Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist and university lecturer. If you know him it's because he shot to fame in 2016 by confronting and rejecting a Canadian law, known as Bill 'C16', which would have legally mandated Canadian citizens to refer to other individuals by their preferred gender pronoun. While this might seem like the most insignificant of all tiffs in the sociopolitical history of the Western World, it caused an all mighty storm. Peterson, put under the spotlight, survived and thrived thanks to his ability and willingness to articulate complex ideas in simple ways, and go head to head with the media in so doing. Arguably his magnum opus is his half an hour long duel with Cathy Newman, which if you haven't seen, you really ought to:
Flash forward to 2020 and Peterson has toured the world, gained a following, fallen ill, and is now recovering. Now that Peterson is back on the scene and in better health, he has announced the publication of a book, a sequel to his best selling '12 Rules for life', titled 'BEYOND ORDER: 12 More Rules for Life'. Another day, another dime, nice to see the professor back to his old tricks. So what's the rub?
Well, Penguin Random House, who are set to publish12 More Rules for Life, have faced a rebellion from their own publishing staff. Yes that's right, the staff of a publishing house are protesting their employer for agreeing to publish a book, authored by one of the biggest names in academia, no less.
Manisha Krishnan, in a piece for Vice News, reported the following:
“[An] employee said “people were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.” They said one co-worker discussed how Peterson had radicalized their father and another talked about how publishing the book will negatively affect their non-binary friend.”
“A third employee told VICE World News the company’s diversity and inclusion committee received at least 70 anonymous messages about Peterson’s book, and only a couple are in favour of the decision to publish it.”
The piece went on to describe how employees were considering walkouts, demanding any profits be given to the LGBTQ community, and quoted employees baselessly claiming Jordan Peterson has led to the rise of Alt-Right groups. Hilariously, much of Peterson's long career has focussed on an analysis and critique of totalitarian movements, particularly the USSR and Nazi Germany, and the psychological phenomena which underpin and enable them. For publishing house staff to accuse Peterson of giving rise to the very phenomena he has spend a lifetime attacking is only possible in our 21st century idiocracy.
How many of these individuals, so keen to burn a book (before even its release!) have read or heard a word uttered by Jordan Peterson? Who cares, it's all performative. The life and works of any person can be disbarred and defamed at any time in the pursuit of performative snowflakerey. We don't have a World War, we don't have a Civil Rights movement, a Vietnam, a Magna Carta, or a Peasants' Revolt. We don't have a generational struggle to engage in, other than parking ourselves on sofas to overcome Coronavirus. What is the consequence? Erratic, irrational attempts to identify villians where there are none, to passionately oppose nothing, to box shadows and chase out phantoms. To hunt witches.
Ironically a civilisation historically fraught with the crisis of shortage, now faces a crisis of abundance. In the West our every material need is met without challenge beyond clicking on the screen. The villains have been vanquished by our forefathers, or more accurately, their forefathers, and then they had a societal revolution. Now we have a generation of LGBTQ Dance Theorists who in their quest for meaning have erroneously and dangerously decided to launch a constant, never ending and perennial People's Crusade against anything that doesn't sit within their narrow purview.