By Jamie Wilde
Who is Jordan Peterson?
Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, writer, YouTube influencer, and now-former tenured professor at the University of Toronto according to the recent National Post publication.
As a writer, Peterson has published three books: Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief in 1999, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos in 2018, and Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life in 2021. Peterson draws from mythology, religion, literature, philosophy, and psychology to explain how people form meanings and beliefs, in his 1999 book; his two most recent books discuss abstract ethical principles (the rights and wrongs of human behaviour).
Through his online presence, Peterson has uploaded a variety of his lectures and interviews, discussing various elements of psychology (including society, gender, and mental health disorders), conversing with intellectual specialists to dive deeper, both inside and outside of Peterson’s speciality of clinical psychology (a collaboration with Mustangs Alkyol [season 4 episode 56 of the Jordan Peterson podcast] discussing Islam, Christ, and Liberty serves as one example).
Why did he resign?
On January 19th, the National Post (a well-known news source in Canada) released Jordan Peterson’s article announcing his resignation as a professor from the University of Toronto. Peterson states that he is now able to teach a wider audience with “less interference” online. He argued that by keeping his position at the university, he would be wronging his students who will have been rejected from university research positions: firstly because of their being Peterson’s students (who are therefore associated with his controversial philosophical and political views); secondly because of the recent Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity mandates, universities must tick as many boxes as possible (people who fit into minority categories), and white male students, despite having “stellar scientific dossiers”, are rejected.
Furthermore, Peterson argues that the enforcement of DIE causes a shift in employers’ values; race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation have become superior to a job applicant’s ability to complete a job. He uses CBS (an American television broadcast company) as an example: 40% of every writer’s room must be BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) in 2021, 50% in 2022. Peterson states that “there simply is not enough qualified BIPOC people in the pipeline to meet diversity targets quickly enough” so competent workers will be sacrificed. Many intelligent and experienced graduates that do not fit into the minority categories are cast away and struggle to find employment. “The DIE ideology is not friend to peace and tolerance. It is absolutely and completely the enemy of competence and justice.”
In addition, for university researchers, DIE statements must be submitted to obtain a research grant – Peterson claims that most of his colleagues and students “lie” on these statements in order to obtain the necessary funding due to the bias against their majority categorisation. In fact, clinical psychology accrediting boards now refuse to authorise clinical programs without a “social justice” orientation. Similar changes have been made to other professional disciplines (including law and medicine). Peterson suggests that because of these changes, professionals will likely fear disagreement with their patient/ client and perhaps compromise their academic training for customer satisfaction/ public approval. A dangerous future lies ahead, a society run by fear (not all too dissimilar from an Orwellian novel).
How is he perceived?
With his political and ideological views in the public eye (his “critique” of the Left has been described as “Nietzschean” and his political orientation “Fascist” by The Jacobin author Harrison Fluss), it is no surprise that Peterson is disliked by many. He is often criticised for hiding behind academia, using “jargon” and “pseudo-science” to belittle and confuse people into submission. Despite this, Peterson also has a strong following of supporters who have been helped, and even saved by his online content. In fact, the positive feedback he received saved his own life when suffering with personal issues of his own.
Peterson, himself, is not greatly impacted by the negativity displayed in the media, most of which he justifies as being untrue or manipulated (in fact he politically identifies himself as a “classic British liberal”). He uses high-graded language to communicate complex concepts targeted at an academic audience (more specifically his psychology students), which later grew to become anyone with a want to improve themselves. His arguments are indeed supported with statistics and his strong academic background, having studied political sciences and psychology – surely expected from a university professor. When venturing outside of his field, he gladly welcomes opposing views to educate him (evident in his online interviews on the Jordan Peterson podcast).
The emeritus professor, Jordan Peterson, resigned from his “loved” job role to protest the unjust treatment of his qualified graduates. His disapproval of Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity mandates is argued throughout his resignation announcement, along with the neglect of experienced, competent individuals because they simply do not fit into minority categories. The professor resigned in order to be able to share his content further and escape the ever-growing corruption of society.
Photo Credit: Vasily Koloda via Unsplash