The image painted by Jordan Peterson and supporters alike is of a father, guiding the young men who are drawn to him through a complex and hostile world. “Our culture confuses men’s desire for achievement and competence with the patriarchal desire for tyrannical power,” Peterson said during an interview for GQ. Rarely mentioned, however, are the unfortunate groups attracted to Peterson’s teachings. Detractors routinely accuse Peterson of subtly dog-whistling toward the alt-right, incels (involuntary celibates), and even the alt-lite. Although Peterson denounces such groups, his audience makeup continues to highlight the connection between his teachings and malicious ideologies.
The reality is this: Peterson’s sprinkled condemnations of toxic masculine and authoritarian proclivities do not erase his magnetism among young men with those poisonous inclinations. Broadly speaking, Peterson pushes a strongman masculinity, enforced by pseudo-spirituality, junk-science personality tests, justification of hierarchies, and behaviorism. This emphasis predisposes adherents to accept the injustices and deficiencies of society as originating from the character flaws of individuals, instead of systemic failures, and effects outside their control. Peterson communicates what he considers wrong and right by arguing unfortunate losers in the hierarchy are creations of their own ineptitude. His prophetic side presents worn-out theories and perspectives as originating from intellectualism and nature. Peterson positions his teachings — with the help of myth, archetypes, and the appropriation of religious symbols — as this is how the world works. To question such a construction is, Peterson argues, to be insane. To question Peterson’s construct is to question reality. Peterson has subtly crafted a social totalitarianism; One where men benefit the most….