LGBT activists have a new public enemy number 1: Jordan B. Peterson. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto (formerly at Harvard). Peterson insists on choosing his own words (how tyrannical!) and objects to legislation forcing people to refer to LGBT individuals by their chosen pronouns. This is damnable heresy, and activists must denounce him as a “bigot.”
“Careless, ideologically-addled legislators are forcing us to use words we did not freely choose,” Peterson declared in an op-ed for The Hill. The Canadian professor admitted that there are reasonable restrictions on free speech — like prohibiting yelling “fire!” in a crowded room. “There is, however, a crucial difference between laws that stop people from saying arguably dangerous words and laws that mandate the use of politically-approved words and phrases.”
In other words, Peterson objects to any law forcing people to speak in certain ways. This is a more dangerous limit on freedom than prohibiting a few dangerous forms of speech.
Naturally, social justice warriors (SWJs) can’t stand for this. Mobs have gathered to protest his arguments for free speech. At a University of Toronto protest earlier this month, SJWs chanted, “Shame! Shame!” as Peterson attempted to speak. A pair of women (or, should I say womyn?) tampered with a speaker to drown out his words. He was swarmed a day later by queer (their word) and transgender people, who attacked him for refusing to refer to a person as “they/them” as “a matter of respect.”
Peterson is protesting the Canadian Bill C-16, which on first reading seems reasonable enough. It would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to add “gender identity or expression” to the list of protected classes. So what’s the problem? “Discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity or expression” includes “misgendering” people — i.e. referring to them with the “wrong” gender pronoun.
If you want to see what this looks like, the Big Apple provides an example. In May, the New York City Commission on Human Rights declared that refusing to refer to someone by their preferred gender pronoun (from “him and her” to “ze, xe, hir,” and many others) is “harassment” and punishable by “civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.”
HeatStreet published a hilarious video showing just how misunderstood many of the officially protected gender identity terms are (and by extension, how difficult it would be to keep track of everyone’s different pronouns). Or, at least, it’s hilarious unless you live in the Big Apple and can be fined up to $250,000 for not using one of these words to refer to a particular individual. This is not just arbitrary, it can be quite oppressive.
Next Page: Why the “PC Game” is actually just a bid for power.
That’s Peterson’s argument. He explains that “gender-neutral” pronouns are just part of the “PC Game.” Here’s how it works:
First, you identify a domain of human endeavor. It could be the wealth of people within a society. It could be the psychological well-being of individuals within a given organization. It could be the prowess of school children at a particular sport.
Second, you note the inevitable continuum of success. Some people are richer or happier than others. Some children are better at playing volleyball.
Third, you define those doing comparatively better as oppressors of those doing comparatively worse.
Fourth, and finally, you declare solidarity with the latter, and enmity for the former (now all-too-convenient targets for your resentment and hatred).
“You have now established your moral superiority, cost-free, and can trumpet it at will,” Peterson concludes. The game is less about achieving justice than creating a position of power, from which you can dictate the actions — and the words — of others.
“We shouldn’t reduce complex, uncertain issues to a one-size-fits-all formula,” Peterson explains. “Instead, we should think things through carefully, using words of our own choice. It’s a free speech issue, in its essence.”
Freedom of speech isn’t just about being able to say what you think. It is the bedrock of a free society. “Freedom of speech protects our societies from shipwreck on the Scylla of tyranny and the Charybdis of nihilism and despair,” Peterson wrote. It enables citizens to come to the basic agreement necessary for civilization.
Contrary to SJW claims, this Canadian professor is not a “bigot” or a “hater.” He is trying to safeguard the essential framework of society. “There is nothing in the absence of freedom of speech but tyranny and slavery,” he wrote.
Next Page: Why do you have the authority to determine what you say?!
But SJWs refuse to understand this criticism. To them, a refusal to call each special snowflake by his/her/hir/ze’s special pronouns is tantamount to abuse. The problem with this should be obvious to linguists. As Peterson declared to one of the mobs, “Pronouns turn out to be very difficult to change — they’re a closed linguistic category.”
A protester asked Peterson to refer to him (?) as “they/them” as a matter of respect, but “they” is a plural pronoun, not a singular one. If people use it to describe singular individuals who cannot decide what gender they are, the word will lose meaning and be less useful for expressing ideas. Conventions of language exist for a reason — the majority of people are either male or female, and the linguistic pattern fits that.
If transgender people ask to be referred to as the gender with which they identify, that’s one thing. It’s false to their DNA, but it makes sense to call a biological male who identifies as a woman as “her” out of respect. What does not make sense is to twist the nature of language to refer to someone who identifies as gender anormal as “they.” You do not become plural just by rejecting your birth gender.
The scary thing is, SJWs not only request that people conform their language to their feelings — they also support laws which enforce this idea.
When Peterson decided not to refer to a singular, gender confused person as “they,” a protester declared, “Why do you have the authority…?” To which the professor responded, “Why do I have the authority to determine what I say?! What kind of question is that?!” What kind of question, indeed.
Watch the videos on the next page.
Peterson has his own YouTube channel, but here are a few videos of his interactions on the University of Toronto campus.