It’s not Jordan Peterson’s fault. He’s not weak. He’s not psychologically broken. Sometimes, definitely not methamphetamine is the only way to cope with the terrible pressure of success and fame:
Fame can send people into a tailspin, and this kind of fame, especially so. Peterson has hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, and they have brought him wealth and renown. He also has hundreds of thousands of enemies, and many of them work in the media. The fans love him for what he says and writes, and for the conviction he adds to it. The enemies hate him for what he is. They put him ever on the defensive. He must prove his innocence, and he can’t. In their company, the issues aren’t salient; he must justify himself. Worse, he must justify himself to people who will never believe that he is justified.
It’s exhausting; it’s exasperating. The people who have challenged Peterson to explain himself, and who then mangle his explanations, seem altogether secure in their position. They have big institutions and left/liberal culture behind them. They will leave the interview unchanged. Peterson, meanwhile, walks away, irritated and uncertain.
I am not sure that these episodes played a large role in his collapse, along with the illnesses in his family and the fatigue of nonstop travel and the medications. But this set-up, crafted by an academia/media juggernaut that demands fealty to dogmas about patriarchy, racism, and gender fluidity, is a unique type of pain. It is dispiriting to sit down with someone for the first time and read in his eyes dislike. It’s singularly frustrating to realize that nothing you say will lift the cloud over your head. And then to maintain your politeness . . . well, Peterson deserves a rest.
It’s interesting to note that one never sees this sort of sympathy expressed for Milo, for Richard Spencer, or for any evil white racist sexist homophobe who is pilloried relentlessly by the media. In other words, they’re still trying to salvage Jordan Peterson, the Right Answer for Young Men, despite the fact that he is observably a trainwreck of an individual.