From Canada. Discussion of discipline handed down to Wilfrid Laurier University graduate student and Teaching Assistant Lindsay Shepherd for playing a 3 minute clip of University of Toronto Professor, Jordan Peterson, debating Canada’s bill C-16 which has criminalised the use of certain gendered pronouns. The problem was that because it is against Canadian Human Rights laws to use personal pronouns that are not the specific pronouns an individual has stated they wish to have used in referring to themselves, Shepherd was hauled up before a University complaints tribunal because she had presented both sides of the argument on this issue in a classroom using a video of Peterson to show one side of the argument. What has made it a worldwide sensation is that she taped the discussion of her meeting with the complaints tribunal which must be listened to in full to understand where things have now reached.
Here is a video from the United States that explains the background, but before I go on, I do have to say how outraged I am about the way he discusses Canadians. Nevertheless, in spite of his clear racist anti-Canadian attitudes, in the interest of understanding the story, here is the video discussing the entire episode which has an excerpt from her tape of the interview by the complaints tribunal which really gets to the heart of the issue.
Finally, here is the full recording of her discussing the issue with the University. Runs more than 40 minutes but worth your time. The disturbing notion presented by one of the academics was the philosophically-empty equation that “Opinion minus Evidence is Prejudice” (O-E=P) with the only form of evidence apparently permissible being publication in a peer reviewed journal. Once control over what is published in peer reviewed journals is sealed up (see the debate on climate change which is even brought in by one of the professors) certain ideas can never be presented within an academic environment. So they have to provide students with a “critical tool kit” before they are permitted to hear different opinions. Try this on for size (33:35):
“Everyone is entitled to their opinions but we have a duty as educators, as scholars, as academics, even as public intellectuals to make sure we are not furthering the kind of what I call charlatanism”.
Such self-delusion! Makes you sick. And there is little doubt that the same idea would be found at the highest reaches of the academic world.
Terrifying. She is astonishing and brave. Dissidents come in all forms and it is fortunate we are still able to bring these things to the attention of others. And like she says herself, her enemies are “insane”. But let me just add that while she has become very famous for her personal bravery, the person you should pay attention to is Jordan Peterson himself. Let me present you with a bit of Peterson as well, where he is discussing, among other things, a statement by some other professor somewhere that “there are no biological differences between men and women”. Peterson begins at 2:17.