We Hear You: Jordan Peterson on What Motivates the Left

Ken McIntyre /

Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s audience appears to like the straight talk from best-selling author Jordan Peterson about the West’s crisis of spirit and meaning. Check out these observations. Don’t forget to write us at [email protected]—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: About Jarrett Stepman’s story on Canadian psychologist and author Jordan Peterson’s speech at a Heritage Foundation event in New York (“Jordan Peterson Unpacks What Drives the Left and How to Restore Meaning”):

As long as people have complaints there are going to be politicians who will promise relief, if only you will vote for them. This happens both on the left and the right.

I suppose it all depends on your point of view as to what people should do for themselves, if they are able, and what the government (others) should do for them, whether or not they are able.

Individuals have varying concepts of social responsibility. Some believe it is taking care of themselves only; others see social responsibility as taking care of themselves and their family only.

And others see it as providing social insurance programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, rent subsidies, welfare payments, unemployment compensation, etc., which they or family members may need one day.

Regardless of the degree to which people feel a social responsibility, they also recognize it is their responsibility to fund these programs through taxes.

Then there are individuals who have an even broader sense of social responsibility that seemingly has no limits. Some in this category have no problem with higher taxes to support the costs.

Among them are some who pay no income taxes and want their feelings of social responsibility to be paid for by someone else. Those who don’t pay for the social welfare benefits they demand for themselves and others have no sense of responsibility, social or otherwise.—Drew Page

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Dear Daily Signal: Practical meaning and wisdom can be passed consistently on from generation to generation only through the historical original family unit.

Of what does that unit consist? A husband, a wife, and whatever biological children are born to this faithful couple. This husband and wife then proceed to own the personal education of each child from Day One.

Primary textbook? The Holy Bible itself. What? An outdated, ancient, archaic text? Not at all.

The Bible gives many examples concerning the consistent application of God’s laws and teachings throughout changing times and cultures, identifying which specifics can be subject to change as well as those details which must remain the same.

I began to appreciate these things about the Bible at around age 3 or 4 as my reading comprehension was increasing to each new level. It was the Bible, more than anything else, that helped my personal comprehension to grow as I personally applied every lesson in it the best I could as I went along.

My aim from the beginning was not to become a scholar, but a doer. And I was learning to apply this same principle to all of my subsequent education, at home and at school.

I enjoyed all the advantages of my three curricula: school, parents, and self. The practical balance among these was best maintained by passing on what I was learning to my classmates and to others as well.—Joseph O. Morrow

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Today, kids are taught by teachers and professors who were indoctrinated by their own teachers and professors, the draft dodgers and socialist hippies of the 1960s.

They are lefties teaching and glossing over leftists’ failed ideology. That is why the left wants to control education.—Peter Raymond

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When I immigrated to this country as a woman of Japanese descent, the state where I settled with my husband was a great red state. However, the more people from blue states moved in, the worse it got.

Now it is a blue state. I can feel and hear the sound of liberalism. It is a scary feeling.—Yasuko Kearney

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You conservatives don’t have to worry about socialists taking over the U.S., despite what Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh tell you.

Except for 77-year-old Bernie Sanders, there are only about four socialists in Congress, and they are all young. What harm can they do? The other 530 members of Congress won’t let socialism happen, so stop worrying about it.

Even then, their view of socialism is different than yours. Every American born after 1985 has no understanding of the evils of communism and school drills calling for us to duck under our desks.

The two generations born after 1985 have never lived under communist threat, yet they are the two most anxious generations of our lifetime. They live in fear that Social Security and Medicare will be gone by the time they retire, and they’ll have to spend their retirement working at Walmart. What’s happened to college tuition has been insane over the past 35 years.

Students are facing costs of $50,000 to $90,0000 for just one year of college. Their idea of socialism is simply the current economy with more free stuff, to abate the anxiety. Like free retirement, free health care, free tuition, and free child care.

That’s all they want. That’s their idea of socialism. So many generations got free retirement and free retirement health care that these two anxious generations also want it.

Now that’s a better explanation than Peterson made. They are not greedy, and they are not nihilistic. They simply want to be free of anxiety about the future.—Andre Stephenson

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That young people are attracted to socialism is the result of more than just ignorance of history, as Jarrett Stepman writes  in his commentary. They have very legitimate complaints; they are suffering under the economic slavery of college debt, which can last for 30 years.

This is not freedom.  It affects every decision they make, including marriage, children, and their plans and expectation for a happy future.

It is my hope that government will get out of education altogether and let it return to pre-Jimmy Carter days when there was no Education Department and students graduated free of debt. Today’s graduates are obsessed with social justice because that is all they are taught. 

This situation does not do them justice, social or otherwise, and it could cause the disintegration of America as we once knew it. Their discontent could be our unraveling. It is no wonder that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeals to them.—Elizabeth Nottrodt, Baltimore

Dear Daily Signal: I’m writing about Genevieve Wood’s interview of Jordan Peterson, author of “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” at a Heritage Foundation event (“Jordan Peterson Explains What Draws People to Socialism”). The desire for the government to control your life is similar to how your parents controlled your life as a child.

Socialists have a distinct fear of failure, so they place their well-being in the hands of the government:

“Please take care of me. I need free health care, I need a free education. I need a place to live and food to eat. Please, Mr. Government, take care of me. I need a new car and a guaranteed income.”

Mr. Government: “I will take care of you. I’ll give you what I decide you need. You will all be happier when I take care of you.”

“I want it free, free for me. Let the rich pay for everything. Here, take this Bill of Rights. Give me all I want for free.”—Walter Knight

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We are trying to counter the socialist argument by comparing socialism with capitalism, and, of course, socialism always loses in that comparison.

But the objective of socialism is not to outdo capitalism in terms of economic performance and the betterment of individual lives, but to steal the wealth of society and subjugate and control the masses. It never has been about anything else.—Morris Steen

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I really enjoyed Genevieve Wood’s discussion with Jordan Peterson on socialism and the radical left’s obsession with big government and big taxes.

Education is the key to restoring our republic. By teaching our founding documents and the golden rule, respect will lead to socialism fading away.

I will continue to fight for freedom and liberty and work to get the Civics Act of 2019 passed and signed into law to teach civics in K-12.

Will you join me? Capitalism and free markets trump socialism. Let freedom ring.—Bill King, Pittsburgh

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An extraordinary interview of an extraordinary man.—James Rodgers

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Gotta love how Jordan Peterson describes why we need socialism in response to the dogmatic question of why we shouldn’t have socialism.—Christopher Robert

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People have turned their backs on the message of the Bible. They need the power of God to live and guide their lives, but, thinking they can do it all themselves, they find out quickly it doesn’t work.

So now they turn to the government to make it right for them, but only to find out people can’t fix other people’s sin nature.—Richard Donahue

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I am a contributor to The Heritage Foundation and I look forward daily to receiving these articles. Keep up the good work. Now more than ever, we need support from patriots such as your admirable organization.—Lawrence Easterling

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The Daily Signal needs to bombard the left with a message that they can understand and hear. We need to find a way to get liberals to listen.

We must get our message on liberal TV, newspapers, and so on. Instead of calling in to conservative stations, we need an all-out campaign to liberal media.—Susan Rose

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I appreciate your service and that it is concise.—Charles Davis

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Sarah Sleem and Courtney Joyner helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”