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Jordan Peterson, And the New Chivalry

In his recent appearance at Liberty University, Jordan Peterson delivered this verdict on the dominant attitude toward masculinity among our society’s elites: “I don’t think we do a very good job at the moment of encouraging men. We have this idea that there’s something intrinsically oppressive about the patriarchy and about masculinity in general. And I think that’s nonsense. I think that strong, honest, truthful, courageous men pursuing noble goals is of great benefit to everyone, male and female alike.” Members of the student audience applauded loudly, little knowing that not 10 minutes later, a scene would unfold in which Peterson would have an opportunity to match action to words.

By now, tens of thousands of people have seen the clip of the desperate young man who slipped past security to rush the stage and appeal to Peterson for help. The high-definition video feed was cut, but amateur footage shows Peterson leaving his seat and following David Nasser, Liberty University’s Campus Pastor, to engage. Nasser assures the troubled boy that he is “in the right place,” telling security to stand down while he leads the audience in prayer. As the student collapses in sobs, Peterson can be seen kneeling down to put a calming hand on his heaving shoulders. After the student is escorted offstage, the video feed comes back up as Nasser and Peterson return to their seats. Peterson seems shaken and visibly moved to tears.

The whole vignette plays out in less than two minutes. Yet it affords an opportunity for reflection—by shedding light not only on the specific nature of Jordan Peterson’s appeal, but also on the larger question of what masculine virtue can and should look like in the modern age.

The student did not have a weapon, and was in no way a threat to either Nasser or Peterson. But neither man could have known that for certain. Despite the fact that Peterson’s public appearances have been the target of numerous violent threats (with one student at a Canadian protest being accused of carrying a garrote), both Peterson and Nasser moved toward the man, not away, adding an element of courage to their obvious compassion.

Numerous viewers across social media have been touched by Peterson’s immediate, evidently heartfelt concern for this young stranger’s well-being. Yet the response has not been completely positive. When I shared my report of the event on Facebook, one commenter said that he found Peterson’s intense emotional investment unappealing. As a fellow Canadian, he judged that Peterson had “forgotten his culture” and really ought to “bottle up the waterworks.” It’s one thing for the half-French Justin Trudeau to get misty-eyed mid-speech. But, he opined, men of good Anglo stock should remain stoical, even if they have to medicate their anxiety with a Scotch or two.

A pile-on ensued, in the course of which another commenter aptly quoted historian Andrew Roberts on Winston Churchill: “You should never see Winston Churchill as the buttoned-up, Victorian aristocrat of his age, class and background. He was instead a throwback to an earlier era. He was a regency figure, a romantic figure, somebody who was willing to wear his heart on his sleeve. In the course of the Second World War, there were no fewer than fifty times when he burst into tears in public. Fifty.”

The word “throwback” suits Peterson, too. For his appeal rests to no small extent on his image as a man out of time. Indeed, it is more than likely that he has already broken Churchill’s tear tally.

Peterson’s visibly manifested sorrow often is prompted by reflection on people who are lost, directionless and suffering. To adapt Dostoyevsky, Peterson is not concerned merely with “mankind in general,” but also with “man in particular”—with unique lost souls and the struggle to heal them. In one particularly wrenching Q & A in 2018, he reads off a question from a parent looking for advice after a daughter’s suicide. It’s a question that he says “cuts close to the bone,” as he tearfully opens up about his own family’s history with depression.

Does Peterson’s choice to channel the suffering of another soul make him less masculine, even in the traditional (some might say sexist) sense? I say no. As Ben Sixsmith has wisely observed here at Quillette, “Stoicism is a good thing that, like all good things, becomes damaging in excess.” Certainly, visible emotion is not a sine qua non of sincerely felt compassion, as David Nasser’s focused calm during the Liberty U episode demonstrates. Yet tears need not be taken as a sign of weakness. Peterson could remain detached from the people who seek his help, but he is courageous enough to connect with their pain, and thereby render himself vulnerable in the public forum.

Yet from the point of view of Peterson’s critics, it truly does seem that he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Cynics from the right will judge his tears as a betrayal of masculinity, while cynics from the left will dismiss them as calculated performance art.

* * *

To New York Times writer Nellie Bowles, Peterson appears as a man out of time in a far more sinister sense. In her eyes, he is an icon of toxic masculinity—a “custodian of the patriarchy,” as the Times headline writers put it. She reports that feminists consider Peterson’s philosophies to be “part of a bigger global backlash to gender equality progress.”

“It’s an old story, really,” says one of the various Peterson critics she quotes. “In a lot of nationalistic projects, women’s bodies and sexualities become important sites of focus and control.”

In rare instances, Peterson’s musings about men and women really do seem odd, and have attracted pushback even from otherwise friendly sources. In the Times interview, for instance, Peterson said that the killer who drove a van into crowds of people in Toronto last year “was angry at God because women were rejecting him…The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.”

The idea here is that when alpha males monopolize the attentions of women, many men are left with no companionship at all. But even Joe Rogan noted that it is difficult to trace a through-line from the socially enforced approval of monogamous marriage to a solution for loneliness in all cases. Peterson laments that “nobody cares about the men who fail,” which seems true. Yet the idea that all failing men can be whipped into marriageable shape is naïve.

But the campaign against Peterson’s allegedly retrograde views on the sexes predates these comments, and seems more substantively rooted in his view that “traditional” gender roles are not mere social constructs. The idea that some women might be happier bearing children and homemaking than pursuing a career is a truth that dare not speak its name in public, even if many women confess it in private. In the past, Peterson has acted as counselor and life coach to Toronto lawyers, describing (in anonymized terms) how the women who’ve sought his advice often seem unhappy precisely because they’ve been taught to pursue a model of success copied from career-obsessed men. To many of us, this is simply good, common-sense advice. But to the sort of people who tend to write for The New York Times (or get interviewed by The New York Times), it’s often treated as heresy.

At the same time that Peterson allegedly hopes to confine women to the kitchen, he allegedly offers his male readers nothing but “mindless praise of hierarchical dominance,” as one liberal Catholic reviewer put it. Peterson issues a call to adventure and heroism, but we are warned it is only a “ ‘heroism’ of the Übermensch”—the Nietzschean strongman who contemptuously tramples the weak underfoot as he ascends the ladder of social hierarchy. Under Peterson’s teaching, young men allegedly will learn nothing of “solidarity with the sick, suffering, and poor.” As another unfavorable review sums up, “[I]n Peterson’s worldview, morality is about getting what you want.”

Peterson is indeed brutally honest that a man must be strong and resourceful in order to find his way in life, and that many men lack such strength and resources. As he explains in his appearance at Lafayette University, a shocking number of men are rejected even by the army on account of their low IQ. His unvarnished summing-up is that “There’s nothing for 10% of the population to do.” Yet this quote cannot be taken in isolation from what immediately follows: “If that doesn’t hurt you to hear, then you didn’t hear it properly.” Is this the language of the Übermensch, or a language that harkens back to the idea that fortunate men are bound by honor to offer aid to those less fortunate?

Because Peterson’s fan base often is casually described as a rabble of sycophantic male acolytes, his detractors act shocked when reality intrudes upon their alternative facts. In one particularly barbed report, New Zealand writer Cecile Meier expressed horror at the “baffling number of women” she observed among Peterson’s fans. Like Bowles, she wonders what sort of internalized misogyny must be at work. Unfortunately, Ms. Meier never allows us to hear from these women, who no doubt would protest the idea that their admiration is the product of some mindless reflex.

Of course, none of us can judge Peterson on any basis except his outward appearance and expression. The Jordan Peterson we feel we know is the public, professional self he has chosen for us to know. Yet while we may not be privy to his innermost thoughts, what public evidence we do have provides clues about his character.

During the convocation at Liberty University, David Nasser perceptively touched on one time-honored starting point for sizing up a man: observing how he treats his mother. He mentioned that he’d had the chance to dine with Peterson and his mother, in whose company Peterson turned into “a playful son.” This is consistent with Peterson’s own oft-expressed pride in being able to make his mother laugh. A tribute he penned for her 80th birthday radiates admiration, easy warmth and natural affection: “I love my mother, and I like her, too.”

This affection extends not only to Peterson’s mother, but to his late mother-in-law, whose tragic mental deterioration brought the whole family together in a spirit of fortitude. He often praises the way her husband—Peterson’s father-in-law—“stepped up” to care for her, as best he could at his own advanced age. Peterson’s wife and her sister also rendered aid, applying their experience as palliative-care nurses. During a February speaking event in Melbourne, Australia, he could be heard openly weeping at the memory of how gently the dying woman was carried through her decline and finally to her deathbed.

If you look up “misogynist” in the dictionary, I am reasonably sure that “cries in public over death of mother-in-law” is not a featured attribute.

We can also glean something from Peterson’s interactions with his female fans. At an event in New Zealand, a teenaged YouTuber named Emmy Hucker films her encounter with Peterson in the VIP line. She introduces herself as “Emmy Hucker from YouTube,” mentioning that Peterson shared her popular video Why I Love Jordan Peterson. After briefly drawing a blank, he lights up: “Oh yes, I think I remember that. I do remember that. Yes, I think I’ve heard about you.” He extends an arm, and she gives him a full hug, briefly resting her head in girlish trust. With this man, she appears to instinctively feel safe. He inquires about her channel, responding with a delighted “You did?” when Hucker says she’d met a number of her 1,800-odd subscribers at the event. “That’s a small town you’re talking to,” he encourages her.

In a YouTube comment under another fan review, a woman recalls that she found herself unable to say anything at all when her moment came to meet Peterson at a lecture last Fall. But instead of going through the motions and pushing on to the next in line, Peterson slowed the pace to engage with her. He finally managed, with great effort, to get her to say her name and describe why she’d come. Only when he had ensured that she got her money’s worth did he pose for their picture and send her on.

The cynical observer might ask whether this modus operandi is reserved for sycophants. How would Peterson respond if a woman told him she hated his book? In fact, I found out the answer when just such an interaction unfolded on Twitter last Christmas. In a tweet from a now-deleted account, a woman said that 12 Rules for Life did nothing for her, that she was still depressed, and that she still hated life. Peterson responded, “I’m very sorry to hear that. I hope that you find your way forward. I hope that you find something sustaining.”

There’s a word for all this. It’s an old-fashioned word. That word is “chivalry.” We no longer use it much, because to use it is to suggest what we all know, whether we admit it or not: that there is indeed such a thing as distinctively masculine virtue. There also is such a thing as distinctively masculine grace, tenderly extended to the vulnerable and the fragile.

But for many of Peterson’s critics, this is not the measure of a virtuous man. By their lights, a man is virtuous only insofar as he is willing to signal adherence to the new orthodoxy of maleness and femaleness, by which the very idea of “maleness” or “femaleness” is deemed a tool of the patriarchy. By enshrining as unassailable fact the idea that men and women are interchangeable, they put chivalrous men of the old breed out of a job.

For the modern man who would be thought virtuous must see all with what Thomas Sowell calls “the vision of the anointed”—the relations of men and women, the ills of the city, the governing of the nation. There is no room for “the tragic vision,” which sees clearly that in this difficult life, we cannot always alleviate the suffering of the many. Sometimes, we can manage only to alleviate the suffering of one. Perhaps we cannot save mankind in general. But perhaps we can love man in particular. And perhaps, in the end, that is all a virtuous man’s conscience asks of him.

I close with one more story, courtesy of a UK fan who recently came forward on FaceBook. At an event in Manchester, England, Peterson was sitting with Dave Rubin, discussing the mytheme of the Tree of Life. But some detail about how the Tree looked in a particular rendition was slipping his mind, so he abandoned the thread and moved on. A few moments later, a young audience member in the front row stood up and began climbing directly onto the stage in front of Peterson. Unlike the student who rushed the stage at Liberty U, he was not in a state of crisis. But it seemed clear to the fan watching up close that, like himself, this stage climber was on the autistic spectrum. As he scrambled up, he held out his phone strangely, seeming to offer it to Peterson.

Security swooped in from either side, ready to take an arm apiece and drag the boy away. But at a word from Peterson, they paused. Leaning over, in a low tone that the FaceBook correspondent could not describe, Peterson whispered, “It’s fine. I understand. You were just trying to show me the tree.”

To cast down the proud and lift up the lowly. To do justly and love mercy. To walk boldly, yet humbly. Herein is the art of manliness.

May its practitioners increase.


Esther O’Reilly is a Math PhD student, blogger, and freelance writer. She has contributed a chapter to the forthcoming essay anthology Understanding Jordan Peterson: A Critical Analysis. Follow her on Twitter at @EstherOfReilly.

Featured image: Image excerpted from The Vinkhuijzen Collection of Military Uniforms (1940).



  1. Zachary Snowdon Smith says

    “Peterson’s fan base often is casually described as a rabble of sycophantic male acolytes” – that’s perfectly expressed.

      • Mark30339 says

        Of all our self-appointed female betters, this one looks down upon us from their high place, and believes herself to have served a morsel of kindness to our sycophantic lot.

          • Michael Rafferty says

            Can I just say Esther what a brilliant piece of real journalism you have produced there. Unlike so many pieces on peterson it is thoughtful,interesting and actually portrays the man I’ve read so much about and who I’ve watched so much on YouTube. He isn’t perfect,a fact he freely admits to,but is a beacon of logic and common sense in a polarised world where nobody wants to hear views which don’t mirror theirs. Saw him in Edinburgh and sat beside a couple from a uni in Edinburgh and Debbie waxed lyrical about how fascinated she was by peterson. She couldn’t understand the bile directed at him and lived the night.
            The worst thing about his detractors is their totally lack of knowledge of his family and what they have been through. Once again thanks for a brilliant piece.

    • Heike says

      Also perfectly expressed is the contempt and disgust for society’s left-behind men. I suppose they should just run off and die face-down in a ditch somewhere? I get the idea that the fancy people would not feel sad to see precisely that.

      What’s the phrase for this attitude? Oh, right: “depraved indifference”.

    • Harland says

      Isn’t it telling how criticism of JBP is all too often ad hominem attacks on his personality or the perceived defects of the people who benefit from his teachings? Nobody ever talks about his ideas. Teachings like “Life is bounded by suffering and malevolence and the only antidote is meaning, which is found through responsibility.” That’s something most people wouldn’t figure out on their own. Here’s a longer version:

      “…Aim at something that’s worth aiming at. And how do you determine what’s worth aiming at?

      Well you think: Okay, here I have my miserable, wretched life. Under what conditions would it justify itself, as far as I’m concerned, personally?

      So you think. What sort of future would I have to have so that I could say ‘This is worth it.’?
      And that’s what you aim for.

      And technically that works in part because we know most of the systems that mediate positive emotion in human beings. And so those would be the dopaminergic systems that have their roots in the hypothalamic exploratory centers…are activated in relationship to pursuit of a goal, not as a consequence of attaining something.”

      My Brain exploded! One more:

      “If you stand up against the radical left, you’re in a group that also has Nazis in it. Because the Nazis also stand up against the radical left. So it’s perfectly reasonable, from a strategic perspective, for the radical left to say, “you’re against us, how do we know you’re not a Nazi?” Well, statistically, I’m probably not. But you could say at least the question is open. It’s motivated epithet slinging, because if I’m reasonable, and I’m standing up against the radical left, and they admit I’m reasonable, then there has to be an admission that reasonable people could stand up against the radical left, which kind of implies that the radical left isn’t that reasonable. And so they’re not going to go there. Of course, they’re not reasonable. They’re unreasonable beyond belief, as we saw with the situation with Lindsay Shepherd in Canada.”
      — Dr. Jordan Peterson

      • Tadas Vaitiekunas says

        I don’t think not showing emotion is stoic. Although I’m not an expert in stoicism, but there is a huge difference between not having emotion and pretending not to have emotion. Stoicism teaches to accept the circumstances and then you naturally become less emotional. But emotion itself is not an issue, as long as you’re not taken over by it. And you don’t consciously create them, so it’s just another circumstance actually. Anyway, I think it’s often more cowardly than stoic or manly to pretend not to have emotion. Being totally controlled by emotion is another thing though.

        Great article.

    • Andrew says

      “Methinks thou protesteth too much”.
      Possibly the shame of being confronted with someone untainted by the devices of public self gratification is simply unbearable provocation.

  2. Thank you, Esther. That was a wonderful tribute to Peterson’s true influence among many men…myself included.

    • Alice Williams says

      I have been following Dr Peterson for about two and a half years. What he has to say is relevant to all of us, men and women alike. He is a wonderful man. Thank you for your thoughtful article Esther.

  3. Thanks for this. Peterson also listens like the therapist he is, pausing to consider a comment or question, rather than rattling off a quick, glib reply like a politician.

    • neoteny says

      Peterson also listens like the therapist he is, pausing to consider a comment or question, rather than rattling off a quick, glib reply like a politician.

      That’s a pretty astute observation.

  4. That the left thinks a man this caring and kind needs to be destroyed tells us everything we need to know about how immoral they are.

    • The Resolute Mind says

      I think Peterson would encourage us to deeply understand the Left’s darkness of soul so that we remain free of its bondage.

    • Groucho says

      So there’s a left, a center and a right, huh. No other nuance? God help us all. Yes I’m an atheist but I bet most of you team players can still figure out what I mean. I’m a critical thinker. Period . Would so many of you quit trying to paint everything with such a broad brush. It shows you true ignorance so clearly.

  5. Denny Sinnoh says

    I stopped reading this awful article when you got your facts about The NY Times interview article wrong.

    • Alice Williams says

      What did she get wrong? Please tell us.

    • Heike says

      Let’s not forget that The Washington Post and The New York Times won the 2018 Pultizer Prize for their national reporting of President Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. They were awarded $15,000 in a joint prize. We know now this is a conspiracy theory, and yet the Prize has not been returned. I suppose the Board must act and revoke it. Well maybe not, the Times still has Walter Duranty’s Prize, awarded for covering up a genocide.

      Here’s the New York Times publishing CIA propaganda on Venezuela: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7eW4ASIo3I

    • mirrormere says

      No – the author quoted correctly. It was the Times that twisted Peterson’s meaning.

    • Henry says

      Sorry to hear, you missed out on a great piece.

    • David Turnbull says

      It must have been annoying to have to read that much to finally find the excuse you were looking for.

      • Everett Brunson says

        Exactly David. Such a comment could only come from someone hoping to debunk, rather than from someone seeking understanding.

  6. Morgan Foster says

    @Esther O’Reilly

    Thank you for this warm and compassionate piece.

    For the rest of us, including your editor, it is evidence indeed that a mathematician may have greater insights into the human soul than a philosopher.

    • I double majored in both math and philosophy. Philosophy, literature and history are actually my primary passions!

      • David Robinow says

        Interesting. As somebody who doesn’t ‘get’ philosophy, I find Jordan Peterson mostly boring. I did find some good stuff in 12 Rules. Could have been half as long.

      • Scott Killmer says

        A double major in math and philosophy? You are a fan of Dr. John Lennox I presume? I am a big, big fan of his.

        Thank you for this insightful article Esther. Well done.

  7. Stephanie says

    Great piece. I feel so sorry for the women that feel reflexive disgust for JBP. I suspect there’s some hurt over their wasted reproductive years or their useless degrees behind that.

    Listening to JBP talk about how important it is for women to have children made me feel more confident in pursuing a family even though it will undoubtedly negatively affect my studies and future career prospects. The academic career path is too long to wait until you’re settled, and I realised I wanted lots of kids. I got married and a couple of months later, I was pregnant.

    I miscarried at 6 weeks, and I was devastated. A terrible fear set in as months went by without conceiving again. One day I listened to a video where JBP was talking about sacrifice, and I realised that I had never sacrificed anything in my life. I was selfish, and I had been lucky enough so far that I had been shielded from the consequences. If I wanted to be a mother, I had to clean up my act. I had to stop doing everything that wasn’t conducive to that goal (which was a lot). For the first time I grasped the necessity of sacrifice.

    Only a couple of months later, I finally conceived again. The day I missed my period happened to be the day my husband and I met JBP during the VIP session after his talk. I’m nearly 10 weeks pregnant now, and, praying all goes well, if it’s a boy we’re naming him Jordan.

    • Yes, I actually feel he does women a great service by giving them that courage. There’s something very bracing about it that actually honors women tremendously, by encouraging them to develop grit and tenacity.

      • As a late middle aged woman, I couldn’t agree more with you @Esther. Knowledge is power. If I know about myself that I tend toward too much agreeableness, that helps me guard against these traits when they don’t serve my interests. If I know men more aggressively bargain for their salaries, that means I can too; if I know my career is harmed by lack of self-promotion, too much sensitivity, and so on, I can guard against this too.

        I have found his image of casting ourselves as heroes in our own journey, battling dragons and the woods, and taking small incremental gains, to be very inspiring. Now when I face a challenge, rather than concentrating on the ways I failed, or the ways in which people don’t like me, or whatever, I cast myself as the ‘hero’ in my daily journey, concentrate on battling the dragon. I find myself far more capable than before, and far less likely to worry about agreeableness and pleasing others.

        It has never been true that Peterson’s audience is nearly all men, and even less true now; women as well as men benefit from his advice. But as a mother of young men, I also love how he advocates for the positive roles men play and the various pitfalls to be wary of, many of which are more unique to masculinity (on average, not individually).

        • Jean Levant says

          “I have found his image of casting ourselves as heroes in our own journey, battling dragons and the woods, and taking small incremental gains, to be very inspiring. Now when I face a challenge, rather than concentrating on the ways I failed, or the ways in which people don’t like me, or whatever, I cast myself as the ‘hero’ in my daily journey, concentrate on battling the dragon. I find myself far more capable than before, and far less likely to worry about agreeableness and pleasing others.”

          d, I don’t know whether you speak on your own or by courtesy of Jordan Peterson but there are some great lines, here.

    • Blue Lobster says


      I do hope the best for you and your family. I, too, know how it feels to lose a child.

    • Gino Fontarelli says

      How wonderful. I wish you the very best.

    • Jim Gorman says

      As a man, I can’t tell you exactly how a mother feels about children. I can tell you that my wife is viciously protective and would willingly self-sacrifice her life for her children. As a father I can say there is nothing more joyous than having children (and grandchildren) to teach, play with, and enjoy as they grow and learn.

      I sincerely hope that the new feminism and its search for equality with men does not prevent women (and men) from experiencing the joys of children. However, I am afraid that this new “equality” with men will insist that children are the problem that is holding them back and create a new societal pressure for no children. Not only will society be worse off, but individuals will be also.

      • Lester Whistler says

        @Coffee Klatch
        Good retort. And the groups you mentioned are straightening out their shit, you will be happy to note. Men’s rights in the legal sphere, MGTOWS and incels in the relationship and financial sphere (particularly MGTOWS) and they have JPB and 12 Rules in the psychological sphere. Pretty much covers it, I think. The future is bright. MGTOW’s in particular are discovering a meaningful life without the fixing, coddling and service of a woman, and they appear to be happy about it.

    • Alan Appel says

      Have confidence in realizing that every one of your female ancestors successfully bore and raised children. Without exception! And girls at that! Quite a story. All the best.

    • Henry says

      Thank you for sharing your story, Stephanie, it touched my heart. I pray that you will be blessed with beautiful family. You know, Jordan is a good name for a girl too!

    • @Stephanie, sorry I didn’t see your post until now. What a beautiful post. I’m so sorry for your loss and wish you a smooth and easy pregnancy and healthy baby.

    • Polly styrene says

      Not all non-breeders oppose Jordan and his philosophies.

    • Tome708 says

      I am now praying for you as well Stephanie. I always enjoy your responses.

    • james pott says

      Apparently Coffee Klatch is not any more what it used to be. Lagging behind the times a bit? Got some catching up to do. Post-modern identity thinking is on its way out thank God and we can start thinking thoughts again that are neither left not right. Or even centrist. Without being screamed at or told we are misogynist, or racist.
      But maybe I am just a romantic dreamer.

      • Michael Rafferty says

        I suspect your dreaming but I also have the same dream. Maybe one day it may be a reality but I doubt it very much. As Michael hutchince wrote Watch the world argue,argue with itself. Whose going to teach you peace and happiness.

    • CAY says

      Congrats Stephanie!

      I was scared to have a baby for the reasons you mentioned, plus physical changes. After listening to JBP and how he sees parenthood and the joy children, I felt encouraged to make the leap. Well, I am typing next to my 4 month old and no regrets.

      Hugs, well wishes and prayers for a safe pregnancy and healthy kiddo!

  8. Brian says

    God Bless you and your family Stephanie. Good luck.

    Great article Esther. Is this the same Esther O’Reilly who occassionally speaks with Paul Vanderklay? I sometimes make it to his meetups and find them very enriching.

    Esther you are an even better writer than you are a speaker.

  9. Jean Levant says

    Good story, Esther. I never read and, in fact never heard of this Jordan Peterson, except on Quillette, but you’ve just given me the desire to do so.

    • Harland says

      Dr. Jordan Peterson primer:

      Watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbOeO_frzvg
      clean your room
      beautify your room
      continue “cleaning/beautifying” every aspect of your life, start with the easy stuff / the low hanging fruit and don’t stop; every day compare yourself to the self of yesterday

        • JollyLittlePerson says

          Jean Levant – try his 2018 bestseller “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”.
          I am a middle-aged woman like d above and I am gaining a lot from the book. My husband and one of my twenty-something sons also liked it.
          Good luck!

  10. S. Cheung says

    Very nice piece. I think the focus on how JBP not necessarily or only speaks to men, but seemingly and particularly reaches disaffected young men, is an astute observation that nicely meshes with the narrative of his atypically sensitive and non-stoic nature. It is also very congruent with one of the major motivations in his writing and scholarship, which is the reality and inescapability of human suffering.

  11. Hamilton Sunshine says

    Nearly every criticism of Peterson in print is a badly informed and deliberately twisted hot take and misrepresentation. It’s no wonder people are protective of him. People like to rally around the bullied, especially if people also feel bullied by the same people. He’s become a rallying focal point.
    The feminists don’t realise that they’ve created Peterson the cult figure by being complete idiots.

    • JWatts says

      Yes, I can’t say I’m a huge personal fan of Peterson, but he’s articulate and makes good points. His critics on the other hand seem to consistently misrepresent what he says, launch character attacks with little substance or take a very small mistake he made and blow it out of proportion to its merit.

      • jakesbrain says

        I’m sure there are valid criticisms of JBP to be made, but we never seem to hear them beneath the torrent of misrepresentations and personal insults.

    • ga gamba says

      Moreover, a lot of the criticism is simply quoting others’ shabby opinions of him, such as Tabatha Southey’s “Jordan Peterson is the stupid man’s smart person” to which a reader ought to think “Who is Tabatha Southey?” (Don’t ask comedian/actor Dave Foley.)

      There’s also the knock of how much Peterson earns from contributors despite him giving much of his content away. This coming from corporate news media organisations including those that are state funded. Southey’s employer Maclean’s was given a C$1,492,069 grant from the Aid to Publishers programme of the government-provided Canada Periodical Fund from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018. That was just slightly less than the $1.5 million it had received in each of the previous six cycles from the state. Former CBC news reader Peter Mansbridge was paid C$1.1 million per year and now receives a pension of over C$500,000 from the CBC for the rest of his life. Such largesse from the taxpayer-supported organisation that people are compelled to support.

      I think the most bizarre accusation made was that of the demographics of his audience, implying that it’s troublesome many men find his ideas appealing. “Men like it… it must be bad.”

    • X. Citoyen says

      Nearly every criticism of Peterson in print is a badly informed and deliberately twisted hot take and misrepresentation.

      Even this is giving clickbait journalists too much credit. Peterson is attacked because he’s trending in the category of wrongthink. The report, the interview, the book review, whatever it is, was written before the fact, and the simulated news source requires a link in. So his name was plugged into the script along with a few quotations to make the product look like news.

      Some people worry about journalist being replaced by AI. It hardly matters because they’ve already become robots.

  12. Hutch says

    I don’t agree with Jordan Peterson on a great deal of issues.

    However i’m grateful people like him exist. He debates with integrity and good faith.

    He appears to be very sincere in his attempts to help people.

    Even if you don’t agree with the mans argument you can at least give the man credit for the manner in which he presents it and the intentions underlying it.

    That munk debate where he effectively gets called a “bad white man” clearly shows the attitudes he has to face out there.

    His patience and manner is a great example to follow.

    • James Pelton says

      You are correct in all that you have said here. The Munk debate was a display of blatant racism. The people he was debating are simple morons.

  13. the gardner says

    What is it about Peterson that threatens certain people? His views that men should be strong, purposeful, “heroic” does not preclude them also being sensitive and supportive. It is this combination that makes a man complete and what he thinks men should strive for. Not this castrated version of men today’s feminists demand.

    • John says

      @the gardner -That is the question.
      Ask yourself, what sort of person or group feels threatened by honesty, integrity, compassion and truthfulness?

      • Stephanie says

        The kind of person who understands how horrific it is to blame women for their own harassment and/or murder because they are free to and do reject men.

        • Who is doing that? Not Jordan Peterson obviously unless you believe what you read not what you see and hear for yourself.

          • Stephanie says

            He specifically said of a man who killed 10 people: “He was angry at God because women were rejecting him… The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.” Much of the criticism of this statement was based on the assumption that he meant government-enforced. I don’t believe that. He meant socially “enforced.” But it doesn’t matter who or what is doing the “enforcing.” He is saying that women have the power to stop incels from killing them by giving these guys their bodies. There is no other reasonable interpretation of his meaning. And that shifting of responsibility – and therefore blame – is not acceptable. It is dangerous. And it either undermines his other message of “be a good man and take responsibility for yourself” or it reveals that his “philosophy” is, in fact, based on the notion that women exist only to serve men and men need to be better not because women are people, but because men are inherently deserving of subservience and have lost sight of that.

          • Ray Andrews says


            “He is saying that women have the power to stop incels from killing them by giving these guys their bodies.”

            This is an impersonation. This is not the real Stephanie.

          • Tome708 says

            That is not Stephanie. It’s that coffee cuck person. She is mad at Jordan Peterson and resentful because Stephanie desires a family and coffee cook has swallowed the kool aid but deeply desires family as well.

        • Hope you are not suggesting JBP is guilty of those actions. But in support of what you say, not everyone deserves to be in a relationship, particularly if they are not able to contribute or add value for their partner and especially not if they are a net negative influence. Men and women are equally capable of exploiting the other sex.

  14. MMS says

    We are all fortunate to have him… Lets make sure we do not turn his image into a cult of personality. Lets remain concision that Peterson like all people is a person with good and bad and may, like all of us, be prone to a misstep now and then (and I am sure that is the way he would have it)… To deify him is to destroy his impact.

    • Graham Strouse says

      My sense is that a lot of people don’t really get Peterson’s broad appeal. As a public intellectual, he’s not particularly impressive. His use of the term “enforced monogamy” was definitely an unforced error. It’s academic jargon. Basically enforced monogamy posits that posits that humans function best when we pair-bond. When we don’t, to put it crudely, a small number of men become, well, pussy hoarders, which is disruptive both to individuals and society as a whole.

      That’s not how it comes across to the masses. Peterson is not the world’s most eloquent public speaker when he dives into academic issues & his Jungian language can be a bit confusing.

      Peterson really shines, however, as a kind of public therapist. He’s an excellent listener & when he speaks in plain, common sense terms, he’s masterful. As a practicing therapist, not surprisingly, he seems to be at his best in public in one-on-one interviews. I’m thinking a little about his famous of Channel 4 news presenter Kathy Newman. It made his rep & embarrasses Newman, who, believe it or not, is a pretty good reporter. She was just dead wrong about Peterson.

      Peterson could probably do without some of his fanboys. To his credit, he doesn’t seem to really actively encourage them. He really doesn’t need a cult.

      In the end I think Peterson is a valuable and thoughtful public figure whose opinions on sexual roles & sexual norms in a rapidly changing world are well worth listening to.

  15. So this thinks that Peterson’s acolytes will learn no solidarity with the sick, the suffering, or the poor? Is that imbecile Clark for real?
    Where does s/he/it think that Peterson’s readership comes from?

  16. It’s a good start to a day when a fine article about one of my heroes actually includes a reference to another, Thomas Sowell.

  17. E. Olson says

    “New Zealand writer Cecile Meier expressed horror at the “baffling number of women” she observed among Peterson’s fans. Like Bowles, she wonders what sort of internalized misogyny must be at work.”

    Clearly the author of this article doesn’t understand this important point. I mean what kind of woman would want her father, husband, boyfriend, brother, or son to be happy and successful? Can’t Peterson’s female fans see that life is a zero sum game and that the very act of a man succeeding and finding meaning in life also requires that some woman’s dreams and happiness be crushed? Only if the sisterhood sticks together in condemning dangerous manifestations of toxic masculinity such as Peterson, can women prevail and take their rightful place at the top of the power hierarchies.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @ E. Olson

      I would like to see a scholarly, long-term study of the straight white male children of prominent feminists. How they have fared in the world regarding work, family and personal relationships over several decades.

      • E. Olson says

        Morgan – I think that would be interesting also, although I suspect an alarming number of prominent feminists are childless and also (for some strange and likely sexist reason) lacking a sperm donor in their life.

        • Morgan Foster says

          @E. Olson

          As it happens, I get to see a number of feminists – prominent within their universities, at any rate – and their husbands at several social events each year.

          The husbands give the impression of being nurtured, rather than nurturing.

      • derek says

        Healthy and balanced sons respect their mothers but don’t pay much attention to them.

        Charles Murray posts that the upper middle class life one way and preach another.

      • Brent says

        most would fair well as they would leave home early and learn about the world from people who didn’t live in the victimhood model hopefully.

    • Itzik Basman says

      @ E.Olsen

      ..Can’t Peterson’s female fans see that life is a zero sum game and that the very act of a man succeeding and finding meaning in life also requires that some woman’s dreams and happiness be crushed? …

      Doesn’t get much sillier than this.

      It’s hard to imagine E. Olsen doesn’t have (I presume) her tongue deep in her cheek, meaning to parody such fallacious nonsense.

      The quoted sentence could serve as illustrative of the logical fallacy of the excluded middle.

    • JollyLittlePerson says

      And Jordan Peterson has a lot to say directly to women as well! I’m not a man and I’m not young but what he says about taking responsibility for your own life and standing up for yourself really spoke to me.

      • Graham Strouse says

        From what I understand a pretty large portion of Peterson’s private client base is female.

    • Avid Reader says

      @ EO

      sometimes I think you are Tatiana McGrath v2.0

  18. psg82 says

    Thank you for the article Esther. Loved it. Dr. Peterson needs so much praise for his work. He’s changing life all over the world, including mine.

  19. Nova Scotia Steve says

    Esther- I know JP and you have captured his humanity. You’ve also captured the dilemma of old farts like me who have worked towards a certain type of androgeny but resent having our residual masculinity demeaned, There is no contradiction between equity feminism (the type that Christuna Hoff- Sommers describes) and a bit of old fashioned chivalry. The regressive left just may be able to drive all of the positve masculinity out of society (to them all masculinity is toxic) and we should all be afraid of that possibility.

  20. Hamida says

    I actually cried when I read the part about chivalry.
    Thank you Esther, it is beautifully written.

  21. Emmanuel says

    Really good article about Peterson, which conveys much of what the mainstream media (both supportive and hostile to him) often fail to say, as Camille Paglia pointed out in one interview.

  22. Gera says

    I’m a woman who first heard of Dr Peterson through social media (actually a comment on a libertarian magazine article) and checked him out with trepidation as an alt-right representative. He was nothing of the sort. I listened to his interviews then classes first from a political standpoint and finally was disarmed enough to listen to his human message.
    People on the left are afraid of him for good reason. They are fundamentally materialists. Finally FINALLY here is meat for those of us starved for intellectual discourse in our culture. Here are vegetables for those of use who have been taught since birth to seek happiness as the goal of life, with perpetual striving and despair as the only result. Drink for those of us thirsty for spiritual challenge, for introspection. People like him should be on PBS and probably would have been 20 years ago. We evidently need someone, anyone, to bring up the important questions of life. We find that materialistic concerns and ideas have overwhelmed the political and public discourse. Those have their place. But our spiritual and intellectual needs as human beings, not just animals, are real too. We’ve lost the non-linear subconscious threads of our culture, our hero stories, our courage, and half of ourselves. – This rift has caused the decline of art in general too, as art is a reflection of our deepest selves. We don’t really know ourselves so how can we project anything? Our religions are weak rituals compared to the combat, self-righteous feelings, and anger of the political sphere. As a person working in an artistic field who craves discussion and self integration these areas particularly call out to me, at least. I’m guessing based on Dr Peterson’s popularity they do to others as well.
    As to this article in particular you make a compelling case because I’ve seen many situations where good men have been excluded physically from children’s lives yet they are as loving and want to contribute as much as women. Our society has taken the worst aspects of ‘the patriarchy’ and projected them on women, almost demanding that women take those ugly traits, promiscuity, competitiveness, striving for power, and aggression and make them our own. I can’t help but feel society has degenerated into some version of SIM city where we are just playthings for the opinion makers and social engineers.

    • thrash jazz assassin says

      What a wonderful comment. And I whole heartedly agree. I find it astounding and baffling the level of the wilful blindness and unexamined parroting that goes into the negative commentary towards JP. And it’s as if all question of deeper meaning, the existential, are regarded as settled. But the abiding need for meaning – starved of the numinous, the mythic, and the allegorical which are now denigrated and written off as merely the fanciful product of fairytale belief – cannot help but leak out and latch onto …something…, but now in an increasingly perverse way; as if split in two, blaming the world for the lack of that …something… One cannot, it seems, speak of anything meaningful without it being politicised in some way. Suddenly a Jungian, existential, psychotherapeutically informed approach to understanding the world and humanity is seen as a political threat! I honestly don’t understand that.

      I remember, not so long ago when that was not so much the case, and acknowledging a spiritual dimension to life (and thus enriched intellectual imagination) was not antithetical to one’s rational and scientific understanding. JP definitely embodies that synthesis in his own idiosyncratic way.

      • jakesbrain says

        Suddenly a Jungian, existential, psychotherapeutically informed approach to understanding the world and humanity is seen as a political threat! I honestly don’t understand that.

        They consider it a political threat because it is a direct danger to their politics, which — for all their protestations of rationality — are based in raw appeals to emotion and would be too flimsy to stand up to a well-informed deep inquiry.

    • James Pelton says

      I like this comment but I must confess that I am a stone cold materialist. I also have no trouble whatsoever with JP’s solid ground common sense, nor with with his use of our mythic stories as evidence. The man is no fool, Some of his detractors …

  23. GregS says

    In the mid-1980’s, I attended a community town hall held by Minnesota 4th District Congressman Martin Sabo. This was during the moral panic over Reagan’s nuclear build up in Europe and shortly after the TV film The Day After was aired.

    During the Q & A period, a young mother approached the mic and struggled through her tears to speak – then she lost it and collapsed in a sobbing fit. It was an emotional moment in the country’s history and she couldn’t handle it.

    Martin Sabo asked the crowd to take a break then sat down with the woman and spoke to her at length while the crowd cooled its heels.

    I can’t say that I shared Congressman Sabo’s politics – but he impressed me as man and despite our political differences, I felt reassured at having someone like that in Washington.

    His seat is now held by Ilham Omar.

  24. Craig Willms says

    I’ve said it before but Jordan Peterson is in my mind is like a modern day C.S.Lewis. He uses modern communication tools like Lewis used the radio and the printed word. The negativity thrust Peterson’s way is brushed aside by the real person and his real messages. He’s a wonderful human being. Nice article.

    • Lydia says

      I have also thought he was a lot like CS Lewis. Especially with his philosophical approach to our belief systems.

  25. Rick Gu says

    ‘To cast down the proud and lift up the lowly. To do justly and love mercy. To walk boldly, yet humbly. Herein is the art of manliness.’

    What a nice way to sum things up!

    I am amazed that Mr. Peterson draws such ire from some people. He seems like such a nice man…..and wise, too. Just because one does not agree with things he says does not make him an evil villain. I hope he keeps doing what he has been doing.

  26. I’m quite willing to be convinced that there is a virtue, called “chivalry” specific to men, but this article fails to convince me of this. All the ways in which Peterson allegedly manifests this virtue could easily be, and often are, manifested by women. I confess I don’t see why valuable human qualities have to be gendered. It doesn’t seem particularly helpful.

    • Harland says

      The basic problem with chivalry is that to be a knight implies the existence of gentlewomen. But the ideals of feminists do not recognize reciprocity, and so this creates a natural barrier. Chivalric ideals like “Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.” are innately offensive to feminism. Feminists will strike down with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy their sisters by treating them as ladies instead of generic NPC humanoids.

    • Jesse says

      Valuable human qualities are “gendered” because human qualities in general are “gendered”. Men and women, on average, are very different from one another in many important ways. These differences are largely due to nature, not nurture. There is ample evidence for this, from rigorous, repeatable scientific studies to mountains of history.

      I’m sure I lost you almost immediately. If you’re trying to understand a subject, but you insist that established facts germane to that subject are instead falsehoods, you will of course wallow in confusion.

      • No, you didn’t “lose” me. You simply substituted a straw man. I didn’t say or imply that men and women were not “different in many important ways”. However, we are talking specifically about “virtue”, and more specifically with reference to the article, about particular examples of compassion, understanding, tolerance and courage exemplified by JBP. My point is that both men and women can manifest these qualities – in broadly similar ways, even. The writer of the article has not demonstrated that calling these qualities “chivalry” when manifested by men, and something else when manifested by women, is warranted.

        I do take Derek’s point (below) that the differences between the sexes may require different “strategies” to bring out these qualities. Does one of those “strategies” consist of giving identical qualities a different name when practised by one sex or the other? As a sort of educational marketing strategy, maybe? That strikes me as an interesting and possibly fruitful line of enquiry. But it’s one that the article does not really address (correct me if I’m wrong).

    • John Haberstroh says

      Yes, exactly. Chivalry is in essence the kindness and compassion by the strong and accomplished towards the weak or frail. One can see how it was associated with men when physical strength was a greater focus, or when men held nearly all the socially prominent positions in society. But now? My daughter is very accomplished in a few small ways and is kind and attentive toward nervous beginners or lost souls in roughly the same kinds of moments as Jordan Peterson is. It’s silly to think she is ‘acting like a guy’ at those times.

      The negative sexism towards males of the ‘new feminists’ is obvious and very wrong. The solution is to fight them with reality, not to invent a ‘positive sexism’ for men.

    • derek says

      I think you are mistaken. It isn’t that qualities are gendered. It is that different strategies are required to elicit these qualities from either sex. Boys and men are different generally from girls and women. Boys tend to be more violent and physical, tend to be larger and stronger. The very deep tendencies towards male competition thrown in that mix can bring out the worst.

      So to elicit these qualities requires a strategy that recognizes these realities. There has been a campaign to tailor education to the needs of girls and young women that has been very successful. But it doesn’t seem to be working for boys and young men.

      • Andrew Roddy says

        @ Jesse.
        ‘Valuable human qualities are “gendered” because human qualities in general are “gendered”. Men and women, on average, are very different from one another in many important ways. These differences are largely due to nature, not nurture. There is ample evidence for this, from rigorous, repeatable scientific studies to mountains of history.’

        To study any ‘human quality’, and how it may be correlated with sex or gender, you would have to begin with a concept of that quality (eg honesty, humility, generosity) that was very precise and expressly not gender specific. Even if your results show a marked tendency for women to be more generous than men, for example, then generosity remains as precisely gender-neutral as it needed to be for you to test it in the first place.

        Men and women recognise kindness and cruelty as manifest in both ourselves and in other men and women. My own experience suggests to me they have been distributed very fairly.

        It seems clear these qualities will sometime express themselves differently because, as you say, men and women are recognisably different entities. If they weren’t there would be nothing to discuss. To what extent their respective behaviours are socialised or biologically innate is a matter where all opinion, and indeed published studies, must be viewed with our most wise-eyed scepticism.

  27. Blue Lobster says

    Peterson doesn’t do much for me personally but his advocacy for men during a time when it seems like he may be the only one gives me (as a man) heart and I hope that his influence in the lives of his audience continues to be positive.

  28. Ted says

    Careful, there, Ms. O’Reilly; persist in this sort of writing and you may well find yourself influencing a resurgence of compassion, trust and assistance of the weak by those fortunate and determined enough to be strong.

    Looking forward to reading more of your work.

  29. Thomas Barnidge says

    Hey, don’t you know Jordan Peterson is a “pseudo-intellectual? Sure, he taught at Harvard and the U of Toronto, but just like Ben Shapiro (UCLA, Harvard Law), he is belittled by the progressives as a fake-intellectual. Now Ocasio-Cortez, since she has a degree in Economics is a true intellectual powerhouse in the progressives’ minds.

  30. I have to disagree with your assessment that JP treated that woman who couldn’t find any help from his book with chivalry. He is a clinical therapist with tens of thousands of hours doing therapy sessions. I am sure that throughout his career he must have been with several clients he just couldn’t help (no therapist can help everyone) and chances are that he probably said the exact same thing to them. It’s just nice, professional courtesy and a sign of a contained ego.

    • Except this woman wasn’t one of his patients. She was a Twitter troll. So for him to respond at all was out of his way to begin with. Further, the way she worded it was quite provocative and deliberately meant as a slap in the face. It would have been easy for him to say something snarky in reply. (Indeed, he’s famous for his snark.) So on the one hand yes, that is partly the voice of experience, but I think there’s an extra element.

    • Peter from Oz says

      I suggest that anyone who has followed Professor Peterson should also look into the writings of Dr Theodore Dalrymple (aka Dr Anthony Daniels), a retired psychiatrist who practised amongst the underclass in Britain and around the world. His insights into the damage done to the weakest in society by left wing ideas are very prescient.

      • Lydia says

        I have enjoyed Dalrymple for years! He has a great definition of socialism.

  31. Zofia says

    I find his moralising tiresome; that people find his views “remarkable” and “life changing” says more about them than him, really. It is quite frightening to think that some people can’t think for themselves and require someone like Peterson to tell them what to do and think. That said, for those who are intelectually and emotionally incapable of finding their own way, Peterson’s not the worst person to look up to – at least he advocates some constructive solutions. Better such people look up to Peterson than to some far-right lunatic which unfortunately happens a lot amongst those who cannot fathom that they can think for themselves.
    I truly feel sorry for people who need others to make them more confident in their life choices. I mean, was I born on another planet? Because somehow I always new that life was a struggle, that happiness is a ridiculous goal and that taking responsibility in face of adversity is the only way forward. It was always obvious to me, possibly because I didn’t grow up in the West. I moved to the UK as a 20 year old and found my peers over here largely a mindless group of impressionable children. So did my sister, who moved here 8 years after me so not much changed.
    I am weary of moralising agents, but on the left and on the right and I see JBP as one of these but like I said, those lacking self-awareness could have done worse.

    • Christian Moon says

      Wow, Zofia, such scorn and condescension of his audience, and so little sympathy, so little understanding for them.

      I think I recognise the often greater maturity you describe in the people who make the journey to Britain from ex-communist Europe, but so often there is this harshness too. Is it a resentment of some sort?

      There is so little encouragement for men, says Peterson, and it makes such a difference, but it will only come if we first accept the reality of their suffering and if we respect their value as individuals, if we can open our hearts.

    • Just Me says

      Zofia –

      “Was I born on a different planet?”

      Obviously you were born and grew up in a different culture, one with a more traditional understanding of life. The kind of understanding Peterson is trying to bring back to the West. Lucky you not to need his teaching.

    • CAY says

      Good for you?

      Sorry we are mindless children here in West. You should have warned your sister not come! My g-d how you have endured this intellectual wasteland, what utter courage. Hopefully you have not succumbed to mating and breeding with our kind.

      It is not like for centuries, in every culture, we learned by listening to the wise. All cultures have a shaman, a wiseman, a prophet. It doesn’t mean every word is God’s truth but maybe there is something to be gleaned from it.

      To quote Newton, “nanos gigantum humeris insidentes.” – but clearly you have it all figured out.

  32. “Yet from the point of view of Peterson’s critics, it truly does seem that he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.”

    As are we all. Men are typically maligned as uncaring and devoid of emotion. Yet express indignation at that blanket defamation, and you’re taunted for your “male tears” and “male fragility”.

    Time for us well-adjusted men & women to refuse to be conscripted into the Gender Wars.

  33. Charlie says

    Peterson is telling people to develop self control, self discipline and master one’s fears, anxieties and base desires, to develop responsibility. Every society apart from the 1960s baby boomers has realised that children need to be prepared for adulthood by accepting responsibility for themselves and they cannot be carried by others. From the age of 14 years of age, in most societies teenagers have had to earn the food they produce and even provide additional for the family/tribe. Until recently mist 14 year olds were working. It is only since the 1960s have adults who are still learning until their late twenties and not acting as fully responsible members of society.

    For a society to be free, people must accept responsibility for themselves.
    I think it was Samuel Adams who said ” Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty “.

    Labour leaders such as Keir Hardie MP( first leader of the Labour Party ), who went down the mines at the age of 12 years said of Sam Smiles book ” Self Help ” that it was manual for socialism. Those who founded the labour Party in the 19th century were practical people inspired by Christianity to improve the quality of the lies of the poor. Modern day left wingers are middle class types who have never experienced poverty and do not have have the practical skills to improve the lives of the less fortunate. One only has to look at the crime and poor educational standards of inner cities run by left wing parties to see how ineffectual they are. If one compares to the education standards achieved by 14 year olds in inner city slums prior to WW1and the low crime rates; we can see how ineptl are modern day left wingers. If those within inner cities take responsibility for themselves in the manner advocated by Keir Hardie MP, then modern day left wing parties are finished.

    The vast increase in those reading art degrees post 1945 has resulted in many who lack intellectual substance, particularly on the Left, of true scholars. The days when a scholar and gentleman knew Latin and Greek and 3-4 European languages are long gone.Their criticism of the West hides the fact that they are unable to contribute to western civilisation. Peterson is the little boy who says the Emperor, which is the left wing middle class intellectual, is naked and therefore threatens their status and salary. The acceptance of Petersons; views means the vast majority of humanities education is a waste of time and money and this includes employment of these academics. This why Peterson is hated , he threaten the incomes of left wing politicians and academics because he shows them to be liabilities not assets.

  34. Ralph Knight says

    Thank you for this very substantive article. I don’t really know much about Dr. Peterson except for what I’ve seen on a couple of brief on-line clips from his talks, which I liked. I am curious enough now to explore and form my own opinion. I also look forward to reading more from you.

  35. “whipped into marriageable state”?
    I think women are in need of that more than these low status men.

    Women can’t love men who are lower status than them in any case, which is why this whole project is questionable. 10% of men will always fall aside, because women of comparable status will never look at them, and no women exists lower than the bottom 10% of men.

    Enforced monogamy is kind of a joke too. What happens these days is serial monogamy. Jumping from one relationship to the next. That’s informal polygamy. Lifelong monogamy has to be enforced, or else it’s meaningless.

  36. Pingback: Jordan Peterson, And the New Chivalry – Now or Never

  37. Chuck says

    Well um, my eyes watered a bit reading this article. Jordan Peterson is a good man, thanks for reminding us.

  38. Thanks for your article, Esther. I read JP’s book a month ago, loved it, and now I’m in this upside-down world where I can’t talk about all the rich ideas in it because just to mention his name in my milieu creates real anger. I realize how tribal and unthinking our world actually is by default, though it clothes itself in “Reason (TM)” and “Rational Thinking (TM)” while the individuals who wear those badges most proudly don’t even practice them, let alone move towards or at least yearn for higher virtues such as mercy, wisdom and love.

    JP’s work is a door to awaken the desire for those virtues, but with the full and useful participation of the intellect and ego. This is the kind of door we need today…

    Many thanks!

  39. Jim says

    What a good man. I have a 29 year-old son who just seems to be lost, and the worst part is that he absolutely does not want any advice or criticism – and that he and his girlfriend live nearly 600 miles away. I wish I could do something, but what? Men like Jordan Peterson at least give me hope.

  40. Fickle Pickle says

    Some comments on Liberty “University”

    Remember how Jesus was scathingly critical of both the in power religious and political establishments of his time place.

    Would Jesus be found anywhere near Liberty “University”? LU
    Of course not!
    It is one of the principal propaganda factories for a very pernicious form of Christianity.
    It is primarily a money-making machine and very much about exercising and promoting political power too.

    On the other very dark hand it was entirely predictable that Donald Trump was invited to speak at the LU, the head honchos of which enthusiastically endorse his presidency.

    Donald Trump does not have a Christian bone in his body.
    He is of course a culturally illiterate barbarian. In fact his entire life time and now-time persona makes a complete mockery of the best aspects of Christianity, and the best most humanizing aspect of Western culture altogether.

    • Charlie says

      Christ mixed with tax gatherers, prostitutes, Roman soldiers, publicans and sinners. People ignore how run down were parts of New York were in the 1970s before Trump invested in property. Trump was one of the people who helped to improve the city of New York.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Fickle Pickle

      “Would Jesus be found anywhere near Liberty “University”? LU
      Of course not!
      It is one of the principal propaganda factories for a very pernicious form of Christianity.
      It is primarily a money-making machine and very much about exercising and promoting political power too.”

      Would Jesus – or more pertinently, Jordan Peterson – be found anywhere near the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)?

      Would you be concerned about Peterson speaking at an event sponsored by the SPLC?

      The SPLC is one of the principal propaganda factories for a very pernicious form of racial identity politics.

      The SPLC is primarily a money-making machine and very much about exercising and promoting political power too.

      Any objection or concern about either Jesus or Peterson setting foot on the premises?

    • Grant says

      Well the culturally illiterate barbarian has so far out performed 16 there of other presidents. He doesn’t have a Christian bone and why would you care if he did?

    • Stephanie says

      Bringing up Trump when he’s not relevant just to rant.

    • Lydia says

      Bernie Sanders was invited to speak at Liberty and did. And believe it or not the audience was respectful. AOC has also been invited.

      I’m not even a fan of liberty and was shocked at how respectful the audience was toward Bernie Sanders. Maybe they are on to something with this free speech thing on college campuses.

  41. Janice C. says

    In response to some of the comments above, I think there have been some amazing critiques of Peterson, here is one. I wish his ideas were engaged with in this manner rather than this cult-worship/ memorization which is so much easier for non-thinkers.

    Better to lay out his points and assess. As here: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/03/the-intellectual-we-deserve

    But it is interesting to see him praised in this way when what strikes me and my husband is how unchivalrous he is. His rage at Helen Lewis was insane. My husband would pull me out of the sites of a man like that, I’ve been working a male-dominated field for over twenty years- no one has raged like that at anyone. He seems very unexperienced to me in that regard. He praises a kind of bullying in the work site in his 12 Rules, my husband works on worksites and we could find no way to relate to Peterson’s kind of faux tough guy positioning. Tough guys do not have to act so enamored by physical violence, and they do not enjoy it at work.

    Finally, like other faux tough guys, his talk about it “getting physical” with men at a certain point, rendering it easier for him to work with me. Come on. Actually strong men crack up if they view this. Peterson is incredibly feminine acting- great, fine. But he is not going to beat anyone up.
    There is something wrong and inexperienced about a man who talks about beating people up when he clearly does not know what that involves.

    Anyway, I love manliness and find Peterson anything but. Maybe we should just focus on his arguments rather than him as a role model? I do not doubt his arguments could be helpful to some, if they pay no attention to his strange animus towards working with women.

      • Isaías says

        Certainly, she does not seem to feel any range. Mere condescension will do, exactly the same as she did during the entire GQ interview. Yes, I have watched it. And it is very telling to read the question at the end of the first paragraph of her review on the event: ‘Will he win?’ So, for Helen Lewis it was never a question of exchanging ideas and discussing them, but simply a matter of winning or losing. Yet, she claims to be against hierarchies of power and domination, on the grounds that this is all, apparently, what patriarchy and masculinity stand for. Except, of course, when there exists the chance that she, after all, could be the winner. Which means, apparently, that the problem is not one of domination or hierrachies, but simply one of who is the loser. So much for the downtrodden, provided Helen Lewis is the winner.

      • Janice C. says

        Well, the rest of us have eyes and ears too. This was roundly ridiculed and if you are a husband who would not protect your wife from this type of emotional disorder, I’m calling the other sort manly. This is not a normal reaction. Hair plugs are not normal either. I am just saying don’t make this guy represent masculine qualities, he is not tough, he is not stable, he would concern a normal guy in my world.

        • Brent says

          If you play the victimhood card really loudly you can drown out the sound of reasonable words and that is the problem with the whole radical left. They have the victimhood card set to 11.

      • Janice C. says

        And you know what else? The daughter taking her shirt off in online videos and posting odd bikini pictures? A fail. Normal people are not going to admire that or aspire to it. Again, focus on the arguments, test them in your life, see if they get you to AVOID vanity surgery, raging at work, and disturbing lack of boundaries, and end the attempt to find a role model instead.

    • Just Me says

      Janice –

      A perfect example of someone not getting, or distorting, Peterson’s views.

      As a man with a strong “feminine”, empathetic, self-analytical, “in-touch-with-his-emotions” side (he’s a clinical psychologist, not a macho occupation), he recognizes the importance of the underlying strong emotional, unspoken, physical aspect of men’s social behavior that men rarely acknowledge.

      It rang a bell with me, a woman, because I am struck by how often a man will say, when asked why he didn’t stand up to some other man over something, “He’s bigger than I am!” It’s a constant undercurrent in men’s interactions, even in modern society.

      I suggest you check out Mad Blood Stirring: the Inner Lives of Violent Men by Daemon Fairless which discusses much of the same phenomena. How this undercurrent is there in many men’s lives, but they refuse to examine it:



      As for that interview, he was not “in a rage”, but he was exasperated at yet another interviewer who seemed to wilfully misrepresent his views, and determined to get his actual arguments across.

      • Janice C. says

        He was shaking! I just think you fans go way too far in trying to describe his behavior as normal when any non-fan will be responding: what is wrong with him? to that clip (as they have under the link). It’s not normal or professional behavior, it’s not self-controlled. It’s not good. He’s even said something about it. Don’t just not see what is so obvious!

        But I see your point about violence as an undercurrent- I think a lot of people would agree with you- but its a rare moment at work when men are about to fight. Do you imagine Peterson has ever beaten a man at work? But the real problem is that Peterson has complained repeatedly that you cannot control/ hit/ work with women because you cannot use violence against them. He’s just wrong on the facts- men very much like a workplace with women (I know so much more than Peterson on this because I know so many working class men- he needs to get out more, does he imagine they like their violent co-workers? Or that threatened violence helps productivity as he suggests in R4L? Ridiculous.)- and there’s good data on how much more productive such a workplace is (men even get higher salaries when they work alongside women, because of the productivity increase). So he’s kind of revealed himself as romantic about male violence (which he would be on the losing end of) and to have this pathetic animus against women because they are not violent in the way he so romantically imagines men like him to be.

        And it is helpful to hear a fan say he is very feminine. That seems right to me. But its odd for a person vain enough to get hair plugs (I don’t mean to harp but I know no one who would do this) to talk up traditional masculinity as he does. He’s modeling something very much else, as you so ably explain. (And thanks for that explanation- it was helpful to me.)

        • Stephanie says

          It’s a little rich to insult the behaviour of JBP’s adult daughter and in the next breath insist that we address his arguments. Same with the fixation on supposed hair plugs: as if someone who appears before thousands of people a day shouldn’t care about their appearance.

          Helen gave as good as she got in that interview, and particularly in light of the sentiments she expressed about it afterward, it is condescending and patronizing to assert that her husband should have come to her rescue. Presumably her husband thinks she is a competent debater who could hold her own in a situation where the chance of violence was 0%.

          I don’t know where you’re from, but my husband and I are from the same neck of the woods as JBP and the dynamic of men on the job he described was accurate. We moved to the other side of the world and it’s the same here. This is a universal male bonding exercise, and if your husband didn’t experience it it’s because he isn’t liked.

          • Janice C. says

            No, it is you fans praising him like he is some kind of hero- long lists of adjectives without one set of his points listed out, no analysis, it’s not intellectual engagement. It’s some kind of fixation on his person- and I am pointing out, by the standards of virtue, an unusually vain, an unusually provocative daughter, a non-standard self-control- these are signs of trouble. A lack of virtue by any standard. I’d be completely ashamed if my daughter did anything like that, considering myself a total failure, even if she were very sick (I have plenty of sick relatives, they also do not act like this online). And he tries to be a role model for parenting. ?

            And the thing is that I believe you and Peterson think you know what working class men are like, but do not. Do you imagine the men who work together like each other so much, picturing it somehow? Or do you actually work on worksites and see how much tension and resentment and downtime as a result there is? Maybe worry you are romanticizing, because it is common. If it were so great, Peterson and your husband would want to work alongside just men, but that’s an abnormal, unusual wish. Even cops now are great friends and grateful to their female colleagues. My husband has more friends than I could count, so you guessed wrong there, but that is how we know that these “tough guys” (they are tough) physically weak guys like Peterson draws upon in a fantasy like women a lot and do not find their time with just men to be some fairytale. Do yourself a favor and ask the next working class guy you meet. Peterson like everyone should only talk about things he knows first hand and can test through living.

            And again- fans should not ruin themselves by worshiping a flawed guy- become virtuous for real. That requires independent thought and the test of ideas through practice. Not creating a new savior out of one professor!

          • Janice C. says

            I wish we could do a test of how many men would stand by while Peterson shakes in rage at a woman calmly asking questions. Again, he should try fighting men first with all of his talk of the good of violence. It’s ridiculous he advocates for it and clearly has not come to realize it does not pay, because you don’t get away with it. So he gets physically intense with a small, weaker person with no apparent shame, and in life, that is unusual to get away with. In public anyway. His arguments might be great, people might use him, but by standards of classical virtue and also our standards of decent comportment– he is no hero.
            I’ll stop! Thanks for the chance to get these thoughts out. I know philosophers (Kate Manne?) have put the same worries better.

          • Avid Reader says

            @ janice

            sorry precious, but after working with blue collar men for nearly 20 years on mine and drilling sites, I agree with Stephanie. If you are a white collar professional who is addressed by your Christian name or honorific, and scrupulously politely by the workers, it means they think you are useless.

            Most of us normal people realise that JBP is only human, and by the time Lewis had interviewed him he was exhausted by an overly long schedule of talks. He himself was the first to admit it. If you cant get get a bit of grace into yourself and cut people some slack for their mistakes, then you are part of the problem.

            I am a professional well educated woman, and am quite capable of deciding for myself what behaviour is appropriate from men and don’t need a lecture from an opinionated twat like you.

  42. Isaías says

    Thank you so much for this excellent article, Esther. Most definitely, we all need more men and women with Prof. Peterson’s approach to life.

  43. Jordan Peterson says the occasional interesting thing, mixed in with snake oil merchandise sales (ladies’ lobster leggings, anyone? https://teespring.com/stores/jordanbpeterson) and random oddball psychobabble. I found this video sad to watch, and hope the young man in question is alright. However, the strange religious undertones of a True Believer rushing up to a faith healer for a therapeutic lifesaver touch are disturbing. The whole Messiah Complex vibe surrounding Peterson, and its concomitant flipside of constant misandristic feminist media attacks on the man to try and bring him down…is deeply disturbing, in many ways, on both sides. His ascent is, of course, indicative of a wider manhating societal malaise, but newly-minted religious leaders (and he makes no bones about his Christianity) is not what the world needs right now. Or ever.

  44. Kenneth Alexander says

    Whining boy Jordan P. dares to say:

    “I don’t think we do a very good job at the moment of encouraging men. We have this idea that there’s something intrinsically oppressive about the patriarchy and about masculinity in general. And I think that’s nonsense. I think that strong, honest, truthful, courageous men pursuing noble goals is of great benefit to everyone, male and female alike.”

    Jordan is a wimp, let’s face it. If you a want a truly manly man, Ernest Hemingway is your true leader. Hemingway would have whipped Jordan’s ass into the ground and would have made fun of him in a great novel if he had lived long enough.

    I’m a reasonably manly man but I couldn’t begin to touch Hemingway. But I can definitely kick JP’s ass around the block.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Kenneth Alexander

      “But I can definitely kick JP’s ass around the block.”

      Well, let’s see if we can’t get the two of you together, because I’d really like to see that.

    • Mitch says

      Thank you for your insightful addition to the thread there Kenneth. We are all the better for it now mate.

      • Janice C. says

        Peterson praises aggression like that in the workplace in 12 Rules, so pretty appropriate to offer it to him.

    • James Pelton says

      I like Hemingway’s writing as much as anyone’s but the dude was a philandering, bipolar alcoholic, not a role model.

  45. Pingback: Jordan Peterson, And the New Chivalry | Sassy Wire

  46. “The idea that some women might be happier bearing children and homemaking than pursuing a career is a truth that dare not speak its name in public, even if many women confess it in private.” And yet it fairly screams its name publicly every day, millions of times a day. Look at virtually any set of data bearing on the issue and there it is. Women do less paid work than do men because they opt into motherhood and out of work. A large majority of working women would prefer to work less. Stay at home mothers outnumber stay at home fathers by about 30:1. Dr. Catherine Hakim’s work shows women, throughout the countries of the OECD, preferring parental and domestic work to paid work. Women who work part-time outnumber men who do overwhelmingly. In the U.S., just 56% of women and girls over 16 are in the labor force. Like virtually all feminist tropes, the notion that all women want to do is spend their time in a corporate cubicle is simply false. Women work because they have to help make ends meet. The biology of parenting is far, far more powerful than the pull of an hourly wage.

  47. Earl Brochu says

    Deeply researched. Astutely analyzed. Artfully written. Geez! I guess this makes me a fan of your work.

  48. Anthony Wallis says

    Just want to point out (if nobody has already done so) that the second and third sentences of the closing paragraph of that article, i.e.
    “To cast down the proud and lift up the lowly. To do justly and love mercy. To walk boldly, yet humbly. Herein is the art of manliness.”
    are, allowing for leaving out a reference to G-d, a version of the second half of Micha 6:8. And the first sentence encapsulates what much of the Bible is about.

    • Lydia says

      Thank you for having the courage to write what I was thinking: Micha 6:8. I didn’t think it would be well received here. But it was my first thought upon reading that quote.

  49. Mark Bellis says

    I would doubt that your Facebook commenter was really Canadian – some people often adopt online fake identities to give themselves more authority – ask anyone in Canada which of Justin Trudeau’s parents was more apt to cry in public – his mostly French-speaking father or his English-speaking mother, and they would say without hesitation his mother. In point of fact, Justin Trudeau was severely criticized in Canadian French media – one editorialist in the largest circulation French language daily, Le Journal de Montreal, said, despite your comment on Churchill: “Impossible d’imaginer Churchill, de Gaulle ou Kennedy pleurer en annonçant une catastrophe. Les larmes n’ont jamais été le propre des grands leaders.” – “It is impossible to imagine Churchill, de Gaulle or Kennedy crying while announcing a catastrophe. Tears have never been fitting for great leaders.”

  50. Grant says

    You’ve spent your whole life helping people the best you can. It’s not live he just recently got emotional about it. He wouldn’t have spent his whole life doing it unless he were passionate about it. So to all you dead hearted m effers, don’t stand in the way of people who care and act. It’s ok, doesn’t threaten you in the least.

  51. Ray Andrews says

    I hope to see Ms. O’Reilly run for PM/President one day.

    Oh, and thanks for participating in the conversation. Authors should do that more often IMHO.

  52. CRBG says

    I love your defense of Peterson, but where are these critics who are telling Peterson to “tone down the waterworks”, to become more stoical, and to “remember his culture”? I’ve tried all the links in the article, but I can’t see the “onslaught” of criticisms to which you refer.

  53. Mitch says

    We educate a generation of young men by telling them to passively sit by and ensure that girls have a chance but forget to say that they themselves must take up opportunities too. Then we sit around wondering why young men are over represented in crime, suicide and unemployment lines.

  54. Joanne D. says

    As a baby boomer female immigrant to Canada (visible minority) with math and science background and with a successful career and a mother and a wife, I certainly don’t fit the profile of his fan base of “a rabble of sycophantic male acolytes”.

    I find Dr. Jordan Peterson inspiring from many fronts. I have read/listened to both of his books and watched his lecture series online, his insight into human nature and human psyche is refreshing and invaluable, his take on ancient stories including Biblical stories and fairytales is ingenious, his brilliance, authenticity, integrity, and compassion, his genuine desire to help others (men and women), and his ability to articulate important issues that affect everyone of us and our societies is incredible.

    He is a much needed voice in the age of political-correctness and conformity and a world dominated by “facts” separated from context and meaning.

  55. Jessica says

    Your closing to the article gave me goosebumps!
    Thanks for this beautiful piece about JBP. I’m a 32 year old woman and have overwhelming respect and admiration for the man.

    Some of my thoughts on the way Dr. Peterson responded to the woman who said his book didn’t do anything for her and she is still depressed: Dr. Peterson responded the way he did because he has profound understanding of depression and depressed people. He was responding with his experience and wisdom, which generates his genuine compassion for that person and what she is going through to say that she is still lost. He truly gets it. He doesn’t take her comment personally. He doesn’t have a defensive ego-reaction because he is so far beyond that level of operation. It’s really moving how much he understands the human condition.

  56. Pierre Pendre says

    Nellie Bowles at the NYT says Peterson is a man out of his time and gets it exactly the wrong way round. The wall of modish herdthink at the NYT that surrounds millennials like Bowles deludes them into thinking that they represent modern orthodoxy. In reality they are the minority however successful they have been in capturing the commanding heights of the media and the academy which enables them to generate huge amount of purposeless noise. Peterson’s worldview is far more widely supported than Bowles’s progressivism. More people will read or listen to Peterson in a day than they will Nellie Bowles in a lifetime.

    AOC is a phenomenon not because she represents an idea taking society by storm but because she’s an amusing one-woman political freak show whose exhibitionism mesmerise us with its outlandishness. She’s the equivalent of a woman sown off at a fairground because she has two heads. AOC’s district in New York is literally one of a handful where she could get elected in the entire US which is a clue to her representativity. Nellie Bowles can get a job at the NYT to peddle her progressive platitudes but could she be hired at the Moose Bend Bugle to do real journalism? She’s an example of something impossble in real life – a tree growing from the top instead of the roots.

    Peterson is not just a man of his time, he is a man for all times which put a value on reason and common sense which is why Nellie and company are so frightened of him.

  57. Bab says

    Esther, thanks for that article, and I hope to read that book of yours – I don’t really care for JP’s youtube videos, but I am very interested in the phenomenon. I think part of it is that there was always a significant constituency waiting for the first tenured academic who would say: “fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.” I think also, in much the same way that Louis Farrakhan spoke to a constituency when no one else would (basically, young Black men fresh out of jail) – JP speaks to a similarly neglected constituency – left behind men – and in much the same way. You have the same generous side of self-help (wear a suit, stay off the booze), a polemic against the people holding us back/down, and even something of an alternative cosmology. It also helps that both JP and Farrakhan spoke truths that no one else was willing to.

  58. FatherDrake says

    The New Chivalry… That is an encouraging idea. I hope that future people regard this confusing time of gender relationships as a transition period, where our oldest traditions are updated into something more useful in the digital, postmodern era.

  59. W. Kolkman says

    Interesting artikel and idea.

    Good intentions are always a good starting point for judge one’s own and others motivation, words, etc. However imho the best method proven by history and scolars seems to juddging someone by their actual actions, especially when these require some form of self sacrifice. This seems pretty close to the concept of chivalry, and could be practiced by men and women alike. As expressed by the biblical proverb, you recognised a tree by its fruits. Nntaleb calls for focus on actual deeds vs nice words when to judge someone. So by those standards, should peterson not be judged a force for good?

  60. Avid Reader says

    Thanks so much for the article Esther, I enjoyed it very much. I hope to see more of your work soon. Happy Easter

  61. scribblerg says

    I appreciate the empathy, understanding and compassion for men shown here by Esther. However, with respect, I simply do not care what women have to say about what’s going on with men and what men want to be or should be in our gynocentric, male-hating world. In fact, while it’s hard to distill due to her wordiness, she’s okay with maleness only if it’s gentle and compassionate and making space for the autistic kid who has no social intelligence.

    Shocking – a woman wants to control and shame/bless masculinity based on how she sees its utility in a feminized view of the world and humanity. A few things about the current state of intersexual relations in the U.S. and perhaps in the broader western world:

    Women can’t have it both ways. Male protection of and provision for women was based on men being respected for performing these roles and being given authority over the people they protected and provided for.
    Asking men to protect and provide for women, as even a maniacal TERF feminist on this thread does, without submitting to our dominance/leadership is enslave men, not women. Guess what? I’ve woken up – I have zero obligation to random women I meet in public. I have zero obligation to stop them from being harmed or to help them in any way. Assaults and harassment from other men simply isn’t my problem. I do not define myself as a protector of women anymore. I used to be – but I do not do so anymore. Women in my social circle and family who treat me with respect and love get my protection. I have cut out a female family member who cannot be respectful of me – a sister, who I did a lot to raise actually. She moved to Canada and became a radical feminist and hate me now. She was so shocked when I hated her back, lol. As though I’m not supposed to notice when she adopts a hateful political and moral ideology that shames who I am. She and others in this world believe I’m just gonna shut up and play along. Nope – it’s a contract. If women don’t keep their end of the social contract, eff them. They can be taken as sex slaves by Mongol hordes for all I care. I’m no longer in the chivalry business.
    I think women have made things worse for themselves in some ways, post-sexual revolution. In the patriarchal world in which male sexuality was informed by chivalry, women had the power to shame men for seeing women primarily as sexual playthings. But in the age of free porn of all types and young women abandoning chastity in favor of “having their wild years”, or as Cheryl Sandberg put it: “When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner.”

    Women do not understand how such a “mating strategy” impacts young men. They observe that women aren’t actually looking for a “good man” to have hot sex with. They learn that women think “good men” are the back up strategy to pay the bills and have kids with once they’ve had their fun.

    Shocking disclosure – young men find that galling. Older guys like me love it (I’m single) cuz there is a class of young hottie out there who will have no strings sex with an older guy, as it’s considered kind of cool to have an older guy in the rotation. Not as a boyfriend, not monogamous. I’ll share that a 21yo college student I was seeing compared notes with her sister and friend, similarly aged over Christmas, and all had men over 40 in their “rotation”. They also claimed that sex with the older guys was the best they’d ever had.

    Try to imagine being a 22yo young man and being told that you must be a “good man” your entire life, and to respect women and not see them as sexual playthings. But in reality, these same girls they are supposed to treat like fragile, special creatures are having hardcore, dominant sex with guys twice their age. Just for kicks.

    Young men see this and conclude that chivalry is a joke. That treating women with respect and protecting them from sexual harm seems absurd. And I get it. So they are more aggressive, more crass and have less restraint in certain unsupervised social situations like the dorms and frats and bars etc. While in class or other SJW managed environments, they play the game, but IRL? They don’t have to be a “gentleman” anymore. And hey, the girls don’t even try to be “ladies” so why not?

    Why would a young man be otherwise? When 20yo hotties show me texts from guys trying to be nice to them, and laugh at them for “catching feelz”? You know what I have to avoid with these girls? Being romantic, lol. I kid you not.

    I won’t tell young men to be “good men”. I tell them to stop being suckers. To work on themselves. To avoid marriage. To enjoy the sexual playground some of us are enjoying right now. Women asked for it, and they are getting it. Men want to move forward for their own account now, without regard to what Esther or anyone else has to say about it.

  62. Geary Johansen says

    I liked the point about debating Jordan Peterson’s ideas, rather than resorting to slanders and libels- so I thought I would have a go, just for fun.

    Possibly the best question, in contention with his ideas, ever asked of Jordan Peterson, was by a Black British barrister. He couched the question by stating that he agreed with a lot of what Jordan Peterson had to say, but that, whilst most competence hierarchies were incredibly meritocratic in the middle and at the top, they were far less so at the bottom. He cited his own experiences in the law profession, by saying that when you were arguing a case before a judge, you better have your act together- but that for huge swathes of the UK population entry into the profession was, if not cut off, severely restricted, whilst others had no barriers at all in their way.

    This seemed to me to be an incredibly perceptive distinction. Unfortunately, Jordan Peterson never got to answer it, because another panellist, a feminist, changed the topic with the fallacious (appeal to knowledge) referencing of a book on gender as a social construct- and the conversation moved on.

    But if you think about it, the observation at least seems to be true, at face value. If you reside in the UK, you may have heard the joke that, if you live in the home counties, your daughter may not get a job at your chambers, but probably will at either the estate agency owned by your next door neighbour or the merchant bank your friend from the tennis club runs.

    In America, the rise of gated communities along with the wholesale movement of the kids of top 10% into exclusive private schools, gives some access to incredibly potent networks of influence and opportunity, whilst others are excluded. This probably applies just as much to the gifted children of the rural poor, as kids from minority urban communities. It may well be that the only thing preserving social mobility in the US, is the propensity of the children of the wealthy to take grievance studies courses and liberal arts degrees at universities.

    But it’s complicated. Because being the child of educated middle class, or upper middle class, parents not only gives you access to influence, but also access to knowledge, education and values which a (US) public school system education simply won’t equalise. It gives you access to an incredibly potent ‘phone-a-friend’ network, which allows you to negotiate all manner of workplace issues- and this is of course is of real value to your employer.

    To give an example, I once bemoaned to my step-uncle, Head of Acquisitions for Rentokill Initial for SE Asia, that I was spending so much time dealing with problems presented by subordinates, that I didn’t have enough time in the day. He retorted, that the issue was not a lack of expertise or experience, but a reluctance to take responsibility. The answer was to ask them to come to me with solutions rather than problems, whilst simultaneously reassuring them that if we dealt with a particular issue a particular way, I would always have their back, if they repeated the solution solo.
    Building both confidence and trust- fostering a healthy attitude of independence, in the long run.

    So, if we look at thorny issues of racial disparities- balancing equality versus fairness and equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome- perhaps it might be possible to frame the narrative in terms of equalising access to opportunity, both in terms of influence and knowledge. A simple HR questionnaire could provide a check to some influence-based opportunities, whilst still letting through truly meritocratic candidates. And with regard to the knowledge-based, dark, mystic art of corporate advancement? Well, speaking from personal experience, mentors can play an incredibly potent role in the hunger for, and acquisition of knowledge and expertise- and this may well be the solution for those who don’t possess knowledge networks.

    Albert Maysles once stated that ‘Tyranny is the deliberate removal of nuance’ and that certainly seems to be the case in relation to the way Jordan Peterson is both perceived and portrayed. It’s just a shame that so many people remain in their ideological bunkers in the Culture Wars, instead of listening to the dissidents of mainstream narratives like Munira Mirza, Katherine Birbalsingh, Tony Sewell, John McWhorter and the host of personalities in the Intellectual Dark Web- because it’s precisely with the heretics and contrarians that subtlety and nuance are to found.

    • Charlie says

      You have highlighted an important point. Most inner cities are run by left wing parties who supposedly support equality. However high crime rates and poor education reduces the opportunities of those living within inner city areas. The reality is that the modern left wingers as compared to those of the 19th century Labour Party )who were inspired by Christianity and practical policies ) actually create inequality. Bishop William of Wykeham, Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell were born the sons of freeman/craftsmen. The church of the 14th century appeared better at identifying and educating talent than most modern inner city left wing parties.

      One can accuse the church of many things but you cannot accuse them of being bereft of scholarship; schools such as Winchester College plus the universities of Paris, Oxford and Cambridge being obvious examples. Why do left wing inner cities not copy Winchester College which has been producing well educated boys since 1380 ?

  63. Debbie Molina says

    In response to “all failing men can be whipped into marriageable shape is naive”, my experience shows this to be untrue. As a young woman I briefly attended a church where the young male component of the congregation was mainly uneducated, unemployed, and self-unaware. They were coddled by the ministry and, because of the church law that you must marry within the church, most of these “undesirable” men eventually married, became employed, had children and are still married to the same wife 40 years later. I think the same was true when people lived and married within small towns and villages. It’s a different world now where everyone strives to partner with the best of a huge population and where many (male and female) are found lacking.

  64. Asenath Waite says

    Thanks for this nice article. Peterson seems like a genuinely good guy from everything I’ve seen and read of him (if somewhat eccentric, which is no fault from my perspective). I think his voice is really important in the current climate.

  65. Min Kim says

    I am sorry, but this fawning article does Quillette a disservice.

    “As a fellow Canadian, he judged that Peterson had “forgotten his culture” and really ought to “bottle up the waterworks.” It’s one thing for the half-French Justin Trudeau to get misty-eyed mid-speech. But, he opined, men of good Anglo stock should remain stoical, even if they have to medicate their anxiety with a Scotch or two.”

    Entirely on board with this assessment instead.

  66. Lydia says

    My first introduction to Peterson was his testifying during C-16 hearings. I was blown away and started researching him and found his youtube lectures from his classes. I found them very interesting because of his focus on Jung.

    I once heard him say that had it not been for those early YouTube lectures, the left would have had much more success ruining him.

    Frankly I have been concerned about the war on boys for 20 years. I think the left is very concerned about him and accuses people of hero-worship because his message is resonating. And one thing that the left cannot stand are independent thinking people.

  67. Morgan Foster says


    “Frankly I have been concerned about the war on boys for 20 years.”

    Me, too, and I have also been concerned about those radical feminists who have sons (there are some) who are not concerned about the war on boys.

  68. Jezza says

    Why should we men be bothered what feminists think of us? What did feminism ever do for us? I believe we have been astray in thinking feminism worthy of discussion – it is just a political tool used to do us down. Sometimes it is expressed as blatant malevolence, sometimes as condescending amusement. The current climate of political correctness is the bastard offspring of radical feminism. Gentlemen, it is time to withdraw from the argument and to withdraw support for any person, male or female, who identifies as a feminist. Western democracy is REPRESENTATIVE democracy. Feminists have sworn to NOT represent your interests, so why vote for them? Huh? Cut ’em loose!

  69. Powderburns says

    There is a round table at which our great paladins sit awaiting friends. Arthur, Richard, Churchill. Only the most chivalrous will get there. After a long an arduous struggle. There are seats spare. And what a time will be had.

    Nice article. I enjoy Jordan’s perspective. His courage! He has opened up my eyes. Don’t be worried too much about men. A program of dead lifts and the accompanying strength brings the Telos back quickly.

  70. Pingback: Jordan Peterson And The New Chivalry - Sovereign Nations

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