WSJ: Who’s Afraid of Jordan Peterson

Adam Jacobs/Wikimedia Commons
Adam Jacobs/Wikimedia Commons

Wall Street Journal op-ed published last week defends professor Jordan Peterson against a recent wave of criticisms and condemnations.

Columnist Peggy Noonan defended Peterson in a piece for the Wall Street Journal that was published last week. Coming right off of Peterson’s heated interview with British broadcaster Cathy Newman. Newman’s hostility during the interview only served to heighten Peterson’s profile and pushed his recent book release, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which reached #1 on Amazon.

“The labeling of Mr. Peterson as ‘controversial,’ which is a way of putting a warning label on his work,” Noonan wrote. “When people, especially those in a position of authority, like broadcasters, try so hard to shut a writer up, that writer must have something to say.”

Noonan hypothesized about why journalists like Newman have approached Peterson and his work with such hostility.

Deeper in, you understand the reasons he might be targeted for annihilation. First, he is an intellectual who shows a warm, scholarly respect for the stories and insights into human behavior—into themeaning of things—in the Old and New Testaments. (He’d like more attention paid to the Old.) Their stories exist for a reason, he says, and have lasted for a reason: They are powerful indicators of reality, and their great figures point to pathways. He respects the great thinkers of the West and the Christian tradition.

Noonan finished the column by praising Peterson for the book. She lauded him for his ability to connect with young people looking find purpose and get their life on track.

“We live in a time when so many young (and not so young) people feel lost, unsure of how they should approach their lives, or life in general,” she wrote. “Mr. Peterson talks about the attitudes that will help find the path. It is not a politically correct or officially approved path, but it is an intensely practical and yet heightened one: This life you’re living has meaning.


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