The Left And The Right Aren’t Hearing The Same Jordan Peterson


A New York Times Magazine hit piece says more about the mainstream media than it says about Jordan Peterson.

 21, 2018

Dr. Jordan Peterson, who has enjoyed a surge into fame over the past year, has become a bit like the Yanny and Laurel audio meme. People listen to what he has to say but disagree wildly about what they are hearing.

Some hear a man with important ideas that can help people live a more fulfilling life, others hear a dangerous misogynist who wants to set back the cause of liberated women, trans people, and the rest of the cast(e) of oppression. In a feature for The New York Times Magazine this weekend, Nellie Bowles clearly came down on the latter side.

The first paragraph makes this obvious: “Look back to the 1950’s he says.” It’s not clear from the article if this is a quote from Peterson. In any event, this interpretation has an essential mistake. When Peterson talks about changes in gender, sexuality, family, and work, he is exposing central contradictions, both evolutionary and social, that he believes are making people unhappy.

He is not suggesting that all women should aspire to be a 1950s Donna Reed housewife, but that on many levels some women do want something closer to that lifestyle. Part of the evidence for this is that since the sexual revolution the question of whether women can “have it all” has been so often on our tongues and pages. Peterson suggests the answer, in many cases, is no.

He isn’t telling women not to strive for whatever they want, or to be forced into anything. But that’s the progressive narrative against him, one that the Timesreinforced. A perfect example of this is Bowles’ mischaracterization of Peterson’s argument that societies are better off with “enforced monogamy.”

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