I don’t like virtue signaling. The moral narcissism of having the French or Rainbow flag silhouette behind your Facebook profile picture is off-putting. Tweeting insipid hashtags like #Notmypresident or #LoveTrumpsHate aren’t courageous stands. Costing nothing, they’re easy and seemingly done in self-aggrandizement instead of selflessness. If you like displaying how righteous you are, I have it on good authority that you aren’t. Jesus had a choice word for those who would make a spectacle by praying in public — hypocrites.
But like yesterday’s pharisees, we’ll indulge in some preening today — not about us, but him.
University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson has made the news in September and October when he announced he wouldn’t refer to someone by their preferred pronouns, advocating instead for free speech. He also criticized the recently proposed legislation, Bill C-16, an amendment adding gender identity and gender expression as protected classes in the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code against discrimination in Canada. His critique was done on YouTube in two videos (here and here), within which he concluded that his refusal to utter transgender pronouns was illegal, according to the standards of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Since then, Peterson’s reaped the whirlwind. The U of T administration has sent him not one but two reprimands. More than 250 of the university’s faculty have signed a letter condemning his conduct. And Peterson, the oppressive bigot that he is, beseeched the university for a debate open to all about the pertinent issues concerning Bill C-16.
He got it, sort of. More of a 3-on-1 public shaming than a forum, Peterson presented and defended his views on Nov. 19. I thought he acquitted himself well in spite of being repeatedly denounced and slandered by his opposition, professors Mary Bryson and Brenda Cossman — Bryson especially seems like a nasty piece of work. Watch below if you both have the time and the stomach. Expect your gag reflex to kick in as soon as a conciliatory nod to the native tribes who once occupied the land upon which the lecture hall seemingly is built commences the affair.
It’s travesties like the one above and its surrounding uproar that induce us “reactionary” conservatives to bemoan the decline of the West. As a civilization, we just continue to cannibalize each other and our foundational values a pace. The embattled Peterson, a professor speaking out against political correctness, seems like a living fossil who doesn’t quite know his species is already extinct.
Be it as it may, we must try to restore sanity to the academy and greater culture. Peterson certainly is, and his struggles against leftism deserve an update and another Rightly Considered tip of the hat in addition to the defense Catholic Hulk has given him. Peterson’s gone on the record saying he’s willing to go on a hunger strike before he becomes a “puppet for their (radical leftist) ideology.” As a scholarly man of principle who has studied authoritarian regimes for decades, he is a champion of free speech and a profile in civil courage. He is worthy of our praise and encouragement for showing backbone when most shrink away in the face of encroaching totalitarianism. He’s standing up for all of us, so we ought to stand up for him.
- On Deadnaming and the Hypatia Debacle - May 9, 2017
- Freedom of Expression and Ulrich Baer: A Case Study in Leftist Mendacity - May 2, 2017
- After Veritas: Why journalists are so poor at their jobs, part 1 - March 28, 2017
- The Curious Case of the Christian Abortion Cake - March 4, 2017
- Je suis Jordan Peterson! - December 4, 2016
- Trick or Treat: Social Justice Warrior as Constant Cultural Appropriator - October 31, 2016