House

Jordan Peterson speaks to House Republicans on positive messaging

Psychologist and author Jordan Peterson spoke to a group of House Republicans on Wednesday at a lunch for the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House.  

“I’m trying to help formulate a positive conservative message,” Peterson said after the lunch. “It’s dangerous in these times where politics has become increasingly tit for tat. It’s easy to recoil into a kind of resentment, especially in relationship to the radicals on the left and to just be tossing increasingly barbed insults back and forth.”

“I suppose that’s the danger of a kind of reflexive populism, that you can appeal to that resentment,” Peterson continued. “But I think more traditional types have a real opportunity to put forward a positive vision and to guide themselves through the next election in the fall, the election cycle in the fall and in the presidential election, with a positive message. And hopefully that will also cool down the political temperature to some degree, because that needs to happen.”

Peterson spoke to the group at the invitation of Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said that he was a fan of Peterson’s work and said his presentation was “phenomenal.”

“We talked about the culture war from a very philosophical and academic standpoint. He gave us lots of advice on how to be more articulate and be more effective,” Banks said.

The Republican Study Committee regularly hosts guest speakers at its weekly lunches, typically politicians and former officials. Previous speakers include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former professional basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom, and former Trump White House aide Stephen Miller. A number of Republican senators, including Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), have spoken to the group as well.

“There’s an opportunity for conservatives to take the high ground and, you know, it’s an argument that we can win. He believes that there’s some nobility in it, and that there’s an opportunity for us to message on that,” Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) said of Peterson’s talk. “He’s just a brilliant man.”

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