I am not sure when I first heard the name Jordan Peterson, but I’m pretty confident that it was around December of last year. Now, he tops — orders are always particular — Tyler Cowen’s list of the most influential public intellectuals today.

A few of you have been demanding this, here are those who come to mind, note that “influence” does not have to mean I agree with them. And I am sticking with the West, otherwise Uncle Xi wins hands down. In no particular order:

1. Jordan Peterson

2. Catherine Mackinnon

3. Ta-Nehisi Coates

4. Charles Murray

5. A composite alt-right thinker, mixing features of Curtis Yarvin, Steve Sailer, Steve Bannon, and a bunch of others.

Noah Smith finds a lot of agreement

Many of my acquaintances were less fawning. In particular, they found Peterson’s April 2017 talk at BCU, nominally on White Privilege, facile and groping for relevance. The talk is more of an extended rant on the evils of Postmodernism and Marxism. It is the most bracing presentation of it’s kind that I have heard from a modern intellectual, and it is all the more so for its lack of profanity or obvious hyperbole. It is a passionate yet reasoned assault on what Peterson deems is the most reprehensible intellectual movements of the 20th century. He is careful to note that Marxism stands just beyond Nazism in the menagerie of horrors.

For that alone, some exposure to Peterson is recommended. I found this piece on the experience of scientific discovery particularly worthwhile:

The “not happy about it” heuristic is surprisingly powerful. I use it often myself. It’s deeply suspicious when you find something that you like. There is the issue of personal bias, but there is also the question of why no one has bothered to find it before. When you discover something that turns your stomach, then you can feel more secure. It’s clear why no one discovered it before, heck you would undiscover it yourself if you could, but unfortunately, you can’t because your curiosity gets the better of your judgment.

Wisdom, as always, is a curse.