The Daily Wire recently announced that renowned author, clinician, and commentator Dr. Jordan B. Peterson will be joining DailyWire+, and members will have access to new and previous content from the accomplished Canadian clinical psychologist and intellectual.
The latest development in the illustrious and enigmatic life of Peterson follows a meteoric rise from relative obscurity to worldwide stardom in just a few short years. From academia to the public square, Peterson has made his fair share of friends and enemies as a leading voice against the decay of Western civilization.
Jordan Peterson started his career as a clinical psychologist and, after a five-year stint at Harvard University, returned to Canada and joined the psychology faculty at the esteemed University of Toronto. While there, many of his lectures discussed the implications of religion — and especially the Bible — on human self-perception and society, as well as the intellectual movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
While Peterson’s taped classroom lectures gained relative acclaim online, it was not until he stood up to the Canadian government that he truly gained global recognition. In 2016, Peterson became an adamant opponent of Canada’s Bill C-16, which in his mind amounted to government compelled speech. The legislation added extra legal protections for “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the nation’s criminal code.
Peterson testified before a Canadian Senate hearing, dismantling the fundamental assumptions of radical gender ideology and pointing out the tyranny that would arise from forcing Canadians to submit themselves to ideological speech.
“People often defend freedom of speech on the grounds that citizens must retain the right to criticize their leaders. That’s true, but it’s not the fundamental truth,” he argued during testimony that soon went viral. “Without free speech, we cannot explore our ever-transforming territories, orient ourselves, and get to the point. Without freedom of speech, we will not talk — and we will not think. And then we will have real conflict, with all of its horrors, instead of its abstracted equivalent.”
In the following months, as students staged protests against him for his refusal to abide by Bill C-16, Peterson gained even more attention as people across the globe began to discover his lectures and podcasts.
Soon, he was invited on national television programs where he dismantled progressive arguments on topics such as the gender pay gap and collectivism, consistently denouncing political correctness and identity politics along the way.
As a result, Peterson was quickly demonized by leftists. Vox has characterized him as a “controversy-courting culture warrior” who manages to balance a “hybrid of scholarly air and provocative trolling.” The Guardian said he has an “appetite for self-promotion,” while Canadian columnist Tabatha Southey called him the “stupid man’s smart person.” More recently, Peterson has allegedly become the basis for the newest iteration of Marvel supervillain Red Skull.
In any case, millions of people were listening to Peterson and devouring his matter-of-fact wisdom. His book 12 Rules for Life — which includes advice such as “stand up straight with your shoulders back,” “set your house in order before you criticize the world,” and “pet a cat when you encounter one in the street” — became an international bestseller.
Peterson has been criticized by progressives for appealing largely to men — a distinctive that he instead embraces.
“Is there something wrong with talking to men? Is that actually a problem? I didn’t set out to do that specifically, but if that’s the way it’s working out. … Why is that all of a sudden supposed to be a bad thing?” he explained to Joe Rogan. “I’m asking men to be more honest, especially in their speech and their thinking, and to be more responsible for themselves and for their family.”
“I am absolutely thrilled every time someone comes up to me … and tells me one of these stories about how they put their life together,” he continued. “It’s just a sign of how pathological our times have become in some sense, that there would be any guilt about that to begin with.”
Amid his newfound global platform, Peterson has left academia behind. On his way out the door, he pointed to trends destroying academia “and, downstream, the general culture” — including the end of objective standardized testing, “grievance studies” disciplines, and the fact that his colleagues can no longer obtain research grants without paying fealty to the diversity regime.
“I am academic persona non grata, because of my unacceptable philosophical positions. And this isn’t just some inconvenience,” he said. “These facts rendered my job morally untenable. How can I accept prospective researchers and train them in good conscience knowing their employment prospects to be minimal?”
Peterson’s rise, however, has not been without its challenges. His wife, Tammy, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2019, and he became dependent upon a prescription of anxiety medications. He stepped away from the public square as he traveled across the world, including to Russia and Serbia, in pursuit of treatment.
“I’m a clinical psychologist, I got tangled up with benzodiazepines. I’m talking to people about getting their house in order, and things collapse around me. The irony, it’s almost unbearable,” he told The New York Post. “That was part of what made this so difficult … not only the physical pain, but this absurd paradox. Yet, people have forgiven me. I’m amazed.”
Indeed, Peterson’s fans once again helped rocket Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life — the sequel to his former bestseller — to the top of the charts. His bout of medical issues helped inform the book, with “be grateful in spite of your suffering” as one of the new rules.
In the months since his return to the public eye, Peterson’s discussion of faith has taken a more personal tone. He explained to Joe Rogan that the Bible is “the precondition for the manifestation of truth, which makes it way more true than just true.” He told Hillsdale College graduates that Jesus Christ “is an image of acceptance of the suffering of life, and the necessity of serving the lowest as the highest calling.”
Through his words and wisdom, Dr. Peterson will surely continue to influence the United States and the broader Western world away from nihilistic chaos toward all that is good and righteous.