The Rise and Fall of Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 6 - Profile of Dr. Jordan Peterson. The U of T prof at the centre of a media storm because of his public declaration that he will not use pronouns, such as "they," to recognize non-binary genders. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Controversial writer Jordan Peterson (born 12 June 1962) is reportedly near death once again after a long battle with a variety of ailments. The New York Times bestselling author, and clinical psychologist, has become an influential writer on cultural issues.

The Rise and Fall of Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson is reportedly near death once again. His daughter reports he has been “” several times this year already, and recently caught coronavirus. The clinical psychologist turned pop-culture academic is a tenured professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychology.

Originally from Alberta, the Canadian has gained popularity around the world. Peterson became prominent in 2016 when he released a series of youtube videos. This move into pop-culture academia focused on criticizing legal protections for “gender identity and expression.” He argued that prohibiting discrimination on these grounds would create “compelled speech” regarding gender pronouns.

This argument would quickly gain traction online. His popularity grew.

Compelled Speech on Pronouns

Dr. Peterson used the concept of compelled speech to gain a significant following. It was the idea he would be legally compelled to say certain things. After his backlash against particular pronouns, Mr. Peterson transitioned into a larger conservative voice. His brand of individualism caught traction. He portrayed himself as a martyr, and per the Toronto Star made many statements about risking his job for this fight.

That wasn’t true. The nature of being a tenured professor meant that the risk was minimal provided he met his contractual obligations by teaching his class. He didn’t let that hold him back though. Universities, like lobster communities, have a hierarchy in place and natural order that allowed him to say what he felt.

Xe Peterson’s argument regarding the compelled speech of pronouns also had no merit. Professor Peterson nonetheless used this pubic attention to gather the spotlight. Moving first into Youtube, he found a large audience beyond psychology.

He moved into a pop-culture role with success. He opposed “political correctness” in a way that gathered fans. It allowed him to further gather attention. This stage allowed him to become a major figure in conservative political science circles, as well as an inspiration to men’s rights advocates.

Call to Order

A clinical psychologist by trade, Peterson’s public arguments mainly focused on the concept of order. The clearest example of his argument is found in his co-authored piece in the Journal Cognition & Emotion. The article is titled An orderly personality partially explains the link between trait disgust and political conservatism.

The Theory: people witness things and get disgusted. A lower threshold for disgust is linked with political conservatism. An order that avoids this disgust is preferable.

This “disgust” based call to order underlies his book 12 Rules for Life. It is an attempt to provide a basis for more order in life. It has been considerably profitable for him.

12 Rules for Reactionaries

As part of his arguments relating to “order”, Peterson has also focused on the concept of masculinity. He has argued there is a “crisis” in masculinity. Per the psychologist, traditional manliness has been rejected. He argues it has been replaced by a more effeminate version.

A call for more order in society and preservation of traditional “masculine” concepts. This is the backbone of an anti-left wing argument, and as such has seen Peterson gain a considerable reactionary following.

His arguments essentially point to individual people as “degenerates” which harm society. In a world where people are fighting for a particular “order,” progressives are inherently the enemy, particularly those who do not conform to traditional gender or sexual roles (for example, a male librarian.)

It is a narrow outlook. This viewpoint is limited in how it views order and degeneracy. The idea is that his disgust at certain things is normal. A disgusted reaction to him was not.

Peterson made people he didn’t like the focus of his objections. He inherently suggests people should be disgusted, for example, by those engaged in different sexual activities. It is this style of argument that has particularly made Peterson popular with alt-right, incel, and men’s rights communities. He is the academic embodiment of Trump’s America. He has excelled at telling certain communities what they want to hear.

Quick Decline

The rise of the Professor to prominence and wealth came quickly. The decline began soon after. His lifestyle began to mirror his views. In line with his arguments about manliness and order, Peterson and his daughter Mikhaila soon began pushing an all-meat regime. The Lion diet.

Amazingly, an all-meat diet (despite being ultra manly) is not healthy. Combined with an addiction to benzodiazepines, this mxn was soon unwell. With his specific ailments unclear, he and his family were not content with local doctors. Not liking his options, he left the continent.

He sought out radical treatment. His daughter explained that to help him with addiction, he was placed in a medically induced coma. Rejecting the medical advice in North America, Peterson instead engaged in medical tourism. He went to Russia. Per his daughter, this was because doctors there had “the guts” to medically detox him.

This has not turned out well. A few months later, it may turn out that choosing “gutsy” medical care over concepts such as “established” or “proven” may not have been wise. Currently, Dr. Peterson is back in the hospital. But this time in Serbia.

Where it Stands: Thoughts and Prayers

His recovery from the coma has not been smooth. Jordan Peterson has contracted COVID-19 just this week. Despite traveling abroad for treatment, the family seems unhappy with his care. Daughter Mikhaila is blaming the doctors. She has suggested that attempts to treat the Peterson are responsible for his decline.

“He was put on a whole bunch of, kind of preemptively, he was put on anti-virals and things,” Mikhaila Peterson told the Sun. “I don’t know if that was necessary, because his symptoms weren’t that bad — he didn’t have a cough, he had a mild fever, but they just put him on everything. And so now we’ve had a step back in his recovery.” – Via the National Post

It’s a staggering list. The culminating effects of poor diet, addiction, controversial treatments, a coma, and now coronavirus. With his daughter currently publicly denouncing his care, things don’t look too good right now.


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