There has been some major pushback from dozens of staff members at publishing giant Penguin Random House over the firm’s announced intention to publish a new book by controversial Canadian psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson. Peterson wrote the smash bestselling book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, published in 2018, in which he absolutely skewered political correctness, postmodernism, feminism, and every radical-left shibboleth that is being used to suppress opposing viewpoints.
Since much of his thesis resonates strongly with not just the mainstream right, but the entire panoply of far-right-wingers from Kluxers to Proud Boys, the left has made Peterson a target. Peterson has made it clear that right-wing ideologues aren’t much better than the left, that there are strong correlations between right- and left-wing authoritarians. But because some objectionable people have embraced Peterson, he’s got to be canceled.
In fact, the anti-Peterson hysteria has caused an emotional backlash, manifested at Penguin as employees actually wept at the thought of their company wanting to make money by publishing a sure-fire bestseller.
“He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of his book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him,” a junior employee who is a member of the LGBTQ community and who attended the town hall told VICE World News.
Another employee said “people were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.” They said one co-worker discussed how Peterson had radicalized their father and another talked about how publishing the book will negatively affect their non-binary friend.
I guess it’s considered “radical” to reject political correctness and cultural Marxism, but I personally find it refreshing.
“The company since June has been doing all these anti-racist and allyship things and them publishing Peterson’s book completely goes against this. It just makes all of their previous efforts seem completely performative,” the employee added. This is the “what have you done for me lately” philosophy of little children stomping their feet because Daddy won’t take them for ice cream. Peterson noted the infantilization of Western youth and this is a perfect example of it.
The company is trying to grovel but it probably won’t work this time.
“We announced yesterday that we will publish Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order this coming March. Immediately following the announcement, we held a forum and provided a space for our employees to express their views and offer feedback. Our employees have started an anonymous feedback channel, which we fully support. We are open to hearing our employees’ feedback and answering all of their questions. We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints,” the statement said.
Peterson is controversial because he criticizes the foundations of belief among those who see themselves as the vanguard of a revolution. In that sense, they aren’t much interested in any viewpoints — whether they agree or not. Their only interest in Peterson is whether they can manipulate, twist, mangle and rip out of context anything he says to make him appear to be a radical hater — a white supremacist, anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ fanatic.
While Peterson calmly dissects the tenets of modern leftists, they work to cancel him, drive him from public life, and most of all, silence him. Penguin isn’t stupid enough to cancel publication — not when a dozen other publishers are praying every night that they do. But they will be under enormous pressure to do so.
It makes you wonder how many books by authors far less noteworthy and not guaranteed bestsellers have been scuttled or rejected out of fear the controversy will bring. In this way, freedom of speech is under full-fledged assault. And defending it becomes harder as time goes on.