Jordan Peterson on Finding Meaning in Responsibility

Jordan Peterson is an unlikely Youtube celebrity. The Canadian psychologist lectures about things like responsibility.

Yet millions of young people watch his videos and line up to hear his speeches and buy his book 12 Rules for Life. It was number one on the Amazon bestseller list for a month.

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John Stossel asks, what could make a book about responsibility take off?

“People have been fed this diet of pabulum, rights, and impulsive freedom,” Peterson tells Stossel. “There’s just an absolute starvation for the other side of the story.”

The other side of the story, says Peterson, is that “it’s in responsibility that most people find the meaning that sustains them through life. It’s not in happiness. It’s not in impulsive pleasure.”

Peterson instead advises: “Adopt responsibility for your own well-being, try to put your family together, try to serve your community, try to seek for eternal truth… That’s the sort of thing that can ground you in your life, enough so that you can withstand the difficulty of life.”

Many leftists hate Peterson. They attack him for saying people should be “dangerous.” Peterson explains to Stossel that he means people should have the capacity to be dangerous, but control it.

“People who teach martial arts know this full well,” Peterson says. “If you learn a martial art you learn to be dangerous, but simultaneously you learn to control it.”

Advice about that, and responsibility, bring Peterson big audiences.

Soon: Another Stossel video with Peterson—this one about gender difference and whether people are allowed to speak about that on campuses.