Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Limits of Jordan Peterson's Libertarian Understanding

Jordan Peterson
Wow, during an interview, Jordan Peterson told the Spectator's James Innes-Smith that  "It’s ridiculous to label Trump as far-right; he’s certainly an anomaly. As a personality, he’s more of a libertarian."

Trump is good on being anti-political correctness but that is just about the beginning and end of his libertarian perspective. In other words, Trump is as close to being a libertarian as that caravan is to the U.S. border.

It should be noted that Trump just imposed oppressive sanctions on Iran. He is playing footsie with the ruthless Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammed bin Salaman. He is working on constructing a "Middle East NATO," wants the Fed to lower interest rates, has placed tariffs on thousands of products and has surrounded himself with mad neocons.

 3 hours ago3 hours agoMore
US wants to put the most insane mass-murdering cult in charge of Iran... has been on their payroll even though they torture and sexually abuse their members. Imagine Rev. Jim Jones heading up Iran... That's what the neocons want.

If this is "more of a libertarian," then I am the second coming of Princess Diana.

Peterson's lack of true libertarian positions did not stop being exposed with that comment. He went on to give Trump credit for the current economy which is nothing but the boom phase of the Fed manipulated boom-bust business cycle.

Peterson actually said this during the interview:
Wages are rising, unemployment is down to levels not seen since the early Sixties and the economy is growing at a phenomenal rate. Trump is noisy and bombastic and he has a narcissistic edge but he certainly hasn’t turned out to be the absolute disaster that his enemies predicted.
Peterson seems totally unaware that of how the business cycle works and that surely the boom will eventually disappear like Trump's planned individual tax cut before today's mid-term elections.

Peterson is good, like Trump, on attacking political correctness and he appears quite suspicious of the establishment elitists but that appears to be the limits of his libertarianism.

Jordan Peterson can be an ally we can use against political correctness, but he is not one of us.


(ht Christopher Barcelo)


  1. Some of my best friends are not libertarians. Like Murray said, take your friends if and when you find them.

    1. Capn,

      My dear and devotedly Catholic friend tells me that God will forgive me for not being Catholic and for not believing in Him. I thank him and we continue our friendship.

    2. @bunny, curious, if your Catholic friend told you that God would likely not forgive you if you remained an obstinate atheist until death, would you keep them as a friend?

      Would you think that them telling a truth that you deny means that they were not your friend?

  2. This is a good reminder of how people in the limelight often come to believe that their high profile gives them expertise in areas outside their actual expertise. And often times their fans assume that whatever they say must be right, when in fact each proposition needs to be analyzed for truth or falsity.

  3. On the interview with Patrick Bet-David, he admits he does not know much about economics.. so what are you expecting Wenzel? I know quite a few that understand business cycles and are for open borders

  4. Peterson SEEMS totally unaware that of how the business cycle works

    This is wrong. We can say with certainty that no one but us understands how the business cycle works.

    Query: If Peterson knew how the business cycle works and explained it often, would he have ever been allowed on TV or mentioned in the MSM? I think not.

    1. The crux and an astute reminder of the real world tempering effect on too much fringe posturing. Those that know better know what not to say is more important than what you do say. Nicely put Rob R

  5. From what I have heard from JP he does not view things from a libertarian point and have been disappointed in some of his responses where he was too accepting of non-private authority. While he has a strong opinion against socialism this seems to be from his reading the likes of Solzhenitsyn rather than reading free market economists and libertarian thinkers. He is a psychologist so his tendency to come at things from a psychological angle rather than based in ethics or economics is understandable.

    I would be surprised if he were not to agree with libertarianism after being exposed to some of its great thinkers. Anyone who has watched a number of his videos has seen him pause in the middle of an interview to think before he speaks. This is the act of a man that contemplates. After contemplate the NAP I doubt he would reject it.

    1. I am late to this article but I do wonder about your claim.

      If he is indeed a person who contemplates thoughtfully before speaking, why would he even use the word "libertarian" here? Why would he use this particular word? I can't speak for his mental processes but as a guess, I presume he uses it because he has adopted some confused meaning of the word. Maybe it's the same way lefties use the word "capitalism" negatively without actually thinking about its definition. (I told a lefty friend once that I am a pure capitalist and she looked at me with concern and anguish.)

      I agree with you in that it is unlikely he would reject the NAP after contemplating it. But I think he is, unfortunately, not careful or thoughtful about libertarianism, even *after* being exposed to some of its great thinkers (he was interviewed by Tom Woods!).

    2. I agree that Peterson could not have done much contemplation about libertarianism prior to this interview. I am surprised that I missed the Tom Woods podcast with Peterson as a guest. Since I have not listen to it I can’t say if there was much if any discussion of libertarianism. I am not surprised that someone who has not had a decent amount of exposure to the likes of Rothbard, Block, Hoppe could think of Trump as more libertarian than traditional rightwing. Misconceptions about libertarianism seem to be the norm even for libertarians.