Ethics Quote Of The Day: Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson [UPDATED]

“Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable. […] You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.”

—–University of Toronto Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson responding to a British Journalist who asked him in an interview, “Why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?

When the interviewer, Cathy Newman, was unable to muster a response, Peterson said,  “Ha! Gotcha.” To her credit, Newman replied,

“You have got me. You have got me. I’m trying to work that through my head. It took awhile. It took awhile. It took awhile.”

I’ll give her credit for having sufficient integrity to admit that she hadn’t thought the issue through, but that’s all I’ll give her credit for. What Peterson said should be obvious to any half-conscious and minimally educated individual. The episode is less about great truths dawning as the result of a sage’s perceptive words than it is about the relentless shallowness of journalists, making their presumptuous efforts to mold the thought and opinions of anyone else not just ridiculous, but infuriating.

Can you sense that I’m losing patience with journalists today? Perhaps it was hearing this, from non-doctor, non-smart person, fake-news purveyor for anti-Trump shill CNN Alisyn Camerota yesterday:

“So in 2009 the president’s calcium score, before he was president, was 34. In 2013, before he was president, it was 98. Today it’s 133. And as you see from the little cheat sheet, fine print below, a score of over 100 means a high risk of heart attack or heart disease within three to five years.”

…leading to this graphic…

But the President’s physician. asked directly by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s medical authority, said he did not:

Never mind. A CNN doctor who has never examined the President feels empowered to contradict the doctor who has, and who is responsible for his health. With any normal patient, Gupta’s conduct would be a breach of medical ethics, interfering with the doctor patient relationship. In this case, since the news media can get away with anything, it’s just one more example of arrogant, unethical journalism, manufacturing fake news.

Or perhaps of wishful thinking.


UPDATE: Moments after I posted this, CNN sent me this graphic with Dr. Gupta’s smiling face:

Yeah, I’d like to cut right to the facts, but on CNN, the snark, bias, stupidity and opinion make the facts all but impossible to detect. Talk about irony! What are ‘”facts” to you, Doctor? Indeed, what are “facts” to your whole network?


67 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Day: Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson [UPDATED]

    • HO LEE COW!

      Is that what you have to do with these people? Have that amount of patience, magnanimity, and humility?

      He, under a non stop barrage of gotchas, unfair assumptions, inferences, and hostility, remained utterly poised and pleasant, going so far as to compliment her on her ferocity as somehow trying to discover the truth! She was not looking for truth, not for one instance.

      Is this just my bias showing? Chris, valky, spartan? Was this not the most painfully biased interview you’ve ever seen?

      • ”Was this not the most painfully biased interview you’ve ever seen?”

        It ranks right up there with a 09/21/2017 Judy Woodruff interview of Melinda Gates (re: the importance of U.S. Foreign Aid) on PBS, which stood out for two reasons.

        1- The uncommon grace of Ms. Gates’ refusal to be baited into Trump-bashing despite Woodruff’s continued, blatant efforts to do otherwise.

        2- Getting me to sit through a Judy Woodruff segment.

    • My overall opinion of that interview is that that interviewer was way, Way, WAY out of her intellectual league. It seems to me like she’s a brainwashed social justice warrior that was only there to try to catch him in one “gotcha” after another. He was interviewed by an imbecile and he intellectually destroyed her. She should have walked out of that interview, walked up to her boss, slapped that boss across their face for putting her in that position and immediately quit her job.

      • He has spoken to this, he talks a lot about IQ, and specifically about this here:

        Spoiler: He said “I don’t know what my IQ is, I had it tested at one point… it’s in excess of 150 but I don’t know exactly where it lands” He goes on to explain that there are different types of intelligence and age is a factor that affects the distribution among different intelligence sub-types.

        • I have four family members that are literally genius, two that are borderline, a few in the group right below genius and two that are on the lower end of average. How do I know this; let’s just say that being in a family that has a psychologist as a Mother you’re exposed to things that most average families never dream of happening around the home.

          When you are exposed to genius levels of intelligence regularly you tend to recognize some traits.

  1. Here’s the fake news angle: The news is NOT “President Trump has heart disease,” but “Sanjay Gupta SAYS Trump has heart disease.”

    That’s the news; that a TV doctor is declaring his diagnosis more valid than the President’s doctor.

  2. Jack,

    “What Peterson said should be obvious to any half-conscious and minimally educated individual.”

    This is why people think you mansplain. Though I’ve never attended one of your lectures, if you speak with even 1/10 the snobbery displayed in the quote above, then it’s no wonder they don’t stick around to hear you out When you explain things by pointing out that those who don’t understand or disagree are stupid, it serves as a turn-off to those on the fence. Even if you don’t say such words aloud, your tone will likely convey as much. If you’d spoken words like that to me, I’d have turned away also.

    Not everyone spends hours contemplating legal ethics or how some rights conflict with others. It doesn’t make them uneducated, it means they’re minds are devoted elsewhere. It would take me awhile to work out 14 to the power of 53, but that doesn’t make me a half-wit at math.

    • At my seminars, nobody says something that stupid, and if they did, they’d know it. I hold professionals to a high standard, because they are pledged to meet a high standard. We have been seeing incredibly dumb, indefensible statements poisoning discourse and public policy because insufficient people are willing to say, “That’s ridiculous, and here’s why.” Open borders, for example. If you are too ignorant to do your job, then you need to be told to get out of that job. It is not “snobbery” to say, in no uncertain terms, that a dumb statement is a dumb statement. It is a public service.

      As for “mansplaining,” bite me. That word is gender-card garbage, suggesting that a man can’t tell a woman when she’s full of shit. Oh yes he CAN! Any woman who makes that complaint is admitting she can’t handle herself in a debate, that’s all.

      • This is actually something I really admire from Peterson, sometimes people ask questions that are so obviously stupid that it puts me off my game. I expect people I’m talking to to have a basic level of intelligence, and sometimes people throw that expectation so hard that I’m kind of left speechless. And then you have to decide if the person across from you really meant to ask you that, whether they’re being intellectually honest, and if so, what level you have to dumb yourself down to to try to be understood. It takes me time to go through those exercises,

        Peterson didn’t miss a beat, and he chewed it down to EXACTLY the base level for his interviewer to understand. It was a great discussion.

      • Definition of “Mansplaining”

        A term of derision used by those to cast doubt on the veracity of a legitimate challenge to claim made by one offering the unsupported argument.

        Used by women to diminish male counterarguments to achieve a morally superior position by which the unsupported claim is treated as credible.

      • I find the term “mansplaining” appropriate when a man explains something to a woman that she clearly already knows, or when the man is wrong but presumes (perhaps unconsciously) that he knows more about a subject that a woman is actually an expert on while he is a mere novice. I see this a lot on Twitter; I’ve also been accused of it one some occasions, and there have been times I have had to concede that I was behaving this way (and times where I’ve felt the woman was absolutely in the wrong). My fiance has also pointed it out to me before. I think a lot of men do this because of how we’re socialized. I also have a tendency to interrupt, and I’ve noticed that I tend to interrupt women more than men. I know there have been studies on this, but I don’t know enough to vouch for the reliability of any of them.

        That said, it isn’t “mansplaining” when the woman speaking has asked an idiotic question, and is treated accordingly. “Snobbery,” in this case, is warranted. There is a right to free speech. There is no right not to be offended. Everyone should know this. People who don’t are being willfully ignorant to support a partisan agenda. I support trans rights, but my support of trans rights will never extend into arguing that they have the right to not be offended, because no one has that right, and if we start extending that right then we have to extend it to everyone, including people who are offended by trans people. And then where does it end?

        • Thanks, Chris—exactly. Increasingly I find it condescending to nod and ignore really stupid statements. We have an obligation to make each other smarter if we can, and you know, we can, unless someone is beyond hope.

          “There is a right to free speech. There is no right not to be offended. Everyone should know this. People who don’t are being willfully ignorant to support a partisan agenda.”

          Can’t be clearer than that.

          • Do you think there’s been a shift from the right to the left when it comes to the idea of legislating offense? I’m too young to know for sure, but I had it in my mind as a kid that most of the people who wanted to ban expression were conservative religious types. And some still are–paging Mr. Moore–but it seems to be more prevalent on the left these days. Is this a recent thing or did I just not notice the calls for censorship from the left when I was a kid?

            • Absolutely, and I didn’t see it coming at all.

              When Blazing Saddles came out, it was seen as a left-wing romp, skewering racists, whites, conservatives, the Old West, fogeys, civility, Puritanism. It was condemned by the Right. Today, it would be picketed by the Left. Amazing.

        • I stand by my definition because it uses gender to diminish the opponent.

          A woman can effectively debate or proffer an idea without using sexist language to explain why her male opponent is incorrect, pompous, arrogant or lacks familiarity with the facts.

          There is no denotation only connotation with this word. It is the equivalent of an ad hominem attack to subvert the opposition by suggesting that any challenge to the female’s idea is a derivitive of the male patriarchy therefore it should be dismissed.

          Your definition would apply equally to males and females yet we don’t call it womansplaining.

            • I agree that your definition applies to the term a lot of the time it is used, Chris M. I still think it is useful in the situations I described. I don’t necessarily see it as “sexist” because I think this is something men do more than women, because of how we’re socialized.

              • How should I take it if a woman tells me how I should feel, what is best for me, or what I should like. Those are generic examples of mansplaining from Bustle magazine when men do it to women.

                I don’t go a day without some woman telling me how I should feel, that I will love such and such etc. I think the difference is I dont care how they think I should feel and let it go at that. I cannot make up for hundreds of years of conditioning others have gine through. I can only address my own conditioning. I follow one rule – would I want someone doing that to me. Nuff said.

            • Jack, apparantly the term was developed some years ago to describe an actual behavior among men. That is Chris’s definition which I accept. However, an article in Salon laments the bastardization of the concept to reflect my definition. In short, it’s use has become that which it was originally designed to describe- condescending rhetoric.

              • Social justice warrior terms are uniquely manipulable and abusable in my experience. I’ve said before I think cultural appropriation is a real thing, but I constantly see SJWs apply it in situations that I wouldn’t consider appropriation at all. I’ve been accused of “cisplaining” by a trans woman when I literally just asked her a question about how a cis writer should approach writing trans characters. The SJW mentality does lead very quickly to extremism; part of why I value this blog is because it helps me moderate myself.

                • “…how a cis writer should approach writing trans characters.”

                  I think the true SJW answer to that question is that a cis writer absolutely is not allowed to write a trans character, and any attempt to do so is probably a hate crime. Usually immediately followed by an unironic complaint that there aren’t enough trans characters in fiction.

                  • That certainly seems to be what she was implying. My question was along the lines of “So are you saying cis writers shouldn’t write trans characters at all?” Which she called cissplaining and refused to answer. Like I said, SJW-ism tends to lead to extremes. This place keeps my SJW-ism in check.

                    • I think that one of the larger differences between SJW consumers and average consumers is a tendency for SJWs to internalize characters.

                      I think it’s a symptom of a movement that has spent literally decades saying “We want people like us up there” And it’s a weird take on entertainment, to my mind, fully divorced from the experiences of the average viewer. We don’t watch transformers and lament that the gigantic transforming robots don’t look like slightly overweight straight white men. We don’t watch Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in the new Jump Street, pick one, and treat that character like it’s us for the rest of the movie. I honestly can’t think of a movie where a 230 pound Canadian accountant was portrayed, period, let alone as a leading role, and yet I don’t walk away from every new production deeply bothered that it wasn’t my turn this time around.

                      They’ll say that it’s important for damatis personae to be diverse, because it’s important that everyone is represented, that they can see people that look like them, or hear about people that identify the same way as they do…. Because… Reasons. And then, once they’re included in the work, it’s important that viewers find the characters that look like them, or identify in ways that they do personally relatable…. Because…. Reasons. And if they don’t it’s because the writers or actors were faking it and are racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, transphobic…. You name it.* Because… You guessed it… Reasons.

                      This is a recipe for failure, by the way, because something that SJW progressivism just can’t seem to come to terms with is that even within the groups that they divide us up into, there is further diversity, and that simply having “more trans representation”, or whatever, will fail to encapsulate the entirety or trans experiences. You can blame it on the directors physical characteristics or identities all you want (because that’s not bigoted at all, right?) but eventually there’s going to be a quadriplegic, black, trans director, and that trans director will still fail to live up to the unrealistic expectations hoisted upon them.

                      I used to have this mixture of mild irritation and amusement watching progressives rev up their engines to run face first into the wall of reality between them and their dreams, but as their movement has amassed more power, it has started to steal oxygen from the rest of the industry. And I wish they would just grow up.

                      (Best watched at .5 speed from :30)

                • “Social justice warrior terms are uniquely manipulable and abusable in my experience.”

                  They are uniquely ill-defined for the very reason that they need to be manipulable and abusable. We’ve been down this road many times.

                  Cultural Appropriation, when pushed into a useful definition, turns out to either be the completely ETHICAL exchange and celebration of and mixture of differing cultures, OR it becomes something akin to Blackface, which we already have perfectly acceptable terms for: Rudeness, Patronizing, Mockery of Stereotypes.

                  Intersectionality, when pushed into a useful definition, turns into something that becomes so nuanced and intricate in its inter-personal interactions, that it becomes nothing that can be actioned against in ways that our society doesn’t already extol: like manners, civility, Golden Rule, approaching all situations with positive and polite attitude.

                  The same goes for Mansplaining.

                  When pushed into a solid understandable definition, these Socially Justicey terms becomes something we already ideally address in society or they become something that actually isn’t bad, but we want a crusade to fight.

                  This is why the terms are ALWAYS ill-defined…so they CAN be used. Almost exclusively to shut down discussion or to handicap one side of a discussion. As crella mentions.

                  • I was going to reply to Chris like this:

                    “Social justice warrior terms are uniquely manipulable and abusable in my experience.”

                    Feature, not a bug.

                    But your response is much more thought provoking than mine.

            • In the 70s the individual was identified as in male chauvinist. Today, mansplaining is a behavior attributed to all men. That is why I find the term sexist.

        • Do women never explain things to men that they clearly already know? Of course they do…’mansplaining’ is another conversation-ender like ‘check your privilege’.

          • Sure they do. But the term exists based on the assumption that it’s more common for men to do to women than the reverse. This assumption matches my experience.

            • Second attempt to post this comment…

              “[I]t’s more common for men to do to women than the reverse.”

              Among and between adults, I agree. And yet…it’s an odd thing – or, maybe not – that somehow, that “more common”-ality “flips” in the course of time, in a society where there are ever more and more single mothers, and still (unless I am mistaken) overwhelmingly more women than men in positions of teaching children.

              “Womansplaining,” intuitively (to me) seems like a “natural order” for young males to expect and “suffer,” or, endure, given that on a per capita basis (and at earlier ages), females are typically more fluent verbally and interpersonally, in comparison to males.

              The only thing I can speculate about why that “flip” occurs is that perhaps the males – in a combination of (1) growing to recognize and learn how to deal with their competition in other males, plus (2) growing and willfully breaking free of female-dominated environments – are driven, perhaps to an over-compensating degree, to “take up” habits of “mansplaining” amidst a culture that still seems to enable, via both sexes, a prevailing expectation that “assertive and dominant males” will “call the shots” while “compliant and submissive females” will yield the “last word” most often to those dominant males.

              I think it’s fair, too, to say that that “dominance convention” is changing.

              Well, there’s my mansplaining for the day.

              • Lucky
                Your point of dominance convention changing makes sense. However, desire for dominance,irrespective of gender, is the behavior exhibited. Some males in the boardroom will act condescendingly toward their perceived juniors no matter the junior’s gender. Males learn to compete or they are left behind in terms of promotion and prestige. What women learn is up to them. I won’t tell them how they should behave when facing a dominating person nor will I rush to their defense unless asked.

                • Thanks Chris M. I was mainly just confessing my being baffled at how the “glass ceiling” seems to persist, even with (and despite) what seems to be a highly matriarchal environment for so many young males.

                  More speculation: perhaps the matriarchy unwittingly, or insufficiently aware, teaches young males the very dominance-skills that they later wield in adult life. Perhaps the superior verbal and interpersonal skills of the young females are insufficiently taught to be applied to achieve individual dominance and instead are driven toward achieving some kind of “collectivist cooperativeness and comfort.”

          • Do women never explain things to men that they clearly already know? Of course they do

            Happened to me in the kitchen my entire life… even when I have been the cook in the family for decades.

      • Jack,

        Insults are mean, Jack, Bite me, especially so. I would ask for an apology, but you’d never give one (just like you STILL HAVEN’T ACCEPTED MINE — you called me ageist, I don’t forget). I did not suggest you mainsplained, I agree the term is silly, I meant that statements like “Excellent question, moron” aren’t going to educate anyone.

        Do you not see the difference in “That’s ridiculous, and here’s why.” and “The answer to your question should be obvious to any half-conscious and minimally educated individual”? I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t call people out on their bullshit, just that telling them they should know better in the process isn’t likely to convince them of the fact. People asking for questions are looking for answers, not for someone to tell them how they should have figured out the answer long ago.

        • My response to attacks based on my stating the truth in emphatic fashion is always likely to be “bite me.” I literally don’t care what the difference is: if you can’t puzzle out that when the Constitution protects free speech and even the Unteid Stestes fo Idiots wouldn’t have a law protecting the right not to be offended, there are no terms too strong or insulting to describe advocates of the latter.
          Meanwhile, if you begin by comparing your complaint to the justification for crying “mansplaining,” you risk getting exactly the same response I have given to those who tried the collateral tactic of using that word on me. It offends ME, and on multiple occasions when some discourse-challenged woman has accused me of “mansplaining,” I have replied, with gusto, “Oh, bite me.” It’s a fair dismissal of most Big Lie tactics, in fact. I won’t rebut garbage; I’ll just indicate my contempt for it.

    • Mansplain used to describe what a man is saying is an intentionally insulting ad hominem regardless of who’s using it. Every time this term is used in that way it should be sternly rebuked for what it is.

    • It is funny how using full sentences and cogently explaining your point is now “snobbery”.

      Maybe if Jack started talking like a 13 year old on Snapchat it would make more sense to you?


  3. Dr Gupta stated Trump has heart disease. The diagnostic values are risk assessment values which are not the same as having the disease. That is why Gupta is misrepresenting the facts in a manner that dupes the gullible. Being African American increases the risk of sickle cell anemia as does the risk of Tay Sachs disease rise if one is of Semetic origins relative to all other races. Do all Blacks or Jews affected – NO. Trumps doctor explained his answers – good genes.


    Children born to single parents are at a higher risk of living in poverty than children of two parent families. That statement does not mean all children raised in single parent homes are poverty stricken.

  4. People love to gossip. They’ll read gossip, watch TMZ, troll FB and listen to squawk on TV. Everything swirls around Trump since it offers up a plate full of Anti-Trump bias to circulate. If it is his medical condition it is all the juicier. Another about “small hands” with the ongoing expose by his paid paramour from the porn industry? But it is still fun to read. I’ll look at it. Like a car wreck, you slow down and gawk. Assumptions made by those with a touch of credentials do place some value in the opinions.

  5. “Why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?”

    That’s easy. Because his right to freedom of speech is actually a thing.

  6. ”trump a xyz person’s right not to be offended? (bolds mine)

    People have a right not to be offended? You gotta be effin’ kidding me!!

    I recall asking my Über-Lefty (former Bay Area) SIL (~ 10 years ago) if she thought there should be a Constitutional Amendment that would protect people from becoming offended.

    She: “Yes.”

    Me: “Then pro-choicers would need to stifle in order to stop offending pro-lifers.”

    • I find it typical that your lefty sister in law wouldn’t have taken the time to consider the offense that her positions might have caused.

      The politics of the left is contradictory like that… They treat groups as having supremacy over individuals, but they also treat groups as if they are monolithic, and similar to them, as individuals. It’s a kind of… self centered group think that I think could actually be dangerous if left to its own devices. Individuals get lost in groups, and it’s specifically that kind of mind frame that made Mao’s China so deadly to individuals.

  7. I just watched that interview. I don’t know a whole lot about Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and his positions. He seems to have ideas that do not comport with prevailing ideologies.

    The interviewer clearly had preconceived ideas about Dr. Peterson and his positions. His responses were measured, direct, and backed up by what he detailed as empirical data to vague questions. For instance, the male/female wage gap line of inquiry was interesting. He handled himself well and was professional.

    The interviewer, however, needed to prepare herself better for his answers. She continually misstated and mischaracterized what he said to take him off his answers in order to make him look bigoted, transphobic and unwoke. I liked the exchange about radical leftist/authoritarianism/totalitarianism and Pinochet/authoritarianism/totalitarianism, especially the part where the ideology of the Left and identity politics. Check the link in Humble’s comment above, at 23:50 to 25:25.


    • Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. I recall that Bill Clinton, like Trump, had a thing for McDonalds. Now, he was much younger, but can you imagine if the Republican commentariat looked through his medical report, found something slightly out of order, and made similar claims? Boom!

      With Trump, nothing seems to be off base. To be fair, he is just as guilty of norm-busting, so some reaction is certainly understandable. But this? It seems like CNN was cheering for him to have heart disease, as if it might trigger the 25th amendment if he had any out-of-bandwidth results.

      Crazy times. Now that the media has totally jumped the shark for the one millionth time in the last month, I wonder if Hanlon’s Razor still applies to them?

    • Plan Z is when we take over the Universities and destroy free speech and make it a crime to offend anyone except the progressive ideal of the moment… thus making everyone mindless zombies. Plan ‘Z’

      And it has been in the makings for decades at this point

  8. 133 puts him in the 42nd percentile for his age, according to coronary calcium calculators online.

    Hoping someone gets sick or dies is just evil.

    Gupta no longer has any credibility. He’s willing to sensationalize for ratings, facts be damned.

  9. Perhaps it didn’t occur to the journalist, Ms. Newman, to more carefully consider her question is because she’s British. In the UK, a person can be prosecuted and even jailed for being
    Some seem eager for the U.S. to “progress” in this direction.

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