Foreign Policy Magazine

Thus Spoke Jordan Peterson

A wildly popular psychologist’s self-help program is leading young men to authoritarianism.

TWO YEARS AGO, Jordan Peterson was a relatively obscure psychology professor at the University of Toronto with but a single book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (Routledge, 564 pp., $73.95), and a quiver of scientific papers to his name on political psychology, personality, alcoholism, and other mainstream psychological topics.

Today, Peterson is famous. His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Random House Canada, 409 pp., $34.95), published in January, quickly topped Amazon’s best-seller list. His public lectures are sold-out affairs, his YouTube videos have garnered more than 40 million views, and he has more than 500,000 Twitter followers. Some 8,000 supporters give him more than $66,000 a month, or an average of $10.93 each, on the crowdfunding website Patreon. In return, they receive an exclusive bimonthly Q&A session with their mentor on YouTube.

The psychologist’s mass appeal hinges on his ability to speak to what one might call the spiritual crisis of masculinity in the West: the deep sense of uselessness and emasculation that an increasing number of men claim to feel due to globalization, technological change, and

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Foreign Policy Magazine

Foreign Policy Magazine2 min read
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster ADAM HIGGINBOTHAM, SIMON & SCHUSTER, 560 PP., $29.95, FEBRUARY 2019 IN THE LATE 1970S, at the height of the Cold War, a new city sprung up near the border of Ukraine a
Foreign Policy Magazine5 min read
The Case Against Frugal Innovation
Jugaad once symbolized India’s potential, but the endless shortcuts are now holding the country back.
Foreign Policy Magazine3 min readTech
The Oldest Game
INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE is as ancient as industry itself—and a frequent accomplice to the rise of empires. From classical Greek cities to modern U.S. corporations, the theft of trade secrets has marked a transfer of power almost as routinely as bloodshe