Jordan Peterson and the big mistake of university censors

Stephen Maher: Learning to think means learning to entertain opposing ideas, not imposing a safety culture on campus


 
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 6 - Profile of Dr. Jordan Peterson. The U of T prof at the centre of a media storm because of his public declaration that he will not use pronouns, such as "they," to recognize non-binary genders. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Profile of Dr. Jordan Peterson, the U of T prof at the centre of a media storm because of his public declaration that he will not use pronouns, such as “they,” to recognize non-binary genders. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, it is time for people outside the academy to stand up for the free speech rights of Jordan Peterson, the irritating University of Toronto psychology professor who has become a star by producing tedious YouTube videos complaining about people trying to silence him.

Peterson, who is wrong about almost everything, is right when he says, over and over again, that he has a fundamental right to speak. The well-meaning people who try to silence him are making a big mistake, and need to listen to people outside the ivory tower.

On Nov. 1, Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, showed first year Communications Studies students a video clip from TVO’s Agenda, in which Peterson debated the use of non-gender-binary pronouns with another professor.

The classroom discussion must have upset a student, because Shepherd was censured by faculty and diversity and equity officials, who said she was “transphobic” and had created “a toxic climate.”

Shepherd is afraid that the university may fire her.

“Universities are no longer places where one can engage with controversial ideas,” she told the Waterloo Record. “They are echo chambers for left-wing ideology.”

Shepherd is right and the scolds at the university need to stop their censorious ways, not least because they are playing Peterson’s game.

READ MORE: Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?

Peterson, who makes tens of thousands of dollars a month fund-raising online, became famous in basements around the world when he spoke out against a University of Toronto policy requiring professors to use non-traditional pronouns like “ze” to address non-gender-binary students.

He argues that the university shouldn’t force him to use language he doesn’t like—misusing the plural, for goodness sake—and that his academic freedom is imperiled by the social justice warriors running the universities.

I think he’s wrong. Professors should do what they can for students who fall outside traditional gender categories, who have a much tougher life than powerful straight white men like Peterson. If that means that professors need to spend a little effort wrapping their tongues around new words, too bad.

I think it’s difficult for many straight, cisgendered people to deal with trans people because thinking about gender identity threatens their own identity in some way, and it’s lazy and selfish for them to refuse to deal with their own issues. Because gender is so emotional, young trans people face huge challenges being accepted, which is a matter of survival.

Peterson is the very picture of white straight male privilege, griping about being told what to do by people that were once subordinate to people like him, ignoring the pressing needs of people who need to be accepted if they are to survive.

For that reason, though, he is performing a valuable function. When society changes, as it is changing now, thankfully, in the way it treats trans people, we need to have a debate about it. To have a debate, someone has to be right and someone else—Peterson, in this case—has to be wrong.

What is worrying is that universities are trying to stop the debate from taking place.

Activists, who are right to demand that society treat trans people with respect, are wrong to think that that respect should extend to silencing those who disagree with them.

This seems to be half the point of a lot of left wing campus activism in the 21st century: trying to prevent people you disagree with from speaking. It is mistake, because it plays into the hands of the troll army of hateful troglodytes who lose every argument so long as you don’t try to force them into silence.

I get it when the people you disagree with are actual Nazis, like Richard Spencer, and I can see why exuberant young people aren’t always scrupulous about the distinction between showing up to oppose a speaker they dislike, which is healthy, and trying to stop that person from speaking, which is not.

But there is something sick-making about the growing bureaucratization of safe spaces, the culture of human resources departments imposing itself on campus, the idea that the universities must protect students from being confronted by uncomfortable ideas.

You can’t learn to think without debating. Learning to think doesn’t mean having your head stuffed full of whatever orthodoxy the profs have settled on this week, because you can be sure that will change, and then what will you do? Go back to school for re-education?

Learning to think means learning to entertain opposing ideas, defend your views and discard the ones you can’t defend.

There is no room for compromise on this, and that means there’s going to have to be a nasty fight with well-meaning but mistaken censors.

Campus activists have weaponized fragility, imposing the safety culture of the elementary school where it does not belong.

An earlier generation of activists made gains by forcing society to confront their reality. They said Black is Beautiful, or We’re here! We’re Queer! Get used to it! Today’s activists seem to invest a lot of energy in prosecuting micro-aggressions, preventing offence, imposing orthodoxy.

There’s something disturbing about this, beyond its implications for free speech. As a society, we are becoming increasingly risk-averse, embracing safety as the highest value, wrapping our children in bubble wrap, helmets securely strapped to their chins, safe from sexism, transphobia, bullying and peanuts.

It’s hard to speak out against any of it. Helmets are a good idea. Transphobia is bad. Peanuts are life-threatening for some kids.

But the world is not an elementary school, and we’re not doing students any favours by pretending that they can go through their lives without ever having their feelings hurt.


 

Jordan Peterson and the big mistake of university censors

  1. “Peterson, who is wrong about almost everything…” is your opinion as a journalist. Meanwhile, Peterson’s ideas are formed from evidence from experience as a PhD and professor in clinical psychology with over 100 published papers.

    • “Peterson, who is wrong about almost everything, is right when he says, over and over again, that he has a fundamental right to speak. The well-meaning people who try to silence him are making a big mistake, and need to listen to people outside the ivory tower.”

      Sure, that’s why Peterson’s free speech is all over Canadian newspaper websites and presumably TV. It’s because he’s being silenced and nobody’s listening to him. Do you ever listen to what you’re saying?

      Peterson is Canada’s answer to Milo Yiannopoulos. He’s figured out that if you attack a group of people who are talking about things the public’s ignorant about but share your disapproval, wait for them to go on the defensive, and then claim you’re being victimized on account of your Free Speech, you can get lots of contributions from followers on the Internet. That’s another thing Peterson’s not wrong about.

      • OK, so you are against free speech.

        • Taras obviously doesn’t understand the issue here. One shouldn’t be fined or imprisoned because they do not wish to call someone by a prolifera of newly made up gender names. You can call yourself anything you want but I shouldn’t half to. His not an argument about being polite, it’s about non hate free speech.

      • “Sure, that’s why Peterson’s free speech is all over Canadian newspaper websites and presumably TV. It’s because he’s being silenced and nobody’s listening to him.”

        This is a common argument, but lots of people in the university would have liked to see him fired, pressure was put on the administration from both within and without, and some preliminary moves were made to actually do so. However,, the attempt to get him fired failed, which, not surprisingly, amplified his voice. But this shouldn’t be used to imply that there was no attempt to get him fired.

        If Peterson had not been a heavyweight researcher in his field with some media savvy, he may well have been fired.

      • Taras, To set the record straight, Dr Jordan Peterson has never claims victimhood. This is false. But to use your word, “victimized”, doesn’t even begin to describe the injustice of compelling Canadians to use made up words by force of penalty. I would say it would be more accurately described as persecution or even “the cultural purging”.
        You are buying this garbage narrative that Dr Jordan Peterson is “transphobic” or a profiteer polemicist simply because it has been “printed” in slanderous articles or click bait headlines. Trust me when I say you are falling for the narrative. These attacks are illusory and baseless. Their power comes from ignorance and they fall apart at the slightest scrutiny. They can work only when Canadians refuse to scratch the surface of the lie. I would say that its almost understandable to buy into the narrative given the coordinated effort by the Cultural Marxists to propagate the lie, except that with google it takes almost zero effort to find the truth these days. So it’s really laziness to let Macleans, or Salon or Vice make up your mind. Dr Jordan Peterson takes the exact opposite view of Milo Yannopolis. Milo is dedicated to using the rules for radicals against those using the rules for radicals. Dr Jordan Peterson, rejects all of it outright for many compelling reasons. Don’t take my word for it, watch his YouTube videos.

    • “Sure, that’s why Peterson’s free speech is all over Canadian newspaper websites and presumably TV. It’s because he’s being silenced and nobody’s listening to him. Do you ever listen to what you’re saying?”

      There are two types of reaction in the media to Peterson.
      – The first one is argumento ad ridiculum with a pinch of ad hominem, aka: He is free to speak his mind, but nobody should listen to him because “Jordan Pea-Headerson” is pretty much mentally impaired and even if not, he is just a mean old man.
      – The second is that this person is doing hate speech and while he technically can speak (for now) everyone should think long and hard whether or not this kind of behavior should be tolerated.

      You pretty much lowered the standards for free speech to “we will not kill you for it, but everything else goes”.
      Im not sure if i am comfortable with that, and thats just one aspect of the discussion, because the canadian media you mention (much like this article) does not involve itself with making arguments for or against, does not bother to talk about the point.
      Its pretty much kindergarten style name calling with a boatload of intellectual dishonesty. If these are your standards, i guess you are covered.

  2. Having spent most of my adult life in Cuba I can assure readers that this happened and still happens in Communist countries. Whoever disagrees with the Party line is criticized, ostracized and, should they keep at it, fired first and eventually charged, tried and sent to prison to get reeducated. That this happens in Canadian universities is difficult to believe but unquestionably true. Have undercover members of the Party infiltrated Canadian universities?

    • Thank you, Jose. It starts with holding hands and singing “kumbaya”. Eventually, someone wants to change it up and throw in a few verses of “Camptown Ladies” or maybe bring in a fiddle and get everybody swingin’ to “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”, only to find that those kinds of things are violently verboten.
      It goes down hill from there. (See:Venezuela, post-Chavez.)

      • More mindless cliches please. It saves you from having to think.

  3. So, the author is at once for free speech and compelled speech. The mental gymnastics that must occur for that to be a considered a coherent thought must be epic.

    I watched Peterson’s video on non-binary gender pronouns and some interviews he had on the issue. It is clear he not against referring to a trans person by their preferred pronoun, but when government steps in and mandate someone use any one of 70+ non-binary pronouns at the demand of someone else that is no longer free speech it is compelled speech. The latter is fundamentally wrong and makes suspect the author’s assertion that Peterson is wrong about almost anything.

    • The problem Michael is that you are thinking rationally and people that want to write tripe like the author of this article aren’t.

      Peterson has never said Trans people don’t exists or are sub human or aren’t deserving of protection under the same laws as everyone else, nobody can find a place where he says any of that.

      As you rightly point out he is worried about and for good reason the idea of the Gov getting involved to compel speech. How could a journalist ever have a problem with that?

      Just another intellectually dishonest article from Macleans, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but I am still disappointed

      • Ever heard of defending the rights of someone even though you disagree with them?

        Think about it for a bit and maybe you’ll understand the author’s argument better.

        • He is more than welcome to disagree with Peterson or anyone else, but to incorrectly frame his points of view is intellectually dishonest. Peterson has repeatedly stated he supports equal protection and human right for Trans people, its compelled speech he is against. So would YOU and every single reporter that trashes him be if it was imposed on YOU.

  4. The arrogance of the author that gives away his actual disdain for dialogue and free speech is given away by his vile comments about people in “basements” and how “wrong” Jordan Peterson is. It is perfectly understandable though, as it must be exhausting for him to carry around that much angst whilst maintaining his egoic state of consciousness. It is the burden all delusional postmodernist propagandists must bear. The reason that these people fear debate, dialogue and free speech, is the opposite of what this article tries to propagate. It is that they lose incredibly badly every debate the dare to have. If their ideas could stand the scrutiny and they had even a remote chance to win, they would be picking up these speakers they so fear, and driving them to the Universities themselves! Why waste time and space just to hide this simple reality. Neo-Marxists will continue to censor and attack speech everywhere until the common sense revolution being led by Jordan Peterson and others stops them. Hopefully soon, for the sake of Canada. Shame on Macleans editorial board for giving us such a weak piece on such an important topic.

  5. I honestly scrolled up to the if this was the onion after the wrong about everything comment. . .

    • Jordan Peterson and every other person with an opinion to have as their own little patch of grass in Canada, had better wake up to reality; the reality of Trump’s megalomania and self glorification as well as what is going on in the world. A large majority of earth’s population don’t even know where Canada is. The USA thinks Canada is French and the immigrants to Canada want rights they never had in their own countries. ”Come to Canada and get free healthcare, be on the dole asap and import the whole family too”. Canadians had better wake up and get with the program, learn some history and stop treating kids as their little treasures. We must begin to look further than the next hockey or football game, their neighbor’s fence and some poor little defenseless thing of the week. Get a life Canada! I’m well on my way to the grave, which will please many of you I’m sure, but I learned a long time ago… ”There ain’t no FREE LUNCH on this earth.

  6. So Peterson is “privileged”. Is Professor A.W[Amanda] Peet equally privileged? She after all is a white male in dress and appearance. She also is a tenured professor at the University of Toronto. She could also start a Patreon account were she not spending every hour of the day tweeting and obsessing about Peterson. Peet despises men and white people[just look at her Twitter page] and spews hatred towards anyone who isn’t just like her. According to Rate My Professor, she is rude, self centred and grades unfairly. She told Peterson to STFU, when he asked for a public debate. THIS is the class act, you people hold up as some sort of saint?? Yet when Peterson refuses to use nonsense words like “zer” he is vilified and slandered. Even Carol Off at the CBC did not call Peet by her preferred pronouns, “they/them” in a radio interview. Strangely enough, Peet didn’t attack the CBC commentator. One minute Trans people are committing suicide because someone doesn’t use the proper pronoun and the next they are totally OK with it[because they get to be on the radio]. Macleans writers along with The Globe and the CBC need to look up the meaning of yellow journalism. You should all be ashamed of yourself for this tripe.

    • Stats from ratemyprofessors.com:
      Peterson:
      112 ratings
      4.3/5 approval
      100% would take class again
      Peet
      29 ratings
      2.6/5 approval
      40% would take class again

  7. Once more, does Maclean’s not have an editor anymore who looks at this kind of nonsense before it get’s published?

  8. Stopped reading it at “Peterson as a white strait privileged man”.

  9. If I were a teacher I expect I’d give the author a C-, a barely passing grade.

    While I think he’s quite correct to raise the alarums about our supposed institutions of higher learning pandering to childish temper tantrums and calls for “safe spaces”, I think he more or less shoots himself in the feet by insisting that Peterson and company need “to spend a little effort wrapping their tongues around new words”. And a rather important principle is essentially repudiated, abrogated, or ridden roughshod over by that argument – which is, as Alice said to Humpty Dumpty, “whether you can make words mean so many different things”.

    And, more particularly, when Facebook accepts the bogus argument that there are 56 genders – if 56 then why not 56 trillion? – one might reasonably ask how Mr. Maher might respond to calls for a different pronoun for each of those. Not to mention calls for corresponding verb conjugations.

    The problem, as Alice suggested, is largely and in general due to the demented postmodernist gender-essentialist Lysenkoists who’ve been peddling egregious clap-trap for so long that it’s become “conventional wisdom” – not to mention being a central part of the syllabus of our supposed institutions of “higher learning”. A review of Patai’s and Koertge’s “Professing Feminism” summarized and illustrated the rot that is at the heart of much of Academia by pointing to the “virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment driving many of the professors, staff and students” of Women’s Studies in particular; rather clear that the cancer has metatasized.

    • Humpty Dumpty’s reply to Alice in that conversation gives the game away:

      “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-that’s all.”

      If Dr. Peterson can be forced by the law to change his pronouns, he is no longer master, and neither is anyone else outside the government. So does the government serve the people, or is it the reverse in Canada?

      I can’t tell at the moment. I look forward to things clarifying over time.

  10. It appears to me that Dr. Peterson’s critics haven’t spent much time actually listening to or reading Dr. Peterson’s work. They only seem to quote his critics and other twisted and inaccurate articles about him. That’s why I didn’t read this entire article or Tabatha Southey’s opinion past the first few lines. I’m now going to try “Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?” and see how far I get!

    • Oops, just realized “Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?” IS Tabitha Southey’s opinion piece. I don’t have to bother. More time to read and listen to Dr. Peterson himself.

      • No need to challenge yourself. You’re obviously right and listening to others is just a waste of time.

        • I did go back and read the article to the end. Childish name-calling isn’t challenging. Tabatha Southey’s opinions aren’t challenging because she has no depth of knowledge of the subjects on which Dr. Peterson is an expert. I have some knowledge of some of those subjects and I find Dr. Peterson’s insights constantly challenging, stimulating and fascinating. Tabatha Southey’s and other detractors’ misrepresentations of his thought and character are sometimes outright libel and slander.

  11. MacLeans is the popular girl who always knows what to say to be accepted. That’s fine for the high school hallways but as journalism, it’s dangerous. Peterson has hundreds of hours of lectures online about, mainly, Jungian psychology, myth, and clinical psychology. He is not some nobody who became famous for being cranky about who determines what comes out of his own mouth.

    If professors “have to” use new words, “big deal.” There’s the rub. Who should determine who “has to” say anything? It’s bad enough to criminalize speech, Dr. Peterson’s point is that this was one step worse: criminalizing NOT saying something.

    We’re not all happy about being treated like dummies with a hand trying to move our lips for us. That Dr. Peterson slapped away that hand up his patootie was the essence of reasonableness.

  12. Well, the censorship and micro-managing at Laurier seems like first class bullying with a possible tinge of misogyny. Of course, non of the 3 officiants at the Laurier court of the star chamber care to give a public statement on the issue. It would at least be interesting to hear Prof Rambukkana’s logic in equating Prof Peterson with Adolf Hitler. It would also be interesting to hear from any of the three their views on name calling as an element of civil discourse and why the do it. Perhaps they might explain on what basis they asserted that TA Peterson was a white supremacist.
    According to reports “The university would not confirm what was said to Shepherd, but said it had enlisted an unidentified “neutral third-party professional” to “gather the facts” of the situation.”; this suggests that this disciplinary session would not have been recorded which is a civil violation raising the question of whether the 3 members of the committee will be censured or fired. This affair is clearly a violation of Laurier policy 6.1-2.04&2.06; under 6.1-3.02 any or all of the committee of 3 could have their contracts terminated. Unsurprisingly, Laurier policy includes a student code of conduct but not a faculty code of conduct. The university of course plans to maintain a shroud of secrecy around the issue: public institutions continue to insult the public trust.

  13. Although I’m a fan of Peterson and also center-left mostly (right-wing on some things) this article is right when with it’s we must debate, if only so we can better understand each other and ourselves. Silencing your opponent at best just makes you seem like you not sure you are right and at worst makes you appear sinister! I don’t think Peterson is right about everything (nobody is) but it does seem like he and his kind are the only ones left willing to have the debate with regular people and are therefore are winning simply by attendance… In a first world where between 60-90% of WOMEN don’t even consider themselves feminist, the left is Failing to get its point across to the masses and risks closing in on itself into ever tighter extreme circles… if feminist become the 1% they will have the same image as “the elites who rule the world” have now!

    • The fact that Peterson has many centrist and left-leaning supporters pretty much puts lie to the charge that he is a tool of the “alt-right”, as Southey and other lightweights would suggest he is. The author of this piece is little better: “..although Peterson is wrong about just about everything…” Quite the shallow and baseless statement there.

      Macleans editors have really been asleep at the switch lately. If I had submitted either this piece or Southey’s piece as a guest column to any major publication (not that I ever would), I wouldn’t dream in a million years of getting it published. That such shallow, childish, churlish, petty, and facile inanities can get published in a once respected national news magazine is indicative of how far Macleans has fallen. For this author to first casually dismiss Peterson as “wrong about almost everything”, then spend the rest of his ink defending Peterson’s right to say it, as though that somehow makes up for a flippant, glib opening cheap shot, is just disgusting.

      • Can’t say I don’t agree but IT IS time the left actually started debating towards the general public (explaining themselves clearly and with manners) and although this article is clearly biased, flawed and shows no evidence to why JP is wrong at least the argument that ‘they’ need to start debating is right! (something the writer maybe should have done instead of saying) these another article on here where it implies jp is for stupid people, which is exactly how people lose arguments… 99.9% of people don’t have a deep understanding of the Social sciences (if you want to win you have to talk to them) and the left needs to figure out how to debate without acting superior and being insulting!… the reason JP is doing so well and SJW’s are seen so much like commie morons is that!

      • RIght on. If you think he is ‘wrong on everything’ you might want to go into those few hundred hours of you tube clips and lectures and show exactly where he is wrong. It’s simply a dumb thing to say, and not very good journalism. It’s smug, and trite because it declines to argue the point. That is why it takes someone smart enough as Peterson (and he is seriously smart) to break these things down into simple language that just makes sense, because it is things we already know and have known for thousands of years.

  14. I’m waiting for NEGITIVE Comments about this article by Komarade Maher to surpass Tabitha Southey’s Drivel Screed in this issue..

  15. Stephen, I find your piece is just an echo chamber of the chattering classes who assume that Liberal policy is simply THE wordview, and that there can be no other. That is why we need free speech, to allow people who disagree with this steamrolling of society into a homogenous mass, to speak up and give reasons why an idea may be wrong. That is exactly what the Liberal media does NOT do because it assumes many questions have simply been decided, and that things are a given – no discussion necessary, and that dissent, simply means that you are narrow minded and nasty.

    Regarding the gender pronouns issue specifically, something that is given in nature, cannot simply be tossed to the whims of a few ideologues and social engineers. A tiny percent simply cannot by fiat proclaim that something on the fringe, should drive what numbers already determine to be the norm. It’s not an issue of being kind it is simply a matter of telling the truth, and for individuals to have the right to tell their own truth.

    • Ironically Wilfrid Laurier University’s motto is “Veritas Omnia Vincit”.
      Translated from Latin to English it means “Truth Conquers All”.

  16. As soon as I read “he is wrong about everything else” I knew the article is a load of bunk. Written by the very type of idealogue Peterson warns against. I am left leaning and support LGTBQ rights but there is a toxic pandering to self proclaimed victims. Me me me, accomodate me! I feel like i am a crocodile today and wish to be referred to as such. Get over yourself. Identity can be somewhat nebulous and on a spectrum. I myself am nonbinary but would not impose these silly pronouns. Some conformity in society is necessary for functionality. Use ‘They’ if you must, Peterson does not disagree with that. Even truly Trans people agree with Petersons point of view.

    • Over all, I agree. If we can settle on one gender-neutral form of address, then fine. But not “they” as singular, please! This word already has a meaning that is clear and has been used for centuries; do not muddy its meaning with this new use.

      May I suggest the now-mostly-fallen-out-of-use “one”? It wouldn’t be completely out of sync with the previous usage; is gender-neutral; and clearly indicates singularity.

      But please – no silly pronouns like ze or zer. Not unless one wants to come across as a self-absorbed twit.

  17. Another attempt at a hit piece on Peterson? After having read the first one I decided it was not satire, but just a very poorly executed hit piece by someone that, for some reason that I can’t begin to speculate about, feels intellectually superior to Peterson.

    But now I’m no longer sure again. Is Macleans really the Canadian version of the Onion or something? I really can’t imagine this is meant to be a serious article.

  18. Double-speaking truth to power is the new speaking truth to power. This article is an eloquent defense of free speech, except for one glaring paradox. You cannot convincingly make a case for the freedom to speak while defending compelled speech.
    To try and separate Dr Jordan Peterson’s right to speak of his ideas, from his choice not to use the politically corrected lexicon of someone else, is to strip away “freedom” from “speech.” His criticism has never been levelled at trans people, but at the bureaucratic bullies forcing the miseducation of a generation of students through the use of meaningless words. This is a really important distinction and its one journalists are reticent to make. He is criticizing the bullying that is taking place in his workplace, an institution that should be devoted to higher learning and instead is devoting its resources to policing thought under the banner of equality and by threat of judicial penalty and financial and personal destruction. To criticize this travesty of justice and attack on rationality is not radical nor unsympathetic to trans people. So why does Mr Maher devote so much of his article to distance himself from Dr Jordan Peterson while attempting a defense of free speech?
    Fear.
    Fear of his colleagues, peers and editors. Cultural Marxists have both invaded the ivory towers and the traditional-media editorial boards. Their game plan is now obvious as it unfolds every day in the public square: tying the resistant ideas to awful ones, no matter the obvious double-speak or mental gymnastics required. Their tactics are even worse: slander, ridicule and professional ruin. Their goal is to make the resistors and resistant ideas as radioactive as possible. Nothing to see there folks, just another Nazi. How could you blame Mr Maher for not wanting to stand near Dr Jordan Peterson in the face of such persecution? But let’s just not pretend that standing up for free speech is brave if you cannot name it in all its forms or resist from allying with its most pernicious detractor, character assignation. It is incumbent on journalist to dig into and reveal the central tenants Dr Peterson’s ideas before attempting to relegate them to basements across the country or falsely attempting to tie them to the alt-right.

  19. So many petty articles on this man, none of which have actual meaning aside from being click-baits.

  20. “I think he’s wrong. Professors should do what they can for students who fall outside traditional gender categories, who have a much tougher life than powerful straight white men like Peterson. If that means that professors need to spend a little effort wrapping their tongues around new words, too bad. ”
    Wrong. This violates a principle of fairness and equality in the classroom. You should try and treat all students fairly and equitably. You conflate reasonable accommodation of a student which is understandable ie) people with disabilities, with compelled speech with the force of law under the Ontario human rights code. This is inconsistent and irrational pretending to be empathetic.

    “I think it’s difficult for many straight, cisgendered people to deal with trans people because thinking about gender identity threatens their own identity in some way, and it’s lazy and selfish for them to refuse to deal with their own issues. Because gender is so emotional, young trans people face huge challenges being accepted, which is a matter of survival.”
    Wow. Moral arrogance and insult “lazy and selfish” based on a hypothetical motivations of straight people.
    Seriously? Irrational. No doubt it is challenging and emotional for young trans people to deal with gender and being accepted, but that is true of all young people. Legislating that professors accept pronouns will do absolutely nothing to address this. Nothing.
    I have never met one trans gendered person who has ever stated that having a unique pronoun would help them “survive”. What nonsense.
    Sorry, but you are wrong on this one. One more thing. You presume that the people trying to silence him are “well-meaning.” Based on the debates I have seen and the opinions written I don’t think they are well meaning. They mean to stifle debate and exposure. The incident at Wilfrid Laurier with Lindsay Shepard is a case in point.

    • Dan Arcand and Jolly Hangman- Thank you for your well worded takedowns. Maher’s article illustrates so many of the problems that have become endemic to our post-secondary education system. That the apparently well-educated Maher (whom I suspect considers himself an “intellectual”) can embrace and attempt to legitimize the intellectually bankrupt notion of “non-binary genderism”, essentially advertises that he’s, to put it bluntly, dumb as a post. Maher takes it a step further, thus cementing the fact that his folks should have saved their hard-earned money, by trying to defend free speech by stigmatizing Peterson and not the tax-funded cultural Marxists who have taken over our institutions of so-called higher learning.
      As a teenager, I could not be convinced to attend university, simply because I had observed that far too many people with degrees were not bright, just adept at taking lessons and following instructions. They were not thinkers. Even some of the professors I had met absolutely radiated the fact that they were very intellectually closed off. Maher’s article, and this whole controversy simply reminds me how things have not gotten any better in the four decades since.
      Maybe it’s time we started de-funding universities?

      • Bill, I agree there must be a way to segregate our tax dollars to help fund core studies, like science, math and humanities. “Studies courses” should stand on their own two feet in the marketplace of ideas. Is it really an investment for Canadians to support the next generation being saddled with a half lifetime of debt while simultaneously being robbed of their ability to think critically? In the very least we need to inform students of their options. Courses should be rated by their openness to discussion and criticism. To present objective ideas open to discussion and subjective ideas closed to discussion on the same footing and attached to monumental costs to students is one of the greatest failures of our modern society and one which we have not paid the price for yet. Students should have an informed choice between paying $60,000 to learn what to think or $60,000 to learn how to think. Here’s a novel idea, Macleans could add a (Classical) Liberal Meter to it’s University Issue.

  21. The author criticizes Dr Peterson but then goes on to make most his the arguments for him.

    Maybe the author didn’t want to write a hit piece but was told to by Maclean’s or maybe he just hasn’t spent a lot of time listening to Dr Peterson’s incredibly intelligent arguments on the exact same subjects covered above.

    Either way Dr Peterson is famous with a lot more successful people than the author gives him credit for which is WHY he is getting tens of thousands of dollars a month in funding through donations. Successful people understand what he is saying and because they are successful they make enough money to send him some.

    Basement dwellers are less likely to find his message of hard work and self discipline appealing because they have been taken care of by mommy and daddy their whole lives. Basement dwellers need Mr Peterson’s message more than anyone else.

    I thank the author for bringing more people into the fold by marketing Dr Peterson. The more his name is mentioned the more people will seek out his videos to see what all the fuss is about and the more people will hear his message. Well done MacLean’s!

  22. Jordan Peterson has never promoted hatred, he is promoting Western cultural values which is indeed not being properly taught as schools, and I’m saying this as an Asian atheist, my goodness.

  23. Hypocrisy is noted when comments were noticeably censored during GamerGate, that Anita Sarkeesian puff piece was allowed to stand, and I’m sure countless replies simply were left in limbo, because the left has become afraid of being exposed as the “fake news” they are supposedly so concerned about.

    The only mistake is that you’ve gone too far, and people have begun to notice. Now begins the attempt to go back to the more insidious level of censorship and narrative crafting where you were considered the “default”.

  24. I suppose the `journalist’ has to virtue signal by declaring Prof. Peterson `wrong on almost everything’, and `posting tedious videos complaining about how he’s been censored…’ Well alright – Peterson has a great deal to say about a lot of things, and very informed by deep knowledge of psychology and history as well – these things are all `wrong’? I’m sure that to shallow intellects these are very `tedious’… however, to say that the subject are all about the controversy involving `transphobia’ is, just factually wrong. If his conclusions are right – that the universities shouldn’t censor – it doesn’t excuse the trash that comes before it.