This morning, for instance, I was engaged in a stupid Twitter fight with a media person in LA, who claims that Peterson is racist. When I asked for evidence, she sent me a link to a 2016 tweet that was taken wildly out of context. She also sent a screenshot of a Vox article that said Peterson “referred to developing nations as 'pits of catastrophe' in a speech to a Dutch far-right group.” In fact, the Dutch “far-right group” he was speaking to was actually a conference in which both conservatives and progressives were invited to attend and debate immigration and Dutch culture, although apparently not many progressives actually showed up.
At the conference, Peterson said: “When we insist that the immigrants who come to our countries, to become beneficiaries of the game that we're playing, follow the rules, we are not merely saying; 'we have a culture, you have a culture, you're in our culture, so you should follow our rules', what we're saying instead is: 'We have inherited a culture and it seems to work. It works well enough so that we're happy to be here, and many people would like to be, and if you want to come to our culture and be a beneficiary of the game, then you have to abide by the rules that produce the game. We're not saying that you have to do it because it's ours, or because we're proud of it, or because in some sense we're right as individuals, or even as a culture. We're saying it because we've been fortunate enough to observe what the rules that make a functioning society actually are, and sensible enough, thank God, most of the time, to follow them well enough so that there are a few countries on the planet that aren't absolute pits of catastrophe.'"
Referring to developing nations as “pits of catastrophe” may be insensitive at best, Trumpian at worst, but it’s also true that developing nations do have more than their fair share of “catastrophe,” both natural and man-made (including from colonialism and Western intervention itself). Peterson’s statement may be pro-assimilation, but he’s not saying that any one culture or society is inherently better than any other. He’s saying, if you join a new community, play by that community’s rules because they probably work. Is that really grounds to scream “racist”? In 2018, I suppose, yes.