Jordan Peterson and the Tomato

Until recently, Jordan Peterson had been a relatively obscure figure outside of a burgeoning and loyal YouTube following. Peterson’s earlier book, Maps of Meaning: the Architecture of Belief, explored social conflict, and territoriality in belief systems, particularly as it pertained to extremism in the defense of belief systems against “chaos.” Peterson, who teaches at the University of Toronto, is a clinical psychologist by training, and he has the personality to match. He is tweedy, stolid, and boring.

But now, boring Jordan Peterson has more than 800,000 followers of his YouTube channel and more than 7 million views of his interview with British television’s Channel 4. Peterson sat for the interview as part of a promotional tour for his new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The hostile interlocutor, top-rated political correspondent Cathy Newman, baited Peterson and castigated him for his anti-feminist views. Peterson politely stood his ground, maintaining his heterodox positions about men, women, and identity politics.

The interview flopped, at least for Newman. She came in as an inquisitor for a heretic, and instead she platformed Peterson’s book. 12 Rules soared to number one on Amazon.com in Canada and the United States. Young men and teens, in particular, drove these sales.

What Makes Peterson Possible
Families in the United States are in crisis. Twenty-four million children live in a household without their biological father. Nearly 20 million children live in single-parent homes, almost all of which are headed by women. Children who live without fathers are more likely to use drugs, fail to achieve high levels of education, and commit crime.

Boys know that the burden of this crisis falls mainly on them. The absence of fathers in the home deprives young women of a model of a caring man, but it deprives boys of a model of whom they are to become. Many fatherless boys have no sense of becoming, and the ethos of manhood transmitted from one generation to the next has become increasingly chaotic.

Boys are sent through a school system that is not tuned to their success. Early grades emphasize fine motor and social skills that develop later in boys. Gross motor skills, formerly taught in extensive physical education and unstructured recess, are de-emphasized. Conflict-simulating and rough play are punished rather than channeled. Athletics is divorced from competition. In wholesale fashion, boys are medicated, and sent to special education with a thick IEP, to squeeze them into a pedagogy poorly tailored for their needs. Behaviors common to boys that had been within norms a generation ago are now categorized as ADHD or autism spectrum disorder.

The results become plainly obvious in higher education. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, women represented more than 57 percent of students receiving a bachelor’s degree. According to the same reports, women earned the vast majority of masters degrees, 60 percent, and the majority of doctoral degrees, 52 percent. Women continue to lag in obtaining degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. Young men and boys are keenly aware that there is much more concern for the gender imbalance in STEM, where women lag, than there is in every other category where it is males who are falling behind.

Boys, when they get to college, find themselves in an unwelcoming environment. They will read in their college newspapers that the future is female. While many of them are still boyishly—and charmingly—nervous even to speak to a young woman, they will be told that they are part of a “rape culture.” Their professors, administrators, and peers will describe the quality of being a boy as “toxic masculinity.” If they deny the poisonous accident of their birth, peers and teachers will take offense. They will be made to study the catalog of men’s transgressions against women—and if they concentrate in humanities, confess to them. This catalog, they will be made to understand, stretches as far as the eye can see.

The Tomato’s Direction
But these boys will also know deep in their bones that all of this cannot be true. They will sense there is something about this that is deeply wrong. And they will become indignant. The intelligent ones will seek an articulation to help them understand that indignation. Back to Peterson.

Peterson has said at various times and places that the intellectual infrastructure of the North America has been taken over by postmodernists. Peterson traces this to the embrace of the work of Jacques Derrida, beginning at Yale University, and spreading to the entire North American university system. Peterson claims that this postmodernism is a proxy for Marxism, which must masquerade as something other than it is because the failures of Marxism have so discredited its doctrines. In lieu of capital and labor, postmodernism has substituted oppressor and oppressed and invested heavily in a new expression of class struggle known as “identity politics.”

Whittaker Chambers purportedly once said of Joe McCarthy that he “simply knows that someone threw a tomato and the general direction from which it came.” The young in their innocence have a nose for a lie told by an adult. Despite the insistence that the world is fairer and that injustices are righted as new paradigms take the place of the old ones, their experience is telling them this is a lie.

Boys and young men are not doing well in America today, and they are not treated fairly. Someone has thrown a tomato. Jordan Peterson gives boys a sense of the general direction from which it came.

About Jay Whig

J. Whig is an attorney practicing in New York and a resident of Connecticut specializing in insolvency and restructuring. Opinions are his own.

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22 responses to “Jordan Peterson and the Tomato

  • Boring? Maybe. But then you’d have to despise brilliant scholarship and exposition.

    • Peterson’s conversation with Camille Paglia is likely the most fascinating
      video I’ve seen on YouTube. It clocks in at an hour and a half, yet it’s drawn 1.1
      million views in five months. It’s a lot to take in, but boring is not a word I’d use
      to describe it. The two have different views on many issues, but their exchange is
      marked by respect and a desire to hear and understand the other that is too rare
      in what passes for academic discourse these days.

      • My wife and I say Jordan is like drinking from a firehose. This is a
        broad person.

      • Would have been an easier discussion to follow had someone given Paglia a pretty hefty dose of sedative first. She’s a fascinating person, but really tiring to watch.

    • I find that boring often does more to describe the observer than the observed….

  • It is all part of the Jew war on Christ, Christians and Christianity. Why is it Jews have been forcibly expelled from every place they have ever lived for the past 2,000+ years? If not for the hatred and malevolence the Jews hold for the non-Jew then what?

    • Good thing it’s a proven fact that rather than allegedly being a Jew, Jesus of Nazareth was a Paleostinian.

      • Do you know why the Jews killed the innocent Christ??

      • The innocent Christ was Himself a Jew (and indeed the supreme Jew, the reason for the Jewish people’s existence as a nation, a cultural entity).

        They killed Him because their sinfulness could not abide His virtue.

        Had He been of another nation, He would have met the same fate.

        All of us have crowned Him with thorns, spat upon Him, scourged Him and murdered Him – with our sins, for the expiation of which He, God made Man, paid.

        Any individual can only despise/hate the Jews for demanding His peculiarly horrible and humiliating death if he or she has never sinned once in all his or her life.

        Is that true of you? Have you never done one wrong thing but only done the right thing in the right way at the necessary time ever since you were born?

        If so, your reaction is rather strange; because the one person who HAS lived like that in all his days on Earth – instead of condemning the world for its depravity and wickedness – found out a way of offering rescue to all sinners (= everybody else) who choose to give up sin and become good.

      • No. Then as now the Jews had certain expectations of their messiah. The Jews expected their messiah to enslave their enemies. Jews expected their messiah to enslave the non-Jew. Christ taught forgiveness of ones enemies and peace making. This was blasphemy for the Jews so they killed him. Christ was killed because he refuse to enslave the world for the benefit of the Jews and for no other reason and to this day every last Jew on earth hates him for it. These Jews, these proud Jews are a God damned people and with out contrition are beyond salvation. Not a Jew on earth has ever apologized for the cold blooded murder of the innocent Christ. Not one not once not ever. They are all the same in their refusal to come to terms with their crimes against God. You are selling a line of bullshit that has no bearing on the facts of the killing and you are trying to lessen the crimes of the Jews which I find disgusting. You are an apologist for the torment and murder of the innocent. God damned you.

      • Since any and everything may be astroturf these days I say it is better than even money that this guy who uses the name of a great romantic poet of love is actually a lefty trying to make American Greatness fit the picture of the Alt-Right. I think so because I think he overplays his hand, particularly because Peterson is really hurting the left right in the ideological heartland – neo-marxism and postmodernism. It comes across like shouting “Wombat” in a crowded theatre.

      • I made no reference to political ideology. Political ideology is the mask the Jews use to hide themselves as they attack Christ. Jews also have developed a vocabulary of anti-Christian slurs to hide there hatred of white Christians but the hatred has been and always will be of Christ. You have shown great restrain at not using one of the many anti-Christian slurs. Kudos Jew.

      • Got intrigued by RB’s claim that no Jew ever had apologized for the killing of Christ. Went through 50 Google references without finding an example, though a great many of the Googles were apologies to Jews for Christian and Nazi persecution.

        So I have a simple question. The only documents we have about the death of Jesus indicate clearly that “the Jews,” a term which they used at the time primarily to refer to “the leaders of the Jews,” were at minimum highly complicit in the torture and murder of an innocent man.

        Assuming this is something close to the truth of what happened, why not apologize for the (possible) fact? It if happened as recorded it was clearly a crime.

        Some seem to think, according to the Google search, that I should apologize because my ancestors of 1000 years ago in Germany may have killed innocent Jews during the Crusades. Or that I should feel guilt because other Germans killed a lot of Jews in the last century, despite the fact that my German ancestors left Germany long before this happened and that some of them played a role in stopping the slaughter.

        Why shouldn’t Jews apologize because some of their ancestors might have been involved in the murder of an innocent Jew 2000 years ago in the Middle East? Even in the form of an if-then apology. If that’s what happened, we’re sorry.

        Obviously, none of this should imply any guilt to individuals today for what their distant ancestors may have done.

      • Why are you here? You were given your own country to put an end to your hostile antagonism, to put an end to your hatreds of us. What are you doing here and why aren’t you in your Israel with your own kind where you belong?? What are you doing here Jew??

      • Aren’t we feeling our oats, Mister Browning? If you want, I’ll email you a picture of me in the IDF in ’68 guarding a Zionazi extermination/torture camp somewhere up in Eye Corps. But meanwhile, it happens that I generally agree with Steve Sailer on the infamous “JQ”. See

  • This paradox goes back to the Garden. God handed down curses for their disobedience. Part of what He said to Eve was: Genesis 3:16 NLT…”And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
    Almost every woman I have ever met struggles with trying control the men around them.

  • Don’t forget the influence of the Frankfurt School and cultural Marxists. For example:
    “hegemonic masculinity” derives from the theory of cultural hegemony, by Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci, which analyzes the power relations among the social classes of a society. Hence, in the term “hegemonic masculinity”, the adjective hegemonic refers to the cultural dynamics by means of which a social group claims, and sustains, a leading and dominant position in a social hierarchy;”

  • Kudos except for the boring part. Mr Peterson is not boring, just listen to him………….exciting !!!

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