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4 Most Controversial Views Jordan Peterson Has — And Why People Either Love Or Hate Him For Them

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Jordan Peterson speaking

Jordan Peterson is many things. First and foremost, people will tell you that he’s a clinical psychologist who has studied and researched for many years in Canada and the US.

He’s an author, YouTuber, public speaker, personality figure, and is oftentimes used by right-wing political pundits as a resource to “wreck the libs.” 

But above all Jordan Peterson is divisive. 

If reactions to his recent appearance on "The Joe Rogan Experience" proves anything, it's that Peterson knows how to appeal to one audience while irking another.

But, what exactly are the things he’s said, and why do people love to hate him, hate to love him, have a lot of respect for, and downright despise this Canadian ex-professor?

Here are 4 of the most controversial things Jordan Peterson has said

1. He says trans-rights being placed into law is an attack on “freedom of speech.”

Perhaps the very thing that made him wildly famous, Peterson is known for openly criticizing the “Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code” (Bill C-16), an act that would introduce "gender identity and expression" as a prohibited grounds of discrimination.

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During an interview with Channel 4 News, a British public broadcasting service, he elaborated on his point of view and spoke with Cathy Newman about the situation that brought him into the spotlight.

“What I said, at the beginning, was that I was not going to cede the linguistic territory to radical leftists regardless of whether or not it was put in law,” he told Newman.

Moments later, he mentions that he believes “radical leftist ideologues are authoritarian,” and that passing a law like that would be an attack on the freedom of someone’s speech because they are being controlled to say something or otherwise face consequences.

Peterson did not explain whether he thinks discrimination against people based on race, national or ethnic origin — or any of the other identities protected by the same Canadian law — counts as "freedom of speech." Or why he thinks trans people don't deserve to be protected in the same way. 

While many labeled him transphobic for saying this and compared him to alt-right personalities, he has claimed in this same interview that he respects trans rights to their own pronouns and their gender identity, but simply disagrees with the identity politics that inscribes these rights into law.

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2. Jordan Peterson thinks white privilege doesn’t exist and is a Marxist lie.

For a clinical psychologist who claims he isn’t a politician, he sure loves to talk about political ideologies and philosophies quite often — maybe it’s because that’s what everyone wants him to talk about.

Well, on November 3rd, 2017, the University of British Columbia “Free Speech Club” was hosting an event where Peterson talked about “Identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege,” two things he seems to be very against.

He claims that “white privilege,” is simply “majority privilege.” That, since America was founded by white people — white people who stole this land from people of color — and that mostly white people inhabit the society, it is built to benefit them merely by necessity.

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He compares this to how because China is full of mostly Chinese people, it is built to benefit them.

This view has emblazoned many who argue against the existence of white privilege and disagree with the notion that non-white people are at an inherent disadvantage because of their race.

However, Peterson's view can be criticized for its erasure of hundreds of years of oppression and the establishment of racial and systemic hierarchies that currently exist to this day.

Equally, his explanation for why white privilege exists doesn't negate the need for us to interrogate this system.

White people do make up the majority of the US population — but even this is complicated as these number erase the experience of Latino and Hispanic people who are white but do not benefit from white privilege.

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3. Jordan Peterson thinks the difference between intent and consequence matters in the #MeToo movement.

In a conversation with National Post columnist Christie Blatchford, Peterson talks about the #MeToo movement that saw women shining a light on and pushing back against a culture of sexual abuse and harassment.

“You don’t want to confuse the action of some of the men with all of the men,” he said. “It’s really important to get that distinction right, and we’re not getting that distinction right at all.”

This brings to mind the popular hashtag that was turned into a meme by those who wanted to mock opposition to the #MeToo movement, #NotAllMen.

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He suggests that, similarly to crime, the only people who are really committing these abuses are a significantly small handful of men, and that because of this movement that seemingly inflates the issue to include all men into the group.

He claims that bills are being signed into law that now prosecutes people based on the consequences of their actions and not the intent of those actions.

“We’re moving from a legal system where intent matters to a legal system where consequences matter — which is really the eradication of the legal system,” he explains.

Similar to the issue from before about the pronouns/discrimination bill, Peterson is terrified of a society where his beliefs and everything he does could be scrutinized and actually place him in trouble with the legal system — and he has a right to be.

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A totalitarian society is not a free society, and he believes that walking along the path of a Marxist ideology will inevitably lead to a society that controls everything — a situation where communism goes wrong.

However, unfortunately for Peterson, these kinds of statements can label him as being sexist and insensitive towards the real struggles and suffering that women go through every day.

Equally, there are already plenty of laws in place that prosecute people for the consequences of their actions rather than their intent — manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, we could go on.

Holding sexual abusers accountable regardless of whether their "intended" to sexually abuse someone is not an entirely new concept. 

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4. Peterson questions whether 'climate change' is real and says scientists are grabbing a set of data to fit an agenda.

Peterson has gone on record several times to talk about his beliefs on climate change, but most recently, he was on the Joe Rogan Experience and talked about how scientists seemingly skew data to make it seem like a much larger problem than it actually is.

During the podcast episode, Peterson equates climate change to everything, claiming that when scientists refer to climate, they mean everything, without ever actually specifying what “everything” means.

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“That’s what bothers me about the climate change types,” he starts. “‘Climate is about everything.’ So okay, but your models aren’t based on everything. Your models are based on a set number of variables.”

He claims that scientists are taking out certain variables from the model that increase the margin for error but also increase the potential for panic and “climate apocalypse,” as he calls it.

“In fact, it’s already the case that even if the climate models are right, the error bars are so wide by a hundred years out, that we’ll never be able to measure the effects of the changes we’re making now.”

Sticking to the normal guns of never openly taking a real side on any socio-political issue, he doesn’t mention whether or not he believes in climate change or how much climate change has been affected by humans.

When asked about whether or not he believed the collective issue of global warming would finally be able to unite the world against one common evil during a college seminar in England, he laughed.

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Instead, he suggests that the issues of climate change have become all too politicized and that the actual data behind climate change is hard to differentiate from anti-capitalistic data that might arise from certain political agendas, therefore it could never unite humans.

Dr. Peterson is nothing if not a good public speaker. He has a very soft-spoken voice and speaks very clearly and eloquently about the subject matter.

The confidence at which he speaks makes it clear to a lot of people that he truly believes that what he’s saying is correct, despite a lot of the controversies he deals with are subject to opinion and theory.

Many people agree with the things he says because he says them so well, he’s a doctor, and he’s widely considered to be an intellectual and respected as someone who’s very knowledgeable and says a lot of big words.

Right-wingers love him because they believe he “owns” the libs, and left-wingers don’t like him because of some of the harmful ideologies he teeters on the edge of far-right ideologies despite his many claims of not being this crazy alt-right personality.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.