Jordan Peterson explains why boys become school shooters – and it’s not ‘toxic masculinity’
March 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — “Why are young men shooting up schools?”
That’s the first question Fox News’ Tucker Carlson asked psychologist and free speech phenomenon Dr. Jordan Peterson in a recent interview.
“Because they’re nihilistic and desperate,” was the academic’s blunt reply.
Peterson, whose book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos has topped Amazon charts for weeks, also had an explanation for why school shooters, most recently the nineteen-year-old who killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, become like that.
“Life can make you that way unless you have a purpose and a destiny,” he told Carlson. “There’s no shortage of suffering and malevolence in life, and it’s easy for people to become embittered by that. And if they don’t see a way forward, they get angry about it and turn against life itself.”
“They make a display of their hatred for Being by massacring the innocent. That’s what’s happening — and they write that,” Peterson added, referring to manifestos left behind by a number of young killers.
Echoing other conservatives, Carlson observed that Americans have owned semi-automatic weapons for a hundred years, but only recently have school shootings become such a phenomenon.
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“The attitudes [towards peers’ lives] are changing, I think it’s fair to say,” said the newscaster.
“It’s also kind of a psychological epidemic,” Peterson replied. “You know, these people keep track of each other, and there’s a competitive element to it.”
The psychologist blamed the media for providing the murderers with a motive.
“The fact that the media insists upon publicizing the names of these shooters is not helpful because part of what drives them is motivation for notoriety,” he explained, “because notoriety is better than being ignored.”
Peterson stressed that young people need to have “clear direction and a sense of purpose” in their lives, and that society is failing to take “these philosophical and even religious issues” seriously.
“In the past we spoke much more about responsibility in particular but also purpose and maturity, and we valued those things highly,” he said. “We didn’t confuse them with tyranny and ‘toxic masculinity,’ for example.”
‘The idea that masculinity is somehow toxic is absolutely dreadful’
“Speaking of ‘toxic masculinity,’” said Carlson, “why is it all boys [who commit school shootings]?”
“Well, boys are more aggressive than girls,” Peterson explained. “There’s a biological component to that that’s quite strong. That’s why the vast majority of people in prison are male.”
He observed that although the average man and woman are almost equally aggressive, the most aggressive people are “virtually all men.” Male aggressiveness also explains why men, who attempt suicide less frequently than women, are more likely to succeed at it, he said. The biological reason for this, however, is ignored by “postmodernist social constructionists” who have “got their heads firmly buried in the sand.”
Carlson asked Peterson if society should be thinking about how to raise boys so that they are less likely to use murderous violence, and the psychologist agreed.
“Twelve Rules for Life is a meditation on exactly that,” he said. “I’ve been lecturing online about the idea that responsibility is what gives life meaning, and that meaning is the antidote to … nihilism and aggression and resentment that can otherwise be produced.”
“There’s no doubt that life is difficult and that people get hurt and betrayed,” he continued. “That’s unassailable truth. You need something to offset that, and most people find that in their destiny, in their adoption of responsibility and their willingness to make their own lives … and the lives of their family better, and to contribute to the community, and to bear the burden of Being nobly. And that works. But we don’t think that way anymore.”
Peterson condemned the left-wing concept of “toxic masculinity,” saying that it is an attempt “to smear the idea of masculinity by confusing masculine competence with tyranny.”
“It’s part of the underlying idea that our culture is a corrupt, tyrannical patriarchy that was run by men for the advantage of men, which is a very pathological way of looking at the world,” he said.
Accepting this point of view leads to a belief that “masculine energy” should not be “fostered,” Peterson observed.
“And the only people who think that way are women whose relationships with men have been extraordinarily damaged, or men who have no idea who they are, or who are trying to shirk responsibility,” he added.
“The idea that masculinity in its essence is somehow toxic is an absolutely dreadful idea.”