By Jonathon Van Maren
Becoming a global superstar comes with perks, as Dr. Jordan Peterson is discovering. He is traveling the world, speaking on the subjects nearest and dearest to him, and millions want to hear what he has to say. In the process, he’s become a best-selling author, and quite wealthy to boot—and he did this by challenging political correctness and compelled speech and opposing the Trudeau government’s decision to enshrine the tenets of transgenderism into Canada’s human rights code.
Peterson has stated that abortion is “clearly wrong,” he’s triggered an interest in Christianity in tens of thousands, he’s held up tradition as something that should be respected and studied, he’s urged men and women to a monogamous lifestyle, decried pornography, and urged people to grow strong, stable families. He has offended nearly every progressive orthodoxy there is: the LGBT activists, the feminists, and the queer studies professors would love to have his head on a stick. But all of that, it turns out, isn’t enough for a handful of fringe commentators who feel that he has not paid nearly enough attention to them.
Faith Goldy has been relentlessly criticizing Peterson on Twitter, insisting that Peterson somehow “de-platformed” her after the organizer and the members of the free speech panel decided to rescind her invitation following her decision to have a friendly chat with the Daily Stormer podcast at the alt-right rally in Charlottesville. This is ridiculous for a few reasons, the first of which is that it wasn’t Peterson’s platform. The organizer, who I happen to know and spoke to just after the panel took place, had put an enormous amount of her own money into the event, and it was decided that having someone that had so recently made headlines for associating sympathetically with white supremacists would destroy the credibility of an event that was supposed to focus on free speech. (Ezra Levant, her former boss at The Rebel, recently noted on Twitter that her comments were so egregious that he’d fire her again today.)
This, of course, is obviously true, and Goldy knows it. And again, by complaining about the utterly predictable consequences of her own actions and chosen associations, she reveals that she doesn’t really care all that much about the causes she claims to hold dear. If she did care about the cause of freedom of speech (or the tremendous amount of work and money the organizer put into creating the event), she would have been more than happy to step aside (which she initially offered to do), since she is far too smart not to realize that her presence would have eliminated the intended impact of the panel. But instead, Goldy has apparently decided to make it all about her (just as she did with her campaign for the mayoralty of Toronto.)
Milo Yiannopolous is another increasingly marginal figure who has decided that Jordan Peterson is an enemy. He penned a truly awful foreword to alt-right author Vox Day’s recent screed condemning Peterson, sarcastically titled Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker. It is a genuinely embarrassing piece of writing, in which Yiannopolous flounders about and essentially condemns Peterson for not being a huge fan of his, not defending him when he felt it was warranted, disagreeing with him on a few points, and, interestingly, having “killed” Goldy’s career, “unpersoning” her, and making her “untouchable.” Goldy tweeted the foreword with glowing praise, which rather surprised me, because it seems to be a tacit admission that her career has, in fact, been killed, which is inconsistent with the constant declarations of her impending arrival upon an incoming nationalist storm.
Yiannopolous, too, is obviously bitter. While Peterson went from eccentric psychology professor to a global phenomenon, Yiannopolous went from alt-light darling to dead broke and increasingly whiny, angrily writing to his fans on Facebook that, “You guys have no idea what I have sacrificed for you…I don’t advertise my selflessness, because I’m not a victim. But for the love of God show some recognition of what your front-line warriors have accomplished on your behalf, you entitled f****** babies.” And this from a guy who utilized his significant social media presence to present himself as the filthy rich Kim Kardashian of the right-wing, the unkillable superstar. But the truth is that Milo, too, was a one-man show, and that when people grew bored of the show and scandals brought about by his own bad judgement weighed him down, he instead decided to get angry at Peterson, because the professor’s fame has so wildly eclipsed his own.
Michael Cernovich, a far-right figure and InfoWars conspiracy theorist, also went after Peterson on Twitter, demanding to know when he became such a coward for apparently not defending those de-platformed by Twitter. It is strange to me that people are stunned that a man on an international speaking tour, in demand by millions, writing regular columns, and also attempting to have something of a family life, cannot keep up with everything going on, and that if he does not focus on precisely the same things that they do, it must be an indication of his lack of character. It would be funny if it wasn’t so stupid. Anyone who has ever done a lot of public speaking knows that at a certain point, your schedule just gets tight and you have to pick and choose.
It is not as if I don’t think that Jordan Peterson should never be criticized. I disagree with him on a very, very long list of very important subjects. It is that the criticism leveled at him by the washed-up figures of the alt-light, who have either self-destructed or ridden the Trump Train as far as it will take them and now have no idea where to go next, is both ridiculous and hilariously self-centred. Peterson is apparently a sellout because he didn’t defend a few fringe commentators who made bad decisions. He’s also a sellout because he joined a professional speaking agency as he shot to global fame. Then he was a sellout because he’s made some ill-thought-out comments about the Supreme Court. He’s a sellout because he’s not saying what they would be saying, if they had his platform and his influence.
But most of all, he’s a sellout for getting rich and famous and leaving them all behind.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.