Although my newfound interest in Peterson might seem to put me in good company—he’s selling out 5,000-plus seat lecture halls regularly and 12 Rules for Life is now a #1 bestseller—this isn’t the case at all. On the contrary, it puts me into a pretty isolated, alienated, and uncomfortable position. The reason for this is simple: I’ve always identified strongly with the left-leaning side of the political and cultural spectrum. And, as anyone who’s been following Peterson’s bizarrely rapid rise to fame knows, his growing popularity has been strongly countered by progressive commentators, who keep sounding the alarm against him at increasingly higher volumes.
If you follow the news stream, it seems that virtually every right-thinking left-leaning (pun intended) journalist, blogger, and social media maven agrees: Peterson is an alt-right wolf in professorial sheep’s clothing, a self-serving charlatan who dresses up old-school misogyny, racism, and elitism in faux-intellectual, fascist mystical garb.
I don’t buy it. I’ve read and listened to enough Peterson to make up my own mind and that’s not how I see him at all. Rather than being forthright about this, though, I’ve tended to cower silently in my alienated corner, fearful that revealing my rejection of the stock anti-Peterson narrative will cause my progressive friends to denounce me and the social media mobs to swarm.