Why Jordan Peterson is Wrong (an open letter)

I write this as a friend. Jordan Peterson, you’ve said that we all need friends who will tell us when we are wrong; that’s one of the many ways in which I believe that you are right. But you’re also wrong, and you’re wrong in some very subtle and interesting ways. My advice to you (if you read this) is “read Steve Hassan’s writings on mind control cults and how to achieve freedom”; but nobody accepts advice unless you demonstrate an understanding of the problem. My diagnosis is that the relevant problem is the ‘paradox of Nietzsche’, a label that I’ve invented for something that seems to happen to a lot of intelligent people who become fascinated by a problem.

The paradox of Nietzsche

Nietzsche was a very intelligent man, whose profound writings include this:

Why you’re a powerful and seductive speaker

You’re an accomplished clinical psychologist and university lecturer who has fought many battles against mental illness and won. Your insights into post-traumatic stress disorder are among the most powerful healing messages that I’ve ever seen, and have affected me a great deal. You’re a war hero, who has stared this problem in the face countless times, and a great many people owe you their lives.

I don’t disagree about the problem

I’ve spent more than a little time in the company of highly intelligent young men who have left-wing ideals, and I find it incredibly difficult to watch them destroying themselves. I listen to them talk about how they see the world, and I think “What a horrible worldview, how could that lead to anything but depression and self-destruction?” I think about my own history of depression and self-destruction, and how I needed to change my worldview in order to (literally) save my own life, and I desperately want these guys to change course.

The falling-off place

Nobody will be surprised that my postmodernist friends were appalled and disgusted to learn that I was paying serious attention to one of their most popular critics. They looked and recoiled, but struggled to articulate what they had seen. It was as if I were standing on the edge of an invisible cliff that they didn’t know how to warn me about, other than by saying “Get away from there!”

Steve Hassan’s heroic journey

I learned a lot from Steve Hassan’s book, Combating Cult Mind Control, which details the ways in which mind control cults take over their victims. As it turns out, so did the mind control cults, who issued copies to senior members, saying “This is what you need to do.”

A plea

I think you’ve identified the disease. I think that it’s a disease caused by flawed efforts to save society from itself. I think that your proposed cure suffers the same flaw, and when the mob has picked up enough energy, they will be beyond your control.

Written by

Nick Argall is an organization engineer, structuring activities to help businesses achieve their goals. nargall@gmail.com

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