The Power of Independent Thinking

An Evening with Jordan B. Peterson
The Meaning and Reality of Individual Sovereignty
Posted: Tue. July 30, 2019, 8:19am PT

Part 1

On May 2, 2019, in San Francisco, the Independent Institute hosted this special program with Jordan B. Peterson, Ph.D., the world-renowned clinical psychologist and author of the international bestseller, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. A courageous and articulate champion of free speech, individual liberty, personal responsibility, civic virtue, the rule of law, and the Judeo-Christian values that underpin Western Civilization, Dr. Peterson’s expertise spans the sciences, the humanities, mythology, theology, and more, he provides incisive critiques of political correctness, identity politics, moral relativism, collectivism, and statism.

Introduced and welcomed by Independent President David J. Theroux, Dr. Peterson addresses the fundamental question of “The Meaning and Reality of Individual Sovereignty.” By no means self-evident for many people today, why has the idea of individual sovereignty been granted the primacy of place that it has been given? Paraphrasing how the introductory statements in the Declaration of Independence are formulated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident and that people are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that they’re equal, and that government is to govern by the consent of individuals.”

And yet, the proposition that these truths as laid out in the Declaration are self-evident is no longer accepted by a large number of people in the modern intellectual world, especially among post-modernists, Marxists, and collectivists on the left and right. In his presentation, Dr. Peterson examines the roots of the essential proposition of individual sovereignty, and then how each of us can overcome life’s biggest obstacles, improve oneself and society, explore the meaning of life, and secure the fabric and institutions of free societies.

After his presentation, Dr. Peterson is joined in a conversation with Mary L. G. Theroux (Senior Vice President, Independent Institute) and Graham H. Walker, Ph.D. (Executive Director, Independent Institute). In the subsequent Part 2, Dr. Peterson addresses questions from the audience.

The Independent Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy research and educational organization that shapes ideas into profound and lasting impact. The mission of Independent is to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. Applying independent thinking to issues that matter, the Independent Institute creates transformational ideas for today’s most pressing social and economic challenges. The results of this work are published as books, the quarterly journal, "The Independent Review," and other publications and form the basis for numerous conference and media programs. By connecting these ideas with other organizations and networks, Independent seeks to inspire action that can unleash an era of unparalleled human flourishing at home and around the globe.

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