Jordan Peterson, one of the world’s leading intellectuals and a twenty-first-century champion of academic truth has just passed through one of the most harrowing experiences any human being could endure. After his wife was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer he developed a physical addiction—due to a paradoxical reaction—to the anti-anxiety medication benzodiazepine.
This came at a time of enormous opposition in the public square and grief over his wife’s illness. Peterson’s daughter, Mikhaila Peterson, recently gave the following update on The Postmillennial:
For the last eight months, he’s been in unbearable discomfort from this drug, made worse when trying to remove it, because of the addition of withdrawal symptoms, stemming from physical dependence. He experienced terrible Akathisia, which is a condition where the person feels an incredible, endless, irresistible restlessness, bordering on panic, and an inability to sit still. The reaction made him suicidal.
After several failed treatment attempts in North American hospitals, including attempts at tapering and micro-tapering, we had to seek an emergency medical benzodiazepine detox, which we were only able to find in Russia. It was incredibly gruelling and was further complicated by severe pneumonia which we’ve been told he developed in one of the previous hospitals.
He’s had to spend four weeks in the ICU in terrible shape, but, with the help of some extremely competent and courageous doctors, he survived. The decision to bring him to Russia was made in extreme desperation when we couldn’t find any better option. The uncertainty around his recovery has been one of the most difficult and scary experiences we’ve ever had.
So: Finally, Dad is on the mend, even though there’s a lot of physiological damage that he needs to recover from. He’s improving and is off of the horrible medication. His sense of humour is back. He’s smiling again for the first time in months, but he still has a long way to go to recover fully.
It appears that we are going to get through this by the skin of our teeth.
Most people would respond to this kind of suffering with sympathy, even for those whom they consider to be their sworn enemy. But not so those on the Left. Instead, they have continued to heap unmitigated scorn upon Peterson and his family. Libby Emmons, also writing for The Postmillennial, offers the following examples:
And then to top it off is Suzanne Moore, a journalist from The Guardian:
Does anyone recall a pile on from conservatives when Women’s Electoral Lobby founder, civil libertarian and high profile feminist academic, the late Beatrice Faust, published an account of her own addiction, Benzo Junkie, in 1993. No? There was none. Instead, the following year, she reviewed a book on the then much-hyped Prozac for the Centre for Independent Studies magazine, Policy. Well over a decade later The Australian was still citing Benzo Junkie as a must-read on the subject.
How different are the modern left. The problem is not just that the tweets are so vindictive and cruel, but that so many thousands of people have agreed by liking them. Why dump on a person when they have just had a year of what they describe as being ‘absolute hell’ and then withdrawn completely from public life?
It’s events like this which provide the inspiration for shows such as “Hated in the Nation” in Netflix’s dystopian series, Black Mirror. Let the viewer understand. For, as the following heartbreaking interview with Rex Murphy shows, the vicious twitter pile on has devastated him psychologically as a human being.
What has become clear is that compassion and common decency are frequently lacking in those who consider themselves to be ‘progressive’. Indeed, it seems that they feel justified in treating their opponents this way because they are considered as being not just being wrong, but morally evil. As Douglas Murray writes in The Mail on Sunday:
[I]t is a feature of our toxic age that people who like to present themselves as the kindest can be relied upon to be vicious as hell in a cause they think is good.
Those social-justice activists who Peterson exposed when he was well are now being vile because he cannot remonstrate.
This is the terrible personal cost that must be borne by anyone—and especially conservatives— who wish to speak truth to power. Because the animosity of the Left is almost visceral. What has become clear, though, is that the most intolerant people today are those who champion the cause of tolerance.
For it’s not freedom of thought or expression which they desire but the unconditional affirmation to their own political agenda.
Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.
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