Jordan Peterson delivering a lecture at the University of Toronto in 2017.
(photo credit: ADAM JACOBS)
Canadian psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson is the darling of certain groups and the nemesis of others. Peterson, whose YouTube teachings have reached millions of viewers, has surfed a wave of controversy to fame and notoriety.
His disdain for the use of gender-neutral pronouns, his dismissal of the wage gap and his objections to the coddling or feminizing of young boys have found solid appeal among disaffected, angry young white men. And that appeal has led to Peterson fielding questions about the “Jewish Question” from those who seek yet someone else to blame for their problems.
In public appearances, Peterson has appeared to falter when asked about Jewish control and power.
At an appearance in New York in January, an audience member asked Peterson a question that he ducked answering.
“Jewish individuals are over-represented in the ownership and senior staffing of the US news media,” the questioner began, before rambling on for a couple minutes. He later continued: “Could Jewish individuals use their positions of power to seek out revenge against places like Europe and Russia that have a history of expelling Jews?” In a grainy video of the event, Peterson paces the stage appearing mildly distraught after hearing the question: “It’s so hard to disentangle,” he said, before finally adding “I can’t do it.”
But on Friday, Peterson attempted to put the issue to rest, publishing a treatise on his website titled “On the so-called ‘Jewish Question.’” He began by accusing “the players of identity politics on the far right” of continuing “ever-so-pathologically to beat the antisemitic drum.”
Peterson acknowledged that he has been called upon multiple times to comment on the issue, “and criticized when I hesitate to do so.”
So Peterson attempts to set his views on the issue straight, beginning by noting that “Jews are
genuinely over-represented in positions of authority, competence and influence. New York Jews, in particular, snap up a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes... and Jews are disproportionately eligible for admission at elite universities”
He notes, “The radical/identity-politics right-wingers regard such accomplishment as evidence of a conspiracy. It hardly needs to be said that although conspiracies do occasionally occur, conspiracy theories are the lowest form of intellectual enterprise.”
Instead, he offers three reasons for such over-representation: That Ashkenazi Jews have a higher than average IQ; that it links Jews to the trait of “openness to experience”; and that in turn links them to political liberalism.
“So, what’s the story? No conspiracy. Get it? No conspiracy,” he concluded. “Jewish people are over-represented in positions of competence and authority because, as a group, they have a higher mean IQ.”
The vast majority of people who commented on the entry on his website, however, would not have it. Responses, littered with casual racism and antisemitism, expressed dismay that their cultural hero had dismissed a favorite talking point. The responses to him on Twitter followed a similar pattern.
“Jordan Peterson is telling us there is no idea of Jewish power in America,” wrote TheDrogger in the most upvoted comment on the post. “That’s simply not true when we all know the world runs on money, and no one knows this better than the Jews. That’s why our foreign policy has been about securing Israel’s security. That’s why our politicians get money from AIPAC. Why we send billions to Isarel [sic] every year... the IQ theory Peterson is pushing actually proves the point that Jews are acting nepotistically.”
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