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Perhaps it is also a subconscious caution to the author himself. January was the month Jordan Peterson went from unknown to inescapable. The two reasons for that were a Channel 4 News U.

An Antidote to Chaos Random House Canadawhich immediately shot up bestseller lists throughout the English-speaking world. As befits a lecturer fixated on the "tightrope" between Hard brit chaps matt brooks jordan and order, good and evil, yin and yang, "the Jordan Peterson moment" so christened by New York Times columnist David Brooks has produced an almost perfectly polarized response.

Review of Books deemed him a peddler of "toxic masculinity" and "reactionary chauvinism. What is indisputable—and what makes the Peterson pop phenomenon more interesting than the quality of his work—is the way it has galvanized a generation of wayward young men, including many who have clustered around the "alt-right.

By Peterson's own reckoning, the solid majority of his sold-out audiences on the lecture circuit are males between the ages of 20 and 35; their gratitude for his "grow the hell up" message has moved the man to tears on several public occasions.

Peterson self-identifies as a classical liberal, frequently retweets content from the Cato Institute, and forthrightly criticizes the alt-right for playing the "collectivist game" of identity politics.

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Yet he's a lightning rod among libertarians too. I first became aware of the psychologist last fall when his name came up serially at a private gathering of libertarian activists anxious about the real and perceived overlap between their world and the reactionary right.

One participant counseled keeping Peterson at arm's length, lest "we end up with another cult-leader libertarian. Peterson's popularity has demonstrated the happy fact that you can reach illiberal ears with a message that contains some classical liberal content. But he has gotten there not via persuasive argument about intellectual ideas but through the top-down, teacher-student, authoritarian exhortations of self-help.

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Playing Pied Piper for a lost generation of lefty-baiting edgelords has given an ambitious academic incentive to embrace his inner troll. If you heard of Peterson beforeit was probably due to his September battle against fancy new gender pronouns. In a three-part video series titled Professor Against Political CorrectnessPeterson objected to a proposed amendment to Canada's Human Rights Act since passed making it a criminal offense to incite or promote hatred based on a target's gender identity or expression.

His slippery-slope argument was that such a law, in Canada's First Amendment—free legal system, could eventually lead to "compelled speech" over silly-sounding jargon like "zhe" or "zher.


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