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

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