Jordan Peterson against Political Correctness Story

… an Atlas case news story relevant to
Political Correctness, Populism, and Freedom of Speech

petersonandcameraThe story

This page provides a sample of the articles, videos, and postings in mainstream and social media on the controversy associated with the publication by Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, of a series of YouTube presentations on why and how he was proposing to resist attempts to regulate the use of gender pronouns.

Peterson’s argument

Peterson’s argument in relation to the regulation of gender pronouns and free speech is elaborated in the videos below. He summarizes his position in his 18 October 2016 op-ed (reference below):

“Gender-neutral” pronouns are, in my opinion, part of the “PC Game.” Here’s how you play:

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.

Words such as zie and hir, are, in my opinion, moves in the PC game. It’s not a game I wish to play. We shouldn’t reduce complex, uncertain issues to a one-size-fits-all formula. Instead, we should think things through carefully, using words of our own choice. It’s a free speech issue, in its essence.

People often defend freedom of speech on the grounds that citizens must retain the right to criticize their leaders. That’s true, but it’s not the fundamental truth.

Freedom of speech protects our societies from shipwreck on the Scylla of tyranny and the Charybdis of nihilism and despair. Freedom of speech allows us to identify the problems that beset us. Freedom of speech allows us to formulate solutions to those problems, and to reach consensus on the solutions.

There is nothing in the absence of freedom of speech but tyranny and slavery.

Peterson’s website can be found at http://jordanbpeterson.com/. His YouTube channel is found at https://www.youtube.com/user/JordanPetersonVideos and his Twitter feed at: https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson. His lectures for the second-year undergraduate course, PSY230 Personality and its Transformations, are on his YouTube channel, the link to the Introduction and Overview lecture is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGLsnu5RLe8.

C-16,  the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and American institutions

Reference in the articles below is made to Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. Bill C-16 is short and can be viewed at http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=8280564, accessed 9 October 2016. Reference is also made to the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Commission’s webpage on gender identity and gender expression is at http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/code_grounds/gender_identity.

Reference is also made to policies in New York City and the University of Michigan. These can be viewed at http://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/law/legal-guidances-gender-identity-expression.page, https://record.umich.edu/articles/students-now-may-designate-personal-pronouns-class-rosters, and https://spectrumcenter.umich.edu/article/designated-pronouns-university-michigan. The latter refers to the Wikipedia cite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-specific_and_gender-neutral_pronouns#Summary.

Selected University of Toronto policies and policy statements

The links in the table below point to the documents found on the Policies and Guidelines page of the Human Resources and Equity section of the University of Toronto website at http://policies.hrandequity.utoronto.ca/.

Statement on Freedom of Speech (28 May 1992)

Statement of Institutional Purpose (15 October 1992)

Statement on Equity, Diversity & Excellence (14 December 2006)

Statement on Human Rights (12 July 2012)

Guideline for Employees on Concerns & Complaints Regarding Prohibited Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment (updated 8 September 2016)

Human Resources Guideline on Civil Conduct (updated 8 September 2016)

Policy with Respect to Workplace Harassment (amended 8 September 2016)

Selected articles and videos in chronological order
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Reddit/UofT - Top links for week ending 16 October 2016, click for webpage

Reddit/UofT – Top links for week ending 16 October 2016, click for webpage

 

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Click for podcast, 90 minutes

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Click for video, 33 minutes

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theyismypronoun

 

Click for TVO discussion, 55 minutes

Click for TVO discussion, 55 minutes

 

Click for letter published in genuiNEWitty

Click for students’ petition letter to U of T president published in genuiNEWitty

 

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Click for site (and current number of signatures)

 

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Click for CBC video, 17 minutes

Click for CBC video, 17 minutes

 

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U of T News, 14 November 2016, Click for announcement

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Forum examining Bill C-16 and OHR Code, Click for video, 101 minutes

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Louder with Crowder extended discussion at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Tln_6Bxk0 (18 minutes)

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Source

Jordan Peterson (2016), Canadian gender-neutral pronoun bill is a warning for Americans, The Hill, 18 October 2016, at http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil-rights/301661-this-canadian-prof-defied-sjw-on-gender-pronouns-and-has-a, accessed 23 October 2016.

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Institutional Dynamics within Government (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 5 February 2017.

Image: The Varsity, U of T community responds to Jordan Peterson on gender identities, at http://thevarsity.ca/2016/10/03/u-of-t-community-responds-to-jordan-peterson-on-gender-identities/, accessed 9 October 2016.