I actually read a non-politically correct piece at Psychology Today about the rise of Jordon Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The author makes good points about why Peterson’s work is so important:
There is a decent chance, of course, that you still haven’t heard of Jordan Peterson. After all, the general public doesn’t get as excited about psychology professors as they do about the solar eclipse, the Super Bowl or President Trump. But if you care about psychology, especially the way it’s influencing education, culture, politics, history and general mental health, do a search on Jordan Peterson. You will discover that he is currently the most sought-after psychologist in the world. He went viral not only in cyberspace, a “relatively” easy accomplishment, but also in the concrete worlds of print and TV….
Why Peterson’s time has come
In my previous article, I noted that society tends to correct itself when it goes in a destructive direction for too long, and that we are now in the early throes of this correction.
With the admirable intention of creating a society in which no one feels offended by anyone else, academic psychology has been campaigning for the noble-sounding but nebulous goal of “social justice,” based upon left-wing political ideology rather than upon science and well-established wisdom. Academia has become increasingly oppressive, shaming into silence anyone who dares to defy its left-wing political agenda and denying faculty positions to anyone who expresses conservative sentiments. It has successfully fought for laws, most notably anti-bullying laws, that undermine the precious right to freedom of speech, define as hate speech any utterance that doesn’t conform to official diversity etiquette, and require schools and other organizations to apprehend and punish anyone that displays insufficient sensitivity. Unfortunately, one area of diversity academia stopped championing is diversity of opinion.
A few decades of teaching children that no one is permitted to hurt their feelings, and that it is society’s responsibility to protect them from each other and to punish anyone who upsets them, has produced a generation of what I’ve been calling “emotional marshmallows” and others like Peterson and Jonathan Haidt have been calling “snowflakes.” Our young adults have learned to think like victims, blaming others for their difficulties rather than taking personal responsibility for their feelings and problems. They have learned that it’s legitimate to denounce as “bullies” – and even to physically attack – anyone who dares to challenge their beliefs. It’s even become mainstream to express the wish to have bullies killed.
A society dominated by a victim mentality cannot flourish for long. While its citizens may feel comforted by laws that protect their feelings and by the belief that they are not responsible for either their misery or for ending it, their chances for achieving successful, happy lives are eroded.
And this is the social soil that has become ripe for someone like Jordan Peterson. The massive support he gets from young adults – especially males – is an indication of their hunger for truth and responsibility. Feeding them with good science and wisdom of the ages, he dispels the irrational, counterproductive beliefs with which they have been inculcated and provides them with instructions for taking charge of their lives. His teachings offer salvation not only for individuals but also for society as a whole.
Let’s hope that we are in the throes of a correction of the victim mentality that has caused so many to become weak, fragile and downright mean. Peterson’s work and popularity shows that it is possible.