Jordan peterson

Why I chose virtue over vice

Patmos A funny thing happened on my way to this beautiful place, an island without druggies, nightclub creeps, clip joints or hookers. I stopped in Athens for about five hours in order to look over old haunts and just walk around places I’d known as a youth, when I noticed something incredible: none of the youngsters I encountered were texting, nor were they glued to their mobiles and bumping into people. Sure, some were on their phones, but the majority of them were talking and gesticulating like normal humans used to do before the technology curse rained down on us. Well, as they say, nothing lasts for ever, and once

What should we make of the esoteric philosophy Traditionalism?

Last August a bomb tore through a Toyota Land Cruiser outside Moscow killing its 29-year-old driver. Darya Dugina, a pro-war TV pundit, had been returning from a conservative literary festival where her father, an ultra-nationalist ideologue, had been giving a talk on tradition and history. Quite possibly he was the intended target. Alexander Dugin was called ‘Putin’s Brain’ by Foreign Affairs magazine and ‘Putin’s Rasputin’ by Breitbart. He had advocated conflict with the West and told Russians they should ‘kill, kill, kill’ Ukrainians. Ukraine denied responsibility for the attack. If you haven’t heard of Traditionalism, that’s not surprising, since it’s hardly devised to be generally understood One way of thinking

12 thinkers to discover online this year

Now that we’re all stuck at home with our devices the temptation is to succumb to a vortex of internet clickbait in the vain hope that it will distract us until lockdown ends. But resist the allure of that cat video if you can and instead discover the rich seam of documentaries, lectures and long-form discussions with some of the world’s leading thinkers. Here’s a selection of mind-expanding podcasts and YouTube channels to discover in 2021. Making Sense with Sam Harris Join renowned neuroscientist, philosopher and New York Times best selling author Sam Harris as he explores the intricacies of the human mind along with in depth discussions about society, moral philosophy, religion and current

The pathetic attempt to cancel Jordan Peterson

There was a time when publishers had to battle with external forces for their right to publish controversial authors. It was censorious politicians and moralistic campaigners who marshalled state power and boycotts to try to ensure that allegedly subversive or risqué material never saw the light of day. No longer. Today, it seems, it is often those within the publishing industry itself who seem intent on making sure that this or that ‘filth’ be banned. We’ve gone from the blue-rinse brigade to the blue-hair brigade, but the effect is still the same deadening intolerance. Witness the goings on at Penguin Random House Canada, where several staff members have confronted management


Five books Penguin will have to ban along with Jordan Peterson

This year Jordan Peterson, the cult Canadian psychologist, meat-eater and lifestyle guru, will tentatively edge back into the public spotlight, after spending time reportedly recovering from drug addiction in Russia. Readers may be familiar with Peterson’s self-help guide 12 Rules for Life, which sold over three million copies worldwide and topped the bestseller lists. So you would imagine that with the sequel out in March, most publishers would be clamouring to be the ones to sell it. But it appears that Penguin Random House, which managed to snag the rights, is now having the opposite problem. According to Vice News, its Canadian employees are in uproar about the company carrying

Has Jordan Peterson lost his spark?

For the poor souls who paid to live-stream the Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Žižek debate, the $15 ticket price must now seem like an act of grand larceny. In what was rather cringingly billed as the ‘debate of the century’—premature in 2019, if nothing else—the psychologist and bestselling author of 12 Rules for Lifeshared a stage in Toronto with the world’s most idiosyncratic philosopher and critic. The topic was ‘Happiness: Capitalism vs. Marxism’. Of course, neither Peterson nor Žižek are strangers to crowds. Since rising to fame by opposing what he calls ‘compelled speech’, Peterson has become something of an icon for young conservatives, and a kind of paternal figure,

The great carniwars

As January — the month of penitence and tax returns — grinds towards its close, it would be foolish to imagine we can go back to a life of thoughtlessly eating, drinking and making merry. Dry January might give way to Wet February, as grateful drinkers furtively crack open the rioja, but the intense passions aroused by Veganuary now seem set to continue all year round. Veganism — the shunning of meat, fish and all dairy products — was once regarded as a harmless but inconvenient hobby. Vegans got used to the mild panic they triggered at other people’s houses if the host hadn’t been pre-warned: the alarmed mouthing of

Jordan Peterson is too negative about Western morality

Jonathan Sacks’ radio series Morality in the 21st Century is a useful introduction to the subject, with some good contributions from world-renowned experts, but it’s rather one-sided. Almost all of these world-renowned experts (such as Jordan Peterson, Robert Putnam, David Brooks) share his approach. There is not much airing of other views, or questioning of basic assumptions. The series is another blast on the communitarian trumpet. Communitarianism is the view that individualism has gone too far, that secular liberalism has descended into selfishness, that a shared moral code has got lost. It has been a major intellectual movement since the mid 1980s. One of its central metaphors is thinness and

Identity theft

I got some bad news this week. I discovered that I’m a ‘privileged, white male’. It was my agent who broke it to me. We were talking about the trouble he’s having in finding a publisher for my book — a work of non-fiction — when the following exchange took place. Me: What’s wrong with my book? Agent: There’s nothing wrong with your book. It’s brilliant. It’s moving. It’s funny. Me: OK. So what’s the problem? Agent: You’re the problem. Me: Excuse me? Agent: You’re a middle-aged, privileged white man. You’re out of fashion — and so is your book. Publishers think you’re too male. Too white. Things are difficult

The new narcissism

My friend recently met a man on a dating app and went out for dinner with him. When he arrived, the man announced that he didn’t drink. Nothing unusual about that: plenty of young men are abstemious these days. His next declaration was more surprising: he didn’t eat. Instead, he lived off something called ‘Huel’. Huel — an abbreviation of ‘human fuel’ — is a type of powdered food made of oats, peas, flax and rice. I’ve tried it and it is disgusting — gruel, essentially, in smart packaging. But it’s hugely popular: Huel is now one of the fastest growing companies in Britain. Huel is low in fat and

‘Primates like us having conversations. This is the best game in town’: Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and Douglas Murray at the 02, reviewed

I’ve just returned home from seeing Douglas Murray, Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on stage at the O2 Arena in London before a crowd of 8,000 people. And I have to say, it was a pretty good show. Once you’re past the bizarreness of seeing three top-flight intellectuals calmly occupying the same stage normally strutted upon by the likes of Iron Maiden or Def Leppard, it’s tempting to try to evaluate the content of the discussion, score it like a boxing match, or try to figure out which gentleman is the more brilliant or righteous. But those angles, valid as the might be, miss the larger point: namely, that deep

Cathy Newman brings the house down on Jordan Peterson’s UK tour

Watch out, people. Jordan Peterson is back in Britain – this time on his 12 Rules for Life speaking tour. Given the controversy he stirred up last time, it’s almost a marvel the Home Office let him back into the country. His first stop was a packed Hammersmith Apollo last night, where security was high and fans greeted the Canadian psychologist’s appearance like the second coming. One of Mr S’s spies went along to see what the fuss was all about and says one of the biggest laughs of the night went to Dave Rubin: The libertarian YouTube star introduced Peterson on stage, and poked a little fun at Cathy

Diary – 10 May 2018

I spend my life moving. Over recent years it was research. Now it’s caused by that research. But I have become adept at adding things on to each trip. In Naples at the weekend, I visited the Sansevero chapel which contains the ‘veiled Christ’ of Sanmartino — a work Canova said he would have given ten years of his life to have created. This is so moving to see in the flesh — even the nail wounds visible through the marble shroud — that you have to make an effort not to ignore the other masterworks around it. Afterwards I steal a night down the coast in Positano. The sun

Poor Cathy Newman is the prisoner of the age

Almost eight million people have now watched Cathy Newman’s Channel 4 News interview with Jordan Peterson. This figure must be unique in the history of Channel 4 News online. Only a few minutes were broadcast on the original news programme, but Channel 4 then put out the full half-hour on YouTube, perhaps miscalculating the effects of watching the allegedly ‘transphobic’ Canadian clinical psychologist whose book 12 Rules for Life is selling out. I think what the majority of the eight million appreciate is that Peterson’s performance is noble. He attempts a clear exposition of his views about the differences between women and men. Despite every effort by Cathy Newman, he succeeds. Her

Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes | 8 March 2018

Almost eight million people have now watched Cathy Newman’s Channel 4 News interview with Jordan Peterson. This figure must be unique in the history of Channel 4 News online. Only a few minutes were broadcast on the original news programme, but Channel 4 then put out the full half-hour on YouTube, perhaps miscalculating the effects of watching the allegedly ‘transphobic’ Canadian clinical psychologist whose book 12 Rules for Life is selling out. I think what the majority of the eight million appreciate is that Peterson’s performance is noble. He attempts a clear exposition of his views about the differences between women and men. Despite every effort by Cathy Newman, he

Will Jordan Peterson convert to Catholicism?

I have mixed feelings about Jordan Peterson, whose 12 Rules for Life I have just ploughed through. There is much socially conservative psychobabble, and life-coachy earnestness, and it’s far too long. But I am in some sympathy with his project. I am interested in its semi-religiosity. His core message is that people should aim high, ‘take the heroic path’, serve a vision of goodness and truth, though this entails sacrifice, and acceptance of the suffering intrinsic to life. No Christian should sniff at such rhetoric, and I do not. But we should sniff around its edges, to ask what exactly he’s up to. His primary influences are the spiritual existentialists

A very minor prophet

Now that I seem to have become a prophet of doom, I wonder whether I should have been a guru instead. Doom doesn’t sell. Bookshops hide my books in back rooms. My recorded harangues and TV appearances reach a few thousand dedicated YouTube enthusiasts. But Dr Jordan B. Peterson, supposedly as reactionary as I am, speaks to millions. His new book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos adorns the front table of every Waterstones. Annoyingly, friends of mine recommend his lectures to me, people on Twitter tell me incessantly that I ‘must’ explore his work. They become positively rude if I express reluctance. How has he done this?

A star is born

Last Sunday night a capacity crowd of mainly young people packed into the Emmanuel Centre in London. Those who couldn’t find a seat stood at the back of the hall. When the speaker entered, the entire hall rose to its feet. It was his second lecture that day, the fourth across three days of sold-out London events. For an hour and a half the audience listened to a rambling, quirky, but fascinating tour of evolutionary biology, myth, religion, psychology, dictators and Dostoyevsky. Occasionally a line would get its own burst of applause. One of the loudest came after the speaker’s appeal for the sanctity of marriage and child-rearing. Yet this

Watch: Cathy Newman’s catastrophic interview with Jordan Peterson

In the magazine this week I have written a piece about the Canadian Professor Jordan Peterson. He has been in the UK over the last week to talk about his new book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Among many other things – much more of which I go into in the piece – his visit showed up the UK’s broadcast media in a very bad light. On Saturday morning, Peterson made an appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme. They gave him a hurried four minutes at the end of the show. They could have quizzed him on almost anything and got a point of view different from almost

Jordan Peterson and the transgender wars

After Google employee James Damore was sacked for suggesting that inborn differences in likes and dislikes (such as preferring people to things) might explain why there were fewer female employees working in technology than men, the first person he gave an interview to was a relatively unknown Canadian professor, Jordan Peterson. To some it might seem like an odd choice. It’s true that Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has a substantial online presence — his videos have had 150 million views — but all the same, Damore had the world’s media knocking on his door. Why choose Peterson? To those who follow Peterson, the reason