Fighting Back Against an Imaginary Evil: How studying Jordan Peterson’s Rhetoric Helps Us to Recognize Populism in The Digital Age

  • Benjamin Dueck


In the age of networked communication, seemingly insignificant fads and idols can become hypnotic magnets for public attention. This paper shows how the Canadian public intellectual Jordan Peterson captures his audience’s imagination by constructing an imaginary enemy out of the academic Left. I argue that Peterson’s rhetorical strategy is based on a shaky foundation and can be analyzed using the theories of populist equivalence outlined by the post-Marxist scholars, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, in their 1985 text Hegemony and Socialist Strategy.