Jordan Peterson loves telling marginalized people not to demand assistance.
The professor, author and lecturer has amassed a significant fan base in the last couple of years for this anti-PC philosophy, and now pulls in at least C$100,000 each month from Patreon alone, through donations from more than 9,800 fans.
There is a group, however, that Peterson believes does have a legitimate grievance necessitating outside support.
The right to sex
In a recent New York Times article, Peterson was asked about Alek Minassian, who was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder after using his rental van as a battering ram on Toronto's streets.
Minassian pledged allegiance to the "incel movement," which the Times describes as a "male supremacist movement made up of people — some celibate, some not — who believe women should be treated as sexual objects with few rights."
Peterson said that, "[Minassian] was angry at God because women were rejecting him." He added that "no one" cares about men like Minassian, which he claims is a problem for all of society. He concluded that, "The cure for that is enforced monogamy," implying the state should intervene in some manner to ensure men like Minassian are guaranteed to have a partner.
An example of how this could work in action, as proposed in a notorious blog post by a Croatian incel, is the government paying women to go on dates with men.
Peterson has since claimed he just meant monogamy should be promoted as a norm. However, as writer Alicia Elliott pointed out, this is already the case because, "Marriage is socially viewed as a measure of personal success, rewarded by the government with tax benefits, cheating is frowned upon [and] you aren't allowed to marry more than one person at a time."
Peterson's past comments on this topic also suggest he's calling for the state to get involved.
This has been met with justified disgust by many. His fans, however, seem to be OK with his statement. This is because while incels like Minassian are outliers, they don't start that way. They reach that point after going down a pipeline of radicalization to which many men are susceptible, including Peterson's fans.
Instead of challenging this radicalization, Peterson has helped legitimize the demands from the most extreme figures.
Not-so "nice guys"
The radicalization starts when men self-identify as "nice guys."
These men are everywhere. I can guarantee you've either met one, had to deal with one or been one. I used to write these men off as being misguided, and they definitely are, but I've come to realize they're actually dangerous.
"Nice guys" are men who aren't having as much "success" with women as they'd like, and mistakenly attribute this to being "nice."
Robert Glover, a marriage and family therapist, told The Independent that "nice guys" perform "kind" acts for women in an attempt to form "covert contracts" with them, meaning: I do nice things for you, and in return, you owe me affection and sex. Their "kindness" is not genuine, but rather a tool.
Even if these men were genuinely nice, it doesn't entitle them to sex. Nothing does.
These men attempt to undermine the autonomy of women, portraying them as gullible and stupid for supposedly dating "assholes" instead of "nice guys."
The "nice guys" fail to do any introspection beyond self-pity. They attack women instead of confronting their insecurities, questioning what's preventing them from approaching intimacy in a healthy way and doing something to remedy these issues.
This is because doing so would require effort they aren't willing to put in. Yet they still expect the targets of their affection to like them, because they've adopted the misogynist expectation that women should change to accommodate men's inadequacies.
Some of these men will eventually begin working on themselves, but will fail to change their view of dating. They still believe assholes are the only ones who have "success" with women, so they decide to become assholes, too.
When they speak about this shift, they'll bemoan the termination of their non-existent kindness, and blame women again.
When this doesn't work, the men can seek out even worse communities, all part of the so-called "manosphere." David Futrelle, who has monitored the subculture for more than eight years, describes it as a "loose collection of blogs, message boards, and other sites" that are run by pick-up artists, Men's Rights Activists, male separatists and others.
Incels, which Futrelle labels as "easily the scariest" group in the "manosphere," mark the last stop. The self-pitying and disdain for women that kickstarted the pipeline of radicalization becomes solidified, and gets turned into the militant ideology connected with this organized movement.
Elliot Rodger, a Santa Barbara City College dropout who killed six people and injured 14 others in 2014, is a prime example of someone who went down this path, and it's not a coincidence he's seen as a hero by the incel community.
Peterson believes "enforced monogamy" would save women's lives by making men such as Minassian and Rogers less violent. In reality, this is just a dystopian form of appeasement that won't work, and shouldn't be attempted regardless.
Peterson enables the pipeline of radicalization by validating the worldview of "nice guys" at the beginning, and legitimizing the demands of incels at the end.
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Consequently, "nice guys" and incels are celebrating Peterson, talking about him as if he's a lobbyist advocating on their behalf, paid for by their Patreon dollars.
Peterson's stance is unfortunate, because he has a great deal of influence among younger men, which he claims he's used to prevent them from becoming part of the far-right.
Yet instead of saving men from radicalization, he's normalizing their radical views, to the applause of his fans and the horror of those who have to interact with them.
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