VIDEO: A British Channel 4 debate exposed a clash of cultures. It was a good bun fight.
In my last post, I mentioned how some journalists promote their own personal opinions and philosophies in their media.
The emergence of the Canadian academic Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto psychology professor, illustrate a wider change going on.
I won’t dive too deep into Peterson’s views and philosophy. Broadly, he attacks what he sees as tyranny of political correctness, group-think and virtue-signalling bringing down free-thinking and individuality in western societies.
He claims a “post modernist” approach to disciplines in Western universities has heightened the growth of identity politics, the tendency for people to take offense all the time “snowflakes” and the growth of “safe spaces” where students can avoid ideas they find threatening.
His views have been rejected by some academics and by Left-focused journalists, who see it as part of a right-wing agenda associated with Donald Trump, white supremacy et al. His supporters say that is nonsense.
Peterson – presents an affable face as an articulate promoter of free thinking, But critics see him as a false prophet from the ‘alt right’. For his part he attacks the radical Left wing and “radical feminists”
The battle between Peterson and the Left came to a head a while ago in an elf hour interview on Britain’s Channel 4.
Channel 4 star interviewer Cathy Newman challenged Peterson, but most observers concluded that she lost her barracking argument with the confident and affable academic.
Peterson remained calm and logical through scattergun and sometimes sharp argument from Newman.
To be fair, Newman was doing a standard job for a journalist interviewing an academic on MSM, trying to question him on the real world implications of his world view.
It was entertaining television – that was her mission – and she was a limited by liberal assumptions.
Newman’s views were Leftish and feminist – as is the nature of the Channel 4 audience.
Her big failure was in underestimating Peterson’s sharp mind. Her approach was to treat him as a loopy right-wing academic.
But he is a political figure, whose sometimes old-fashioned views about self-responsibility and dare I say it, common sense, strike a chord, especially with a male audience that watches his videos on You Tube,
I find his rationale and views intriguing. I am wary of his belligerance. I suppose, a baldly masculine rational view that could turn into a cult figure.
But the more that his detractors try to pull him down – the more you are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
The Guardian produced a hit piece recently. In little old New Zealand the respected writer Danyl Mclauchlan had at him in kiwi liberal bible The Spinoff.
In the UK, the notoriously conservative Daily Mail recently produced a large and mostly positive profile of him.
Left and right-wing media seem to clustering for and against him.
Peterson growls that the “extreme Left wing” though supports things like free health care. He has a background in working class jobs, a stark contrast to many of his detractors.
Some aspects of his is mirrored by Brendan O’ Neill, the editor of a hybrid Marxist anti-liberal publication called spiked.
As well as taking part in international debates and appearing on UK current affairs shows, O’Neill also writes for conservative media such as The Sun and The Spectator. Their views are becoming less academic and more mainstream.