Thoughts on Jordan Peterson (I): My Unexpected Clash With his Rabid Fans Regarding Missing Affiliate Payments

In June I posted a brief review of Jordan Peterson’s Future Authoring program on my other website, talking about my experience with it and also providing a more general assessment of it. When Jordan Peterson posted that he was looking for affiliates, I applied, got accepted, and happily put a link on my blog. There has been a steady trickle of people buying the Future Authoring program after reading my review, which is great, not only because I’m happy to support Jordan Peterson’s work, but also because this side income offsets a chunk of the fixed expense I have due to my websites.

Well, that was the theory. What happened was that I just didn’t get paid, which was quite frustrating. Initially, Julian Peterson, who is in charge of the affiliate program, told me that affiliates would get paid after some time, similar to the Amazon Affiliates program. As I kept receiving monthly summaries of the sales I generated for the Future Authoring site, listing my 10% cut, but not getting any money, I kept sending Julian Peterson emails, roughly one a month, as a reminder. In September, he wrote that he’d finally sort out the issue of missing payments. Nothing happened. I sent two or three follow-up emails, to which I didn’t even receive a response anymore. By that time Jordan Peterson owed me around $180 in commission for Future Authoring sales. As a last ditch effort, I first emailed Jordan Peterson directly but did not get a response.

Some weeks, in early December, I thought I better reach out to other affiliates and as I had no idea where they gathered, I posted on the Jordan Peterson Reddit forum. What happened then was beyond belief.

I had looked around that forum for a bit to get a feel for the place. My impressions were not particularly positive. Quite a few people seemed very content posting one-liners, roughly of the standard you can expect on a site like YouTube. I hoped I would sidestep the mob by creating a post that explicitly addressed other affiliates. My thread had the following title: Any Future Authoring Affiliates here? Jordan Peterson owes me around $200 in commission but does not pay me. As you can see, by following that link, I did not post with my (relatively) better-known pseudonym. I did not want to link back to this site either because my expectation was that people would just accuse me of wanting to generate traffic for my blog or sell a few books by stirring up some drama.

Within minutes, a frenzied mob started descending on me. People called me a liar, mud-slinger, shill. Here are some highlights:

Show us the receipts or GTFO. You can’t just make statements like that without any kind of proof to back them up.

Doubt it.

These attempts to take Peterson down are pretty comical.

Everyone seems to be taking the “greedy capitalist character assassination” route these days. They realized they can’t get him on any of his ethics so they try to spread rumors of greedy hypocrisy.

The Reddit account is an hour old. All of this is very suspect, an assassination of character, perhaps.

My absolute favorite was a twat who just started lashing out at me. He deleted all his posts, but thankfully part of one was saved due to someone else quoting him. This gives you a good idea of how adorable the frenzied Jordan Peterson mob is:

Bonus points: I’m 2nd percentile agreeableness and 1st percentile politeness. So my appetite for and enjoyment of tearing down crappy arguments is limitless. So if you want to excavate this pit to the bottom let me know so I can get down the fine china before I dine.

I have encountered such extreme irrationality before, when dealing with people who had fallen for cults or cult-like organizations. This includes people in the spirituality industry, the pickup community, large corporations, and last but certainly not least, tertiary education. You use reason. You may not even want to challenge them. Yet, they are so incredibly insecure because they have built an ego around being part of a certain organization or admiring a particular person that they perceive anybody who makes a remark that could be seen as critical as a genuine threat.

But let’s get back to the topic: Some people demanded to see proof of the validity of my claims. I considered it reactive to post proof, but seeing how the mob reacted, I gave in and posted one of my monthly affiliate sales summary emails, and the last email I received from Julian Peterson, months ago. The mob didn’t quiet down much afterwards. People kept calling me a liar even after I had posted proof. Some of the worst offenders just didn’t back down.

So, what happened in the end? Some people tried to be helpful, but it seems the biggest help consisted of people upvoting the thread. In fact, the number of upvotes was surprisingly high. For some time, the thread was the most popular thread on the entire Jordan Peterson Reddit. At that point, Jordan Peterson himself responded to a message I sent him on Twitter and acknowledged the issue:

Julian Peterson chimed in as well. The payment issue got sorted out after all. I’m glad that I got paid in the end (thanks again, Julian!), but it certainly does not reflect well on Jordan Peterson’s business, nor does the behavior of the rabid mob on the Jordan Peterson Reddit reflect well on him.

I found it quite fascinating how the frenzied mob reacted. After Julian Peterson posted in that thread, confirming the situation, those people simply deleted the messages they posted instead of, for instance, apologizing for behaving like complete dicks. Some even deleted their Reddit accounts. Just look at this:

This now leads to some interesting questions to pursue, which I will address in follow-up posts. My goal will be to critically discuss some of Jordan Peterson’s positions. I will also discuss his audience, and how I perceive it. There is the perception that Jordan Peterson is some kind of messiah who can’t do wrong. Heck, he himself feeds that narrative whenever he claims that his reign will come to an end the moment he makes a mistake. Yet, he has been making plenty of mistakes. However, people simply do not challenge him. Sam Harris did. Others, like Stefan Molyneux or David Rubin, much rather chit-chat and ask softball questions instead of having a genuine discussion.

Let me be clear that I don’t intend to mud-sling. I watched quite a few of Peterson’s videos and found them pretty interesting. His Future Authoring program was worth my time as well. However, I am baffled by how uncritically many people react to him. Quite frankly, as much as I like some of his content, there are statements he makes that are absolutely cringe-worthy. I think the big reason why his fans seem so sheep-like largely has to do with one issue: he is a (false?) prophet for the fatherless generation. His followers mainly want someone to look up to. More on that in another post.

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Jordan Peterson (I): My Unexpected Clash With his Rabid Fans Regarding Missing Affiliate Payments

  1. Yeah I came to a similar conclusion about Peterson a while back.

    I find his videos interesting, and I respect his stand on free speech and just in general as a prominent conservative “intellectual”.

    However, ultimately I didn’t find his psychology-based products super-useful (I did his version of the Big Five as posted before, and I also have his Self Authoring Suite). Your review of the Self Authoring Suite was pretty accurate; I think it is nothing new if you are used to setting goals, and I find that personally, I don’t like to set too many goals at a given time — it makes me overstretch myself. The main thing that does set it apart, IMO, is that it does have exercises to help you think more about what you truly value and whether it would make a significant impact in your life, which sometimes you might neglect to consider when setting goals.

    Furthermore, as you said, his community has a habit of treating him as the Messiah.

  2. I suspect you got attacked by vocal minority of crazies. From what I can see most of the negative posts got downvoted which would imply that average redditor on that board isn’t so unreasonable.

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