- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 21, 2019

Whitcoulls, a large New Zealand bookstore, has responded to the Christchurch massacre by banning the work of clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson.

The author of “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” literally has a chapter that covers the dark psychology of mass shooters — and how to create a world with fewer of them — but his words will no longer be found on store shelves.

Independent journalist Tim Pool shared an email by the company Thursday, which described a decision “made in light of some extremely disturbing material being circulated prior, during and after the Christchurch attacks.”

“As a business which takes our responsibilities to our communities very seriously, we believe it would be wrong to support the author at this time,” the email purportedly said.

The statement is ironic, given that the University of Toronto professor’s book repeatedly urges readers to live a virtuous life guided by truth.

Mr. Peterson’s “Rule 6” for life, titled “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world,” specifically addresses the Sandy Hook massacre and the Columbine shooters as follows:

“For such individuals, the world of experience is insufficient and evil — so to hell with everything!

What is happening when someone comes to think in this manner? A great German play, “Faust: A Tragedy,” written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, addresses the issue. The play’s main character, a scholar named Heinrich Faust, trades his immortal souls to the devil, Mephistopheles. …

Whenever we experience injustice, real or imagined;  whenever we encounter tragedy or fall prey to the machinations of others; whenever we experience the horror and pain of our own apparently arbitrary limitations — the temptation to question Being and then to curse it rises foully from the darkness.”

The author then offers ways to avoid such “darkness” with sections titled “Vengeance or Transformation” and “Clean up Your Life.”

“Who knows what existence might be like if we all decided to strive for the best?” the psychologist asks. “Who knows what eternal heavens might be established by our spirits, purified by truth, aiming skyward, right here on the fallen Earth? Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”

New Zealand has responded to the shootings, in which 50 people were killed at two mosques, by banning many semi-automatic rifles.

“I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said of the new regulations.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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