COMMENT:

As the sky abruptly darkens and the ear-splitting thunderclaps, quick, bolt the doors, draw the drapes, turn out the lights, cry 'Havoc', and let slip the dogs of war!

Jordan Peterson has now stepped onto our fair shores and, in an attempt to keep him at sea, an outfit called Auckland Peace Action released a statement last week accusing Prof Peterson of advocating for "distinctly unhelpful" values that threaten "everything of value in our society".

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Oh, okay. That sounded enormously interesting to almost everyone and, consequently, it drove even more folks right into the heart of Peterson's inner sanctum. More books sold, and a further fistful of dollars made.

Sean Plunket obtained an interview with one of Peace Action's activists. It was a thing of indescribable beauty. Why? Because 'Iris' had all the consistency of interviewing an undercooked blancmange, wobbling and bobbling before collapsing in a heap due to a lack of backbone.

Plunket was restrained and professional. Despite having numerous opportunities to eat 'Iris' for breakfast, he chose to basically ignore their generous offering of scrumptiousness on a plate. Why risk acid reflux?

But 'Iris' is not alone in hating Peterson. Many despise him with the intensity of a thousand suns, and he has a bullseye ability to rouse the perpetually dozing and turn them into instant 'woke' warriors at the mere mention of his name. But, how?

Peterson's a clinical psychologist, cultural critic, former Harvard Professor, and currently a professor at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are the psychology of religion and ideological belief, and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance. He's a serious thinker, academic and speaker.

Is it his impressive credentials that send the masses running for the hills? Is it his massive popularity that sees them sharpening the knives? Or is it, as they continuously say, just his ideas that make them grow beards overnight?

Like many others, I've done some reading, watching and listening to the esteemed professor. I wanted to know what all the fuss is about. Either way. The good and the (supposedly) evil.

His tenets of self-discipline, individualism, and hanging out with people who only want the best for you all appears sensible. Some of his thoughts around feminism leave me a bit cold, while some of it is worth considering in far more detail. I certainly do not share his views on climate change.

In 2016, he stated that he would refuse to comply with the proposed Canadian government's C-16 Bill, saying it was 'compelled' speech when one is forced to use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty.

He believed much about the Bill was authoritarian in nature, and later said, "I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words "zhe" and "zher." These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century." Amen to that.

And, sure, I've done a once over lightly here, because, for the purposes of this column, I'm more interested in why the far-left believes that censoring, de-platforming, misquoting and fearmongering is the way forward – rather than other views being accepted as a part of democracy. Why on earth do they buy the insane notion that shutting people up is a healthy thing to do?

As a well-rounded, adult-type person, I recognise that Jordan Peterson says a lot of things I really agree with and some things I really disagree with. I'm pretty sure he's not the devil incarnate, and more like everyone I know, have ever met, and will ever meet.

That is, when did our ability to disagree with people morph into an 'all or nothing' approach? We all live with people – partners, spouses, children, friends – who we disagree with from time to time. What happens then? Are they thrown out with the bath water too?

And then the far-left wonders why the more moderate amongst us – in other words, the silent majority - are running full tilt away from their toxic totalitarianism. It's pretty simple. It's not the arguing, it's how we're arguing. On every subject, on every day, the permanently outraged outdo themselves, and the rest of us wonder what happened.

You see, Jordan Peterson knows that he's offering rational explanations to things that elude many of us. He is bringing the degradation of public discourse into sharp relief. He is keenly aware of the damage being done to democracy by those wanting to censor free speech – but only free speech they don't agree with, of course.

And on that basis alone, Peterson's ideas will remain popular and well-regarded. The hate speech of the far-left is making sure of it.