‘Abortion is clearly wrong’: Jordan Peterson
TORONTO, April 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Freedom of speech phenomenon Jordan Peterson is known for attacking the Left’s most sacred cows, including gender theory and the LGBT agenda. His view on abortion, however, has largely flown under the radar.
In a lecture last year, the famous Canadian psychology professor stated that abortion is “wrong.”
“Abortion is clearly wrong,” Peterson said after being asked for his views on abortion and abortion legislation during his May 30, 2017 lecture titled “Adam and Eve: Self-Consciousness, Evil and Death.”
“I don’t think anybody debates that. You wouldn’t recommend that someone you love have one,” he added.
The address was Part 4 of his lecture series “The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories”, which took place in the Isabel Bader Theatre at the University of Toronto.
Peterson stated, however, that his answer didn’t “eliminate the complexity” of the abortion issue. He suggested that his answer would not be “good enough," adding that he “would flail” around in an attempt at an answer.
“The first question is, ‘Should everything wrong be illegal’?” he said. “That’s a tough question. Everything that’s wrong isn’t illegal. Then there’s the additional complication of the difference, let’s say, in gravity … regarding the problem in relationship between men and women.”
Quoting Canadian singer Leonard Cohen’s dictum that “in a massacre there’s no good place to stand,” Peterson opined that sometimes a person can no longer make a good decision.
“No matter what you do, it’s wrong. So then the question is, ‘How did you get there?’,” he said. “Well, let’s say you’re in a position where you’re inclined to seek an abortion. The question is, ‘How did you get there?’”
Peterson said that questions about abortion legislation belong to a wider conversation about morality, especially sexual morality.
“The discussion regarding the legality of abortion is nested inside a larger discussion about the morality of abortion, and that’s nested inside a larger discussion about the proper place of sexuality in human behavior,” he said. “And to me that’s the level at which the problem needs to be addressed.”
Pro-life advocates, however, will often argue that the morality of abortion comes down to 'human rights' and the 'right to life' of every member of the human family, including those waiting to be born.
"Not everything that is wrong should be illegal—everyone agrees with that. It depends on what we are talking about, specifically," commented pro-life advocate Jonathon Van Maren about Peterson's abortion remarks in a Sept. 12 blog post. "In the case of abortion, we’re talking about the violent surgical destruction of a developing human being, one that society has an existential interest in protecting. That makes abortion different than, say, cheating on your spouse," he added.
Van Maren said that while abortion is a "symptom of a sexually broken culture," it nevertheless "should still be dealt with as a fundamental human rights issue—no human being should be killed for careless attitudes prevalent in the culture."
Peterson said later in his lecture that society has a lot to “straighten out” about the sexual relationships between men and women in the modern world.
“They’re bent and warped and demented out of shape,” he said. “One of the things I see with young people, for example, is that they will engage in sexual acts with one another that they would not talk about with one another… It seems to me that if you are willing to engage in a sexual act with someone with whom you would not discuss that act, you probably put the cart before the horse.”
The clinical psychologist said that there had been, and still was, a clear answer to the problem of how sexuality can be properly integrated into human life.
“The old answer was ‘Get married’,” he said bluntly. “That’s a good answer, and it’s an answer that people should still listen to.”
However, Peterson was uncertain that this was a message that his culture was ready to accept.
"You can’t just say to people in the modern world, well, ‘no sex till you’re married’ unless you’re going to get married when you’re very young, and perhaps you should," he said. “I don’t know about that. But I don’t think that we’re mature enough as a culture to have a serious discussion about sexual propriety, especially in the aftermath of the birth control pill. We seriously need to do that, and we haven’t.”
Peterson has identified the birth control pill as a technological revolution as significant as the hydrogen bomb or the computer, leading to the “pornographication of society”, increased unhappiness for women, the threatening of a stable social order based on monogamy, and the “catastrophe” of the drop in the western birthrate.
In his lecture, the married father of two made a passionate defense of marriage as a response to the “much deeper problem” of contemporary sexual behaviour. Peterson called “the eternal debate about abortion, horrible as it is” a “surface manifestation” of this problem.
“We’re so immaturely cynical as a culture,” Peterson exclaimed. “We’re not wise enough to look at an institution like marriage and to really things about what it means and what it signifies.”
“It signifies a place where people can tie the ropes of their lives together so that they’re stronger,” he continued.
“It signifies a place where people can tell the truth to one another. It signifies a place where sexuality can properly be integrated into life. That’s no easy task. It’s a place where children, at least in principle, can be put first and foremost as they should be, once they exist.”
Peterson concluded that there has to be a much broader discussion about all the topics he raised before any conversation on the legality of abortion is likely to get anywhere at all.
Peterson, the author of the bestselling 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, rose to prominence in Canada in 2016 after he rebelled against legislated speech codes advanced by transgender activists. The professor’s lectures, filmed and posted on Youtube, swiftly won him an international viewership. His deft handling of a hostile interview by British journalist Cathy Newman in 2018 catapulted him to even greater worldwide fame.