Crawl back in your hole, Peterson, you’re going to get spanked everywhere

Now that Jordan Peterson has crawled out of the dark hole he had retreated to, we have to make sure he never again gets the prominence he used to have. If you want to enjoy a stunningly thorough take-down of the man, here you go.

“You have to admire Hitler! […] Because he was an organizational genius!”

These are not the words of a neo-Nazi. They are words stated, with the utmost conviction, by Jordan B. Peterson, the psychologist and anti-“political correctness” guru whose YouTube channel boasts 2.8 million subscribers, in one of his Biblical Series lectures from 2017.

While Peterson’s hostile statements on feminism and what he calls “cultural Marxism” have been thoroughly dissected in the media, but his views on Hitler, National Socialism, and the Holocaust have not, bar a very few exceptions. Peterson, an academic who declares that he chooses his words “very, very, carefully” has made so many incorrect statements about Hitler that it verges on revisionism.

Peterson has repeatedly said that he has “studied Hitler a lot,” but every statement he utters about Hitler makes this very hard to believe. It’s worth diving into Peterson’s unsettling understanding of Hitler, from his strangely generous framing of the Nazi leader, through his misrepresentation of chronology, his misuse of historical sources, to his odd re-writing of Holocaust history.

I think history makes it clear that Hitler was the Donald Trump/Boris Johnson of the 1930s — a blustering con man with bad ideas who wrecked his country. While we’re flattening the apologists who make excuses for them now, let’s also make sure Trump and Johnson don’t get the opportunity to become the Hitler of the late 1930s, WWII, and the Holocaust.


  1. aquietvoice says

    Honestly, I’ve never been able to put Trump and Hitler alongside each other in my mind.

    I mean, the rise of neonazis is no joke, and they’ll do exactly what the nazis did if they get the chance, it’s just that “rudderless narcissist” is the perfect description of Trump, but if there was a modern comparison to Hitler I’d probably pick “Elliot Rodger with a megaphone and a different choice of obsessions” long before I’d pick a Trump/Johnson comparison.

    In short, the nazis are coming back for another go, but once again Trump is just another symptom.

    On the topic of Jordan Peterson, I always thought of his stuff about cultural marxism as conspiracy chow, but this is gradually turning becoming less “roll-my-eyes” stuff and more “oh hey, a serious desire for murder”.

  2. Matt G says

    The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has an article up on this jackass’s revisionism.

  3. Allison says

    Honestly, I’ve never been able to put Trump and Hitler alongside each other in my mind.

    Granted, Trump is no Hitler (though not for lack of trying.)

    However, the forces that he is evoking are similar. He is letting loose a tiger in the naive belief that he can ride on its back, and may not be able to get it back in the cage, even assuming he wants to.

    It’s not so much Trump I’m afraid of as the kind of people he is collecting. I’d guess (based on Trump’s popularity figures) that around 30% of the USA population would prefer a fascist-style regime and believe it would make things better (remember “Mussolini made the trains run on time” — which wasn’t actually true, but people still believe it.)

  4. mailliw says

    That’s the trouble with right wing populists. They start out promising to make you country great again and then you end up with it in ruins and half of it owned by the Russians.

  5. christoph says

    @ Allison, # 4: “Granted, Trump is no Hitler (though not for lack of trying.)”

    No he’s not. He’s more like the Charlie Chaplin parody of Hitler.

  6. blf says

    [Hair furor]’s more like the Charlie Chaplin parody of Hitler.

    Except Charlie Chaplin was funny and made cognizant points.
    Perhaps more like a parody of Genghis Khan parody, except without his skill, intelligence, or planning?

    Or a parody of Caligula? (Presuming what is “known” about Caligula is broadly true (I believe most accounts were written by his enemies).) Erratic, appoints horses & fools to high positions, arbitrary, has no problem with chattel slavery, leads pretend invasions / wars, and so on… except hair furor can’t even do pretend emperor convincingly.

  7. says

    The Original Trek episode “Patterns of Force” once more comes to mind. For those not familiar with it, unlikely as that is, the episode sees the Enterprise visiting the planet Ekos, looking to establish what happened to Federation cultural observer John Gill. Kirk and co. soon learn that Gill has tinkered with the culture of Ekos, using Nazi Germany as a template. Gill figured he could remove the “bad” parts of the Nazis to give the Ekosians the stable culture they needed. Of course that doesn’t work, and Gill has ended up as a drugged figurehead as the Ekosian government plans a Final Solution against the people of Zeon, a neighbouring planet.

    All too many people are like Gill. Even if they aren’t out and out bigots, with a leaning towards genocide, they’ve bought into Nazi propaganda about how skilled and intelligent they were. In reality the Nazis got lucky, as the people behind the party were murderers, kooks, and thieves who often didn’t have the abilities they though they had.

  8. mnb0 says

    @8 blf: “Except Charlie Chaplin was funny and made cognizant points.”
    No analogy is perfect, but I’d still like to point out that Donald the Clown is a gift that keeps on giving when it comes to bad jokes.

    Example 1: The Pentagon is changing the nuclear codes to over 140 characters, … so Trump can’t tweet it..
    Example 2: Donald the Clown decides to build the wall because China build one too and that country doesn’t have Mexicans.
    Example 3: Donald the Clown won’t be be subject to impeachment because Republicans in Congress insist that every baby be brought to full term.

  9. unclefrogy says

    I would have a very hard time reading a novel with these characters and situations in it. it would be too hard to suspend my disbelief.
    I am having a hard time actually living through it in real life as it is. the feelings of futility and catastrophe are threatening to completely overwhelm me,
    uncle frogy

  10. blf says

    mnb0@10, Snickers

    ● Hair furor doesn’t read briefings because they contain big words like “the” and aren’t written in crayon.

    ● Scientists are working on a clock to measure very small time intervals to see if hair furor has any attention span at all.

    ● When hair furor wakes he runs around Wacko House playing with his Space Force shouting “Pew! Pew!!”

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    aquietvoice @ # 1: …I’ve never been able to put Trump and Hitler alongside each other in my mind.

    Consider: Demagogic buffoons raised to power by economic & political authorities planning to use them to suppress opposition, confident they can keep these puppets under control, getting enough short-term gains along the way that they forget to look ahead even as the strings fray and fail.

    Only when it was much too late did the “smart” people take them and their followers seriously.

  12. KG says

    That’s the trouble with right wing populists. They start out promising to make you country great again and then you end up with it in ruins and half of it owned by the Russians. – mailliw@5

    Trump’s just speeding up the process by handing the country over to SARS-CoV-2 and the Russians wholesale – well, one specific Russian to be accurate

  13. Owlmirror says

    Something I noted in the article itself.

    Peterson has repeatedly claimed that Hitler was just “the mouthpiece of the collective unconscious of the German people.”

    Anyone who takes “collective unconscious” too seriously is having problems with reality.

    I kinda get the feeling that Peterson sympathizes a lot with certain aspects of Nazism/fascism. The militarism; the celebration of masculinity; the symbolism; the firm subjugation of women . . .

    Of course, this was pointed out repeatedly by Mishra when discussing Peterson’s fascist mythicism, and by others elsewhere.

  14. says

    “These are not the words of a neo-Nazi.”

    I would very seriously argue against that point. I don’t doubt that Peterson doesn’t think of himself as a Nazi, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he is. The Nazis didn’t start out with death camps and invading Russia. They started out with reactionary yearning for a lost (mythical) golden age, and were particularly opposed to “sexual deviancy”. The were absolutely the sort to get irrationally angry over pronouns.

  15. mailliw says

    @gondwanarama #16

    The Nazis didn’t start out with death camps and invading Russia.

    They didn’t make their intentions open, but they were there right from the start. In Mein Kampf Hitler speaks of filling Munich Marienplatz with gibbets to hang Jews. The desire to aquire more “Lebensraum” was right there from the start too.

    @Owlmirror #15

    Anyone who takes “collective unconscious” too seriously is having problems with reality.

    It is notable that those on the right are always keen to attach essentialist labels to people. Peterson implies that Nazism if somehow fundamental to being German (an extraordinary insult). In fact Nazism arose from a particular set of social and economic circumstances and was promoted by propaganda (with some of the more extreme items of their agenda well hidden) and subsequently by force.

    When my father was in Germany in 1933 staying with a Jewish family, the police came round occasionally and told them to call if they had any trouble from the Nazis, that all changed extraordinarily rapidly.