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Burston, D. (2019). Peterson, Jordan B. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Toronto: Random House. 2018. Pp. xxv + 409. Hbk. $25.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 64(1):105-111.

(2019). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 64(1):105-111

Peterson, Jordan B. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Toronto: Random House. 2018. Pp. xxv + 409. Hbk. $25.95.

Review by:
Daniel Burston

Jordan B. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto. His first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, was an ambitious attempt to wed Jungian psychology and modern neuroscience with lashings of anthropology, comparative religion and biblical interpretation. Published in 1999, the book was a modest seller until Peterson was catapulted to fame in 2016 because of his fierce opposition to the spread of political correctness in Canadian universities, and more specifically, to the federal government's Bill C-16 concerning the use of gender pronouns in the classroom. Peterson sensed a sinister (left-wing) conspiracy behind the bill, but I believe that like the proverbial road to hell, it was paved with good intentions. Nevertheless, Bill C-16 had Orwellian undertones, authorizing teachers and administrators to police the speech of their students (and of one another). Indeed, it would have fostered a pervasive interdiction of free inquiry, a kind of state-sponsored Inquisition against those who are politically ‘incorrect’.

Unfortunately, few of Peterson's critics gave him any credit for good intentions, either. On the contrary, they made him out to be a monster, rendering the whole debate, which garnered international attention, deeply partisan and envenomed. Leaving ‘political correctness’ aside, Peterson's other bête noire is postmodernism.

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