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NOTE: This was written in response to a comment on the original essay which, again, is available through the pastebin link above


You’ll notice, of course, that at no point in my article do I claim that Peterson is a part of the alt right in any ideological sense. I go to great length to explain why he has fans on the alt right — why his particular presentation of himself to the public has made him so popular with the quasi-media the alt right has formed on Youtube, Twitter, Minds.com, etc. — but at no point do I say Peterson is a part of the movement in any committed sense.

You can go back through and look for yourself.

There’s a paragraph towards the beginning, when I say, metaphorically, that Peterson is a recent addition to the ‘cosmos’ of the alt right — but as I explain in the preceding paragraph, this cosmos I’m talking about isn’t defined by any ideological commitments. This is perhaps a topic for another, longer essay, but I don’t think that looking strictly at people’s political commitments is a good way to gauge who or what the alt right is. You will find in that movement people with libertarian tendencies brushing shoulders with people who espouse race realism and the need for a powerful state to protect the nation; you will find people who are sincere in their support of one or another issue near and dear to the alt right, and people who are only doing it because it pisses off feminists and other leftists.

You don’t get a good picture of who is associated with or active alongside the alt right, if you just look for common ideologies, is what I am saying, — which is why I instead look simply at what might be called the ‘social network’ of the alt right: who knows who, who listens to what select people say, etc.

At no point — at no point do I say that Peterson is a part of the alt right in any committed, political sense; I simply say that Peterson has entered the social network of the alt right — that a lot of people on the alt right are now paying attention to him, and like him — which I still maintain is true.

Another thing you can’t help but notice is the fact that I never say Peterson’s broad conception of psychology is a bad thing, on face. I really don’t make any kind of evaluative judgements in this article, in general — I never say Peterson or the way he presents himself or even the people on the alt right who like him are bad or good or whatever. I simply describe Peterson, and the way he presents himself, and the way this makes him liked.

Again, I invite you: Go back through the article, and find me a place where I outright criticize the way Peterson does psychology. I even made it a point to hedge my description; I say towards the beginning of the first big paragraph about Peterson’s psychology that, when I say it belongs more to the 20th century than the 21st, “I don’t mean this as a dig.” I link to Peterson’s scholarly articles on Google and restate the fact that he is a fully-fledged, active, and accredited researcher.


It’s hard for the author of something to make sure that whatever they write is interpreted in just the way they want it to. It’s impossible, probably. A lot of misunderstandings can be prevented if an author adapts the academic strategy of hedging and clarifying every claim they make — “I’m saying this but not this,” “I agree with these ideas of this camp but not these ones, and for these reasons,” — but from a logistical standpoint, this bloats an article’s word count and reading time, and eventually makes the forest much harder to see for the trees.

So I didn’t too much of it in this article.

I can see how the subtle-but-important distinctions I’ve explained above can be missed by even an engaged reader — and for that I’m sorry. Still, I say again, a careful reading of my article shows that I don’t make any of the claims you seem to be responding to. I don’t think Peterson is some kind of white nationalist or is committed to the ideology of the alt right — I just think the alt right has a particular affinity for him. I don’t think Peterson is a quack or that his psychology is somehow inherently less rigorous — I just think that the way he does psychology explains, in part, why the alt right has this particular affinity for him.

That is all.

ADDENDUM: I’ve gone back through the article again and there is a line towards the very end that mentions Peterson being “in line” with the views of some of the alt right’s members — I intend this to mean “in line” with their views on this particular issue of gender pronouns, and will change the article accordingly.