Jordan Peterson reports on his experiences at Cambridge University

Jordan Peterson had a happy experience at Cambridge University last year when he was invited to address the student-run Cambridge Union, the oldest continuously running debating society in the world. The talk was delivered to a packed house and is now the second-most watched of their 200 total videos.

This year he planned to spend some time in the Faculty of Divinity to develop a series of talks on biblical themes. An offer was made by the Faculty but was withdrawn at the last minute under very strange circumstances.

The Cambridge University Student Union (not to be confused with the aforementioned Cambridge Union), pinned to their Twitter account the rescindment announcement three minutes before (!) the Faculty of Divinity did so, and in a spirit of apparent “relief.”

The Guardian cited the following CUSU statement:

We are relieved to hear that Jordan Peterson’s request for a visiting fellowship to Cambridge’s faculty of divinity has been rescinded following further review. It is a political act to associate the University with an academic’s work through offers which legitimise figures such as Peterson. His work and views are not representative of the student body and as such we do not see his visit as a valuable contribution to the University, but one that works in opposition to the principles of the University.

That view was contradicted by the packed audience at the Cambridge Union auditorium, the intelligent questioning associated with the lecture, and the overwhelming number of views the video accrued. Peterson suggested that this indicates that “a number of Cambridge students are very interested in what I have to say, and might well regard my visit “as a valuable contribution to the University.”

I believe that those at the Faculty of Divinity who rescinded their offer to me — and handled the rescindment in a manner that could hardly have been more narcissistic or self-congratulatory — don’t give a damn about the perilous decline of Christianity. I think that it is no bloody wonder that the faith is declining (and with it, the values of the West, as it fragments) with cowards and mountebanks of the sort who manifested themselves in this action.

Read his story. h/t Wes Goh.

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30 Responses to Jordan Peterson reports on his experiences at Cambridge University

  1. Old School Conservative

    Peterson’s forthright and articulate attack on the Faculty of Divinity is just the sort of intelligent debate that the left fears – hence their role in shutting him down.
    The marxists won this round. They won with lies and threats.

    Peterson’s evisceration of Cambridge University is a rearguard action in this battle, but I imagine he will win in the long run courtesy of his other channels of opportunity.

  2. Tim Neilson

    His work and views are not representative of the student body and as such we do not see his visit as a valuable contribution to the University

    Well naturally.

    A university is there to reinforce what the students already think (or at least what the student politicians decree that they already think).

    Having a diversity of viewpoints presented would clearly be divisive.

    You know it makes sense.

  3. RobK

    It seems no way to build resilience in heart and mind.

  4. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    . His work and views are not representative of the student body (we are trying to indoctrinate ie marxism)

    fixiglu

  5. MPH

    Frightening isn’t it, that a figure such as Peterson can be reduced to a simple phrase ‘his views’ and dismissed without any further elaboration.

  6. His story sounds like the pathetic crying of an 11 year old boy who didn’t get picked for the school chess team.

  7. struth

    His work and views are not representative of the student body and as such we do not see his visit as a valuable contribution to the University

    The stunatics have taken over the asylum, so it seems.
    Students deciding what they won’t learn.

  8. egg_

    His work and views are not representative of the student body and as such we do not see his visit as a valuable contribution to the University

    Google translation: No anti-establishment folk around here, thanks!

  9. TBH

    This reinforces a point I saw made by Niall Ferguson in an interview I saw today: that University campuses are becoming places of intolerance and not free thought and robust debate. Are these nitwits so frightened of having their views challenged that they’re prepared to try and block anyone anyone who disagrees with them? It would seem so.

  10. BorisG

    Condemnation of Cambridge is well deserved but one sentence caught my attention:

    I think that it is no bloody wonder that the faith is declining

    Have we actually thought why it is declining? It is all very well to blame academics and the media, but they have not emerged out of thin air. I tried to read Spengler but it is bloody hard (and VERY boring).

  11. BorisG

    Are these nitwits so frightened of having their views challenged that they’re prepared to try and block anyone anyone who disagrees with them?

    Or maybe they just scared of being accused of stepping out of line, of supporting a bigot etc. Actually what they think we do not know, since they are scared of expressing their own views as well. Groupthink.

  12. Tintarella di Luna

    1984 arrived around about 1984 it’s just we didn’t notice.

  13. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    My husband is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge as well as the University of Sydney. I have visited the University of Cambridge briefly when a post-graduate scholar from the University of Sydney and was made welcome. In their time, both universities have upheld high standards in teaching, scholarship, research and learning. However, this decision is something of a proverbial ‘last straw’ for us both, on top of other egregious examples of similar intellectual censorship within these two universities.

    Thus, the begging letters we receive from the University of Cambridge will no longer get a positive financial response from us; they will be binned along with those already in the bin from the sadly declining University of Sydney. That is the best way to signal our displeasure and incredulity at illiberal decisions and anti-intellectual positions taken under quite resistible political pressure by once great universities with whom we have been associated as students and academics. It may be that other alumni may also care to reconsider offering their financial support.

  14. Rafe Champion

    Lizzie, in addition to ceasing support we probably need to let as many people in the admin know the reason for our disgust with the way they are going. Silent protest is not enough. We also need to arouse other alumni who are not fully aware of the situation. In fact a full -blooded revolt of the alumni is required but I am too lazy/busy to do very much. Besides I am an alumni of too many universities – Tasmania, Adelaide, UNSW, Macquarie and Sydney.

  15. Rafe Champion

    Besides I have never been in a position to give money so not giving any now is not really withdrawing support:)

  16. iain russell

    Weak turn of phrase by Peterson: it should be ‘c**ts and mongrels’.

  17. Mother Lode

    It is a political act to associate the University…

    Thomas Mann’s famous quote ‘everything is political’ was not meant as am insight into human nature, but as a disparagement of the English and the French (as opposed to Germans).

    Progressives have adopted it as a motto because they think of themselves as passed masters in politics, which supersedes lesser (however otherwise exalted) disciplines such as science.

    In fact, they intuitively sense their primacy permits them to weigh in on any topic – they might not be experts on the technical matters of science (keeping to the example) but they are experts on the political aspects.

    Hence AGW. Hence no nuclear. Hence Australia must regress to the stone age even though it would make no difference at all. Not for scientific reasons but (the progressives’) political ones.

  18. Rafe Champion

    Thanks for not feeding the apparent troll Adam. However a visit to his website indicates that he is effectively one of us and his criticism of Peterson appears to be out of step with his generally admirable beliefs and attitudes spelled out on his site.

    We don’t have to reflexively defend Peterson, he seriously drops the ball occasionally.

  19. Win

    It’s amazing, students,who obviously can’t learn and won’t let others learn choose the subjects and lecturers at Cambridge. I wonder what Cambridges ‘s founder would have to say about these proceedings.win

  20. MatrixTransform

    Adam has a specific hatred for Petersen and it is quite amusing to read some of the criticism and the commentary on the same is also pretty funny at times.

    Most recently Adam seems to have jumped on the ‘Boomers ate my future’ bandwagon which is pretty disappointing for me because to date Ive quite enjoyed most of his blogging.

    My issue with the boomers are stupid meme is that it leaves out much more than it includes.
    I’m sure its a beautiful and seductive thing for those that want to hear it, unfortunately it just another pretty little Lie By Omission.

    Conveniently many of those at or around 40-ish have enjoyed a self-indulgent, barely interrupted 2 decades of growth, consumption, travel and never bothered to look after the pennies. The problem is that they don see themselves as accountable

    My brother in law, and also another brother are discovering what life is like at 40 with small kids having squandered their life’s work on trinkets. They’re both chewing on the grisly bits at their banquet of consequences.

    All said, I’d recommend visiting Adam’s site, he is still one of the good ones.

    I think it might actually be worthwhile to have some commentary from there on the Cat, and vice versa.

    make for some interesting reading

  21. flyingduk

    Having a diversity of viewpoints presented would clearly be divisive.

    Well of course, ‘Diversity Divides’, it says so on the tin!

  22. Win

    The Old order changeth .Hopefully Jordan Peterson’s aim is to keep the Judeao /Christian philosophy like the 10 +Commandments as a way of creating a good life style whilst eliminating the mystical stuff.

  23. Rafe Champion

    Good comments from Matrix Transform on the boomers. We were a blessed generation, riding on the back of the incredible progress that occurred after the war, progress that was hard-won and the people who did it got little recognition from the beneficiaries. We can be blamed for presiding over the ruin of education at all levels so the generations after us have even less historical perspective

  24. Roger

    [Peterson’s visit]…works in opposition to the principles of the University.

    Translation:

    Not only are we too intellectually lazy and/or inept to challenge Peterson, we are jealous of his success and influence. Therefore, we will ban him.

    (It’s noteworthy that liberal theology has not laid a glove on Peterson; the only effective critiques of his theology – for he is a secular theologian, if you will – that I have read have come from conservatives.)

  25. Tim Neilson

    The Old order changeth .Hopefully Jordan Peterson’s aim is to keep the Judeao /Christian philosophy like the 10 +Commandments as a way of creating a good life style whilst eliminating the mystical stuff.

    How do you keep the 10 commandments without the “mystical stuff”?

    E.g “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”?

    Less flippantly, ethical systems without a supernatural basis always founder on trying to tell people why they should act in some circumstances against their own interests – or in the case of Ayn Rand twisting into bizarre contortions to try to explain obvious realities of human behaviour in the context of her unrealistic theorising.

  26. They might as well have cut off their nose to spite their face.
    Students access to Peterson won’t be hindered. Why do they think so many turned up for his debate and was the 2nd most watched of all time? THEY ALREADY ACCESSED THE MANY HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF PETERSON AVAILABLE ON LINE, not to mention his books. They knew of him and turned up.

    Acts like this and others at universities all around the West, will accelerate the development of on-line universities where the best professors (like Peterson) can teach hundreds of thousands at a time instead of tens at a time and at a fraction of the cost.
    Those marxist activist dick-head students can’t see this, but the administrators (so called adults in the room) should have seen it.

  27. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Lizzie, in addition to ceasing support we probably need to let as many people in the admin know the reason for our disgust with the way they are going. Silent protest is not enough.

    In the Chancelleries as well as in the Alumni Offices, Rafe. One letter has already been sent.
    More to follow.

  28. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    As an ever-curious scholar I started to wonder at where my own idiom used above, ‘the last straw’, the one that broke the camel’s back, may have originated. I suspected it may have been Biblical, but it appears not. Elements of it can likely be traced back to the Roman philosopher Seneca. These are the joys of the flowering that is the English language and the history of wisdom, insights, mythic structures and metaphors located in Western civilization. There is so much to be lost by hindering the scholarship of people interested in such things, people like Jordan Peterson for example. Philistines at Cambridge, pure and simple.

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