January 24, 2018
Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman
The principle of free speech, as the expression goes, is not for speech you agree with. It’s for speech you disagree with.
This distinction is lost on The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. Like so many overheated artists on the left (but I repeat myself) , they’ve been led to believe that giving offence— particularly to a gender or racial minority— is a threat to the world order. They’ve taken the well-meaning “hate speech” laws aimed at Nazis and used them to silence opinions they don’t like.
For this reason they cancelled a planned appearance by noted Canadian author and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson (who BTW grew up just north of Edmonton). Peterson, whose new book is called 12 Rules For Life, has become a target of the trendies, because he refuses to indulge them in their notion that critical speech is hate speech.
In particular, Peterson believes that a devolution of society into an array of ever-smaller identity groups is misguided and can, taken to its logical extremes, lead to the totalitarian control of thought seen in societies such as the USSR, Mao’s Chinese cultural revolution and Pol Pot’s atrocities in Cambodia.
Needless to say, this analysis is not welcomed by the Canadian arts community which continually shows itself to be intolerant of any restrictions on its extreme gender/ racial agenda
(https://notthepublicbroadcaster.squarespace.com/config/pages/5924f3ef8419c267b134dcb9). So publicly funded organizations such as the Citadel use the cover of “hurtful” speech to deny debate on their latest hot take.
Citadel's executive director Chantell Ghosh told CBC News that Peterson's views conflict with the “theatre's values as an organization” and "that complex issues deserve exploration and conversation, not polarization.” (They’ve since apologized for their inept PR campaign when Peterson was dumped, but not for the underlying censorship.)
This is the same game plan employed on academic campuses across the country to stifle conservative, religious or libertarian thought. In this project they have largely been indulged by the governments that keep them well funded. So afraid are the politicians to defy a gender/ racial extremist that they allow themselves to be muted. The lapdog media then follow along in kind.
This is why Peterson has become a sensation. The University of Toronto professor has been fearless in presenting his research and opinions on the relationships between the sexes, his criticism of male and female role models and his unapologetic scorn for the slogan-throwing imbeciles of the Left. He uses sources as diverse as the Bible, Faust, Nietzsche and the humble lobster to construct his arguments.
From years of navigating increasingly doctrinaire academic circles, Peterson has developed a thick skin and convincing rebuttals in debating the SJWs who populate universities and the media. Nowhere was his sang froid in defenestrating the loony left better displayed than a UK Channel 4 interview that has gone viral. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMcjxSThD54)
He’s being interviewed by Cathy Newman, a cut-out liberal of the type who populate networks these days, eager to whip contrary opinions into line. In challenging Peterson she’s bitten of more than she can intellectually chew. She launches one tired feminist trope after another trying to ensnare the U of T author. And winds up spluttering.
Here’s her attack on what she calls offensive speech.“Why should your freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?” Newman asks. Peterson supresses a yawn. “Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable.”
“Well, I’m very glad I’ve put you on the spot,” says a self-satisfied Newman.
Peterson replies: “Well, you get my point. You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.”
A gobsmacked Newman is, for once mute. In another gambit, Newman tries to imply that the evil white man atop the power structure set the rules to suit themselves. Peterson quietly reminds her that the market sets the norms, and the 80 percent of all buying decisions are made by women.
So it went for the entire chat, Newman attempting to imply accusatory motives (“Do you agree that [pay Inequity] is unfair?”) that Peterson swats away like so many gnats. If there had been a mercy rule, the chat would have ended halfway through the interview.
This is the sort of rational response that Comrade Ghosh and her Citadel comrades are afraid of. Already, as video of the BBC rout has surfaced, the arts crowd has begun its predictable memes about racism and transphobia. Their rejection of the cultural and religious norms of the 20th century will not allow them to accept Peterson or any other “hierarchical” figure.
Institutions that once were truth tellers now preach censorship. They ban Peterson rather than suffer Newman’s fate matching wits with the professor. Make ludicrous claims about the harm to someone whenever a learned person doesn’t fold as did the feckless funders of the arts councils or pusillanimous politicians.
The logical thing to do would be to boycott the Citadel and its regressive management. And for government to cease funding the radical censors who populate the arts world in Canada. It would be a very popular election issue for Conservatives if they had the gumption.
But the very novelty of Peterson’s success in debate is the reason that none of the parties above will do jack squat about it.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)