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09/25/2017

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Susan

I have heard Jordan Peterson talk at length about his objection to bill C-16, and I believe the sentence you selected to represent his beliefs is insufficient and doesn't represent what I have heard him say. For instance, his biggest objection, I believe, is his belief that the bill is compelled speech, meaning that someone would be forced to say something that they don't believe in. In the US an example would be forcing Jehovah's Witnesses to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school, which our supreme court decided was unconstitutional. This compelling of speech would also explain his comparing the bill to Marxism. It seems to me that you cherry-picked one sentence from the vast amount writing and debates he has participated in explaining his position, and are arguing against this one sentence. He has said a lot more about it, and his arguments are compelling (it's easy to google for anyone interested.) Also context matters.

Shelley

Hi Susan,
I think Ray intends to respond to you. In the meantime, however, I wanted to share with you this article (with video) that draws attention to more of Peterson's sexist views as well as his remarkable ableism: http://pressprogress.ca/university-of-toronto-professor-men-cant-control-crazy-women-because-men-cant-fight-them/

Ray Aldred

Hi Susan,
Thanks for the comment. From what I gather, your initial worry is that I am cherry picking some quotes of Jordan Peterson, and haven't represented his views accurately. You also appear to suggest that I am only using a small sentence and paragraph to represent Peterson's entire view on the matter.

I think first of all, it's important to remember that I am focusing primarily on his arguments for why he doesn't use gender-neutral pronouns, not his views on Bill C-31. I believe I made this point at the beginning of my post. The worry Peterson presents about so-called "compelled speech" is about the Bill, which I didn't want to address in this post.

I also want to make it clear that I've done a lot of research on Peterson's arguments, beyond the article I mention in this post, and as far as I can tell, Peterson commonly uses these talking points whenever he discusses the matter.

For several years, for example, Peterson has railed on about so-called "Neo-Marxists." He presents this worry in the debates he had at the University of Toronto and at Queen's lawschool. Additionally, he mentions this worry on Joe Rogan's podcast, and at multiple lectures he's given aren't even about pronouns. For example, he mentions Marxism, when discussing the reason he wants to start a new University.

Additionally, Peterson mentions "Political Correctness" on more than one occasion. He mentioned this in his debates, interviews he's given with Gad Saad, The Rebel news channel and beyond. The worry about preferred pronouns making language untenable was raised at his debate at Queen's law school and on Joe Rogan's podcast in both of his appearances there. He specifically brings up the 30 protected gender identities in new york on his first appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast, the Queen's law school debate, and in the article I've linked to.
He's also offhandedly referred to biological essentialism in his most recent interview with Joe Rogan and Bret Weinstein and in his discussions with Gad Saad. In one instance, I've seen him accuse his detractors as equating biological essentialism with nazism, which is vague, misleading, and downright wrong. There is a rich and detailed philosophical literature on biological essentialism, and I'd encourage anyone to read up on it, to get a deeper understanding of this issue (a good place to start is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on "Species").

Thus, I am most certainly not drawing from one limited source, but several. I'm also afraid I don't follow where I'm going wrong here. Does Peterson mention "Neo-Marxism" in his talks? Does he ever define it and unpack the notion? If not, my point remains that he's simply using the term in a vague and unhelpful way. Does Peterson not suggest that the inclusion of gender-neutral pronouns makes language untenable (take a look at the debate at Queen's when he explicitly presents this argument)? The point I'm making is that there are multiple instances where Peterson has used some variation of the points and arguments I mention in my post, and he's done so rather unthoughtfully. To the extent that he uses these arguments, my objections remain.

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