Je suis Jordan Peterson!

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.

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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.

Support Jordan Peterson.

Jan Sobieski IV

For Jan Sobieski IV, the West is on the precipice of ruin again. With interests in journalism and philosophy, he’s a millennial convinced we’re living in another Vienna, 1683. Sobieski IV aspires to help lead the pivotal charge for Western civilization against those seeking to overrun or open her gates—these days, they’re one and the same, deserving nothing but the fury of the winged hussar reborn.

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18 Comments

  1. Objectors sometimes note that Canadian law permits other sorts of mandated speech. For example, some laws require advertisements on foodstuff to have both French and English labelling rather than just English. But that’s silly, because the law only asks them to express the same information that they do in English, since French is also an official language. No one is mandating speech that is not already being said.

    Other times objectors note that immigrants are mandated to pledge allegiance to the Queen to attain citizenship. This is, I grant, an example of mandated speech, but only if you want to gain citizenship within a country of state is the queen. If you don’t, then the speech is not mandated, and you’re certainly not entitled to Canadian citizenship. In contrast, the Ontario law seems to apply to everyone within the boundaries covered by the Code, which is very encompassing in Canadian life (think employment, housing, public services, etc). So, it is quite more intrusive.

    • Yep, this is compelled speech for a citizen to essentially affirm a highly controversial, novel dogma of authoritarians, violating his conscious. It and the enforcing Social Justice Tribunals are ghoulishly not too far off something we’d see in the USSR. Did the West defeat the Soviet Union to become like it?

  2. Many of the proponents of this type of speech policing (no can deny anymore that this is exactly what it is, whether you agree with it or not) either deny, ignore, or do not – all things considered – care that these actions foster extremism. One need only look at certain factions of the alt-right in America to see that this is the case. The thing about extremism, of course, is that an increase in its stimuli leads to ever greater extremism and a higher likelihood of violence.

    In addition, such proponents of these measures seem unable to accept anything but absolute surrender to their ideals and norms. This, together with the fact that all of lifes minor incidents, tussles, annoyances, etc. are moralized, one cannot simply let things be. It isn’t enough to just write a negative review of a professor because they did something you perceive as being a slight. One must stomp out the very opportunity for the slight to occur. In public life, instead of thinking “hey, this person is kind of a dick for not saying the things my friends say towards me,” the desire is to force everyone, everywhere to treat you as if they were your friend.

    Such behavior is completely undefensible, but that won’t keep otherwise intelligent persons from actively endorsing it.

    This moralizing of all of life presents an opportunity for the state to act in such a way as to put everyone in grave danger. That the proponents of speech policing are perhaps too short-sighted to fully accept this is quite tragic.

    • Yes, Jordan,

      Way to key on the totalitarianism. For these activists, it can’t be an isolated incident. Somehow, the entire community and culture is somehow culpable and needs aggressive alteration from the top down, i.e., how does a single dissenter exactly create a culture of “hate”? Their petty, vindictive, self-righteous megalomania does. I think part of their zealotry stems from the belief that mis-pronouning is responsible for the high suicide rate among trans individuals, not that these people suffer a major psychosis and are mentally sick as the more likely explanation.

  3. Jan,

    I agree. I also think that we are witnessing a transformation of politics into religion as the rise of irreligion re-shapes what is taken to be sacred and inviolable. The ‘heretic’ will always exist within human communities, but whereas this status was largely determined by theological criteria in the past it is now determined by political-ideological criteria.

    • Yeah, the distinction between religion and secular “reason” isn’t helpful. It’s become self-serving for the left. Man is a spiritual animal. If he’s not religious about spiritual things he becomes religious about non-spiritual things, and that can have terrible consequences. Look at all the bloodletting of the last century for the sake of socialist utopia, social justice.

      Religious or otherwise, there are good ideologies and bad ideologies. Either you try to become actively committed to the best one you can be or you can be a moderate devoid of “saltiness” — in the biblical sense — and easily fall prey to the sophistic machinations of ideologues committed to bad ones.

  4. After looking deeper into the Peterson affair it now seems even more disturbing. I’ll donate money if need be.

    Also, he even mentions – in a public interview of sorts – that he would be completely fine using the relevant pronouns if the dictates of public speech/parlance arrived at such a point organically (not sure if he mentioned this as well in his seperate youtube videos).

  5. In this round table discussion, Peterson is asked, “If you had a transgender student who preferred to be called “she,” what would you call them?” and he responds, “She.”

    The problem arises when he is forced by law to call students whatever pronouns they prefer.

    • Interesting. If the transgendered student is male, why would he call male female? Why play along with his delusions? I understand that you have to pick your battles, so in this particular case it may be better to just call the student she and move on.

    • Although I am a trans-skeptic, I agree with Peterson here. As a professor, I want to avoid alienating my students so that I can provide them with the kind of education that will open them up to alternative points of view. There’s probably nothing I can do directly to change a transgendered student’s views, much less their self-conception. But I can perhaps get them to see that Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas are serious philosophers with important ideas….and thereby cause a little crack in the wall of nonsense they’ve erected to undergird their views about gender. We can have significant indirect effects on the way our students think, but not if we write them off at the first sign of confused thinking.

      Indeed, I doubt my own rightward turn would’ve happened had I not encountered a couple of conservative professors who modeled a certain kind of detached concern for truth and virtue without ever pushing themselves or their ideas on students.

    • I found it curious that Peterson would agree to speak of that trans-person with a pronoun contrary to that person’s sex but refuses to use non-standard pronouns, those that are non-binary or from another language.

    • I think it is because non-standard pronouns affirm a non-binary view of gender, which has no basis in reality. At the very least a man who wants to be called ‘she’ still falls within a binary understanding of gender. Referring to someone using non-standard pronouns also affirms their social constructivist views on gender, which Peterson detests.

  6. What if a student self-identifies as therian or otherkin? Why should only certain protected groups receive super-rights at the expense of others?

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