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3 Things I Learned From Attending Jordan Petersonís Sold-out Show In DC
The Federalist ^ | 06/11/2018 | Juliana Knot

Posted on 06/12/2018 9:50:34 AM PDT by Textide

Renowned psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson took the stage at the sold-out Warner Theater in Washington DC Friday night. The crowd got on its feet and started cheering, ecstatic to hear him speak.

Peterson gained fame after opposing a Canadian bill that criminalized using the wrong pronouns for transgender persons. His notoriety only grew from there after a video of his interview with British broadcaster Cathy Newman went viral. Now, he’s got a cult following who call themselves “lobsters” (in reference to an example in the viral interview) and a best-selling book titled “12 Rules for Life.”

That night, Peterson worked through only nine of the twelve rules, drawing from clinical psychology, philosophy, and common sense. Before he started walking through his rules, he talked about what motivated him.

Earlier that day, he and Dave Rubin, a YouTube personality who opened the show and appeared on The Federalist Radio Hour last week, were at the Lincoln Memorial when a young man walked up to them. This man’s brother had been going through a divorce when he started watching Peterson lectures online. The advice Peterson gave helped turn his brother’s life around. Peterson said these experiences were the highlight of what he did.

“It’s personal, not political,” he said.

It’s an important clarification, because most of the coverage of Peterson has been only the latter. He’s either a spokesman for alt-right hatred or the last defense against stifling political correctness. Yet Peterson is a clinical psychologist. According to him, his aim is to help people.

Before attending this event, I had very little knowledge of Peterson and his views. I had seen clips of his famous interview and glanced at his 12 rules, but lacked an understanding of him and his work. Here are three things I learned about Jordan Peterson after attending his show.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: District of Columbia
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1. Peterson Is Not an Alt-right Demagogue Many on the Left have criticized Peterson and his followers as disgruntled white men, hiding their pent-up racism and sexism behind pseudo-intellectual talk. A columnist from The Nation states that Peterson has a “far-right political agenda” and advises her reader to avoid dating one of his fans.

Peterson certainly doesn’t play the alt-right type by wearing a three-piece navy-blue suit and drinking Perrier. Throughout his lecture, he paced the stage, not goose-stepped, and took frequent pauses in order to word his next thought carefully. This is not the demeanor of a brazen white nationalist.

Neither was his message. He did not blame women or minorities for the problems in his followers’ lives. Rather, it actually targeted his followers themselves. Peterson asked the crowd repeatedly, “If your life is truly miserable, are you actually doing all that you can to make it better?” He also has called for people to restrain themselves from violence and focus on managing themselves rather than attempting to manipulate or bully others.

Additionally, his rules called for vulnerability and personal suffering rather than blood and soil. His first rule is probably the best example of this. It states: Stand up straight with your shoulders back. At first glance, one might pounce on this as a command to show the world who’s boss. That is not the case. Peterson told the crowd to be open to the wounds of the world, so they can experience its suffering and learn from it. His message does not seek to oppress or dehumanize. Rather, it seeks truth and meaning.

2. Peterson Can Help You Help Yourself, But Not Save You Because Peterson is seeking out truth and meaning, he can’t avoid questions of faith. In fact, he calls the propositions on which he bases his rules “religious, because they’re about the fundamental reality of life.” His propositions are these:

1. Life is tragic.

2. The world’s tragedy is touched with malevolence, because humans often make their suffering worse.

3. In order to contend with this suffering, one must have a “noble goal to justify your existence, clear your conscience, and get yourself out of bed.”

Most world religions contain the first two premises in some form. Even secular humanism acknowledges that the world is a broken place. Peterson noted that “’You’re perfectly okay the way you are’ is the most pessimistic advice you can receive.” If this is the best humanity can do, we all will start staring into the abyss very soon. In fact, our society has already done a good deal of that lately.

Peterson’s third conclusion doesn’t meet his prior statement. He claims that he’s become an optimist about the human condition because he’s such a pessimist about the state of the world. “The grandeur of the human spirit” is enough to confront the worst pain that we face today, he says.

These rules can repair and improve things like mindset, work ethic, and family life, which are very important things. However, they fall short in addressing the brokenness of the human soul. That’s because, even at our best, we can’t follow Peterson’s 12 rules perfectly. Even if we could, we wouldn’t be immune to senseless tragedies like death and illness. Our hurt stretches far deeper than his moral guidelines can reach.

To be fair, I don’t think Peterson believes that his 12 rules are the cure-all for the world’s brokenness. However, for his many secular followers, this is the sole semblance of religion they have, so they are going to treat it as such.

3. Peterson Isn’t Going Anywhere Any Time Soon

Natalie Wynn, a transgender person, responded to Peterson in a NSFW video, admitting, “[People] have this need to have purpose in the face of suffering and like not just complain about patriarchy.” Peterson recognizes that it is not enough to stand against bad ideology; people also need a positive belief system.

Peterson engages the common YouTuber in questions of truth and meaning. He acknowledges and fills a gap in society. He doesn’t show open disdain for people who haven’t read Plato, but speaks to his crowds at their level, showing how complex philosophy has the potential to improve one’s life.

Peterson also engages with his fame well. He treats it with caution and doesn’t revel in his spotlight. During the question and answer, he said he thinks his fame “will end in catastrophe at any moment.” This mindset gives his message endurance over the fleeting fame that so many viral stars chase. It is unlikely he’ll burn out like Milo Yiannopolous, an actual provocateur. Peterson’s tour is only halfway through, and his videos still rack up millions of views all over the Internet.

As I left the theater, I noticed that the woman sitting in the row in front of me wore lobster earrings. As I walked out, I saw a man who had donned a lobster hat, complete with antennae. He waved his red foam claw around and shouted that this was the best show he had ever been to. Peterson’s message is one focused on finding meaning, not fueling hate. Although it’s not a saving message, it’s one we’ll be hearing for a long time.

Juliana Knot is an intern at the Federalist.

1 posted on 06/12/2018 9:50:35 AM PDT by Textide
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To: Textide

I’m a fan of Jordan Peterson. He’s an honest debater who is against the liberalism on college campuses, recognizes that the current PC culture has historically led to Hitler, Stalin and Mao, and is incredibly smart and fast, having been a clinical psychologist and university lecturer for 20+ years.


2 posted on 06/12/2018 9:53:35 AM PDT by Textide (Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn. ~ Scotch-Irish prayer)
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To: Textide

Unfortunately. I couldn’t make it to see him nearby in DC. Did any of you attend?


3 posted on 06/12/2018 9:54:29 AM PDT by Textide (Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn. ~ Scotch-Irish prayer)
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To: Textide

I attended that lecture in DC with my son. It was great.


4 posted on 06/12/2018 9:55:19 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: Textide
I think Peterson is great.

So much to like about the guy. Perhaps my favorite bit (which he has done more than once) involves his response to the transgender pronoun legislation in Canada.

Basically, transgenders want to invent new pronouns and then pass legislation which forces people to use those invented pronouns.

Peterson is a polite,respectful, calm person. He can discuss this sort of madness in a courteous manner. He points out that forcing him to say certain things is wrong. And his conclusion is consistently forceful and notably less polite: "It's NOT going to happen!"

5 posted on 06/12/2018 9:57:37 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Yes, I get it - racism is bad and mutual respect and inclusion is good. But value Truth too.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Fantastic. I tried to get a ticket too late.

Anything that night that made you think? His youtube lectures and especially his Biblical Series are challenging to digest in one siting. The man’s mind and mouth move very quickly.


6 posted on 06/12/2018 9:59:18 AM PDT by Textide (Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn. ~ Scotch-Irish prayer)
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To: Textide
...using the wrong pronouns for transgender persons.

Just call 'em effin' queers and be done with it. TRUTH...it's the new HATE SPEECH.

7 posted on 06/12/2018 10:00:47 AM PDT by JimRed ( TERM LIMITS, NOW! Build the Wall Faster! TRUTH is the new HATE SPEECH.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Me too!

I like that he puts himself out there. Gets interviewed by the BBC for Christ’s sake! I’ve yet to see him bested in an interview or debate. Fun and important. Not many people like that.


8 posted on 06/12/2018 10:01:37 AM PDT by Textide (Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn. ~ Scotch-Irish prayer)
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To: Textide

Peterson has amazing, insightful insights. I wish I had been exposed to someone like him when I was young.


9 posted on 06/12/2018 10:07:07 AM PDT by heights
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To: Textide

It was a great evening to spend with my son.

I’m a believer in Christ and while I don’t know that Jordan is a believer, he is certainly close. He referred to Scripture many times in a supportive way - as a point of reference of truth..

As I raised my son (he’s now 30), I taught him about God and all it meant to live a life that honors Him. Some of this he rejected.

I think what surprised me is that Jordan comes out in largely the same place in regards to living life, but by a different pathway. I think this surprised my son.

Now, that is different than knowing the Savior and having eternal life...

... but for a generation of young men who have little in the way of moral bearings or knowing what a man is, it is a positive thing.

And it certainly never hurts to take a step closer to truth.


10 posted on 06/12/2018 10:12:15 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: Textide

Indeed - Peterson rarely talks about politics (although he does mention large social trends, like compelled transgender speech)

The Left attacks him because he is logical, doesn’t trust politicians in handling social/religious matters, and he doesn’t back down


11 posted on 06/12/2018 10:15:22 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: Textide

I love this Canadian!


12 posted on 06/12/2018 10:17:04 AM PDT by Lopeover ( The 2016 Election is about allegiance to the United States!)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
I’m a believer in Christ and while I don’t know that Jordan is a believer, he is certainly close. He referred to Scripture many times in a supportive way - as a point of reference of truth

Peterson scrupulously avoids talking about the divinity of Jesus Christ. He often talks about Jungian Archetypes and how they are hard-wired into the human brain. He believes these synch with Christian Morality and spirituality that have developed in the West over the last 2000 years. Is the Bible true? Peterson would say yes, in that it represents lessons, behavior and morality that are part of man's DNA, which will move you towards Truth, fulfillment and avoidance of problems.

13 posted on 06/12/2018 10:29:11 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
I’m a believer in Christ and while I don’t know that Jordan is a believer, he is certainly close.

Best I can tell, he's a bit of a syncretist, but an honest one. He is big an allegorical meaning, which is certainly in Scripture and the Parables of Our Lord, but pretty much to the exclusion of the miracles really happening. He had on an rationalist Enlightenment type recently, and when the fellow said that "Miracles don't happen", Peterson had no interest in taking exception. He has also stated that Hinduism and some of the other world religions have plenty in Commonin Christianity, suggesting that he is looking at the accidentals and not the essentials from the believer's point of view.

He may just be a polite Canadian. Canadians are remarkable that way, being in some cases quite principled, but never wanting to cause a scene or others discomfort unless really, really necessary. I find him utterly honest, willing to revisit his opinions, extremely well-read and intelligent, able to listen to others. He just is coming from it from the Evolutionary Bioloist/Psychologist end so he's going to get to things in a different order, but with a set of tools very few of us have. I wouldn't have him as my theologian or philosopher.

His reading list is also WAY too heavily weighted with German and Russian literature. He needs some nice, light Chesterton ("The Everlasting Man") to smooth things out a bit.
14 posted on 06/12/2018 10:30:07 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

His approach to religion has prompted me to take another look, perhaps similarly to your son.

I bought into the ‘fairy tale’ view of our ancestors and their reverence for the Bible in college. The doubt and inability to reconcile Biblical truth with the reasoning of our philosophical forebears has crippled me spiritually. It’s great to hear Peterson’s arguments. They’re not necessarily in favor of Biblical truths, but more that our modern proclivity to toss them off as fairy tales is perhaps in error. That strikes me as wise.

Anyways, I’m glad you got to see him live. Youtube is replete with Peterson videos, thankfully. He’s furthered Christianity and brought many back to religion. A great man.


15 posted on 06/12/2018 10:30:14 AM PDT by Textide (Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn. ~ Scotch-Irish prayer)
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To: Lopeover

Hey Im ex-Canadian too LOl. There are a number of us who just dont think Canadian, with all the socialist nonsense that’s why I moved here. My HS teachers didnt like it when I made arguments defending the US when we are all indoctrinated to trash America to make us feel good our country. Believe me, if you have a kid in the Canadian school system, it’s North korea lite..


16 posted on 06/12/2018 11:31:58 AM PDT by max americana (Fired libtard employees 9 consecutive times at every election since 08'. I hope all liberals die.)
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To: Textide

BTTT


17 posted on 06/12/2018 11:38:43 AM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah so shall it be again,")
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To: Textide

Missed him in Philadelphia, but was able to see him in Houston with my wife and daughter. Talk was very good. He read the preface to the soon to be released 50th anniversary edition of the Gulag Archipelago. I would rather have heard him talk about is book, but this was very good. David Rubin...not so much. His “F” bombs turned off my wife and daughter. Peterson does not need a warm-up person.


18 posted on 06/12/2018 11:44:01 AM PDT by Mr_Peter
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
He referred to Scripture many times in a supportive way - as a point of reference of truth..

I think he believes there is great truth in the Bible but he just doesn't seem to think God or Jesus actually exist, except in our imagination.

19 posted on 06/13/2018 11:44:28 AM PDT by itsahoot (Welcome to the New USA where Islam is a religion of peace and Christianity is a mental disorder.)
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To: Textide

Peterson is the “Wood Chipper” of logical thought and reason. He’s fascinating to listen to, but he moves faster than my brain can adequately absorb at times. I love the way he deconstructs a liberal’s condescending BS with ease.


20 posted on 06/13/2018 11:51:37 AM PDT by TADSLOS (Alex Jones isn’t quite the wing nut now, all things considered.)
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