How exciting! I am delighted to have been invited to be the MC for Jordan Peterson’s talk in Melbourne in March. That’s a real thrill for me because I have been following his work for a long time.
If you don’t know anything about him, a good place to start is to look at a recent interview he did with British television journalist Cathy Newman which is making a mighty splash and has been viewed by over 5 million people. Here’s what I wrote for The Spectator Australia soon after it happened:
‘British journalist Douglas Murray said he’d never seen a television interview more catastrophic for the interviewer. Others are naming TV journalist Cathy Newman’s grilling of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson as a pivotal moment exposing modern feminism’s clay feet. Within three days of the 30-minute Channel 4 interview being posted on YouTube it had attracted over 2 million viewers and Newman’s performance was greeted by widespread hilarity on the twittersphere.
‘Channel 4 now seems to have woke up to the self-inflicted damage the interview is doing to one of the station’s stars and is in damage control with Newman playing the victim role claiming she’s receiving “vicious misogynistic abuse.” Station management is employing extra security to deal with what they claim are threats to Newman’s safety. Whilst there is no evidence the flood of online criticism of Newman constitutes any threat, Peterson has responded by telling his supporters to constrain their comments.
‘Ironically the major gotcha moment in the interview was all about freedom of speech. Newman decided to grill Peterson about the reason the Canadian psychology professor had first attracted international attention – namely his refusal to use manufactured gender pronouns now mandated under law in his country. After a series of ill-informed, aggressive attacks failed spectacularly to disconcert her calm, reasoned guest, Newman asked Peterson, “why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?”
‘The good professor responded: “Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that?” he said, acknowledging her attacks had made him rather uncomfortable but that was fine. “You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on…But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.”
‘His answer left Newman totally floundering. The good-natured Peterson smiled sweetly and said: “Ha, gotcha!”’
‘Conservative politician Paul Weston points out that what’s so extraordinary about the Peterson interview is that it managed to refute the ideological claptrap which holds sway throughout much of the mainstream media. As he says in a YouTube video posted this week, the anointed liberal elite which controls the media knows it doesn’t represent popular opinion but “works tirelessly to make damn sure no one’s allowed anywhere near the media bubble to propose a learned valid legitimate opinion.”
“Yet Peterson slipped through and Newton and her team were shown up for not doing their homework to discover why it is that this formidable man attracts literally millions of followers online. Journalist Tim Lott, writing last year in the Spectator UK, said that after listening to hours of Peterson’s videos, he concludes the man is “one of the most important thinkers to emerge on the world stage for many years.” As Newman discovered to her peril.’