Best-selling author and college psychology professor Jordan Peterson took his book tour to Durham, North Carolina, after its city council denounced his views as “racist, misogynist, and transphobic” in July, the Duke Chronicle reported.
Peterson was in town to give a talk at the Durham Performing Arts Center on Sept. 10 to promote his latest book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.”
What’s the history?
In July, the Durham City Council publicly denounced Peterson’s views after finding out that he was slated to speak at the performing arts center.
A memo shared by the council, posted by Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson, stated, “We would like to be clear that we respect Mr. Peterson’s right to hold his opinions and to freely state his opinions without government interference. However, we wish to emphasize that a person’s right to free speech does not include the right to a platform or an audience.”
Despite the memo, Peterson still made his scheduled appearance at the center on Sept. 10.
In response to the city’s denouncement and editorials prompting the city to cancel his show, Peterson wrote, “Everything that is reprehensible about the radical and ideologically-possessed left — all the moral self-righteousness, the platitudes, the clichés, the mindless celebration of diversity for the sake of the demonstration of tolerance, the naivete, and the appalling malevolence of casual denunciation — is on painful display in this missive. Exposure to such a piece of writing left me with a strong desire for a hot shower accompanied by plenty of soap and a scrub brush.”
He later added, “The City of Durham’s statement is one of the purest demonstrations I have yet seen of the tendency for the ideologically possessed to use denouncement tactically as a means to amplify and exaggerate personal or identity-group virtue.”
What did he say in the September appearance?
Peterson kicked off his talk with a pointed remark: “Each of us stands on an island of knowledge surrounded by a sea of ignorance.”
According to the Duke Chronicle, Peterson centered many of his remarks around self-actualization and psychology, and the lecture’s main topic was a discussion on how humans can ably navigate a complex world while surrounded by “huge expanses of what we don’t know.”
The Chronicle’s Alek Kemeny wrote, “[Peterson] argued that humans don’t situate themselves in the world as if it simply consists of material things. Instead, people carry out life as if the world was a ‘dramatic forum’ — a place to act out narratives, character embodiments and archetypes. To support his claim, he showed how children learn by acting things out and playing pretend.”
Peterson also discussed the theory of the patriarchy, and the notion that the patriarchy has been particularly oppressive to women throughout the history of mankind.
“[My critics] view history as a battleground between men and women, where women bore the burden of oppression for centuries and men played the role of oppressive tyrants, and the only reason that that was rectified was as [a] result of the actions of a handful of feminist types in the late 1800s and early 20th century,” Peterson said, according to the outlet.
“Because our culture is deemed an oppressive patriarchy, their attempt to take positions with high levels of success can’t be distinguished from participating in the tyrannical process, and that’s absolutely brutal,” he added.