Before Jordan Peterson was a famous lobster fetishizing public intellectual, he wanted to buy a church. A long-time friend of Peterson recalls this during an interview with The Star. “I assumed that it was for a new home — there was a trend in Toronto of converting religious spaces, vacant because of their dwindling congregations, into stylish lofts — but he corrected me. He wanted to establish a church, he said, in which he would deliver sermons every Sunday.”
The doctor has regularly simplified complex ideas related to gender, equality and race into understandable stories, by utilizing religious references throughout his career. Recently though, as Peterson’s following grows, issues have arisen with these educational stories being presented to his following as dogma.
Peterson’s friend echoed this sentiment during The Star interview. “I am alarmed by his now-questionable relationship to truth, intellectual integrity and common decency, which I had not seen before. He can be very persuasive, and toys with facts and with people’s emotions. I believe he is a man with a mission. It is less clear what that mission is.”
Now, with the cult leader comparison becoming commonplace, Peterson’s fanatical fans are coming to his defense. One fan of Peterson’s who grew up in a cult took to Instagram to ensure others that, “JP is pretty moderate” when it comes to cult leaders.
The comment did not go over well. In reply, one user posted, “Don’t worry guys, the guy who was raised in a cult doesn’t think JP or religions are cult like.”
Other fans of Peterson have expressed similar concerns about “being sucked into a cult.” One blogger and Peterson fan from chicksontheright, who saw him lecture in Indianapolis, explained how the doctor addressed the cult question during the Q&A portion of his lecture.
“How do I know, as I follow your lectures and videos, that I’m not getting sucked up into a cult?” I loved his answer to that one. He said everyone should be skeptical of ANYONE they follow for all sorts of reasons, but that we could all rest assured we weren’t part of a cult, because:
- He’s not an authoritarian figure
- He doesn’t encourage or suggest that people only associate with other Jordan Peterson followers.
- He doesn’t discourage independent thinking – in fact he does just the opposite.
- He doesn’t encourage a dissociation from your closest family and friends by asking you to place more value on his teachings than you do on them.”
According to Chicksontheright, the answer was concerning to some, but considered adequate by others.
More evidence of Peterson’s cult-like following came to light this week on Youtube, as his mob attacked a video edit made by Vic Berger. The coordinated campaign was documented on Instagram by Berger who explained, “Jordan Peterson’s cult followers swarmed my video to mass downvote it. The comment section is a hellscape of whiny boys crying about me taking their daddy “out of context,” which I didn’t.”
This cult-like behavior is not exclusive to Peterson. Berger went on to detail similar experiences he has had with Ben Shapiro’s audience, who is also an Intellectual Dark Web member, frequent collaborator with Peterson and presents his opinions as “fact.”
“Ben Shapiro’s fans are this way, too. They’re equally as disturbed and frightening. Shapiro’s fanboys managed to get a video I made removed for “hate speech.” (But I fought it and won.) So much for these so-called free speech warriors!”
The growing internet cult of Peterson and the Intellectual Dark Web may have a new web based home soon as well. According to Mic, Peterson has plans to create an online university for his disciples with the goal of, “destroying indoctrination cults” that he believes are perpetuated through the current college system.
“Now Peterson is working on, and accepting donations for, an online university. This was a plan he teased out over the past year; now he’s begun development on its first “module,” according to recent interviews. The institution would revolve mostly around the humanities and the great books of Western civilization.”
As the internet becomes more tribal additional cases of this nature will likely arise. Bernard Media will continue monitoring this situation and provide more information as it is made available.