On belief and manipulation…

A.M. Wilson
4 min readJul 10, 2020

So when you’re asked to fight a war that’s over nothing
It’s best to join the side that’s gonna win
— Bright Eyes, Road to Joy

Have you heard of Jordan Peterson? I certainly hadn’t. Then a friend of a friend on a politically oriented string of texts referenced him as someone whose voice was being silenced by “cancel culture.”

Imagine my surprise then when I looked up this professor from the University of Toronto to discover that he had millions of followers on YouTube and Twitter. Far from being a mundane academic, he has launched himself into the current culture wars, capturing the attention and adulation from primarily disillusioned young men.

I was caught up. Here was someone lauded for his research and scholarly achievements who emphatically denounced “social justice warriors,” said that feminists have “an unconscious wish for brutal male domination” and said he supports enforced monogamy.

This comes while he also warns that any limits on free speech, such as requesting that people use preferred pronouns (they instead of he/she for example) when addressing them. His justification for not supporting any limitations on speech are because Nazism.

“I’ve studied Nazism for four decades. And I understand it very well. And I can tell you there are some awful people lurking in the corners,” Peterson says. “They’re ready to come out. And if the radical left keeps pushing the way it’s pushing, they’re going to come.”

I’m not going to say that this isn’t true. There are a lot of people who do want to rule the world. And there are radical people — not just on the left but also on the right—who want to transform the country into some kind of hyper police state. And I suspect, Jordan Peterson is one of them.

Before I launch into a thought experiment about what this could mean in modern contexts, I think it’s important to allow Jordan Peterson to explain what he means. Here he is on the Joe Rogan show.

OK, I just leveled a pretty intense acquistation. So let’s just briefly dive into the ramifications of “enforced monogamy.” First, it’s an ancient idea. Monogamy came about in many religions to quell violence among its people. When young men couldn’t have sex, they would become violent. Peterson says that this is and should be “culturally enforced.”

But still, the idea stands. So, let’s take a more than 2,000-year-old concept and apply it to modern times. Let’s say that the government will enforce, punishable by imprisonment or fines, monogamy. What kind of state would that create? How would they enforce this law? In its most mild form, it would some kind of self-reporting mechanism, i.e. a husband or wife (Lord help us if his ideas extend all the way to more causal relationships) would report that his or her spouse was cheating. The law enforcement would investigate, find texts/emails/an estranged lover and then enforce the penalty based on a trial and conviction of their peers.

In its most severe form, with the tools and technology available — enabled and emboldened by the Patriot Act—the government could identify potential cheating spouses before they even begin their infidelity. They could then monitor their texts/emails/web history and browsing. They could target people and lock them up before anyone is hurt by any kind of cheating.

Alright, so I went a little creative in my extrapolation. But the next time I hear someone say it’s a slippery slope, I’ll reply that logical fallacy cuts both ways.

But Peterson serves primarily, to me, as a perponder of a new kind of snake oil. He’s a salesman for an ideology — a belief set, that there was a better time in the past and that if we return to it then it’ll be better for everyone. His following says a lot more about the sorry state of masculinity and manhood than it does about any quality in his ideas.

Jordan Peterson, like so, so many, benefit financially from people being angry, frightened and confused.

Peterson currently earns around $80,000 per month from Patreon donations. He told Joe Rogan:

“I shouldn’t say this, but I’m going to, because it’s just so goddamn funny I can’t help but say it: I’ve figured out how to monetize social justice warriors. If they let me speak, then I get to speak, and then I make more money on Patreon … if they protest me, then that goes up on YouTube, and my Patreon account goes WAY up.”

He’s an entertainer not an educator. He’s attacking classic villians in the American psyche — the ideas that Marx is out to get us. His ideas live on, and they’re demonically possessing the youth!

I’ve perhaps been too tongue and cheek. Fundamentally, people are hurting and people are taking advantage of them. They’re arriving wolves in sheeps’ clothing. They’re saying that their problems will go away if they’re just a little bit more… Something.

Make no mistake: the world is full of people who want you to believe in a certain way, not because it benefits you, but because it benefits them. They come with diplomas, education; they arrive with suits and promises; they say that there’s a promised land — directly or indirectly.

The world today is full of noise. It’s impossible to get away from. I implore everyone out there to find their joy and escape from the extremism that so many profit from.



A.M. Wilson

Author of Populace; former journalist, farmer, librarian, burger flipper, bagboy, groundskeeper, political organizer, and shill.