Jordan Peterson, Baking Cakes, Gays, Black People and Changing Minds

Jordan Peterson, Baking Cakes, Gays, Black People and Changing Minds November 26, 2020

This clip is brilliant for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Jim Jeffries provides a brilliant analogy to show how denying baking a cake due to someone’s sexuality is logically equivalent to denying black people entry into a shop or onto a bus; since that is intuitively wrong, then so is the denial of services to the homosexual couple. Well challenged.

Jordan Peterson (someone I often say is a gateway drug to the alt-right) is in the news at the moment because he is due to have a second self-help book published, that on the back of an arduous years-long health breakdown himself:

In 2016, Peterson had a severe autoimmune reaction to food and was prescribed clonazepam.[143] In late 2016, he went on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables, in an attempt to control his severe depression and the effects of an autoimmune disorder including psoriasis and uveitis.[5][75] In mid-2018, he stopped eating vegetables, and continued eating only beef (carnivore diet).[144]

In April 2019, his prescribed dosage of clonazepam was increased to deal with the anxiety he was experiencing as a result of his wife’s cancer diagnosis.[145][146][147] Starting several months later, he made various attempts to lessen his intake, or stop taking the drug altogether, but experienced “horrific” benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, including akathisia,[148] described by his daughter as “incredible, endless, irresistible restlessness, bordering on panic.”[149][145] According to his daughter, Peterson and his family were unable to find doctors in North America who were willing to accommodate their treatment desires, so in January 2020, Peterson, his daughter and her husband flew to Moscow, Russia for treatment.[150] Doctors there diagnosed Peterson with pneumonia in both lungs upon arrival, and he was put into a medically induced coma for eight days. Peterson spent four weeks in the intensive care unit, during which time he allegedly exhibited a temporary loss of motor skills.[145]

Several months after his treatment in Russia, Peterson and his family moved to Belgrade, Serbia for further treatment.[143] In June 2020, Peterson made his first public appearance in over a year, when he appeared on his daughter’s podcast, recorded in Belgrade.[143] He said that he was “back to my regular self”, other than feeling fatigue, and was cautiously optimistic about his prospects.[143] He also said that he wanted to warn people about the dangers of long-term use of benzodiazepines (the class of drugs that includes clonazepam).[143] In August 2020, his daughter announced that her father had contracted COVID-19 during his hospital stay in Serbia.[151] Two months later, Peterson posted a YouTube video to inform that he had returned home and aims to resume work in the near future.[62]

By all accounts, coming off benzodiazepine is an absolute nightmare, and he went through the mangler on that one.

Back to the point in hand. JP here starts off with a fairly typical (right-wing) defence of refusing to serve the gay couple, and then Jeffries presents his analogy:

 What is great here is that JP doesn’t try and ad hoc rationalise, though he doesn’t fully concede, but he does state “Maybe I was wrong about that.” This is something approaching intellectual humility, something that is rare to see.

It would be interesting to see what his views on that would be now, whether he has spent time trying to intellectually defend his original position, or whether he has accepted he was wrong and changed tack.

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