Jordan Peterson, fragile little snowflake and misogynist

I remember the old days of the internet, when some dork would throw a hissy fit and demand that we skeptics immediately remove all our mean statements about their devoutly held beliefs, and threaten us with legal action. And we’d all laugh at such absurdity, because once it’s on the internet, it’s being spread widely and isn’t going to go away, no matter how fiercely you stamp your foot or how loudly you scream.

I’ve personally experienced their ire: Pivar, Shermer, Carrier, to name just a few. Their efforts are futile. The facts do not disappear when they make you uncomfortable. Yet they still don’t get it.

The only difference today is that now it’s the so-called rationalists who are making willy-nilly threats of lawsuits to silence their critics, all while simultaneously genuflecting before the altar of free speech. It’s freakin’ weird, man. You’d think their heads would explode, or that at least their followers would notice the hypocrisy and turn their backs on them. But they don’t.

Latest in the litigious free-speechers who want to shut people up: Jordan Peterson. He’s suing someone who criticized his book.

In June, he threatened to sue Down Girl author and Cornell University assistant professor Kate Manne for defamation, after she criticized his book, 12 Rules For Life, and more generally called his work misogynistic in an interview with Vox. (Peterson previously filed a lawsuit against a university whose faculty members, in a closed-door meeting, argued that showing his videos in a classroom created an unsafe environment for students.) In letters to Manne, Cornell, and Vox, Peterson’s lawyer, Howard Levitt, demanded that all three parties “immediately retract all of Professor Manne’s defamatory statements, have them immediately removed from the internet, and issue an apology in the same forum to Mr. Peterson. Otherwise, our client will take all steps necessary to protect his professional reputation, including but not limited to initiating legal proceedings against all of you for damages.” (You can read the full letter below).

Among the statements Levitt objected to: Manne’s contention that Peterson’s book included “some really eyebrow-raising, authoritarian-sounding, and even cruel things,” as well as her observation that “it doesn’t seem accidental that [Peterson’s] skepticism about objective facts arises when it’s conveniently anti-feminist.” The lawyer and his client were equally unhappy with this line: “I also suspect that for many of Peterson’s readers, the sexism on display above is one tool among many to make forceful, domineering moves that are typical of misogyny.”

You don’t do this. You don’t bluster and threaten to sue critics of your book, no matter how savage their reviews. You especially don’t sue them when they can quote you and support all of their contentions, when your whole schtick is making broad-brush characterizations of people as archetypes and stereotypes.

I don’t get it. I get abused far worse, over a longer period of time, by various people who despise me, and they aren’t shy about doing it publicly (although, admittedly, they often do it behind the veil of anonymity), and I’ve never once thought about suing someone far it. These free-speech paladins, on the other hand, do it all the time.

Reminder: we’re still fundraising to defend ourselves from one SLAPP suit by one of these asshats. Not one of the usual freeze-peach suspects has spoken out against that suit — they’re inviting him to speak at their conferences, instead.


  1. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    For what it’s wroth, e.g. zero, this free speech advocate, myself, has spoken out against the Carrier lawsuit, and even asked Carrier directly “wtf are you doing?”, paraphrase. It seems pretty obvious to me that Carrier has no case. Fuck if I know what he’s trying to do. Being vindictive, perhaps? Or maybe he’s so incredibly deluded that he thinks that he can actually win in court.

  2. says

    I wonder if Peterson and his hurt feels will try to sue for this:

    On the specific question, Heine said it was “one of multiple questions that are designed to assess students’ opinion about current events that they are likely to have heard about, and likely to have formed opinions about.” He also said that the information was used to “study how people’s existing opinions about an issue influence how they process and react to new information about that issue (for example, a video from the evening news, or a newspaper article about the topic, that they might watch or read during the experiment).”

    “The question in no way alters a student’s ability to be part of the HSP,” he underscored. “It is simply one of multiple questions that is designed to assess students’ socio-political attitudes and their opinions about a range of current events [sic]. It is being used for a research study about how people’s existing opinions about an issue (which is what is being measured in the HSP survey) influence how they process new information about that issue.”

  3. raven says

    Jordan Peterson who?
    He has faded into the lunatic fringes populated by people like Ann Coulter, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck.
    As soon as people started reading his voluminous writings and watching his videos, he was done for.

    Jordan Peterson is a conperson, a hate merchant selling his follower’s hate and bigotry back to them for money.

    Hmmm, maybe he will sue me for writing that.
    Naw, probably not.
    Wouldn’t bother me a bit if he did though.
    The truth is an absolute defense and I live in an anti-SLAPP suit state.

  4. raven says

    Just going to Xpost from a Pharyngula thread.
    Jordan Peterson is a sick puppy!!! No matter how horrible a human being you think he is, the reality if far worse.
    Among his many hates, he is a raging misogynist.
    The poster below on quora has some Peterson quotes. I normally don’t like to copy other people’s comments but in this case it’s important enough that I will with attribution. The sources are at the original article reached by the link.
    My replies are in bold.

    Riley May
    Answered May 4, 2018 · Author has 70 answers and 83.4k answer views
    Because he says things like:
    ..women have a subconscious wish for brutal male domination
    This is bullcrap. He doesn’t know this.
    ..that it’s unfortunate that men can’t control women who say crazy things because they aren’t allowed to hit them
    How about crazy men like Peterson. We aren’t allowed to hit them either.
    Peterson admires violence and is frustrated that he can’t be violent towards women.
    Guy is a sick puppy.

    ..young women are outraged because they don’t have a baby to suckle
    Gibberish. He doesn’t know this. It’s just a misogynistic insult.

    ..if a woman doesn’t want to have kids, there’s something wrong with her
    Gibberish. It’s an opinion or an assertion without proof. It’s also wrong.
    It’s a sick puppy thing again.

    ..and says “The idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.” –
    despite women lacking basic human rights and legally being owned by men throughout history
    The oppresion was/is blatantly true and obvious.

    ..says stuff like “Men cannot oppose pathological women because chivalry demands they keep their most potent weapons sheathed” on twitter
    That violence thing again. I would be very surprised if Peterson doesn’t have a history of violence against women, children, and pets. Anything smaller and weaker than himself.
    There is lots more. Pages and pages of sick garbage like this.
    No matter how ugly and vicious Peterson seems, the reality is going to be far worse.

  5. raven says

    More old post
    More from a respected blogger, wonkette.
    Xpost from Pharyngula by myself, my comments in bold.

    SO MANY. Starting with “the idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory,” and moving on to calling women who wear makeup and heels at work and don’t want to be sexually harassed “hypocrites.” You know, because of course the only reason women wear makeup is “because boners” and also there is no social pressure at all to wear make-up in order to look “professional.” Peterson is very mad about feminism, in general, and is a very big fan of “traditional gender roles,” without ever coming right out and saying that explicitly.

    In the Vice interview linked above, he also says he’s not sure that men and women will ever be able to work together without sexual harassment being a problem. Which is quite strange because he’s so very into empowering young men to take “responsibility” for their lives, you would think he could also convince them that maybe playing grab-ass with their co-workers is a poor idea.

    He has also decided that the whole reason we are so “outraged” these days is because we actually secretly desire not equality, but babies.

    “Is it possible that young women are so outraged because they are craving infant contact in a society that makes that very difficult?”
    More sick puppy misogynistic bullcrap from Peterson.
    Peterson is also a control freak. He thinks he is entitled to control and police women.
    And when they say NO he goes ballistic.

    Peterson …”and moving on to calling women who wear makeup and heels at work and don’t want to be sexually harassed “hypocrites.””
    Guy wants to police women’s bodies, women’s lives, and women’s dress.
    Hey Peterson!!! It’s none of your damn business what a woman wears, her makeup or none, or her shoes. Or how she lives her life. FUCK OFF CREEP!!!

    To put it another way, I don’t give a rat’s ass if Jordan Peterson wears a dress and high heels or combat boots and a camo T shirt. None of my business and no interest whatsoever.

  6. raven says

    When Jordan Peterson isn’t hating on women, he hates atheists, trans, liberals, Muslims, and nonwhites.
    Add them up and it is most of our society.
    This is really just routine, garden variety alt right bigotry.
    You don’t have to be smart to spout it and it helps a whole lot to be dumb to actually believe it.

  7. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    And these are the people who whine about free speech and pretend to want open discourse, but then get bent out of shape when somebody uses their free speech to say something they don’t like. Pathetic, the lot of them.

  8. Matrim says

    @4, raven

    The truth is an absolute defense

    That’s not entirely accurate. Truth published with “actual malice” gleaned from the context of the statement can give rise to a libel lawsuit. Noonan v Staples.

  9. Tinjoe says

    Doesn’t he define chaos as feminine and then subtitles his book “The antidote for chaos”?

    I mean it’s a two step proof basically.

  10. raven says

    That’s not entirely accurate. Truth published with “actual malice” gleaned from the context of
    the statement can give rise to a libel lawsuit. Noonan v Staples.

    Which was overturned in a jury trial.
    At issue in the case was an e-mail sent by a Staples executive to some 1,500 employees about the termination of Alan Noonan, a Staples sales director. The e-mail said — truthfully — that Noonan was terminated after a company investigation determined that he had violated Staples’ travel and expense policies.

    The 1st Circuit remanded the case to the district court for trial. Reportedly, the trial is now complete and a jury last week rendered its verdict.
    The jury found no malice on the part of Staples and returned a verdict in the company’s favor.

    If malice was legally actionable, Jordan Peterson would be doing multiple life sentences.
    Guy is a sick puppy and raging poly-hater.
    Even members of his own department aren’t happy with him and have said so publicly.

  11. John Morales says

    [Not directly on-topic]

    Matrim, raven: obviously, it depends on the jurisdiction.

    You did prompt me to have a quick check, and this was the best summary I found in a few minutes:

    In Massachusetts, as elsewhere, truth is usually an absolute defense to libel.
    But Massachusetts law contains an exception: truth is not a defense to libel if the plaintiff can show that the defendant acted with “actual malice” in making the statement.
    Therefore, Noonan could still make out a libel claim if he could show that Staples acted with “actual malice.”

    Gets complicated from there.

    On a less legal but more common-sense perspective, I find it interesting that in some jurisdictions, a malicious but true claim is to be considered defamatory.

    (And you’re both right!)

    [site issues]
    PS an issue I keep having: I originally composed this because the info above the comm-box showed: “Logged in as John Morales. Log out?”, but upon attempting to post I was informed that “Sorry, you must be logged in to comment.”. So I logged out (!) and logged in to post this.

    (And also, pagination on this site became broken for me some days ago; now paging up and down no longer work. But I have no expectations that functionality here will be improved, so I perforce cope and adjust to it. And I am aware that there is a “Tech Issues” link on the top of the page, to pre-empt anyone who would inform me about its existence)

  12. John Morales says

    And, to be on-topic, indeed.

    I too have noticed how touchy and, um, “snowflaky” some of these self-purported free-speech advocates can be in regards to criticism.

    (In an older idiom, they talk the talk but don’t walk the walk)

  13. monad says

    “Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.”
    – Winston Churchill, apparently not misattributed

  14. Zmidponk says

    …have them immediately removed from the internet…

    hahahahahaha. Nice joke.

    Oh, wait, you’re serious?


    Once something is on the internet, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have it removed. Even if it is removed from the original site and/or page it was posted on, it can be very easily be reposted elsewhere by just about anyone who wants to. In fact, by making an arse of yourself and demanding such a thing, along with legal threats because the mean, grouchy professor said some things that hurt your feelings, you increase the chances that, if it is removed, someone will, indeed, repost it somewhere, just to show how much of an arse you’re being.

  15. anchor says

    “The facts do not disappear when they make you uncomfortable.”

    “The truth isn’t less true for being brutal.”
    — line delivered by Leo Genn in the 1946 film “Green for Danger”

  16. chrislawson says

    You could see this coming a mile away. This is the same “free speech advocate” who demanded the closure of entire university arts disciplines because he didn’t like their teachings.