The federal Liberal government has always been a big fan of “diversity.”
Recently, for example, if you are a Canadian faculty member, there is a good chance that you received an email or letter from Statistics Canada. The Survey of Postsecondary Faculty and Researchers was designed to assess “diversity” among the groups targeted because of the desire of the Liberals to increase “diversity” among those receiving funding. It has long been the case that research funding was dependent, as much as possible, on two factors, both intensely meritocratic: the research record of the applicant and the quality of the proposed research.But the concept of diversity is a very slippery term. What it truly means is “let’s aim for fewer white men in positions of authority,” which would be a fine idea if race and sex were reasonable criteria by which to judge applicants, and if it wasn’t motivated by a broad set of “progressive” beliefs, which include the idea that we live in an oppressive patriarchy and that men who work now should be required to step back so that a litany of hypothetical, definable and prejudicial historical wrongs might be righted (this even though those who do the righting weren’t those who committed the prejudicial crimes, so to speak, and those who benefit not those who were the victims). There was even a recent article in Nature, a magazine that was once, with Science, one of the two unquestionably most influential scientific journals, suggesting male scientists should voluntarily delay their career advancement so that their underprivileged colleagues (underprivileged despite their status as university professors) could catch up and justice be properly served.There appears to be no limits, practically or philosophically, to the number of group memberships that have to be taken into account“Diversity” is a word that, on the face of it, masquerades as something positive — because it is positive, in some of its manifestations. It’s obviously not helpful to set up an organization where everyone thinks alike, or solely in the approved manner. It is necessary, for example, for healthy organizations to ally the conservative tendency to preserve with the more liberal tendency to transform. But that begs the question: where is diversity to be found? Among the ideologues — pushing the “progressive” doctrine that it’s part of, most frequently including “inclusivity, equity and intersectionality” — it is to be found in a set of immutable characteristics that typify different groups, including race, sex, gender (because that is distinguished by those same ideologues from sex) and sexual proclivity, above all.There are real problems with this agenda, however. The first is that it’s dangerous, in exactly the manner it is hypothetically designed to fight. The argument made by those who are truly prejudiced has always been that the differences between groups are so large that discrimination, isolation, segregation and even open conflict, including war and genocide, are necessary, for the safety of whatever group they are part of and are hypothetically protecting. Why is it any less risky for the argument to be made in the reverse manner? The claim that group-based differences are so important that they must take substantive priority during hiring and promotion merely risks validating the opposite claim.
There’s a second problem, too — and it’s particularly interesting, because it has been made by the same ideologically-oriented groups on the left that are pushing the diversity agenda: considering race, say, and gender when making diversity decisions is not sufficient. Diversity that focuses on females is insufficient, because black, Asian or Hispanic women, for example, face more egregious prejudice that white women. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Why the Left Is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson
The Atlantic, Aug. 9, 2018
Two years ago, I walked downstairs and saw one of my teenage sons watching a strange YouTube video on the television.
“What is that?” I asked.
He turned to me earnestly and explained, “It’s a psychology professor at the University of Toronto talking about Canadian law.”
“Huh?” I said, but he had already turned back to the screen. I figured he had finally gotten to the end of the internet, and this was the very last thing on it.
That night, my son tried to explain the thing to me, but it was a buzzing in my ear, and I wanted to talk about something more interesting. It didn’t matter; it turned out a number of his friends—all of them like him: progressive Democrats, with the full range of social positions you would expect of adolescents growing up in liberal households in blue-bubble Los Angeles—had watched the video as well, and they talked about it to one another.
The boys graduated from high school and went off to colleges where they were exposed to the kind of policed discourse that dominates American campuses. They did not make waves; they did not confront the students who were raging about cultural appropriation and violent speech; in fact, they forged close friendships with many of them. They studied and wrote essays and—in their dorm rooms, on the bus to away games, while they were working out—began listening to more and more podcasts and lectures by this man, Jordan Peterson.
The young men voted for Hillary, they called home in shock when Trump won, they talked about flipping the House, and they followed Peterson to other podcasts—to Sam Harris and Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan. What they were getting from these lectures and discussions, often lengthy and often on arcane subjects, was perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics they had heard in their lives.
That might seem like a small thing, but it’s not. With identity politics off the table, it was possible to talk about all kinds of things—religion, philosophy, history, myth—in a different way. They could have a direct experience with ideas, not one mediated by ideology. All of these young people, without quite realizing it, were joining a huge group of American college students who were pursuing a parallel curriculum, right under the noses of the people who were delivering their official educations.
Because all of this was happening silently, called down from satellites and poured in through earbuds—and not on campus free-speech zones where it could be monitored, shouted down, and reported to the appropriate authorities—the left was late in realizing what an enormous problem it was becoming for it. It was like the 1960s, when kids were getting radicalized before their parents realized they’d quit glee club. And it was not just college students. Not by a long shot. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The Rise of Jordan Peterson – A Review
Quillette, Oct. 14, 2019
Given today’s downward cultural spiral, it’s disturbing but not surprising that the makers of a thoughtful new documentary about Jordan Peterson are having a hard time finding somewhere to show their film. Many mainstream and independent cinemas have refused to screen it because they’re “fearful of controversy” or “morally concerned.” One theater in Toronto cancelled a week-long showing after some of the staff “took issue with it.” A theater in Brooklyn cancelled a second screening, despite the fact that the first sold out and received good reviews, “because some staff were offended . . . and felt uncomfortable.”
Jordan Peterson. Jordan Peterson. Jordan Peterson! That name, that man, that swirling storm of impassioned controversies—again? After the flood of protests, podcasts, profiles, social media storms, hit pieces, and heartfelt testimonials that saturated the English-speaking world after Peterson posted his “Professor Against Political Correctness” video in Fall 2016, some might assume that squelching a new film about him is no big deal. After all, is there really anything worthwhile left to say about the man and the cultural maelstrom he provoked?
As it turns out, the answer is “yes.” Having watched the recently released 90-minute documentary, The Rise of Jordan Peterson, I can say this with confidence. The documentary follows Peterson’s unexpected skyrocket to fame by cross-cutting previously unseen and pre-existing footage in ways that are original, empathetic, and thought provoking. Clips of lectures, protests, and newscasts familiar to those who followed Peterson’s rise are expertly interwoven with fresh footage of past events, as well as exclusive interviews with him and a wide array of family members, friends, colleagues, and, importantly, critics (categories which, in some cases, overlap). There are also intimate scenes of Peterson in his home—strangely and rather disturbingly decorated with giant agitprop paintings—and his hometown of Toronto, Canada (which looks oddly bucolic, by comparison).
What makes The Rise of Jordan Peterson particularly notable is that it neither shies away from the political controversies surrounding Peterson, nor allows itself to be defined or limited by them. Peterson, of course, became an intensely polarizing figure immediately after posting his video critique of then-pending Bill C-16, which added gender identity and expression to the categories protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code in 2017. (Peterson’s core objection to the legislation, as I understand it, is that this constitutes a dangerous expansion of the state’s power to control and even compel speech.) Consequent commentary tended to follow predictable lines: Progressives condemned him; conservatives praised him; and his more apolitical fans tried to stay out of the fray.
Rather than conforming to any one of these positions, The Rise of Jordan Peterson weaves the political debates into a richer tapestry of human issues, concerns, and relationships. The psychological and mythological realms, which are central to Peterson’s primary body of work (a fact since overshadowed by ugly disputes over his real and imagined politics), are invoked in ways that communicate their irreducible mystery and complexity. This is not easy to do, particularly when navigating such intensely contested ideological terrain. The result is a refreshingly original take on the Peterson phenomenon, with the vision and skill to transcend the intellectually and emotionally suffocating boxes with which it has typically been framed. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Why Jordan Peterson is Worth Defending
Marion West, May 17, 2020
Cultural upheavals have been known to swell and crash like waves. Although their popularity may rise and fall with the times, the underlying conditions that allowed them to flourish (and their ripple effects in society) run deeper than undulating political trends. Examining why certain ideas gain momentum at a given historical moment is crucial in mapping our present course; otherwise, the ocean of our collective unconscious remains an uncharted and treacherous mystery.
Jordan B. Peterson was a psychology professor at the University of Toronto when he skyrocketed to intellectual stardom after taking a widely publicized stance against the rise of politically correct culture and social justice ideology on campus. Although his original concern was propelled by the specter of Bill C-16, which added gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, his protest was part of a broadening resistance to the excesses of the cultural Left. These excesses of the cultural Left include an emphasis on privilege, structural bias, identity and historical oppression, which have increasingly seeped into our institutions and set the boundaries for polite discourse. Resistance to this narrative and the norms it has promulgated was building up for years, but the expansion of online progressive activism, precipitated by the widespread use of social media, unleashed a massive counter-reaction across the West.
As his notoriety catapulted online, Peterson became a spokesperson for the burgeoning anti-woke crowd known as the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW), a diverse medley of individuals with various political persuasions united in their disdain for identitarian extremism on both ends of the aisle. As such, Peterson used his platform to expound a message of personal responsibility and spiritual renewal for a world at a loss for meaning.
He was effectively saying to establishment journalists, academics, and pundits who otherwise imagine themselves as being on the right side of history, “You are not so innocent.”
But with notoriety comes droves of untold pressure. His rise was met with a deluge of hard-hitting interviews and hit pieces from mainstream media outlets, some rendered in good faith but the vast majority resembling character assassinations meant to shame and discredit. It is not difficult to see why Peterson was considered a threat: He was challenging the very basis of received wisdom on major cultural issues, not just in terms of prevailing ideas and attitudes but with regards to the entire moral identity that underlied them. He was effectively saying to establishment journalists, academics, and pundits who otherwise imagine themselves as being on the right side of history, “You are not so innocent.” The backlash to this indictment showed through in number of well-documented skirmishes, including the infamous Cathy Newman Channel 4 interview, a 2018 Munk Debate in which race writer Michael Eric Dyson called Peterson “a mean mad white man,” and a GQ interview with Atlantic writer Helen Lewis, which constituted nearly 2 hours of accusational “gotcha” questions. Of course, not all of the pushback was entirely unwarranted; controversial figures should be scrutinized by our cultural gatekeepers, if only to see what all the fuss is about. Yet, the sheer volume of scorn went beyond mere scrutiny. His ascendence was received as a menace. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
Identity Politics and the Marxist Lie of White Privilege: Jordan B. Peterson, YouTube, Nov 13, 2017 — I was in Vancouver Friday November 3rd talking at an event sponsored by the very active University of British Columbia Free Speech Club (start one on your campus — if you’re a student, that is :)).
Archive: Jordan Peterson on Slaying the Dragon Within Us: Jordan Peterson, TVO, Mar 20, 2006 — Jordan Peterson, University of Toronto professor of psychology talks about fear of the unknown and fear of dealing with problems.
Jordan Peterson in Russia for Medical Benzodiazepine Detox: Daughter: National Post, Feb. 10, 2020 — The daughter of controversial Canadian author Jordan Peterson says her father is recovering in Russia from “physical dependence” to anti-anxiety medication.
Jordan Peterson: The Activists Are Now Stalking the Hard Scientists: Jordan Peterson, National Post, June 24, 2020 — So many messages of appalling idiocy, detestable envy, and envy embarrassing to behold, crossed my desk in the last fortnight that I found myself in the rare position of having too much to record — a writer’s dream.