Jordan Peterson, the Canadian celebrity psychologist and author currently on tour in New Zealand, has a thing for shock pronouncements. "The idea that men have been preferentially treated as a group across history is an absurd idea," he told me in a half-hour interview this morning.

"Diversity, inclusivity, equity, all of those things together make up a very toxic brew."
And: feminists have an "unconscious wish for brutal male domination".

He's said several times it's wrong to believe the victim in rape cases. I asked him if he accepts the need to treat rape victims in a way that avoids revictimising them. As the video clip, taken from the full interview, reveals, he doesn't think we need to do that.

In his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Peterson argues that the problem with the world is we have fallen prey to Chaos, so we need to restore Order. Order, by the way, is masculine and Chaos is feminine.

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Canadian psychologist and right-wing commentator Jordan Peterson delivers a lecture at the Great Hall in the Auckland Town Hall. Photo / Nick Reed
Canadian psychologist and right-wing commentator Jordan Peterson delivers a lecture at the Great Hall in the Auckland Town Hall. Photo / Nick Reed

It's a self-help guide. Peterson has been called "a man telling men to be good people responsible for themselves and their behaviour. He gives volition back to those who've succumbed to victimhood".

Few would doubt the value of that. Many doubt the way he goes about it. I suggested the book can be read as a manifesto of selfishness, and that many people find his insistence on the value of "traditional" hierarchies unhelpfully nostalgic. He disputed it all.

He gets attacked a lot, especially on social media, and it's easy to see him as angry. I asked him about that and he denied he was angry. He was pretty tense when he denied it.

He said let me tell you about my life, and described how young men approach him, several times every hour of every day, to thank him for changing their lives. For saving them.

I also asked him if he thought he offered a kind of religious experience. He hedged that a little, but he seemed to say yes.

Simon Wilson's full video interview with Jordan Peterson will appear on the NZ Herald website on Saturday, February 23. His feature article on the interview and Peterson's town hall speaking tour will appear in the newspaper and online the same day.