Why You’re Dead Wrong About Jordan Peterson

And the opportunity cost of rejecting his “rules.”

Alec Zaffiro


Jordan Peterson Controversy
creative commons via Gage Skidmore

You probably think about Jordan Peterson in 1 of 2 ways:

  1. You admire him for his ability to think and speak. His words give insight to your moral conundrums. To you, his ideas hold significant psychological weight.
  2. You despise him politically. You feel smothered by his conservative ideals. Peterson’s group identity embodies oppression, challenging not only your identity but your entire belief system.

As someone who falls in the former, I feel sorry for the latter.

I really do. I don’t mean to be condescending about this.

Not only are critics (falsely) denouncing Peterson, but they’re missing the value of his work in the process. This begs several questions:

  • What’s the value of Jordan Peterson’s work?
  • Are the claims against him valid?
  • Why is it so hard for certain people to understand him?
  • How might we bridge the gap between supporters and critics?

The Value of Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules”

When I was a senior in college, I was a complete and total wreck.

At age 22, I had no idea who I was, what I believed, or what mattered. Several difficult circumstances unfolded in my life.

My girlfriend and I decided to part ways after 5 years. I came face-to-face with the fact I hated my future career. I didn’t have many friends. I lived hours away from my family.

As I neared graduation, alone, the pillars of my identity began to crumble. The future paralyzed me. I didn’t know where I’d live, who I’d live with, or what I’d do for work.

I had real existential problems. In my lost state, void of an identity, I stumbled upon Jordan Peterson.

Initially, his academic lectures struck a chord. I found them on Youtube, somewhat organically, as a professor to people my age. He spoke directly into my soul, somehow aware of the unique details of my suffering.

I never characterized him politically. Rather, I found his psychological and…



Alec Zaffiro

I write to think and organize my ideas. I like psychology, philosophy, and self-improvement—em dashes are my specialty. Not an expert.*