By David Futrelle
Jordan Peterson is mightily miffed. In an angry statement first published on his blog yesterday (and then in Canada’s National Post), the Intellectual Dark Webster accused Cambridge University of “kowtowing to an ill-informed, ignorant and ideologically-addled mob” after Cambridge’s Divinity School rescinded its offer of a two-month fellowship.
According to Divinity school officials, the short-tempered Canadian Lobsterprof had “requested a visiting fellowship at the Faculty of Divinity, and an initial offer has been rescinded after a further review.” A University spokesperson added that “we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our [inclusive] principles. There is no place here for anyone who cannot.”
Peterson is so intolerant of so many groups it’s hard to know which particular brand of bigotry bothered the folks at Cambridge most. Was it his transphobic tantrum about using the proper pronouns for trans people? Was it his weird uneasiness about the very presence of women in the workplace, or his advocacy for some form of “enforced monogamy” to ensure that potentially murderous incels can get dates? (Why he’s convinced it would be a good thing for women to date men capable of going on shooting sprees I couldn’t tell you.)
Was it his tendency to threaten critics with lawsuits or literal slap-fights? Was it his contention that entire academic disciplines that he doesn’t like, including “women’s studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies … have to go and the faster they go the better.”
Or perhaps, in the wake of the New Zealand massacre, they were troubled by his many weird statements about Islam, including his repeated insistence that Islamophobia isn’t really a thing and is just a term made up by evil leftists and/or “fascists” trying to shut down “debate” on Islam?
Or perhaps they were concerned with Peterson’s marked lack of intolerance towards outright anti-Islam bigots, perhaps best symbolized by the picture (above) of him posing proudly with a fan in New Zealand whose t-shirt announces his hatred bluntly, accusing Muslims of an assortment of crimes including “Pedophilia, Rape, Wife-Beating” and “Praying for Violence.”
Would Peterson have happily stood next to someone wearing a shirt declaring “I’m a Proud Anti-Semite,” blaming Jews for alleged crimes like “hoarding money,” “killing Christ,” or “cucking white men with interracial porn?” Would he have posed with someone wearing a “Proud Racist” shirt attacking blacks for “being lazy” or “raping white women?” No, of course not. But he’s happy to put his arm around someone attacking Muslims in similarly bigoted ways.
I’m guessing the Cambridge Divinity School had issues with all of these things, as they well should have.
Many of Peterson’s fans, naturally, are crying “censorship,” as if Cambridge’s ultimate refusal to give a bigot a paid position were some kind of attack on free speech.
In case you’re worried, that last tweet is not from the official account of the band The Who, but from a fellow who describes himself in his Twitter bio as a
#MRA #mgtow #redpilled activist. rightwing. contrarian. not pc ideas. oppose SJWs. friendly. debater, im a believer in Jesus
Peterson, for his part, didn’t actually claim that he was being censored, which would have been a little weird, given that he devoted much of his angry rant on Cambridge’s disinvitation to bragging about how many books he had sold and how many hits his YouTube videos get.
According to Peterson, videos of some of his recent lectures on Genesis (the book in the Bible, not the prog-rock-turned-terrible-pop band)
have received about 10 million hits (as well as an equal or greater number of downloads). The first lecture alone — on the first sentence of Genesis — has garnered 3.7 million views just on YouTube …
It’s also the case that my books, 12 Rules for Life and Maps of Meaning both rely heavily on Judeo-Christian thinking … The former has now sold 3 million copies (one million in tongues other than English), and will be translated into 50 languages; the latter, a much older book, was recently a New York Times bestseller in audio format.
It’s also rather telling that this man whose speech has been so tyrannically silenced is saying all this in a newspaper with a daily circulation of roughly 140,000.
But if Peterson, unlike many of his fans, doesn’t think Cambridge’s disinvitation is censorship, exactly, he does seem to regard it as a symptom of “the collapse of rationality and reason,” to borrow a phrase from Ian Miles Cheong’s tweet above.
“I think that it is deeply unfortunate that the authorities at the Divinity school in Cambridge decided [to kowtow] to an ill-informed, ignorant and ideologically-addled mob,” Peterson declared.
Given the continued decline of church attendance, the rise in atheistic or agnostic sentiment, the increasing irrelevance of theological education and the collapse in interest in such matters among young people, wiser and more profound decisions might have been made.
Apparently his planned lectures on Exodus were the only thing that might have been able to hold off the atheist hordes that will destroy civilization any day now.
You see, it matters whether people around the world understand these ancient stories. It deeply matters. We are becoming unmoored, because we no longer share the structure these stories undergird. This is psychologically destabilizing. It’s producing a pathological and desperate nihilism that is increasingly common and, at the same time, a pronounced proclivity for the ideological certainty that mimics but cannot replace true religious belief.
I believe that those at the Faculty of Divinity who rescinded their offer to me — and handled the rescindment in a manner that could hardly have been more narcissistic or self-congratulatory — don’t give a damn about the perilous decline of Christianity. I think that it is no bloody wonder that the faith is declining (and with it, the values of the West, as it fragments) with cowards and mountebanks of the sort who manifested themselves in this action.
Kind of a bold move to suggest that someone taking away a temporary academic gig you were kind of looking forward to is a sign of the impending collapse of Western Civilization, but hey. the dude does get a lot of hits on YouTube!
I wish them the continued decline in relevance over the next few decades that they deeply and profoundly and diligently work toward and deserve.
I believe this is just Petersonspeak for “fuck y’all motherfuckers.”
Alas, for poor Jordan Peterson — and possibly for Reason and Truth and Civilization itself — the good professor is also facing an attack from a New Zealand bookstore chain that has decided, in the wake of the Christchurch killings, to remove his books from their shelves.
As far as I know, Peterson hasn’t yet responded to this egregious assault on … the convenience of New Zealanders who will have to get the book from other bookstores or maybe online. But some of his fans are already crying foul for him.
Huh. Is that Lady Liberty wearing a ball gag, and pasties on her possibly augmented breasts? This Free Speech Fundamentalist dude doesn’t seem to be so much interested in free speech as he is in freejacking, at is were, and I don’t mean the 1992 sci-fi-racecar thriller starring Emilio Estevez and Mick Jagger.
And what flag is that on the pasties, anyway?
The culture war is weird.
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