Jordan Peterson’s Bland Conservatism

From Thermidor, The Center Cannot Hold: On The Decline Of Jordan B Peterson:

Peterson may not realize it, but this position is only accelerating his own demise. His role in contemporary politics no longer serves a purpose. Now that his message has been received and rejected by the social justice crowd, what else does he have left? He can 1) continue to peddle his individualist ideology until it goes stale (like Ayn Rand novels). Or 2) he can return to his career as a psychoanalyst. The latter is likely the better choice. It would at least be more entertaining. (Although, if I have time to squander, I personally prefer to get my fix from Julia Kristeva.)


Peterson’s ship is sinking very surely indeed, and it is taking all of its passengers along with it. Not too long ago, there was another internet character who gained his reputation by marketing himself as a classical liberal. In particular, the said personality won people’s attention by launching an online platform for the free movement and exchange of ideas, in a classically liberal sort of way. Alas, the project has recently degenerated into a circus of sorts, entertaining low-brow conservative punditry, the occasional tranny, and anyone else claiming to be disaffected by the “Regressive Left.”

To quote Scott Adams, we’re seeing different movies. In the author’s own ‘movie’, Jordan Peterson is sinking. In my own movie, there is no evidence whatsoever of such decline. He more popular than ever. His Biblical series is watched by hundreds of thousands of people. The most recent installment of his Biblical series, Biblical Series XIV: Jacob: Wrestling with God, got over 120,000 views and nearly 1,000 comments. By comparison, a typical New York Times column gets only 100-200 or so comments. His Patreon is bigger than ever. His Twitter account has over 277,000 followers, and although interaction seems somewhat sparse (his tweets only get dozens re-tweets and likes instead of hundreds), that’s because he posts links instead of text-only tweets (Twitter’s algorithms give text-only tweets more visibly, probably to discourage link spammers).

But Jordan Peterson’s biggest strength is in his huge and rabidly loyal following, that shows no sign of slowing down. His official sub-Reddit, /r/JordanPeterson/, is like a thriving mini-metropolis in terms of activity. By comparison, the official Nassim Taleb sub, /r/nassimtaleb, is a ghost town even though Nassim Taleb is a best-selling author, and by any objective measure, is very influential. That just gives you an idea of how popular Dr. Peterson is relative to people who are already pretty popular.

In August 2017 when Dr. Peterson’s YouTube and Gmail accounts were disabled (during the middle of one of one of his Biblical lectures, to add insult to injury), it made headlines all over the world, from the Washington Times to The Guardian, and major media personalities and Dr. Peterson’s friends Sam Harris, Dave Rubin, and Joe Rogan joined in the crusade to get his accounts restored and to rectify this injustice, for which they succeeded and Google restored the accounts shorty thereafter.

“Google is refusing to reinstate my account. Violation of terms of service. No explanation given,” he began a series of tweets. “@joerogan @RubinReport @scrowder @SamHarrisOrg I’ve been locked out of YouTube & my personal account: violation of terms of service. I cannot post new YouTube videos, including last week’s Biblical lecture. No access. At least — for now — the videos are still up.”

How many people do you think are influential enough to be able to summon a personal army at whim against a $500+ billion-dollar search-engine juggernaut that is famous for its Kafkaesque approach to user support, no less, and win?

The only justification or evidence the author can give for Dr. Peterson’s purported decline is that he (the author) disagrees with Dr. Peterson ideologically, but that is insufficient in terms of demonstrating evidence of such decline. As shown above, the empirical evidence shows the opposite. You cannot bend the world to your will. To quote the tile of a recent Davis Aurini podcast, one must not mistake desires for reality. The objective world does not give a damn about your projections.

Yes, Dr. Peterson fits a classical liberal ideological mold, but in terms of HBD he’s more ‘red pilled’ than the typical left-wing or right-wing pundit that one would find on Fox news or National Review. Dr. Peterson discusses the importance of IQ and how gender is immutable and not a social construct. He rejects how both the mainstream-left and mainstream-right ignore the role of IQ in the economy, and he rejects the wishful thinking of the ‘right’ in assuming that the less intelligent, who have high rates of unemployment, can adapt of only they ‘work harder’ (which is akin to telling penguins to flap harder). I agree…telling someone with an IQ of 90 that they should ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ in an economy where such workers may become obsoleted, is not helpful.

As discussed in The Value of Republican Moderates, moderates can serve as a liaison between the alt-lite and the alt-right (as well as NRx and other ideologies). Even though Jordan Peterson has taken great pains to distance himself from the alt-right, even going so far as refusing to debate ethno-nationalists, no doubt, a certain percentage of Jordan Peterson listeners will graduate to more ‘extreme’ right-wing material. Wanting Dr. Peterson to change his tune, and in the process sacrificing his Patreon golden goose and much of his internet fame for the approval of a much smaller audience, seems like a bad trade-off on his part.