Quote of the Day:
What they were getting from these lectures and discussions [by Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson], often lengthy and often on arcane subjects, was perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics they had heard in their lives.
–Caitlin Flanagan on why her blue state son and his friends are listening to Peterson
Atlantic Monthly writer Caitlin Flanagan argues that the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson's ideas pose a threat to the left.
Flanagan's epiphany was occasioned by discovering that her "blue bubble" son and his friends were riveted to the lectures and discussions of Peterson, and that Peterson's ideas are inimical to certain articles of faith on the left. She writes:
The young men voted for Hillary, they called home in shock when Trump won, they talked about flipping the House, and they followed Peterson to other podcasts—to Sam Harris and Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan.
What they were getting from these lectures and discussions, often lengthy and often on arcane subjects, was perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics they had heard in their lives.
That might seem like a small thing, but it’s not. With identity politics off the table, it was possible to talk about all kinds of things—religion, philosophy, history, myth—in a different way.
They could have a direct experience with ideas, not one mediated by ideology. All of these young people, without quite realizing it, were joining a huge group of American college students who were pursuing a parallel curriculum, right under the noses of the people who were delivering their official educations.
New forms of media aided and abetted Peterson fever:
Because all of this was happening silently, called down from satellites and poured in through earbuds—and not on campus free-speech zones where it could be monitored, shouted down, and reported to the appropriate authorities—the left was late in realizing what an enormous problem it was becoming for it.
It was like the 1960s, when kids were getting radicalized before their parents realized they’d quit glee club. And it was not just college students. Not by a long shot.
Around the country, all sorts of people were listening to these podcasts.
Peterson's book, 12 Rules for Life, became a best seller, but, again, the left "couldn’t really grasp its reach because people like them weren’t reading it."
The book also didn't appear on the New York Times Bestseller list, so, despite massive sales, the left ignored it until it was too late.
Peterson offered lots of subversive advice, such as "Stand up straight, with your shoulders back."
Well, not very woke.
But popular and that could be fatal to a left culture that Flanagan thinks is in decline and vulnerable.