Connect with us

Brownstone Institute

Jordan Peterson: Enemy of the State


17 minute read

From the Brownstone Institute


The famed psychologist and scholar, and global media personality, Jordan Peterson is being told that he must report to the Ontario College of Psychologists for re-education or else lose his license to practice. He is challenging the order in court, for whatever that’s worth.

No question that this follows his aggressive questioning of the whole of the Covidian agenda, including mass forced vaccination of the population.

It’s hardly the first time he has gotten in trouble with the powers that be. His initial fame came from his brave refusal to acquiesce to the “preferred pronoun” movement in Canada that came before lockdowns. That he is now ensnared in the machinery of the biomedical security state is predictable; this is today’s means by which regime enemies are punished and silenced.

It so happens that I heard Jordan speak in Budapest only months before the lockdowns that coincided with his own grave problem that he encountered with prescription medicine: as with many he was misled about what he believed was a simple medication. The timing was a tragedy because it took him out of the space of public intellectual life right when we needed him most: during the early months of lockdowns.

His voice went silent during these times. It was heartbreaking. The very small resistance continued despite his incapacitation. Once he got better, he gradually became aware of what had taken place and then became ferocious, as any thinking person must. Thus his current issues with the authorities.

Looking back at this date, it seems almost like he saw what was coming. In those months before lockdowns, I wrote the following report on what I saw in Budapest.

* * * * *

Almost from the first words of his outdoor lecture in Budapest, Hungary, held in the courtyard of the St. Stephen’s Basilica, Jordan Peterson’s eyes teared up and his voice cracked with emotion. Not just once. It happened repeatedly. His eyes never entirely dried. The audience could see it all because of the cameras and the huge monitors that made him some 25 times life-size, which is pretty apropos to his status as an intellectual in this part of the world. Indeed, in most parts of the world.

Tonight was interesting, however, because his tears were clearly not performative in any sense. It was a show of extreme vulnerability that he surely hoped that he would not show. He strikes me as a deeply emotional person – a temperamental cryer – who has probably practiced a lifetime to stop this.

It didn’t work this time. Before long, during his impassioned presentation on behalf of the dignity of every individual and the responsibility of living a life of truth, audience members too were tearing up in the midst of the awesome silence that fell over this massive crowd during the hour-long presentation.

He never quite got around to explaining his emotion. I think I can, however. So here is my go at it.

The first issue had to do with his introduction in this hugely dramatic space, which was filled with flares and fanfare and oceans of love from those who gathered, not just people with tickets (which were hard to get) but an equal number behind the barricades, extending as far back as one could see. It was impossible not to view this as a show of incredible affection for the man, his work, his influence, his personal courage, and his message. The crowds and the anticipation were overwhelming.

Now, if you are Peterson, you would have to contrast this scene with the raging nonsense you will read about yourself in the mainstream press, to say nothing of the academic literature along with various left-wing hit sites out there who routinely twist anyone’s words to confirm their wild narratives. His every word is picked apart, his footnotes followed, his analogies deconstructed in an unending game of gotcha in order to put him into some kind of predefined political category for easy dismissal.

For the easily led, he is a target. For the witch hunters in media and academia, he is a convenient scapegoat. Within the academy, he is the object of unrelenting envy. In the face of all this, including campus protests and media hectoring, he has been steadfast and brave, refusing to be intimidated and instead using the attention to get his message out there. To cut through all this nonsense, and like and appreciate him in any case, already marks you as being in possession of a discerning mind, a rebel against conventional wisdom. Apparently, there is no shortage of such rebels.

The crowds – I don’t have an estimate but there were 20,000 people at the Brain Bar event at which he was a main draw – might have seemed to him as a tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit. That people were there at all, seeking not a confirmation of political bias but rather to gain a greater sense of personal purpose, shows that the powerful in this world cannot finally rule the day.

He is just one man with a message against the world’s most powerful voices in media, academia, and government – and yet through ideas alone, beginning as nothing but one man in a classroom, he has become the world’s most influential public intellectual.

As for his emotion this night, Jordan probably felt a deep sense of gratitude for being the recipient of this affection and for his place in inspiring people to become intellectual dissidents. That is enough to cause tears of gratitude.

There is far more that overwhelms you about being in this remarkable and indescribably beautiful city. The history is deep and rich and present everywhere you look. There is drama within eyesight of anywhere you stand. The Danube river and bridges, the castles, the stunning Parliament building, the churches and universities, all of it, are not dusty old monuments but currently in use amidst a teeming commercial life that is equal parts old and new.

The whole city also feels extremely young, similarly today to what it might have been like in the late 19th century, in the last years of the Belle Époque when Budapest’s cultural and commercial life rivaled Vienna’s. It’s a magical place, as delightful to visit as anywhere on the planet, in my view.

But what you see is only on the surface. The scars of this city are extremely deep, having been put through astonishing traumas of totalitarianism of the left and right, the bombings, the terror and cruelty and poverty – the experience is not that far back in history. It was tyrannized by Soviet occupation twice, first after World War I and then following World War II, between which it experienced Nazi occupation and devastating Allied bombing that destroyed its infrastructure (all of which has since been rebuilt).

And yet you can walk the city and not see this deep suffering overtly. The city, which wears this grim past lightly, is a tribute to the survival of hope in the face of overwhelming forces that sought to destroy it. The city lives. It thrives. It dreams anew.

In addition to being a psychologist, Peterson is also a historian of totalitarianism. There are ways to read history as a dry reportage of events. That is not how he reads history. Good historians recount events. Great historians tell stories as if they lived them. Peterson is next level: he has sought the inner philosophical and psychological turmoil that shape history through the moral choices of both the oppressed and oppressors. He seeks to understand the inner horror from the point of view of human nature.

As he exclaimed in a slightly terrifying moment, he has read about the history of Hungary and totalitarianism “not as a victim, not as a hero, but as a perpetrator.” What he means is that we must come to terms with evil not just as something external to ourselves but as a force deep within the human personality itself – not excluding our own personalities. What character traits do we need to acquire, what values do we need to adopt, that can prepare us to resist when evil invites our participation in violence and terror? He never stops reminding us what we are capable of doing both good and evil, and urges that we steel ourselves to live good lives even when it is not in our political and economic interests to do so.

So here we were in St Stephen’s square outside the great Basilica, packed with young people there to hear his message, in this remarkable city, a tribute to the resiliency of the human personality in the presence of one hundred years of oppression and violence. And yet there we were in this year, an age of hope, everyone given yet another chance to get it right, to live well, to treat others with dignity, to build peace and prosperity yet again.

The look on his face, and tears in his eyes, seem to suggest to himself and others: we can do this. We will not give in to evil. We can be strong. We can learn, build, and achieve. Against all odds, he has emerged as a leading voice to add to the possibility of success in our times.

I’ve heard Peterson live before and, like you, watched many of his speeches and interviews on youtube. I can tell you, I’ve never heard anything like what he said on this evening. It was for the ages.

The latter part of his presentation was lighter, with some very charming “one-minute therapy” sessions on stage with audience members that variously turned profound once again. And here is what is amazing: you discover that the real core of Peterson is not his political outlook or his role as a cultural pundit, historian, or philosopher but his professional training as a psychotherapist, just one man there to help one individual find a way forward through the terrifying struggles of life. Through technology, he finds himself in the blessed role of serving millions of willing readers and listeners.

Even now he can’t possibly know the full impact of his influence. I suspect, for example, that he is unaware of the crucial role he played in American political life when only two years ago, young men were being drawn to the invidious politics of the so-called Alt-right as an alternative to the false moralism of the social-justice left. They were drawn to his brave stances against speech controls, but he knew better than to side with any mob on either side of the extremes. He schooled even his new fans in the evils of every brand of identity politics – and the moral urgency of universal human dignity – and justly earned the wrath of alt-right leadership. Thus did he contribute to saving a generation from perdition in extremely volatile times. For this, he deserves the gratitude of every genuine liberal, but, so far as I know, he has never been publicly credited for this achievement.

“Ego Sum Via Veritas et Vita,” read the sign above the entrance to the Basilica. I am the way, the truth, and the life. The sign reminds us of the universal hunger to find direction, purpose, meaning, and redemption in the midst of the chaos and anomy of the historical narrative.

Peterson is not a religious man but he respects its ethos and contribution. This night he became a preacher of goodness, of civility, of moral strength in the face of struggle. The poetry of it all, and the promise that goodness and decency can prevail, was manifest in the crowds and the city right here, this night, in Budapest. It combined to inspire him to find the fullness of his voice.

And this is why he cried tears of joy.

* * * *

Soon after this presentation, Peterson was in the hospital in recovery at the same time the world of freedom and rights fell apart. He woke to a different world. He began to fight again. And here we are, exactly as he predicted: he is the enemy of the state. He has spent his entire professional career not only as a scholar and therapist – really a genius – but also as a resistor and a bringer of light in dark times.


  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Liberty or Lockdown, and thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

Brownstone Institute

A Coup Without Firing a Shot

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Jeffrey A. TuckerJEFFREY A. TUCKER  

We all have a different starting place and journey but each of us has the following in common. We’ve realized that official sources, the ones we’ve trusted in the past, are not going to make any sense of the above for us. We have to seek out alternatives and put the story together ourselves. And this we must do because the only other choice is to accept that all of the above consists of a random series of disconnected and pointless events, which is surely not true.

The last few years can be tracked at two levels: the physical reality around us and the realm of the intellectual, mental, and psychological.

The first level has presented a chaotic narrative of the previously unthinkable. A killer virus that turned out to be what many people said it was in February 2020: a bad flu with a known demographic risk best treated with known therapeutics. But that template and the ensuing campaign of fear and emergency rule gave rise to astonishing changes in our lives.

Social functioning was wholly upended as schools, businesses, churches, and travel were ended by force. The entire population of the world was told to mask up, despite vast evidence that doing so achieved nothing in terms of stopping a respiratory virus.

That was followed by a breathtaking propaganda campaign for a shot that failed to live up to its promise. The cure for the disease itself caused tremendous damage to health including death, a subject about which everyone cared intensely before the shot and then strangely forgot about after.

Protests against the goings-on were met with media smears, shutdowns, and even the cancellation of bank accounts. However, and simultaneously, other forms of protest were encouraged, insofar as they were motivated by a more proper political agenda against structural injustices in the old system of law and order. That was a strange confluence of events, to say the least.

In the midst of this, which was wild enough, came new forms of surveillance, censorship, corporate consolidation, an explosion of government spending and power, rampant and global inflation, and hot wars from long-running border conflicts in two crucial regions.

The old Declarations of rules on the Internet put free speech as a first principle. Today, the hosting website of the most famous one, signed by Amnesty International and the ACLU, is gone, almost as if it never existed. In 2022, it came to be replaced by a White House Declaration on the Future of the Internet, that extols stakeholder control as the central principle.

All the while, once-trusted sources of information – media, academia, think tanks – have steadfastly refused to report and respond in truthful ways, leading to a further loss of public trust not just in government and politics but also in everything else, including corporate tech and all the higher order sectors of the culture.

Also part of this has been a political crisis in many nations, including the use of sketchy election strategies justified by epidemiologic emergency: the only safe way to vote (said the CDC) is absentee via the mails. Here we find one of many overlapping parallels to a scenario hardly ever imagined: infectious disease deployed as a cover for political manipulation.

Crucially and ominously, all of these mind-blowing developments took place in roughly similar ways the world over, and with the same language and model. Everywhere people were told “We are all in this together,” and that social distancing, masking, and vaxxing was the correct way out. Media was also censored everywhere, while anti-lockdown protestors (or even those who simply wanted to worship together in peace) were treated not as dissidents to be tolerated but irresponsible spreaders of disease.

Can we really pretend that all of this is normal, much less justified? The exhortation we receive daily is that we can and must.

Really? At what point did you realize that you had to start thinking for yourself?

We all have a different starting place and journey but each of us has the following in common. We’ve realized that official sources, the ones we’ve trusted in the past, are not going to make any sense of the above for us. We have to seek out alternatives and put the story together ourselves. And this we must do because the only other choice is to accept that all of the above consists of a random series of disconnected and pointless events, which is surely not true.

That leads to the second layer of comprehension; the intellectual, mental, and psychological. Here is where we find the real drama and incalculable difficulties.

At the dawn of lockdowns, what appeared to be a primitive public health error seemed to be taking place. It seemed like some scientists at the top, who gained an implausible amount of influence over government policy, had forgotten about natural immunity and were under the impression that it was good for health to stay home, be personally isolated, avoid exercise, and eat only takeout food. Surely such preposterous advice would be revealed soon as the nonsense it was.

How in the world could they be so stupid? How did they gain so much influence, not just nationally but all over the world? Did the whole of humanity suddenly forget about all known science in every field from virology to economics to psychology?

As time went on, more and more anomalies appeared that made that judgment seem naïve. As it turns out, what was actually taking place had something to do with a move on the part of security and intelligence services. It was they who were given rule-making authority on March 13, 2020, and that’s why so much of what we needed to know was and is considered classified.

There were early initial reports that the virus itself might have been leaked from a US-backed lab in Wuhan, which introduces the entire subject of the US bioweapons program. This is a very deep rabbit hole itself, thoroughly exposed in Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s The Wuhan Cover-Up. There was a reason that topic was censored: it was all true. And as it turns out, the vaccine itself was able to bypass the normal approval process by slipping through under the cover of emergency. In effect, it came pre-approved by the military.

As the evidence continues to roll in, more and more rabbit holes appear, thousands of them. Each has a name: Pharma, CCP, WHO, Big Tech, Big Media, CBDCs, WEF, Deep State, Great Reset, Censorship, FTX, CISA, EVs, Climate Change, DEI, BlackRock, and many more besides. Each of these subject areas has threads or thousands of them, each connecting to more and to each other. At this point, it is simply not possible for a single person to follow it all.

To those of us who have been steeped in following the revelations day by day, and trying to keep up with putting them together into a coherent model of what happened to us, and what is still going on, the ominous reality is that the traditional understanding of rights, liberties, law, business, media, and science were dramatically overthrown in the course of just a few months and years.

Nothing operates today as it did in 2019. It’s not just that functioning broke. It was broken and then replaced. And the surreptitious coup d’état with no shots fired is still ongoing, even if that is not the headline.

Of this fact, many of us today are certain. But how common is this knowledge? Is it a vague intuition held by many members of the public or is it known in more detail? There are no reliable polls. We are left to guess. If any of us in 2019 believed we had our finger on the pulse of the national mood or public opinion generally, we certainly do not anymore.

Nor do we have access to the inner workings of government at the highest levels, much less the conversations going on among the winners of our age, the well-connected ruling elites who seemed to have gamed the entire system for their own benefit.

It’s so much easier to regard the whole thing as a giant confusion or accident on grounds that only cranks and crazies believe in conspiracy theories. The trouble with that outlook is that it posits something even more implausible; that something this gigantic, far-reaching, and dramatic could have happened with no real intentionality or purpose or that it all fell together as a huge accident.

Brownstone Institute has published more than 2,000 articles and 10 books exploring all over the above topics. Other venues and friends are out there helping us with this research and discovery, issue by issue. Even so, a great deal of responsibility falls on this one institution, the main work of which is providing support for dissident and displaced voices, which is implausible since it was only founded three years ago. We are deeply grateful for our supporters and would welcome you to join them.

As for the intellectuals we once revered for their curiosity and wisdom, most seem to have gone into hiding, either unable to adapt to the new realities or just unwilling to risk their careers by exploring hard topics. It’s understandable but still tragic. Most are happy to pretend like nothing happened or celebrate the change as nothing but progress. As for journalists, the New York Times publishes daily commentaries dismissing the Constitution as a dated anachronism that has to go and no one thinks much about it.

There is a lot to sort out. So much has changed so quickly. No sooner than the dust seems to be settling from one upheaval, there is another and then another. Keeping up with it all causes a level of psychological brain scramble on a scale we’ve never previously experienced.

It’s easier to wait for the historians to tell the next generation what happened. But maybe, just maybe, by stepping up and telling the story as we see it in real time, we can make a difference in stopping this madness and restoring some sane and normal freedom back to the world.


  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

Continue Reading

Brownstone Institute

Deborah Birx Gets Her Close-Up

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute


According to Birx, she intentionally buried the more draconian elements of the lockdowns in text at the end of long documents, theorizing (correctly apparently) that most reporters or readers would just “skim” the document and would not focus on how extreme and unprecedented these mandates actually were.

Most Americans will remember Dr. Deborah Birx as the “scarf lady” who served on the White House’s Covid Response Team beginning in February 2020.

According to a recently-released (but little-seen) 24-minute mini-documentary, it was Birx – even more so than Anthony Fauci – who was responsible for government “guidelines,” almost all of which proved to be unnecessary and disastrous for the country.

According to the documentary, the guidelines ran counter to President Trump’s initial comments on Covid, but ultimately “toppled the White House (and Trump) without a shot being fired.”

The mini-documentary (“It Wasn’t Fauci: How the Deep State Really Played Trump”) was produced by Good Kid Productions. Not surprisingly, the scathing 24-minute video has received relatively few views on YouTube (only 46,500 since it was published 40 days ago on Feb. 26).

I learned of the documentary from a colleague at Brownstone Institute, who added his opinion that “Birx (is) far more culpable than Fauci in the Covid disaster…Well worth the time to see the damage an utter non-scientist, CIA-connected, bureaucrat can do to make sure things are maximally bad.”

I agree; the significant role played by Birx in the catastrophic national response to Covid has not received nearly enough attention.

Brought in from out of Nowhere…

From the video presentation, viewers learn that Birx was added to the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force as its coordinator in latter February 2020.

Birx worked closely with Task Force chairman Vice President Mike Pence, a man one suspects will not be treated well by future historians.

According to the documentary, “career bureaucrats” like Birx somehow seized control of the executive branch of government and were able to issue orders to mayors and governors which effectively “shut down the country.”

These bureaucrats were often incompetent in their prior jobs as was Birx, who’d previously served as a scientist (ha!) in the Army before leading the government’s effort to “fight AIDS in Africa” (via the PEPFAR Program).

When Birx was installed as coordinator of Covid Response she simply rehashed her own playbook for fighting AIDS in Africa, say the filmmakers.

The three tenets of this response were:

  1. “Treat every case of this virus as a killer.”
  2. “Focus on children,” who, the public was told, were being infected and hospitalized in large numbers and were a main conduit for spreading the virus.
  3. “Get to zero cases as soon as possible.” (The “Zero Covid” goal).

The documentary primarily uses quotes from Scott Atlas, the White House Task Force’s one skeptic, to show that all three tenets were false.

Argued Atlas: Covid was not a killer – or a genuine mortality risk – to “99.95 percent” of the population. Children had virtually zero risk of death or hospitalization from Covid. And there was no way to get to “zero cases.”

Atlas Didn’t Shrug, but was Ignored…

Furthermore, the documentary convincingly illustrates how the views of Atlas were ignored and how, at some point, his ability to speak to the press was curtailed or eliminated.

For example, when Atlas organized a meeting for President Trump with Covid-response skeptics (including the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration) this meeting was schedule to last only five minutes.

The documentary also presents a report from the inspector general of the Department of State that was highly critical of Birx’s management style with the African “AIDS relief” program she headed.

Among other claims, the report said she was “dictatorial” in her dealings with subordinates and often “issued threats” to those who disagreed with her approach.

Shockingly, this highly-critical report was published just a month before she was appointed medical coordinator of the Coronavirus Task Force.

A particularly distressing sound bite from Birx lets viewers hear her opinion on how controversial “guidance” might be implemented with little pushback.

According to Birx, she intentionally buried the more draconian elements of the lockdowns in text at the end of long documents, theorizing (correctly apparently) that most reporters or readers would just “skim” the document and would not focus on how extreme and unprecedented these mandates actually were.

The documentary points out that Birx’s prescriptions and those of President Trump were often in complete conflict.

Birx, according to the documentary, once pointed this out to Vice President Pence, who told her to keep doing what she believed.

Indeed, the Vice President gave Birx full use of Air Force 2 so she could more easily travel across the country, spreading her lockdown message to governors, mayors, and other influencers.

Several Covid skeptic writers, including Jeffrey Tucker of Brownstone Institute, have noted that President Trump himself went from an opponent of draconian lockdowns to an avid supporter of these responses in a period of just one or two days (the pivotal change happened on or around March 10th, 2020, according to Tucker).

Whoever or whatever caused this change in position, it does not seem to be a coincidence that this about-face happened shortly after Birx – a former military officer – was named to an important position on the Task Force.

(Personally, I don’t give Anthony Fauci a pass as I’ve always figured he’s a “dark master” at manipulating members of the science/medical/government complex to achieve his own desired results.)

This documentary highlights the crucial role played by Deborah Birx and, more generally, how unknown bureaucrats can make decisions that turn the world upside-down.

That is, most Americans probably think presidents are in charge, but, often, they’re really not. These real rulers of society, one suspects, would include members of the so-called Deep State, who have no doubt installed sycophants like Fauci and Birx in positions of power.

I definitely recommend this 24-minute video.

A Sample of Reader Comments…

I also enjoyed the Reader Comments that followed this video. The first comment is from my Brownstone colleague who brought this documentary to my attention:

“… As I said, things can change over the period of 20 years but in the case of Birx/Fauci, I do not believe so. I have never seen people entrenched in the bureaucracy change.”

Other comments from the people who have viewed the mini-documentary on YouTube:

“Pence needs to be held accountable.”

“What does Debbie’s bank account look like?”

“(The) final assessment of President Trump at the 23:30 mark is, while painful, accurate. He got rolled.”

“This is very hard to find on YouTube. You can literally search the title and it doesn’t come up.”

“Excellent summary, hope this goes viral. Lots of lessons to learn for future generations.”

“Eye opening. Great reporting.”

Post from One Month Ago…

“37 likes after 3 years of the most controversial and divisive action in recent history. How can this be?”

“Oh never mind. YouTube hid it from the public for years.”

“Probably hasn’t been taken down yet for that reason, relatively low views.”

“Thanks for this! Sounds like everyone below President Trump was on a power trip and I didn’t think it was possible to despise Pence more than I already do.”

“…the backing of CDC, legacy media, WHO and government schools, business folding in fear are ALL responsible. Accountability for every person and agency is paramount!”

“Should be noted that her work on AIDS in Africa was just as useless and damaging.”

“First, any mature, adult woman who speaks with that much vocal fry should be immediately suspect. And the glee with which she recounts her role at undermining POTUS is remarkable and repulsive. This woman should NEVER be allowed to operate the levers of power again.”

Republished from the author’s Substack


  • Bill Rice

    Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance journalist in Troy, Alabama.

Continue Reading