University Teacher in Trouble for Presenting Jordan Peterson Neutrally

The university is in a crisis. If you’re honest, lefties, you know that this crisis isn’t generated by conservatives and right-wingers, but by a loud and active portion of the socially left. They’re trying to reframe the goal of the university, control speech and dominate the platform. If you’re on the left and you oppose this action, you need to speak to them about it, because they are crazy. Lord knows I’ve tried, but none of them listen to me, because, well, I’m a white, male conservative, which pretty much makes me a Nazi in their eyes. They need to hear from people closer to their own, so if you’re a lefty, that means you.

If you need further motive, check out this story. It reports that a university teacher presented a videoed debate between Jordan Peterson and some Gender Studies professor who believes that (1) human beings are sexed and also believes that (2) science clearly supports this. I’m not too sure which belief is more delusional and absurd, but it’s pretty clear that this professor is borderline retarded. In any case, the debate is about Peterson’s refusal to use non-binary pronouns. You can see the entire video here.

The problem, as her superiors see it, is that the teacher presented the video from a neutral stance; hence, she didn’t condemn Peterson’s viewpoint and firmly assure her students that his arguments are wrong. This is allegedly like presenting Hitler in a neutral way (yes, her superiors made that comparison). Thus, she created a “toxic environment” that called into question the identity of trannies. You can see some of the transcript of their discussion here, because the teacher was smart enough to record it.

If you’re a lefty, please listen to it. I’d say more, but I don’t think that I could do a better job in motivating you to speak up against the crazy lefties than this story and her recording can.

I will, however, respond to one journalist commenting on this issue. This journalist criticizes the teacher’s choice to display this video for a class discussion concerning the complexities of grammar.  The journalist writes:

 

I’m not sure a topic that revolves around the identity of a marginalized group is the best choice to debate aspects of grammar. Gender-neutral pronouns are no more about just grammar than Donald Trump’s tweets are about senility. They represent a larger issue of rights of people to exist without fear of discrimination, harassment and violence.

The considerable opposition to attempts to carve out a space to define people left out by a language founded on rigidly held ideas of two genders is indicative of the scope of oppression facing trans people.

 

I won’t comment on the prudence of using this video to highlight the complexities of grammar (I’m unsure which complexity the teacher was trying to show), but the second paragraph captured my attention. I’m going to chime in on this.

Our pronoun use is anchored in our choice to emphasize a certain aspect of reality that matters, particularly sex and sexual difference. But we are, in fact, sexual males or females, which therefore limits the relevant pronouns to two: he or she. Non-binary pronouns are thus excluded. Is this oppression? Um, no. That’s stupid. You can’t be oppressed by the fact that you’re male or female (people with intersex conditions are neither both male and female nor a third sex) and choosing to emphasize certain facts of importance, like sexual difference, is not oppressive. Reality doesn’t oppress anyone and an emphasis on a particular fact of that reality doesn’t oppress either. How could it?

Does this sex-based pronoun use leave anyone out? No. Human beings are male or female and not both. Hence, everyone is included. It is just that their self-perception has been left out, but so has everyone else’s, because self-perception is not what is communicated with the use of the binary pronouns. Instead, we communicate ideas about objective sex and sexual difference. Thus, if “non-binary” people are left out, then so is everyone, which thus undermines their complaint.

But why the resistance from people like me and Peterson? There is a resistance to recognize such self-perceptions within language because it’s impractical and delusional. It’s not good for you to believe that you’re non-binary. It’s not good for society to recognize that. It’s also not good for us to convey that false information. Hence, we won’t. This is not oppression. It’s just a refusal to participate in what we understand to be a false reality. People are still free to believe that they’re non-binary, of course, just as I am free to believe that I am a rhinosaurus and ask that rhine or His Rhineness be used as pronounsbut mandating other people to recognize these self-perceptions and use the language confirming this self-perception is a violation of free conscience and speech. That is where the truer oppression rests.

And let me add to this. Our refusal to use non-binary pronouns is not an instance of disrespect either. I do respect people. I also respect myself. It is because of this respect that I refuse to recognize, participate in or perpetuate what I see as a delusion. I owe them truth, or at least not a lie.  Put it this way: Respect for persons doesn’t imply that I need to accept and acknowledge their self-perceptions, because man’s primary allegiance is to truth and the good, which is not always co-extensive with self-perception.

6 Comments

  1. “This is allegedly like presenting Hitler in a neutral way” And, of course, the comparison is bat-shit insane. But 99% of what these people (pretend to?) believe we find that it’s almost all bat-shit insanity. If anyone thinks about the matter with an open mind, it’s bat-shit insane to believe that Africans have low IQs for reasons having nothing to do with 100,000 years of reproductive isolation, or that men are better at some things than women only because of “sexism”… And so on, forever. They are insane.

    But if their ur-argument is something like “That resembles something that reminds us of Hitler” or “That’s as bad as blah-blah-blah Hitler” don’t we have to hit them there? I’d like to know: WHY would presenting Hitler “in a neutral way” be wrong? In a history class, for example? WHY would it be wrong to simply discuss objective facts about Hitler and his government and his ideas–just as historians do when discussing FDR or Churchill or other monsters like Stalin and Mao? WHY can’t people be simply presented with the best established accounts of what happened, then left to decide for themselves whether Hitler really was evil (i.e., “just as bad as Hitler”)? And if we shouldn’t do that, why don’t all discussions of Genghis Khan have to be framed with “Genghis was bad and yucky and we hate him”?

    I wonder if there’s really any decent argument for NOT presenting Hitler “in a neutral way” if you’re (let’s suppose) teaching in a university to (let’s suppose) reasonably intelligent grown-ups. Because I sure can’t imagine one. It hurts people’s feelings? Well, so does Marxism and feminism and atheism. It’s “threatening” to some people? Well, so is most of what goes on in the humanities. It might legitimate “oppression”? Well, so might (and actually does) most of what goes on in the humanities. Until Hitler has finally been discussed “in a neutral way” we’ll never actually know whether any of the hysterical moralizing about Hitler was ever justified. Fuck these lying hypocrites, but let’s not give in to their Hitler hysteria. Give them that and–guess what?–in five minutes every single thing they don’t like is “just like Hitler”.

  2. I support teaching about Hitler in a neutral way unless we’re talking about instruction in a parochial school. It’s not because I think that the morality of his actions are arguable, but only that educators are obliged to reserve their influence as much as possible, because we are trying to build independent thinkers.

  3. It’s interesting to think about the idea that what the university should do, ideally, is present things in a “neutral” way and then people come to their own conclusions. How many people have any significant desire to come to their own conclusions about things or the ability to do so in a competent manner? It seems very few. This is, in fact, why both the idea of regular people attending universities and the idea of democracy are fairly absurd. In a way, what universities do – instill and reinforce the values and belief system of the ruling elite – is perfectly legitimate. Regular people need to be told what to think. They _want_ to be told what to think. (Think about the reactions you get from an undergraduate philosophy class. The students are mostly annoyed and simply want to be told what the answers are or not deal with philosophical matters in the first place. A philosophy professor has to engage in clownish presentations to “sell” the material to “students” who mostly still don’t care about any of the material.) And, even if people did want to figure things out for themselves, most of them would come to stupid conclusions if they tried. 

    In a healthy society, either only the few people capable of competent, independent thought would attend universities or, alternatively, the indoctrination of values and beliefs performed by the universities would at least be healthy and sustaining for the society rather than morally perverse and destructive as it is now.

  4. But I still object to the _pretense_ that we’re facilitating independent thinking; suddenly when the topic is Hitler (etc) independent thinking is bad and neutral scholarly presentation is bad. If they dropped the pretense I woudn’t care so much.

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