.) However, it is most insidious for proclaiming that if you agree with anything he says you must be alt-right. This is a blatant attempt to label and discredit anyone sharing Dr. Peterson’s concerns about the direction our society is heading to. This is not only unworthy of Maclean’s, it is an underhanded attack on civil discourse.

  44. Ms. Southey,
    This was a strange reading experience. I had always identified as a liberal, even after reading much of Peterson’s work, so you can imagine my surprise when you revealed to me that my opinions belonged not only to the right, but the alt-right.
    Might you clarify some points for me, though? Since when is politicizing unease strictly an alt-right behavior? How is it that you could cram in more rudeness and personal attacks on character in this brief article than Peterson has in all of his youtube material combined? Is $15 (the actual cost for one program) for the self-authoring program unreasonable to you? Was your experience with that sort of personal exploration and goal setting unpleasant? What is your beef with Flowers for Algernon? Might you identify with Charlie’s mid-regressioch state? How is it that you call Peterson a pseudo-academic and at what point does one become an academic? And might you provide a quote where Peterson claims that women and minorities are trying to destroy “our” freedoms?
    Great clickbait title, though. It grabbed me. Even though I knew it was rhetorical, I was curious if the author might believe the answer to be ‘yes’. This struck me as odd because my mother, a compassionate, academically and professionally successful woman, introduced me to Peterson’s work. Maybe a more appropriate title could be: Is Jordan Peterson the Good Woman’s Good Man…?

  45. I’m hard-pressed to find a course on Chaucer that comes this close to promising to clear my thetans.

    You rock Tabitha! (:

  46. To the editorial staff at Maclean’s magazine: this article is little more than a shameless and poorly veiled attempt at public slander. I’m repulsed by the utterly unprofessional conduct here. I’m no longer going to consume your material because of this ridiculous and unjustifiable treatment of Dr. Peterson.
    Benjamin Kent

  47. The best part about your hit pieces are that they bring new Peterson fans by the hundreds every time. Keep up the great advertisements. It’s free and effective!

  48. man, this alt right stuff is the best grift there is. If I had any self respect or willingness to abandon all rational thought, I’d make a bunch of ranty videos and see those crowdfund buxx roll right in!

    • *a total lack of self respect. Guess the postmodernist neo marxist feminazis are rotting muh BRAIN

      • They may be rotting your brain but in fairness, you likely had something of a running start.

  49. I don’t see how Maclean’s could sink much lower. This isn’t journalism; it’s a failed attempt to provoke. I can’t remember the last time I read a Maclean’s article (perhaps after the Ben Johnson scandal in 1988?) and this one brings into full display its irrelevance. This writer has clearly not done her homework, but I suspect she’s given herself an A all the same.

  50. It’s hard to believe that less than a decade ago, this very magazine featured the likes of Andrew Coyne, Andrew Potter, Colby Cosh, Chris Selley, and Paul Wells. (Mr. Wells’ recent return is looking more and more like an act of profound charity on his part.) These days, the pages of Macleans are populated by Globe and Mail rejects. That would be the same G & M that still finds a way to employ dullards like Liz Renzetti, and runs guest pieces written by high school students.

    I am pleased to see a rebellion in the comments section. The comments sections here are usually rife with fawning Justin fans, yet the uber-progressive Southey couldn’t even hit it off with that bunch. Ouch. Talk about a bad first day at work.

  51. Tabatha Southey clearly intends to take down Professor Jordan Peterson but ends up, like one of Peterson’s lobsters, snapping furiously at something she doesn’t understand. In similar fashion, her attempt to put Peterson down with humour fails completely because…well… she just isn’t funny.

    It’s true, as Southey writes, that Peterson’s YouTube series on the Bible stories are long and sometimes difficult to grasp. I attribute this to my own very limited understanding of Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, and Jung, as well as of recent scientific discoveries about how much our human behaviour is linked to the evolutionary adaptations of our primate ancestors. Peterson’s approach to the “Nature vs Nurture” issue is that both matter a great deal.

    Southey is unwilling or incapable of understanding Peterson’s humane rationalism and, instead, attempts to dismiss him as the “belle of the alt-right”. This is another cringe-worthy attempt at humour as well as an undeserved slur. Peterson decries Nazism as much as he decries Stalinism as the monstrous outcomes of secular ideology gone amok.

    MacLean’s readers should ignore the silly superficiality of Tabatha Southey and view Peterson’s YouTube videos for themselves. In my view, Peterson advocates for truth, individuality, hard work, and conscientiousness. But beware: Peterson can be hard work. Southey failed if, indeed, she even tried. You can do better.

  52. I don’t know why I thought Tabatha Southey would have something insightful to read. I guess she assumed that most people wouldn’t know who Jordan Peterson was, so she could just label him as an alt-right racist, sexist and most would just cheer her on. Perhaps that is the case…which would be sad, because name-calling and slander/libel are what most Canadians probably feel is one major reason the US is currently so divided and angry. T Southey purposes avoids the topics Dr Peterson has discussed which resonate with many people, both men and women, of all races. Instead, she hopes smearing will be cute and the resultant click-bait with win her smiles at her new job. For me, it just reminds me how poor an organization MacLeans has become and reinforces why I no longer buy it or subscribe.

  53. McLean’s – did you seriously just post this????

    • I know right? So hard to believe what most consider a main stream legit mag would post this nonsense

  54. To paraphrase the author, she demonstrates herself to be the stupid person’s stupid person. She seems to think derision is an argument. I have to believe that she is one of those deranged people that thinks how they feel matters to anyone but their mother and their therapist.

  55. Editor: If Tabatha Southey wasn’t good enough for the Globe and Mail, why do you think she is good enough for Macleans? I clicked on this article but didn’t read past the first few lines. I was confirmed in my decision not to renew a paid subscription, and I’ll probably not spend any more time reading your articles online. I have been very disappointed in the past few years, and this libellous nonsense about Professor Peterson is completely unacceptable.

  56. An enjoyable wanky hit piece on a vile angry saxon man-baby, but it would have been a rather good article if you had edited out half the silly nicknames. Still, well argued, good fun, let’s hope he gets hit by a car or felled by a hideous disease. He is a disgrace to Canada and academia, and it’s not like there’s a shortage of these emospastic hysterics.

    • Even anti-Peterson wackos criticize this article.

    • If this guy is cheering you on, then you need to seriously get sorted.

    • I can only pray that your comment was meant as sarcasm.

  57. Either you let people speak freely and discern for yourself what truth if any is shared, or you use force to maintain the only narrative allowed.

    Yet the side that wants to force the narrative accuses the other of creating the conflict.

    A word to those with myopic shortsightedness, while your position may be politically correct today, intellectuals of science and logic will always pursue and share the uncensored truth.

  58. MacLeans has gone high school to drive up readership on the assumption that it is easier to fall down to a negative emotion than it is to climb to a positive one, easier to denounce than to understand. I wish I could say that assumption is wrong. Their business model depends on it which is ironic since the smear on Peterson is that he’s getting rich on his ideas that stress self-sufficiency and doing the hard things that pay off later. MacLeans is skirting close to defamation here. Peterson has published many hundreds of articles and lectures on myth, psychology and other subjects. Could a reader find that out here? Why is it hidden? MacLeans is the journalistic equivalent of a pusher outside a high school pushing white “candy.”

  59. I was hoping for something more than just ad-hominum and discursive imagining. It’s important to have a dialogue about what is going on, to present arguments that can be scrutinized and elaborated. I feel like I just wasted my time with something an inexperienced and angry teenager would write.

  60. So well said, thanks.

    • And of course I mean well said by Ms Southey, not the posts by those who are outraged by being outed as bigots of various stripes who tried to hide their ugliness behind the credentials of their academic enabler.

      She has certainly put the cat among the pigeons.

    • And of course I mean well said by Ms Southey, not the posts by those who are outraged by being outed as bigots of various stripes who tried to hide their ugliness behind the credentials of their academic enabler.

      She has certainly put the cat among the pigeons.

  61. Hm.. It would be easy to dismiss the author as the stupid person’s stupid person and move on. But if one grants that she is heartfelt in her attempts to write op. eds., she has much to learn. Derision is not an argument. Name calling is not an argument. An actual statement of your own opinions and why they are superior to others you oppose would be a good starting point. After that humouryou might what you

  62. Dr Petersen received a warning that he very likely was violating the law by not complying with legal directives on pronouns. That warning came from his employer, the University of Toronto, specifically after an analysis by their legal department.

    That’s not funny. It’s also not mentioned at all in the article. Omitting the central fact of the controversy, that one can get pulled before a tribunal and subject to penalties for using conventional english makes the article a joke. It’s just not a very good one.

  63. So if I read this correctly- Peterson is a racist, homophobic, right-wing charlatan and people who think otherwise are idiots. That’s some high-quality journalism there Maclean’s- way to stay relevant!

  64. Dear Ms Southey,
    I don’t impress myself nearly as much as I’d like but I managed this morning as I reached the end of this poor drawn out attempt at humour.
    Compelling as it was in its verbose vapidity and name calling, at articles end, I was left puzzled…What was that?
    Perhaps it was an act of desperation, but in attempt to reveal that to myself, I used your approach.. Maybe the best way to explain it, is to explain what it’s not: Funny, true or relevant.
    I was puzzled by the Auntie June parallel. It might better fit the situation at hand if what hung in the balance was not pudding but potential for criminal persecution.
    I was also puzzled by your ridicule of Dr Peterson’s inclusion of Steinbeck, Orwell and Keyes in an excellent list of literary works. A lack of obscurity and commonality with the Canadian curriculum didn’t strike me as valid grounds.
    Most of all though I was puzzled by your denigration of Dr Peterson’s word choices and your use of ‘pseudo-academic’. PSEUDO. Academic!?
    This whole piece is written with an air that suggests not an equal but superior knack for coherence and articulation. If this is something you possess Ms Southey, I’m sincerely impressed! You might consider applying even a modicum of it in future articles. Until then I’ll be damned if I make to the end of another one.

  65. He seems to have an excessive interest in his own thoughts and admires himself just a bit too much. If he has any credibility at all, the fact that he’s profiting financially from his ramblings, puts paid to it.

    • “Puts paid”… pun intended?

  66. It is fascinating to watch the Hegelian dialectic unfold in real time. A year ago the author would have likely shared the opinion that being rude in public should be punishable as a hate crime. But now, given permission to be rude by someone she disagrees with, she has not only reversed her former stance but is clearly enjoying her newfound right to say what she really thinks of others. How wonderful.

    I see many critics of Peterson alleging a lack of intelligence, and I feel like this complaint misses the point somewhat. Certainly, the 150 IQ Dr Peterson lays claim to is on the low end for a public intellectual of his standing. However, to borrow a D&D metaphor, he is not a wizard who could afford to maximize his intelligence and neglect everything else. Peterson is far more similar to a cleric, and like a cleric his most important skills are powered by wisdom and charisma.

    The idea that every citizen has a responsibility to speak truth to society is not a novel one and dr Peterson is not receiving 50 000$/month for coming up with it. He has attracted that level of support because, when push came to shove, he actually followed his own advice. That does not require intelligence, and critics who disparage his IQ seem insensate to the fact that there are more primary qualities that make him successful.

    • Kudos on the D&D reference.. and I too am thrown for a loop when Peterson is shamed for amassing financial support for his work..

      • Thanks! It certainly lends credibility to his observation that [the bloody neomarxists] don’t love the poor, they just hate the rich.

        So does the fact that much of what this and other authors present as evidence of Peterson’s low intelligence, is really just distaste for his working-class sensibilities.

    • To be clear, I don’t begrudge someone making a lot of money for their skills and talents. But it is a slippery slope when one finds a niche and then feeds into it because some words and ‘thoughts’ are more profitable than others. Peterson’s suite of social media seems to be feeding his ego, which encourages him to pump out more videos that may honestly reflect his beliefs or may be increasingly inflammatory because that’s what sells. For my part, I find his thoughts, as you say, derivative. He’s no Chomsky.

      • Dianneg,
        I see what you mean about the slippery slope of succumbing to the pitfalls and allure of “inflammatory remarks= more money” but I don’t believe Peterson is guilty of that.
        And as far as the“he’s no Chomsky” remark, I find them to be quite similar, not because Chomsky has amassed a fortune for his contributions as an esteemed intellectual, but because Peterson espouses many of Chomsky’s beliefs. They both appreciate and respect formal grammar and syntax. Much of what Peterson says echos Chomsk’s “The Reaponsibiltiy of Intellectuals”. And Peterson’s stance as far as free-speech law is concencerned, is actually quite moderate compared to Chomsky’s.
        Truly though, I do see your point with regard to ego-inflation and profiteering, and it’s true that his name is often conflated with the alt-right (as Southey has done) but I feel that so far that argument is untenable.

        • Fair enough. Food for thought.

          • I have noted Chomsky on Postmodernism resonating with Peterson: For example on youtube: Noam Chomsky: Postmodernism, French Intellectual Culture, and Moral Relativism & Foucault

  67. A laughable critique, made pathetic by those people who will share it on social media as if it proves something other than how intellectually lazy and dependent on snark their entire movement is.

  68. Whereas Tabatha Southey is apparently just straight up stupid. The article went on and on with such witty rejoinders as Petersonshine, but nowhere does she bother to actually put forth a cognizant argument of any substance whatsoever. Surely Maclean’s can do better.

  69. If anyone can tell us why Macleans editors would put this nasty rambling mess of potage on the table, please let us know. Just that little line about Chaucer and thetans tells me that this is all about the author’s big brain, and not much else.

  70. Oh Macleans… why publish such an insipid opinion piece? It’s so small, so shallow. It does nothing to actually challenge Jordon Peterson’s ideas. Whatever happened to Macleans, the news magazine where I could count on strong journalism, articles that truly were food for thought. This Tabatha Southey piece is barely a dollop of Dreamwhip.

  71. Jordan Peterson isn’t just admired by the alt-right, he’s admired by everyone who cherish free non hate speech.

  72. Interesting how Southey has taken Peterson quotes and used weaved them into her own context to make it appear that they are his quotes.
    This paragraph in particular really bothers me and the in turn the reputation of Macleans. I have copy and pasted. Please not all the quotation marks and who said what and who Southey wants you to believe who said what.
    To be clear, Jordan Peterson is not a neo-Nazi, but there’s a reason he’s as popular as he is on the alt-right. You’ll never hear him use the phrase “We must secure a future for our white children”; what you will hear him say is that, while there does appear to be a causal relationship between empowering women and economic growth, we have to consider whether this is good for society, “‘’cause the birth rate is plummeting.” He doesn’t call for a “white ethnostate,” but he does retweet Daily Caller articles with opening lines like: “Yet again an American city is being torn apart by black rioters.” He has dedicated two-and-a-half-hour-long YouTube videos to “identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege.”

  73. This is a poorly written, poorly researched hit piece from a feminist activist who realizes the feminism scam is about to end.

  74. Long-form trolling.

  75. ‘ If you wish to know who controls you, find out who you cannot criticize’ In this article: You are pretty much free to say whatever you want, no matter how smart or idiotic, temperate or heated, honest, false, or completely bonkers. Well, that clearly is a lie. Go onto a street corner and spew something against islam.

  76. Lol…Southey, you almost sound like a smart person. You may want to go back and read or listen and consider at a deeper level what is being stated. Maybe remove your feminist/marxist/post-modernist filters…or at least allow them to be challenged!

  77. What Petterson is doing is bringing people to center while defending free speech and hopefully make everyone realize that although the far-Left and Far-Right are the angriest and loudest they are a small small minority and that we cannot allow either to dictate our future. I Dont agree with all of Petersons idea but Ive seen nothing that shows him to be a bigot or racist. He is fighting this small pc political movement has its hooks into pop culture by using pressure and bully tactics. When it comes right down to it, I am a Liberal but the far left scares me way more then the far right. I want Democracy, It would be very cool if there was no hate and everyone respected everybody, but thats not possible for the human race at this time in our evolution. And these wachos on the far left keep pushing the buttons of the far right then are going to be in for a rude awakening and the rest of us are going to be caught in the middle. Assholes like this fella who wrote this piece are on the front line. Smarten up fuckers

  78. Poppycock. Rubbish. This entire article is clearly written by a person who wants to put their fingers in their ears and yell “la la la.” There isn’t a valid argument or fact finding mission here whatsoever. It is simply a so called writer calling a Dr. a “big dummy head,” and anyone who listens to this Dr. is an even bigger “dummy head.” It’s like children talking. Like Dr. Peterson has said, you’re not getting it. Your confusion with that IS the problem. The first thing you do is call names and cast dispursions on anyone who could potentially read what you don’t want them to read. You’re angry. You’re angry because you don’t want to hear the truth. You, my lady and your ilk are the problem. You want to play by two different sets of rules. If the good Doc and yourself ever get into a debate on these topics, I want a front row seat. I’ll gladly put a paycheck down as a wager in your complete destruction. If you could keep your emotions together for such an event.

  79. Haha! I love this! I feel like I’m six years old again!

  80. I used to read Ms.Southey when she wrote for the Globe and Mail. It is one of the reasons I rarely read that paper anymore. It is obvious her strong opinions (which she seems to think are facts) , hubris and condescending arrogance against anyone who does not share her narrow world view continues. She is not a very good writer either. Not a well researched or written opinion piece in my opinion.

  81. Unfortunately a disappointing article. I say so having come here to read a genuine critique of a complex and often troubling thinker whose ideas desperately need a worthy counterpart. Peterson, whose body of work is largely rooted in Jungian archetypes and mythology, often let’s his admiration for the history of western thought lead him to say some frighteningly outdated and obviously provocative things, and so he needs someone who thinks as carefully and deeply as he does (just watch a few of his lectures and you can see he is a thoughtful thinker who is self reflexive and open to dialogue) to engage seriously with his position in this complicated moment in history. Because Peterson is concerned with ideological polarization, and his complicated position is far from the simple one you’ve put forward in this article, but of course by calling his millions of fans stupid you’ve contributed carelessly to the kind of polarization we see increasingly in places like this. Peterson’s position regarding pronouns needs to be engaged with seriously in my opinion, but as far as I can tell you compare it to having to call someone auntie who is not your aunt? And do so only to get pudding? Am I correct or did I misread your comparison? I didn’t come here to insult the author, despite feeling insulted by this article, as i believe she is an intelligent writer who is dealing with new and tenuous subject matter, but I would like to finish by suggesting that the simplifications of issues that this texts relies on is something much more dangerous as a mode of communication than Peterson’s attempts to communicate his ideas. To be clear, Peterson does sometimes perpetuate some dangerous ideas, which is why he needs a solid intellectual counterpart to engage with him, but this article represents a kind of lazy, oversimplified thinking that is more dangerous in its nature, I think, than the rigorous methodology by which Peterson at least attempts to engage with ideas he disagrees with. Also, to finish the author suggests Peterson fears an attack on “objective truth itself” which demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of Peterson’s position. He publicly denounces the notion of objective truth in favour of pragmatic truths in his discussion with Sam Harris. Hope to see a better article on this subject asap.

  82. I have been studying clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s lectures for a few months now and I sense that he is interested generally in using AI (Artificial Intelligence) as a tool for the clinical identification of Personality Disorders. In particular, this would apply to the project of identifying “Ideologically Obsessed” aspects of the Academic world in a similar sense to how one would identify a personality disorder in an clinical psychology setting.
    This would be creepy if it weren’t for the fact that Peterson balances respect for the analytic aspect of the discipline of Clinical Psychology, and the Western deterministic, analytical Scientific tradition in which it sits, with an acute awareness of its limitations. For example, Peterson regards certain of his mentors: Dostoevsky and Nietzsche as both diagnosable with Personality Disorders and as sources of essential wisdom. And that Peterson clearly regards human nature generally as fraught with existential challenges which necessarily must be struggled with (as in his half-serious characterization of humans as half-crazed apes) and transcended, beyond the limitations of Western Science.
    The analytic side of Clinical Psychology basically already uses AI in a certain sense: clinical diagnoses are presumed to follow from clearly defined sets of procedures which are experimentally repeateable. Such methodology is readily programable because it is entirely deterministic.
    These clinical tools violate the sense that a healthy individual would have of being a sacred unique individual transcending the limits of deterministic Western Science. But that is entirely Peterson’s essential point, after all: that a person whose being is not aimed toward the Transcendent (toward the “star” in his analysis of the Pinnochio myth, for example) is necessarily trapped in a deterministic pathology: as a “puppet” whose action is determined by who is pulling its strings.

  83. You really miss the mark here and just reinforce why Peterson is so popular. You’re pet names lack any sense of humour because you’re so concerned about offending just about anyone, including your own engrained neo Marxist values that I almost thought it was a parody of what a leftist would write in response to the existence of someone with a coherent dissenting opinion. Peterson is correct in his assertion that women’s, racial/ethnic studies, sociology, English literature and education are corrupt. I know because I took all those courses in university. They do not foster a tolerance or understanding between members of different races/genders/social classes etc. But merely act as an Olympics of oppression with Caucasian males as last place everytime. If our society continues to point out differences between each other and provide benefits and compensation to those who win the oppression Olympics as if they are a different class of people, it will succeed in creating a civil war or race war pitting left against right, black against white and man against woman. The above mentioned subjects all push this agenda for the purpose of highlighting intolerance and hate but offering no measures or solutions to be taken against such issues other than empowering the disadvantaged and offering them a patronizing special status while stripping the oppression Olympics losers (white males) of every right they have in the process, thus pissing them off to no avail and bringing us to our current neo Marxist political climate. Unfortunately for you, Ms. Southey, Peterson is the smart man’s smart Man, and your Marxist/Socialist “all animals are created equal but some are more equal than others” ideology is the thinking of the mentally ill. I’d urge you to look throughout history for times either ideology has succeeded without the death of millions. You will find it hasn’t.

  84. Not sure if I was reading a buzzfeed or a vox article, I had to squint my eyes to make sure. Anyway as socrates put it: “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

  85. I read this as fairly as I could and really tried to understand what Southey was saying. That being said, there are so many inaccuracies even from the articles’s intro that just can’t be ignored. For one thing, Peterson is NOT an alt-right sympathizer. He explicitly condemns Nazism and has studied it for years, and yet Southey makes it sound as if his only appeal is to “stupid people”/Nazis. That’s not the case. He has videos on numerous subjects from “How to stop procrastinating”, “The problem with atheism”, “Eye contact and attraction” and not to mention his video studying God in the context of the Bible, which is the most popular video on his channel. Southey makes a total straw man argument and anyone who has watched a few of his videos will know that his appeal is to ordinary people, not just alt-right wingnuts.

    Also the clearly sarcastic statement “What the poor man has been through” really bothers me, because he agrees that he’s been treated pretty well by the media and points out that he’s only received five pieces of hate mail in the past year. He’s really humble about the whole situation and doesn’t try to pass himself off as a martyr, so it’s very unfair to pretend that he’s some self-righteous guys with a superiority complex. He’s not.

    It’s really sad. Southey could have given an honest critique of Peterson and his ideas without resorting to dishonesty, especially dishonesty that’s so easy to see through. This is unfortunately very poor journalism.

  86. Holy crap.

    I’m a Green Party voter and very active with the party over the years. I’m anti-Trump, pro-regulation. I’m about the furthest thing from “alt-right” that you could come across.

    But since I absolutely agree with what Dr. Peterson is trying to say, I must be a stupid person according to Ms. Southey.

    It was pretty apparent reading the article that she never really took the time, or took off her blinders long enough, to truyl understand what he’s trying to say.

    I could pick things apart point-by-point, but I’ll just mention one thing: Calling Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston “Audrey Hepburn” isn’t a problem. Living in a society where refusing to call her Audrey Hepburn can get you called a Nazi, make you lose your job, or land you in jail, is definitely a problem. Until Ms. Southey figures out the difference between these 2 points, I think she’s a lost cause. And judging by her prior articles and her shallow understanding and knee-jerk, bandwagon-jumping tendencies with other issues, I’m not hopeful that she is capable of anything more than this silly, ad-hominem attack.

    I’d love to see a good critique of Peterson from someone with good intellectual capacity, as I don’t agree with everything he says but find it hard to articulate exactly why. But I can sure tell you with no brain strain that this article by Ms. Southey is a pile of…

    • You need to understand that Peterson uses the language of Rebel and thus is being manipulated. Southey is right that the right wing populists want any attack against feminism and any group they deem as the enemy and we need more unity, and Elizabeth May does show that Peterson and people like them can speak but they seek to use their language to divide and win over people in their form of politics as well.

      Getting called a Nazi is common for people on the right just like Liberals getting called “communists” or “socialists” when they are far from those terms in both cases. I see no apologies from both sides but I move on.

      Also, I don’t understand the tendencies of the right wing populists to call people “cultural marxists” and “neo-marxists”. A marxist is for communism or a far-left form of socialism, so the truth is Southey is right that the right wing idolizes Peterson as a tool to so-called “save Western civilization” and merge their policies with his.

      • You don’t have to be either right or left to support Peterson’s position for non hate free speech. A functioning brain is all that’s required.

  87. This is a troll of an article by someone who obviously disagrees with him and has an agenda. It puts forth no substance to back up any opinions or claims, just name calling and cherry picking. Some of Peterson’s videos may lack substance and he does go off on tangents and suffers from academic entitlement, but many are informative and useful. To dismiss him generally, a tenured professor at respected school, as you seem keen to do just serves to discredit you. He is flawed but he also brings fresh ideas and insights to many, both that have and have not attained higher education. If he was so empty as you claim, he would not resonate with so many people. And by the way, I am an LGBTQ supporter and nonbinary and I think the whole made up pronoun list is ridiculous. Some conformity is necessary in society, he has no issue with using They Them and Their, just the silly made up words. People get over yourselves. The issue is pandering to so called victims. And to equate him with the alt right that happens to like him, is more agenda pushing. If anything it is good as he might educate some of them and bring them to the middle. Which is more than we can say for the polarizing left.

    • Brenda, thank you for taking the time to post your point of view. I have a friend of 20 years who is trans, much like you she is sick of this whole debate and completely agrees with Dr. Peterson. If the issue really is treating trans people with basic human dignity making sure they are not denied house, employment, medical care etc, how does compelling speech further that? Much like yourself I don’t agree 100% with Dr. Peterson on all his views, but for people to keep repeating the incorrect mantra that he is a trasnphobe or doesn’t believe they are valid etc, shows their intellectual dishonesty. Those are the people we need to watch, the ones using the trans community as pawns to further their agenda. My trans friends says the only thing she ever wanted was to just be referred to by the pro noun she feels, which is the opposite of how she was born. I would never deny her that respect. BUT if even after 20 years of friendship she wanted me to call her Ze or Zir or some other made up thing I would decline and just refer to her by her name. She tells me 95% of the trans community feel the same way.

  88. It is so sad that MacLeans would publish such an amateurish trash piece produced by a bitter troll masquerading as a journalist. Macleans credibility is becoming seriously jeopardized.

  89. This article is so poorly written I had to read some sentences twice, in spite of the fact that they contained no information. It is just a boilerplate of logical fallacies: ad hominem attacks, stawman arguments, appeal to ridicule, appeal to emotions… To answer the author’s question, I think Jordan Peterson is the stupid person’s smart nemesis.

  90. For the truth to set you free, you have to abide by it.

    The word of the year for 2016 was “post truth”, meaning that when a conflict exists, choosing information that makes one feel good, and rejecting the truth. Truth being defined by reality.

    That’s all that’s going on here.

  91. This is a sad attempt at a hit-piece. It’s hard for me to believe, but it seems the author is dead-serious. I’ve never seen a hit-piece miss the point so completely.

  92. A clever article full of witty put downs but like many of the Contra Peterson articles I’ve read in the last four weeks it fails to do the one thing necessary to credibly check the professors authority – it fails to examine and refute Dr Peterson’s ideas. There is a lot of ad hominem, a lot of subjective reasoning, a lot of guilt by association but not real substance, which is an irony because the author attacks Peterson for lacking substance. The Profs works speak for themselves, you’ll have to bring something meatier to the table if you want us to see them in a different light.

    • That would be because the people on the opposite side of the debate from Dr. Peterson have no actual facts, they only have their feelings. So they continually attack him personally or make up talking points he has never subscribed to. Never once has he said he doesn’t think Trans people are valid. Nor sub human nor does he want them to be denied basic human rights, medical care, housing, employment etc. He just doesn’t believe any of those things will be won by having the Gov compel speech. In many ways it will have the opposite effect as people rebel against being “TOLD” what they have to say. I like many others will NEVER even under threat of death allow a Gov or Law tell me I must use certain words. More so when they are completely driven by politics. Why suddenly after so much time is this place to plant a flag and try to force speech. The agenda here is what’s needed and once discovered and having light on it, the masses are not going to like and they are not going to take it sitting down. Enough is enough. Trans people are the pawns of the power elite that want to and are using them for their own political gain.

  93. This article is overwhelmingly petty and clearly written with the intention of attracting readership by any means. The title is extremely offensive, and is only a reflection on the “journalist”.

    • The right wing populists not to be confused with moderate conservatives believe in accepting others, and the right wing populists want to stay in their silos and attack people and claim they are fighting for Western civilization when they themselves encouraged immigration in the past and free trade and globalization. Their hypocrisy is astounding.

  94. I would gladly like to see any debate between this… Tabitha Southey, who, no question about it, is not a stupid person’s smart person, but a stupid person period… and Prof. Peterson, and see who prevails. In fact, I don’t need to wait and see, reading this bilge is enough.

    • You need to understand that Peterson uses the language of Rebel and thus is being manipulated. Southey is right that the right wing populists want any attack against feminism and any group they deem as the enemy and we need more unity, and Elizabeth May does show that Peterson and people like them can speak but they seek to use their language to divide and win over people in their form of politics as well.

      Getting called a Nazi is common for people on the right just like Liberals getting called “communists” or “socialists” when they are far from those terms in both cases. I see no apologies from both sides but I move on.

      Also, I don’t understand the tendencies of the right wing populists to call people “cultural marxists” and “neo-marxists”. A marxist is for communism or a far-left form of socialism, so the truth is Southey is right that the right wing idolizes Peterson as a tool to so-called “save Western civilization” and merge their policies with his.

      Also, having a debate for the sake to see supremacy is a form of supremacy and not a way to get ideas to enlighten people. Southey is right also that Reagan and right wing figures have become messiahs over the decades and Peterson like Levant and Lilley are radio talking heads made into messiahs when people just want to hear what they want to hear, not fill their heads with useful information.

  95. Yow! Regardless of anyone’s opinion on Jordan Peterson, the person who wrote this article is a comma and two periods away from being totally illiterate!

  96. The failing MacLean’s Magazine. Terrible! Horrible writing and research. Sad!

  97. He sounds refreshing, and civil debates with him would be necessary elements of our representative democracy, and freedoms.

  98. I don’t think Tabatha has the right tone for MacLeans.

    • She doesn’t have the right tone for printed word.

  99. The author of this article seems completely unaware of her glaringly obvious psychological projection. This reads like an unhinged, snarky rant. It has the maturity and even-mindedness of a toddler’s tantrum. Her mind was made up from the start – the article reeks of confirmation bias and an attempt to elevate the obvious emotional insecurities of an insecure narcissist. Complete with bizarre playground name calling and completely irrational accusations based on distorted interpretations of someone’s words.

    It is not necessary to agree with everyone on every opinion, but an understanding of nuance is useful. Extreme idealism may not be quite as dangerous to our society when it leans left, but it is certainly naively self-defeating.

  100. Seriously, do you actually think people care what a academic thinks about anything or what you think? They care for about it for as long as it takes for Trump to send another tweet or the next “hard” news story in sports or The View. A tempest in a teapot!

  101. The author does a great job of dressing up petty ad hominem and blatant untruths in a somewhat cute and highly retarded essay. Her use of quotation marks to convey an inaccurate isn’t only dishonest as some here mentioned but potentially dangerous in how it furthers the polarization of the “us civilized decent folks” vs “Peterson and his as nazis followers” narrative in such an underhanded way. What were the publishers thinking by letting her publish something with such a bold lack of journalistic integrity?

  102. Couldn’t finish reading this , pardon, pathetic twaddle. Jordan B. Peterson has more credibility then all his critics , combined.

  103. Couldn’t finish reading this , pardon, pathetic twaddle. Jordan B. Peterson has more credibility then all his critics , combined.

  104. And thus ends my long-standing respect for MacLeans magazine, with a shudder of disgust.

  105. Jordan Peterson is a pseudo-intellectual charlatan shill who is exactly what he claims to be fighting. Operates on his own warped definition of what truth is and nests it within a so called “higher truth” when his beliefs conflict with science. Admitted on his podcast with Sam Harris that he wants to shield his Christianity from scientific appraisal. Frauds like Jordan Peterson are ready to divest of objective truth as soon as it interferes with their so-called “higher truths” that they subjectively construct. Peterson literally said scientific facts may not necessarily be true if they conflict with his “higher truths”. In addition, it irates me that charlatans like Peterson think the definition of truth ought to include things like utility for instance. But, something that could be useful could be false and something that could be true could be useless. He is a weird kind of rightwing postmodernist and denier of objective truth/materialism whose aim is to thrust forwards a corrupt relativist agenda steeped in neomystic woo to fulfill personal ideological gains. Seems to have duped a lot of people with his word salad of pseudo-profound jargon. How can anyone trust such a dishonest individual like Jordan Peterson who downgrades truth for his own warped definition which according to his sick ideology would even trump scientific fact. He is an enemy of reason, an enemy of the scientific method, an enemy of truth, and a threat to the advancement of scientific thought who would disgrace the integrity of science for the sake of his intellectually vacuous, delusional, credulous and superstitious beliefs. Worse than creationists in my opinion. At least, creationists are honest about what they do. It appalls me that very few people have seen through his agenda. I utterly despise these sorts of agendas – undermining science for the sake of petty ideological gain.

    Not to mention he subscribes to the Jungian school of thought – one of the most pseudo-scientific systems of thought (or non-thought?) that there could be.

    On the free speech issue, I’m also intrigued why he spends all of his time fighting campus censorship wars but would never speak out against climate scientists being silenced by Trump.

    • Seems to me that this is simply projection. You completely misrepresent Prof. Peterson, seemingly to paint him with your own failings.

      “On the free speech issue, I’m also intrigued why he spends all of his time fighting campus censorship wars but would never speak out against climate scientists being silenced by Trump.”, you say, as if this is somehow ‘telling’, painting Peterson as a Trump supporter, hah! Can you cite Peterson supporting any of Trump’s positions?
      Nono, much easier to do the ‘charlatan’ thing and imply he supports Trump.

      And you’re ‘intrigued’ you say, that Peterson is fighting ‘campus censorship wars’?? Yes, that would be trivial, if that were, in fact the case. But Peterson is actually fighting the criminalization of pronoun misuse, as layed out in Bill C-16.
      Of course this can either be ‘ridiculous nonsense’, OR, the UofT administration can legally distance themselves from Peterson’s position, unless you’re implying that the UofT’s administration is in the habit of catering to ‘ridiculous nonsense’???

      But wait a second here, you strawmanned Peterson’s position as simply ‘fighting campus censorship wars’, didn’t you?
      I’d be willing to bet that this was no error on your part, but it was, in fact, just exactly what a charlatan, a phoney, does!
      Am I right?
      Your insistence that Peterson is cashing in on his religious ideas is ridiculous since, even if he were, every sect decries ever other sect, so all you’re doing here is stating the obvious, that each sect believes it has the one, true, indisputible truth, and the others are, at the very least, to some degree, mistaken!
      You claim that Peterson is a postmodernist as if you’ve never actually listened to anything Peterson has said, specifically about postmodernism!

      Many of Peterson’s fanbase don’t adhere to his notions concerning Jung’s ideas, but are simply on his side when he denounces forced speech, when he says that he simply will not be cowed into calling people made-up pronouns!
      If this is not the case, if government isn’t trying to force people into compliance, then there is no ‘there there’ for the UofT, the Ontario Human Rights or the Feds, is there?
      But I think we both know, that there is indeed a there, there.
      Don’t we?

      • Well said PBO.

  106. So neither Tabatha Southey nor Mclean’s noticed the straw man argument she is using? Funny thing about that is, I think EVERYONE ELSE DID!

  107. The title of this article is def not gender-neutral! What does that tell us?

  108. The author of this article gives in denigrating Peterson gives a perfect description of herself: she doesn’t know what Peterson’s talking about and goes on to illustrate his points my missing the point. In her case, she’s like Peterson’s statistic on Humanities publications: 80% have a 0% citation rate.

  109. I’m Asian and I never got the impression that Jordan Peterson was antagonising ethnic minorities.

    Jordan Peterson’s politics appears to be classical liberalism, with traditionalist and realist elements.

    There’s nothing racist about him, whether explicitly or implicitly.

  110. A lot of name calling going on in this article – very petty; this felt very “lowest common denominator” to me.

  111. Oh wow, it must be terrifying for attention seeking half wits like TS to encounter truly wise and enlightened souls like Jordan..what TS is scared about is that she and her echo chamber are becoming irrelevant, neurotic mediocrities. This article is like an out of tune karioke singer ridiculing a classically trained Tenor! Cannot believe that this piece was read by an editor and published, the hope is more people will seek out the wonderful Jordan Peterson and make their own minds up, and for anyone in doubt that academia has become an Orwellian dystopia with their bias police ready to reprogramme wrong thinkers check out what happened to Lyndsay Shepherd at Wilfrid Laurier University a teaching assistant who was hauled before a tribunal for showing students a five minute TV broadcast discussion which included Jordan, the secretly recorded transcript is truly chilling. Jordan’s fears are real, Southey wants you to stay dumb, fail!

  112. About the author of this article: This woman was married to Dave Foley (of Kids in the Hall) and completely destroyed his life in the divorce, to the point that he literally can’t come back to Canada without being arrested. Google his interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast. This woman has no right to judge anyone else’s morality, period.

    • Just visited Joe Rogan’s podcast with Dave Foley on YouTube. I recommend it to everyone.

  113. Extremely puerile article. Possibility that author really is a product of one of the ‘postmodern cult courses’ to which Jordan Pea-Headerson is referring.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up TEACHING one.

  114. “Well before Peterson erupted on to the public consciousness last fall with his YouTube videos questioning the current push for genderless pronouns and gender equity, he was recognized as a respected scientist.

    He taught at Harvard University for six years.

    His so-called “h-index,” for instance, is considered exceptional.

    The h-index is the result of physicist Jorge Hirsch’s attempt to measure the quality of scientists, not just the number of times he or she was published.

    In other words, both productivity and impact are measured.

    According to Hirsch, after 20 years of research, an h-index of 20 is good, 40 outstanding; Peterson’s score is 49. His total citation count is almost 8,000.”

    That was an article from The National Post, by a real journalist, Christie Blatchford, detailing Peterson’s credentials. Not exactly what you would expect from “the stupid person’s smart man”.

    Might we get a look at your credentials so we can decide what an appropriate label for you would be, Tabitha?

    If providing zero evidence for your assertions along with zero citations is more your speed, kindly go write for Buzzfeed, you are ruining Maclean’s (for now) good name.

  115. Smear article with no credible argument against Peterson or his positions.

  116. As a white Canadian female journalist/columnist married to a famous comedian, I expected much, much more objective insight and clever humour. Very Disappointed.

  117. Lead us not into temptation. When a liar has a platform, it offends us and instead of simply sharing the truth to expose the lie, we sometimes succumb to the temptation to offend back.

    This undermines the acceptance of truth which is the purpose of rational communication.

    For the truth to set you free, you have to abide by it.

    The word of the year for 2016 was “post truth”, meaning that when a conflict exists, one chooses the information that makes one feel good, rejecting the truth. Truth being defined by reality.

    That’s exactly what’s going on here.

  118. A very poor article indeed. Reads as a polemic against Jordan Peterson but devoid of argument and sources. Does not address or even attempt to disprove claims of so-called “cultural Marxism”, merely asserts that they are alt-right conspiracy theories. Peterson deals with philosophical trends (particularly post-modernism, and an adapted form of Marxism that seeks to deconstruct Western society as nothing more than a racial power hierarchy) that have become orthodox in western culture and academia, it is simply not a conspiracy theory to say that these trends are in fact dominant. Please next time actually address the arguments and spend a little more time researching the subject matter. All you are doing by writing stuff like this is strengthening Peterson’s following.

  119. I can’t believe someone was actually paid to write this “article”. The only insult missing was “poopiehead”, but I’m sure it crossed her mind to use it. I mean it starts with a “P”, so surely she could have forced it into this piece the way she did with all the others. Is this really what passes for journalism these days? This is something that Maclean’s feels is worth whatever they pay her?

    Peterson and his controversial public image aside, this article could have been written about anyone and the criticisms leveled against it would remain the same. It’s simply horrible. Cringeworthy.

    “To be clear, Jordan Peterson is not a neo-Nazi, but there’s a reason he’s as popular as he is on the alt-right.”

    “He doesn’t call for a “white ethnostate,” but he does retweet…”

    This is how you call someone a Nazi without calling them a Nazi. Textbook. Anyone who disagrees with Tabatha Southey “isn’t a Nazi, BUT…”

    That said, I’m not that familiar with Peterson. I’ve seen some of his videos and I suppose I could take him or leave him. It’s just that this article was bad even by SJW smear campaign standards.

  120. I fell for the clickbait for some nighttime reading and landed in bed with some kind of Jezebel intern. Ick. Thanks for reminding me why I haven’t bothered with Macleans in years. I need a shower now.

  121. If a single thread runs through broadsides against Jordan Peterson, it’s the refutation of his entire body of thought without any argumentation against his actual, you know, arguments. The refutation is achieved through name-calling, or by blanket claims that he’s wrong about everything, or by pointing to the faction of unpleasant people in his fan base as evidence of his mendacity. Southey’s appalling article is maybe the most perfect example so far. It’s also an object lesson in bien-pensant Canadians’ inability to comprehend the existence of an intelligent person who disagrees with them politically. Watching them sputter and fume, the DOES NOT COMPUTE alarms flashing as steam comes out their ears, is something I find hugely enjoyable.

  122. Wow. It is shocking that you are published with such a tiny brain. I applaud your raise to power. Having said that, they say that people ‘rise to the level of their own incompetence’. Maybe try reading those ‘high school’ books. You clearly are not intelligent enough to understand Dr Peterson so maybe start with some basic reading. I know your attention span is that of a gnat which leaves you being incapable of reading anything more complicated than McLean’s but give it a try. Animal Farm is pretty short.

    The fact that you are not intelligent enough to understand Dr Peterson doesn’t mean Dr Peterson is not a smart man. That is like saying because you are too poor to buy a Porch then the Porch is ugly. It is sour grapes.

    If you had a brain bigger than the rat’s Dr Peterson discusses in the Identity Politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege you mention above you might be able to understand some of the things he says.

    As a person with an IQ of 140 (that is a genius level for those of you who do not understand the distinction) and a University degree in both psychology and sociology it is nice to listen to someone who IS actually smart and well read and who says more than ‘we need more people at all cost but only from other countries’, ‘diversity is our strength’ and ‘biology is not science’. It is like living in the upside down. It is nice for those of us WITH brains bigger than pin heads to hear someone speaking who share something in common with us.

    I thank you for bringing Dr Peterson’s work to light in your article. Intelligent people who are bored enough to read MacLean’s will read the comments below, see that you are an idiot and maybe tune into his youtube channel. You help get his message out and for that I thank you.

    • The upside down feeling, I describe as a seeming like a parallel universe, comes from one thing only, disconnection from reality, truth.

      People of all types and professions have accepted and embraced living post truth lives. They prefer feeling good, bliss, to accepting the truth, intelligence.

      The equivalent in the animal kingdom are lemmings, who probably feel super while running to and over the cliff. Thank Darwin that some are too stupid to find the edge.

      Don’t emulate lemmings. Discern, accept, share and value truth, reality, as determined by logic and science, especially when it contradicts your perceptions.

      It would be nice to see more right side up people.

    • Alas I must accept the truth that lemmings actually don’t run off cliffs.

      I along with many others was a victim of mainstream media propaganda.

      You have to watch the movie clip from the 1958 Disney film “white wilderness”

      Apparently lemmings are smarter than people who live post truth lives.

  123. Tabitha Southy seems a bit overwhelmed by Dr. Peterson. While disagreeing with everything he says, she has nothing but name-calling and an impotent expression of outrage to counter him. A live debate between the two would be hilarious and serve to put a couple more nails in the coffins of these despicable creatures.

    • It’s time that people read Joe Rogan’s podcast with Dave Foley on YouTube. I recommend it to everyone.

      • he’s lucky he got out …. must have been hell living with her


    • The lemming thing blew your mind too eh?

  125. What an awful article Tabitha. Did the editor guide you on the angle, or is it just popular to bang on smart traditionalists? Your title was… a title; patronising, well-obviously-I’m-correct-sounding and blatant misrepresentation of most of the thoughts and events in Mr Peterson’s public life. I was unsurprised yet genuinely saddened to read that, and I paraphrase (I doubt you’d object), ‘rightists’ fund Jordan. Awesome stuff. Keep up the good work Tabitha.

  126. Southey, what is really unnerving is your inability to understand Peterson’s courses and to use the English language as it should be used and how Prof. Peterson uses it to carry his message across to the people. #shamefulSouthey

  127. “I’m just going to say it: Spend half an hour on his website, sit through a few of his interminable videos”

    A rather unusual strategy there. I feel it would be massively counter to the author’s cause for the uninitiated to watch JP’s videos, as they will find that this article has been more than disingenuous with the lazy attempt at character assassination via association (the ol’ tarred with the alt-right brush trick) and taking the spirit of Peterson’s points deliberately out of context.

  128. “Mistress Peterson”? Tabetha isn’t respecting Dr. Peterson’s preferred pronouns. She’s violating Canadian law. Why is MaClean’s allowing itself to be a vehicle for a blatant violation of the law?

  129. Okay. I liked the title of this piece, because I was incredibly hopeful for a thoughtful opinion on his work in trying to improve people’s lives. I thought “Hey, he has done a great deal of work refining the self-improvement process so much that stupid people can work through it on their own.” Then, I read the first paragraph which instantly misconstrues any of his complaints about legislation regarding misgendering people. Then I read about him referring to news articles about factual events as being a problem. It is a sad state when the clearly biased and sometimes offensive news sources are still the only ones presenting facts, but liberal outlets are merely lying and frequently refer to garbage opinions such as yours as legitimate sources of information. What a hack job. You know who would help you separate these bad ideas you chose to write from good ideas? Jordan B. Peterson. Look up his advice on writing essays. It might change your life.

  130. This is pathetic! What a disgrace that Macleans can publish such complete garbage. Hard to imagine why so many people support Dr. Peterson, Tabatha sounds like a temperamental, short-sighted, high school kid in the midst of a temper tantrum. What a joke.

  131. The disgust with the authors bias is unanimous.

    Every mainstream media provider delivers propaganda and they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

    The entire world can demand truth and why should they comply? People want news.

    The media moguls are in bed with fascists. Riches are all that matter. Those who don’t spread the propaganda are denied access to the sources.

    There is only one thing to do. Criminalize lying. Do this and propaganda and all corruption vanish.

  132. I don’t agree with Peterson on many, probably most, issues … but this is a shameful ad hominem hit piece. So much wrong with it, it’s hard to know where to begin. Borderline actionable in terms of knowingly stated falsehoods and loose connections to the alt-right — which were also parroted in Lindsay Shepherd’s secretly-recorded disciplinary meeting … and thank God she did that. I hear Fascists in the USA eat burgers and drink beer too. Should we disparage fast food and booze on that basis? If I were Peterson I’d consider suing you for libel. Nevertheless, this piece also shows why free speech is so important. You can see where the idiots are.

    • With our current laws, libel itself is not punishable. Conviction is based on successfully proving and quantifying damages from it.

      A complicated process, often unsuccessful.

      Lying causes people to make decisions they wouldn’t if they knew the truth. It should be punishable by itself.

  133. Ms. Southey,

    All those snotty names were so funny, so deep, so layered with meaning and analysis.

    I get it now. Taking five minutes to come up with “Dr. Pettyson” is exactly the same as referring to a human male as “he” in the blink of an eye.

    Conrad Spoke
    Everett, Washington, USA

  134. What an incredibly waffley word soup, I tried to read it by my brain is subconsciously geared towards avoid waffle and rubbish hence by the time I gave up I have no idea what Tabby (the author) was trying to say.
    Congrats to anyone who understood a word of it, you have more time to waste than I have (which is a lot).

  135. Is Tabby the stupid woman’s stupid woman?

  136. So many words to say nothing of value. “Never in the history of journalism have so many words been used to say say so little!”. If waffle has a value Tabatha would be bankrupt.

  137. I would describe this article as “Post Bollocks”. LOL!!!
    It is, as she is posting bollocks!! I occidentally made a great joke there, which just so what a genius I am,
    I am amazing by accident! And modest by design.