The Tragedy of Jordan Peterson
March 3, 2020
The greatest casualty of the last century was not ethnic, ideological, or religious in nature. There was no “Great War” fought over multiple continents for its defense. It simply died quietly one evening beneath the static of the television and the humming of the microwave. That casualty was the Family.
While not everyone endured a holocaust or had nuculear bombs unleashed on them; this battle escaped no one. It continued its onward march from coast to coast with a slow, but steady that forever changed the landscape of our everyday life.
This observation is as milquetoast as they come. Was there ever really a time of familial virtue? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t stop advocates of the idea from arising every generation as if the Golden Age could be recovered. Maybe, despite the cliche, there is some truth in this.
Rise to the Throne
In the autumn of 2016, a respected, but relatively obscure clinical psychologist named Dr. Jordan Bernt Peterson released a series of videos criticizing Bill C-16 (an amendment to Canada’s human rights tribunal that would compel government employees to observe trangender people’s preferred pronouns). The videos went viral and catapulted him into the limelight of transgender issues.
Before that fateful decision, Jordan was merely a professor and practicing clinical psychologist at the University of Toronto. He saw around 10 patients a week and taught his Maps of Meaning class, based on his mildly successful book of the same name.
Jordan met his wife Tammy when they were both children and were married in 1989. They had two children, Mikhalia and Julian and appeared to have fostered others. Jordan and Tammy met as children and have been together ever since.
The Peterson clan endured many hardships that brought them closer together. Mikalia was born very sick. She had severe rheumatoid arthritis, diopathic hypersomnia (difficulty waking up), and by age 17 had multiple joints replaced. By 2016, however, she was doing much better and was attending college classes much to the relief of her parents.
It is unlikely that when Jordan embarked on his 2016 crusade that he envisioned himself, just four years later, in Russia, deep inside a medically induced coma because he had become addicted to benzodiazepine, but what did he want out of this gesture? Bill C-16 was passed on June 17, 2017 and no totalitarian state has been established in Canada. In fact, when put to the test, the courts did the right thing. When Jordan did what he felt was his duty, did he retreat back into obscurity like a heroic, Canadian Cinncinatus? No, he seized upon his new fame much to the detriment of his family.
In 2019, Tammy became seriously ill. She developed kidney cancer and had several invasive operations. She recovered, but Jordan didn’t. He became addicted to clonazepam, unable to endure the stress. He was checked into rehab and then ferried to Russia for experimental treatment. His daughter’s statement to Newsweek is revealing towards the true motivation of his drug abuse. “The situation is really sad. He looks like a lost puppy. But it will only last while he gets this horrible medication out [of] his system and then he will be good to go again.”
The Doctor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
Perhaps once you become a drug addict it is time to stop and take stock of yourself. A man famous for championing self reflection in others would rather become a crackhead then take a moment away from the roaring crowds and riches. In any other man this behavior would be shameful and he would chatistified for tearing his family apart for the sake of his own personal gain. The way it is portrayed is almost saintly as if Jordan’s addiction is a noble sacrifice he is making.
The only people making sacrifices are Tammy, Mikhaila, and Julian. You have to look no further than Instagram where Mikaila roleplays as both father and daughter. One might imagine that a part of her secretly enjoys the quality time she now enjoys with her catatonic daddy. You can almost picture her tossing baseballs at Jordan’s motionless body propped up in a wheelchair or slow dancing tenderly with his IV station.
There is an obscure story from early in his Internet career that marked the turning point in his attitude. In early 2017, Jordan tried to juggle both his clinical practice and his blossoming online career. A patient complained that he made her sit watch him write an email. She expressed concerns and he applauded her for being open. However, she found that when her next session arrived that Jordan had cancelled because he was sick. In actuality, he was appearing on a talk show and had cancelled all of his appointments for the day. She continued to see Jordan, but the conversation often centered around Jordan’s fame. She describes him as giddy and excited about his growing popularity. In their final session, the patient describes him as erratic. He had lost weight and looked ill. He said strange things like, “You grew up wild and need to be tamed.”
Later Jordan appeared at the patients place of work with his family. She broke down in tears and had to be sent home. She tried to reach out through emails but was met with the same automated response. She ended up quitting her job over the experience.
This story led to a complaint and an investigation into his practice. Jordan left his practice shortly after, but it is clear he was going to that anyway. The man that wanted to help people was gone and replaced by a man that cancelled appointments and responded with automated emails.
Jordan’s true addiction is not clonazepam; it is fame. Like a junkie on the street he will give up everything for that next fix. Nothing is too sacred to scrap and sell, but fame is its own reward. Once you have it that’s it. Jordan will have plenty of time to reflect on this as he lies in stasis in the frozen wasteland in Russia.