Jordan B. Peterson is a tenured professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and a clinical psychologist. His lectures—many produced by TEDx—are popular on YouTube and include titles as wide-ranging as “Potential,” “The Necessity of Virtue,” and “Redefining Reality.” Many readers report being deeply influenced by his book, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief,” which explores how and why divergent cultures produce similar myths and stories.
Today Peterson is laser-focused on fighting the cultural cancer of political correctness. He is alarmed at how quickly it is metastasizing into laws that seek to punish any and all self-expression. Such legislation—in his case, Canada’s bill C-16, which would amend the Canadian Human Rights Code and Criminal Code to add “gender identity and expression” as a special category for anti-discrimination—is tailor-made to program people into conformity of thought. As with all things politically correct, such legislation always comes disguised in the language of “equality.”
Pointing this out is a herculean task today, and one Peterson seems to have taken on by himself. If he has colleagues who are also distressed, they probably don’t speak up out of fear of being smeared or fired. But there really is no alternative to loudly fighting political correctness. Peterson seems to have valiantly and quite sanely realized tenure is utterly worthless if the future holds nothing more than perpetual gagging by the thought police. Hopefully concerned colleagues will join him if this reality dawns on them before it’s too late.
Shutting Down Conversation Is Troubling
When interviewed recently by Lauren Southern of Rebel Media at a free speech rally at the University of Toronto, Peterson made clear that even if his job is in jeopardy, the stakes are far too high to remain silent. “Something ugly is brewing,” he stated.
Indeed, if we leave political correctness to its own devices, totalitarianism is inevitable. Just watch in this video the behaviors of the mob that attempted to shout down Peterson’s appeal to have a conversation about having a conversation!
The protesters were obviously mobilized from the outside. I suppose they’d call themselves “social justice warriors,” but SJW is today just a persona, a mask worn by people who can’t articulate what they are supposedly fighting for. They shouted nonsense from bullhorns right into Southern’s microphone. They mindlessly chanted “Shame!” They repeatedly refused to give their opinion when invited to voice it.
Check out the part at 4:02, where one of the mob participants angrily sprinkles the interviewer and her microphone with glitter out of a little shaker. As you can see at about 5:10 in the video, these protesters pushed and shoved. They behaved, overall, like programmed recruits from a cult. Cult recruitment is, in fact, what political correctness—and its use of the emotionally charged distraction of “gender identity”—is really all about.
Most outrageously, these minions of the thought police disabled Peterson’s microphone, and amplified white noise to drown him out. You can see them doing this at about 1:08 in this other video of the event.
At that point, Peterson persisted by speaking over the din without a microphone.
Political Correctness Is the Road to Insanity
Peterson reports several of his clinical patients have been driven literally to the brink of insanity by the effects of political correctness in their workplaces. One who worked in a financial institution was warned that using the term “flip chart” was racist. Another was a social worker, forced by law to allow non-surgically-altered men into a women’s shelter despite the further trauma their presence caused the women there.
If there was a last straw for Peterson, it was the Orwellian language of Canadian bill C-16 because it maximizes the prosecution of free speech under the guise of “hate crimes.” On September 27 he posted the first of a three-part YouTube series of lectures, “Fear and the Law,” taking aim at political correctness with C-16 as an example. It is not the sexual politics that interests Peterson as much as the language written into these laws that maximizes the silencing and self-censorship of all citizens.
Peterson quotes section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code to indicate how liability is so broadly defined in Canada’s anti-discrimination laws that there is virtually no hope of due process. Employers and organizations are subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed as “directly or indirectly” offensive and—here’s the biggest kicker—“whether intentionally or unintentionally.”
Furthermore, an employer or an entire organization is responsible if anyone associated with them uses speech deemed offensive, whether or not anyone files a complaint! If you cannot see how such legislation places a universal gag order on every single citizen at the whim of the powers that be, then you are simply not paying attention.
The ruse of gender identity, as I’ve written before, is tailor-made for thought policing. Its pronoun protocols force everybody into a self-inflicted mental game of whack-a-mole. These laws effectively require adherence to pronouns that are used randomly, are infinitely changeable, and subject to a person’s whim. In short, pronoun protocols—including an individual’s insistence to be referred to with the plural pronoun “they”— destabilize the entire structure of language for everybody. Ordinary communication takes a big hit.
As you can see from the picketers’ erratic behavior, political correctness seems to have already destabilized their sense of reality. They seem well past the point of fathoming the chaos it has already sown into their own ability to communicate, as well as everybody else’s. Furthermore, the general premise of transgender law—that everybody’s sex is “assigned at birth”—applies universally, and therefore undermines everybody’s self-concept as biologically male or female.
Peterson ‘Won’t Back Down’
The backlash against Peterson has been swift, especially since he stated he will not comply with the pronoun protocols as a matter of principle, to stand up for his right to express his own view of reality (and everybody else’s right as well). This sent the LGBT lobby into a tizzy, and it is calling for his head.
Peterson is not one to back down, and he has offered a couple of approaches to resisting this war on free expression. In Part 3 of his YouTube series, he introduces a tactical response to the “game” of political correctness. He calls it “Pokemon PC.” On eBay you can purchase packs of 50 stickers or 100 stickers in which the universal “No” symbol is superimposed on the letters “PC.” The idea is to affix the stickers in the lower right-hand corner of a manipulative poster after thoughtfully determining that it is indeed PC propaganda. The idea is to disrupt the game of political correctness by calling it out as a game, and hopefully sparking greater awareness.
Peterson also immediately posted YouTube videos in which he reads and interprets the calls to censure him. The first came from some University of Toronto identity-politics groups which describe Peterson’s self-expression about political correctness as an “act of violence” against them. A letter of October 12 from the “queer caucus” of a branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees likewise demanded that he be punished.
Peterson suggests people write back to these groups. I think a better route is to write directly to the University of Toronto administrators expressing support for Peterson and condemnation of those who would silence speech—and therefore thought—on a university campus.
How to Deal with Programmed SJWs
The primary reason I don’t think it’s useful to engage today’s social justice warriors is that you really can say or do nothing that will convince them to allow for freedom of expression. To put it bluntly, they are programmed in much the way cult recruits are programmed. Such conditioned emotional responses develop after years of mindless immersion in the political correctness of our educational institutions, media, and pop culture.
See Robert Jay Lifton’s “eight criteria for thought reform” as a primer for understanding how cults do this to their recruits. The criteria include things like “milieu control” and demands for ideological “purity” and conformity on pain of exclusion. The principles are the same as with political correctnesss. I would put the pronoun protocols of gender identity into Lifton’s Criterion Number 6: “Loading the Language.” The idea is to saturate us all in jargon “that consists of thought terminating clichés which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.”
Protestors against Peterson have had their capacity to think clearly and independently stolen from them. In this sense they are especially worthy of compassion: they are operating as drones and not fully functioning individuals.
If you’d like to be more aware of this process, I highly recommend Margaret Thaler Singer’s 1995 book “Cults in Our Midst.” In it she highlights the six conditions by which you can recognize attempts at cultic thought reform. They include inflicting a strict system of rewards and punishments to modify behaviors and imprint the cult’s ideology, and to put forth a closed system of logic that truly doesn’t allow for free expression.
Singer warned that “the psycho-technology of thought reform is not going to go away.” By the way, in the 1980s the American Psychological Association appointed her to head up a task force to help Americans build their awareness of Deceptive and Indirect Methods of Persuasion and Control. But outside “experts” recommended suppressing the report before it could be published, and the APA complied.
Singer sued for defamation—and she was indeed smeared—but lost. It was a shameful episode that certainly helped pave the way for the cancer of political correctness to metastasize. The best thing we can do to insure a future without constant gag orders from the state is to join Peterson and others who are fighting this good fight.
Peterson is living the words of his national anthem: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free. . . ” If he and others like him are left to fight alone, we will surely end up in a hopeless state of mass delusion. This is a war we cannot afford to lose. As I’ve written before, when dealing with Borg government, submission is futile. Resistance is the only hope.
The word “metastasizing” has been corrected in this article, from “metathesizing.”